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2003 BMW 325i - 137k - Sludged/oil burner cleanup #4629931
01/10/18 02:01 AM
01/10/18 02:01 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 242
Atlanta, GA
pezzy669 Offline OP
pezzy669  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 242
Atlanta, GA
So have a friend with a '03 BMW 325i w/~137k miles on it that is in desperate need of some attention or it will be dead in no time. I am pretty certain it can be somewhat salvaged for a longer life with some proper care which it has not received in some time.

Last oil change was ~11k miles ago with a 5W-30 synthetic blend per the sticker from friends "awesome mechanic" who also has quite a few dead cars of pretty much every make parked outside of his collapsing shack of a shop with inches of dust on them. Yeah I know you don't think your 15 year old BMW is worth much but come on now. That is a story for another day.

Anyhow - this car will be a slight financial hit to me whether it dies tomorrow due to lack of maintenance or dies tomorrow due to me trying to get it back in decent running order so at this point I would like to try to get it at least halfway back to good operating order. Part of me hurts to see someone trade in a perfectly fine car (it is beautiful inside and out) because they think it is junk because they neglected the mechanicals.

It currently mows through a quart of oil every 500-750 miles and it just gets whatever 5W-30 is available at the gas station, wouldn't be surprised if it sees SA grade stuff. It only smokes immediately after a cold start for maybe 15-20 seconds and does not yet make any weird engine noises and is not throwing any codes. The oil is topped up when the red oil pressure light comes on and until the time it can be topped up the engine is shut off and restarted at stop lights to "reset the oil light". I am honestly surprised a BMW of all things has lasted this long with this abuse as this has been par for the course for at least 7 months.

Have been reading about Seafoam, MMO, FP20, etc. but I think those cleaners may be a bit too aggressive of a clean for this car. Thinking of just starting with some Rotella T6 5W-40 in the sump every 2k miles for maybe 4-5 oil changes and see where that brings us with the oil consumption and then at that point maybe introduce some additional secondary cleaners. 10k miles will only be ~1 year so there is plenty of other deferred maintenance I can take care of in between.

Good course of action or any other recommendations to clean up this dirty BMW?


2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic - 78k miles
2009 Mercedes-Benz C300 Auto (Traded - 8/11/18 - 78k)
Re: 2003 BMW 325i - 137k - Sludged/oil burner cleanup [Re: pezzy669] #4629935
01/10/18 02:17 AM
01/10/18 02:17 AM
Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 363
AL,NC,TX,Germany,Korea,Italy
Timo325 Offline
Timo325  Offline
Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 363
AL,NC,TX,Germany,Korea,Italy
Before and after pics of valves cover off, etc.. smile

Think about where the oil is going.. a quart ever 500-750mi isn't insignificant. Leaks?

After a few cleaning cycles, then maybe things like plugs, do all fluids, check belts, brakes, suspension.

For drive train - also consider hooking up the OBD II reader anyway. Take a look at your #'s see if anything is out of place.


2011 Odyssey Touring Elite 80k mi. M1 EP, 0W-20, FU
2008 Mustang GT 81k mi. Edge EP (Gold) 5W-20, FU

Re: 2003 BMW 325i - 137k - Sludged/oil burner cleanup [Re: Timo325] #4629948
01/10/18 03:06 AM
01/10/18 03:06 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 242
Atlanta, GA
pezzy669 Offline OP
pezzy669  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 242
Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: Timo325
Before and after pics of valves cover off, etc.. smile

Think about where the oil is going.. a quart ever 500-750mi isn't insignificant. Leaks?

After a few cleaning cycles, then maybe things like plugs, do all fluids, check belts, brakes, suspension.

For drive train - also consider hooking up the OBD II reader anyway. Take a look at your #'s see if anything is out of place.


Wish I could pull the valve cover - live in an HOA condo so car work minus the quick basics like air filters and wipers is a no no. Best I could do is a oil fill cap picture and I have not even gone as far as opening the hood on this beast to see what is going on. If she is leaking oil its all sitting in the undercarriage pan or oozing down the side of the block as there have never been any stains on the ground or burning oil smells.

Going to get the oil situation under control first before I dive too deep into everything else, if I get the oil consumption under control will move forward to get all the fluids replaced. Cabin filter and engine air filters will coincide with the first oil change as those are easy and cheap to handle myself.


2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic - 78k miles
2009 Mercedes-Benz C300 Auto (Traded - 8/11/18 - 78k)
Re: 2003 BMW 325i - 137k - Sludged/oil burner cleanup [Re: pezzy669] #4629968
01/10/18 04:47 AM
01/10/18 04:47 AM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 4,755
North Carolina
rooflessVW Online content
rooflessVW  Online Content
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 4,755
North Carolina
Good course of action? Walk. Especially if you can't work on it. It is almost certainly leaking from the valve cover gasket and oil filter housing gaskets. Simple and inexpensive DIY but not if you have no place to do it.

Coming from a guy with a 170k Porsche, a 150k Phaeton, and several BMWs to my name with well over 200k miles - walk.

Or drop an engine into it. If an M54 is smoking it's done. If the car is in that good of shape aside from the neglected engine, have a shop a good used unit in. Prices are going up as swaps become more common into older cars but you could still get out for under ~$2k.


"Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead."
Re: 2003 BMW 325i - 137k - Sludged/oil burner cleanup [Re: rooflessVW] #4629991
01/10/18 07:03 AM
01/10/18 07:03 AM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,671
'murica
Ethan1 Offline
Ethan1  Offline
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,671
'murica
Originally Posted By: rooflessVW
a guy with a 170k Porsche, a 150k Phaeton, and several BMWs to my name with well over 200k miles


Cheers2

Re: 2003 BMW 325i - 137k - Sludged/oil burner cleanup [Re: pezzy669] #4630180
01/10/18 10:27 AM
01/10/18 10:27 AM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 6,719
Hudson, NH
LeakySeals Online content
LeakySeals  Online Content
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 6,719
Hudson, NH
Thats horrible consumption. The plugs must be soaking wet. Probably a failed CCV http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=417819


06 Escalade 6.0L LQ9 AWD 165k M1 5w30
03 Maxima 3.5L POS 152k ST HM 10w30
Re: 2003 BMW 325i - 137k - Sludged/oil burner cleanup [Re: pezzy669] #4630189
01/10/18 10:33 AM
01/10/18 10:33 AM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 55
NJ
italian68 Offline
italian68  Offline
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 55
NJ
Start by using an LL-01 spec'd oil only. Short oil changes at 1k, 2k, 3k, 5k then 7.5k. Do not go beyond 7.5k oci's. Keep full of oil and drive till dead.


07 BMW 530i 50k Castrol Edge 0w40 Mann
06 Ram 2500 5.7 109k QSUD 5w30 51515
05 Camry 2.4 112k QSUD 5w20 51516
Re: 2003 BMW 325i - 137k - Sludged/oil burner cleanup [Re: pezzy669] #4630224
01/10/18 11:00 AM
01/10/18 11:00 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 804
BerksCounty/Pa.
thorromig Offline
thorromig  Offline
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 804
BerksCounty/Pa.
New PCV from the get go also would be beneficial. Good luck & keep us updated.


00 Dodge Ram 5.2L 4x4 Edge 10W30 FU (91K)
08 Acura TL Type S 3.5L PUPP 5W20 FU (101K)
17 Jetta TSI SE 1.4L Turbo - Edge 0W40 FU (Hers) (4K)
Re: 2003 BMW 325i - 137k - Sludged/oil burner cleanup [Re: pezzy669] #4630226
01/10/18 11:03 AM
01/10/18 11:03 AM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,846
Texas
WyrTwister Offline
WyrTwister  Offline
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,846
Texas
If oil is disappearing , it can be leaked or consumed or both .

With a good lite & jack , thoroughly , visually examine it for leaks .

Now , if being consumed , rings , valve seals and the PCV system come to mind .

Traditional PCV valves are no big deal to replace . Do it .

Wet & dry compression tests will give info on rings and valve seals .


Wyr
God bless
Re: 2003 BMW 325i - 137k - Sludged/oil burner cleanup [Re: pezzy669] #4630442
01/10/18 01:37 PM
01/10/18 01:37 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 4,164
California
nthach Offline
nthach  Offline
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 4,164
California
Tell your friend to go ride a bike/Uber or buy a car that can run on the cheapest swill like a 1990s Toyota. That E46 is too nice to be a LeMons car, I think there's still a little hope.

I'd change the gaskets, check the PCV system and then start running a HDEO like Delo 400/Delvac 1300. If the car still runs and hasn't thrown a rod or spun a bearing, I think running a small amount of Kreen or B-12 Chemtool in the oil to help dissolve some of the sludge can help. After 3-4 OCIs with the HDEO, switch over to an ACEA A3/B3 compliant oil.

Last edited by nthach; 01/10/18 01:38 PM.
Re: 2003 BMW 325i - 137k - Sludged/oil burner cleanup [Re: pezzy669] #4630455
01/10/18 01:50 PM
01/10/18 01:50 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,480
Ontario, Canada
mightymousetech Offline
mightymousetech  Offline
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,480
Ontario, Canada
That engine is done. Expect to have to replace it. No mechanic in a bottle is going to fix it.


Mighty Mouse Tech
BMW Tech, Former Acura Tech
2010 Civic Si Castrol 0W40, Redline MTL
2013 BMW 135i M Sport Edition Castrol 0W40, Redline MTL
Re: 2003 BMW 325i - 137k - Sludged/oil burner cleanup [Re: pezzy669] #4630500
01/10/18 02:25 PM
01/10/18 02:25 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 562
Anaheim, CA
zorobabel Offline
zorobabel  Offline
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 562
Anaheim, CA
How was it determined that the engine is sludged?


1997 Maxima 181k, Edge 10w30, K&N HP-1003
2004 Corolla 191k, VWB 5w20 + SSS 10w40, MGL4967
Re: 2003 BMW 325i - 137k - Sludged/oil burner cleanup [Re: zorobabel] #4630619
01/10/18 03:53 PM
01/10/18 03:53 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 4,755
North Carolina
rooflessVW Online content
rooflessVW  Online Content
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 4,755
North Carolina
Originally Posted By: zorobabel
How was it determined that the engine is sludged?

11k on a "synblend." General neglect.

Trust me, things don't look good under the valve cover. At this point taking care of the car will break bits of sludge loose, then he'll have to call Dr. VANOS. More $$$.

I'd buy the car. But I have the means, knowledge, location, and contacts to drop a low-mile 3.0 in over a weekend. For the right price it'd be a simple flip.


"Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead."
Re: 2003 BMW 325i - 137k - Sludged/oil burner cleanup [Re: pezzy669] #4630752
01/10/18 06:58 PM
01/10/18 06:58 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 242
Atlanta, GA
pezzy669 Offline OP
pezzy669  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 242
Atlanta, GA
Thanks guys for the excellent advice!! I am new to the nuances of the BMW I-6 (more of an MB guy) so some of this info is great, well versed on my MB M272 but this is a whole new beast for me to learn and try to care for. Fortunately there are a handful of very good BMW indy shops in the Atlanta area.

CCV System - [censored] that is one complicated and expensive PCV system ($152 on FCPEuro).

Valve Cover Gaskets - Was planning on this being one of the first replacement parts as even on my religiously maintained '09 C300 both are starting to leak at 76k miles.

I think we are going to attempt to limp her along and hope she is not too far gone and can be cleaned up, car is long paid off and like I said previously it is otherwise pristine. This car was "inherited" through a relationship and I really was not too aware of the terrible maintenance due to physical appearance until we moved in together and started swapping cars on occasion. It has turned into me being left in charge of the car stuff but I have used it as a coaching moment. If this was a Corolla I would have just turned a blind eye and possibly even hoped for catastrophic failure, but like someone above said it is an E46 and I just can't watch it continue. grin


2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic - 78k miles
2009 Mercedes-Benz C300 Auto (Traded - 8/11/18 - 78k)
Re: 2003 BMW 325i - 137k - Sludged/oil burner cleanup [Re: pezzy669] #4630755
01/10/18 07:02 PM
01/10/18 07:02 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 242
Atlanta, GA
pezzy669 Offline OP
pezzy669  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 242
Atlanta, GA
Also I will keep you guys up to date as we progress, thinking I might have the shop take a sample after the initial OCI so probably late February-March will get to get a peek in the engine. Ya know what just for fun I might just have them take a sample of whatever tar pours out of there when I have it initially changed, might be kind of fun.


2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic - 78k miles
2009 Mercedes-Benz C300 Auto (Traded - 8/11/18 - 78k)
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