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      03-17-2014, 09:53 PM   #1
thetuna
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Oil in the spark plug tubes

Hi guys, I recently had an odd episode during some fairly spirited driving where the engine got extremely rough.

The CEL came on and whenever I touched the gas, the whole engine felt like it was shaking.
I took it out of gear and revved it a bit and the engine felt perfectly smooth; back in gear and it shook again.
After turning the engine off and back on again the problem was completely gone.

The car is stock except for a tune (cobb stg 1 aggressive), 38K miles, and always has 93 octane.
When I checked the codes it gave me:
  • P29CF - Misfiring cylinder 3
  • H2D18 - ???
  • H29CF - Misfiring cylinder 3 (old?)

Some searching led me to think it's either the coil pack or plugs; so to try to figure out which it is I switched the 2 and 3 cylinder coil packs... that's when I found this:




Just a guess, but the plugs aren't supposed to be swimming in oil, are they?
The 2 and 3 cylinder tubes each had a good amount of oil in them and the 1 cylinder had a little bit; I didn't check the others.

Has anyone had this problem, or can you tell what it is?
Bad valve cover gasket or something else?

Thanks for any help.
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      03-17-2014, 10:03 PM   #2
cmcdonald
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Haven't had this problem on my 1er, but I worked on a buddies Z3 awhile back that had that problem. It was the little o-ring valve cover gaskets that went around each spark plug hole. I'm not sure if ours is designed the same way though. His was a 2000 2.3l I6.
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      03-18-2014, 07:04 AM   #3
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O ring gasket around the cylinders for the spark plugs that come with the valve cover gasket is what it looks like. When I spoke to my SA when I picked up my set, he said the valve cover gasket is known to leak after some time. Granted mine is an N52, I would expect the same issue is prone to N54/N55.
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      03-18-2014, 07:06 AM   #4
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BMW has always been incapable of making good oil gaskets, so I would echo the sentiments that it failed.

See VANOS, oil filter housing, valve cover gasket, valvetronic solinoid, and so on...
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      03-18-2014, 09:05 AM   #5
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Yep agree with evryone here. I would replace valve cover gaskets, spark plugs and wires. I would replace the wires too because they were swimming for a bit and may be oil logged. remember oil can burn and when in contact with an area that could produce a sparks can be dangerous in the right stuations. (not trying to scare you just being logical)
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      03-18-2014, 11:50 AM   #6
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I would replace the valve cover gasket, doing that inspect your PCV and valve cover for cracks.
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      03-18-2014, 01:33 PM   #7
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I wouldn't mess with the coil packs. I don't think you have spark plug wires in the traditional sense. I think you have coils with a boot directly over each plug. That boot got oil on the outside but it should be fine.

The first car I owned with double overhead cams was a Fiat 124 spyder. It leaked a lot of oil and had conventional wires. I finally figured out that if I put two large washers from the hardware store under the two cam cover bolts it would seal the joint and stop the leak. But even with Fiat levels of oil leakage, the plugs and wires performed fine

I would fix the leak and at least wipe off the coil boots and go back to trusting your car.
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      06-15-2014, 09:02 PM   #8
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I had this issue and my rocker cover was cracked. Oil filled up cylinder 4, some of 3 and 5 and a bit of 6. It was then running down into the cylinder via the injectors and causing misfires.

You can see it in the pic below which i've over exposed where the crack is. I tried to jbweld it up but it cracked straight away once I put the cover back on so I just ordered a new one.
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      07-23-2014, 11:11 AM   #9
ianc
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Hey RadiuM,

Thanks for the post. I did see your pic elsewhere when searching for valve cover, but it's unclear to me where exactly your crack is in that pic. Is that it circled in red below?



ianc
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      07-23-2014, 06:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianc View Post
Hey RadiuM,

Thanks for the post. I did see your pic elsewhere when searching for valve cover, but it's unclear to me where exactly your crack is in that pic. Is that it circled in red below?



ianc
Correct. It went all the way down
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      07-24-2014, 11:32 AM   #11
ianc
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I pulled off my engine cover to have a look last nite and my valve cover has a crack in the exact same place as yours!



What is up with that? That is a $380 part!



Did BMW cut you any slack on that? It's never been touched except when their tech did the VC gasket replacement last year! What were the circumstances surrounding you discovering that crack?

I've got to call a service advisor this AM even though my warranty was up in Feb. This is killing me!

ianc
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Last edited by ianc; 07-24-2014 at 01:04 PM.
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      07-24-2014, 08:53 PM   #12
RadiuM
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My car was 4.5 years old so it was 1.5 years out of warranty so I just did it myself.

I originally had the car missing when it had been sitting there for a while so I originally though it was a dodgy injector as the back 3 are still original and I was getting misfire faults on 4 and 5. I had replaced the front 3 the year before due to misfiring but one of them was actually faulty. Anyway I popped the cover to find oil filling up cylinder 4 up past the top of the plug and 3 and 5 halfway and oil everywhere else in there.

I eventually found the crack and looked it up online and some people had tried to JB weld it so I gave it a go, it cracked the instant I put it back on so I just bought a new one and installed it. When doing it though you will need to take the injectors out as the oil leaks down them and into the chamber which was causing the misfires.

There was so much oil everywhere I had everything out (plugs and injectors) and spent ages just jamming rags in everywhere to soak up the oil.

When you look at the rocker cover you can see how its cracked, its just a crap design so it probably cracks from people putting some weight on it changing plugs etc. That's my theory anyway
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      07-25-2014, 02:11 AM   #13
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Had this exact problem with my 1er. Codes told me cylinder 6 was misfiring. I checked under the hood, saw oil all over the place only to find out my oil filter cap wasn't on tight enough. Haven't checked my plugs yet, but even if they have oil all over them or not, I'll be changing all 6 of them to stay on the safe side. Make sure every cap is on tight and keep everything clean. Or you'll end up like me having to steam clean my engine
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      08-12-2014, 05:51 PM   #14
ianc
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Referencing my post above:

I called up BMW to give them a little love on the plastic VC cracking at ~40K mi. Even though my car was out of warranty about 6 mo. ago, it was still under the 50K mi. limit.

The service rep I spoke with was great and referred it on to BMW USA, which has some sort of good will program which can prorate a certain percentage of repair costs in cases like these. In this case, they agreed to prorate 95% of the warranty cost ($1200), rather than the repair cost ($1700), which will leave me $61 out of pocket. A new VC, gasket, labor, etc. for $61, plus a loaner? I'll take it!

Thanks BMW!

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      08-13-2014, 09:19 PM   #15
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nice.
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      08-23-2014, 11:19 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianc View Post
Referencing my post above:

I called up BMW to give them a little love on the plastic VC cracking at ~40K mi. Even though my car was out of warranty about 6 mo. ago, it was still under the 50K mi. limit.

The service rep I spoke with was great and referred it on to BMW USA, which has some sort of good will program which can prorate a certain percentage of repair costs in cases like these. In this case, they agreed to prorate 95% of the warranty cost ($1200), rather than the repair cost ($1700), which will leave me $61 out of pocket. A new VC, gasket, labor, etc. for $61, plus a loaner? I'll take it!

Thanks BMW!

ianc
What the hell did you say?
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      09-03-2014, 06:44 PM   #17
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Told them that they were the only ones who had ever touched the valve cover when they replaced the gasket under warranty, as well as created the possibility of a misdiagnosis as to the cause of the original oil leak: ie. was it actually the gasket at all, or was it the cover all the time?

I also mentioned that I didn't regard a valve cover as a consumable item like a gasket, and they shouldn't either.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease they say...

ianc
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      09-05-2014, 08:55 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianc
Told them that they were the only ones who had ever touched the valve cover when they replaced the gasket under warranty, as well as created the possibility of a misdiagnosis as to the cause of the original oil leak: ie. was it actually the gasket at all, or was it the cover all the time?

I also mentioned that I didn't regard a valve cover as a consumable item like a gasket, and they shouldn't either.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease they say...

ianc
Good stuff for you! I need to make sure it's my gasket and not my cover that's leaking. I'll take a look tonight or tomorrow. I've had some evidence of oil around the valve cover. We'll see!
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