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      02-24-2018, 11:26 PM   #1
su320
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Gummy Oil Buildup on Oil Cap (pics)

So I was doing an oil change today and noticed something strange that I'd never seen before. The oil cap on top of the engine had a lot of yellow gunk built up around it. I tried to wipe most of it off, but it was really thick.

I've done a couple oil changes since I got the car, this one was probably the longest interval around 12k, mostly highway miles.

Has anyone seen this before? Anyone know what caused that? Anything to be concerned about?

The oil that came out of the car looked normal.



Thanks!
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      02-24-2018, 11:40 PM   #2
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I saw this thread
http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1442472

But this thread makes it sound like it could be a PCV issue?
http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1429659

Could be worth noting that the car also puts out a little white smoke all the time, well after most cars stop emitting water vapor. Still haven't tracked that down.

Last edited by su320; 02-24-2018 at 11:50 PM.
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      02-25-2018, 07:28 PM   #3
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White smoke in the morning on first start up (denser looking than usual vapor in exhaust) and that milkshake in place of oil all point to leaky head gasket and coolant getting into the oil.

Sorry, but you should start going down that diagnostics path: compression test will usually pinpoint the problem.
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      02-26-2018, 08:09 AM   #4
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Compression test won't tell you anything useful here. You need to pressure test the cooling system and leakdown test the cylinders if the first test doesn't show any issues. What is your normal driving pattern? How hard do you drive the car?

12k mile OCI is too long IMO; having seen the inside of engines run on long OC cycles, I don't care what BMW says. Cut your changes down to 10k at least, or better 7.5k, to preserve maximum engine longevity.
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      02-26-2018, 02:19 PM   #5
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Way, way too much moisture/condensation in the oil. You have to go to a BMW indy or good import garage to get it looked at. Suggest previous owner and likely yourself too doing too many short distance trips in very cold weather and not enough oil changes. Bav Auto sell a kit designed to clean a neglected engine.
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      02-26-2018, 03:49 PM   #6
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Odds are, it's just a mositure problem.
Not head gasket or any other mechanical problem.

It's Winter and the high rate of temperature and moisture change causes this. Northern climates like I'm in exacerbate this.
Doing oil change intervals that exceed (roughly) 5,000 miles makes it even worse.

The problem is the engine oil just doesn't get warm enough to burn the moisture off. It needs to be high enough to create steam, so near that 180*F or above. That steam is drawn out of the system by way of the PCV.
But all that moisture going through the PCV means there is good chance the PCV hoses may freeze up. So they need to be and stay warm enough to unthaw. It turns into a cycle of problems.

For me, long road trips at highway speeds is not the cure. I get too much high speed cold air and the oil just doesn't warm.
I have to do long city/low speed stop and go driving. Longer than about an hour. Then I do not get more yellow milky oil and what was there does dissipate in time.


The problem with doing long OCI is that the quantity of water to oil just grows with mileage. There will be a point at which there is so much water that it becomes unsafe. And being that a $80 oil change is cheaper than a $5,000 engine ... just change the oil more often. It will save you money in the long run.
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      02-26-2018, 04:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by su320 View Post
So I was doing an oil change today and noticed something strange that I'd never seen before. The oil cap on top of the engine had a lot of yellow gunk built up around it. I tried to wipe most of it off, but it was really thick.

I've done a couple oil changes since I got the car, this one was probably the longest interval around 12k, mostly highway miles.

Has anyone seen this before? Anyone know what caused that? Anything to be concerned about?

The oil that came out of the car looked normal.



Thanks!
Before driving another 200 miles, you need to remove (or Indy) the valve cover, to clean the main pcv venting outlet.

This is not optional in your case. VC service is tedious and costly.

Crankcase venting de-pressurizes the millions of compression strokes, as waste by-products are evacuated, routed via (every vehicle) intake being consumed by yet another combustion event.

Your primary vent has the car equivalent of arteriosclerosis!

When it's clogged it migrates to paths of least atmospheric resistance-your oil cap. Given enough time this ends badly. It need not.

I restate what is correct: max 7500 mi OCI Not 7600, or 8600, or whatever you happen to find convenient.

BMW ownership is a near obligation; Never is it convenient.

Neither is this up-coming service $$$ for neglected head-in-the-sand maintenance as practiced by prior owners.

Keep us informed, ok?
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      02-26-2018, 04:08 PM   #8
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Hey, thanks for all the feedback.

An update on the smoke:
Since the weather has been above freezing the past few days, I actually haven't seen any smoke at all. Not sure if that's causation, or if it was any of the other maintenance items I've done the past few days (changed battery, cleared codes from low battery, used Techron concentrate for the injectors - seems to help with the occasional rough start and idle before the engine warms up).

drwillb:
Coolant was my initial guess a little awhile back when I first started noticing the smoke. I just did a check of the coolant again, it still looks fresh and not mixed with any oil. I changed the water pump about 15k miles ago and flushed the coolant then. The coolant tank is also still full.

O2Pilot:
I don't typically drive the car hard. Once or twice a summer I'll take it to an autocross, but other than that it's short city driving mixed with longer highway driving a couple times a month. I usually take it easy on the commutes since the oil temps are lower.

NorthernDancer:
I definitely have been driving it short distances in cold weather the past month where the engine only has enough time to get up to maybe 150/160 then cools down.
I'll take a look at the Bav Auto kit. I presume Liqui Moly? I know I need a walnut blast, I'm at 115k and last one was at 50k. Looking into getting one this summer.
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      02-26-2018, 04:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snub-nose 28 View Post
Before driving another 200 miles, you need to remove (or Indy) the valve cover, to clean the main pcv venting outlet.

This is not optional in your case. VC service is tedious and costly.

Crankcase venting de-pressurizes the millions of compression strokes, as waste by-products are evacuated, routed via (every vehicle) intake being consumed by yet another combustion event.

Your primary vent has the car equivalent of arteriosclerosis!

When it's clogged it migrates to paths of least atmospheric resistance-your oil cap. Given enough time this ends badly. It need not.

I restate what is correct: max 7500 mi OCI Not 7600, or 8600, or whatever you happen to find convenient.

BMW ownership is a near obligation; Never is it convenient.

Neither is this up-coming service $$$ for neglected head-in-the-sand maintenance as practiced by prior owners.

Keep us informed, ok?
Thanks for the feedback, I'll pop that off and clean it tonight or tomorrow and let you know what I find. IIRC it just requires the large AC intake/water drain shelf near the back of the engine bay removed, then there's a pretty clear shot at it, right? I had to replace a cracked VC and gasket around 90k and remember interfacing with that tube.

With regards to the OCI I have been pretty religious about 7.5k up until this last change. I'll make sure to change it sooner in the future.
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      02-26-2018, 04:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iminhell1 View Post
Odds are, it's just a mositure problem.
Not head gasket or any other mechanical problem.

It's Winter and the high rate of temperature and moisture change causes this. Northern climates like I'm in exacerbate this.
Doing oil change intervals that exceed (roughly) 5,000 miles makes it even worse.

The problem is the engine oil just doesn't get warm enough to burn the moisture off. It needs to be high enough to create steam, so near that 180*F or above. That steam is drawn out of the system by way of the PCV.
But all that moisture going through the PCV means there is good chance the PCV hoses may freeze up. So they need to be and stay warm enough to unthaw. It turns into a cycle of problems.

For me, long road trips at highway speeds is not the cure. I get too much high speed cold air and the oil just doesn't warm.
I have to do long city/low speed stop and go driving. Longer than about an hour. Then I do not get more yellow milky oil and what was there does dissipate in time.


The problem with doing long OCI is that the quantity of water to oil just grows with mileage. There will be a point at which there is so much water that it becomes unsafe. And being that a $80 oil change is cheaper than a $5,000 engine ... just change the oil more often. It will save you money in the long run.
Fingers crossed you're right. This winter was especially bad where I am with freezing and melting, so moisture wouldn't surprise me. Regardless, I'll definitely going to be changing oil more frequently now and I'll still check the condition of the PCV as snub-nose28 suggested.
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      02-26-2018, 05:03 PM   #11
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Wink THE best candidate for Oil/H2o separator

Quote:
Originally Posted by su320 View Post
Hey, thanks for all the feedback.

.. up to maybe 150/160 then cools down.
I know I need a walnut blast, I'm at 115k and last one was at 50k. Looking into getting one this summer.
You're now atop all this. Need to order (and easy) install an oil-H2o seperator.
After you service your arteries, that PVC routing.

Essential on N54/ N55 engines! Now you -indeed all the forum- can see in technicolor why...you needed walnut blasting. That should be remedied with this O/W mod
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      02-26-2018, 05:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snub-nose 28 View Post
You're now atop all this. Need to order (and easy) install an oil-H2o seperator.
After you service your arteries, that PVC routing.

Essential on N54/ N55 engines! Now you -indeed all the forum- can see in technicolor why...you needed walnut blasting. That should be remedied with this O/W mod


That isn't a cure-all.
I have one and as I mentioned, freezing can be the biggest problem. I have to check and empty mine every time I get home and the car is warmed up. If I miss a day or 2 there's good chance it's froze and didn't do anything the whole drive time.

If I would have put it nearer the exhaust (on the passenger side) it may stay warmer and work better. But in the chance it leaks, it would do so onto hot exhaust which is a fire hazard.
There just isn't a best location or setup for good and safe removal of moisture. Even the stock setup is flawed, which is reflected by the recall for the 128i and it's PCV heater, which the 135i (N54) also has.

It's an all around flawed system from start to finish. The best cure is just letting the engine warm better and change oil more often.
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      03-14-2018, 09:02 PM   #13
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Some Possible Explanations?

Take a look:

https://www.google.com/search?q=engi...ih=556#imgrc=_

There are several examples of this waxy yellow build up, and it happens with all engines. The reason seems to be short-distance driving in cold weather. Condensation mixes with the oil creating this substance.

I take 20+ mile drives everyday, and the weather is cold. I noticed today a tiny smidgen of this yellow stuff on my oil cap.
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      03-14-2018, 11:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iminhell1 View Post
Odds are, it's just a mositure problem.
Not head gasket or any other mechanical problem.

It's Winter and the high rate of temperature and moisture change causes this. Northern climates like I'm in exacerbate this.
Doing oil change intervals that exceed (roughly) 5,000 miles makes it even worse.

The problem is the engine oil just doesn't get warm enough to burn the moisture off. It needs to be high enough to create steam, so near that 180*F or above. That steam is drawn out of the system by way of the PCV.
But all that moisture going through the PCV means there is good chance the PCV hoses may freeze up. So they need to be and stay warm enough to unthaw. It turns into a cycle of problems.

For me, long road trips at highway speeds is not the cure. I get too much high speed cold air and the oil just doesn't warm.
I have to do long city/low speed stop and go driving. Longer than about an hour. Then I do not get more yellow milky oil and what was there does dissipate in time.


The problem with doing long OCI is that the quantity of water to oil just grows with mileage. There will be a point at which there is so much water that it becomes unsafe. And being that a $80 oil change is cheaper than a $5,000 engine ... just change the oil more often. It will save you money in the long run.
Well said! I agree 100%
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      03-15-2018, 08:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iminhell1 View Post
Odds are, it's just a mositure problem.
Not head gasket or any other mechanical problem.

It's Winter and the high rate of temperature and moisture change causes this. Northern climates like I'm in exacerbate this.
Doing oil change intervals that exceed (roughly) 5,000 miles makes it even worse.

The problem is the engine oil just doesn't get warm enough to burn the moisture off. It needs to be high enough to create steam, so near that 180*F or above. That steam is drawn out of the system by way of the PCV.
But all that moisture going through the PCV means there is good chance the PCV hoses may freeze up. So they need to be and stay warm enough to unthaw. It turns into a cycle of problems.

For me, long road trips at highway speeds is not the cure. I get too much high speed cold air and the oil just doesn't warm.
I have to do long city/low speed stop and go driving. Longer than about an hour. Then I do not get more yellow milky oil and what was there does dissipate in time.


The problem with doing long OCI is that the quantity of water to oil just grows with mileage. There will be a point at which there is so much water that it becomes unsafe. And being that a $80 oil change is cheaper than a $5,000 engine ... just change the oil more often. It will save you money in the long run.

Some of this is true, but most of it's nonsense. The problem is just water condensate mixing with oil creating the waxy substance. When warmer weather returns, it'll disappear.
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      03-15-2018, 10:49 AM   #16
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I see this every day on cars during the winter. Just the result of short trips and not getting the oil up to temp.

Good long highway drive and it should be gone.
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      03-15-2018, 11:33 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MightyMouseTech View Post
I see this every day on cars during the winter. Just the result of short trips and not getting the oil up to temp.

Good long highway drive and it should be gone.
Yup, that's exactly correct!
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      03-15-2018, 05:59 PM   #18
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Get that fucker up to temperature and beat the shit out of it like it owes you money. The oil thermostat isn't even fully open until 230*F.
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      05-27-2018, 03:38 PM   #19
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well, that doesnt look right. we had a poster somewhere on here that had this issue with Mobil 1 oil, and it went away as soon as he switched to castrol.

are you doing lots of short distance driving? what sort of oil are you using?
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