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  #1  
Old 02-23-2008, 12:47 PM
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Help! Burning rubber smell and smoke from under hood!

Hi Everyone! I haven't posted here in quite some time-not sure who would remember me. Anyway, this prodigal son has a question. Last night towards the end of my drive home from the airport (about 45 min drive) I noticed a strong burning rubber-like smell coming from under my hood, accompanied by some whitish smoke filling my garage. After I aired things out a bit, I looked under the hood (I also looked this morning). I could see nothing. The dipstick/oil-level reading seems fine, no oil under hood. No warning lights had ever come on and temp was normal when the event happened.

Any ideas what is going on? I am the original owner, it's an '01 3.0i with about 112k miles on it. It was parked outdoors at the airport for almost 3 days (pretty cold, I'm in New England). At first I thought it may be a belt (there was no noise noted). Then I thought it may be oil. I did a search and saw a bit about this oil separator issue, but I have no mess, no leaks, no apparent loss of oil. Any advice is appreciated! TIA!
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Old 02-23-2008, 12:50 PM
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Look under the car and make sure there isn't a plastic bag or something similar that is stuck to the exhaust system. That would be my guess.
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Old 02-23-2008, 12:54 PM
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ditto, when they hit hot exhaust they stick and melt. Also check the belts to make sure none are slipping, that can cause the smell and smoke also.
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Old 02-23-2008, 01:05 PM
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oil seperator? any oil splash in the engine compartment
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Old 02-23-2008, 01:15 PM
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OK, slight revision....

I just pulled the car out of the garage into brighter sunlight and looked under the hood. If I look down in the mid to lower sections under the hoos, I see signs of what may be some engine oil. Doesn't look like a lot, but any is no good. I haven't driven it (and won't) since last night. Are we thinking it may be this oil separator issue? If so, what does that mean I'll need to do? Cost? In researching posts on this site, I came across some talk of a servivce bulletin. Does that mean it would be a covered repair? if so, where would I find this info?

Obviously I am past the warranty. Should I take to the dealer for this work or my local independent shop? They do a lot of foreign car work and work on BMW's quite a bit. They've always done alright by me with my X5 and '97 Z3.

Last edited by PeteG; 02-23-2008 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 02-23-2008, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteG
I just pulled the car out of the garage into brighter sunlight and looked under the hood. If I look down in the mid to lower sections under the hoos, I see signs of what may be some engine oil. Doesn't look like a lot, but any is no good. I haven't driven it (and won't) since last night. Are we thinking it may be this oil separator issue? If so, what does that mean I'll need to do? Cost? In researching posts on this site, I came across some talk of a servivce bulletin. Does that mean it would be a covered repair? if so, where would I find this info?

Obviously I am past the warranty. Should I take to the dealer for this work or my local independent shop? They do a lot of foreign car work and work on BMW's quite a bit. They've always done alright by me with my X5 and '97 Z3.

It probably is the seperator starting to go bad on you. But the valve cover gaskets are usually the first tell tale sign. Take a flashlight and shine it on the valve cover gaskets. Look all around it in a 360 degree angle.

As far as cost goes, for a new seperator at the dealer including labor is around $1300. I took mine to a local shop familiar with BMW's and they did it for $450. I had the dealer replace my valve cover gasket for $530 which of course would be cheaper at the local shop. probably half.

Unscrew your oil cap, If there is some white or caramel milky residue cream on the cap, it is more then likely your seperator because of condensation build up from the oil freezing in the lines. That is another tell tale sign also. I have become a near expert in this issue as I have just dealt with it and had it taken care of last month.
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Old 02-23-2008, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by primetime
It probably is the seperator starting to go bad on you. But the valve cover gaskets are usually the first tell tale sign. Take a flashlight and shine it on the valve cover gaskets. Look all around it in a 360 degree angle.

As far as cost goes, for a new seperator at the dealer including labor is around $1300. I took mine to a local shop familiar with BMW's and they did it for $450. I had the dealer replace my valve cover gasket for $530 which of course would be cheaper at the local shop. probably half.

Unscrew your oil cap, If there is some white or caramel milky residue cream on the cap, it is more then likely your seperator because of condensation build up from the oil freezing in the lines. That is another tell tale sign also. I have become a near expert in this issue as I have just dealt with it and had it taken care of last month.
Yeah, carmel/milky residue is there, and I've never seen it there before when adding a bit of oil. Thanks, I think you're right on. I'm dropping off at my local shop this weekend so they can get right on it. Do you think I've done damage to the engine at this point? Do you think it's safe to drive 6 miles (no traffic, few lights) to drop off at the shop later this afternoon? It's sunny and 32 degrees out right now. Car has been sitting in my garage all day (at least 40 degrees).
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:56 PM
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Check also the clamps on the hoses here :

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...17&hg=11&fg=15

Oil could be leaking from here running down your exhaust. This is what exactly what happened to me the other day. Apparently my friendly mechanic forgot to tighten the clamp. I may be wrong in your case though but worth checking it out anyway. Good luck!
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:29 AM
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Having it towed to my local indie shop today. Thanks to you all for all your help!!
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteG
Having it towed to my local indie shop today. Thanks to you all for all your help!!
If it was smoking earlier I wouldn't drive it...I had mine towed too..
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