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Smoking smell under hood at 90mph+????? help!

Hi~

I own a 1998 328is, with about 114000 miles on it. Car still runs great, but have come across a problem in the past month that I'm unsure of. About a month ago, I drove to the airport from my house (about 30 miles) on the freeway going around 80 or 85mph to pick up a friend. Then I dropped him off at the place where he was staying (which was another 30 miles from the airport on the freeway). I didn't do any driving that was out of the ordinary, maybe went 95mph to overtake someone once, but again just driving around 80 or 85mph. Well when I stopped and turned off my car, a slight burning smell was coming through the vents of the car, and I opened my hood and it was smoking, but only for maybe 15 seconds or so. I have no clue WHAT was smoking or what the smell was. Well, I stayed at my friend's house for about an hour and drove home later on (another 40 miles) and the car was fine when I got home. I've driven it for a month now since then both on the freeway and the city (mostly city though) and it was fine. Then this past weekend, I had 2 other people with me in the car, and was driving to a restaurant, and at one point I shifted into 4th at about 80mph to overtake someone, and i had the car up around 95 to 100mph for about 5 to 10 seconds, then slowed down to about 80 again. Well I smelt that smokey smell again. Anyone have any idea what it COULD be? It seems when I take the car over 90mph or something it happens? I don't want to go on a long road trip and get stranded or something because something under the hood burns out and dies...

Thanks for anyone's help and/or suggestions!
Old 08-01-2006, 09:55 AM
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Sounds like it could be oil blowing out of a vent hose or something like that (and then landing on the exhaust manifold). Are there any leaks under the car when it's sitting?

-Wayne
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Old 08-01-2006, 10:51 PM
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I agree it could be a drip onto the exhaust. Also, consider a belt problem such as slipping belt, worn pulley, bad fan clutch or bad ac clutch which would manifest at high RPM.
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Old 08-02-2006, 06:20 AM
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hmmm...there are no leaks on the ground that i've noticed. when i did open the hood, i was looking around when the smoke cleared and if I'm facing the windshield, at the top left area (passenger side), I saw marks of some liquid on the plastic covering there (sorry, I don't know the names of the car parts there), so I'm not sure if that got real hot and causing the burning smell, and if it's caused by that apparent liquid, I dno't even know what that liquid was or where it's leaking from... I believe the majority of the smoke was coming from there though....
Old 08-02-2006, 09:08 AM
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If you are actually seeing smoke then ignore the belt problems I mentioned. I obviously didn't read you post well enough and I thought you were just smelling something burning.

Oil, coolant, power steering oil and a/c evaporator condensate(water) are the only liquids it could be. My guess if you are seeing a lot of smoke is that it is coolant. Check the coolant level and check for leaks. Keep and eye on your temperature and if it moves at all above 12 O'Clock pull over and shut it down. There aren't many coolant lines on the passenger side near the firewall but it could be spraying over there. Check the worm clamps on the radiator hoses and take a look at the three hoses that go into the firewall for the heater core. Also, the radiator necks on BMW's are prone to cracking.
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Old 08-02-2006, 09:38 AM
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Ok, I'll check that out tonight. I'll try to take a pic of the area where i saw the liquid..well the liquid was dried up but you can see where it was by the 'discoloration'. I find it odd that it only happens when I go over 90mph...
Old 08-02-2006, 02:01 PM
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I would say most likely it is high RPM causing it. Have you tried taking 3rd or 4th gear up near redline on the highway?

For 90mph to cause it there is either a constant leak and the wind is blowing it onto the exhaust or the wind is pushing the radiator or one of the hoses hard enough to expose a crack.
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:06 PM
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Random guess without pictures would be "valve cover gasket". The valve train usually doesn't have any high oil pressure, but things can fly around in there at high rpm and / or high speeds...

-Wayne
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101 Projects for Your BMW 3-Series 101 Projects for Your Porsche 911 How to Rebuild & Modify Porsche 911 Engines 101 Projects for Your Porsche Boxster & Cayman 101 Projects for Your Porsche 996 / 997
Coming in 2014:
101 Projects for Your MINI Cooper
Old 08-03-2006, 01:02 PM
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Ok, I managed to take pics today....sorry for all the guessing work....but this might give you better idea. It's apparent something is leaking, but I don't know what it is. I'm sure someone knows from the pictures. Why would going at higher speeds cause the smoke too?





Old 08-03-2006, 09:42 PM
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The bolt in the center of each pic is the corner of the valve cover. The gaskets are prone to leaking and yours must be leaking a lot.

Get the valve cover gasket set which should come with the sparkplug well gaskets. You also should go ahead and get the little rubber washers for each cover bolt. Go ahead and change your spark plugs at the same time. The repair is in the Tech Info Center and I'm sure it is also in Wayne's new book which is a bargain.
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Old 08-04-2006, 06:13 AM
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Thanks for the detailed response Jeron.

So it's leaking motor oil then huh? How come it'll only smoke at higher speeds? I"m just curious about that.

How much does this cost to get repaired at the dealer, or is it an easy DIY job? Can you link me to the valve cover gasket set and washers? I don't want to order the wrong parts.
Old 08-04-2006, 06:18 AM
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Hmm...I think it's this part........ 11-12-9-070-532-M58

I'm not sure which part is the rubber washers for the cover bolt though
Old 08-04-2006, 06:33 AM
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It is probably running down the side of the block and hitting the manifold. I don't think it is the speed but the RPM and the temperature of the oil. I'm sure it would do it if you drove the car really hard around town or went to and autocross.

I consider it an easy DIY. You might want to get a torque wrench for the valve cover bolts and the spark plugs. The most important thing is not to get anything down the sparkplug holes or into the engine when the cover is off.

It shouldn't be hard to make sure u have the right part. If you are unsure call Pelican.

Here is the set I found 11-12-9-070-532-M58
You might consider buying a few of these in case any of yours are deformed 11-12-1-721-879-M17
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Gone: :'( 98 Camry V6 97 Camry I4 97 Mazda 626 I4 :'(93 Sentra SE-R 88 Toyota Truck I4
Old 08-04-2006, 06:36 AM
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at sustained high speed, high revs + high load as well as open throttle,( not much manifold yacuum to counteract any blowby) and high volumes of hot thin oil thrown about under those covers any weak seals or gaskets will weep.
Rocker cover gasket spends most of its time working to keep air out. the occasional caning might be overwhelming any vacuum system and pressurizing the crankcase and blowing oil out.
Might not notice tiny air leak in, will notice tiny oil leak out.
Old 07-23-2010, 07:30 AM
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Old 07-23-2010, 07:30 AM
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