44

Burning Smell or Oil Drips on the Ground Due to Engine Oil Leak on BMW 325Ci

Problem Description and Possible Solution

Valve cover gasket leaks are common after 60,000 miles. Symptoms will include oil drips under the vehicle and burning oil smell from the engine compartment.

Problem Data
RepairPal Verified
Average mileage: 93,467 (12,500–186,000)
6 model years affected: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, more2005, 2006
44 people reported this problem
Viewing 1 - 20 of 22 comments
i have just replaced the valve cover gasket and the leak seams worse, this the 2nd gasket i have put on in the last 6 months. i was very careful with the installation and it seemed to seat down properly. i have a new oil sending unit but have not installed it yet. problem #2 i seem to be losing coolant but can find no leaks. any ideas on either one of these.
thanks
k1seman
I had 3 oil leaks, oil pressure sensor, oil filter gasket and oil seals. This car has cost me a fortune to repair. NEVER AGAIN will I get a BMW
smoke from engine on left back side, barely noticeable,funny smell an oil spots near spark plug, im thinkin its the value cover gasket, how can i be sure,
I don't have the oil drips, but whenever I'm excelling up an incline or "putting my foot into it" on a hill, I smell this strange odor - burning oil. A lot of people never can smell it - only me.
I had the same smell and oil around the valve cover since I got the car at 87600 miles in July 2013. I found it out to be the old VCG and replaced that. While I was under there, I replaced the spark plugs (NKG Platinum). The old VCG was hard, plasticized and brittle. Be careful pulling any stuck pieces, don't let chips break and fall into spark plug cylinders. The burning smell is gone and the idle is a little smoother with new spark plugs. Replace spark plugs while under there! :)
Leaking from oil filter resivoir
Can see oil seepage from the valve cover gasket on the passenger side near the back of the engine . Oil gets on exhaust and smokes and smells. Not fixed yet.
Replace vcg
I was lucky that this has happened so late in the vehicle's life, but was still expensive to repair. The bolts used to attach the valve cover are of inferior quality- something addressed in later BMW E9X models. These bolts tend to shear due to a combination of weak material, the canter of the engine within the bay, and torque upon startup/ spirited driving. Once a bolt shears it can cause a gap between the cover and gasket or damage the gasket enough to cause a leak.

In my case, 2 valve cover bolts sheared as well as 2 bolts holding the intake manifold onto the engine. I lost about 2 quarts in the span of 2 days- a pretty substantial leak if you ask me. Total cost at an Indy shop was ~$1000 including gaskets/ bolts/ oil/ labor. This is something you can do at home if you have the time (I didn't) and is fairly straight forward... No lift or special tools required if you already have a torque wrench.
I had started the car on a cold day, I let it warm up for a few minutes, then headed out. When I came to a red light, I noticed a burning oil smell coming into the cabin. I immediately took the car to my trusted garage who then told me it was the valve cover gasket. I had them repair/replace it.
burning oil smell and oil dripping
Similar problem, replaced the gasket, leak and burning smell ceased.
Replace valve cover gasket
It burns oil. It has not been fixed
VALVE COVER GASKET LEAKING
I replaced the valve cover gasket myself. Very easy job.
I"ve been having a problem of oil leak. It started with a tiny drop. The car was checked by a mechanic that could not find the problem. The car continues to leak oil in a much greater amount. There is also the smell of oil burning after a few minutes.
valve cover gasket leak
Oil leak onto exhaust manifold, valve cover replacement fixed the leak. Several of these BMW's (E46) have this problem
valve cover gasket and oil filter housing gasket leaks