2001 x5 going thru oil, no leaks, no smoke, what is going on?


Asked by Oct 01, 2011 at 09:25 AM about the 2001 BMW X5 3.0i

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I bought this with 114,000 have 139,00 went thru 3 oil changes and in the last 500 miles went thru at least 2 quarts of oil!  no blue smoke, no drips, brought it to shop, they can't find out why.  HELP!  

20 Answers


has it been properly checked for leaks, coz the undertrays on the x5 will hold alot of oil before it ever hits the ground, there is also the posibility that the breather system is failing and the amount of oil entering the intake isnt enough to cause smoke. also is this definately an oil loss as seen via the dipstick, or is this a frequent occurance of the oil warning comming on?

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Yes, they fixed an oil leak last year for $600+ so I brought it back to the same mechanic, he said they looked everywhere and found nothing, said to bring it back so they can keep looking, thought maybe the crankcase might be the problem. the oil loss is only noticed via the dipstick. The car runs great, just losing lots of oil somewhere. Even when I first noticed it, the oil light never came on, I heard a ticking sound so I brought it to another mechanic. The oil wasn't even on the dipstick then! he put in 8 quarts about 2 weeks ago, I drove 500+ miles and it was down 2 quarts yesterday! Iresearched a little online, could it be the oil seperator? or a cvv or something like that? I greatly appreciate your help!

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the 'oil seperator' is the breather system, and if it is malfunctioning it could cause an issue. i would also ensure that the oil grade and weight is correct.

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I made sure I put in the proper grade and weight of oil. I will call the mechanic monday to suggest the breather system. In your opinion, what would a repair like that cost? I think the mechanic charges $70 per hour for labor. Of all the information I read online, it seems like that could be a typical fix for an x5 with 139,000 miles on it. Lots of people say that repair costs are well worth it because the drive is exceptional. I have to agree the x5 is an amazing vehicle when it running well! Again, Luke, thanks so much for your time and knowledge.


max 4 hours and as for parts that depends on supplier. ensure that all hoses linked to the breather including links to the top of the manifold and the pipe to the sump are changed, should be a minimum of 5 seperate parts, also ensure they check and clear the sump pipe on the dipstick side to ensure the complete circuit is clear. this job also does not require the removal of the manifold so dont let them use this as an excuse to charge extra.

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You get angel points for being so helpful. I inherited this car and thought it would be worth while to put the money into it to get it running properly. I have had it over a year now and have put in close to $5000 which includes new tires, alignment, air conditioner motor, oil gasket leak, rear windsheild wiper motor, and much more. hope she's worth it. I was just going over my receipts, bmw concours motors in milwaukee said they replaced oil seperator, updated dipstick and all associated hoses, is that what you are talking about?

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on further checking, 8 quarts is more than the sump should hold from dry (7.7 quarts as and oil change quantity incl filter) if my metric/imperial conversions are correct. this conerns me slightly, also did you personally check the level when you got it back from service that time or only later after some driving?

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No, I trusted them, I did not check until I heard the ticking sound, brought it to the mechanic and he put in 5 quarts. I drove it about 500 miles and had to put in two more quarts. I'm just wondering about the BMW dealer mechanic replacing the oil seperator. I thought that was part of what my problem is now. Obviously, I am a female, never owned a BMW before and feel as if I am being taken advantage of when I bring it in to get fixed. It's almost as if they think you have a never ending money supply if you own a BMW and could care less how much anything costs to fix.

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did the invoice from the dealer indicate full replacement of the seperator with atleast 5 itemized parts on it or was it just the one part. failing this it could be necessary to perform an oil consumption test on the car. i will say however i have seen this engine run on only 1.5 liters of oil without issue. not recommended but does happen due to excess time between services or incorrect fill levels being used. the same 6 cyl engine in the x5 is also used in 3 and 5 series sedans, however they have a smaller sump. the levels therefore can be mistaken at time of service. if it is now at a good oil level monitor it for the next 800 miles and check its usage. nowing the true levels and usage is all that will tell you the true state of the engine

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this is what is written: replaced oil seperator and dipstick tube repair kit, version for cold guide tube o-ring return pipe vent hose also, at another mechanic closer to where I live they did this: Valve cover gasket, valve cover bolt and seals, oil filter adapter seal, replace leaking valve cover gasket and oil filter adapter seal, degrease engine and skid plates. And the intake control valve was replaced. Along with a new air filter with multiple hoses and fittings because they said there were multiple vacuum leaks. They also replaced engine coolant expansion tank. They also installed an updated serpentine belt(I never asked for them to do that, they just did it, costing me $1000)because the old one was a manual. This is on top of new breaks, ac motor, a rear window motor, and a few other things like alignment, tires, light bulbs, rear widow wiper motor...Again, thank-you sooooo much!


the parts list appears as it should be so again i would recommend check the oil level as i recommended, only due to the repairs allowing for oil loss witht the possibility that the levels were not topped up. as for the belt issue, there is an upgraded hydaulic tensioner for the drive belt to releive a noise issue, however your approval should have been gained for any and all parts replacements were done. monitor the oil issue and see how it goes. feel free to post again if the issue continues.

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Best Answer

x5s are noturios for oil consumption. why are you changing the oil so frequently? try a heavier oil weight & use sythectic oil as reconmended. thats just how they are.


the engine is busted

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Thanks for your help. Since I last posted, it's all good. I have no idea why my oil went so low, but it's staying where it needs to be and I have filled the tank up twice, checking oil everytime. She's driving like a dream. Maybe the last mechanic had no idea how many quarts it took and only put in 4, it's a mystery, but all is well and I LOVE mt x5!!!!


ive oil going some were ive a bmw 318ci its 2002 and done 92 000 miles no loseing oil round the eng and no smoke out off the back runs verry good weres my oil going please

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OK old thread but there may be an answer below for anyone else in need -- can't find anything else on it. 2005 X5 3.0i 148,000 miles

There is. large foam eggcrate pad on the top side of the metal skid plate that sits beneath the engine Our car seems to have a fairly rapid oil pan gasket leak...this is why we don't see it going out the tailpipe. The high-density eggcrate (sound deadening?) keeps endlessly soaking up the oil, so we aren't seeing any on the ground.

Forgot to mention: valve cover gasket already has been accepted

d'oh that should read, "VCG already has been replaced."


My x5 2011 consumes 1 liter of oil every 1500 miles and I have only 30000miles on it. What can be reason

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