Question about 1999 BMW 323 Series

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There is water in the driver's footwell and exhaust smoking and dripping water?

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  • aaron irving May 11, 2010

    Did you drive through large amounts of water? Or is your leak more serious then just the drivers footwell (i.e. water leaked into the engine?). What colour is the smoke? pure white o black etc?



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When your car is left sitting for extended periods of time, oil will leak into the combustion chamber past the valve guides and this causes blue smoke mainly when you start the car. Black smoke is caused by overfuelling and this can be caused by a sticky choke or cold start solenoid. The water is likely a separate problem and could come from the air intake or even the windshield seal - you should dry out the footwell and then apply a strong water jet in these areas and see if the water penetrates.

Posted on Sep 26, 2008


Hi, thanks for your reply! My car is SORN and has not been driven for some time. Because I don't want the battery to go flat, I regularly go out and run the engine for a while. The smoke is black(ish) and smelly. I haven't driven through any large puddles. The water in the footwell isn't a large amount but I have a rubberback mat on top of the orginal capet and that is quite wet (as is the carpet underneath). Although my car is due a service, it has always been well maintained and services done when they are due (except this time because I'm off road)! Because it hasn't been driven, I can't imagine where the water has come from. I did wonder if it has something to do with the air conditioning. Sometimes when the air conditioning is run, you get a bit of water that runs out from under the car, this I think is normal, as I've seen it before on other cars. I did wonder if the smoke was anything to do with not having driven the car or having only a small amount of fuel in the tank most of the time?

Many thanks

Posted on Jul 29, 2008


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White smoke means you're vaporizing water. It could be a culmination of things.

1. You've got coolant leaking through your headgasket
2. You've managed to get water in your exhaust through condensation or rain.

When you say it doesn't start what to you mean? It just churns and churns or it doesn't crank.

If it's not cranking at all you may have hydrolocked the engine or simple have a dead battery. Parking down slope can causes water to run into the engine bay. Usually your rubber liners will channel water away from critical components but you do have your major electrical and ECU located in the top left portion of your engine bay. This sits right next tot he windshield and having heavy rains with your car parked down slope will channel alot of water into this area.

Was your passenger footwell damp? The ECU has a firewall gromet that runs to the passenger footwell. Water may drain through this point if it manages to make it's way into the cavity of the ecu bay.

all in all, let the car dry out, give it a go again. Keep your senses at peak, listen for odd sounds, try to get a whiff of that white smoke, check for coolant odor and be prepared to stop if something isn't right. Don't risk a major problem just because you don't want to give up trying to identify a smaller one. It just gets more expensive.

Hope this help.

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