My '83 BMW 320i runs hot nearly all the time. The other day it smoked, so I pulled into a lot and shut it off. I smell a burning smell with this as well. On cold days it starts and the guy I bought it from told me I have to replace the cold air sensors. I plan to, but do not have the investment money for those parts as of yet. The belts squeal when I do this also, which tells me either they need replaced or they are loose.
My main concern, aside from the belts, is that the burning smell is something major. I wonder also, if the thermostat is all but gone as it rarely cools back down with any visual acknowledgement that the system is running coolant. Will replacing the thermostat help remedy the smell and the running too hot?
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White smoke from the tailpipe is usually attributable to an engine combusting either antifreeze or water. Black smoke is caused by burning too much fuel and blue smoke is caused by burning oil...So I would say that your BMW is burning coolant of some kind. Does it smoke all the time the engine is running or just when it is cold?
white were? the exhaust tip, or other spot, long pipe, name spot?
white, is steam or OIL.
oil smells like burnt oil and takes for ever to dispate
steam is water, and smells , sweet due to 50% glycol inside.
and goes away fast.
but all Gas engines make water at all the time running as a by product of combustion and for sure on cold days, some times full time cold
due to climate effects.
does your neighbors car smoke at same time, (look)
bingo , dew point.
all gas engine smoke cold started, (steam)
so first find out what it is,
take the dip stick out of a hot engine. stalled, drip it on the exhaust
see that smoke ,smell it? that is burning oil
now you know what you have, steam or oil. smoke.
White SWEET smelling smoke, or white OILY smelling smoke? If it's white thick SWEET smelling smoke, you have a blown head gasket - that's the smell of antifreeze burning in the engine, which it should NEVER do. If it's white OILY smelling smoke (smells a lot like diesel), then you're getting too much fuel into the cylinders.
If it's sweet-smelling smoke (antifreeze), pull the oil dipstick & check the oil level. If the oil level is HIGH and the oil looks like a mocha milkshake, that's absolutely conclusive - that's what happens when antifreeze gets into your oil, and it's nasty corrosive to engine parts.
I'm not at all surprised that the oil light is on if it won't start - you won't get much oil pressure until the engine is running.
You don't mention what that smell is reminiscent of?
You don't mention the colour of the "smoke" and you didn't say whether the engine is petrol or diesel?
You don't mention whether the road behaviour/performance is normal?
White smoke is almost always steam or in the case of a diesel it could be an unburned fuel mist, grey/black is excess fuel and blue or grey/blue is burning oil.
Some steam is fairly normal until the engine and exhaust system is hot but excessive amounts could be one symptom of head gasket trouble. If the engine is drinking coolant and sending it through the exhaust as steam it will sometimes smell spicy.
Burning oil smells a bit like burned eggs in the frying pan.
If the car hasn't ultra-low sulphur oil and fuel the catalytic converter will convert sulphur traces into hydrogen sulphide - the bad egg gas...
You smell burning oil. See if there is oil in your spark plug wells or down the exhaust side of the engine. If there is, replace the valve cover gasket. That may be related to the miss if there is a lot of oil on the plugs.
You say the (Check) Engine light is on.
Your engine light will flash a code to indicate the problem if you turn the key to the On (just before it starts) and press the gas pedal all the way to the floor five times within five seconds.