BMW F01 Crankcase Vent, PCV, and Oil Separator Systems

Every car has a crankcase vent system that is supposed to suppress oil from making it into the intake ports and combustion chamber. A good functioning system will separate oil from the atmosphere and return it to the oil pan (or collect it in a catch can) while allowing the leftover vapors to burn in the combustion chamber or recirculate through the system. This has always been known as a PCV system (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) but BMW has several other names for it - oil separator, crankcase vent (CCV), and cyclonic separator. Failures in the system will allow raw oil to enter the intake and eventually into the engine itself which can have disastrous effects on engine performance and longevity. As emissions regulations on oil and gas venting have gotten more stringent the PCV systems have gotten more complex and failure prone. And because the CCV is intertwined with other systems you could have rough running, loss of power, higher oil consumption, misfiring, stalling, or other annoying issues. There is no replacement interval for these so we recommend inspecting your crankcase vent system as part of your regular maintenance routines. Symptoms of a bad crankcase vent are: whitish or yellowish film on the underside of the oil cap, whistling/squealing noises (not caused by a belt), suction on the oil cap that makes it hard to unscrew, large amounts of white smoke from the exhaust, and excessive oil consumption.

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