N20 turbo oil leaking

image Ok I know I have posted these type of pictures before,,,,but you guys keep asking for more of them,,,,this is the exhaust side of a N20 turbo,,,,you can see on the exhaust turbo blades oil on the blades,,,this is the sign of a bad turbo,,,,the seal inside  the turbo is letting oil past the exhaust turbo blades.image Here you can see the oil spraying off the exhaust turbo blade and onto the exhaust housing,,,,and from there it goes to the catalytic converter,,,,,,then you get the smoke coming out the exhaust during cold start,,,,if it gets real bad you might see smoke during acceleration,,,,,this car I replaced both the turbo and updated with the new oil feed line.

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45 Responses to N20 turbo oil leaking

  1. Faiq says:

    Can this potentially be s serious problem or is it just a minor smoke issue at start up… THANKS


  2. Faiq says:

    Thanks, do they have to take the engine out to do the repair? My car still under warranty till 2018


  3. Christoph says:

    I think i have some simmular problem, on the motor mount under the turbo there is a spot of an oil leak. On cold start after more than 24h there is a puff of white/bleu smoke and my 320i n20 engine is from late 2012( i think first building series of the f30) but my dealer gues that its a broken valve cover… dusnt make any sence… atleast thats my oppinion.


    • Sounds like you have 2 problems,,,,the oil leak might be from the turbo you would have to have that checked out,,,,but the blue smoke during cold start up is usually the turbo oil feed line needs to be updated to the new oil line,,,,very cool name my step sons name is Christoph


      • Christoph says:

        Hehe thx,

        So what do you think of the diagnostic vision of the valve cover?
        Is there any way to maybe test it or what to check for?
        I now have a case running whit bmw benelux to figure out who and what whent wrong at the dealership where a buyed the car, why my dealership think its the valvecover and why the european warantybureau dont want to pay even if i have a full package for a year.


      • It could be the valve cover,,,the dealer can check the engine vacuum from the oil cap,,,,and if there is to much vacuum inside the engine it could be the valve cover,,,,,but I have only seen 1 valve cover cause smoke in the morning during start up,,,,the valve cover usually causes a lean mixture fault not a smoking issue.


  4. Christoph Brems says:

    Thats my gues to, just becuase there is no check engine light and no faults on the onboard computer. Maybe i can make my own vacuumgauge and test it myselve.
    Also i think there should be a milky oil color under the oul cap with a broken valve cover.

    If this al turns out that i have to pay it myselve than i go and fit a upgraded turbo frm a 42 mm to a 47 mm inlet and spice up the hp + order the upgraded oil feed line and place it all, just like i fixed my e46 if there was someting wrong with it.

    For this moment BMW has failed bigtime for making this engine and this turbo, the internet is loaded of this problem and for my opinion they do nothong about it.
    Same for the timing chain, that was a problem from about 2002/2003???
    And still now they make this plastic chainguides that needs to be changed after 60k miles? Its just sick.


    • Yes it is very sad,,,,you won’t find a white milky under the oil cap,,,,that only happens when a headgasket or head fails,,,,you can check the engine vacuum by loosening the oil cap while the engine is idling,,,,there should some vacuum on the oil cap while removing it,,,,if it is very hard to remove the oil cap while the engine is running then you have a bad valve cover gasket.


      • Christoph Brems says:

        Got a update for the vacuum check… and no big vacuum under the oil filler cap. Warm or cold engine, there is ni difference in the vacuum pull of the cap. It is very easy to remove and there is indeed no milky substance on the cap, great news because its not a blown head gasket.

        Again on the underside of the turbo pleanty of wet oil marks so lets go to the dealership and get the car fixed.

        Is there anyway to demand that i can get a new/rebuild turbo an upgraded oil line? Or do they always do a diagnose everytime you enter the shop?


      • If the turbo is leaking oil then you should be able to get a new turbo


  5. gv says:

    I think these engines run hot. Its a reliable Mitsubishi turbo that only fails in the bmw. Same with the chain likley the guides get brittle from heat. Is there anyway to get the fan to switch on before its temperature and drop the running temperatures 5degrees or so?


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  7. Cristian says:

    Hi, N20, F30, 320i. After a long stay ( 5 days or more ) when i start the engine, i see in the back of the car, 2 seconds of little smoke without any colour. The car works very well, i have no error, and no smoke after that 2 seconds. It is a problem? Or it is from valve deposits? Thanks


  8. Glen says:

    Do you know in which year the turbos quit smoking in N20 E84 X1s? I’ve seen plenty of 2011 to 2013 models with the problem. Are the 2014-15s OK without the new oil line? How about the 2016 & up F48s?


  9. Cristian says:

    Hi, i have another problem, when the engine is cold, i start de car, and with de foot on break, i put the car in drive mode or rear mode, in that moment i feel and i hear a vibration until 2 or 3 seconds. It is normal?


    • I’m sorry this is very difficult to say without seeing and checking the car in person,,,,what you can do is check out the motor mounts and make sure they are not collapsed,,,,I have post about collapsed motor mounts on my blog.


  10. Liz says:

    I bought my 2013 X3 into dealer for timing chain. Have had repeated and lengthy issues with car including hesitation on acceleration/deceleration and blowing smoke from tailpipe and (since about 20,000 miles). Turbo Oil feed line was replaced in 2016 (at 49,000 miles and after being brought in a half dozen times over a long period for same issue which they always stated that they could find nothing wrong) as it was deemed defective by dealer and they stated that it was responsible for issue with smoke. One tailpipe was noticeably blackened with residual oil in tailpipe which they stated is normal. Car is still blowing smoke today and I am concerned that damage was done from longstanding issue with oil line/turbo charger.

    When timing chain was replaced, dealer informed me that there is an issue with the Waste Gate Pin which is attached to Turbo unit. He stated that it is a one piece (turbo charger and waste gate pin) unit that needs to be replaced and is not covered by warrantee. It seems that this is longstanding issue that was not addressed and now that car is out of warranty they have finally identified issue that has been there all along. Have you encountered this and does it appear that this was the cause of issues all along?

    Thank you for your assistance and sharing your expertise!


  11. indi says:

    What causes the issue with blue smoke / oil feed line to start? I mean I´m driving my 320i (N20) for years now and suddenly the issue starts appearing …


    • It’s just a leakage of oil and the new oil feed line stop that from happening


      • Fergus Mc Hugh says:

        They are saying it needs a new turbo, and also want to put a second hand one into it? Do you think a new turbo doesn’t fix the issue and it’s always the feed line?


      • Putting a second hand turbo is just stupid,,,you. Don’t know what condition that turbo is in,,,,couple of question how many miles does your car have? And is your problem blue smoke during cold start when the car has been sitting for long time if it is then the updated oil feed line will fix 90% the fix and not the turbo unless they see a turbo blade bent or damaged,,,,but 90% of the time the fix is the oil feed line,,,,,I ask about mileage is because if it is a high mileage car over 100k mile then maybe you want to consider replacing the turbo at the same time if you plan on keeping the car,,,,if you don’t plan on keeping the car then don’t worry about it.


      • scoopo16 says:

        They aren’t saying whether the turbo blades were bent, I would imagine there would have been loss of power if this was the case but there hasn’t been any loss of power?

        It’s a turbo with 38k kms – they are going to warrant it for 12 months / 15,000kms parts and labour.

        I just bought the car from a dealership.

        The smoke is blue/grey on cold start (after 12-13hrs idle), lasts for about 15-20 seconds, doesn’t appear whilst driving/accelerating.


      • Sounds like the oil feed line update should fix your problem.


  12. n20bimmer says:

    hey buddy i got some weird issue i got a n20 220i stage 2
    after i give a hard kickdown when i declarte and come close to stop i getting smoke from the tail pipe the car is working perfect fine .. smell like burn oil i checked valve cover no leaks leaks from no where . no oil and coolnat mixture 3 bmw mechanics think it turbo i replaced already the oil feed line. and the engine dosent consuming oil.. we took the turbo out and he looks ok visual .. what you think it is?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. E84Finland says:

    Greatings from Finland!

    I have been wondering about my 2013 e84 xDrive 20i, with the n20 engine and the cold start. It blows a tad of smoke from the tailpipe and smells like burnt when starting the car. I have about 100,000km on the dial + full service history.

    The smoking stops then for a minute or two and then begins to smoke vapour from the tailpipes. I am guessing the vapor smoking is consendation because no coolant has dissapeared.

    There are two exhaust next to each other and on start up only the left side is in use which I understand (the exhaust valve). But I have been noticing that the left tailpipe is black and the right isn’t.

    https://youtu.be/1ZPUpcfLArA is a video of a cold start up, could this be oil burning due to turbo or what do you think?

    https://youtu.be/SWjFAcTu9_w is a video of the car after being on for a couple of minutes.

    The dealer keeps on saying it is only condensation because they have only seen the exhaust smoke when the engine is warm.

    Is this something to be worried about? Any suggestions where to start looking for the problem, if there is any?


    • Thanks for the videos,,,I think you might have 2 issues,,,,I think the turbo oil feed line needs to be updated to the new oil line and I think the turbo might need to be replaced,,,,I don’t like the video where the car has been running for awhile and then you rev the engine twice and you had a cloud of smoke and it smells like burning oil.


      • E84Finland says:


        Thank you for your reply. The dealership now agreed to look at it finally and sent me the check-up program. If the turbo is in need of replacement, the dealership will most probably notice this at the same time – is it easy to notice by eye when changing the oil line? Also, if the turbo is not changed, the excess exhaust will most probably continue after the oil feed line? They sent me the following:

        N20 N26 After a long immobilisation periods, white smoke is coming from the exhaust system after cold start

        Different complaint are possible:
        – Ater a long immobilisation period, white smoke is coming from the exhaust system after cold start
        – Increased oil consumption

        Different causes are possible:
        – Oil loss over the exhaust turbocharger
        – Faulty crankcase ventilation
        – Oil loss over the piston rings/valve stem seals

        Change in the previous version: Number of flat rate unit has been changed
        In the case of a customer complaint, proceed as follows:

        – if there are traces of oil on the compressor side (fresh air), work through the test plan for the crankcase ventilation.
        – if there are traces of oil in the exhaust manifold channels, check the basic engine for increased oil consumption. (See oil consumption measurement in attachment 11 concerning SI 11 07 96).

        In these cases, the installation of a modified oil feed line does not proved the desired results and is there for no permissible! In all other cases, the modified oil feed line (part number 11 42 8 678 840) is to be installed.
        Replacing the exhaust turbocharger is not permissible.


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