Diagnosis please! Overheating, coolant leak, white smoke and misfires.

('99 323, 100k miles) Ok, so I've had a slow coolant leak issue for months now, took it to 3 different BMW independent specialists, and it is still giving me trouble. The overheating as well as the coolant
tank and check engine light coming on and off every second day is frustrating to say the least. To summarise:
- slow coolant leak - mechanic couldn't find leak but replaced one old and cracked hose. No difference. - 3 weeks ago the car stopped blowing hot air from the air con, overheated (just into the red before I switched off), and the check engine light came on. Mechanic identified broken water pump and replaced everything in the coolant/radiator system except the radiator itself (inspected and OK). Engine codes pulled as coolant leak and misfires on 3 cylinders. No diagnosis at the time on these. - today, same thing as 3 weeks ago, with the addition of a lot of white smoke coming from the exhaust when I started it up this morning (for about 5 minutes)! Car started to overheat after about 10 mins on open road. - also, the engine light and coolant tank light go on and off every so often. Sometimes the car idles very rough the first time I turn the engine, but then is ok if I restart.
Any thoughts?
Thanks, Colin
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Sure sounds like a blown head gasket -- possibly a warped head by now.

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Roger that. ----- Sure sounds like a blown head gasket -- possibly a warped head by now. -----
Bill in Omaha '86 535i
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Definitely, possibly a crack in the head or block as well?
All the symptoms are classic: -
Coolant loss - water is leaking inside the engine. Overheating - exhaust gas in crankcase, coolant low or not getting everywhere white smoke - water in cylinders misfires - reduced compression, water etc. lights - the engine knows that it is toast (well steamed pudding anyway).
expensive to fix.
Whatever the original leak mechanism, if you ran with low coolant or poor circulation you probably caused all the other problems :-(
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Definitely, possibly a crack in the head or block as well?
All the symptoms are classic: -
Coolant loss - water is leaking inside the engine. Overheating - exhaust gas in crankcase, coolant low or not getting everywhere white smoke - water in cylinders misfires - reduced compression, water etc. lights - the engine knows that it is toast (well steamed pudding anyway).
expensive to fix.
Whatever the original leak mechanism, if you ran with low coolant or poor circulation you probably caused all the other problems :-( -----
Let's not forget running coolant in the oil. It WILL eat the connecting rod bearing shells. I've seen the results. If you get lucky there, the crank will be smooth and not need replacing as well. The trick is that you won't know the full damage until it's pulled apart. The bright side is that you may not need very extensive or expensive work (just time-consuming if you do it), you'll get intimate knowledge of the engine and satisfaction that it's nearly new when you're done. The bad side is pretty obvious.
Bill in Omaha '86 535i
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SNIP
Please don't take up medicine, your bedside manner...
'In only a few years you will get old, sicken and die'
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SNIP
Please don't take up medicine, your bedside manner...
'In only a few years you will get old, sicken and die' -----
Is it the facts or the manner they are presented? Last time I checked, the world isn't a sugar-coated playground. Please.
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In article

The best way to find a leak is to add dye to the coolant and pressurize the system cold. A small leak will often evaporate with a hot engine. Continuing using the car with a faulty cooling system is likely to result in head gasket problems and even a warped head. You've got an aluminium alloy engine - not some old cast iron donk - and it needs treating with respect.
--
*Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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wrote:

An aluminum head, but the block is cast iron. Well, that's how my M50 motor is built, I'm not certain of the M52 but I think it's the same.
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Hi All,
Thanks for all the inputs.
"...blown head gasket..."
That's what I was afraid of. :-(
Ball-park, how much can I expect to have to pay (U.S.) to get it repaired (at a very good independent)?
Also, I had it go through a full inspection II service 3 months ago. Should this have been noticed then?
Thanks, Colin
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Well, the labor for a head gasket and the labor for a head are the same, unless your new head is stripped, then you have more labor to transplant the valve train from the old head to the new one. I do not recall what I paid.

I don't know of any reason why a blown head gasket would be discovered on a Service Interval II. If it was going to be discovered, this is when. But there is no reason to infer you were treated badly because it was not caught.
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I was told anywhere from $1200 (very optimistic) to $2000 (more realistic) by my independent BMW shop.
--


"CDR" < snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news: snipped-for-privacy@d4g2000prg.googlegroups.com...
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Jeff Strickland wrote:

Wrong, as usual, Jeffy cretin.
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