E36 Overheating

Hi folks, I recently bought a 98 323 Saloon, with 143k miles with BMW service history for 1300. On the drive home to for 60 miles on M25 it never overheated.
Next day when I drove in traffic it overheated to red mark on temperature gauge. Upon refilling the coolant, the heaters didn't work (air con), which I subsequently foung out meant I had most likely airlocked the water cooling system. My local garage examined the system for a leak in the pump, etc. and found none. They topped up the coolant in the correct manner with no airlocks. Oil cap on engine found a oil & water emulsion. My garage tells me the head gasket needs to be replaced. Car never knocks and drive smooth and acceleration is just as of new. Until it get overheated for 3-4 miles when start from cool.
Also what sort of cost would I expect to pay to replace the head gasket and skim the head cost aroun 700? Or replace a new rebuilt engine for another 1000.
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Don't panic.
Overheating can be down to many things let alone a skint garage telling you it's a grand to fix.
Plastic radiators have a tendency to leak around the hose connectors. Hoses tend to leak. The water pump could be one of the cheapo plastic impeller types and it's broke off. The fan coupling could be faulty and not allowing lock up at low speeds. if the fan don't run when you are in traffic then you overheat on the open (ho ho) road then the airflow through the rad is no problem.
How does your "mechanic" know precisely that the head gasket needs replacing. Gut feeling? Has he done a leak down test - bet not. Has he pulled any spark plugs to see what they look like - bet not.
How did you buy this car - eBay? local guy come dealer or trader? If private go and see what he is selling now - if he is selling something else then ask him for your money back or report him to Inland revenue/trading standards, custom & excise (VAT). He'll soon have your money back. If not take out a county court summons in the small claims court only cost about 50.
Have you got any history? Ask the previous owner - his name and address in on the V5 document.
Any more mechanical or legal stuff get back to me.
Sir Hugh of Bognor
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Hugh Gundersen
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On Sun, 26 Aug 2007 18:24:32 +0100, snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk waffled on about something:

Errr, Hugh, he said "Oil cap on engine found a oil & water emulsion"... He has water getting into the oil system... Either he's been topping up the water through the oil cap, or he has a leaking head gasket/cracked head or cracked block.
Either way, if he doesn't stop driving it about, he's gonna have a wrecked crankshaft and bearings.
It may have started as a simple water system leak or broken water pump impeller, but the subsequent over heat has then taken the head or gasket out (assuming it wasn't iffy to start with).
FWIW I once had a stone hit on my radiator, it would only leak when the engine got warm, and pressure built up... The water would leak onto the hot rad, and just evaporate. Result, water disappears from bottle, no signs of leaking, no puddle on the floor. Only spotted it by luck when peering under the from bumper with a huge torch.
Dodgy.
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Yes I saw that but he didn't mention rough running etc that usually coincides with water leaks however it is quite possible that there might be a leak between oil gallery and water jacket as you say.
Some earlier engines (not BMW) had problems with emulsified oil due to excessive condensation caused by cold air being blown over the rocker cover causing massive condensation.
A cursory look at the oil filler won't tell you the head gasket has gone south. A cylinder leak down test will show if it's got a combustion chamber leak. It will also show if the cooling system is being pressurized. Pressurizing the cooling system could also show if it too is losing pressure or water to the oil gallery.
That's why I said how does this guy know -------
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Had similar problem for 2 years, 323i, engine would only overheat if sat in traffic for more trhan 10 minutes. Changed water pump, filler cap, radiator and hoses. Problem turned out to be fan coupling. Another mechanic said it was my head gasket. Havent had anymore problems since fan coupling was changed.

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Hi Guys, Thanks to all who reply to this mail. I am constantly try to contact old owner. he switched off his mobile.
Since I don't know how long this car is running in such a condition because it got some rust in oil cap too. And Steam with dirty oil is coming out of exhaust when I push accelerator.
Recently I replaced radiator cap and it's no more building pressure in cooling system. Thermostat is working when it get heated and radiator motor is having metal impellar it makes some noice but it's working.
One of garage has performed cooling system pressure test. But he said it's loosing pressure somewhere. Nobody is sure about head-gasket has blown or head is cracked. And opening up the engine cost atlest 200 from local garage. There is a company in Gearbox Engine, Basildon, Essex who claim they can give rebuilt engine for 1000 with fitting and 2 years warranty.
Could you please tell me what is most feasible option to deal with this shit since it's MOT is nearing to expire and it's not going to pass MOT due to overheating.
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Cut

Did you buy this from the previous owner or not?
If not then whom did you buy it from?
If it was the previous owner is he a dealer?
Does he advertise on eBay?
Is he still advertising on eBay?
If so Contact you local trading standards and or take out a county court summons in the small claims court - not expensive but pay for Bailiff to serve it.
--

Sir Hugh of Bognor

The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.
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On 2 Sep, 21:06, snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk wrote:

Hi Mr. Gundersen I bought it from a polish man Akir lives in Southgate north london, who advertised it on Autotrader. He bought it from a previous owner. And than he switched off his mobile phone since than. Is there anyway to find contact of previous owner by anyway may DVLA or something. Tomorrow I will inquire about conty court for the same.
Regards, Praveen
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First of all try to ascertain if the Polish man Mr. Akir actually lives at the address he gave you.
Remember Mr. Akir has probably moved on to another "friend" and or returned to Poland.
Secondly - I know this is almost impossible - try to find out if he has a job - a real one where he pays tax and has a NI number.
Thirdly think carefully if a court case will actually achieve something as more than likely he will simply disappear. A civil case is very difficult to win if the person has no way of paying and a CCJ is no deterrent as they probably have several of those already.
Given this info I am afraid that you won't have much luck in recovering anything and it will cost you about 100 to even start.
So that is 100 to go towards getting it fixed.
THEN AGAIN YOU CAN ALWAYS SEND THE HEAVY MOB ROUND TO ASK HIM NICELY
Steve
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Sir Hugh of Bognor

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