I have a E36 316i with a very strange problem.
A couple of weeks ago, after a 200Km trip the top radiator hose came
off. It came out while the car was running and made a bang like it
came off due to some pressure. The temp gauge was normal. Stopped
immediately and called the insurance assistance.
The tow truck guy said it was a simple thing and no need to tow the
car, unless I wanted to.
It just reconnected the hose, toped radiator with watter with the
heating on on full hot and bled the hoses by pressing them with the
hands so that the air came out. So far so good and it looked OK to me.
We let the can run for a while to check the temperature on both hoses
looking for a jamed closed thermostat or something and it looked ok,
hot watter on both hoses.. after about 10minutes or so the gauge temp
went to 3/4 and then to red zone.
Something was not OK. He let pressure out and them removed rad cap and
re-toped with watter. Maybe is was some air bubbles on the system..
After the last refill of watter. We let the car run again a bit
longer. 10-15 min.. and it looked normal.
I drove about more 30Km with the temp gauge oscillating a bit between
middle and 3/4.about 10 hours later I drove back home and with the
same oscillation in the temp gauge, until it suddenly - in less then a
minute - went to red zone again. I just drove about 1km until the next
service station right ahead.
Let it cool for a while and after removing the pressure, completely
removed the rad cap. A lot of brownish watter boiled of the rad.
Refilled with watter and managed to drive the last few Km home..
The next day I have the car towed to a shop just under my workplace. I
immediately suspected of blown head gasket.That same diagnostic was
made by the chief mechanic. Brown watter on the rad, showing signs of
fat. And the oil cap also shown the typical signs of water in the oil.
I agreed to proceed to replace the head gasket and all contaminated
parts of the oil and watter circuits. But... when the head was
removed, no signs ruptures of leakage. The head was resurfaced
slightly just to know it was not bended. The head showed some signs of
corrosion so we had the head tested... but the head is OK.
Today the chief mechanic will have an expert to look at the engine
block still mounted on the car.
The engine has about 170K on the clock and was always well taken care
of, in an authorized dealer. Full stamped revision book.
I have no idea what to do now. Should I just take a chance, thrown in
a new head gasket and see it goes OK? Anyone with a similar situation?