Please offer advice on 1994 325is major engine problem

HI there I have a 1994 325is with 213Km on it and it is blowing white smoke out the exhaust. Various sources are telling me its best to get a new engine put in than to risk paying to have it torn down and
examined for bad head gasket. I have a few questions:
1) Is there any way at all to determine whether I only need a new head gasket vs a new engine without paying several hundred dollars? for example, after its been sitting for 24 hours or more it blows a whole bunch of white smoke, then setlles down etc etc.. can symptoms pinpoint the cause without tearing the engine apart?
2) If I need a new engine, how can I avoid the pitfalls involved? It seems like everybody I call can get me a new engine with 117Km on it, exactly. I know that can't be the accurate mileage unless everybody is locating the same engine. I fear greatly that I'll get the engine replaced then have some problem , then fight with everybody for months trying to get blame accepted yada yada yada....
3) I live in Hamilton Ontario. Does anyone know a really knowledgeable, honest BMW guy who would help me out ( the key word there is 'honest'!)
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On 2 May 2007 08:05:37 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@exti.com wrote:

Hmm! White smoke? Do you get WATER dripping from the tail pipe (don't confuse with normal start-up condensation) and is the water level in the cooling system getting lower - do you have to keep topping up with coolant?
If so then there is a possibility that you have a gasket problem.
However, you do not say that the rad is being pressurised - i.e. coolant being pumped out the rad over the ground so I presume it isn't. If that is the case then it is possible that you have a water leak somewhere on the inlet tract and not a head gasket.
On the other hand I hope you are not confusing a light bluish smoke with steam because this is pointing to oil and more than likely from the inlet valve stem seals (possible a leaky head gasket but unlikely).
Is the tailpipe WET or OILY?
Pull the spark plugs and see if one is like new whilst the others are a bit carboned up and look used. If so that is the problem cylinder and it is water - but from where.
Engine wise - look around the wrecking yards. Good cars are written off because the body is wrecked not usually because the engine is dead.
Just my 2c (2p) worth
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White smoke is really steam, and steam is coolant, and coolant comes from the head gasket or a crack in the head itself. The repair is essentially the same, the head has to come off and the gasket has to be replaced. The difference is that the head might also need to be replaced.
You can get a brand new head from BMW that requires new valves and valve strings or have the valves and springs you already have to be transplanted. Or, you can buy a rebuilt head with the valves already uinstalled, and return the old head for core credit -- they repair it sand turn it around to the next guy.
Your car has the M50 engine, and it is common for this motor to get a crack between one of the #3 Exhaust Ports and the adjacent water jacket.

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Is this the same topic as the most recent Re: M30 air intake manifold thread I just answered?
Bill in Omaha

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Not that I know of, Bill , but I have been conversing offline with a very helpful person named Robin , who did mention that you are the guru of all BMW gurus , but I don't think my problem is related to the M30 problem ....
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Nah... I just get vocal... a lot. The thread on the M30 manifold was such:

First guess is the rings on #3 have failed, thus the oil. You didn't mention smoke from the exhaust or anything about coolant, so I can't be more specific. Either way, I'd remove the head. If the rings need replacing, it can be done on #3 without removing more than the head and oil pan (I've done it), i.e. the engine can stay in the car. This will allow for direct inspection of all the cylinders, walls, and the bottom of the head and valves. You'll be able to replace nearly anything you need to at this point. New: head gasket, head bolts, rings #3 (they come as a complete set and I might just do them all to be safe since it's open), valve cover gasket. Check the timing chain guides or belt and tensioner, intake-to-head gaskets if removed. Maybe do the water pump and gasket. No need to replace the engine. They are built pretty well and this should be rebuildable easily. You will see the cause of the problem when the head comes off. Unless the rings gouged the cylinder wall or ruined the piston top (doubtful), this should be basic R and R. You may need the cam holding tool for the head removal. Time consuming but not hard, and uses basic tools. Get access to a Bentley manual first. Oh yeah, what about coolant system?
Bill in Omaha '86 535i -- end of quote --
It kinda sounded like the same car/problem, that's all. Just asking the question. I just try to pass on what I have experienced hoping someone can avoid the pains I went through.
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I do not know. I did not participate in that discussion. The question I'm answering here is on the M50 motor, not the M30.

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