Seeking advice on engine replacement

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'!)
Any advice would be greatly muchly appreciated.
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Why would you want to replace the entire motor for want of a head gasket?

Yeah, pull the had off. Look at the head gasket and go "oh".

Either they're all trying to sell you the same engine (hahahaha) or else they're making shit up.

Sorry; although I used to work there ages ago I don't know anybody there now. Belleville, sure, Landsdowne, past Kingston, yeah, but not the Burlington/Hamilton area. Where do you normally get it serviced?
Asking soebody in the trade might help. There's a guy who sells used tires out that way that knows everybody and has impressed me with hot hoenst he is. Try to find him (it's been a couple of years since I've talked to him)
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Richard Sexton | Mercedes stuff: http://mbz.org
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For a start, is the coolant level going down?
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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