I've got coolant coming out my exhaust...from what I've read, its alot
of work to tear down the engine to the point where you can examine the
head gasket to know if that is the problem. Can anyone estimate how
many hours a mechanic should take to do this? And if its not the
gasket, has any of the work needed to replace the entire engine then
been done, so I don't have to pay twice or not? Does anyone know of a
website I could go to to see what the steps involved are? many thnaks
oops sorry, I forgot to mention its a 1994 325is with 213,000 km on it
.... it sounds like you are suggesting that its a whole lot of work to
get down to the head gasket and replace it , compared to the cost of
putting in a new engine? The cost of a new engine looks to me to be
about $3K-5K , and it seems like the engines go for about $1,200 and
they all seem to have 117,000 mi? km? ( am a little suspicious of
this !) on them.... the cost of a head gasket would seem to be less
than all that?
I went to a "BMW specialist" to get an estimate and they wanted $1800
to remove and replace the headgasket. I then found a mechanic, who use
to own a shop that only worked on BMWs, who charged $1100 to replace my
head gasket on my 90 535i, 5spd, 106K miles. The $1100 included
replacing a cracked t'stat and housing too! The broken t'stat was
probably the reason my car overheated.
Any good mechanic can tell you in less than an hour if you have a blown head
gasket but he probably would need to tear it down to tell you if the head is
cracked. There was a problem on the 318is in the early 90's that required
replacing the head gasket and that job usually cost about $1200 but that was
10 years ago so I'm sure it's more now. If the head is cracked you can add
about $1800. A rebuilt engine is probably the best course of action if you
intend to keep the car for a while.
reading this thread has freaked me out a bit... i have a '96 318is which
had a full service about a months ago, had about 400 bucks work done and
pretty good feedback from the mechanic about its condition.
...but a note on the invoice as something which needed attention was
that the engine gasket is leaking oil inside, and this should be
replaced within the next few months. i was quoted about $150 for a new
3rd party seal (does that sound about right..?), was told it would cost
more for genuine bmw.
one thing i've noticed is the temp gets up to about 60% within a few
mins of driving, although i'd heard 318is's ran hotter than most. i've
never seen the temp go over about 60%...
Regarding the $150 quote you got, my experience is that the only time
you'll get anything done at a BMW dealer for $150 is if you take it in
for an oil change and no filter replaced! Be very wary of the labour
costs involved... that $150 part could cost $1000 to get installed
because of the same kind of time I'm facing just to find out what's
leaking in my engine. I'm hearing that to get down to the head gasket
is several hours labour.....$$$$$ !!!
Sorry if my post alarmed you but you are safe from the defect I was
referring to. It was only applicable to the M42 engines made from '90 to
'92 and involved an internal gasket called the "profile gasket". Failure
caused a rapid loss of coolant and often resulted in an engine overheat
fatal to the cylinder head. This was caused by a design error in the
material chosen for this gasket and affected more than 50% of these cars but
BMW NA refused to accept responsibility forcing owners to pay for the fix.
You could try a compression test which requires nothing more than
removing the spark plugs.
This will show if the head gasket has gone between the cylinder and
Otherwise the next likely source would be a cracked head.
Has anything happened to the car just before this happened?
i.e. Did you over heat it due to an older water leak? This can warp
the head and prevent the head gasket from making a good seal.
Well there is some history here... two years ago , something went wrong
in the cooling system when my son was driving it but he drove it for
longer than he should have in that condition. I had the cooling problem
fixed, and no further problems for some time, then one year ago , a
repair shop tore the engine apart and told me I had a crack in the
block..they sent it away to be 'welded' ..... $2600 and one year later
I have coolant coming out my exhaust...the BMW dealer did a 'leakdown
test' ( is that same as 'compression test' ?) and said cyl #3 had oil
in it..need new engine..but I'm not burning oil..don't trust them at
all..they only understand new BMW's and major replacement I think,
nothing less.... ?
I had that once with a Fiat. Sick of throwing good money after bad I bough
a rusted out hulk of one with an older engine that wasn't great but wasn't
bad. Swapped it in a weekend myself and drove around for qiute a while
before I went away to school and my parents sold it when I wasn't looking.
Point is, even a slightly worn but working engine will end the suffering
and they can be had cheap - especially if you aren't looking for an engine
Need Mercedes parts? http://parts.mbz.org
Richard Sexton | Mercedes stuff: http://mbz.org
Whoa, the plot do thicken don't it! I was gonna suggest a crack
in the block after your first post, then you posted the rest of the
story. I'd bet you a thousand bucks that the weld has failed.
A new engine is the solution.
Wooooo.... Okay... The lemon alarm has gone off... (not you, the
I'm not sure about cracking a block from an engine over heat, I
haven't heard of those very often. Usually it's the head that cracks
or warps (The head gets a lot hotter than the block, it's where all
those lovely still expanding superheated gases whizz out of after
I don't know what a leak down test is, but if you've got oil in #3
that's sounding very much like a head gasket or warped head (or the
mother of all cracked heads).
Do you have any other symptoms, water in oil, oil in water, excessive
pressurisation of the cooling system? I had a head gasket leak once
that inflated the top hose to about 6 inches diameter! I opened the
bonnet/hood and you've never seen anyone run away so fast in your
Thanks for asking about other symptoms... no oil loss , no white/grey
guck in the oil cap, oil on the stick looks a normal 'brownish', no
expanding hoses. The 'check coolant level' does come on right away even
right after I top it up ( sensor?) . Also, it seems like if I don't
put the car in the garage overnight, its possible that when I turn the
ignition key, I'll get a 'clunk' and no go ( has happened twice in two
months) .. then a few hours later, it will start fine. I'm hearing that
this may be a 'vapor lock' , where in that one cylinder there's no
ignition because of leaked coolant. Does that make sense? If so, why
does it startup later on? The car absolutely 'purrs' while driving,
no missing etc....My question is this.. I've been driving it for about
two month like this, trying to decide what to do with it.... am I
making anything any worse by driving it while I scrape some cash
together, if it needs a new engine anyway?
Not vapour lock, hydraulic lock.
Vapour lock is petrol evaporating in fuel lines/carbs when they get
too hot. You end up having to crank the engine until "real" liquid
fuel comes through.
A "clunk" no go, engine can't turn, is your piston trying to compress
a cylinder of coolant that's leaked into the cylinder while it's been
left parked up. Liquids don't compress very well, unlike an air/fuel
It clears because after the piston has manage to apply a bit of
pressure to the liquid, it slowly leaks out, either the way it came
(the crack in the head/block or leaking gasket), or past the valves,
eventually the pressure decreases and the next time you give the car a
go the piston can manage to squeeze the remaining liquid past the
compression stroke, down it goes on the power stroke (although not
producing any power in that cylinder) and then on the exhaust stroke
it chucks the remaining fluid down the exhaust.
This will only lock a cylinder that coming round to the compression
It purrs along because the leak is slow and doesn't have a chance to
leak into a cylinder whizzing up and down 50 times a second.
wow... I love how you can describe exactly what's happening... so it
has probably nothing to do with being left outside, more so where the
cylinder head ended up when you turn it off? Can you comment on how
much damage I can cause by driving it like this? I've heard that
maybe the coolant is harming the exahust system?
LOL! Well it's all just an educated guess! Count yourself lucky I'm
not attempting to draw a diagram in ASCII art!
If it suffers the lock or not is down to where the piston for the
cylinder that's got the leak is in the cycle, and how long the vehicle
is parked for. If the piston is right down the bottom of the intake
stroke and about to come up on compression, then you could have a
problem if you park the vehicle long enough.
I doubt it will be doing much more damage to the engine apart from
your spark plug might go rusty and fail and an increase in bore/piston
ring wear if it's left long enough for the bore walls to corrode (I'm
not sure what 325 bores are made of/lined with).
I'm quite surprised some of the water hasn't found it's way past the
piston rings and into the oil. If the oil starts turning creamy
colour, you really should worry.
I don't know how much the cat will like it a load of rusty water
complete with untold antifreeze chemicals hitting it. At least it's
cold when it happens, so it's not going to shatter, but you'll have to
ask someone who's better on chemistry than me. Having said that, it's
already done, so if it's too late to worry. You just need to find
where that water is coming from. That head's gotta come off!
Count yourself lucky the water is dripping slowly into a cool/cold
engine... The one you really want to avoid is the running engine
driving into a flood... The engine sucks a great load of cold water
goes through the air filter and into the inlet manifold... Cold water
hits red hot valves, and usually causes them to shatter. Head of the
value falls off, piston of still turning engine comes up (there's no
compression to work against, the valves have just fallen apart!) and
the valve head either ends up going through the piston crown, or gets
rammed into the head. Usually both, and then get's battered about for
a bit until the engine stops turning.
I think it was the Mk2 VW golf that suffered badly from this as the
air intake was just behind the front valance, about 6 inches off the
Jeez.... and I thot my BMW has problems ..thank gawd I don't have a
golf....OTOH I'm looking at leasing a GOLF and putting the BMW away
until my son, who maybe caused this mess ( driving while car was
overheated) has enough $$$ to get the engine replaced.
Which raises another q that hopefully someone of you have been so
helpful can answer... Given what you know about the condition of my
1994325is ie the coolant leak, probable gasket or cracked block... If
I put the car in the garage for two years and we get the engine
replaced then..... what condition will it be in in like in two years
...ie will there be any cumulative damage caused by the condition its
in now ? what will seize up from rust of anything etc.. thanks
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