Question about 1997 BMW 318

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BMW overheating saga in need of some expert advice

I have an 97 BMW 316i which has had a few overheating problems since purchase (Approx 11mnths ago). Most times I've just taken it to mechanical mates who do a quick fix on the obvious issues (as I don't know much about cars and hate getting ripped off by the professionals). The first time the guy ran liquid engine sealent (maybe seal-up?)through the system to seal up any leaks temporarily. It ran ok for about another 3months then started to overheat again, idle funny while stationary and had poor acceleration on take-off. Was also hard to start when it had been sitting for ages (like overnight)and would take about 6 times before the engine would click over and start!!! After taking it back to my mate the second time he said it was f****d, but had still fixed what he could. I then took it to a BMW specialist to determine the exact problems. They fixed the PCV valve, vaccum pipe, temp switch, connection on block?? and replaced coolant & transmission fluid. They also noted possible transmission damage due to low fluid, leaky headgasket that could fail at any stage, and that the thermostat had been removed and bolted to the engine. For a few months the car was running the best it had ever had until just recently (while driving)there was a whole lot of dodgy engine noises (like stuff was falling off)and it overheated like crazy. I took it to another mate who found the water pump had completely blown up!!! He replaced the belts and installed a new water pump (but forgot to put the fan attached to the water pump back on - is this the fan clutch??) I drove it for a couple of hours before it overheated again. I decided to assume the head was blown and have neglected it!!! I can't afford to fix it if it does have a blown head, but don't want to loose out on all the money I've put into it.....Can you please help? Any advice, suggestions or feedback would be much appreciated :)

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  • steve t May 11, 2010

    your way in over your head...first off dont ever let a mechanic say that i"ll just dump this powdery gold/aluminum looking liquid that will find those tiny cracks in your engine and also will start eventually to start clogging up a rusty old worn out will need a new radiator $400 ,waterpump installed $220, check your engine oil see if it looks milky shake like,,,should be dark black if it don't look right your gonna need new head gasket $50 installed $500 . Is this an automatic?you might be able to save the transmission take it to a place that has the machine that will **** out all and i mean all the fluild, you should get them a transmission filter kit and watch them change it out after the torque converter has been sucked dry..then the can reservice it and have it cycled through park/drive 123 gears etc, this service probably$200 maybe more. then you need to run a radiator cleaner fluid before installing a new one drain it out and then have the new radiator installed and pressure checked..your looking at close to $1400 to get it working right.



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Ok, My pleasure.

Posted on Oct 04, 2009

  • Ned C Cook
    Ned C Cook Oct 04, 2009

    Eh Mate! co7196 @ Still messing around with the boiler eh?

  • Ned C Cook
    Ned C Cook Oct 04, 2009

    Do this yourself. Get the engine warmed up and remove the spark plugs., don't mix up the wires.Your cooling system has pressure in t from being warmed up now, plugs out let it sit for a couple of hours. When you come back, bring a friend. Now, with him /her watching, bump the starter real easy. Have your mate stand out of harms way but still be able to tell which hole any water comes out. If you find the hole that spits out any water, that's the head the you will need to have repaired. If no water, put the plugs back in, but leave the wires off. Now we'll high pressure test the head and gasket. Remove the radiator cap and crank the engine several times, watch the liquid in the radiator for bubbles. If no bubbles or water blown out of cylinder, You do not have head or gasket problems. Have your radiator cap tested for specs on it. 12-15 lbs etc.. Now your fan clutch. Engine off, try to spin the fan, it should be sluggish. if it spins like a wheel it is needing the the next test, Start the engine and bring it to operating temp . Aas your engine gets to operating temp or soon after, you should hear the fan change oitch as it engages, then change back as it stabiizes the temp. Keep in mind that your fan is essentially out of the puicture at speeds above 35mph. I think that's about 65 kmph. If the thermostat is bad the temp will go from o to omg without hesitating. Your water pump is new. The belt is new. Your cooling system has a 60/40 mix of antifreeze and water. Too much antifreeze will retain heat and actually contribute to overheating., where straight water will cool but not as efficiently. The trans has come into question. See if you have a trans cooler in front of the radiator. If so, it can influence the engine temp.But, generally not to the point of engine overheat. If trans gets that hot, the trans itself will either function poorly or burn itself up. So focus on engine . Stay in touch _Ned_



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