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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 03-19-2011, 05:24 AM
Dawntreader Dawntreader is offline
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Choc milk coolant

Well it looks like my head gasket has gone. Found a large pool of light chocolate coloured fluid under the car. I was at the lights coming off the freeway when suddenly the coolant temp alarm went off. THe needle started heading for the redline. Usually if this happens if I rev the car the temp comes down. Usually this indicates to me to top up my coolant, when I do I don't have this problem. From some posts I have read today that alone indicates a head gasket problem with gas coming from the cylinders and creating a barrier between the thermostat and the coolant, until finally the coolant gets through to the thermostat, opens her up and all is good. However this time I was not so lucky. Fortunately there was a service station just of the lights. I stopped, popped the hood and saw copious amounts of light brown goop coming out the radiator cap... oh crap....
I only lived around the corner, so I let the car cool down, topped up the system with water and limped home.
Flushed the coolant system to see if it was a one off (wishful thinking) drove the car a signifcant distance to get some coolant and radiator flush. Got to the shops and all seemed well. Temp was good and no apparent lose of coolant. Drove home and temp remained good. "Cool" I thought. The I popped the hood again and once again brown goop. It was a smaller amount but still goop. So I flushed the system to no avail.
I noticed that whne running water through the radiator and I squeezed the upper radiator hose I noticed small light brown globules coming up from the little hole in the top of the radiator by thread.
Anyway, I have started to pull things apart and change the head gasket.
I will post photos as I go.
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  #2  
Old 03-19-2011, 05:40 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Dawntreader, I have some questions for you.

1. Did you do any recent repair or servicing to your engine?

2. Did you do anything out of the ordinary to cause this?

3. What do you think is the cause of this problem?

4. Is there milkshake in your crankcase as well? Please check your dipstick.

You have a bad case here my friend. There's a damn good chance that its not just the head gasket - copious amounts of milkshake in the radiator is unheard of. I would suggest that you conduct a compression test on your engine. Do you have a compression testing gauge?

Lets wait for the Shaman to chime in as well.
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Old 03-19-2011, 05:43 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawntreader View Post
Well it looks like my head gasket has gone. Found a large pool of light chocolate coloured fluid under the car. I was at the lights coming off the freeway when suddenly the coolant temp alarm went off. THe needle started heading for the redline. Usually if this happens if I rev the car the temp comes down. Usually this indicates to me to top up my coolant, when I do I don't have this problem. From some posts I have read today that alone indicates a head gasket problem with gas coming from the cylinders and creating a barrier between the thermostat and the coolant, until finally the coolant gets through to the thermostat, opens her up and all is good. However this time I was not so lucky. Fortunately there was a service station just of the lights. I stopped, popped the hood and saw copious amounts of light brown goop coming out the radiator cap... oh crap....
I only lived around the corner, so I let the car cool down, topped up the system with water and limped home.
Flushed the coolant system to see if it was a one off (wishful thinking) drove the car a signifcant distance to get some coolant and radiator flush. Got to the shops and all seemed well. Temp was good and no apparent lose of coolant. Drove home and temp remained good. "Cool" I thought. The I popped the hood again and once again brown goop. It was a smaller amount but still goop. So I flushed the system to no avail.
I noticed that whne running water through the radiator and I squeezed the upper radiator hose I noticed small light brown globules coming up from the little hole in the top of the radiator by thread.
Anyway, I have started to pull things apart and change the head gasket.
I will post photos as I go.
Dawntreader, could you post a picture of what you mean over here? Please use a good phone cam - 2.5 MP min, and a good zoomed shot. If possible, insert a red circle or arrow into the picture digitally before posting it - this need not be done very professionally,.
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  #4  
Old 03-19-2011, 05:56 AM
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Use a Canon XTS Digital camera please. We want to see some pro shots. LOL... But for real, Mr. R is correct, good pics and detailed info are the best. It is a help to us all. And to you especially. If we combine all our knowledge, info and illustrations, we can put together one heck of an E34 manual / troubleshooting guide right here on this forum. Better than a Bentley.
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Last edited by CarDriver; 03-19-2011 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:13 AM
Dawntreader Dawntreader is offline
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In answer to your questions

1. Did you do any recent repair or servicing to your engine?
Was working on replacing the Relay Module as i have no power windows, central locking etc. at the moment. It is on order and waiting for delivery from U.S. So have been rumaging about the electrics etc.
I have a leaky sump gasket (or a leaky rear main seal - hope not), went to take the sump off the other day but was unable to get the bit that is attached to the bell housing off as I didn't have a Torx Sockect. Was able to get all but one off without the torx but will need the torx for the last one. So I had to tighten it all back up again. (am waiting for a torx socket to arrive on order)

2. Did you do anything out of the ordinary to cause this?
Nothing I can think of

3. What do you think is the cause of this problem?
I am assuming a headgasket. However I am uploading some pictures at the moment (will add another post shortly) that indicate some dodgy stuff going on around the inlet manifold and the thermostat housing. I will need others guidance for this.

4. Is there milkshake in your crankcase as well? Please check your dipstick.
Crankcase and tappets are clear of milkshake. They look OK. No residue on dipstick or oil cap etc.

Here is first photo
[IMG]Photobucket[/IMG]
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Last edited by Dawntreader; 03-19-2011 at 06:22 AM. Reason: Adding a photo
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  #6  
Old 03-19-2011, 06:52 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Is there any stuff coming out of your tailpipe? Try to get someone else to throttle up the engine while you stand at the back and look. If you see stuff coming out, well it would be great if you could take a video using your camera phone and post it up here via youtube or something. If you can't no issues, please describe things and maybe take some statics shots. btw that picture was well taken, more shots please, thanks.
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Old 03-19-2011, 07:04 AM
Dawntreader Dawntreader is offline
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I have seen nothing come out of the back end of the car. She has been running a bit rough lately as I have a blown inlet manifold gasket on number 4. Currently have some ManiSeal on it to stop her sucking in too much air. Will fix that when I get the inlet manifold off. Will probable replace the O-rings on the injectors while I am at it.
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  #8  
Old 03-19-2011, 07:01 AM
Dawntreader Dawntreader is offline
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Here are some photos with some descriptions on them.

This is an image of a rather dodgy looking house going into the manifold.


This is a picture of the other end of the hose and where it fits on the thermostat housing


This is a picture of the house taken off. Well it was rather brittle and just tore off actually. I will have to unscrew the rest of it.
Sorry the pictureis not as clear. I will refocus the camera on the tomorrow.


This is a picture of oil where I assume it should not be.


Hope these images help. I will post more as I do more.
I would like to think it is not the head gasket (????) but I don't like my chances.
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  #9  
Old 03-19-2011, 07:07 AM
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Dawntreader

I tend to agree with your steps and conclusion. Sounds like head gasket all the way. another tel tale sign of that is greater than usual amounts of white smoke coming from the tail pipe with a distinctive antifreeze smell. Your pics are great. Only sorry you had to take them in the first place. :o((

When you are able, think about replacing all the hoses in your pics, most of them are in bad shape.
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  #10  
Old 03-19-2011, 07:25 AM
Dawntreader Dawntreader is offline
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Yes, I will replace most of the hoses. The main radiator hoses seem OK, it just seems that the ones attached to the manifold etc are all going to have to be replaced. The trick here is to get them at a good price. Just getting a 2nd hand Relay Module can cost between $150 - $195. But I ordered one on ebay for $54 which includes postage. They like to charge heaps here in Perth for anything BMW.
OK. gotta go get some sleep. I have work tomorrow. Will probably dream about choc milk all night.
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Last edited by Dawntreader; 03-19-2011 at 07:27 AM.
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  #11  
Old 03-19-2011, 08:51 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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did you overfill your engine with oil?

Anyway, yes your hoses do need to be replaced. That they are clogged up is....well i tell you what, can you shoot us a video? Sometimes its difficult to follow when you take close up shots without a zoomed out version showing us the bigger picture of the engine bay area. We are not experts at this as yet so the zoom out to zoom in view helps alot in understanding things. The video would be best. It can be easily done by any standard camera that you take shots with. Select the low res setting for the video feed and proceed.
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  #12  
Old 03-19-2011, 09:15 AM
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A compression test will show the leaking cylinders. All indicators appear to be the Head Gasket. Cooling overhaul every 5 years may of prevented it. Here one can find resellers of OE year used engines tested cleaned boxed and delivered for 1,500 you just swap your components on to it. If your lucky you may find another BMW same make and series and replace the engine. The real value in the car is the working parts.
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:19 PM
SawheadE34 SawheadE34 is offline
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A bad pcv valve will cause oil in your tb. Check that out too. Can you get a pic of the oil on the dipstick? That's a big one. But so far from what I'm seeing, yes that's a blown head gasket.
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:52 AM
Dawntreader Dawntreader is offline
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Next step

Trying to work out how to remove he harness connector.



Condition of the Thermostat housing



What the inside of the inlet manifold looks like



Video of the dipstick showing no choc milk




Video of the inside of tappet cover also showing no choc milk




Video showing a view of the engine etc



Another video of the engine bay



I am considering getting the engine rebuilt. After 360,000KM's on the clock I may as well do a rebuild, especially if I have a rear main seal leak.
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Last edited by Dawntreader; 03-20-2011 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:02 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Dawntreader, your pictures are awesome. Please, do share the model of the camera you're using. I'll write to the sponsors and have them send one to everyone who signs up with the e34 forum.

Swop in an m50 or an m52 engine. Don't bother with the rebuild. Turn an expensive repair into an upgrade. M60 engine would be great too if you can get a hold of it.
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:35 PM
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Maybe its time part it out Put that money towards another BMW E34 M50. The M20s were severly underpowerd for the heavy sedan.
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:37 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Not the hg

Dawntreader, I've had an engineer review your pictures. His view is that your transmission fluid is leaking into your radiator.

The reason is straightforward - its the colour of the milkshake. ATF is red in colour. When mixed up with coolant, it turns milky brown. Engine oil is either yellow, dark brown or black. When mixed with water, it turns milky black, or milky yellow. And this, I can confirm from painful personal experience.

My engineer suggests that you do the following to satisfy yourself of this diagnosis.

1. Take two transparent glasses. Half fill each with water. Fill up to the brim with engine oil in one glass and atf in the other. Mix it up with a spoon. See what the resulting emulsion looks like. Compare it to your oil spill.

2. Please take a look at the auto transmission dipstick. You'll likely see the same milkshake there.

3. You've looked at the engine's dipstick. No milkshake there.

4. Carry out a compression test on all of your chambers. If the compression readings are within 5% deviation between chambers, then you've got no problems. If there's a cracked head or a bad HG, one, or two adjacent chambers, should show substantially lower readings compared to the rest.

You've probably already removed your HG and can inspect it directly for rupture as well.

Your transmission oil cooler is busted. This is not uncommon for the m20 automatic e34. This will not require you to change your radiator - repeated flushes will clean it out of oil. However, your transmission has given you a potentially expensive repair job. It could be something as simple as replacing seals, it could be something as drastic as rebuilding the whole thing. Expert inspection and diagnosis is required.

You are advised not to drive your car. If you need to drive your car to the workshop as its only a short distance away, make sure the radiator is topped up with new water after being flushed for like 30 minutes, top up your atf fluid through your dipstick (you'll need 2 quarts at a minimum) and drive to your workshop with a beady beady eye on the thermometer all the way. Have extra water and atf oil in your trunk if you need to stop and replenish things. Be prepared for dirty looks as the oil leaks out everywhere.

Please check the situation out and let us know how it goes. Thanks and good luck.

Last edited by robertobaggio20; 03-23-2011 at 06:31 PM.
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  #18  
Old 03-22-2011, 07:53 AM
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BMR_LVR BMR_LVR is offline
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That makes a lot of sense if he indeed does have the automatic transmission.

Is the transmission cooler not located within the radiator? I would think that he would have to replace the radiator if it is as I don't think that it is a separate item that can be removed.

I would also suggest that he have his transmission thoroughly flushed if it is indeed coolant in the tranny fluid as this would have circulated throughout his transmission.

I agree as well (go figure ) with performing a compression check.

Roberto, I think your engineer friend may have hit the nail on the head. It sure makes sense.

Good luck Dawntrader and let us know how it goes.

Steve
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:32 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Oh Blimey (when was the last time you heard that? lolo). Steve sir is right. There's probably coolant in your auto transmission. You cannot drive this car at all without flushing the fluid first, which is also pointless to do without fixing the main problem first.

I agree with steve sir...the transmission cooler is likely embedded into the radiator itself. The membranes separating the tranny oil and coolant have ruptured. Time to change the radiator.

When you do so, please get new upper and lower hoses, a new wp, thermostat, belts, rad cap and brass bleed screw. This is a big job but its very much in the category of long term wear and tear, so you're only fixing up your car for the next 100-200k anyway. So it should be less painful to swallow and perhaps the transmission only requires a flush and a new filter and new tranny pan gasket - which is always nice to do for your car.

I suggest that you do a fast drain interval after the flush anyway to remove as much coolant as possible from your system - use Dex 4 for the flush and the first fillup, (soak your existing tranny filter in a diesel bath for 2 hours after washing it out as best as you can with water, then reuse the filter after drip drying and soaking it for 5 minutes in tranny oil). 30 days later, drain all the oil and use Dex 6 or synthetic oil in your transmission.

Synthetic is always recommended bro but its damn pricey. However, you can do an extended drain interval with synthetic oil as it has more detergents in it and it is more resistant to shearing and general degradation. But please change the oil from time to time - synthetic oil/lifetime fluid is poorly understood and its foolish to risk a perfectly good transmission in order to save a few bucks.
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:13 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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I also suggest that, after you've flushed your transmission, that you drive with the tranny dipstick off. This will allow any excess water to vaporise and be naturally expelled through the hole as you drive.

You can even customise a vacuum suction tube for the tranny dispstick tube, and dovetail it with your brake booster fitting or elsewhere using an appropriate joint. Test your brakes first after that to see if there's any degradation in performance, then keep the mod if its all ok (if you use the brake booster fitting).


rgds,
R

Last edited by robertobaggio20; 03-22-2011 at 09:17 AM.
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  #21  
Old 03-22-2011, 11:01 PM
Dawntreader Dawntreader is offline
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Hi all

Just say the new posts... I run out to the car and checked the tranny Dipstick..... Yep, it's choc milk as well.
Will upload a shot of this as well. Am currently at work so will add more to this post.
I was about to order another engine. Quoted rebuilds were between $10K and $20K, so that won't be happening.
A second hand m20 motor with 141K on the clock is going for $1950.

Oops gotta get back to work.... Run out of time writing this on my iPad
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:40 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Judging by the fact that i've reduced your costs from like a needless $2k (and with the problem remaining unfixed, which will give you a hernia) to like maybe $500 of long term wear and tear parts that you need to do anyway........I think the least you owe me is a T shirt from TempSan. Make that 2 t shirts, one for my engineer.

Hey, I can try, can't I ?? lolol
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:04 PM
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the engineer is the man, it makes ALOT of sense what he concluded.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:10 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jint View Post
the engineer is the man, it makes ALOT of sense what he concluded.
Hopefully, that means that he gets a free T shirt.

Dawntreader, you're also advised to change your timing belt and timing bearings along the way. So let see that's belts, manifold fuel and radiator hoses, radiator (automatics), brass bleed screw (new radiator will come with a new radiator cap so no need to purchase that separately), water pump, thermostat, timing belt, timing bearings, transmission fluid change x 2 or a full tranny flush, tranny gasket, tranny filter, 1-2 Tempsan original Tshirts. Its quite a shopping list and might take an entire day to execute but it should cost way way way less than a new old m20 engine and needless heartache etc. And as described before, its mostly in the category of a major engine tuneup so you won't feel too bad at the end of the day.

If you've already removed the cylinder head, then of course you'll need a new HG, intake manifold gaskets and new torx style head bolts (these are not the original head bolts that came with the engine, and a highly recommended replacement, pm me for further details if need be), but you'll be able to decarb your piston tops, combustion chamber, clean out your engine block's coolant passages, decarb your cylinder head fully, backflush your fuel injectors, etc....all of which will contribute to a substantially improved performance from it upon reassembly. This is another day's work at the minimum and might take two.

You'll also need to purchase a set of feeler gauges to regularly tune your car's valves/tappets/whatever can't remember. There are many good websites that describe the process of doing so for the m20 in painstaking detail. There are many excellent youtube videos that do the same as well, for the M20 engine in particular too. You need to sort this out along the way as well.

Take a day off from work on a Monday and you'll be able to settle the whole lot above from Friday night to Monday with a fine australian wine and a kangaroo burger on the grill thrown in.

If time permits, do document the process with your camera and post a writeup at some point.

Furthermore, please flush your engine, and switch to the correct 4-claw bosch iridium spark plugs for your car www.boschautoparts.com for better performance, longevity and fuel economy.

Please do update your thread constantly and good luck.

Last edited by robertobaggio20; 03-23-2011 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:29 AM
Dawntreader Dawntreader is offline
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Finally got the right connector for the compression test. Results are as follows:
Cylinder 1 - 165 - psi
Cylinder 2 - 155 - psi
Cylinder 3 - 150 - psi
Cylinder 4 - 140 - psi
Cylinder 5 - 180 - psi
Cylinder 6 - 140 - psi
They are all over the place and far too varied.
I have a large amount of oil coming out the back of the motor. Looks like a rear main seal, which would most likely mean I need a rear main bearing etc. Oil is coming down from inside the bell housing.
Cost to change rear main seal is $650
Similar cost for head gasket.
Need a new radiator. $450 new then add install cost.
Tranny to be flushed - unsure of cost
I put off removing the head until I had the compression test done.
Because of the low pressures, rear main seal and 380K on the clock I think a change in engine is best.
Will get the car transported to the mechanic, cheaper than me getting gaskets and new hoses to just to be able to drive it for them to then change it again.



So as a result, I will put in the new 2nd hand m20 motor that has done 141K
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Last edited by Dawntreader; 03-24-2011 at 09:26 AM.
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