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E36 (1991 - 1999)
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Old 11-20-2005, 03:57 PM
Nigel-DV Nigel-DV is offline
Registered User
Location: Cambridge. UK
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 14
Mein Auto: BMW 323i se Tourer 2.5
Blown Head Gasket?

First post around here, but not my first BMW by any streatch, I've owned 735, 520, 325 diesel and 728, all around 10 years old when I bought them, anyway, on with my question.

I am about to buy an R reg 1997 BMW 323i se Tourer. It's a straight 6 2.5 litre engine with 97,000 miles on the clock. It's mint condition with full service history, not all BMW, but latter part BMW specialist. The engine looks as new and so does the car, drives like new too.

But, uppon removing the oil filler cap their is a lot of yellowish/off-white mayonaise type substance, kind of gummy and thick, this is lining the inside of the oil filler cap.

I've heard that this means a blown head gasket, or that it is about to blow as water is getting into the engine, is this right?

However, after a quick 2 mile round trip (from cold start) the needle on the temperature gauge on the dash, went to half way, and sat there perfectly, the heater also blew out warm to hot (ish) air when the temperature was set to maximum. I could not see the yellowish cream on the oil dip stick, just oil.

There was a lot of white/light grey smoke coming from the exhaust, especially on start up, big cloud of it, but the car had been sitting in the cold for 3 weeks, un-used. After the 2 mile round trip, the white/grey smoke was still present, especially when I asked the owner to rev the engine. I also noticed the smoke comming from the exhaust when the driver drove quite fast (I was passenger looking out the back window).

The car reallly is superb condition, a real stunner and I really love BMW's, but I'm a little concerned as my last BMW, which was a 735 V8 K reg 1993 model blew the head gasket and it was going to cost me £1,200 to get fixed by an independent specialist, not BMW main dealer. The car only cost me £3000, so you can imagine my shock at this.

Will this 323i se tourer be expensive to fix, if it is the head gasket that has blown, or do you think it is the head gasket at all, do I need to be worried?

A quick answer would be great as I am going to buy the car first thing in the morning (Monday am UK time).

Any other tips, or things to look for on this car?

If it is head gasket, how much should I expect to pay?

Thanks in advance.
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