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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 05-10-2010, 06:05 AM
psp9218 psp9218 is offline
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Cracked Head

So I recently purchased a 2000 528i for $1,000 - with 188,000 miles
In middle of completing VANOS, CCV and Cooling overhaul.
Found a old receipt from the $tealership that says
Cracked Head and Bad Head Gasket
Dated: Jan 2008 with 169,000 miles

What should I do? Does this look like the $tealership trying a quick one on Past Owner?
is this a DIY? or should I give it up and run!

Thanks for your suggestions!
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  #2  
Old 05-10-2010, 06:10 AM
helpmyfive helpmyfive is offline
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MMMMM, style 5s! What would an entire engine from a salvage yard cost? That car with an overhauled engine is likely less money than a well running, less miles, working E39. FIX IT!
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  #3  
Old 05-10-2010, 06:19 AM
sunny5280 sunny5280 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psp9218 View Post
So I recently purchased a 2000 528i for $1,000 - with 188,000 miles
In middle of completing VANOS, CCV and Cooling overhaul.
Found a old receipt from the $tealership that says
Cracked Head and Bad Head Gasket
Dated: Jan 2008 with 169,000 miles

What should I do? Does this look like the $tealership trying a quick one on Past Owner?
is this a DIY? or should I give it up and run!

Thanks for your suggestions!
I'm not sure what the problem/question is. Are you thinking the car currently has a cracked head and/or bad head gasket? Or are you thinking it once did (at 169K miles, based on the receipt)? While I've never experienced a cracked head / bad head gasket the car has 19K more miles on it since the mileage stated on the receipt. Can a car drive 19K miles with a cracked head / bad head gasket?
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  #4  
Old 05-10-2010, 06:26 AM
psp9218 psp9218 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 540i Sport M Package
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunny5280 View Post
I'm not sure what the problem/question is. Are you thinking the car currently has a cracked head and/or bad head gasket? Or are you thinking it once did (at 169K miles, based on the receipt)? While I've never experienced a cracked head / bad head gasket the car has 19K more miles on it since the mileage stated on the receipt. Can a car drive 19K miles with a cracked head / bad head gasket?
Yes I am thinking it has a bad gasket/head.
I am not sure if the car can make 19,000 miles and two years with bad head/gasket... but on the receipt it says customer declined new engine -
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  #5  
Old 05-10-2010, 06:34 AM
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AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is offline
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Probably a pinhole crack that is possibly leaking coolant into the combustion chambers. That would be my guess as to why it still runs.

What does the exhaust smell like?
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  #6  
Old 05-10-2010, 06:43 AM
psp9218 psp9218 is offline
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Originally Posted by AnotherGeezer View Post
Probably a pinhole crack that is possibly leaking coolant into the combustion chambers. That would be my guess as to why it still runs.

What does the exhaust smell like?
I smelled unburned Gas - but I thought that was because of failed CCV valve... I'll have to pay a close attention when the car is back on road.. .right now it's open so can't test it..
Also smelled coolant but i wasn't sure of that becausee one of the hose(replacing) had a leak..
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  #7  
Old 05-10-2010, 06:51 AM
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AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is offline
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From what I've read, you may see evidence of a minute coolant leak on the plugs too. I've read they look "washed", if that's even a good description.
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  #8  
Old 05-10-2010, 07:00 AM
sunny5280 sunny5280 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psp9218 View Post
Yes I am thinking it has a bad gasket/head.
I am not sure if the car can make 19,000 miles and two years with bad head/gasket... but on the receipt it says customer declined new engine -
My recommendation would be to put it back together and see how it runs. Then you can evaluate what to do with it. How did it run prior to this work you're currently performing?
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  #9  
Old 05-10-2010, 07:09 AM
psp9218 psp9218 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunny5280 View Post
My recommendation would be to put it back together and see how it runs. Then you can evaluate what to do with it. How did it run prior to this work you're currently performing?
It drove fine... but only issues i had were:
Weird noise from CCV valve
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...hlight=ccv+diy


CCV blockage (and sludge formation)http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...451&highlight=

and
Coolant leaking - causing overheating while the car was stopped or idling
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  #10  
Old 05-10-2010, 08:53 AM
Mark@EAC Mark@EAC is offline
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just because he declined a new engine does not mean he did not address the problem. Have you ever priced an engine with BMW? You would most likely decline it too.

You can try to contact the previous owner and see if anything was done. Otherwise if the car is taken apart, finish what you are working on and then have a compression test and cooling system pressure check performed. If those things check good then you most likely do not have a cracked head.
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  #11  
Old 05-10-2010, 10:08 AM
psp9218 psp9218 is offline
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has anyone done a Head Gastket DIY for E39?
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  #12  
Old 05-10-2010, 11:46 AM
Mark@EAC Mark@EAC is offline
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I've done a head gasket on an e39. It is pretty well documented in the bentley manual as well as BMW TIS.

It was not all that bad, I managed to break a timing rail so it added some downtime while I did that. Get the car checked like I said though, you don't want to tackle this job for no reason. If the head is cracked a new head gasket is not going to fix it.
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  #13  
Old 05-10-2010, 02:12 PM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
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hey mark i have a question. im always paranoid about my car's head gasket, and i do have a very slow coolant leak. (regardless of how much i drive, or if i drive at all, it loses around a quart or less over 6 weeks, so i think its the radiator cap. the car is sitting right now and il be doing a complete overhaul in the next month). i did get the cooling system pressure tested and it held pressure for 15 minutes or so (thats when the mechanic ended the test). so if the cooling system was able to hold the pressure, should i stop worrying all the time for head gasket issues? [only reason i worry so much is because the PO did a HORRIBLE job at taking care of this car]
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  #14  
Old 05-10-2010, 03:24 PM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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I dunno--you paid $1k for a car that even with those miles would go for about $3.5k in respectable condition, and there was no reason given for this deal by the Stealer?
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  #15  
Old 05-11-2010, 11:20 PM
5er2er8er 5er2er8er is offline
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i have replaced a the head gasket on my old 528i at around 120,000 miles the head had a crack that got welded at a local machine shop. after it waqs all put together the car ran just as strong as before if not better. all the way up to 150,000 miles when i sold it.
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  #16  
Old 05-12-2010, 06:31 AM
psp9218 psp9218 is offline
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Location: NJ
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waveho View Post
I dunno--you paid $1k for a car that even with those miles would go for about $3.5k in respectable condition, and there was no reason given for this deal by the Stealer?
I bought the car from an 65 year old guy that I work with and he has 3 cars and he didn't want to deal with overheating issues even after he spent 3K on repairs.. I spoke with him and he said that he doesn't know what his mechanic or the dealer did on his car. He said he is fed up with keep putting in money in the car so he said I can have it for 1K or he was going to donate it...
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  #17  
Old 05-12-2010, 07:53 AM
Mark@EAC Mark@EAC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrpumpk1n View Post
hey mark i have a question. im always paranoid about my car's head gasket, and i do have a very slow coolant leak. (regardless of how much i drive, or if i drive at all, it loses around a quart or less over 6 weeks, so i think its the radiator cap. the car is sitting right now and il be doing a complete overhaul in the next month). i did get the cooling system pressure tested and it held pressure for 15 minutes or so (thats when the mechanic ended the test). so if the cooling system was able to hold the pressure, should i stop worrying all the time for head gasket issues? [only reason i worry so much is because the PO did a HORRIBLE job at taking care of this car]
If your tech says it's holding pressure for 15 minutes I would say chances are good that you do not have a significant leak. I have a 97 540i at the shop here that needs head gaskets. When yours go you will know. Just look for the smoke screen out tail pipe.

The e39 has so many potential places for a coolant leak that you want to really exhaust all possibilities before taking the head(s) off. Older e39 540i guys can consider doing a cooling system overhaul and valley pan which would cover most of the the common leak prone things. Look down under your intake with a flashlight and mirror for dried coolant along the sides and rear of the valley pan. We have parts lists for both the cooling system and valley pan repairs on this page: http://content.eactuning.com/
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