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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-22-2011, 02:49 PM
moneymike moneymike is offline
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Lost Cause? I need blunt honesty here...

Ok guys awhile ago i was having overheating issues...it was actually my brother...so the upper radiator hose blew...car over heated & he drove it for 10+ miles while overheated...at stoplight car cuts off...he restarts...drives about another mile & cat cuts off again...this time wont restart...tries a few times & finally it restarts...drives another .5 miles to destination & as pulling into driveway hears a rapid knocking...once the hose was replaced & coolant returned the car has been running...no knocking...no real issues but it has started gradually running worse...is there any tests to know for sure if there is internal damage?
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  #2  
Old 11-22-2011, 03:06 PM
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What was once a fine piece of machinery is now an expensive boat anchor....majorly stupid move on the driver`s part....
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  #3  
Old 11-22-2011, 03:52 PM
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cwsqbm cwsqbm is offline
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No test is needed - there is definitely internal damage. Time for a new long block, or to part out the car.
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  #4  
Old 11-22-2011, 03:54 PM
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smolck smolck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
What was once a fine piece of machinery is now an expensive boat anchor....majorly stupid move on the driver`s part....
Well, that is blunt honesty for you. For the record, I wouldn't ask for blunt honesty with Bob-O lurking. He'll tell ya like it is, like it or not!

Compression test is where I'd start.
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #5  
Old 11-22-2011, 05:03 PM
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elhombre elhombre is offline
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I concur with the former assessments. My son drives a beautiful '99 328is. When he blew his top hose, he got it stopped just before the gage went red, and called me... Never, never, never, go in the red. A top hose and t-stat and he's been running cool ever since. Most of the time it's inconvenient to make an unplanned stop but the alternative is unacceptable. Most anything can be fixed but my bet would be the longblock option as previously mentioned (if he wants to keep the car).
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  #6  
Old 11-22-2011, 05:23 PM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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The engine is a lost cause, the car is not. Don't spend any money on this engine. Buy a used engine and install it. Take any new or newer parts off of the old engine as spares for when you need them. An expensive mistake for sure that could have been easily prevented by stopping immediately.
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  #7  
Old 11-22-2011, 05:27 PM
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I agree with everyone. I was reading your original post and I was thinking time for a new motor, then I went on to read what everyone else had to say.
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  #8  
Old 11-22-2011, 05:34 PM
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  #9  
Old 11-24-2011, 07:12 AM
moneymike moneymike is offline
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so out of the list how much of that stuff has to do with the motor? and some of you sound 100% sure while others seem to think there might be a chance...

I can tell you from a cold start it runs better in the mornings or when I start it cold...I don't smell any exhaust and I'm not losing any coolant
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  #10  
Old 11-24-2011, 08:00 AM
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floydarogers floydarogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneymike View Post
so out of the list how much of that stuff has to do with the motor? and some of you sound 100% sure while others seem to think there might be a chance...

I can tell you from a cold start it runs better in the mornings or when I start it cold...I don't smell any exhaust and I'm not losing any coolant
The chances are slim. I'm amazed that you're not losing coolant. Nevertheless, here's what you need to do:
1) Flush the coolant. Look at it; if there is oil or other contaminants, you're toast.
2) Pressure test the cooling system. If it doesn't hold pressure, there's a leak somewhere. Not losing coolant VOLUME isn't a guarantee of the engine being intact.
3) Change the oil - it was under incredible stress as it was the only thing cooling the engine. It's toast. Again, inspect the old oil, filter and drain plug. If there are metal shavings-bits-filings, you're probably toast.
4) Do a compression test. Do a leak-down test. This will show if you have bad rings/cylinders or burnt valves.
5) Have someone check the oil pressure (you need a real guage and hose to connect to the system.) If low or high, may indicate bad bearing or turned bearing (which is the likely noise heard when pulling into the drive - might also be bad kingpin.)

If all that looks "ok", you may be ok. The operative word is "may", as these engines don't like being overheated AT ALL. However, it's not unheard of to hear of abuse like this and having them last for some time. The engine's lifetime has been adversely affected at the minimum.
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  #11  
Old 11-24-2011, 08:40 AM
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Contact Blackstone Labs, get an oil test kit sent to you, and collect a sample and have it analyzed. If you are in a hurry to change the oil, collect the sample prior to receiving the kit. You need a warm engine and a clean vessel with a cap, open the drain plug and let it flow for a few seconds (5-10), then duck your vessel into the stream and collect 3-4 ounces. They will let you know the percentage of coolant in the oil, if any. I suspect you'll find quite a bit.

You are in the denial phase of grief. Soon comes acceptance. You'll want to throw money at your engine, but listen to the experienced folks. It will save you time and money in the long run.
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  #12  
Old 11-24-2011, 09:03 AM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvr826 View Post
Contact Blackstone Labs, get an oil test kit sent to you, and collect a sample and have it analyzed. If you are in a hurry to change the oil, collect the sample prior to receiving the kit. You need a warm engine and a clean vessel with a cap, open the drain plug and let it flow for a few seconds (5-10), then duck your vessel into the stream and collect 3-4 ounces. They will let you know the percentage of coolant in the oil, if any. I suspect you'll find quite a bit.

You are in the denial phase of grief. Soon comes acceptance. You'll want to throw money at your engine, but listen to the experienced folks. It will save you time and money in the long run.
That is great advice all around. Unfortunately for the people who don't listen, the first time they realize that they were wrong is after they have spent a lot of money having the head re-milled, buying a new head gasket and then trying to put it all together. They go to torque the new head bolts and they pull out like butter. Time serts MAY solve the problem, but if they don't, all that money, that could have been put towards a replacement engine, has been wasted. That is when extreme frustration occurs, and they sell what might have been a salvageable car, spew all sorts of obscenities about BMW's, and vow to never buy another one.
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  #13  
Old 11-24-2011, 02:04 PM
Variocam Variocam is offline
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Lots of great comments here, but I especially agree with jvr826's about the oil analysis. They are very cheap, and will give you a wealth of information as to whether the engine has suffered major damage. You should definitely tell them in the "comments" section of the submission form about the overheating episode, so they can pay special attention to the aspects of the analysis that might pertain to to the impact on the oil of overheating.

But to get the maximum bang for your troubleshooting buck, I would do the following:

1) Warm up the engine
2) Do a compression test. If this shows an obvious problem like, well, low compression in one or more cylinders, stop, and start searching for a replacement engine
3) If the compression looks OK (not sure what the spec is, but the readings should all be within about 5% of each other across all the cylinders), drain the oil, and fill the oil sample vessel after letting it drain for a few seconds, like jvr says (the idea is to take the sample about midway through the drain), send the sample out for analysis, and pray.

Good luck.

Edit: I just reread the OP's post. 10+ miles driving with the engine overheated?! Your brother needs a serious talking-to. When my daughter first got behind the wheel of a car, one of the very first things I told her was, "See this gauge? If the needle EVER gets close to the red line, immediately pull over and turn off the engine."

Last edited by Variocam; 11-24-2011 at 07:11 PM.
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  #14  
Old 11-24-2011, 03:56 PM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Ain't the time ripe for setting up a "What will be the real state of Honest Mike's engine?" poll, with options ranging from:
  • Still virgin, dodged the bullet
  • ..
  • Lost its innocence, but still runs
  • ..
  • Totally crapped out, miracle it starts
And see who guesses the eventual answer...

Gotta learn me someday how to do these fancy things on the board.
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  #15  
Old 11-25-2011, 03:32 AM
shall36 shall36 is offline
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Yes, your brother is a lost cause.

If you really like the car, spend the money on a replacement long block. If you were thinking of trading soon, sell the car on craigslist as a mechanic special. It might fetch good money.
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  #16  
Old 11-25-2011, 11:20 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneymike View Post
is there any tests to know for sure if there is internal damage?
  • Good news first: You're not the first person to have a lost cause for a brother!
  • Now for the bad news. This happens a lot!
For example:
Quote:
Originally Posted by muaythaibangkok View Post
My son ran my 2003 525i without coolant. He then ran the car into the curb.

A "friend of a friend of a friend" who works part time as a mechanic for the local BMW dealership looked at the car.

His opinions:

- Blown cylinder head gasket -
- Possible warped cylinder head -
- Ruptured radiator overflow tank -
- Bent lower control arm -
- (Also, broken rear tail light assembly) -

He estimated the cost of private repair to be at least $3500 ... possibly much more.

He then offered to buy my car for $500.

Luckily, since you're neither the first, nor the last ... we put together the following paragraph to give you a head start on a solution:

- Summary advice to provide users who suspect a major engine repair due to overheating (1) (2) (3) (4) & how to test an engine for a blown head gasket, cracked heads, a warped block, stripped head bolt threads, cam seizures, contaminated bearings, coolant hydrolock, or piston, ring, or valve damage (1) (2) & what are the major factors in deciding whether to rebuild the engine, replace the engine, or sell the car (1) & a DIY for replacing the I6 M54 head gasket (1) (2) & replacing the V8 M62TU head gasket (1) & why these engines are so prone to heat-related damage in the first place (1) & welding the crack between cylinder #3 and the water jacket on the exhaust side (1) & what engine swaps are most recommended (1) (2) (3) & where to obtain a new or rebuilt head (1) replacement short block or long block (1) (2) & how to lift & remove the engine (1) & real-world results from people faced with similar blown engine problems from which this advice came from (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) (23) (24) (25) (26) (27) (28) (29) (30) (31) (32) (33) (34) (35) (36) (37) (38) (39) (40) (41).

Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
I wouldn't ask for blunt honesty


Quote:
Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
here's what you need to do
Nice summary.

I'm gonna add that to the bestlinks so that others more easily benefit from your advice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jvr826 View Post
Contact Blackstone Labs
That's another nice piece of advice.
Again, so others find it more easily, I'll add that to the canonical thread on overheated engines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SJBimmer View Post
They go to torque the new head bolts and they pull out like butter.
Indeed.

If you look at the 40 or so most recent ruined-engine threads referenced above, more than a few have this problem!

As you noted, timeserts 'sometimes' work:
- Helicoils (1) vs Timeserts (1) for stripped oilpan (1) & head gasket thread repair (1) & Metric/SAE bolt conversion factors (1)

Last edited by bluebee; 11-25-2011 at 12:20 PM.
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