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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-25-2013, 05:52 AM
birdy 318i 1997 birdy 318i 1997 is offline
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Over Heating

basically i was in heavy slow moving traffic today for about 20/30 minutes and noticed the temp gauge going up but fort nothing of it because i was in traffic then when the traffic cleared and i was back to normal speed the temp went right up and the red light lit up so parked the car for couple hours then drove around and now the temp keeps going up whenever i drive but it only seems to do it when the car is sitting still when the car is moving the light dosent come on temp goes up slighty but dosent get stupidly hot, also when you lift the bonnet there is a strong smell of burning, the oil has a very slight cream colour in it but only a tiny amount but the oil is over the max and i think the water has slightly gone down which i think is pointing to the head gasket going im hopeing it isnt the gasket going just wondered if anyone had the same problem or any advice?
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  #2  
Old 01-25-2013, 06:07 AM
SCJon SCJon is offline
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It is almost certainly a head gasket. That cream in your oil is antifreeze. Antifreeze is not a good lubricant so the more you drive it the more damage you are doing. Now I think you just need to hope the head is not warped from heat, anytime that needle goes over the 12 o'clock position it's best to just get the car off the road ASAP. Hate to be the bearer of bad news.
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  #3  
Old 01-25-2013, 06:16 AM
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Head Gasket is toast. Since its a 4 pot, the head should be fine. They are less prone to warping/twisting.
Also, since you don't have VANOS, the replacement is a pretty simple DIY. You could knock this out in a weekend if you are handy with a wrench.

Things to think about.

Why did this overheat? When was the last time you replaced your cooling system. I mean the whole thing. Hoses, Rad, Water pump, coolant? If you don't know, has been years, or 100k miles, its time to change it, This is why you overheated, and toasted the HG.
Does your fan and can clutch work? Check that as well.

Read the stickies at the top of forum, they will be of great help to you!
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:02 AM
birdy 318i 1997 birdy 318i 1997 is offline
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thank you for the replys, how hard realistically is the head gasket to do at home just as a rough idea?
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:04 AM
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:05 AM
birdy 318i 1997 birdy 318i 1997 is offline
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Also the whole system needs changing aswel because i havent ever done it and i had the car for just under two years
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:46 AM
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It looks like the period is on strike in East Anglia, England.

I think the head gasket failed, but not on its own. You may also have an issue with the coolant system, which caused it to overheat and damage the head gasket.
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