Z3 Roadster (E36/7) head gasket - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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Old 09-19-2013, 05:27 PM
m-roadster m-roadster is offline
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Location: KEENE NH
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Mein Auto: 2000 M ROADSTER
head gasket

Z3- 2000 M Roadster: I went to the dealer for an oil change and brake fluid change today. While inspecting the car they said that the head gasket was showing signs of leaking a small amount of oil. I have looked over the car very carefully and cannot see any oil anywhere. There is no oil in the coolant and the engine oil did not have any coolant in it when it was changed. There car has 50,050 miles on it and runs fine with no loss of power at all, no white smoke etc. The service rep said that the car wasn't in danger from this but wanted to bring it to my attention (with a $2300 price tag to replace it). Anyone with a similar experience?

Last edited by m-roadster; 09-20-2013 at 03:11 AM. Reason: additional info
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:26 PM
FZbar FZbar is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 Z3 2.5 Roadster
Compression Check

Take a compression reading for each of the cylinders. If there's a significant variation, you likely have a head gasket leak.

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Old 09-20-2013, 07:20 AM
Blacklane Blacklane is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 Z3 Roadster
It would take a lot more than "leaking a small amount of oil" to convince me to have a head gasket replaced. That's not a common failure mode for a head gasket, but I suppose it's possible.
I wonder where they saw the oil. It is common for the valve cover to leak, especially on the back side of the engine or onto the exhaust manifold, but that's easily fixed with a valve cover gasket. There is also a common oil leak at the oil filter housing, which is also fairly easy to fix. But I would think a dealer mechanic would be well-familiar with these.
The oil filter housing leak is described here. It might look like it's leaking at the head gasket. I think it's the same part for the S45 engine. http://webspace.ringling.edu/~dplass...y/fhg/fhg.html
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:16 PM
m-roadster m-roadster is offline
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Thank both of you for your response and information. I spoke with the actual mechanic today and questioned him on his diagnosis. Basically he said that the leak was very minimal and not of concern at this time. The oil was in the front of the engine and noticeable only when the car was on the lift. He said that it was so minimal that it wasn't dripping but blowing back against the block. he recommended that we check the oil when changed for coolant. I will also pursue the information that both of you gave, Thanks again for your help.
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:33 PM
RobMCoupe RobMCoupe is offline
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I would have them put it on the lift and show me where its leaking from. It might not be head gasket causing the leak. You should get a leak down test to see what leak percentage your engine is reading.
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Old 09-20-2013, 06:54 PM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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While my 99 ///M was still under warranty, I noticed two (2) faint oil streaks from the head/block mating surface down to the oil pan rail. I pointed it out and suggested that they replace the head gasket__which they did *for me*__but if if hadn't been in warranty, I would've let it go.

If you start getting misfire codes, or mixing of water and oil, then do something about it.

Randy Forbes
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