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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
The E9X is the 4th evolution of the BMW 3 series including a highly tuned twin turbo 335i variant pushing out 300hp and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. BMW continues to show that it sets the bar for true driving performance! -- View the E9X Wiki

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  #1  
Old 04-23-2013, 10:13 AM
atl335 atl335 is offline
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Expecting the worst--blow head gasket -- Is this something I could do myself?

Hey guys,

Long story short, I have a 2007 335i which I believe has a blown head gasket. Getting confirmation today, but it really bums me out as I really like the car.

I am pretty mechanically inclined and have done various work on previous cars, can follow instructions and am precise about things, but I have never replaced a head gasket. Is this something I would be capable of doing if I had the proper time, tools, and instructions? How much would I end up saving? I don't even have a quote on the head gasket replacement from the shop I am using right now, but will have that later today, about how much am I looking at if I can use my current head (ie no cracks etc)?

Ugh, i just don't know what to do. It's frustrating. If someone could enlighten me on all the specifics I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

BTW, if you know of a good shop in Atlanta to use for this, would really appreciate it.
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:16 AM
atl335 atl335 is offline
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Just heard from the guy who is looking over the car for me and he mentions that I "might be lucky, it might be bad turbo seals". He is doing a full diagnosis and will let me know soon.
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  #3  
Old 04-23-2013, 01:00 PM
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  #4  
Old 04-23-2013, 01:16 PM
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fun2drive fun2drive is offline
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To answer your question yes you can replace the gasket yourself but it is a lot more work given the turbos than a NA engine. There is nothing special about this dual VANOS engine just a lot of stuff to remove. The basics of the head gasket stay the same.

Turbo seals are much more likely as BMW has gone to a lot of trouble to keep you from blowing the gasket. Turbos seals tend to get blown because of driving the car hard before the oil is up to operating temp. What temp is that? When it comes off the 160F mark. The oil pressure is not well controlled when you pound on it engine cold. That over pressure of oil is what blows the seals.
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by fun2drive View Post
To answer your question yes you can replace the gasket yourself but it is a lot more work given the turbos than a NA engine. There is nothing special about this dual VANOS engine just a lot of stuff to remove. The basics of the head gasket stay the same.

Turbo seals are much more likely as BMW has gone to a lot of trouble to keep you from blowing the gasket. Turbos seals tend to get blown because of driving the car hard before the oil is up to operating temp. What temp is that? When it comes off the 160F mark. The oil pressure is not well controlled when you pound on it engine cold. That over pressure of oil is what blows the seals.
Oil temp has no bearing on turbo seals with synthetic oil. You have the same flow and lubricating properties when the oil is 75 degrees or 160. Lots of things make the turbo seals fail, like very dirty oil that starts to leave deposits on the turbo shaft, turbo being spun beyond design limits, turbine or compressor out off balance, etc or just plain old variation in production tollarances. These turbos are not like the high end ball bearing turbos. Even the factory allows for full boost after a couple miles. As far as oil pressure, it does not blow turbo seals and it is highly controlled with a variable volume pump.
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Last edited by David1; 04-23-2013 at 01:27 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-23-2013, 02:13 PM
hondo402000 hondo402000 is offline
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you might want to mention that the turbos are, I think I read, a 100K mile warranty on them, maybe it will be covered

Hondo
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:13 PM
sptt144 sptt144 is offline
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Hopefully you'll be ok. Have not read anything about a blown headgasket on these engines. Like mentioned above, lots of prevents put in to avoid this. Have done a few head gaskets myself and one on a Mercedes Benz. Would NOT want to dig into this guy with the turbos but definitely could with some expert help.
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:33 PM
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floydarogers floydarogers is offline
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There are a lot of things to disassemble and re-assemble when doing a head on these - I wouldn't want to do it unless I really had no other options (I've done heads and head gaskets on simpler engines, for instance an M30.)

You have to remove the fan, camshaft chain cover, all the electronics, the fuel rail and stuff, the intake manifold, remove the exhaust manifold from the head (might have to remove the manifold from the turbos; not sure). Then the head bolts - you need new ones these are one-time use bolts, and a good torque wrench. There are probably a couple special tools involved, too. Remember, the last two cylinders are back under the cowl for the a/c intake, and everything is tight.

I'd guess it's a 6-8 hour job, even for an experienced wrencher. Probably it would take me a long weekend and many barked knuckles. And once you get the head off, you probably should get it to someone who could pass on it's trueness - often blown head gaskets are caused by over-heating and if the head is warped it's time for a machine shop plane.
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:44 PM
Leekay07 Leekay07 is offline
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Turbo's are only covered if it is shown the waste gate caused it.
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  #10  
Old 04-23-2013, 04:47 PM
surfcity335i surfcity335i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atl335 View Post
Is this something I would be capable of doing if I had the proper time, tools, and instructions?
If you have never done a head gasket before on any car, you are almost certain to screw this job up and have to tow it in pieces to a shop. It is not easy. Do not try it.
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  #11  
Old 04-23-2013, 07:51 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atl335 View Post
Hey guys,

Long story short, I have a 2007 335i which I believe has a blown head gasket. Getting confirmation today, but it really bums me out as I really like the car.

I am pretty mechanically inclined and have done various work on previous cars, can follow instructions and am precise about things, but I have never replaced a head gasket. Is this something I would be capable of doing if I had the proper time, tools, and instructions?

Head gasket's what, $36? But labor might be more.

So, yes, you can do it!

BUT....are you easily frightened? Do you suffer from a heart issue? Are you prone to fainting?

If you pass those tests, [click here]

OK! Still feeling well? Then you're ready for the bad news: That was for an older model....no turbos....you may wish to invest here.


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Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 04-23-2013 at 08:02 PM.
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  #12  
Old 05-06-2013, 12:49 PM
atl335 atl335 is offline
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Hi guys,

So it does appear that my turbo(s) have bad seals. Long story as far as why I still dont have a 100% sure answer, but i should on wednesday. It is at a shop currently and they are diagnosing it. There is oil in the inlet tube for sure, and oil mixing with the coolant. I didn't think that a bad seal would mix oil into the coolant from a turbo as, from what I know about turbos which isnt too much, that the coolant goes through the housing of the turbo which, unless there is a crack in it, it wouldnt have the chance to mix with the oil.

If I am looking at replacing a turbo, about how much would this run me? It's the front turbo, from what I know so far.
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:07 PM
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Zooks527 Zooks527 is online now
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IIRC, around $600 - $1200 for the part, depending on the sources. At a guess another $500 or so to install it.

Are you having a BMW dealer look at it, or an indy? If it does need a new turbo, you may want to see if it's covered under the extended warranty plan for the turbos / wastegates.
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:12 PM
atl335 atl335 is offline
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Hi,

Thanks for the reply. I am having an indy look at it as I am fearful of dealership prices. The car is out of warranty--i just called a local dealer to verify this and there are no bulletins of any sort relating to my VIN. Unless theres something I don't know, I am on my own here. Would there be a great benefit to going to a dealer? Would the price be a great deal more but I get a warranty of some sort that an indy couldnt offer? Thanks again!
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  #15  
Old 05-06-2013, 01:41 PM
Strongmad Strongmad is offline
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The warranty on the turbochargers was extended to something like 8yrs, 80k iirc.
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  #16  
Old 05-06-2013, 01:41 PM
atl335 atl335 is offline
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Ive got 90k on the car right now
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  #17  
Old 05-06-2013, 01:42 PM
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fun2drive fun2drive is offline
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Once you get your turbos replaced don't beat in the car until the engine oil is warm. Regardless of David1's post stating temperature has no effect on your turbo seals nothing if farther from the truth. I have EXTENSIVE experience with turbo engines and cold oil is not regulated and your bypass valve WILL NOT protect your turbos or anything else until it is warm.

Why do you think they blew?

The only thing that blows them is excessive oil pressure.
Your engine and turbos so do what you want but this is advice based on super turbo charged aircraft as well as long haul trucks.

As a follow up the seal in the turbos are actually similar to a piston ring with the gap at the top. On start up and pounding on the engine with high rpms the oil pressure goes way up and the drains in the bottom of the turbos can't keep up and the turbo seal area fills to overfilling with oil and either goes out the gap at the top of the seal (like a piston ring gap) or goes around the piston ring itself resulting in oil blown into the impellers on both sides or maybe just one side. Over time this will build up and cause what is called a lazy turbo which builds boost slowly or will not boost to the correct boost pressure or not boost at all.

Rather than go into this for pages the flow of oil into the seal area far exceeds the ability of the gravity drain to remove it and this is whAat causes the seal to blow oil. Also if you don't position the seal correctly with the gap vertical you will get a blow by regardless of oil pressure...

Last edited by fun2drive; 05-06-2013 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:45 PM
atl335 atl335 is offline
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Thanks for the replies,

Would this problem that we're talking about in regards to a bad turbo / turbo seal cause oil to be mixed in the coolant? I didnt think the oil and coolant could mix in a turbo like that without a housing breach. I guess I just really don't know much about these turbos specifically or the seal involved. I am by no means an expert but I am not a dummy and can understand if given proper explanation
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Old 05-06-2013, 04:49 PM
jburke4689 jburke4689 is online now
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I didn't see any theads mentioning this but to remove the cylinder head, the engine needs to come out. Page 113-21 of the Bentley manual "Cylinder head, removing and installing (turbo): To removie the turbo engine cylinder head, first remove the engine. Special tools and procedures are required to remove and install camshaft adjustment units and time camshafts." There are lots of cautions and warnings. You should get the manual, and find a source to rent the special tools before attempting the head gasket replacement if that is the problem.
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:18 AM
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David1 David1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fun2drive View Post
Once you get your turbos replaced don't beat in the car until the engine oil is warm. Regardless of David1's post stating temperature has no effect on your turbo seals nothing if farther from the truth. I have EXTENSIVE experience with turbo engines and cold oil is not regulated and your bypass valve WILL NOT protect your turbos or anything else until it is warm.

Why do you think they blew?

The only thing that blows them is excessive oil pressure.
Your engine and turbos so do what you want but this is advice based on super turbo charged aircraft as well as long haul trucks.

As a follow up the seal in the turbos are actually similar to a piston ring with the gap at the top. On start up and pounding on the engine with high rpms the oil pressure goes way up and the drains in the bottom of the turbos can't keep up and the turbo seal area fills to overfilling with oil and either goes out the gap at the top of the seal (like a piston ring gap) or goes around the piston ring itself resulting in oil blown into the impellers on both sides or maybe just one side. Over time this will build up and cause what is called a lazy turbo which builds boost slowly or will not boost to the correct boost pressure or not boost at all.

Rather than go into this for pages the flow of oil into the seal area far exceeds the ability of the gravity drain to remove it and this is whAat causes the seal to blow oil. Also if you don't position the seal correctly with the gap vertical you will get a blow by regardless of oil pressure...
They are just low quality turbos. Cold oil pressure has nothing to do with it. You either get a set with good tolarances for the bearing insert or you don't. Lack of oil changes or using the wrong oil has a more detrimental effects than cold oil.
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  #21  
Old 05-08-2013, 10:22 AM
hondo402000 hondo402000 is offline
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I think the coolant line to the turbos cools the oil and the bearings. I think it would be like a water jacket around the bearings and not just a seal between the water and oil
so if you are getting oil in the coolant you got a crack or a leaking head gasket maybe
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:34 AM
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I would go with fun2drive on not loading up the turbos when they have cold oil. JB4 comes with a built in lock out of the system till the oil temp reaches 160 degrees. Don't really see that as an exercise in doing it just because they can & not for a very good reason.
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