Things to do during a head gasket job. Looking for opinions - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

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

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-28-2013, 11:43 PM
matt323 matt323 is offline
Registered User
Location: Raleigh NC
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 57
Mein Auto: 1994 BMW 325IS
Things to do during a head gasket job. Looking for opinions

First off I apologize if this has been covered in another post, I have done some searches and have only found bits and pieces of what I'm looking for.

I may wind up pulling the head of my engine soon and would like some opinions on what other things should be taken care of while everything is apart. I know there is no absolute right or wrong answer here but I would like some opinions. I'm not entirely sure if it is going to be needed yet (still working on diagnostics), but I am planning/preparing what all I would like to do if I do need to put a head gasket on

The vehicle is a 1994 BMW 325is with around 201k miles on it. I have owned it for the last 30k/2 years or so. I have replaced/repaired a lot of things on the car, but not a whole lot engine or cooling system related. I have already replaced the thermostat housing, thermostat and spark plugs recently. I have no idea what was done before I owned the car (I suspect not much).

So I would appreciate opinions on the matter. Obviously keeping in mind I would like to keep costs to a reasonable level, I would like to hear from people on any other maintenance/part replacement recommendations. Also if you feel that certain things are more important than others, I would like to know. Basically, what would you want to do if it were your car. If I go ahead and do this, I will likely keep the car for quite a while, but don't have a ton of money to throw around either.

I definitely plan on replacing all the vent hoses under the intake (they are in very poor shape), and most likely will go ahead and replace the kind of odd shaped coolant hose assembly under there.
Other things I'm considering
Full cooling system overhaul (something I've wanted to do for a while)(all hoses..pelican has a nice kit, radiator, water pump, etc.)
- Crank
- Cam
- Knock (2x)
Exhaust manifold studs/nuts (I think based on research this is often not really optional)
Plastic connectors
- Vent hose connector
- Heater pipe connector (these are both cheap, probably going to do it)
Timing chains
belts and belt tensioners
Chain tensioner
Timing chain rails
Any oil switches, senders, check valves???
Vanos oil line
Timing chain guides (if these are different than the rails)
Fan clutch
Valves themselves (I assume generally only done if they are degraded substantially when on a limited budget)
Lifters (same as above)

Probably also going to have the machine shop do a valve job and replace the valve guides as well. (It seems to be appropriate for an engine this high of mileage)

There's about all I've considered yet, but I'm sure I haven't thought of everything. I'd love to be able to do everything, but I'd like to keep costs somewhat under control. So please weigh in on what you would or wouldn't do from the list or anything I may have overlooked. (and yes, the head is going to a machine shop)



Oh yeah, and in case anyone is interested for their own knowledge or just for reference, I have an excel spreadsheet I could send that I compiled with all of the relevant parts I could think of and dollar figures. (I had a bit of a dork moment today, but in my defense I have spent way too many hours looking up parts and thought it would be useful to organize the relevant ones).
Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2013, 05:34 AM
drivinfaster's Avatar
drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: in the sticks you piney
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 12,245
Mein Auto: rescued bmw's
i see no need to replace the timing chain on these engines, but the guides should be inspected as they are plastic. this can be done while apart and then ordered if needed while the head is being reconditioned.

as far as diagnosis of a failed hg, i suggest a block tester. they're available from napa and other places, as well as online. they're 100% accurate and (practically) idiot proof. the fluid will turn color in the presence of co2, which is not supposed to be in the cooling system. ever.

if you do need to replace the hg, then i would suggest getting new plastic bits like you listed, as well as the coolant hoses.

no need to replace the valves or guides unless the machine shop says they are needed.

you may wish to consider getting a crank locking pin, unless you have some sort of suitable alterntive (forget the size, but you may be able to modify a bolt to fit) and the cam holding tools. some places may rent this out (online, iirc) but might be just as much as getting the tool itself.

while apart you may wish to either send your vanos unit out to be refreshed or refresh it yourself, or, simply replace it. (that last one is more expensive...). as with the guides, this can be done while the head is in the machine shop. turn around is fairly quick via dr vanos from what i gather. (i have not yet had to use their services)

exhaust studs/nuts while nice to have around, are probably not going to be that much of a factor. again, these could be ordered as needed after the fact.

i *do* suggest, however, copper nuts for the exhaust flanges as well as the manifolds. they're a little pricey because they are copper, but make removal much easier if ever necessary in the future.

i would also suggest that you have a mapp gas torch for heating the exhaust flange nuts. if they break upon removal not a huge deal since the head would be coming off and you could work them on the bench.

make sure the head set comes with the valve cover grommets as well. and you will need headbolts.

compressed air is also nice. you may wish to consider having that as well.

the only other thing i can think of at this point in time would also to remember that if you remove the crank bolt, it is a 1x use only lke a headbolt and should be replaced. the tq on that is 306ft/lbs. make sure you have a tq wrench that can go that high or use a tq multiplier. the hg can be done without removing this part, though, but i thought that i would put it put there just in case you did need to remove it.

other than that, piece of cake....

Reply With Quote

See More Related BMW Stories

Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series & 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:06 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001- VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.