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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-25-2014, 09:03 AM
heyitsjj heyitsjj is offline
Registered User
Location: Vancouver
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 92 325si M3 bodykit
Driving with a Cracked Head? Just needs warming up?

Hi there,

e36, 92 325si, manual, lovely, but a blood money pit.

Just replaced the coolant system, VCG and oil filter housing gasket. Did a coolant pressure test and all was good. No leaks. Was great. Just a few days later, loss of power, white smoke on cold startups (driving) and coolant splashes only when overnight.

Changed oil, tons of steam. Looked under the car, can't see where it's coming from. On startup, it might not fire up right away on the first try, but second or third it starts. but driving 1min will produce smoke, loss of power, so I just sit and warm it up for 5mins, then all is good, at least driveable power.

I believe coolant is getting in. And I think its a cracked head and/or gasket (though it didn't look it when I have everything off). There is also a thunk, which could be the cylinder when in a loss of power state. When it's been drivin for a while or warmed up, all is good. My theory is that the cylinder and head need to warm up, then the crack is sealed and it drives as it should.

I'm not going to fix it this time. Just want to know if anyone else has driven with a cracked head before? Or symptoms as described above? How long did it last? I've read some put up with the smoke for 2 years?! If I warm it up, 2mins, drive a block, warm it up until the white smoke dissipates, I think I could last a few more months, until I save up and try an e46 99-01 model. I figure just add coolant and bleed once a week, and I'll be good for a while.

Any thoughts on driving with a cracked head?

Thank you!
Reply With Quote
Ads by Google
  #2  
Old 04-25-2014, 10:29 AM
hnaz hnaz is offline
BMW CCA Member
Location: Communist Republic of Maryland
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,580
Mein Auto: 328i, M3, 325is M-Tech
Quote:
Originally Posted by heyitsjj View Post
Hi there,

e36, 92 325si, manual, lovely, but a blood money pit.

Just replaced the coolant system, VCG and oil filter housing gasket. Did a coolant pressure test and all was good. No leaks. Was great. Just a few days later, loss of power, white smoke on cold startups (driving) and coolant splashes only when overnight.

Changed oil, tons of steam. Looked under the car, can't see where it's coming from. On startup, it might not fire up right away on the first try, but second or third it starts. but driving 1min will produce smoke, loss of power, so I just sit and warm it up for 5mins, then all is good, at least driveable power.

I believe coolant is getting in. And I think its a cracked head and/or gasket (though it didn't look it when I have everything off). There is also a thunk, which could be the cylinder when in a loss of power state. When it's been drivin for a while or warmed up, all is good. My theory is that the cylinder and head need to warm up, then the crack is sealed and it drives as it should.

I'm not going to fix it this time. Just want to know if anyone else has driven with a cracked head before? Or symptoms as described above? How long did it last? I've read some put up with the smoke for 2 years?! If I warm it up, 2mins, drive a block, warm it up until the white smoke dissipates, I think I could last a few more months, until I save up and try an e46 99-01 model. I figure just add coolant and bleed once a week, and I'll be good for a while.

Any thoughts on driving with a cracked head?

Thank you!
Question, when you did the head gasket, did you take the head to a machine shop to pressure test it? Also, do you see a milky reside in your expansion tank? Do you see white milky stuff under the oil cap after a good long drive? Does the smoke smell sweet? How thick is the smoke?

Also, your symptoms sound like either the VANOS was not installed properly or your came gears were not aligned with the crank at TDC. So you may be slightly retarded or advanced in your timing, than your car likes.
__________________
Harry // 1995 Avus Blue M3 - 1994 Alpine Weiss 325is M-Tech (converted to a true M3 prototype) - 1998 Hellrot 328i // BMW CCA #453346 - North Capitol Chapter
My 325is M-Tech Restoration Thread
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-25-2014, 10:50 AM
heyitsjj heyitsjj is offline
Registered User
Location: Vancouver
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 92 325si M3 bodykit
Pressure test was good, everything we thought was good...until a few days later....only thing I did was have some fun around a nice windy mountain.

Hard to tell if milky, yet, fresh coolant. It's still looks fresh.

Thick white, no smell.

Oil cap not really milky yet, but I did run it with the cap open and saw some steam but not sure how much is normal, none?

VANOS eh, thank you. The timing could explain a bunch too, but the coolant leak only when overnight in a cold garage, tells me the head, coolant in the oil. Maybe the pressure test and drive finally blew it or cracked it (it overheated a few months ago, hence all the replacements). And the bmw specialist I have been working with (15yrs), well, he pretty much said the same, but also said, it could be a ton of things and he would need to take things apart again and said to replace my sensors....$$$$

In any case, it's good to know and I honestly don't want to spend any more time/money on it. If the head just blew or baby crack, I'm hoping I get a few more months out of it, by warming it up, heating it up to seal whatever crack and burn out the coolant steam. Then, get an e46 and go through this all over again, hehe.

Thanks again for your reply. Cheers.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-25-2014, 02:28 PM
hnaz hnaz is offline
BMW CCA Member
Location: Communist Republic of Maryland
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,580
Mein Auto: 328i, M3, 325is M-Tech
Quote:
Originally Posted by heyitsjj View Post
Pressure test was good, everything we thought was good...until a few days later....only thing I did was have some fun around a nice windy mountain.

Hard to tell if milky, yet, fresh coolant. It's still looks fresh.

Thick white, no smell.

Oil cap not really milky yet, but I did run it with the cap open and saw some steam but not sure how much is normal, none?

VANOS eh, thank you. The timing could explain a bunch too, but the coolant leak only when overnight in a cold garage, tells me the head, coolant in the oil. Maybe the pressure test and drive finally blew it or cracked it (it overheated a few months ago, hence all the replacements). And the bmw specialist I have been working with (15yrs), well, he pretty much said the same, but also said, it could be a ton of things and he would need to take things apart again and said to replace my sensors....$$$$

In any case, it's good to know and I honestly don't want to spend any more time/money on it. If the head just blew or baby crack, I'm hoping I get a few more months out of it, by warming it up, heating it up to seal whatever crack and burn out the coolant steam. Then, get an e46 and go through this all over again, hehe.

Thanks again for your reply. Cheers.
Nah, if the machine shop did their job properly and heated the head to MOT first, and then pressure tested the head, they would have surely seen the cracks. But if everything checked out fine, then the head is fine.

As far as the coolant leak, it could be a loose hose connection, minor crack in the expansion tank, loose coolant level sensor, seal around the water pump going caca, seal on the thermostat housing going caca. It could also be from the heater valve, junction box to the heater core, any number of things. Heck, it could even come from the port on the back of the head, if the seal wasn't put on properly (or backwards which is common apparently according to the dealer, but there really is only one way to put that gasket on). May want to put a pressure tester on the expansion tank, pump it up to 14 PSI and let it sit overnight.

As far as the smoke when you remove the oil cap after a drive, that is very normal unless the smoke is very thick when it comes out. If it is very thick, you need to replace the valve stem seals, which should have come with the head gasket kit. they are small button-sized seals that have a spring at the top. As far as the milky residue in the coolant through the expansion tank, it doesn't matter if it is new coolant or old. You will see it in there if the head is indeed cracked. You could also remove one of the plugs on cylinders 5 or 6 (which is common place for cracked heads to start) and see if there is a milky brown colour on them. If there isn't you're fine.

As far as the crappy performance, I'd recommend you pull the VANOS off (you don't need to replace the seal since I am assuming it is still new), set the engine to TDC, loosen the sprockets on the cam gears, and make sure that the cam-lock blocks go on the ends of the cams smoothly. If it gets caught or is on an angle, you have found your problem. But it still doesn't hurt to do this anyways because it will at least knock out a possibility to your bad performance.

Hope this helps!
__________________
Harry // 1995 Avus Blue M3 - 1994 Alpine Weiss 325is M-Tech (converted to a true M3 prototype) - 1998 Hellrot 328i // BMW CCA #453346 - North Capitol Chapter
My 325is M-Tech Restoration Thread
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-25-2014, 03:19 PM
heyitsjj heyitsjj is offline
Registered User
Location: Vancouver
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 92 325si M3 bodykit
You are amazing! I'm not sure if I really want to open this beast up again. It's become a nightmere of sorts of glimmers of hope followed by wtf is it now.

Glad to hear though my head should be fine. Guess I wanted to believe it as cracked or gasket issue as the cause of the leak and power loss, but makes more sense that the bugger has a bad seal someplace, thermostat leak (though it looked fine), loose hose....(I kinda hit some major pot holes that first weekend I had the car back from the garage).

I was planning to get a mustang but after using this forum for the first time, I might go ahead and try another bmw. You guys are truly experts even without seeing the car?!

From a novice amateur, thanks.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
325, coolant loss, cracked head, e36


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 09:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2011 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms