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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I turned my car on one morning and started to pack things inside it for a trip. Once I finished packing I wiped some snow off, got in, put it in drive, and before I even moved 5 feet I looked down and the coolant temperature gauge was completely in the red. There was no CEL (as I've read on other forums before coming here). How much damage do you think I've done to the head/gasket/engine overall? Thank you!

2003 330xi 155k miles
 

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First, are you sure the engine overheated? Did you check the coolant level after the engine cooled down? When was the cooling system last refreshed?

It’s not a question of if the head gasket is shot but when will it start causing problems. The M54 engine is made of aluminum. It does not tolerate overheating.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
First, are you sure the engine overheated? Did you check the coolant level after the engine cooled down? When was the cooling system last refreshed?

It’s not a question of if the head gasket is shot but when will it start causing problems. The M54 engine is made of aluminum. It does not tolerate overheating.
The coolant temperature gauge was completely in the red, so I assumed it had overheated. That's all I know of that. I did not check the coolant level once it cooled down. The only part of the cooling system that has been replaced was the water pump, and that was a little over a year ago.
 

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It can also be the thermostat that's faulty. I would do a compression check to be sure that the head is ok, but first check the coolant level, see if there is any coolant in the oil.

Check for leaks as well. Air might have been ingested and air bubbles created the spike on the temp gauge.
 
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