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Major Decision - replace head or buy "new" engine

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I just blew my head (gasket?) -- not certain what happened, except it probably happened in an instant when some hoses under the engine cover blew while driving uphill to my home. Pulled into my driveway and found oil in my coolant as well. I never saw the engine overheat. But my mech flushed out the cooling system and within two days it was filled with oil. He couldn't tell me whether the engine block had been damaged, but recommended best option would be to replace aluminum head. -- $5k job according to him.

I took it elsewhere for a second opinion and they said they'd never replace the head because they couldn't guarantee the block was ok. $5k job according to him.

I've a problem with orig mech because I bought the car through him and asked him to make sure to replace anything on engine at the time that would cause problems. But the didn't check the hoses under the engine cover. And he rcommended I replace all the burst hoses before he could determine how serious the damage was ($2k investment for nothing it seems). How common is it that the head cracks and the rest of the engine is good. This mech says likely.

So, I love the car, I've replaced a lot of the parts and a couple interior parts -- and I'm really unhappy to let go of the car, but an additional $5K investment is very steep for me at the moment and i can't even justify putting $ away if I can't fathom the investment would get me another 100k -- I bought car with mileage 60k and ran it for 2 years to 104k.

Desperate for sane opinions on next step (aside from my wife's sell it for whatever I can get).

Anyone care to put their 2 cents in? New Head + gasket vs "new" engine vs too risky to fix it.

Thanks in advance.

Matthew Reichman
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Common sense: Replace the whole engine. That's 1 cent.

Based on previous members' experience: Many times replacing the head or the head gasket does not go well. Conclusion: Replace the whole engine. That's 1 cent.

Total: Replace the engine. That's 2 cents.

BTW..... You're wife might be accidentally right. You can get these cars for $7k. :dunno: .... So if you sell for $2k you are already at the same cost. That's a more difficult decision since you know what you put in it. But if you can part the car out, you might keep the parts you put in it? But that's going into the 3 cents category already, and you only asked for a 2 cents advice.

Don't forget that there might be other things that caused that. You'll find them when you take the engine apart, or when you take the engine out. It might end up costing you more than $5k.

I think it is worth a try. Maybe we could talk 1 on 1 since I am in LA area and know of some good ways to finagle things in our town. My machine shop guy got a head for $500 (mine was cracked) and redid all the valves etc. for about $800 I think. Santiago's in Oxnard. Was in 2007 and car is still purrrrring fine. I also have a fantastic Indy up my way in Camarillo - Brad's Motor Werke's. A BMW Master Tech trained at BMW. Guy is truly a genius - only works on BMW's. I am just shooting my mouth off but If the car was here in Camarillo I bet we could put you back on the road - safely and with a good engine - for half that 5K. [email protected] if you wanna talk.

Brad's link []

Here is a reman'd head for a 325 for $400 []

Another one for $350 []

My machine shop pressure checks them and rebuilds them with a guarantee - 'course no one yet has said you need to replace yours... but if you do, these are some prices.
I'm gonna start collecting all the "head gasket should I replace the engine links" together so the next people with the same problem can read the anguished threads. It's sad. Very sad. Most due to a cooling system failure gone worse.

Anyway, if you fix it yourself, look here:
- Fixing a head gasket coolant leak (1) (2) (3)

But, getting the car checked by more than one mechanic seems wise given the costs involved:
- BMW phantom diagrams (1) & nominal prices by part number (1) labor rates by zip code (1) (2) (3) where to find a good mechanic (1) (2) & finding a specialty BMW indy in your area (1)
A lot here suggest replacing the engine without knowing what is wrong with the original.
If a hose failed and it didn't overheat it is likely from overpressurization of the cooling system from exhaust gasses passing the fire ring of the head gasket.
If you are confident it's not been overheated chances are good that a simple gasket replacement is all you need.
If it was severely overheated you stand a good chance of a warped or cracked head and having the headbolt threads in the block damaged.
It needs to be properly diagnosed. Nobody here with a keyboard is going to do it and no speculation from the "mechanics" you've spoken to is helpful either.
Only you know how hot it got.
You are in L.A., call my cousin place or come there and speak to Hoa (the owner), he knows his stuff!!!!
No way should you spend 5K to replace the head. You can get one for $750 and install labor I'm thinking would be about 1K. I've done the work myself on two 528's and it's not so mysterious.
For cross reference, another engine died today ...
last night when i was driving at around 4-5k revs the engine died and a piston or rod went through the engine block. the car is a 525i m54 double vanos engine with 150k miles on it.
my question is what caused this , i know i had a compression problem on cyl 6 it was 9 and the other cylinder where 11.5 , could this be the cause
and what do you think i should buy another m54b25 engine or a m54b30
is the swap easy , on realoem it says that the clutch is different and the gearbox also
First things first , check to see if the head bolts pull. If they do then heli coil them. If there not the buy a rebuilt head for 500 on ebay and a head gasket kit around 200 and then buy a cooling system overhaul kit from turner and your done, easy ****. If you do it your self you'll save a lot of money
To Help with this--I vote another engine--and have CN90's people install it for you--you dude is robbing you. I'm having the same work being performed because of a burnt exhaust valve--engine with 270k miles on her--time for a new engine
Good luck ,,what ever you do
Get a low or mid mileage engine from The ones I just saw for a 2000 528i ranged from $2k to $2.5k. That's a lot less than $5,000!

I got a 3.0L motor with 45k miles on it off there for my E46 last year and am very happy I did.
This is good information, as I have been collecting stories of what people did when their engines were blown, so that the next person would have the information easily at hand.

- Summary advice to provide users who suspect a major engine repair due to overheating (1) (2) (3) (4) & how to test an engine for a blown head gasket, cracked heads, a warped block, stripped head bolt threads, cam seizures, contaminated bearings, coolant hydrolock, or piston, ring, or valve damage (1) (2) & what are the major factors in deciding whether to rebuild the engine, replace the engine, or sell the car (1) & a DIY for replacing the I6 M54 head gasket (1) (2) & replacing the V8 M62TU head gasket (1) & why these engines are so prone to heat-related damage in the first place (1) & welding the crack between cylinder #3 and the water jacket on the exhaust side (1) & what engine swaps are most recommended (1) (2) (3) & where to obtain a new or rebuilt head (1) replacement short block or long block (1) (2) & how to lift & remove the engine (1) & the most recent real-world results from the last 50 people faced with similar blown engine problems from which this advice came from (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) (23) (24) (25) (26) (27) (28) (29) (30) (31) (32) (33) (34) (35) (36) (37) (38) (39) (40) (41) (42) (43) (44) (45) (46) (47) (48) (49) (50)
Get a low or mid mileage engine from The ones I just saw for a 2000 528i ranged from $2k to $2.5k. That's a lot less than $5,000!
There is good information related to this topic over here today:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > 540i New Engine cost
I have a 2003 540i 6 speed sport package which I love. I had a problem with heavy smoke from the exhaust on start up, and replace a torn breather. After this, the car still smoked and I had BMW check the car. They found slightly worn valve guides and #7 cylinder with a low compression of 155psi (1-6 and 8 are 175-185psi). Low performance cylinder leak down test found hot 24% leakage through crank case pass piston rings, cold 40% leakage through crank case pass piston rings in cylinder #7. They recommended living with the problem until power loss as the only fix is to rebuild the engine.

Through a friend, I can get a BMW factory EOM engine installed parts/labor/tax included for $12,000. Should I go ahead and is this a good price?
Just get another engine pulled from a good running bimmer at the junk yard fully tested with warranty this case is a very uncommon situation forget about this engine. I went through whether to rebuild my 540i 6 spds m-sports or get a another engine so went to several shops all recommended me a new engine and shopping around and met this guy through a friend who buys used engine from junk yard and ships overseas took me there and found one from 01 740i with 135k mi and 12 month warranty for just $1400 which was on sale on car-part for $2400 and had a factory trained Acura dealership mechanic do the job at his dad body shop for $1000. The bimmer drives like a champ now for $2400 engine and labor and $260 in parts and rebuilding would cost me over $3k with uncertainty
Just shop around for another engine
Good luck there too many e39 and e46 l6 engine out there for sale

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I had my BMW 530i (I-6) head checked for straightness free, then had a shop cut it between .005 and .006. And they pressure checked it, all for about $90.00. I used an oversized head gasket, and also had put new threads in the block. I saw some new (used ) heads for sale online somewhere for $500.00. But then you would need the valves moved to the new head (unless they come with everything). Probably need to have them cut to match the new valve seats. And new seals. My valves were in great condition, so there was no need to touch them, as the head was good after the shave. I just can't tell you how to make sure the block is ok. Plus, the threads may look good before you torque the new head bolts. But then find out the threads were weak, only after you torque them and they pull out after all of that work. You have to have the block checked, and the threads checked, all before final assembly. Those damned aluminum threads just turn soft with overheating. I would not trust a used engine without a warranty. Then you have another problem, if you do the engine replace yourself, the warranty is no good. They usually only honor the warranty if a shop replaces the used engine. It's a crapshoot. Go with someone who is recommended by other BMW drivers. I personally would go with pulling the engine and getting another one. Mine did not have oil in the water. Usually, it's the other way around, because the water is under pressure and goes into the oil. Also, number #1, or #6 cylinders (on the 6 cylinder engine) usually go bad and leak. That's because of engine design. Although some people say cylinder #3 gave them problems. You don't have much to lose to pull the head to see if the engine is repairable. But, that's only if you yourself does the work. otherwise, you pay labor. That money might be better used for an engine swap. Just some thoughts.
Don't listen to these guys and waste your time and money to rebuild this loser as retiredat44 mentioned I never do anything like that on my bimmer only if you are specialist guess what most people who rebuilt their engine head got in trouble sooner or later just google it you will find a lot of old post about that if I have to do what he did I will be at German auto shop by factory trained mechanic as you everything has to be checked by computer don't mess with cars
these engines are strong if not overheated
my sucked oil this winter into cylinders because of frozen oil separator
after clean up and new oil separator no issue at all
my vote is a new engine , GL !
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