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Hi, I recently had some coolant issues with my 1998 328i with 135,000 miles on the motor. My mechanic was able to spot fluids seeping from the head/block and has informed me it is time for a head gasket replacement.
We're going to replace the usual things...new gaskets, plugs, waterpump, thermostat, etc, etc....however, we weren't sure about the service interval for the VANOS, or does this follow the "if it aint broke don't mess with" category?
Thanks
 

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I Am The Machine
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If it ain't broke....

If it is rattling/ticking/doing it's thing, there are repair kits. But on E36s there's not a whole lot of maintenance you even can do to VANOS.

I'm a little concerned your mechanic wasn't sure about that. And, uhhhhhh, head gasket replacement? A little serious diagnosis from just a visual. Have you done compression or leak down checks? Have you spotted in contamination of coolant or oil? Have you noticed any sweet white smoke from the exhaust? Have you noticed temperature issues?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This is what we know.
I bought car in January (owner was very motivated to get rid of car.)
coolant recovery tank had crack....replaced with oem tank and cap from bmw
Still ongoing:
loss of 1 quart of anti-freeze every 7-10 days.
oil visually weeping from between the head and block
15 % compression loss on 2 and 3 cylinders
no smoke or smell in exhaust
To clarify....it was me that asked my mechanic if I should replace vanos when the head is off. The engine purs and runs quietly.
 

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I Am The Machine
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Ah, thanks for the info. If you've got disappearing coolant and compression loss along with enough oil to really be clear it's from between head and block, then OK, I can agree with that....:rofl:

Question - does the oil seem contaminated at all? If it's milky or anything, you may really be in for a fun job. Coolant is acidic as you may know, and will etch the hell out of your rod bearings against the crank, leading to rod knock if left unchecked. Be sure coolant is just disappearing and not contaminating the oil! 15% loss sounds like it's just starting to become a larger issue, so you're probably OK (don't wanna scare you) but be sure to check that.

You could replace the seals and such, but the VANOS is a doable job later on as well. If it purrs quietly, I vote for just leaving it alone. Be sure the mechanic replaces the valve cover gasket while he's at it, too. You probably won't have any pitting in the block or head at this stage so it's probably fine, but it's worth being sure he checks that as well.

Also, welcome to the Fest. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the welcome. I have enjoyed reading in the forum and it still cracks me up whenever somebody writes the word 'newby' in their thread title.
I still haven't got the hang of 'searching' for info inside the forum, but I am sure there is a thread explaining how to get 'google like' search results using the forum search feature.
As to your query about the oil contamination...had the mechanic change the oil when he diagnosed the head gasket and the oil looked great saw it myself...no milky mirky or brown.....just looked like used motor oil.
Ok, good news about the vanos....i just wanted to make sure there were no hidden gotcha's with the head gasket replacement.
 

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I Am The Machine
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Nah, head gasket is fairly straight forward, at least as much as any other car. Just keep in mind since you're dealing with all aluminum to watch for head warpage and such, or you'll be back in the same boat again. Good to know oil looks good. :thumbup:

Search feature is pretty simple when you get used to it. There are a few different ways, but the quickest and easiest way to get good results is to use the "Search This Forum" feature when you're in the E36 forum. It's just above the top thread, on the right. When you use the "Search" button up further, it searches all of the Fest which won't do you much good. Then, just use the same skill as you would with Google. Don't be too specific, try to think of words unique to a certain problem, ie, queries like "oil" will bring up about 15,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 threads. So focus on words that are specific to the problem. Read a bit to familiarize yourself with the lingo. If we've got the same problem but you're calling it one thing and I'm calling it another, even though I've got the answer it won't help you any. We won't castrate you for asking a question that's been asked before, as long as it shows that you've put some effort in to it. This is long, but it has some REALLY good info. This is one of my favorite forum admins, ever:
http://www.supramania.com/forums/showthread.php?p=230560
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As a bonus I found the mechanic on bimmershops.com and he is a small shop owner in the st. louis area... his shop behind his house type stuff. ase certified and specializes in bmw, audi, etc... I liked him immediately. $50 per hour and will let me shop for my own parts. He was the type of person that I want working on my car. I could tell immediately that he was the right guy for the job....walked up and gazed at the car as I arrived with a boyish curiosity like a kid window peeking the inside of a candy store. He immediately heard the annoying exhaust rattle that has been bothering me and said.... "I'll fix that"....he's not the kind of guy that just waits until something fails before saying something. Also, he reset my airbag fault codes and I didn't have to tell him....he just knew it needed to be done.
 

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I Am The Machine
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:thumbup: Sounds like a good guy. And FIFTY an hour?! Dayum. Score!

Hope he turns out to be good on the bigger stuff too. Best of luck man.
 

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Thanks for the search advice....still laughing about:15,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. That's almost as big as the national debt.
I am reading the article link you sent about the 'oldschool' guys now.
 

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I use a a guy in Hellertown Pa JCL BMW'S are all he dose and sounds like the guy you have found. Just hes at 80hr. He did my rear subframe mounts subframe bushings trailing arm bushings a new flex disk and an alinement for 750.
 
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