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Old 03-11-2012, 02:58 PM   #1
tommytoyz
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Head Gasket Replacement Shortcut DIY

I recently replaced my head gasket on my 323i 1999. But it is leaking again. I think the mistake I did was to scratch some of the new gasket material on the new gasket - the black stuff that goes around the piston hole cut out - and installed it anyway.

Car has not overheated - not even a little. But I know I have water being blown out and some oik in the coolant and a gunky oil cap.

Here's my question:

I know how to replace the head gasket the long way. But having done it once before, I realized there may be a much faster way to do this job and I want to know if anyone has done it like I am about to decribe:

1. Remove the hood
2. Remove the intake manifold
3. Remove the Valve cover
4. Remove the chain tensioner
5. Remove the head bolts
6. Install hoist
7. Gently hoist up the head a few inches
8. Remove old Head Gasket through the gap
9. Clean surfaces through gap as best as possible
9. Install new Head gasket through the gap
10. Lower the head carefully
11. Reassemble

This would eliminate taking off anything on the exhaust manifold side and the Vanos and chains.

Of course you can not inspect and test the head this way, but I recently had that done and am reasonably sure that's not the problem. Anybody done this?
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Old 03-11-2012, 03:03 PM   #2
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So your saying you didn't send the head off to a machine shop to at least be checked?
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Old 03-11-2012, 03:44 PM   #3
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If you're sure anything didnt twist or deform, this will work. But its not the recommended way.
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:14 PM   #4
tommytoyz
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Yes, the 1st time I did send the head off to have it checked and resurfaced. I know it is not the recommended way, but would make it doable in half the time - or even faster. I only have about 5,000 miles since I did the head gasket and everything was perfect, until a few days ago, when I started using up coolant and a few other signs that - unfortunately - make it pretty clear to me the gasket is not holding for some reason.

I might do it the traditional way, as I was planning on changing the clutch and rear seal, which requires removal of the exhaust and detaching from the exhaust manifold. But not sure yet.

I think a hoist is mandatory in any case - regardless of method - because even with 2 people, it's too easy to nick it on installation onto the new gasket. The head is just too big and heavy.

At least I'll be much faster the 2nd time as I know exactly where everything is and how it comes apart and back together. No more hours of searching for a way to get something off or on.....
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:01 AM   #5
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Sounds like you're asking for approval for doing something half-assed. You're going through all that work, don't gamble with your time.

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Old 03-12-2012, 09:46 PM   #6
tommytoyz
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I was asking if anyone had done it this way once before or not. It seems like I'll do it the long way....again
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:47 PM   #7
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How is this really a shortcut? You're doing all that work and then instead of removing head and doing job properly you will just save the 60 seconds to hoist head up and remove from car. Did you get the head checked last time? What about the studs were you able to re-torque all to spec? I'm all about saving time/money but I will say that this particular job, if being done, is one that should be done right.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:11 PM   #8
DonnieC
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How much did the head gasket you put in cost you? I just dropped my car off at the mechanic less than an hour ago and it was overheating really bad. I could see there was antifreeze leaking out underneath the hood area of the car but not really smoking from the tail pipe just the hood.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonnieC View Post
How much did the head gasket you put in cost you? I just dropped my car off at the mechanic less than an hour ago and it was overheating really bad. I could see there was antifreeze leaking out underneath the hood area of the car but not really smoking from the tail pipe just the hood.
Your expansion tank probably blew up. That is the most common thing. AFTER your ET blows up, you lose all your coolant, overheat, and if you aren't fast enough, you can blow the headgasket and warp the head. IF you turned it off fast enough, then you just need to do a cooling system overhaul.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDE46 View Post
Your expansion tank probably blew up. That is the most common thing. AFTER your ET blows up, you lose all your coolant, overheat, and if you aren't fast enough, you can blow the headgasket and warp the head. IF you turned it off fast enough, then you just need to do a cooling system overhaul.
Could be one of the hard coolant pipes under the manifold too.
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