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Old 07-08-2006, 06:57 PM   #1
kingkassis
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Please Help! Brownish foamy whipped stuff in my radiator coolant

Hi Everyone,

Does anyone know why I have this foamy brown stuff in my radiator? Please see attached pics. After getting a low coolant light, the next day I check my coolant and i found this crap. I decided to do a complete flush, so I drained the system completely, all the way to the engine block. Flushed a couple of times with a garden hose, then i added BMW coolant and distilled water. I ran for a couple of miles and recheck, and I still got this brownish foamy stuff. Any ideas??
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Last edited by kingkassis; 07-08-2006 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 07-08-2006, 07:18 PM   #2
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Old 07-08-2006, 07:23 PM   #3
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bad news, man...that's engine oil getting into the coolant. you have either a blown head gasket and/or a cracked head. $$$$ to fix.
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Old 07-08-2006, 07:24 PM   #4
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Dude, obviously you need to have your system flushed and new coolant.
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Old 07-08-2006, 07:29 PM   #5
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oh man!! Can any one out there confirm what bikergeek said?
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Old 07-08-2006, 07:39 PM   #6
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Who S*** in your coolant?
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Old 07-08-2006, 07:46 PM   #7
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i have no idea what that is but it makes sense what biker geek said.....do yourself a favor and call a local gas station with a mechanic or the bmw dealership.....doesnt look good bro
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Old 07-08-2006, 07:50 PM   #8
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Biker is right, one way to verify it is by checking your oil to see if you have coolant there, when you have a blown head gasket the oil over flows into the ports where your coolant runs in the head. Did you car ever over heat at some point??
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Old 07-08-2006, 07:59 PM   #9
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no the car never overheated. The funny thing is about two weeks ago i checked the coolant and it was a little low. So I added off the shelf premixed coolant and the coolant in the radiator looked very clean. Last night i was driving and the coolant light came on. So i drove for about 4 miles with the light on until i got home. The next day i went down first thing in the morning to check on the coolant and when i opened the cap that stuff started to spew out. I found it weird because although the engine was cold, when i turned the cap i felt it was pressurized. coolant and nasty sh*t continued to spew out. The car was in the sun and it was about 90 degrees so that could have been it.

The oil looks clean, there is no sign of anti-freeze there. Although it was about half a quart low.

what do you think?
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Old 07-08-2006, 08:12 PM   #10
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Sorry to say, but that is a classic sign of a blown head gasket. When a leak develops in the head gasket it can cause one or many different problems incluing: it may allow engine oil into your coolant. It may also allow coolant into your crankcase oil. Or it can allow coolant into your exhaust system (appears as white exhaust smoke and smells sweet like coolant). You say your checked your oil level and it looked low. That is because your oil is being drawn into the cooling system. You should only drive this car in to get the head gasket replaced. Do not keep driving it until you get it fixed or you could cause much more damage.

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Old 07-08-2006, 08:12 PM   #11
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Wow. That's not good. Get your car towed.
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Old 07-08-2006, 08:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingkassis
So I added off the shelf premixed coolant and the coolant in the radiator looked very clean.
Use only BMW coolant in your system along with distilled water or you are just asking for trouble.
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Old 07-08-2006, 08:35 PM   #13
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i know that was a big mistake.... I figured a little off-the-shelf topping off wouldn't hurt. I can't believe though a small thing like that could have caused the blown gasket...


Quote:
Originally Posted by IxNay
Use only BMW coolant in your system along with distilled water or you are just asking for trouble.
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Old 07-08-2006, 08:48 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone for your input!! Very much appreciated. You guys have confirmed my worst fears...

How much should i expect to dish out for this at the stealership?

Anyone have experience with this?
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Old 07-08-2006, 09:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by kingkassis
How much should i expect to dish out for this at the stealership?
Given that yours is a 2000 and out of warranty I wouldn't have a dealership do it. Take it to a good independent BMW specialist mechanic in your area and get an estimate. You list your location as Boston, there are tons of 'em around here. I can't help you out personally there, I've had my car for maybe seven months and haven't had to have any service performed on it yet (other than an oil change I did myself in the driveway, and I gotta glue the passenger side door seal back on).

A head swap is a fairly involved job with lots of labor. A good independent mechanic will lay out several "treatment options" for you and the costs and benefits of each, along with an approximate price tag.

Good luck.
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Old 07-08-2006, 10:08 PM   #16
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Use only BMW coolant in your system along with distilled water or you are just asking for trouble.
i've used other coolants for a long time, and i never had problems... of course my mechanic told me it's recommended, so i guess i'll switch to bmw coolant for my next flush. nothing to worry about.
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Old 07-09-2006, 01:35 AM   #17
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I suspect your problem might be the fact that you used off the shelf coolant mixed the BMW original stuff and a reaction ocurred to create sludge. I would also suspect that you have a cooling system leak also. The M52TU engine is not known to blow head gaskets....however, it is known to have coolant leaks.

Last edited by Bring Me Women; 07-09-2006 at 01:39 AM.
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Old 07-09-2006, 02:40 AM   #18
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Yea i agree. And like you i don't know of any good mechanic around here because i never had to take it to a mechanic either. Does anyone recommend a mechanic that specializes with bmws cars in the greater Boston area?


Quote:
Originally Posted by bikergeek
Given that yours is a 2000 and out of warranty I wouldn't have a dealership do it. Take it to a good independent BMW specialist mechanic in your area and get an estimate. You list your location as Boston, there are tons of 'em around here. I can't help you out personally there, I've had my car for maybe seven months and haven't had to have any service performed on it yet (other than an oil change I did myself in the driveway, and I gotta glue the passenger side door seal back on).

A head swap is a fairly involved job with lots of labor. A good independent mechanic will lay out several "treatment options" for you and the costs and benefits of each, along with an approximate price tag.

Good luck.
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Old 07-09-2006, 02:52 AM   #19
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How often do you check your oil? Basically, do you know the timeframe that the oil leaked to .5 quart low? My first thoughts were blown headgasket, but its weird for the oil to be coolant free still. I would try emptying the whole thing and putting some fresh coolant in, run the engine (idling) for a bit, and see if it changes color, maybe even just try distilled water...if the gasket's gone the coolant isn't that important (BMW vs just water).

If you have limited mechanical skills (maybe run a compression test if you know how) then you might be better off taking it to a shop to begin with and having them diagnose it. Like other said....warped head, sludge, etc. etc. can come from a blown head gasket being driven on.

The M52 is notorious for overheating and blowing the gasket though...
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Old 07-09-2006, 09:18 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingkassis
Yea i agree. And like you i don't know of any good mechanic around here because i never had to take it to a mechanic either. Does anyone recommend a mechanic that specializes with bmws cars in the greater Boston area?
I know this is far fetched but are you the only driver of the car? If ot any chance someone else just so happened to put oil in the radiator instead of coolant. Yes I know this is far fetched, but I have read of more stupid events happening on this forum before.

And like tyler said above I would try reflushing it maybe a couple times with Distilled water (Not a Garden Hose)

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