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General E46 Forum
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:52 PM   #21
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Well, I cannot afford to drain and check the oil on a weekly basis if the dip stick is inaccurate... I will look into the oil level sensor regardless. That should trigger a yellow oil light in the dash, right?
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:53 PM   #22
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As for the oil analysis, I just ordered the free kit today. It will be a few weeks before I can send it out for analysis. In addition to monitoring the dipstick when hot and cold, I will also monitor the cap for the residue (milky coolant mix) he says he saw. We'll see how it goes.
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Old 01-01-2011, 08:02 PM   #23
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Well, I cannot afford to drain and check the oil on a weekly basis if the dip stick is inaccurate... I will look into the oil level sensor regardless. That should trigger a yellow oil light in the dash, right?
Hope you didn't think I was suggesting draining oil to check the level.

If you drained and filled with 7 qts., then the full mark is just slightly below where the oil currently falls...and that's how you check the level...not by draining it.
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Old 01-01-2011, 08:05 PM   #24
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So the plot thickens... I just drained the oil and had over 6 qts in the drain pan. The guy at the tire shop said the dip stick was dry so he added a quart. Now, if the dip stick was dry and he added a quart, then shouldn't I have had a lot less than 6 quarts of oil when I drained it?

I changed the filter and threw in 7 qts of synthetic Mobil 1 0w-40.
To your issue with the milky residue its MOST likely because of condensation. When one shuts the car off before the oil reaches proper operation temp, one will get that milky residue, most often in cold season.

About your coolant problem, try and bleed your system again and whatever you do, DO NOT overfill it, EVER. Proper bleeding will resolve your issues. If you dont have any noticeable coolant leaks but are loosing coolant, only then you may have a blown head gasket.

I suspect you dont have any headgasket issues.
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Old 01-01-2011, 09:07 PM   #25
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Alright... I suppose I'll drain, fill, and bleed the coolant with BMW coolant. I'll have to look up how much coolant a flush requires. Thanks!
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Old 01-02-2011, 02:15 AM   #26
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Well, I cannot afford to drain and check the oil on a weekly basis if the dip stick is inaccurate... I will look into the oil level sensor regardless. That should trigger a yellow oil light in the dash, right?
.............. The level is perfectly accurate on a cold engine that hasn't been run for a few hours. Best time to check is in the mornings, or the first time you drive it in the day. Cant go wrong there. Level should be anywhere between the low mark and the high mark. If its closer to the low mark, your a drop low, but not dangerously. If you need to add a bit to go from the low to high mark you need only about a 3rd of a quart. Thats it.

Also many times if your low, when you shut the car off, there should appear a yellow oil lamp at the middle of the gauge cluster. If it never came on, your oil level was fine.

Last edited by EmFiftyFour; 01-02-2011 at 02:16 AM.
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:59 PM   #27
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Alright... So the blackstone labs kit came in today. I'll probably do this sample on the next oil change.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:28 PM   #28
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So the car had no real issues and then sat for 3 days while we were snowboarding in PA. The ambient temperatures got down to the negatives. Then, Monday morning after a cold start in 9F ambient temps, the car immediately overheated with the air on at 91F and full blast trying to defog/defrost the glass. We shut the car off and limped the car home. The car smokes now, but its not oil and i couldnt check the coolant at that time since the coolant temp indicator was on H.

What do you guys think? Is the headgasket gone now? Or is it another leak in the system that somehow killed more coolant in 3 days than it used to in 3 months?? Thoughts?
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:43 PM   #29
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So the car had no real issues and then sat for 3 days while we were snowboarding in PA. The ambient temperatures got down to the negatives. Then, Monday morning after a cold start in 9F ambient temps, the car immediately overheated with the air on at 91F and full blast trying to defog/defrost the glass. We shut the car off and limped the car home. The car smokes now, but its not oil and i couldnt check the coolant at that time since the coolant temp indicator was on H.

What do you guys think? Is the headgasket gone now? Or is it another leak in the system that somehow killed more coolant in 3 days than it used to in 3 months?? Thoughts?
A clogged radiator could be one of the possibilities. Thats my problem at the moment. Were you getting heat into the cabin? How bad does the car smoke? Could just be condensation. I hate these freakin' cooling systems
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:59 PM   #30
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So I checked the coolant level today and it seems full. I am thinking either a thermostat that is stuck closed or some other clog in the cooling system. Where should I start? What's the easiest place to check first?

I thought about pulling the plugs to see if there is residue on them, but they're not exactly the easiest things to get to (with those plastic covers and all...)

Any and all suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:23 PM   #31
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You said the car immediately overheated after start up in 9F = (-12.8C) outside temp and being NOT driven for 3 days.

The car usually takes up to 15-20 minutes for the motor to JUST come to almost normal temps at that low of a outside temp. It would take at least 25 minutes for the thermostat to open.

I suspect you have a sensor gone bad situation. The car will NOT overheat if the system has coolant in it, even if its below the lever. But since you said yours is up to level, I suspect your water temp sensor (coolant temp sensor) has gone bad, OR its not bad but simply picking up the reading from the air bubbles in the system from incorrect bleeding.

Run a compression test so that you can eliminate the "blown head gasket" theory once and for all.

If there are no leaks and coolant stays in the system up to level , given thermostat is good, WP works and headgasket is good, the car would NOT overheat EVER under normal driving circumstances. Even if the gauge goes to red, the car would NOT overheat(it picks up a reading from a very hot air bubble in the system and throws the gauge off the scale).

Its theoretically impossible.
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:23 PM   #32
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So I'm still working on getting a compression tester, but i went ahead and pulled the plugs. 5 of the 6 seemed to be black and covered in gasoline (probably from all the cold starts without letting the engine get to running temperature). The last plug was also black, but was very dry and was very hard to remove from the cylinder head. I'm not sure what that means at the moment, but I figured I'd put it out there.
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:36 PM   #33
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I should also mention that the car smokes quite a bit at idle now. It doesn't really smell like any one substance though. Not burning oil, not gasoline, and not really coolant either. Again, a compression test will hopefully yield some information as to what's broken.
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Old 01-29-2011, 01:04 PM   #34
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I had a blown head gasket not to long after I purchased it. I decided on fixing it. idk if you love bmw's or if you love your own bmw but if you really in love with your car. I say fix it. I paid around 1,200 to fix mine.
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Old 01-29-2011, 02:40 PM   #35
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I had a blown head gasket not to long after I purchased it. I decided on fixing it. idk if you love bmw's or if you love your own bmw but if you really in love with your car. I say fix it. I paid around 1,200 to fix mine.
Cant say I love it, but I had no choice but to fix it myself. Spent around $700 but coulda spent less.
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Old 02-02-2011, 06:56 PM   #36
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While I'm working on getting the compression tester, do you guys think it makes sense to do a complete flush of the coolant system to check for clogs and stuff? Is there an easy DIY way to check for a clogged radiator or expansion tank or something?

If the compression test shows that its good to go, I am thinking of draining everything, pulling the radiator, expansion tank, hoses, pump, and thermostat and giving them a thorough inspection prior to replacement.
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:46 AM   #37
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OK... So after a good chunk of time testing compression testers rather than checking compression on this car, I finally wound up with a functional compression tester. I ran the test cold at an ambient temp of about 40F.

All cylinders came in at around 210 - 220 PSI. This leads me to believe that the head gasket is OK. The next question is: where is the coolant going? Where should I start? Should I move ahead with my plan above?
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:15 PM   #38
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So I am in the process of removing the valve cover and the bastard won't budge. I am scared that if I hit it too hard or pry it, it'll crack. Any tips?
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:46 PM   #39
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You should be scared of stuff like that! Just work progressively and slowly, and make sure you've unscrewed all the screws...including the ones in the center of the vc. Maybe a fine putty knife between vc and gasket...just push down to break it free. I forget whether mine was stuck or not, but remember it's plastic...and expensive!

Work with two putty knives if it's really not moving...once one is in, stick another in to 'hold' that section up, and wiggle the other one around...at some point she'll give...and I sort of think you probably already got it off.

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Old 02-14-2011, 03:31 PM   #40
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It really shouldnt be that hard. But wait till you see how fun removing the old gasket will be from the valve cover I know mine was almost fused with the valve cover, and only came off in bits and peices. Took me forever.
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