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DIY: Do It Yourself
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:00 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: California
Posts: 120
My Ride: 2013 535i
330 Head Gasket Replacement or Engine Swap

2004 330Cic, automatic

A few weeks after the engine overheated. I got the cooling system back in order by replacing the expansion tank, hoses, and belts (I left the water pump and thermostat for another time). Recently, the exhaust is smoking when I start it, it idles a little rough, and if I jab the gas peddle, it doesn't sound good (based on the little driving I have done after the smoke started).

So it's looking like the head or head gasket may have gone out. (I think I see a little coolant in the oil, but after an oil change the old oil wasn't milky.)

Now after consulting with my indy, I'm looking at a worst case scenario of a new head. (The indy is sure it will likely go that way.)

The indy says it could cost 22 hours of labor and $2800 for a new head. I don't know if that's reasonable (worst case), but based on what I have seen here, $1200 (2008 dollars, I think) for an indy to replace the head gasket (without replacing the head) is what I expected. Just his labor alone ($100/hour) tops that.

We talked about an engine swap. He had an insurance salvage car there with 36k miles on it, and the engine ran great. This got me thinking that maybe I could just buy a salvage engine and put it in myself. Cost for an engine, with shipping looks like around $3100 (25k miles).

I have a garage with room to work. I'm in no big hurry, but I like the car and want to get it back to normal operation. I have never replaced an engine, but it seems this would be a lot easier than repairing the head gasket and head myself. So I'm wondering if it's worth doing it myself.

So my questions are
1) Is the indy's worst case scenario estimate on the head and head gasket reasonable? (22 hours labor, $2800 for a new head)
2) What should I expect to pay the indy to put a salvage engine in (for labor)?
3) Are there any DIY's on engine replacement? (I did a search and, for the most part, came up with DIY for everything but the engine swap.)

*** Our Rides
2004 Jet Black 330CiC
1999 Bright Red 323i

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Old 11-02-2010, 06:07 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 59
My Ride: 2001 325 cic
sorry about your luck , my 01 325 cic cracked its head so i bought a used head off of ebay for $ 500 and found a local guy that would replace it for $ 600 labor . I expect it back tomorrow so I hope he knows what he is doing , I have heard they are hard to change out . By what he has been telling me it heat welded to the block , water everywhere , special tools and I dont think he would do it again for $ 600 . I really Love driving my Red Convertible and it is my all time fav car . I never had trouble with it before that and it has 110,000 mls on it . Get it checked first to find out if it is the Head or just the gasket and then go from there . PM me anytime if I can help at all .

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Old 11-03-2010, 10:39 PM   #3
Blk 2002 330ci
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Alabama
Posts: 42
My Ride: BMW 330ci
Why did it overheat?? Did the tank give way?? If not the two things that cause overheating were left unchanged. (thermo, water pump)

A couple things you need to do before you spend money.

1) Blown head gaskets show themselves one way or another. Milky oil is one. Pressure to the cooling system is another. Coolant getting low is another. Smelling coolant from the exhaust is another. Those you can check.

2) Do a leak down test or pay someone.

If the mechanic can't tell you for sure it is a head gasket run away as fast as you can.
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