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Thread: Possible Headgasket problem; need help!

  1. #1
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    Default Possible Headgasket problem; need help!

    I just changed my oil today at my ususal 3000 mile interval and noticed a frothy brownish reddish color bunch of bubbles sitting on top of the oil that I had just taken out of the car. The BMW 525i had just turned 162,000 miles and has been running just fine. I checked the E34 website re: headgasket problems but the site mentioned a whitish color residue that would be on the oil cap or dipstick. I didn't see any of that. However, I did notice that my coolannt level was down in the radiator and I refilled that with a 50/50 mix of BMW coolant and water. Here are my questions:

    1. How can I know for sure whether I have a headgasket problem?

    2. If it is not a headgasket, what else could it be?

    3. If it is a headgasket how long and how bad is this job? Should I tackle
    it myself or take it to a mechanic? What is the approximate cost?

    Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys.


    Best regards,

    Al Gray

  2. #2
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    Default

    is this a newer car for you? maybe the oil is flushing off old sludge and crap into the oil? Were there any additives in the old oil?
    95 E34 530I V2.37
    ===========
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    John F. Kennedy

  3. #3
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    Default

    No, I have had the car for three years now. The last 3 or 4 oil changes I have used Valvoline Durablend 10W 40, a part synthetic and part regualr oil. I am not sure whether that has any effect. The fact that I had to replace some coolant could be another problem. The water pump and thermostat were recently replaced as well as all the belts. I do not have any radiator themp. problems.

  4. #4
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    Default after suffering through

    much unnecessary deliberation about my own head gasket, there is only one definitive way to tell, IMHO. (the coolant chemical tester is too hit or miss for me). winfred suggested using a compression gauge spark plug adaptor hooked to an air compressor. you might want to ask him for the pressure, i don't know it. if it is breached, you will be able to make bubbles in the rad overflow tank. was the volume of the oil more than it usually is? could it just be crap in the collection container maybe?
    "..Torchinski v. Peterson that it is legal to carry a concealed weapon, so long the weapon is totally slick like a huge ass machine gun that you carry under a trench coat, like in the Matrix."


  5. #5
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    Default

    based upon mileage and your description sounds like your headgasket is gone if your coolant level is down and you suspect coolant in your oil sump. Hard for your engine oil to be contaminated other than coolant...particularly if you know what has been in the engine in the last while. Changing a head gasket is for the skilled home mechanic or a pro. If you don't fall in this category it would be best left to a pro. Typical replacment cost with a valve job is probably $1500-$1800 and more for a vanos M50.
    Good Luck,
    George

  6. #6
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    Default i'd

    suggest that if you think there's foreign particulate in there, that you save the oil and not dispose of it yet. if you know somebody that's a chemist, or you have a chemistry background (gen chem II or organic I) there's a test you can run on oil to see if there is EG in it. most commonly used for antifreeze in wine testing (like the simpsons episode), it can detect it fairly well if you try to scoop the CONTAMINATED (not the most oil concentrated section ) oil up. this wouldn't have helped me 'cause all of it was going out the tailpipe in my situation, but if i knew about it then, i'd have run it for $hits and giggles.

    take
    NaIO4 Sodium Periodate Meth --granules(roughly 4.02 g and mix with 2L water)

    MBTH Hydrochloride
    specifically--MBTH 3-methyl 2-benzothiazoline hydrazone hydrochloride hydrate
    at about 97%
    , mix with another 2L of water

    take 1 ml of the oil and dump it into a test tube with

    6 ml NaIO4

    and 3 ml mbth


    shake like polaroid pik-tur (bleh)


    within 10 seconds, if it turns blue, there's eth glycol in it :^(

    any other color is negative..

    if this isn't practical, just send some of the oil off for an oil analysis (overnight if u like) and find out for about $26 plus shipping.
    "..Torchinski v. Peterson that it is legal to carry a concealed weapon, so long the weapon is totally slick like a huge ass machine gun that you carry under a trench coat, like in the Matrix."


  7. #7
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    Ryan what are you into over there?
    95 E34 530I V2.37
    ===========
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    John F. Kennedy

  8. #8
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    oh, fergot to give an estimate of costs......for yer m50, it would cost about $1000 most psuedo-indy places (indy significantly more, BMW about $3500) for headgasket only.....i don't even know how much valve job goes for....most of the places that i could get to agree to test the head (for a reasonable 50-75 dollars) wouldn't touch the DOHC stuff to take apart, and many places don't wanna touch BMW stuff without you laying down a decent chunk of change....apparently special tools that most places don't have are required for disassembling m50 head.
    "..Torchinski v. Peterson that it is legal to carry a concealed weapon, so long the weapon is totally slick like a huge ass machine gun that you carry under a trench coat, like in the Matrix."


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 632 Regal
    Ryan what are you into over there?

    not sure what you mean.....my occupation is as an authorized thunderbird/night train reseller
    "..Torchinski v. Peterson that it is legal to carry a concealed weapon, so long the weapon is totally slick like a huge ass machine gun that you carry under a trench coat, like in the Matrix."


  10. #10
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    Default

    Has anyone out there done a headgasket replacement job? I looked at my Bently manual and there are 3 different special BMW toos needed to do the job. I consider myself a skilled home mechanic but I just want to know what I am getting into. Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.

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