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M20b27

Discussion in 'E28 (1982-1988)' started by harris318i, Mar 7, 2011.

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    harris318i

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    1984 528e
    I bought this car from a friend of the family who had the engine (head) rebuilt. No coolant was in the car when i obtained it so i attached the hoses that came with the car and introduced new coolant into the system. now, when i originally was hooking up the hoses the rear hose to the engine (between the firewall and engine, prob to heater core) was not installed and coolant was leaking all over the rear of the engine near the fire wall. dont know if that helps diagnose anything.
    i have only driven the car a few times but it was a total of ~90-100miles. my coolant is very milky but the oil is fine. neither have dropped in level either. the blower motor is shot but when i drive the car and turn the knob towards hot the car definitely heats up (the engine does not overheat, it just gets warm in the car)
    recently i was letting the car warm up on a cold day and blew the coolant hose leaving the coolant resevoir into the water pump.
    i am out of ideas as everyone suggests that its the head gasket and i am hoping that its either
    a) when the head originally went some oil was left in the hoses
    b) when the head originally went some oil was left in the engine where the coolant flows.
    c) if i flush the engine this will all go away
    any ideas are greatly appreciated

    cwbiii guest

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    milky...

    By milky I'm guessing there is some oil mixed in with it.

    There aren't many places where the oil system and coolant system are in close contact... The head is the primary one. You want to hope that it is only the head gasket... since the alternative is a lot worse, a cracked head or worse yet a cracked block. Generally the only thing that will make a head gasket leak is putting it in without the proper care, or improper torquing of the head bolts... this includes heat soaking the engine by running it up to full operating temperature and then letting it cool down and re-torquing the head bolts. A quick check is to try to torque them now... if they are loose such that they turn at all, then they were probably not re-tightened after heat soaking the engine. If so you can try to re-torque them and see if the problem goes away... if it does then congratulations, if not then you will need to pull the head and find what is causing the leak. A scratch or bend in the head gasket are the primary cause from improper installation. For an improperly torqued head the gasket can be ruined if it leaks long enough. If the gasket looks ok then you will need to have the head magna-fluxed to check it for cracks.
    Check the specs for your engine, many heads require that you replace the head bolts after 1 or 2 uses since they stretch a little bit with each use. Typically the bolt will have a dab of paint in the top if has been re-used since the factory, they are supposed to be discarded when the head is removed. If they are loose then check all of the other bolts on the head as well since they also should have been treated pretty much the same. Anything more than a very tiny amount of movement ( 10-15 degrees of rotation) would be considered loose at the proper torque rating.
    Also follow the pattern for torquing the bolts since it to is important to not cause the head to warp or crack during installation or de-installation. All of the pertinent info is in any of the shop or repair manuals for this vehicle.

    Chuck
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    MGarrison

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    you say head rebuilt..... in what way did the original head go? There's a lot that could have gone wrong or been done wrong here. Aluminum BMW cyl. heads don't tolerat overheating very well; if, say, a water pump or hose blew & the engine badly overheated, the head could warp. If a warped head was reinstalled, for instance, that could be a problem. It should have been checked for warpage, and, if not damaged beyond repair, repaired or machined true again before re-installing. Installation needed to be done correctly (proper preparation & truing of mating & gasket surfaces, for instance). Proper torquing of the head bolts, etc. If something blew badly that allowed the oil & coolant flow passages/areas to get contaminated, they would need to be thoroughly cleaned and de-contaminated before re-assembly for a clean & proper install, without contamination (block, radiator, hoses, etc. etc. etc).

    If the head was cracked but not checked for cracks, obviously that could be a problem. Anyway, you see where this is all going - ez to see the symptom of a problem, not so ez to pinpoint the cause, particularly after humpty-dumpty's been put back together again.

    You _might_ want to change the oil just as a doublecheck, in case the dipstick isn't showing coolant in the oil - but it'll be obvious if it drains out the oil pan (watch as it drains).

    Hope you figure it out!
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    CRKrieger

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    Chuck, I can tell you're a smart guy with good experience, but you're kind of old school and you aren't up to speed on the E28. I'm no expert, but I know that some of the E28s use stretch-to-torque head bolts. If they've already been torqued properly (or at all, for that matter), you could snap them off by retorquing them or tightening them further. These are not to be reused or retightened! Therefore, unless the OP is absolutely sure he doesn't have these bolts (recognizable if the torque spec says to tighten to a number and "then a quarter turn" or some such instruction), he shouldn't mess with them!

    The real experts are at MyE28.com - my third recommendation of the day. Go login there and do a search on head bolts. That will turn up the answers.
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    harris318i

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    Thank you all for your advice. Unfortunately i am not sure as to what the process was on the engine rebuild and am just becoming familiar with the interworkings of maintaining a vehicle myself (biggest thing ive done so far was timing belt, water pump, control arm and tie rods on my 88 325). granted, i know the people i bought the car from and it wont be hard to find out who performed the work on the car. as soon as it stops raining ill be under there changing the oil. i checked the dipstick a few days ago and noticed the oil was higher than it should be (figure with extra oil in the engine the pressure could be forcing it into the coolant somewhere?)
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    CRKrieger

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    That's enough skill to do a head gasket job. It just takes a lot longer. ;)
    No. Extra oil does not equal extra oil pressure. The oil pump does that, regardless of how much oil is available (unless there's not enough and it draws air). How did the oil look? Any coolant in it? Any odor of coolant (kind of sweet)? Did you get your Bentley manual yet?
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    MGarrison

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    If your coolant level is down and your dipstick is reading higher, and you haven't added any oil to the motor, I'd think you could logically suspect that coolant is ending up in the oilpan, unless, say, you suspected rainwater of leaking into the engine (seems unlikely).
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    harris318i

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    The blower motor doesnt work so when you turn on the heater no heat blows out, just cold air...so one might assume that its leaking past the firewall....but when driving the car you can feel the heat pouring out from the vents (so i assume that means its flowing past the heater core) BUT Thats the weird part Im not loosing any coolant...im doing the oil change this weekend (spent the day with the 325 yesterday and today), so im crossing my fingers. Ya'll got me worried when you posted that even though the dipstick isnt showing coolant it may still be in there...

    This is my theory...the only (main) reason you would rebuild a head is because of the head gasket. I figure that when the engine was rebuilt some oil remained in the coolant area...? BUT!!!! when first got the car going and added coolant to the engine i forgot to clamp the hose that goes to the heater core ( :p) and coolant was pouring out by the firewall (as in right in front of the firewall in the engine bay) but it was still green, no oil was with it

    i was running the car a few weeks ago and a hose broke (reservoir to water pump) so all the coolant came out. i replaced that hose as well as the others and added water and a flush into the system. ran it 2 days and checked it yesterday....the level is the same but the water in the reservoir is milky again (oh and i havent emptied out the milky water yet, so im not completely done flushing it).

    Now being that im still learning about cars i had to look up the coolant reservoir as i originally thought that it was part of the coolant flow, but learned that as the pressure building in the rad it flows back into the reservoir and then to the water pump. ... could that mean that the oil is hiding in my Radiator and NOT in the engine?

    Compression check, changing the oil, and changing the coolant happen this weekend.

    just trying to restore this thing to sell it for 5er Fest this year or at least before winter..she deserves an owner who only wants to drive her every once in a while. Inspected till 02/2012 !! new exhaust, rad, dist, rotor, spark plugs, used dme, new hoses, paint job is ~10yrs old (no rust or chips in the paint either) 5 SPEED :D
    Ill post more details about her when i get it fixed (you know you want it :p )
    i need a daily driver (trying to buy a e36 328i :D or a e36 325i if i have to).
    • Member

    harris318i

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    HEYYYYY

    So i did the oil change over the weekend and its Black. dark milk chocolate black. no coolant or water in it at all (remember, the hose broke and all the coolant came pouring out and i replaced it with water).. so i ran the engine with water in it and disconnected the return line from the radiator to the reservoir and just kept adding water to it (which is really hard to do by oneself, when you don't have a garden hose or an outside faucet and have to keep running into the house to refill a milk jug.... :mad:)

    i dont know if it was looking any better and im pretty sure i was running out of gas. so i shut it down and ill try it again sometime this week when i have help. i figure running it for an hour or 2 will get it cleaned.

    BTW...as i was running it i removed the oil dipstick to check it and she didnt like that one bit..started choking sputtering and cussing at me. thats not normal, right?
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    granthr

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    That is completely normal, you had just created a major vacuum leak!!!! :D
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    MGarrison

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    harris318i

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    NICE! I was just looking for a coolant flow diagram the other day.
    Thanks man

    So i did the compression check yesterday and it didnt go so well. granted, i didnt let the engine get up to op temp (which hopefully has a lot to do with it) but i was getting anywhere between 150 - 192 on the dry test and 170 - 200 on the wet test. ill post the actual readings up when i get home today, but like i said im hoping that a cold engine had everything to do with it.

    :( adding that oil to the cylinders caused a lot of smoke to pour out the back...the neighbors are not happy
    • Member

    harris318i

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    528e EMERGENCY

    528e EMERGENCY

    It is currently 1:15 pm eastern time (PA)

    Ive been driving the 528e for the last 2.5 days to and from work (~15miles, each way = ~75miles some miscellaneous stops along the way).
    Since the batteries in the SI Board are most likely fried (SI Lights flicker, rev limit needle sometimes works) i cant determine if the coolant needle is right or wrong, sometimes its stable other times it wavers but its never gone into the red when its "working" though its probably just stuck...

    ~7:15 am

    i decided to check the coolant and oil today after i got to work. i checked the engine oil and it was acceptable (between the add and refill mark) i decided to wait to check the coolant, as to avoid burning my face.

    Between 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm i decided to check the coolant reservoir. its no longer a "little milky" color...
    IT IS COMPLETELY FILLED WITH OIL! and i dont mean half coolant half oil, this is definitely OIL

    I checked the oil:
    - its back to the appropriate level !?
    I checked the spark plugs:
    - Spark Plugs 1, 2, 3, and 5 the tops are slate grey; assuming normal wear and tear.
    Spark Plugs 4 looks as if the oil present on it has burnt off; but still a dark black

    Spark Plug 6 is coated in oil;

    Results from the Compression Check performed 2-3 weeks ago by a licensed mechanic whom specializes in foreign cars (but does not mean he specializes in an old car such as this)
    1 - 100
    2 - 105
    3 - 105
    4 - 100
    5 - 110
    6 - 105

    Since this test, the car had not been driven. I have only started driving the car Tuesday through This Morning (was driving the '88 325)

    How boned am I ! Thought i could wait another week or so to get a new engine to drop in rather than dicking around with the head, but i dont think this car is going anywhere!
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    CRKrieger

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    Is it an automatic? It's possible that's ATF. Your radiator has a cooling tank on the bottom for it and, if there's an internal rupture, it could allow the fluid into the coolant system.

    If this is the case, you'll need a new radiator (Not real expensive.). You'll also need to drain and flush your transmission to get all the coolant out. This will involve at least one fills' worth of ATF. If there's nothing wrong with the gearbox, you're good to go. At worst, you'd need to track down one of the least desirable gearboxes around. They're often giveaways.
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    harris318i

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    Nope its a 5spd. pretty sure the head is shot
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    harris318i

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    Cooling System Flush

    So ive read up on MGarrisons post as well as many others online regarding a Coolant System Flush, but still like to get everyone's personal experienced opinions.

    from what it seems, all the coolant system flush procedures are for people who's head gaskets cracked a little, and have a little oil in their coolant reservoirs or a little coolant leaking into their oil....

    As ive stated above, my coolant reservoir is now 99.99% oil :D (and no, i have not driven it since the incident). i'm picking up a new engine this weekend and was thinking about the steps i should take prior to installing the engine. After i disconnect the coolant hoses (brand new :mad:) they will all still be coated with oil, and god knows what the heater core will look like.
    I should mention that when i turn on the heater and put it on the floor, or face that no hot air comes out. only when its blowing up towards the windshield (defrost) was it excruciatingly hot. I know ill have to fix that so i figure why not do it with the engine out of the way.

    SO...
    1.) drain the oil and coolant (oil) from the old engine.
    2.) disconnect engine wiring harness.
    3.) remove the oil filled radiator, coolant hoses, coolant reservoir
    4.) i have never messed with the heater core. im confident i can tackle it, just want your input...what do you think the most effective and best method would be to get that completely clean. i know i can buy coolant flush from walmart or other places. but i want to personally know that its cleaned out and not stand around with a garden hose emptying oil onto the pavement (i have no clue how to PROPERLY dispose of an oil/coolant/water mix)..god knows how long it will take to flush it all out so i would rather take the heater core out and clean it by itself. This way i know everything is clean when it comes to re-assembly

    dawn dish detergent? local Radiator shop? local transmission shop that has a parts cleaner?
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    MGarrison

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    I can't speak for an E28, but I found pulling the heater core on an E30 to be pretty straightforward. If you're starting with a new-used engine (hopefully known good head-gasket & non-leaking), I'd think you'd save yourself a lot of time by opting for a new radiator, expansion tank, heater core, and hoses. Then you don't have to worry about contaminating what you're putting in.

    Are you opting for the engine swap due to uncertainty over whether you may have damaged the engine running with the bad head gasket? It would seem like doing a head gasket and flushing the whole system, as much work as that is, would be less than an engine swap. There's also the issue of extra work/expense from ease-of-access to a motor that's out of the car. You'd never get an easier opportunity to do an oil pan gasket, check the crank, rods, & oil pump, replace front & rear main seals, timing belt, water pump, and clutch, than when an engine is out of the car.

    You might try posting the same questions at E28.com, you'll likely get some worthy insight about it there. I doubt dawn dish detergent is ideal for flushing oil-contaminated coolant from the block, radiator, heater core, etc. It might be fun to watch the suds fill the engine bay, though.

    Not sure the best place to tell you to source it (perhaps an auto-parts store, perhaps some sort of industrial-supply place), but get a large (like 3'x3') pan with 8"-high sides for catching your coolant. I keep miscellaneous gallon jugs and containers, and use those for containment of stuff like old coolant, etc - then, take it to hazardous waste drop off (which our county runs a couple of sites for that in the non-winter months), you'll have to check what's in your area.

    Maybe BMW sells the 'Solvethane' they talk about, I dont' know; not a bad idea to ask a radiator shop about what to do. If you brought them the parts, maybe they could decontaminate them for you. Presumably, local auto parts stores should have some sort of coolant flush/cleanse products.
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    John in VA

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    http://www.mye28.com/ would be a better choice. ;)
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    MGarrison

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    MGarrison

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    One more caveat - animals are attracted to coolant, and may drink it. Coolant is poisonous, so take care to keep pets and animals away from coolant catch-containers until you have it secured into something animals can't get into; another reason why you want to keep drained coolant contained.

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