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3-Series (E21, E30) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1975-1983 and 1984-1991 line. Specific models: BMW 315, BMW 316, BMW 318, BMW 318i, BMW 320/4, BMW 320i, BMW 320/6, BMW 323i, BMW 320i. E30 Family models include: BMW 325e, BMW 325i, BMW 325is, BMW 325ix.

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Old 01-05-2009, 10:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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countryroads is on a distinguished road
M20 Head: Used, rebuilt, or remanufactured?

First let me explain, I bought this 88 325is with 145k on it (6 cyl. 2.5L). I got a great deal the body and interior are immaculate and there is no rust. The engine had a tap (or steady rattle or something) and it was sitting for 3 years prior to my purchase. it smokes (white w/ anti-freeze smell) after it's warm. I was planning on replacing the head with a used one from my friend's wrecked 325ix until this afternoon, when I removed the valve cover and found this:

3 bearings inside the head that hold one of the guide rails for the rocker arms (on the driver's side) were broken off and sitting next to 3 of the valve springs. (maybe causing the irritable and hard-to-identify sound?)

I have not put it on the road yet, nor done any serious work besides replacing the timing belt.

I was already planning on eventually replacing the head with a remanufactured one, but money is tight right now and i don't want to spend without need. My friend will give me his for a very good price (about $100)

From what I've read you might as well pull off a junkyard (or a friend's wreck) rather than purchase a rebuilt head, but i'm open to suggestion.

Used, as opposed to a remanufactured head for around $1000, seems like a no-brainer... maybe...

I need a second opinion, hopefully a 3rd or 4th too.

(excuse my lousy computer skills i don't know how to get a photo on the post but it's attached)
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would have to agree that for the money you should go with your friends cylinder head as apposed to a reworked one. Especially if later on you are going to do any rebuilding or aftermarket work (cam, valve springs, retainers, 3 angle job, etc.) any way. I say you lucked out with your buddy. Good luck.
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Old 01-24-2009, 07:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Close to the same problem with my '88, sounded like a miss and didn't run too well. Pulled the valve cover and found a snapped rocker arm. I bought a used head from a running ix to put on mine.
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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those are cylinder head bolts...they can snap....had one go on my 1988 325iC. good thing i was going into adjust the valves and discovered it. the cylinder head bolts both hold the head down as well as the cam...
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