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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 03-03-2011, 08:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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A few questions from a bmw virgin. LOL

Ok guys, I love the site and was hoping for a bit of spoon fed info from the more knowledgable amongst you all.
I was recently given a 1998 316i compact, with the 1.6 engine. The car is on 175000 miles but has two issues which bother me:

1. Car seems to struggle to get up to correct temperature unless its idling, or in traffic. On a long run the temp seems to stay very low. Am I correct in assuming this is the thermostat? Water levels are fine.

2. Although my oil seems to be fine (i.e. not sludgy) I get bits of mayo on the dipstick and some on the oil filler cap. Not huge amounts and no overheating. I am sure its my headgasket, seeing as it hasnt overheated could i get away with just changing the gasket without having to re do the head? ( Skim?) does anybody have any words of advice before I get started?

I am based near Manchester UK. Anybody know what price range is reasonable for getting the headgasket sorted?

Thanks for any help in advance, and I am missing my hondas engine reliabilty LoL
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Old 03-04-2011, 07:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the Werkz.

It may to check if the thermostat is working or not, but that probably means removing it, and if you've got it out, you might as well change it. Keep the old one as an emergency spare if it still works ok.

Start by monitoring your coolant level and oil condition, clean away all the crap that you can, and drain the engine oil to see what's in it once its had time to seperate back out. If its showing signs of coolant contamination, then go the next step of getting the engine compression tested and the cooling system pressure tested. Hopefully its just a minor gasket leak, and changing the gasket over will solve your problems.

Good luck.
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Old 03-04-2011, 09:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply brettski, Well it seems my therm. is fine. I bled my cooling system, loads o bubbles. topped up levels and i now have proper temps.
Soon as I can Im gonna give it an oil/filter service and will follow your steps to locate the problem. thanks again.
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Old 03-04-2011, 08:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Good luck with it all. Let us know what the outcome of your diagnosis is.
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