Head Gasket? Theromostat? Help! - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com

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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-10-2008, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Head Gasket? Theromostat? Help!

Hi I hope this is the right place to post this ...I have a 97 328i with a problem or two i guess. here are the symptoms

1. About 2-3 weeks ago i noticed that there was a problem with my heater it wouldn't blow out hot air the fan didn't work great but it didn't even seep hot air.
2. At this same time I noticed that in the morning when it was really cold out i noticed that for the first ten minutes my car ran like shit like it was really cold blooded or something then after it was warmed up it ran fine the rest of the day
3. Last night it overheated even though there was no noticeable leak from a hose or something and was full of fluids
4. A friend of mine said he thought the head gasket was blown ...he said there was no water in the oil ...yet but it looked like there was moisture and steam coming out of the tail pipe ..I cannot afford to have the head gasket done before xmas and I can't get to xmas without my car ...can anyone give me some good solid advice...you guys look like you know alot about these types of things ... I can do a thermostat replacement with some help from a guy friend of mine
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-10-2008, 10:18 PM
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First things first.......Welcome to the Werkz......second lets not jump to conclusions....

I would say from the sound of it, your thermostat is bad, first stuck open, explains why you had no heat, then sticking closed causing it to overheat.....also what is the mileage on the car.....? Is the original waterpump in the car? If so, they were known to have a plastic impeller that breaks apart due to poor design.......If I were you, I would just replace the coolant, thermostat & thermostat housing.....the stock housing is also plastic & recommended to replace with cast aluminum.....

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BMW E36 Thermostat Removal And Coolant Flush


A blown head gasket would be blowing out a lot of sweet smelling steam from the tail pipe......

_______________________97 E36|Conforti Software|M50 Manifold|AFE|Borla|H&R| Bilstein |Eibach|Rockford|3.15 LSD

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-17-2008, 01:21 AM
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take your thermostat out and you can do a home test to test your thermostat. tie it to a string and put it in a pot and slowly bring the water to a boil it should open. it it opens then its not your thermostat. make sure it fully opens though not just semi open. and if it opens. pull the waterpump out and check that. there is not really any way to tell just from inspecting it unless the fins are deffinitely broken but a major problem on the bwm water pumps are the inner bearings break and there is not really any way to tell. sometimes there will be a pressure release hole on the side of the pump that will break when the pump is bad. but mine went out and i had to just get a new one. you may want to replace your temperature sensor. because a bad sensor would be giving your computer the wrong information and may be part of your problem with running bad when its cold. its a five to ten dollar part so not too bad

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-17-2008, 08:55 AM
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agreed +1

I just completed a HG on my car - 97 318i. Even after that, I didn't have heat. Make sure that you have antifreeze in your system. Also make sure you "bleed" the system. I had to do this after I completed the HG. You should have a bleed valve on the top of the system. PM me if you need help or have more questions.
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