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5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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Old 05-31-2006, 06:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Angry Nightmare Overheating Smoking

Hi folks dont know too much about bmw 5s, i have a 1998 523i which has been giving me problems for a few weeks,the temp gauge was rising into the red every now and then then returning to normal very quickly with the smell of burning oil now and then for weeks on end,however my wife was driving the car last week when the temp gauge went into the red and the car stalled and could not be restarted.After towing it home i found no sludge or deposits on the oil cap or dipstick but the car was difficult to start at first and ran rough at low idle with white smoke comming from the exhaust.Once driven above 20mph all seems fine i suspect the head gasket but would like a more expert opinion.Is it safe to continue to drive the car like this as i use it for work
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Old 05-31-2006, 06:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You should have sorted that out as soon as it started to overheat. You'll be lucky if you just need a new head gasket ... you most likely warped the head too. I would definitely stop using the car because if it hasn't been completely ruined by now, it soon will be.

Just my 2c.
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Old 05-31-2006, 10:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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All these issues were posted by myself here

Quote:
Originally Posted by pawea
Hi folks dont know too much about bmw 5s, i have a 1998 523i which has been giving me problems for a few weeks,the temp gauge was rising into the red every now and then then returning to normal very quickly with the smell of burning oil now and then for weeks on end,however my wife was driving the car last week when the temp gauge went into the red and the car stalled and could not be restarted.After towing it home i found no sludge or deposits on the oil cap or dipstick but the car was difficult to start at first and ran rough at low idle with white smoke comming from the exhaust.Once driven above 20mph all seems fine i suspect the head gasket but would like a more expert opinion.Is it safe to continue to drive the car like this as i use it for work
cheers
I did the Entire Cooling System and did the write-up here:

http://bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/199986

http://www.babcox.com/editorial/us/us80222.htm

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Old 05-31-2006, 11:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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One rule about BMW cooling systems.

You have aluminum heads, the temperature guage is meant to sit right in the middle and never go past it, if it moves away from that center mark, you have a problem, pull over and get it towed. That said, I don't always keep an eagle eye on my temp sensor, I've overheated my car several times due to a few odds and ends breaking... I've even pegged it into the red once. I managed to survive.

It might be advisable to get the heads checked if the car has been repeatedly, and severley overheated. Go to a mechanic you trust and know for this. Heads are an expensive job...90% of mechanics, and 100% of dealers, will simply just tell you the heads need to be replaced. Your problem may not specifically be the head gasket, but those aluminum heads could have warped under the heat. This is the worst case scenerio, but is one you need to consider. If you're just burning oil, check the spark plugs and figure out whether you're oil fouling them. Then you can start troubleshooting that. One step at a time, start with common problems and work your way up. But that kind of overheating needs to be resolved immediatley. The overheating is not your current main headache as you said, you're worried about the head gasket...but it won't get any better until you resolve your cooling issues.

If you do continue to drive the car, do so VERY carefully and watch that temperature guage.

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Old 06-01-2006, 02:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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runs rough and white smoke out the tailpipe after overheat.... You can just about be 100% sure the headgasket is blown. Beyond that you could have cracked or warped head. Best thing to do is remove the cyl head, send to machine shop have it pressure tested for leaks and straight edged to see if it is warped or not. If you have water in the oil on a BMW you can be pretty sure that the head is cracked. if its just coolant entering the combustion chamber you may get lucky and just need a headgasket.
Best of luck,
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Old 06-01-2006, 10:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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There is some really great input here...BMW's really don't respond well to multiple overheated states...Good luck
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Old 06-14-2006, 11:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Just recently went through this same issue. Diagnosis, CRACKED HEAD, AAARRRGGGHHH! Common problem, expensive fix. Don't drive the car until you get it sorted.
Anytime that temp needle moves on a BMW, spells problems. I think it has something to do with weak points in thin walls of cylinder head. Whatever caused overheat also caused pressure gains. Weak spots in head give under that pressure. From what I heard, it's a design by BMW to save on weight. My problem started with a cracked plastic thermostat housing. SUCKS BIG TIME.
Make sure you send head to be pressure tested. Good luck.
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Old 06-15-2006, 05:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Ask me how I got the privilege of refinancing my car for another 2 years. $2300 later I had a new head, water pump, Inspection 1, timing belt, etc. etc.
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