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Old 06-14-2008, 03:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Overheating thick white smoke!!!HELP!!!

I have a 1999 528 with 67Kmiles. Car has been well taken care of and have been working fine until.........

we hit a SUV so the car went underneath the high SUV bumper putting all the damage above our bumper. (the grill got pushed in and the radiator cracked.)

all the coolant leaked i guess and but the car was drivable. the car did not get hot and was running fine after the accident. short distances of course

we ended up changing out the hood,radiator shroud and lights.
by we i mean my body shop buddy that's not an expert by far.

so after changing all of the above mentioned parts and refilling with coolant and water we got big problems. The car idles VERY rough. there's thick white smoke coming out of the exhaust and there a whining/whistling noise coming from the engine.
Taking the oil fill cover of while the engine is running there is a sucking noise coming from somewhere.

The white smoke gets worse as the engine get hotter and it get HOT. It will go all the way to the red zone.

Now the dipstick doesnt show any traces of water or coolant in the oil, the oil that was changed in this process is perfectly brown and has not turn milky and or creamy.

we will fill the reservoir and the after having the engine on for 10Min the reservoir goes practically empty. Engine gets hot and steams but the coolant on top of the radiator is not hot to the touch..


My thoughts reading treads on the forum is that the guy did not flush the old coolant and i got bubbles in there. That might have stopped the flow which gets the engine hot.

The sucking noise and whistling makes me believe the OSV is bad.

The thick white smoke beats me since there no traces of water in the oil.
The engine was never hot ling enough to crack or warp the head but i don't know if the guy had he engine on in my absence for a longer period of time

any expert suggestions?
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Old 06-14-2008, 07:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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White smoke is typically coolant in the combustion chamber. It wouldnt neccesarily get into the oil. These cars should never get in the red zone. In fact, if they go above the center, there is a problem. These cars have aluminum heads and can warp easily (I know, I spent $2300 on having mine replaced). The 10 minutes idling that you had mentioned could be all the time that was needed to do the damage. You have to bleed these cooling systems many times before all the air will get out. Its kind of a pain, but it has to be done. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I believe you have a warped head. If you have access to a compression tester, remove all the spark plugs, and the radiator cap and test the cylinders one at a time. I am betting that you have one or more cylinders that dont hold any compression. That'll be the cylinder(s) that the headgasket is blown between the combustion chamber and a cooling chamber.
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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How do you check compression on a car? i have a compression tester and i do it all the time on my bikes, but whats the procedure on cars?
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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it depends on which style you have. the one I have used screws into the spark plug hole, and then you crank the motor. the gauge will show an amount of pressure. It should hold that pressure for a while. If it bleeds off quickly or doesnt climb in pressure at all, the head gasket is probably bad. typically a bad head gasket on an aluminum head is a bad thing. I have seen others that have a hand pump that either uses pressure or vacuum. same thing, you pump pressure or vacuum and watch the gauge. If it falls, that's the cylinder(s) that is bad.
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Crank it by trying to start the car?
I have the spark plug one yes. so i take out all the plugs? and the radiator cover. Plug my compression tester in to one cylinder at the rime and start the car while some one keeps an you on the gauge?

On the bike i just put it in first and turn the rear wheel.
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Crank it by trying to start the car?
I have the spark plug one yes. so i take out all the plugs? and the radiator cover. Plug my compression tester in to one cylinder at the rime and start the car while some one keeps an you on the gauge?

On the bike i just put it in first and turn the rear wheel.
YUP. crank it means start the car and let it turn 3-4 revoulotions. And you take a reading on ALL of the cylinders. Best you disconnect the coil before u start doing that...

Let us know the readings... ;-)
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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gosh darn it. OK I'm done punching the wall.

alright. the testing part has to wait to the end of June when go back to LA. im in Seattle now with work. how Even i have a series of new questions.

1. how much are we looking at here? it seams to me that im looking at a $2000 bill.

2. is it wiser to go with a new engine if the readings are bad.

3. how do i tell if its just the head gasket or its a warped/cracked head?
the head gasket change does not scare me that much , I'm not much of a car mechanic by far but it does not look very hard judging from some Internet instructions (for my engine). i do valve adjustment on my ducati all the time and that's not a walk in the park.

what pisses me of is that the engine didn't get hot when i DID drive it home, must have had enough coolant. i towed it to the body shop and the car got hot after "we" installed the radiator and filled it up with coolant.

the drive home from the accident was about 15min in traffic and the engine ran like a champ .I had my eye on the temp gauge

car sit for a week, we tow it , change the radiator, fill with coolant, start it and it heats up after 10 min.

the mistake was not in driving it without coolant, i think it was in not bleeding the coolant properly

thanx guys
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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the accident you describe does not warrant head gasket damage, really....

the sequence of events, though, tell me that you ought to take a 2nd look at the way the radiator, hoses, and thermostat was installed... i have a gut feeling, something isn't right in that area.

Actually take of the thermostat and run it, let's see if it still overheats ;-)

I am an optimist, so i will reserve the judgement of your worst fears for last-unless you say the plugs in your car are "coolant wet"; i would rather say you probe ur engine diligently with tests that are available to u. :-)

*check also the operation of the fan clutch, and make sure you cooling system is bled properly to purge air pockets in ur system

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Old 06-15-2008, 03:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
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^ sounds like his head is already wraped cracked or the head gasket is blown.... only way to check it is to pull the head and measure it and pressure test it........
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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any idea how much i should be prepared to pay. Is it normal for mechanics to charge $300 to give me an estimate?
i gues they need to open the heads first before they know what their delaing with right?
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:56 PM   #11 (permalink)
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any idea how much i should be prepared to pay. Is it normal for mechanics to charge $300 to give me an estimate?
i gues they need to open the heads first before they know what their delaing with right?
Remove and Replace Cylinder Head Gasket = 14 hrs(multiply that by your shop's hourly rate) + parts +/- $100.00 + tax

Remove, recondition, and re-install cylinder head = 18.8hrs(x your shop's hourly rate) + parts +/- $450.- repair, machining, and pressure test.

$300.00 just to give u an estimate is highway robbery. Diagnostics to tell you what is wrong, and how much it might cost to repair in Cali shops(average) $75-89.00/hr.... and to diagnose a blown head or gasket takes 30mins at most
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Old 06-16-2008, 12:08 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Make sure they Apply that towards the final repair or the vehicle
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Old 06-16-2008, 12:23 AM   #13 (permalink)
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UPDATE
I spoke to the body shop guy( interrogation style)
I turns out my fuel gauge is bad. so it goes form half to quarter randomly, (Known problem).so the dude has the car running and he swears on that the car was not overheating ( the guy is honest, not my best pal but we know him from way back).
The car start shaking and doesn't start any more, the fuel gauge shows that there's gas and everything looks fine. they try to start the car until the battery runs out. They end up putting a gallon of gas and voila the car start. But that's when they notice the white smoke.
I'm talk in like heavy thick white smoke. with kinda sting to it. like when the car is in one place idling it looks like it's on fire kinda smoke.
Any idea if this could be a case of shit in the fuel filter, bad tank of gas or anything fuel related?
O yeah , the car started to overheat as soon as they drove it to the gas station to fill it up. had coolant in the radiator at that point.
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Old 06-16-2008, 12:51 AM   #14 (permalink)
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did you remember to bleed your cooling system? coolant in radiator on BMW's is not enough... gotta bleed, gotta bleed, gotta bleed(some more)...
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Old 06-25-2008, 02:07 AM   #15 (permalink)
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OK so i decided to give this over to the experts. They have taken it apart and sure enough is is a blown gasket and warped head. I was quoted $1900 for a complete rebuilt. including 12000 miles/ 1 year warranty on the engine.

no my wallet is smoking
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