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BMW General Discussion
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Your Ride: 1997 323i
3 Series engine overheating
I have a 323i (1997) model. Yesterday, while driving, I noticed the engine temperature needle going up into the red. Slowed down, turned off the air-conditioning and went straight to the mechanic who has, overnight, taken a look at the car. I got a call this morning to tell me that water has leaked into the engine (can that happen? And how?) and that the engine needs to be replaced. I then called up a second mechanic I know and described the symptoms. He was of the opinion that the cylinder head gaskets could have burnt out. Both jobs are really expensive (I live in Hong Kong where everything costs three times as much as anywhere else), so I am wondering if it is worth the cost to do this.
If anyone could advise me as to whether their diagnosis is correct, I'd be grateful. The symptoms are: overheating when driving (just yesterday). By the time I got to the mechanic's, the engine had smoke coming out from under the bonnet. Coolant reservoir was full and radiator was reportedly OK. Nothing else to go by. Any ideas?
I'm not sure how the first mechanic described it, but "water in the engine" is a crock. As mentioned by the second, the Headgasket may have blown. When it fails it allows coolant and oil to mix. Check your oil and look for a milky brown consistency. Theirs a reason why it overheated in the first place, and a blown headgasket is usually a result of overheating, not the cause. Some causes of overheating include the fan clutch, the thermostat, and the water pump failing.