1991 BMW 318i Wont start after overheating. Help! :(
All right. In February I bought a MANUAL 1991 BMW 318i from Wichita Kansas, which is three hours from where I live. Anyways I stopped at the gas station to fuel up and I noticed the car was leaking coolant (looked blueish). I checked it out... couldnt see where it was leaking from so i bought a jug of coolant and went on my way (of course after replenishing my coolant).
*NOTE* The whole time the heater never worked
I had drove about an hour and I noticed the heat guage rapidly rising... so I decided I needed to pullover. I drove a bit more hoping to come across a gas station. The guage just hit red so I pulled over and at that moment the car shut off. Steam was billowing from the engine.
I sat about an hour and a half waiting for it to cool off, hoping it would start back up. I tried several times and it wouldn't start. Well Finally I got it to start, but this was with difficulty. I had to constantly turn the key while having the car in neutral and pumping the gas. Make note that while I was doing this the speed of the engine kept slowly increasing until the car was finally running.
I drove it about another 30 minutes down the road to a gas station in Florence KS and parked it. Ever since then the car would not start.
Currently the car is in storage in Florence KS... Did find out that the water pump had died. That was replaced. The car STILL will not start. What are reasons for why the car won't start? I figure that perhaps BMW may have some sort of sensor that went out when it overheated that may be causing the car to not start again. But if this is the case then why was I able to move it after it overheated?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have never worked on BMWs before. I only mechanically and electronically know how to deal with the old Fox Body Mustangs.
Oh by the way... shortly before I drove the BMW after I bought it, the guy I bought it from just changed the alternator on it. I brought one down since the one on the car was bad. Don't know if this info will help
P.S. How was I able to drive the car another 30 minutes after letting it cool down if it over heated to the point where the engine was toast? In theory shouldn't it not have been able to move?
Overheating these can be VERY bad. Usually if its bad enough it will warp the head. If you got it hot enought to kill it, chances are......................
As far as the restart, it may have cooled enough to give a little more life, but without a compression test I can only guess.
You also may have something in the ancillary drives locking up (AC compressor, alternator, power steering pump) causing a drag on the engine and contributing to the overheating.
If it were mine, I'd take all the belts off and check each bit first. Leave the belts off, do a compression test to determine the condition of the engine itself and then go from there. If the engine is toast and you have to pull it, you'll have to disassemble the belt drives anyway.
In addition to the water pump, I'd do the thermostat as well, possibly the hoses depending on condition, and pressure test the radiator. Can't remember if the 1.8 had a timing belt, but if so I'd add that to the list.
Now I am wondering... does this particular BMW have some sort of engine block sensor that would prevent the car from starting if the head gasket or block got blown/warped?
Could the timing chain have broke upon overheating, causing it to not run? I'm really baffled by this. An engine is BIG money. Lol. I'm trying to figure out what else could be preventing it from running.
I currently do not have the car in my possession. I have someone keeping it in storage down state.
When I moved it I got it to drive because I constantly fed it gas until I could get the engine to roar, then i popped the clutch and drove it off.
Is it possible the issue could be simply the head gasket or head itself? I was also told that overheating a bmw like that could tear the timing belt/chain, causing it to not run.
Are their any electronics, like sensors, that could have gotten fried with the heat making it not run?
I appreciate your insight
There's no "head warpage" sensor on any type of vehicle I've ever come across. You can only do a compression test, if it passes that's not the problem. If not then a cylinder leak down test will tell you what's dead.
As far a timing belt letting go, your engine would sound very different when trying to start since the valve train would not be spinning and only the crank would spin smacking the pistons into the valves and bending stuff.
The issue COULD just be the head gasket itself, however you'll still want to have the head checked and straightened in you can find a good machine shop (provided the engine doesn't pass a compression and/or CLT test).
It's possible there could have been some damage to the crank sensor on the front of the engine, but that's kind of rare.
As far as BIG money for an engine, if you're pretty mechanically inclined you can always wedge a 350 with a turbo 400 in it for less, although you'll have guys SCREAMING scaraledge. Kind of ruins the handling a bit but man they go fast in a straight line.........provided you can keep the wheels on the ground. If you do go that way, make sure you go all the way with a hole in the hood and a bird catcher sticking through it. ;-)
Best bet, pull the belts, check ALL the pulleys. Look for anything rubbing on the drives. Do a compression test and then go from there. Other than that there really isn't any "secret knowledge" I can impart to fix your problem.
Lol. Yeah... I'm pretty clueless with what kinds of extra sensors BMW may or may not have on their cars. I know Foxbody Mustangs and that's it. Lol. So having my BMW will be an interesting bit to work on. The guy who is keeping my car in storage works on Ford vehicles, has no idea like myself, about BMW. He's convinced that the engine is not blown up to smithereens. He put a new waterpump on it and said that he cannot get the car to run. Now when I left the car in his possession it behaved like it did when I had to constantly crank the key and pump the gas to get it to run, like i did after it overheated, to get it to move. Now when i left it with him I tried the same thing to no avail. nothing sounded different. i cannot recall it sounding different than it did before it overheated. If it's just a head gasket and its getting no compression then it would not run period now would it? Now when it overheated the oil was like sludge afterwards. Ick!
Other than that, I found no signs of seepages into my other fluids.
Now how do i go about performing a compression test on a beemer?
BTW when the key cranks the engine does turn.
Haha... I can picture the birdcage now... with all the feathers stuck up in it. LMAO.
Beemers are pretty similar to just about any other vehicle (just better :-). A compression test would be the same as on any other car. Remove all the plugs, hold the throttle valve wide open, insert the tool, and crank the same number of times on each cylinder and record the results. Over 120 is best and all cylinders should be within 20% of each other.
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