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-   -   Overheating problems! Oh my! (http://www.unitedbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9923)

digismack 01-05-2007 12:03 AM

Overheating problems! Oh my!
 
I bought a 1997 BMW 318i about two months ago for a grand total of $5,000. The car only had a few small problems when I bought it and I had planned to fix them in January after the holiday spending had ceased.

The only problems the car had were the drivers side window not rolling up in line (easily fixable, I already bought the plastic pieces, just haven't put them in yet). The brake discs and pads also needed to be changed as I was getting a steering wheel jerk when braking at above 40 miles per hour.

The body of the car is in great condition, and the only real problem with the interior is the headliner is falling down (I was told the previous owner smoked in the car, and that smoke contains chemicals which can loosen the glue.. plus I live on an island and it's usually above 90 every day so I'm sure the heat didn't help either).

Everything was going great, and then on the eve of New Years eve (yah, the day before the day before) as I was pulling in to pick up my laundry before they closed for the weekend I noticed steam coming up from under the hood. Now, I'm not a mechanic by any stretch of the word. I know how to drive them, not how to fix them. So, I pulled over and called my girlfriends uncle and he came to the rescue. He recommended that I fill the car up with water and then head over to my girlfriends house about 3 miles away. I let the car cool down, filled it up with water and then drove on over. There wasn't anything I could do but wait until Tuesday when the mechanic could come check it out.

I decided to buy two cans of "Radiator Flush" from the local grocery store and give it a shot. I easily figured out how to flush the radiator, followed the instructions on the bottle and cleaned it out. I turned the car on and let it idle for a bit and after about 10 minutes the overheating warning light came on. So, I waited.

On Tuesday the mechanic came by and did a radiator flush again, this time without using the junk I bought to clean it. Keep in mind the mechanic speaks only Spanish and my girlfriend who doesn't speak the greatest of English had to do the translation for me into a language called Papiamentu (which luckily I've picked up over the past few years). Anyways, as best I can tell, one of the hoses coming out of the engine (the one that comes out of the temperature gauge housing and goes towards the passenger side of the car) didn't have any pressure.. if you pinched the hose it would squeeze in. The mechanic did something (not exactly sure what) to restore pressure to that hose.

Then he took it for a spin around the block. When he pulled back in it was still overheating. So, he took out the radiator. I took it to a place to have them check it and they said it was fine.

Then I decided to read the forums and found a few posts about other people having a similar problem.

Today I waited for about 4 hours for the mechanic to come by and he didn't show up. Bastard. So after waiting for him and figuring he wasn't going to show, I decided to do the test to see if the heater would blow hot air or not. I turned the car on and let it idle for a few minutes, turned on the heater and it was blowing cold air. If I gather correctly, this means that the water pump is bad?

Also, the last time I saw the guy drive around the block with the car I saw white smoke coming out the back. Which leads me to believe that I now have a blown head gasket. Car parts are.. incredibly expensive here on the island, so I'm going to order them from bimmerparts.com and have them shipped here. The thing is, after reading some of the tutorials I really think I can do the work with the supervision of a friend of mine who knows cars really well. (I would have had him check the car to begin with but he was on vacation in the U.S.).

Here is the parts I'm looking at getting. I'm not really sure if I need to replace the radiator just yet or not. Like I said I recently had it checked out and they said it was in good condition. Would it be ok to wait off a month or two to replace it or is it really necessary to get the car back in good working order?
G2000-66467 - Radiator Hose - $7.28
G2000-66466 - Radiator Hose - $11.73
G2022-226149 - Cooling Hose Connector - $7.12
G4030-66803 - Thermostat O-Ring - Goetze - $6.50
G4010-103029 - Thermostat Housing - Behr - $43.36
A8010-72178 - Cylinder Head Gasket Set - Goetze - $156.93
G1000-53043 - Radiator - Behr - $219.67
G3000-30966 - Water Pump - Laso - $58.02

SubTotal: - $510.61 ($290.94 w/o radiator)

N1000-117895 - Brake Disc X-drilled - Zimmermann Cross Drilled - $62.53
N1000-84366 - Brake Disc X-drilled - Zimmermann Cross Drilled - $77.31
N1010-125854 - Brake Pad Set Pro-ACT Ceramic w/Shims - Akebono - $76.67

SubTotal: $216.51

Total: $727.15 ($507.48 w/o radiator)
(Note: I added in the brake pads and discs, as I need to change them as well.)

If you can provide any other ideas on what may be wrong with the car or if you have any comments or suggestions regarding the parts I need to get, please let me know. Thanks in advance.

c1apton 01-05-2007 02:31 AM

Great info -the only things you should need by your analysis - is a thermostat & O ring. I'd buy the waterpump too because the scenario you just put it through is not good for waterpumps. Unless the housing or hoses are leaking or look like they're aged - you shouldn't need them right away. (the hoses might be a good investment to prevent "down the road issues) but the housings are good or bad and a leak is is definite when they're bad.

3050rpm 01-05-2007 05:06 AM

A coupla other points... Are you also flushing the engine block, not just the radiator? The steering wheel jerking you're getting >40 mph could also be due to ball joints/control arms/bushings needing to be replaced, not just brake disks, so check that out too.

digismack 01-05-2007 12:51 PM

I'm pretty sure the mechanic flushed out the radiator and the engine. Though I'm not really sure what is involved in flushing the engine. Any DIY guides online? Or anyone here care like explaining what I need to do?

Dudesky 01-05-2007 01:15 PM

Last section at the bottom of the page:

http://www.understeer.com/waterpump.shtml

3050rpm 01-05-2007 02:11 PM

I can't remember if it was in the Bentley manual or I came across an on-line DIY site, maybe at Pelican, but in any event the procedure involved putting the car on jackstands and getting at the drain plug up on the block (with a strategically placed catch basin underneath), in which case having an arm like an orangutan's is a big help...

digismack 01-05-2007 02:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dudesky
Last section at the bottom of the page:

http://www.understeer.com/waterpump.shtml

Thanks for the link, but my 318i is a 4-cyl engine. :(

xsperf 01-05-2007 02:21 PM

did you bleed the system after the flusH?

dinan540 01-05-2007 02:23 PM

some of the parts you listed are less expensive on a www.autohausaz.com, I buy most of my OEM BMW parts from them. They are a great deal. I would also change the thermostat and waterpump. Make sure you get the waterpump with the metal impellar not a plastic impellar. Good luck. I know of some DIY for doing this work on the V8, not the 4 or 6 cylinder. Pelican Parts sells a book call 101 projects to do on your 3 series. It seems to be comprehensive with lots of colored pics and diagrams. Hope this helps.

RSF5 01-05-2007 03:23 PM

^^^ yeah, Check Pelican Parts definitely, and where exactly do you live? I hope you don't mind me asking, but you said on an island and it sounds interesting.

digismack 01-05-2007 03:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xsperf
did you bleed the system after the flusH?

I bled the water / "radiator flush" fluid in the radiator and let it come out the bottom, then I filled it back up with water. I did all this with the car off, was I supposed to do this with it on to fully flush the system? As I said, I'm a car newbie, but I'm learning more and more as I go on.

Quote:

Originally Posted by RSF5
^^^ yeah, Check Pelican Parts definitely, and where exactly do you live? I hope you don't mind me asking, but you said on an island and it sounds interesting.

No problem. I live in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. It's about as far south as you can go in the Caribbean before running into Venezuela. Great place to live and great place for vacation as well.

Here is the Google Maps satellite photo.

xsperf 01-05-2007 04:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by digismack
I bled the water / "radiator flush" fluid in the radiator and let it come out the bottom, then I filled it back up with water. I did all this with the car off, was I supposed to do this with it on to fully flush the system? As I said, I'm a car newbie, but I'm learning more and more as I go on.



No problem. I live in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. It's about as far south as you can go in the Caribbean before running into Venezuela. Great place to live and great place for vacation as well.

Here is the Google Maps satellite photo.


nope, the way you bleed it is turn the car on, have the heat full blast, and there is a tiny plastic screw near the radiator filling area, you just remove that, its very short, and you rev the engine, up down up down until fluid comes out of that little hole, first it will be nothing, then bubbles, then when you get a steady stream turn the car off and put the screw in

3050rpm 01-05-2007 05:14 PM

Here's John-n-y...! http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/tech...lant-Flush.htm

digismack 01-05-2007 08:09 PM

Ah, well I'm pretty sure that's what the first mechanic did. However, I'm also pretty sure he did it with the air conditioner on full blast, not the heater.

Anyways, I had another mechanic come by and check it out (one who is way more experienced with BMW) and he tells me that he thinks the gasket is blown and possibly the head itself. He's going to come by tomorrow to do some type of pressure test to see if water comes out the spark plugs? He says on my engine type it's usually the third head that goes out and that is what he's going to test to see if the head is damaged.

So, I guess now I need to just get the water pump, head gaskets and possibly one of the heads replaced. Does anyone have suggestions on where to find a head?

c1apton 01-05-2007 09:08 PM

Heads? :doh excuse me, psssssst it's only has 1 head, 4 cylinders - maybe he meant "it leaks at the 3rd cylinder" - if he doesn't mean that - RUN from that guy----------------------------> FAR


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