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  • Blown head gasket, concerned about doing the replacement myself

    As the title states, I have a blown headgasket, or at least that is what I suspect. I will be doing a compression test & leakdown to confirm before I actually start work.

    The symptoms are: once the car warms up, I get white smoke out of only one of the two tailpipes. The car has the stock exhaust. I think the reason it blew is simple, but embarrasing. The car has been stored for a couple of years, since I was living far away. Before I left, I put a few drops of oil in each cylinder. Before starting it up for the first time I cranked it for about 30 seconds to build oil pressure. It seemed to crank a bit slow at one spot for just a second, but after that cranked normally. Then, as I said, once it warmed up I had lots of white smoke. I suspect that I might have had a bit too much oil in one cylinder, and blew the gasket while cranking.

    The car has ~60k miles on it, and is more or less completely original.

    I have replaced the headgasket on my 944 Turbo before, and built a few small block Fords, but the S14 is a way more complex (and expensive) engine than anything I've worked on. The timing chain setup is completely new to me. I have the Koala manual and the factory manual, but I don't know what to do when I encounter all the places that require special tools, and I'm sure I'll find other things that I need clarification on as I do the job.

    Are there any walkthoughs available that I should know about?

    Do you guys on here have the patience to answer all of my (potentially stupid) questions? :smile2:

    Should I buy anything other than a headgasket set for this job? (I have stuff like assebly lube, RTV, etc.)

    Any other suggestions?

    Also, should I be replaceing the chain and all associated parts while I'm in there?

    All help and advice is welcome and appreciated!
    1990 BMW M3
    1989 Porsche 951
    1988 Volvo 240DL

  • #2
    im kind of in the same boat. my motor "lost" the timing chain guide. so i have the motor apart down to the valves currently. so far im using the koala disc and basic craftsman tools. i havent encountered anything to hardcore as of yet. and im reassembling the whole timing section that someone else took apart and left in boxes for me to figure out. the koala disc works very well, it gets a little vague regarding torque specs in some parts, but is very clear as far as the general info goes. dunno if that even helps at all, but get to it! its not hard at all.

    id say replace anything that gets replaced at 100k now, rather than open it up and wait. i am how ever confused as to how you could blow a HG just cause you added oil direct into the chambers. seems like maybe youre burning oil residue but im still kind of green as far as this stuff goes.

    Real M3s have 4 Cylinders

    Comment


    • #3
      The reason I suspect the oil was the culprit is because it will not compress. If there is more than just a film in there it can cause problems. It is the same reasons that engines can hydrolock and grenade by either sucking up water through the intake, or by having coolant leak into the chamber through a bad headgasket/crack. Thankfully, I can't imagine anything quite as severe in my sitiation.

      Of course, others on here are way more knowledgable than I am, but until someone tells me that my car is now a paperweight I'll just cross my fingers.
      Last edited by Epic2112; 05-25-2008, 09:16 AM.
      1990 BMW M3
      1989 Porsche 951
      1988 Volvo 240DL

      Comment


      • #4
        Pulling the head on these cars is reasonably simple. Everything is easy to get to, except the header is slightly tricky to get out. You just have to unbolt everything and then loosen the motor mount and jack up the passenger side of the engine slightly to get the header to clear.

        While it is not a difficult job, it is fairly complex. Get a supply of freezer bags, and bag all the various nuts and bolts from specific areas, then label the bags with a Sharpy to help remember where they all go. Take detailed photos of everything as you disassemble, again to assist with reassembly.

        You will need a GOOD torque wrench, and a good supply of standard tools, sockets, extensions, allen sockets, etc.

        You will also need a top end gasket set. I just did this on my car, and replaced all gaskets except the head and cam covers gaskets with anaerobic sealers. I am firmly convinced this is the way to go. For the first time in my car's life, it is 100% leak free!:headspin:

        I have pulled a lot of heads on a lot of cars. The S14 is pretty much as easy as they come.

        Comment


        • #5
          S14 head is fairly straight forward. If you can get a cd of the shop manual, you will be in good shape as it has the torque specs and some other details that are not on the koala cd. Obviously, take your time working thru it and it is a fairly easy job. Plenty of support here for your undertaking.
          I also agree with ironhead, use a sealer instead of gaskets, except for head and valve cover gaskets. Works wonders.
          Good luck guys and keep us posted.
          Cheers,
          John
          88M3 henna


          73T100C
          97 540\6-Gone
          2008 MINI Clubman S

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by smonkbmw View Post
            id say replace anything that gets replaced at 100k now, rather than open it up and wait. i am how ever confused as to how you could blow a HG just cause you added oil direct into the chambers. seems like maybe youre burning oil residue but im still kind of green as far as this stuff goes.
            What else do you change at 100k?

            Comment


            • #7
              I would agree that you shouldn't have a problem especially if you've done head gaskets on other cars. It's just a sportbike engine. No fancy cam timing things or hard to access areas. There are notches on the cams and the crank...line everything up and bolt it back together
              "It is needless to say that self-propelling vehicles, like other machines, will never do as much for one who does not understand them as for one who does."

              Comment


              • #8
                where can one find the factory repair cd?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for the suggestions everyone! Hopefully I'll get this underway sooner rather than later.


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                  Originally posted by Ironhead View Post
                  You will need a GOOD torque wrench, and a good supply of standard tools, sockets, extensions, allen sockets, etc.
                  I have any tools that I reasonably can expect to need, and of course I love it when I get an excuse to buy something new. I also have a trillion dollar Snap-On torque wrench.

                  Originally posted by Ironhead View Post
                  You will also need a top end gasket set. I just did this on my car, and replaced all gaskets except the head and cam covers gaskets with anaerobic sealers. I am firmly convinced this is the way to go. For the first time in my car's life, it is 100% leak free!:headspin:
                  Can you recomend a specific sealer/sealers?

                  Thanks!
                  Last edited by Epic2112; 05-26-2008, 06:37 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
                  1990 BMW M3
                  1989 Porsche 951
                  1988 Volvo 240DL

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I personally doubt that you damaged the head gasket by putting oil in the cylinders,(unless the gasket was in a very frail state) have had several cars in the workshop in the 80s where people used to drive through large puddles of water. With the air intake on golfs and escorts very low all the water got sucked up the intake spout. and engine locks itself up with bent conrods etc. It certainly sounds like head gasket from what youve said 1x thing to try if your compression tests reveal nothing is disconnect your servo air pipe from manifold as leaking fluid from master cylinder can get burnt in engine with white smoke.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JEDM3 View Post
                      If you can get a cd of the shop manual, you will be in good shape as it has the torque specs and some other details that are not on the koala cd.
                      where can i find such a thing?

                      Originally posted by jpchan View Post
                      What else do you change at 100k?
                      to my understanding you go through all the timing components tensioner's, guide rails, guides, chain, gaskets etc. im no pro though so im sure someone else can clarify better.

                      Real M3s have 4 Cylinders

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Whoa down. Change the HG on a su|auto-edit||auto-edit||auto-edit||auto-edit|ion!

                        How much have you run the motor? Are you pushing water at med-high Rpms? Does the smoke smell like burning oil or antifreeze? A motor out of storage sometimes initially smokes.

                        A blown HG tends to smoke on cold start and then clears. You are describing the exact opposite.

                        The oil could have gummed up the rings from the oil sitting in the cylinders. Drive the car about an hour and it will improve.

                        You have a stock exhaust system which has an X, so the pipes share the exhaust from all cylinders. Smoke in only one tailpipe would probably be something downstream of the X. Oil puddled in one exhaust tube from your storage procedure is now burning off as the system gets hot?

                        Get more data before taking the head off.

                        Rigoli
                        sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Epic2112 View Post

                          Can you recomend a specific sealer/sealers?
                          I used Loctite 574 on aluminum to aluminum joints (cambox to head, water pump, lower oil pan, etc.) and Permatex 518 on steel to aluminum joints (timing chain cover). My reasoning was that the 518 retains more flexibility than the 574 after it cures, hopefully allowing for expansion of the disimilar metals.

                          The advantage of 574 is that I found it much easier to remove if you ever have to dismantle anything down the road (you will).

                          This has worked very well for me, but keep in mind I do not yet have many miles on my "gasketless" engine....

                          Originally posted by BBS16 View Post
                          disconnect your servo air pipe from manifold as leaking fluid from master cylinder can get burnt in engine with white smoke.
                          WTF?

                          That is a new one on me. How could brake fluid get in the intake from the M/C? I know the vac hose from the intake manifold comes kinda sorta near the M/C.....but?

                          I guess I have a chance to learn something new here......:nice!:

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ETM3 View Post
                            How much have you run the motor? Are you pushing water at med-high Rpms? Does the smoke smell like burning oil or antifreeze? A motor out of storage sometimes initially smokes.

                            A blown HG tends to smoke on cold start and then clears. You are describing the exact opposite.

                            The oil could have gummed up the rings from the oil sitting in the cylinders. Drive the car about an hour and it will improve.
                            I have only run the motor a few times. The car is still on jackstands (I am trying to accumulate the money to fix this). I don't remember how it smelled, or even if I smelled it, but it looks white like steam, without any blue to it. I've run it until it warms up, and I've revved it a little (2500 - 3500 RPM), but it currently doesn;t have any tags, so I haven't been driving it around.

                            My concern about driving it around would be that, if the HG is indeed blown, I could suck water into the cylinders, and then I'd do some serious damage.

                            Originally posted by ETM3 View Post
                            You have a stock exhaust system which has an X, so the pipes share the exhaust from all cylinders. Smoke in only one tailpipe would probably be something downstream of the X. Oil puddled in one exhaust tube from your storage procedure is now burning off as the system gets hot?

                            Get more data before taking the head off.
                            I didn't realize that the stock exhaust had an X, which is one of the reasons I was thinking it's a HG problem. As I said before, I plan on doing compression and leakdown tests before actually taking anything apart. I am definitely still in the information-gathering process.


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                            Originally posted by Ironhead View Post
                            How could brake fluid get in the intake from the M/C?
                            Brake fluid leaking past the M/C seals, into the booster, and getting sucked into the intake from there?
                            Last edited by Epic2112; 05-26-2008, 04:33 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
                            1990 BMW M3
                            1989 Porsche 951
                            1988 Volvo 240DL

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Factory repair manual (click Main Groups)

                              http://ee1394.com/bmw/docs/factory/repair/en/index1.htm

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