2002 E46 330i-Suspected head gasket problem - Compression test fine?

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  1. 2002 E46 330i-Suspected head gasket problem - Compression test fine? 
    #1
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    Robtor's Car Details
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    For a month or two my 330i has had the telltale signs of headgasket problems, it smokes a lot (white smoke), has gotten gungey under the oil cap (even a tiny bit on dipstick now) and i think has lost some coolant but don't know details on that as I don't know the level as such months ago, but regularly checking now it doesnt seem to go down much.

    I have a feeling I noticed slightly more "condensation"(at the time) from the pipe after I changed the oil, don't know if this matters.

    Other than the smoke and gunge, she otherwise runs fine, silky smooth.

    So today I had the day off and ran a compression test. I did two while she was pretty cold (intended to be hot but by the time it was ready it was cold again) and one hot (put plugs back in, heated up, ran it again 10mins later).

    Cold (two attempts averaged).
    1: 228
    2: 224
    3: 220
    4: 227
    5: 221
    6: 225

    Hot
    1: 228
    2: 230
    3: 228
    4: 226
    5: 228
    6: 225

    Now to me these values look pretty good, especially for a 100k car. Can it still be head gasket faults if it's holding the pressure fine? Anything else likely to give these problems? I was thinking of the ccv valve or something but the smoke is definately white -steam. It shouldn't be just that it needs a good blast to get rid of condensation as i've taken her for a couple of half hour drives for exactly this reason.

    But that leads me to a next thought: Since we've been getting this fairly cold weather (0'C), she doesn't seem to be getting upto proper temperature, no where near on the guage. She does however when sitting still ticking over. Could this possibly be a botched thermostat not letting her get hot enough on the move, and thus not clearing out all the water in the exhaust? Meh sounds desperate to me. :p
     
     

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    #2
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    lotuschris's Car Details
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    I am mid-engine swap because my 100k mile 330i did its head gasket in.

    It also was a bit too steamy, with too much gunk on the filler gap. I was really hoping/praying it was the cold weather and condensation... but the killer for me was the loss of coolant and super pressurised header tank! It was leaking on cylinder 2.

    Pray yours is fine.... cos fixing it without a bodge is very tricky. And new engines are pricey because of this!

    Chris
     
     

  4.  
    #3
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    bratty's Car Details
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robtor View Post
    For a month or two my 330i has had the telltale signs of headgasket problems, it smokes a lot (white smoke), has gotten gungey under the oil cap (even a tiny bit on dipstick now) and i think has lost some coolant but don't know details on that as I don't know the level as such months ago, but regularly checking now it doesnt seem to go down much.

    I have a feeling I noticed slightly more "condensation"(at the time) from the pipe after I changed the oil, don't know if this matters.

    Other than the smoke and gunge, she otherwise runs fine, silky smooth.

    So today I had the day off and ran a compression test. I did two while she was pretty cold (intended to be hot but by the time it was ready it was cold again) and one hot (put plugs back in, heated up, ran it again 10mins later).

    Cold (two attempts averaged).
    1: 228
    2: 224
    3: 220
    4: 227
    5: 221
    6: 225

    Hot
    1: 228
    2: 230
    3: 228
    4: 226
    5: 228
    6: 225

    Now to me these values look pretty good, especially for a 100k car. Can it still be head gasket faults if it's holding the pressure fine? Anything else likely to give these problems? I was thinking of the ccv valve or something but the smoke is definately white -steam. It shouldn't be just that it needs a good blast to get rid of condensation as i've taken her for a couple of half hour drives for exactly this reason.

    But that leads me to a next thought: Since we've been getting this fairly cold weather (0'C), she doesn't seem to be getting upto proper temperature, no where near on the guage. She does however when sitting still ticking over. Could this possibly be a botched thermostat not letting her get hot enough on the move, and thus not clearing out all the water in the exhaust? Meh sounds desperate to me. :p
    You seem to be diagnosing the prob very thoroughly, my car (330ci) had a bit of white gunk on the oil cap/condensation etc. which I think is quite normal for fairly short runs on this motor in winter.
    I found that a quick look at the spark plugs for colour and the fact that there was NO! coolant use reassurred me.

    Dunk
     
     

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    Huh? you don't need a new engine for a head gasket failure

    Robtor
    Best way to test for head gasket failure is to ask a garage to do an emission test from the rad cap, their should be virtually 0 HCs from there unless either oil is mixing with the coolant or combustion gases are escaping into the coolant (that last one will be ruled out seeing as your comp test is good). The head gskt could of failed between a water way & an oil way, that would give mixing but you'd still have good compressions.

    Also it's possible if a breather hose has collapsed that it's not breathing properly & thus not clearing condensation, although I'm not sure that would cause excessive smoke, possibley though.
    The most common breather hose I've found to go on these goes from near the base of the dipstick tube upto the bottom of the CCV, they often get really soft up by the CCV end & collapse (they do eventually split & cause running problems). Take the airbox out & feel the hose all the way upto the CCV.

    I hope it's not the headgskt! *fingers crossed*
    Keep us posted.
    Helping scientific research with just my PC via Distributed Computing - Skynet-POGS, Asteroids@Home, Folding@H, Rosetta@H, MilkyWay@H, LHC@H, SETI@H & Muon1 - Team AnandTech .
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    http://www.fuelly.com/driver/assimilator1/330d
     
     

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    Head gaskets can leak in more thn one way. your compression test shows that its not leaking from the combustion chambers.
    It could still be leaking from the oilways into the waterways and vice versa. i wouldnt condemn the head gasket due to alot of steam in this weather as your always going to get some condensation when the exhaust cools.
    i would suspect that you thermostat is faulty from what you are saying, mine done the same.
    if it is stuck open it will pump water through the rad before the engine gets a chance to warm up, so when your driving the wind will keep cooling before its up to temp. when your just ticking over there isn't and wind going through the rad to cool it down so it will eventually get up to temp.
     
     

  7.  
    #6
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    Good point, (I read but forgot that he said that! ), go to the hints & tips thread in this forum section & readup how to get the engine temp displayed on the OBC, the gauge isn't accurate enough.
    Helping scientific research with just my PC via Distributed Computing - Skynet-POGS, Asteroids@Home, Folding@H, Rosetta@H, MilkyWay@H, LHC@H, SETI@H & Muon1 - Team AnandTech .
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    http://www.fuelly.com/driver/assimilator1/330d
     
     

  8.  
    #7
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    i dont think theres anything wrong with the car at all by the sounds of it...

    they steam a lot from the exhaust anyway and i mean a lot aswell!
    they gunge up under the cap if not given long run outs.
    and they are notorious for losing coolant with no visable signs of it especially at the base of the rad and expansion bottle rear..
    330i sport a big chunk of berlin...

     
     

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    #8
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    Yea maybe, although he did say it wasn't warming up properly, wouldn't hurt or cost anything to check running temps & that breather hose.
    Helping scientific research with just my PC via Distributed Computing - Skynet-POGS, Asteroids@Home, Folding@H, Rosetta@H, MilkyWay@H, LHC@H, SETI@H & Muon1 - Team AnandTech .
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    http://www.fuelly.com/driver/assimilator1/330d
     
     

  10.  
    #9
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    not warming up properly is not gonna be anything headgasket related i dont, think it would be the opposite getting too hot, too quickly usually with HG's...


    my moneys on a duff stat or a stuck fan and a dodgy rad...
    330i sport a big chunk of berlin...

     
     

  11.  
    #10
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    HGs? You mean HCs?

    And true, pointing more & more to t/stat problems.
    Helping scientific research with just my PC via Distributed Computing - Skynet-POGS, Asteroids@Home, Folding@H, Rosetta@H, MilkyWay@H, LHC@H, SETI@H & Muon1 - Team AnandTech .
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    http://www.fuelly.com/driver/assimilator1/330d
     
     

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