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In a way I agree with Ron.

BMWs are generally very well built and engineered, but do require owners to give them the TLC (servicing/maintenance) they require. As a result, BMWs quickly fall into the hands of people who do not have the cars correctly serviced, either because they can't afford to or they think that the cars still drive ok and they will sell on soon enough.

This is why the used market for BMWs is littered with MANY 'so-so' or 'wouldn't touch with a barge pole' cars, and you have to spend lots of time viewing to find the odd that mixed up in the classifieds that's genuinely been serviced and looked after.

Whilst many BMWs say fsh history, I'll bet after 3 years, hardly any of them will have ever had anything other than oil changes, filters and plugs done! This is not a full or scheduled service. Also you have to bear in mind, how many owners as Ron mentioned just want a 'tool' with a BMW badge, so they are driven without much care.
 

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Hmm, good topic, I agree in part, and I know that a car forum does only show the bad bits, but I'm still find it unnerving how many posts I've seen on here about overheating. I've had a few cars which could never be regarded in the same class as a BMW but I've yet to have one overheat.
I know most or all cars have their bad points but this is now one that would concern me.
Is it just a problem on the older cars like E36's and has this issue been put right on newer models?
 

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BMWs cooling systems aren't the best and it should always be a critical area to check when purchasing and not to skimp on when servicing, the E36 seems to be the worst offender but there's a decent handful of E39 models that i know that have suffered with cooling issues. Trouble is many people just do the minimal or leave such issues to get worse or continue to run the cars by just throwing water into the expansion tanks.
 

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on the contrary... it could be a bargain find if you have the necessary skills.... lots of private traders will buy these sort of cars and make good returns on their investments...
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
you dont have to look hard on ebay to find a BMW with headgasket trouble or overheating issues, my E34 535i has just just done the headgasket and that has full service history, been in to BMW most of its life and an independant the rest of the time, its only covered a genuine 95k from new but its just blown the head gasket so i disagree a bit with earlier posts regarding servicing.
I am not a trader but i have had a lot of cars in my time and never had one blow the head gasket, ive done quite a bit of homework and there is a lot of these cars with cooling or gasket troubles so i think maybe as mentioned in an earlier post whatever the problems are have been rectified in later models.
I also have an E34 518i with 140k on the clock and no service history when i bought it that runs like a sewing machine and has never given me a problem (touch wood) but when i got it i did go right through it and service it all, cambelt etc.
I will be fixing my 535i as i love it so much and its mint, but having said that these cars are worth so little now that when they get problems if the owners dont have the know how to fix them themselves its easy to see how they end up being broken up for parts or scrapped which i think is a shame.
If i was to put my car into BMW to be done i would no doubt end up with a bill for more than the car is worth :frown
I was today looking at buying an E36 328i coupe for my mrs but i am in two minds now as people say the E36 is the worst for head gasket trouble, anyone throw any light on that? :thumbsup
 

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I was today looking at buying an E36 328i coupe for my mrs but i am in two minds now as people say the E36 is the worst for head gasket trouble, anyone throw any light on that? :thumbsup
E36's are notorious (well all BMWs) for developing air locks within the cooling system and also suffering from cracked/split thermostat housings which cause a coolant fluid leak.

I have a 328i (its sold but buyers is waiting 5 weeks to raise some extra £££). Its got a 129K on clock. I bought it with 104K, was the nicest example I could find mechanically. However, after 2 years, I started having coolant issues (using coolant, no obvious leaks etc). For the cost of parts + £60 labour, I had a brand new metal impeller water pump, v-belt, thermostat, t/housing and o-ring + coolant change carried out). Actually parts were probably about £60 themselves and since never had any further issues. (I do ensuremy coolant is changed every year unlike many older cars where its never changed at all! so this must help with protection of the engine to some extent)

I will agree, every BMW I have owned, has been trouble in the sense its needs TLC. As I am aware of this I have never suffered from any unfortunate incidents as I've always taken preventative measures. However, mechanically none of my BMWs are a match for my previous Japanase engines, those I used to hammer from cold, travelled at 130-165mph for prolonged periods during early hours of the mornings going between London > Nottingham and Nottingham > Glasgow. I'd never do this with any BMW engine though. Despite my M5 not revving that high at 155mph, during high speed stints between Nottingham and Swindon the engine never sounded as sweet as it did when i bought it, that was a 30,000mile car with oil changes every 2 months! My toyota's were serviced approx every 3,000miles but always sounded sweet as the day I bought them.
 

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you dont have to look hard on ebay to find a BMW with headgasket trouble or overheating issues, my E34 535i has just just done the headgasket and that has full service history, been in to BMW most of its life and an independant the rest of the time, its only covered a genuine 95k from new but its just blown the head gasket so i disagree a bit with earlier posts regarding servicing.
I am not a trader but i have had a lot of cars in my time and never had one blow the head gasket, ive done quite a bit of homework and there is a lot of these cars with cooling or gasket troubles so i think maybe as mentioned in an earlier post whatever the problems are have been rectified in later models.
I also have an E34 518i with 140k on the clock and no service history when i bought it that runs like a sewing machine and has never given me a problem (touch wood) but when i got it i did go right through it and service it all, cambelt etc.
I will be fixing my 535i as i love it so much and its mint, but having said that these cars are worth so little now that when they get problems if the owners dont have the know how to fix them themselves its easy to see how they end up being broken up for parts or scrapped which i think is a shame.
If i was to put my car into BMW to be done i would no doubt end up with a bill for more than the car is worth :frown
I was today looking at buying an E36 328i coupe for my mrs but i am in two minds now as people say the E36 is the worst for head gasket trouble, anyone throw any light on that? :thumbsup
Every owner a rover? with the K series engine....:hihi
 

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to say the e36 is the worst offender is a bit harsh, its the same engine as fitted in the 5 series, 7 series and z3 , maybe it crops up more as there are more e36's on the road but its just one of those things, its mechanical some may go some may never go. The rad cap is one of the most overlooked parts in the cooling system, most think its just a cap, but it has a valve in it, if this fails or sticks shut the water wont circulate properly and cause it to overheat and blow the head gasket. a blown head gasket is usualy caused by another fault.
 

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I agree... Its like as been said though....

BMW's Dont suffer head gasket trouble, like the rover k series does... The rover k series is down to poor design and mostly down to the head dowels being made of plastic, which warp and move...

BMW Engines dont have any of this... It is down to poorly maintained cooling systems... it is true that the M30's do suffer more as a result of overheating over the rest of the range it seems...

The biggest trouble with BMW head gaskets, heat kills them and can warp the head to put it bluntly... Thats why the cooling system needs to be regularly checked and serviced regularly..
 

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hehe!
I just spent a couple of minutes trying to clean a mark off my laptop screen and it's actually part of Mighty's Signature:hihi:embarrassed
the satellite dish in the backround or the hole in the hedge?? :hihi
 

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:rofl

I can see what you mean now... the house blends in with the sky, so it looks like a floating line... :hihi
 

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I have known of lots of problems with BMW's but not head gaskets! As has been said BMW started to use plastic impeller water-pumps which snap and end up everywhere and cause many alloy blocks to overheat which is not a good thing and can lead to warp-age!

I'm pretty sure the chain timed M42 engines suffered a lot with headgaskets, believe that was a design issue rather than lack of maintenance.
They lost their coolant due to a problem with the profile gasket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
i went to look at an E36 328i coupe today, the car was 110% mint, 104k on the clock, beautiful car, full BMW service history etc, i pulled the dipstick out and the oil was a milky colour, i took the oil filler cap off and there was just so much light brown gunk in there, head gasket trouble :hihi such a shame as the car was just what i wanted.
 
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