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Old 12-22-2011, 11:49 PM   #1
e39m_dream
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Head gasket blown? Oil in coolant and vice versa

I need some help please, been worrying about it tonight...

My 2003 530i is currently close to 100k miles. My recent repair was to replace the CCV and the air distributor. It was good after the repair, smooth and powerful.

However, today I found my oil warning light is on, and I am low on oil, a bit lower than minimum. Also when I pulled the dipstick, I found yellow gunk on it which was never there before. Then I opened the coolant reservoir cap when the car is cold. The coolant level was very low, and to my horror, there is some yellow oil on the water surface. The oil refill cap has fresh yellow gunk and the inside wall seems to have more. I also found oil under the engine if looking through from the intake hose.

I have been taking well care of the car, cooling system, suspension, pulleys, and never had it overheated.

Is the head gasket gone? Is the head also most likely cracked? Should I look for a new head? If my car is under this condition, can I still drive it for a few days before sent to the shop to inspect?

It is Christmas time, and my other car is not big enough to haul my family.

Please advise.
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Old 12-23-2011, 01:03 AM   #2
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BMWs have shitty cooling systems that always fail (recent fail on E36 328is and E39 528i). Souds like HG or cracking between water jackets and combustion chambers. If you're replacing the head gasket, you'll be able to inspect the head for cracks as well and make your call. If they're not more than say, 2-3mm in length, you may be able to get away with using a sealant additive ($30 for a cube of it). I've heard of some success stories with the use of this. May be just bandaid enough a solution for you to save up for a new(er) head if anything.
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Old 12-23-2011, 02:42 AM   #3
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If you need to do a head gasket on an M54, might as well replace the motor! Not an easy job, and many times wont last long. The longer you drive, the less chances of saving the motor; the mixture of oil/coolant does NOT do the same job as oil only! (same goes for coolant!)
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:05 AM   #4
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headgasket or cracked head.
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Old 12-23-2011, 09:21 AM   #5
e39m_dream
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So the general consensus is that I shouldn't drive the car at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eurostyle View Post
If you need to do a head gasket on an M54, might as well replace the motor! Not an easy job, and many times wont last long. The longer you drive, the less chances of saving the motor; the mixture of oil/coolant does NOT do the same job as oil only! (same goes for coolant!)
How much does a new (or nearly new) M54 motor cost? vs replacing the head gaset vs replacing the head? Is my E39 530i the same motor as those used in E46 330i?

The oil itself currently looks okay, just a bit yellow gunk above the dipstick bottom reading section. I'm more worried about the yellow oil trace in the coolant reservoir.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daonhathai View Post
BMWs have shitty cooling systems that always fail (recent fail on E36 328is and E39 528i). Souds like HG or cracking between water jackets and combustion chambers. If you're replacing the head gasket, you'll be able to inspect the head for cracks as well and make your call. If they're not more than say, 2-3mm in length, you may be able to get away with using a sealant additive ($30 for a cube of it). I've heard of some success stories with the use of this. May be just bandaid enough a solution for you to save up for a new(er) head if anything.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceeker View Post
headgasket or cracked head.
Sounds I definitely need a new head. Does it mean if HG is gone, usually the head is gone as well? Where can I find a new (or nearly new) head?

Last edited by e39m_dream; 12-23-2011 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 12-23-2011, 01:23 PM   #6
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You're wrong to think that oil in coolant is more of a concearn than coolant in oil. A little oil in coolant wont prevent it from cooling the engine (although, it may not allow the coolant to stop boil-over in case of overheating).

Coolant is corrosive. Oil is meant to prevent wear and corrosion. Using coolant as a lubricant in your engine (what you're doing now) will wear everything in your engine that touches oil. Also, you're burning coolant now, which will leave deposits in your cylinders, pistons valves, etc.

If you're not going to replace the engine, fix it now. Dont assume its just the HG, you could have a cracked head. Make sure the shop who does this knows how to do it in their sleep, HG jobs are, in my experience, some of the most common jobs to be ****ed up.
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Old 12-23-2011, 01:39 PM   #7
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^^^^ correct... not only that it is corrosive but coolant in your oil men as your bearings are going to take a beating because it displaces the oil. Don't drive your car if you care about the motor if there is coolant mixed in with the oil.

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Old 12-23-2011, 01:40 PM   #8
e39m_dream
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Quote:
Originally Posted by propr'one View Post
You're wrong to think that oil in coolant is more of a concearn than coolant in oil. A little oil in coolant wont prevent it from cooling the engine (although, it may not allow the coolant to stop boil-over in case of overheating).

Coolant is corrosive. Oil is meant to prevent wear and corrosion. Using coolant as a lubricant in your engine (what you're doing now) will wear everything in your engine that touches oil. Also, you're burning coolant now, which will leave deposits in your cylinders, pistons valves, etc.

If you're not going to replace the engine, fix it now. Dont assume its just the HG, you could have a cracked head. Make sure the shop who does this knows how to do it in their sleep, HG jobs are, in my experience, some of the most common jobs to be ****ed up.
I see, thanks for helping!
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eurostyle View Post
If you need to do a head gasket on an M54, might as well replace the motor! Not an easy job, and many times wont last long. The longer you drive, the less chances of saving the motor; the mixture of oil/coolant does NOT do the same job as oil only! (same goes for coolant!)
If there's any chance that you damaged your motor by driving it on contaminated oil, I would buy a used motor from Fil ^^. Last thing you want to do is tear the motor apart and find internal damage or a cracked block. I think Fil tests all his motors before selling/removing them, but you can get extra piece of mind by bringing it to a engine shop or your mechanic to have all the gaskets replaced (HG, valve cover, oil pan) and have the internals inspected for wear. This will likely cost you about $500 in labour, but will make your "new" used motor worry free for some time. This is my plan if my motor develops issues. Keep in mind though, that a cracked block/head can probably only happen if the car was severely overheated or if your antifreeze mixture was too weak and it froze (considering the current balmy DEC, this must have happened last winter if this is the case)

Last edited by kenmar; 12-23-2011 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:24 PM   #10
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coolant in oil

when coolant gets into the crank case your fu/.,.,; itll kill carode the bearings and turn your oil into a milk shake. if u have the milky stuff on the cap get a new motor.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:35 PM   #11
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e39m_dream, any update on your situation? Did you fix or replace the motor?
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