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Old 01-07-2009, 12:57 AM   #1
1st Gear Newbie
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Southern Ontario
Posts: 26
Write off car? Need mechanic

I originally posted this in the E36 section, but was recommended to put it here.

I will copy and paste what I have had happen over the last 3 weeks.

Well I came into work 3 weeks ago despite the snow storm. When I was going to leave work, I had snow up to the door trim. After some shoveling, I had about 4 guys help me push the car out. We were at it for about 15 mins, my car started to heat up, but never came close to the red temp gauge.

It stalled a couple times... then I could smell something burning, one of my co-workers looked under the car and there was a small flame. It wasn't near the engine. It was under the car by the front passenger side. Wasn't very big but it was burning for awhile cause it was hard to get at with the snow in the way. A fire extinguisher did the job. We popped the hood to get to the fire, but that made it spread into my engine compartment quite quickly. We put it out rather fast, and it didnt seem to do any serious damage. The car was running hotter than usual trying to get out of the snow, but it temp gauge never got close to the red.

The car starts and runs fine on idle. However, when I give it throttle there is a loud rattle sound, does it in neutral and in gear. I had a rattling sound before also, whenever I gave it throttle at around 3k. I was going to replace the chain tensioner because I thought thats what it was. However, this rattle is A LOT louder now. Also, I had a black soot like substance coming out of my exhaust when I gave it hard throttle.

I uploaded a video. Its painful to hear.. you can hear it the best towards the end of the video. The second video is with the hood open. sounds like its coming from inside the engine

I checked the coolant and it looks like it needs to be changed, but doesnt seem to have any oil in it. Although the sound does sound like its coming from the engine, if you listen from underneath the car, it sounds like the cat. So whatever it is, its just resonating through the whole thing. And the engine does seem to run pretty clean besides the rattle when I give it throttle.

Also, the black soot stuff is no longer coming out of my exhaust. I think that was just related to the fire. Mind you, I havent driven it around, so I just ran the engine for a few mins and reved it a few times to see if anything would come out. But the exhaust looks like its coming out clean....

Now I did notice that I can shift in and out of gears without the clutch VERY easily with the car off. Is this normal? The shifter felt kinda lose to me so I was playing around with it when I noticed. I dunno if its always been like that tho...


So 2 weeks after dropping my car off at the shop, I called today cause I hadn't heard anything. Basically he told me my engine is knocking (obviously) and that I probably have bent rods and need a new engine. He also said my clutch didn't feel right, and that he didnt even know where to begin with the whole fire thing. So the guy just basically didnt wanna deal with it and told me to get rid of the car. I asked him how much for a new engine with install and he said about 2500.

So I dunno if I should just get a second opinion or just go out into the market for a new car. I can get a 328 engine for about $500, but labour would probably break the deal on that. Plus I have to agree that I was getting some odd vibrations from the clutch, so the engine probably isnt the only problem.

Im thinking my best move is to buy a new car, and sell my 318i for parts. I just dont wanna write off the car so fast without knowing for sure whats going on with it. Am I just having wishful thinking, or is my car toast?

What is a reasonable price to pay for a M42 engine swap?
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