1 (edited by Lemon_Newton-Metre 2023-07-08 04:39 PM)

Topic: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

https://i.postimg.cc/W34HwTXv/20230705-184318.jpg

B.L.U.F.:Umm ... (I'm not a mechanic) head gasket? Think this is still a reasonable Lemons candidate, based on this, plus the sill rust previously mentioned in a different thread?

Picture is from sitting, not running, after 3 min. driving about 1.6 mi., so it was still cool. It has been taking about 1/3 gallon coolant each trip to-and-from work for the last week, about 38 mi. which takes about an hour. The above was after a short trip to get some distilled water to put into it.

The temp needle doesn't get beyond a smidge past verticle the whole trip.

So yes, clear title, registered, and insured. Regardless,  needs additional work for inspection.

I have other candidates, but each has issues to address; so I'm just trying to see if this is still in the running.

I'm looking to thin the herd eventually, but I haven't decided on a direction yet.

Based on the limited research I've done, I see cooling system overhaul kits available. This might be a BMW thing.

As an auctioned impound vehicle, I have no idea the background of this car. But, it has gotten me to and from work for a week, with relatively little concern and expense so far. And 1/3 gallon water after each trip is an amount that - if it stays that way - I can accept for this purpose.

Not for racing, of course.

Thoughts?

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

You can do a leak down test. It requires a special tool. Advanced Auto may let you borrow it. I'm guessing a head gasket issue. When you drive it does it have whitish smoke coming out the tail pipe? Also check you oil for water, For BMW advice, I'd go here. https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/3-series-4-series.5/

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

We had one of the first E46 Lemons cars and fought cooling issues a lot once it got overheated once.  1/3 gallon is a lot.  Either it's being pushed out of the overflow or out the tailpipe.  Either way is bad.  If it's me, the head comes off and gets checked out by a machine shop.  We ended up fixing the cooling issues once and for all by adapting in an M3 radiator.

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita"  1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless) 2002 Jaguar x-type (Winner C-Class 2021 Sears Pointless)
Gone bye-bye
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)  1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites)

4 (edited by Zacks 2023-07-10 09:11 AM)

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

Could also try a  "block test" they sell the kit at napa.  Basically a fluid that changes color if there is exhaust in the coolant.

But really if it's going through that much coolant and it's not dripping on the ground it's probably a headgasket.  Could pressure test it just to be sure you haven't missed a leak or some weird coolant egr shenanigans (dunno what bmw does)

I personally haven't had much luck finding headgasket issues with a leak down test until it gets bad enough to misfire,  but it could work.

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

Just put an LS in it and run be done...lol

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

These ^ comments are all good input - thanks.

Last couple trips the coolant level was such that I only put in about a cup, so maybe the copper flecks in the coolant are finally doing their job (stranger things have probably happened).

And: I'm smelling coolant inside the car, but not on the dip stick (I have a pretty sensitive nose). The oil looks like it was changed just before it was impounded; I don't see any milky character.

So I think I might be lucky - maybe it  _is_  just a head gasket.

Otherwise, there's so much wrong with the car, it's most of the way to a racecar!

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

If you smell coolant could be the heater core.  That might be lucky as you could bypass it, but defrost might not work well.

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

Zacks wrote:

If you smell coolant could be the heater core.  That might be lucky as you could bypass it, but defrost might not work well.

That. You'll know for sure when it blows and you have a floorboard full of water.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

9 (edited by Lemon_Newton-Metre 2023-07-13 10:34 AM)

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

Update:

1. I don't see white "smoke" in the exhaust.
2. Still now only about a cup of water per trip to the "coolant" - though I think by now it's pretty far along to being "racecar" appropriate coolant.
3. There's very little - if any - color left, and I can't see any oily film in the reservoir, or mixed in. There's very little antifreeze smell anymore - anywhere.
4. There's condensation on the _inside_ of the windows every day in the morning, as well as the outside; but I don't think that's an _absolute_ indication of a heater core leak, because of the broken rr window, the sunroof leaks, and we've had a number of heavy thunderstorms recently. But I think it's still likely. And it's summer, and the inside is pretty dry by the time I leave work in the evening - unless it rains.
5. Still no milky character to the oil.

So: I'm thinking with 189k mi., unknown history prior to purchase, and this situation, this doesn't seem like a deal breaker for a Lemons candidate for me.

I think a head gasket replacement is an obvious step for long term use either as a dd or a racecar, as is diagnosing _any_ source of leakage - especially for racing.

Though, as a $350 dd car, as long as it passes the safety and emissions inspection here in PA and i can get to-and-from work, I really don't care about a cup of water per trip. Until winter, that is.

Thanks, all, for your input.

Now to see what it needs for inspection!

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

FWIW, ours would show no indication of a blown head gasket until it was at speed on the track.  Then it would reveal itself within a couple laps.

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita"  1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless) 2002 Jaguar x-type (Winner C-Class 2021 Sears Pointless)
Gone bye-bye
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)  1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites)

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

cheseroo wrote:

FWIW, ours would show no indication of a blown head gasket until it was at speed on the track.  Then it would reveal itself within a couple laps.

Well, dammit, that would be extremely inconvenient to me.

I think with the copper flecks in the fill opening when I got it, and losing coolant (though only just a little) if I decide to build this car, it'll include a head gasket and checking out the head while it's off. And checking out the timing thing (I think it's a chain, but I don't know that for sure).

Also likely checking out every part of the cooling system, as well as the heater core. Yes, I'd like to keep the defroster function - the many suggestions on that are compelling.

I know someone who might help, perhaps as part of a team.

I've replaced a head gasket on a Honda D16 engine, and a couple of easy timing belts - Honda and Toyota; but I didn't have to deal with a head - that was someone else's car. And I can watch a YouTube video for this BMW (which makes me an expert, of course).

Maybe that's not in the Lemons spirit, but "I'm a pretty cautious citizen."

Now, I just have to remember to keep any receipts from the PnP, and I'll be golden (maybe I can even pull an LS while I'm there ;-).

Thanks again, all!

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

Lemon_Newton-Metre wrote:
cheseroo wrote:

FWIW, ours would show no indication of a blown head gasket until it was at speed on the track.  Then it would reveal itself within a couple laps.

Well, dammit, that would be extremely inconvenient to me.

I think with the copper flecks in the fill opening when I got it, and losing coolant (though only just a little) if I decide to build this car, it'll include a head gasket and checking out the head while it's off. And checking out the timing thing (I think it's a chain, but I don't know that for sure).

Also likely checking out every part of the cooling system, as well as the heater core. Yes, I'd like to keep the defroster function - the many suggestions on that are compelling.

I know someone who might help, perhaps as part of a team.

I've replaced a head gasket on a Honda D16 engine, and a couple of easy timing belts - Honda and Toyota; but I didn't have to deal with a head - that was someone else's car. And I can watch a YouTube video for this BMW (which makes me an expert, of course).

Maybe that's not in the Lemons spirit, but "I'm a pretty cautious citizen."

Now, I just have to remember to keep any receipts from the PnP, and I'll be golden (maybe I can even pull an LS while I'm there ;-).

Thanks again, all!


305's are free.. just saying.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

I'm fairly certain a head gasket job on an E46 requires special tools. Double VANOS and all.

That guy

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

Hmmmm, so: NOT just 16 or so bolts and a razor blade, eh?

Time for some more research on YouTube - then I'll be an expert on this as well.  ;-)

... and there _are_ other candidates ... .

Thanks for the ..., um ..., 'heads up' on this.

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

It is a bmw...  Many bmws have "torque to yield" headbolts ads well which are supposed to be one time use.  I cannot personally report on the consequences of reusing these headbolts so do research on that as well.

Some special tools aren't strictly needed and one can make it work, but also I've bought shitty knock off special tools on amazon which have worked at least once, may not hold up to repeated constant use (ie dealership ect)

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

Several of the reasons to drive a candidate car on the road for a while before building it are:

1. to work out any kinks, and
2. to stress test it before pouring additional money into it, and
3. to learn its quirks, and
4. not least of all:  find out whether the accelerator function will fail at an inopportune time

Anyone know where the accelerator cable is? Dammed if I can find it.

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

Lemon_Newton-Metre wrote:

4. not least of all:  find out whether the accelerator function will fail at an inopportune time

Lol. 
Our car is converted to drive by wire with our engine swap. I took it out for a short wot run for logging and hit limp mode like the night before tech..  Turns out I would floor it too hard and go past 100 % and cause an error.   Had to fab a pedal stop real quick.

Nobody else on the team floors it like me lol.  I'd feel bad but I did the swap and wiring and fixed the problem I caused so yay.

Good to shake it down in advance.

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

Zacks wrote:
Lemon_Newton-Metre wrote:

4. not least of all:  find out whether the accelerator function will fail at an inopportune time

Lol. 
Our car is converted to drive by wire with our engine swap. I took it out for a short wot run for logging and hit limp mode like the night before tech..  Turns out I would floor it too hard and go past 100 % and cause an error.   Had to fab a pedal stop real quick.

Nobody else on the team floors it like me lol.  I'd feel bad but I did the swap and wiring and fixed the problem I caused so yay.

Good to shake it down in advance.

B.L.U.F.:
I apologize for asking without sufficient research beforehand, but is this a thing that's connected at the bottom of the pedal with that gadget and bushing?

I have had zero time to do research on this since, but I'll be heading there to take a look at it shortly.

I didn't see anything on bimmerfest or online parts sellers other than a gadget and bushings, and an electrical module that I think relates to the transmission; but I could be wrong about that, too.

Detail:
This was extremely inconvenient to me. $230 tow, 20 miles, to a parking spot I have access to. That trip, plus the next day, were the only trips I was going to do before lifting it and looking underneath, and likely putting a lot of time into.

Last time accelerator function failed for me, in 1990, I drove it both back home, and then to the junkyard with a wire hangar and some string, controlling the accelerator while holding the string with my hand out the window. And I had at least some tools in the car. That was then.

This time, nothing. And I can't see any method to get at, this is a new-to-me make of vehicle, and I'm not a fan - yet. Though, this doesn't put me off BMWs, it's just an early glitch in the experience.

It broke halfway from work to next destination; I had plenty of time to look for accelerator cables in the engine compartment while stopped alongside the roadway, and I don't see any online. I only see a bushing and a gadget in the online sections of parts companies.

On the other hand, better now than when testing at the track.

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

That engine, I’m pretty sure, is drive by wire, you won’t find any throttle cable if so.

I KNOW that is a timing chain engine, BMW’s only one with belt is the M20 which ended its run about 1992.

Dirty Duc is right, special tools needed to situate the cams and pulleys when removing and installing the head. Fortunately they are readily available from EBay or other sources. Don’t need OEM BMW tool, equivalent aftermarket has done the job IME.

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#111 Tradewinds Tribesmen VW Passat Inde ‘20 (‘21 too) Thunderhill ‘22!
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Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

Do you have a check engine light on?  If you vehicle is drive by wire you shouldn't lose throttle without a check engine light/code.  Have you pulled codes?

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

At minimum, you are going to want the diagnostic tool described here https://www.e46fanatics.com/threads/bmw … s.1067835/

If you really, really want to get much further deep in this crap than you want to and you get a kick out of chasing down a rabbit hole in English only to discover the info you need is in German, get INPA.  https://www.e46fanatics.com/threads/how … s.1274003/

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita"  1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless) 2002 Jaguar x-type (Winner C-Class 2021 Sears Pointless)
Gone bye-bye
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)  1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites)

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

Well, jeezuz, that's a simple fix. Finally had time to look at a YouTube video.

Thanks for being patient with me.

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

I believe the early e46s with the M52TUs had throttle cables.

There are lots of coolant pipes and hoses that can leak. The coolant pipe right under the intake manifold is a common fail. Of course the shear volume of plastic cooling parts is a whole lot of fail waiting to happen.

The 4 valve heads are thin and easy to crack. I an not sure if the head or gasket is weaker.

I like BMW Scanner. I have not gotten it to work on Windows 10. I got INPA working on Win 10 but I am not very good with it.

I recommend getting a dual vanos service kit. They are about $100 on Amazon.

Lasty, safety wire the oil pump nut or do something better.

Troy

#35 LRE
1973 Datsun 240Z

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

YouTube video shows an accelerator pedal module which can be removed by:
1. depressing a plastic clip with a large flat-blade screwdriver,  and sliding the module inboard, and
2. Disconnecting the electrical connector.
I don't know if that'll fix it, but it'll be the first thing I look at. After that, looking for any cable or connectors.

Everybody:
Yes, all good suggestions, and if I plan to race this, I'll likely do all of it. But I've got a few things to do first, and a work schedule, so this'll be started no earlier than the weekend. It'll be nice to drive it again, or to be ready to sell it.

Re: My E46 Lemons candidate - 2000 323i auto, 189k mi.

Crap. That video must be for a later model. It's resting for a while now.