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Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?

Posted by RALLYRS 
RALLYRS
Mike Ball
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Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?
November 23, 2015 07:07PM
TL/DR version:

Been looking at cars for sale and researching these cars on some forums and noticed quite a few with blown headgaskets...

Is this a common issue with these engines...or just meathead owners overheating their engines because they are not maintaining their somewhat fragile cooling systems?
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Pete
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Re: Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?
November 23, 2015 07:17PM
Apparently there's a thing that can happen where a front cover gasket can heave coolant into the oil, on practically 100% of models, due to some manufacturing defect. Totally fixable but can kill an engine if ignored (coolant eats bearings over time) and of course if you run an engine out of coolant that can also kill the engine.

I assume this, combined with desirability, is why 318ti are SILLY expensive.



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RALLYRS
Mike Ball
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Re: Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?
November 23, 2015 07:27PM
Full version:

Plan on buying on one of these in the next year for a cheap rwd fix.
I would use it as a part time dd and probably rallyx and maybe an occasional non-scca autox.
Maybe even a track day...


To supplement my Focus which I use for the same stuff...

Anyway my son is turning 16 soon.
He's become pretty decent at karting and wants to do some car stuff soon so I figure some of the low speed parking lot stuff both paved and dirt
to start off with would be good to start.

I could start him in the Focus first for a season or so of fwd car control while I run the BMW in similar events and then we swap cars and he learns rwd.

Or vice versa.he starts in the Beemer- whatever.
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Mike Ball
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Re: Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?
November 23, 2015 07:31PM
The only ones ive been finding silly expensive are the modded already engine swapped ones..

Most ive been looking at for sale have been dirt cheap...

Since im not making a rally car out of it and dailying it...

I would be paying a little more and looking for a lower mileage well maintained example with a nicer interior etc..
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Mike Ball
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Re: Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?
November 23, 2015 07:37PM
http://www.unofficialbmw.com/all/engine/all_m42_profile_gasket_faq.html

Pete I believe you mean the profile gaskets which if you believe the internets was solved after 93 so wouldn't affect the 95 m42 powered or 96 and up m44 powered 318ti...
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john vanlandingham
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Re: Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?
November 23, 2015 08:00PM
Mike, it seems that the idea of surfacing blocks hasn't penetrated to well the furrin car world..

There was an Xratty up here that blew headgasket like 4 times and the solution was to buy a crate motor and ecu and a junk box and throw it in, cost thousands...
Now I do a fair amount of inline 4s, and every single one--including 2 over the weekend all needed deck surfaced. So they had some well known problem that seems like leads to headgasket failure.

I betcha a whole nickle none get decked....
I've torn down one of the DOHC 1900s. Everything looks pretty damn nice..Even the stock iron exhaust manifolds look pretty good..

Looks like just bopping compression and sticking in some "more amusing" cams would be all one really needs to do to wake them up a nice notch.

That and maybe a set of valve springs.

Of course the box ratios are horrible, final drive is weird but there's no easy solution for that so it is what it is...
The LSDs are super easy to set to more amusing settings.

Such a shame the gearbox is maybe best described as schizophrenic. Good for low speed, AND!!! high speed cruising.



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Re: Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?
November 23, 2015 08:44PM
Quote
john vanlandingham
Mike, it seems that the idea of surfacing blocks hasn't penetrated to well the furrin car world..

For whatever reason, people think that they can just slap a new HG in there and call it good. OR they decide to place some sandpaper on a piece of glass and surface the head themselves (which should work, never done it).

What's it cost to deck a head up north? We're like $35-50 in the land of hipsters and strip clubs. It amazes me how people will save a penny to waste a dollar.
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Mike Ball
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Re: Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?
November 23, 2015 09:23PM
Well if I ever have it apart I will definitely make sure head AND block
are flat but.....assuming engine hasnt been disassembled since it was built in Bavaria or whatever....

Are they prone to blowing the gasket ....or only if overheated?
I mean they are what-10:1 compression ratio stock?

Thats not too crazy high...

Of course..detonation can also cause the head gasket to blow..


John-you've seen the stock pistons and combustion chambers first hand.

Does the design appear like they would be good or a bit iffy as far as detonation was concerned if one was using pump gas?

J



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/23/2015 09:24PM by RALLYRS.
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NoCoast
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Re: Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?
November 23, 2015 09:23PM
Mine has a rod through the side of the block.
I was going to buy a used M44 or grab one from the junkyard but ended up getting a crashed but driveable 328i for $175 from auction.



Grant Hughes
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Re: Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?
November 23, 2015 10:16PM
Quote
RALLYRS
Well if I ever have it apart I will definitely make sure head AND block
are flat but.....assuming engine hasnt been disassembled since it was built in Bavaria or whatever....

Are they prone to blowing the gasket ....or only if overheated?
I mean they are what-10:1 compression ratio stock?

Thats not too crazy high...

Of course..detonation can also cause the head gasket to blow..


John-you've seen the stock pistons and combustion chambers first hand.

Does the design appear like they would be good or a bit iffy as far as detonation was concerned if one was using pump gas?

J

Chamber looks "marvvy“, first head they made for a 4 cylinder woth thinking about..
(They didn't make the E30 M3 16v think, they did what the Germans always do when they need some good head: Went to Cosworth.)
Nice narrow included angle--its been almost 10 years since i looked at it---compact chamber with good quench pads.


Coolant passages well away from bores, bolts well away, 33mm in and 30.5 exhaust are good sizes and a big + thing on det is the small 85mm bore...and the chamber..



John Vanlandingham
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Re: Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?
November 23, 2015 11:52PM
Thats encouraging info John..thanks!

And that picture is purdy too.
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Re: Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?
December 02, 2015 02:36PM
I owned one of these engines in a 318i sedan. I bought it with a "blown head gasket". Which actually turned out to be a cracked head. Basically the same symptoms but a much more expensive repair.

My research indicated that this is quite common on these motors if they have been overheated. It appears that common failure is the casting around the valve seats cracks.

Unless you are planning on a motor swap you may be better off buying a car with a better maintenance history and a working engine.
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RALLYRS
Mike Ball
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Re: Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?
December 02, 2015 10:04PM
Yeah Andrew when I'm ready to buy I'll be as careful as I can about getting a maintained one.

Been hanging at 318ti.org a bit...

A lot of these cars are modded and/or neglected.....

Doesnt seem like the m44 and m42 are a bad engine, but one to keep the cooling system maintained and a watchful eye on the temp gauge.

More so than one might with your average crapbox anyway...
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DaveK
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Re: Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?
December 03, 2015 04:40PM
Quote
RALLYRS
Yeah Andrew when I'm ready to buy I'll be as careful as I can about getting a maintained one.

Been hanging at 318ti.org a bit...

A lot of these cars are modded and/or neglected.....

Doesnt seem like the m44 and m42 are a bad engine, but one to keep the cooling system maintained and a watchful eye on the temp gauge.

More so than one might with your average crapbox anyway...

These were "cheap" for the make, so often the people who bought them didn't take care of them. Local shop out here swears by the motor for being nearly indestructible as long as the cooling system is properly maintained, but...see above. smiling smiley

I got mine for $1100 back in 2009 and drove it home. Did have a check engine light...so I scrapped it and put in multiple M3 engines. Have I mentioned I'm an idiot? LOL

Dave
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Mike Ball
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Re: Are the 4 bangers in the BMW 318ti's prone to blowing head gaskets?
December 08, 2015 04:26PM
Quote
DaveK
......
I got mine for $1100 back in 2009 and drove it home. Did have a check engine light...so I scrapped it and put in multiple M3 engines. Have I mentioned I'm an idiot? LOL

Dave

So it's entirely possible the lowly 4 cylinder BMW engine has an edge(at least in reliabilty) than the
'legendary" BMW 6 cylinder?
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