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Old 11-27-2018, 12:46 AM   #1
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Default Mysterious M44 Coolant Leak - Please Help!

Hi all,

I've noticed a puddle of coolant under the AC compressor on my 1998 318ti (203k miles) in the last few weeks. I bought the car last May, and had no cooling issues until this - perhaps not coincidently we had our first cold front move through around the time the leak started (overnight lows in the mid-teens).

I've tightened the hoses on the T-stat and have cleaned the front of the upper timing case to check if this is where the leak is coming from. I don't see any evidence that the leak is from the T-stat housing or the hoses.

The leak appears to be coming from near the mating surface of the upper and lower timing case covers just below the timing chain tensioner. There is visible coolant coming down both sides of the compressor. Does the m44 have a profile gasket that could leak coolant in this area? Any other thoughts as to what may be happening?

I've driven the car about 70 miles since this has happened and have not noticed any white smoke or mixing of oil and coolant.

Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 11-29-2018, 04:18 AM   #2
paul somlo
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Yes, there's a rubber profile gasket that sits between the top of the timing chain case and the bottom of the cylinder head, it's #10: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=11_6003

If that's where the trouble lies, I'll pray for your soul, as that's a bitch to change. I ended up removing the head to get the new gasket in. But, I think there's a way to replace it without removing the head.

It sounds like you've ruled out the water pump, as you're seeing coolant above it?

By the way, where are you at? I'm in Greeley.

'96ti 246,800 mi.
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Old 11-30-2018, 02:57 AM   #3
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Hi Paul,

Thanks for the response! Yes, it does seem to be coming down from near the top of the AC compressor which is above the water pump, so unfortunately I don't think that is where the leak is. I haven't been able to catch drips of coolant anywhere above the bottom of the compressor.

When your profile gasket failed, were you seeing coolant leaking on the outside of the block, or were you having symptoms of coolant mixing with oil? I would have thought that the profile gasket would allow coolant into the timing case, but maybe not always?

I used to live in Windsor, back when I had the 95' 318ti. My wife worked at UNC in Greeley, so we know that area well. We are in Albuquerque now. I'll update my profile now.
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Old 11-30-2018, 03:43 AM   #4
paul somlo
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No coolant - I changed the profile gasket due to oil leaking out of the chain case, where the case and cover meet. The oil was dripping down the right hand side, near the tensioner. I haven't noticed any co-mingling of oil and coolant.

The issue, when replacing the gasket, is that the new gasket has not been compressed, thus takes a lot of force to slide the chain case back in. And the rectangular coolant passage on the underside of the head will tear up the gasket when you try to slide the chain case into position. The solution is to use very thin feeler gauges, either 0.001" or 0.002" thick, well lubricated, during the install. Then pull them out afterwards. I can tell you that I used 0.006" thick shim stock and it was much too thick, couldn't pull it out without distorting the gasket.

The '95ti - did you buy that 2nd hand? I worked with someone at HP in Loveland, they had a green 'ti, think his name was maybe Edgar or Edwin, wondering if it was his originally.
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