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I was on the highway and looked down at gauge... It was past the red so I immediEtly turned it off and then pulled over. I towed it to the house and once it cooled down I filled the radiator with fluid and turned the car on without the radiator cap on it... The fluid gushed out of the radiator and I immediately turned it off. Did I mess it up or what are your thoughts... Please help
 

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check the coolant to see if their is oil mixed in with it. it'd look milky if it was. Also if you were burning smoke out of the exhaust. I wouldn't worry too much about a headgasket, as it's a relatively easy fix, i'd be worried about warping the block.
 

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^wut? Just because coolant gushed out doesnt mean its a blown head gasket.

OP if you immediately turned it off (im talking withing a few seconds), then i think there would be little damage, most likely not a blown HG. Coolant gushed out b/c the engine is cold, it will continue to come out little by little until the engine gets warm then starts to suck the coolant in (b/c then it actually needs it). Someone correct me if im wrong, because this is just what i remember when i bled my system.
 

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I recently replaced most of the cooling system I.e. Expansion tank and sensor, radiator, top hose, fan clutch, as well as the thermostat. The radiator light came on last Friday so I topped it off with fluid. I drove it for about an hour and the light came on again and due to prior experiences with this issue I thought I had a slower leak than what i did. I kept driving it because he temperature gauge was still in the middle (normal) but apparently it was running more hot than I thought. I'm not completely sure but I believe the leak came from the bottom of the expansion tank as maybe it was not connected properly. At any rate... I'm car less and wondering how to check if I damaged the motor or not. Please advise...
 

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In addition I drained about a quart of oil from the pan and it looked new.

Should I take of the valve cover and take a closer look or buy a compression test kit or...
What would be your next step?
 

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Maybe I'm wrong.

If you fill a coolant system and then start the engine (assuming everything is cold) the coolant will not come out of the system with a removed radiator cap. As the engine gets warm the coolant gets warm. When a liquid gets warm, it expands. When I was getting my BSME this is what they taught. It was called "thermal expansion". I have two thermodynamics books that confirm this and I even found it on the internet:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_expansion

If the water gets sucked in as the engine gets warm, this can happen because there was an air pocket in the engine as as soon as the thermostat opened, this air pocket was transferred to the expansion tank.

The e46 has a bleeder screw in it. I figure this is because BMW did not want Hans and Franz to spend the next 3 days burping the system to get all of the air out. It all comes down to cycle time on the production line. Then, BMW sure doesn't want the cars to overheat at the port in NJ while Bill and Joe are driving the cars off of the ship and then on to a car carrier. So in some bizarre scheme, BMW paid some engineer to figure out how to bleed the system in a shorter time so BMW could reduce the cycle time and thus make more money. Plus they would have to not change out all of the head gaskets on brand new BMW's at the dealer.

Maybe I'm thinking too much...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Bro... U obviously know more about this than I do... Let's not get to technical! I agree with u... The water should not come up if the car is cold... Thus... We may be looking at a blown hg. Is that right? If so... What's ur next step to #1 confirm that theory? Is the only option to perform a compression test? Shouldnt i be able to remove the spark plugs and look at the head with a flash light and see if the fluid cleaned them or if they still have carbon?
People are telling me if the oil isn't milky than it's not blown... But couldn't it have blown on the combustion side therefore not mix with the oil?
 

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Troubleshooting:

Overheating...insufficient coolant in system, water pump defective, radiator core blocked or grille restricted, thermostat faulty, cooling fans faulty, or coolant cap not maintaining pressure.

Your headgasket isnt blown unless your puffing whitish/bluish smoke out the tailpipe, or there is water contamination on your engine internals.

inspect the sides of the block to make sure you're not leaking coolant down the sides though.
 

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I recently replaced most of the cooling system I.e. Expansion tank and sensor, radiator, top hose, fan clutch, as well as the thermostat. The radiator light came on last Friday so I topped it off with fluid. I drove it for about an hour and the light came on again and due to prior experiences with this issue I thought I had a slower leak than what i did. I kept driving it because he temperature gauge was still in the middle (normal) but apparently it was running more hot than I thought. I'm not completely sure but I believe the leak came from the bottom of the expansion tank as maybe it was not connected properly. At any rate... I'm car less and wondering how to check if I damaged the motor or not. Please advise...
When you say you topped it off...you mean you filled the ET all the way to the top with coolant, or just to max...meaning that you knew how to fill ET and stopped adding coolant just when the top ball on ET stick came all the way up?

Start reading cooling threads if this is confusing.

Based on what you said, though...seeing no reason to suspect HG...at most...sounds like you might have just sprung a coolant leak...as others have said.

You don't have a radiator cap to open...first of all...second of all...if you open it up with car running...it will gush out...and right now, I have no idea whether you just didn't bleed properly, didn't install stuff properly, replaced the ET cap, or what.

But, it just sounds like you have a leak...maybe cracked the ET again coz you overfilled it...or if really unlucky, maybe sprung a leak elsewhere like the rad...only speculation.

Not seeing HG...and don't think opening up valve cover will help at all in any case. You're of course welcome to do compression test or anything you want...it's your car...but personally, and nothing personal...

Think you should read lots of diys on cooling here and get up to speed on it. It's different than the designs of most cooling systems...but MB and Jaguar, I know, both also have an expansion tank...not an overflow tank that sucks coolant back in...it's a different design is all I know...so don't base what you do on what you know from other cars...

Cribs: read and study cooling threads a lot!

Doug
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok... I just finished my 1st compression test and here are the results: Note: I performed a dry test & didn't warm the car prior to test. (I simply wanted to see if all the chambers were comparable.
1. 160
2. 145
3. 110
4. 105
5. 150
6. 150

As I turned over the motor the #4 & #5 were spitting out water/fluid & #6 had oil on the spark plug (threaded side).

So... I'm no mechanic but I do believe this confirms the blown hg... right?
What Now? How do I proceed? what threads should I be getting familiar with? Any special tools that are needed to perform the repair?

Thanks in advance
 
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