Possible coolant leak into the oil - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 53 Old Jul 18th, 2006, 8:50 pm Thread Starter
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Possible coolant leak into the oil

I just returned from a ~ 8000 Km (5000 mile) trip with my son, from Ontario Canada to Calgary Alberta. I changed my engine oil and rear drive oil before I left ( at 3095 Km) and right after I got back. I sent samples of each for analysis.
The bad news is that my engine oil results ( from the oil that I drained when I returned from Calgary) came back indicating a possible slow coolant leak into the engine. This was indicated by high sodium levels. (204 ppm)
Wear Check advised to check my coolant level and to drive no more than 800 Km (500 miles) and drain the oil again and resample.
I did check my coolant level during the trip and DID notice that it was slowly dropping.
Right now I'm not a happy LT owner as you can imagine!!!

The good news is that my rear drive oil analyses are now OK after the first sample which showed high iron levels.

Thank goodness I decided to do oil analysis!!!

So - I'd suggest you all keep an eye on your coolant levels (it is easy to place a small mark on the coolant reservoir)

This is what Wear Check had to say:

"We recommend that you drain the oil from the component if this has not already been done. We recommend an early resample to confirm this situation, however, a minimum of 10 hours, 500 miles or 800 kilometers on the oil is required before resampling to prevent false positive glycol reactions that can be experienced with new oil. Check for low coolant level. Test for glycol is negative. Water treatment chemicals present, indicating slow coolant leak. "

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post #2 of 53 Old Jul 18th, 2006, 9:00 pm
 
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Actually, the best news is that your LT is still under warranty. But I am a little more than mildly surprised at this post. This is the first time I've ever read about coolant contamination in the motor oil. But as we all know, it's a machine made by man, and they do fail.

Keep is updated.
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post #3 of 53 Old Jul 18th, 2006, 9:06 pm
 
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I would not drive it anymore, 06 should be warranty anyway. Sound like headgasket. Thank God for the Oil Analysis. Might not be a bad idea to use another company for oil analysis, this way you would have two independant companies telling your dealer that there is coolant in the oil.
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post #4 of 53 Old Jul 18th, 2006, 9:25 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amsoilguy
I would not drive it anymore, 06 should be warranty anyway. Sound like headgasket. Thank God for the Oil Analysis.

Good point. I'll ask for a formal recommendation from my dealer before I drive it any more. (I was scheduled to take it to them this Friday for the 10,000Km/6000mile check)

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post #5 of 53 Old Jul 18th, 2006, 9:34 pm
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amsoilguy
I would not drive it anymore, 06 should be warranty anyway. Sound like headgasket. Thank God for the Oil Analysis. Might not be a bad idea to use another company for oil analysis, this way you would have two independant companies telling your dealer that there is coolant in the oil.
I don't think he needs a second opinion. I think that bike needs to be trailered (at the dealer's expense) ASAP, and let them do their job. Or at least call the dealer first thing in the morning and ask them how they want it handled. They may just ask to ride the bike into the dealer. I'm not sure that riding it another 50-100km would hurt anything anyway.
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post #6 of 53 Old Jul 18th, 2006, 11:27 pm
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This is not common at all, but it has happened a few times. There was another one a few weeks ago.

The likely culprit is the seals between the water pump and oil pump. They are in a common housing on the same shaft.

See attached cutaway from the service manual.
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post #7 of 53 Old Jul 21st, 2006, 9:40 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
This is not common at all, but it has happened a few times. There was another one a few weeks ago.

The likely culprit is the seals between the water pump and oil pump. They are in a common housing on the same shaft.

See attached cutaway from the service manual.
The dealer started checking the bike today. The Tech said that he could not see any leak at the water pump. He says there are two seals (one for the oil side and one for the water side) with a telltale drain hole between. He saw no indication of anything from the telltale.
Next step is a pressure test to see if it is the head gasket.

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post #8 of 53 Old Jul 22nd, 2006, 8:08 am
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Coolant in Oil

Another member of this site MinnetonkaAL just received his bike back after a month in the shop for the same problem. Rode with him this week. He can explain it beter, but manufacturing defect in sealing caused the contamination. BMW cooperated in the repair.

Mirage
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post #9 of 53 Old Jul 22nd, 2006, 8:11 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirage
Another member of this site MinnetonkaAL just received his bike back after a month in the shop for the same problem. Rode with him this week. He can explain it beter, but manufacturing defect in sealing caused the contamination. BMW cooperated in the repair.

Mirage
Where was the sealing problem located?

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post #10 of 53 Old Jul 25th, 2006, 11:39 pm
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It was my bike with this problem a few weeks ago. Long story short (as I'm having internet connection problems), have the dealer pressure test it, and check the amount of high temperature sealant around the pan. The LT does not have a head gasket, but instead they use a sealant. I'll try posting more of my story later if anyone is interested in how BMW and the dealer handled everything.....I was very pleased!!

Al

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post #11 of 53 Old Jul 26th, 2006, 10:23 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinnetonkaAl
The LT does not have a head gasket, but instead they use a sealant. Al
Glad you are happy, but I would find another dealer more knowledgable as the LT DOES use a head gasket. Now there are other places that they only use sealant and no gasket so maybe there was just some mis-communication.

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post #12 of 53 Old Jul 26th, 2006, 11:35 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinnetonkaAl
It was my bike with this problem a few weeks ago. Long story short (as I'm having internet connection problems), have the dealer pressure test it, and check the amount of high temperature sealant around the pan. The LT does not have a head gasket, but instead they use a sealant. I'll try posting more of my story later if anyone is interested in how BMW and the dealer handled everything.....I was very pleased!!

Al
Strange info your dealer gave you. The LT does have a head gasket. The oil pan also uses a rubber gasket. The timing cover does not use a gasket, but covers no water passages. No gasket on the intermediate crankcase housing, but again, no water passages there either.

It would be nice if your dealer could tell you what actually leaked, and not a bunch of gibberish.

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post #13 of 53 Old Jul 29th, 2006, 8:52 pm Thread Starter
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No leak found

The dealer could not find a leak. He ran a pressure test for 1 hour on the cooling system at 2 bar (30 psi) and did not drop at all. I was worried that this might happen.
All I can do is put more miles on it and watch the coolant level carefully and wait for the next oil analysis.
One thing I dont know - is how much does the level norammly drop in the reservoir? Is there always some evaporation and level drop? Anyone got any info?

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post #14 of 53 Old Jul 30th, 2006, 9:10 am
 
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by RealWing
The dealer could not find a leak. He ran a pressure test for 1 hour on the cooling system at 2 bar (30 psi) and did not drop at all. I was worried that this might happen.
Can we suspect a faulty oil analysis at this point?
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post #15 of 53 Old Jul 30th, 2006, 11:00 am
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I was told that the coolant was leaking at the sump. They had done a pressure test and actually saw it leaking. Not being a mechanical person, maybe I misunderstood and wrote something incorrectly....not sure. Whatever the case, I was told that my leak was caused by the high temperature sealant not being adequate from the factory. I sure hope they found the real problem and that I won't have additional problems. I guess I'll be doing an oil analysis too.

Al

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post #16 of 53 Old Jul 30th, 2006, 11:08 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by messenger13
Can we suspect a faulty oil analysis at this point?
I had wondered about that as well, or maybe contamination of the sample. Seems unlikely but not impossible. Will know for sure at next analysis.

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post #17 of 53 Old Nov 3rd, 2006, 8:18 pm Thread Starter
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Latest oil analysis results

The latest results are now showing significant coolant contamination in the oil. In addition, I've been keeping an accurate track of my coolant loss. I used a calibrated syringe and "calibrated" my coolant reservoir. the results and photo's are attached.
My dealer talked to BMW Tech Support and they offered to work on the bike over the winter (yes winter has arrived here in Ontario, Canada!!!) and store it free of charge.
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post #18 of 53 Old Nov 3rd, 2006, 9:05 pm
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I agree with the prior statement , Water pump oil pump seal and bushings are the problem.Highly unlikely it would be the head gasket.


Any white smoke in the exhaust? If not Head gasket fine!

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post #19 of 53 Old Nov 4th, 2006, 9:18 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murray
I agree with the prior statement , Water pump oil pump seal and bushings are the problem.Highly unlikely it would be the head gasket.


Any white smoke in the exhaust? If not Head gasket fine!
I had suspected the water pump as well, but in looking at the layout, there are 2 separate seals (one on the coolant side and one on the oil side) with a tell-tale leakoff line in between. If any coolant is getting past the coolant seal, it should (??) run out the tell-tale drain and onto the ground (Arrow A in photo 38 from the Clymer manual)

I havent been awar of any white smoke - but never looked back to see!!! The rate of coolant loss is still quite small (0.05 ml/Km), so I'm not sure there would be any white smoke?
It may be a couple of months before we know for sure, but I'll post the results and hopefully some pics of the leak area.
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post #20 of 53 Old Nov 4th, 2006, 6:46 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealWing
I had suspected the water pump as well, but in looking at the layout, there are 2 separate seals (one on the coolant side and one on the oil side) with a tell-tale leakoff line in between. If any coolant is getting past the coolant seal, it should (??) run out the tell-tale drain and onto the ground (Arrow A in photo 38 from the Clymer manual)

I havent been awar of any white smoke - but never looked back to see!!! The rate of coolant loss is still quite small (0.05 ml/Km), so I'm not sure there would be any white smoke?
It may be a couple of months before we know for sure, but I'll post the results and hopefully some pics of the leak area.
Thanks for the reply.
Good Luck!

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post #21 of 53 Old Nov 4th, 2006, 9:10 pm
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I don't want to get you too worried , but be prepared for major engine disassembly -- possibly even replacement. Once in a *very* rare while, a BMW engine block casting or head casting will be produced with a porosity or crack. The good news is that BMWNA historically has stepped up to the plate to take care such problems.

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post #22 of 53 Old Nov 4th, 2006, 11:02 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mneblett
I don't want to get you too worried , but be prepared for major engine disassembly -- possibly even replacement. Once in a *very* rare while, a BMW engine block casting or head casting will be produced with a porosity or crack. The good news is that BMWNA historically has stepped up to the plate to take care such problems.
The thought of complete replacement had crossed my mind!!!! Actually might be good news if that was the case.

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post #23 of 53 Old Nov 5th, 2006, 1:33 pm
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what if it,s heat vapouration , very common in all water cooled engines .

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post #24 of 53 Old Nov 5th, 2006, 2:29 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikesnumbnuts
what if it,s heat vapouration , very common in all water cooled engines .

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Do you mean coolant vapour loss from the reservoir tank?
I'm sure there is some of that happening on all bikes, but is will be VERY small compared to how much I'm losing into the oil - as shown by the positive result of coolant in the oil.

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post #25 of 53 Old Nov 5th, 2006, 3:00 pm
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Water and oil don,t mix , so would,nt draining engine and looking for water droplets in contents confirm that you have a problem .

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post #26 of 53 Old Nov 6th, 2006, 6:53 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikesnumbnuts
Water and oil don,t mix , so would,nt draining engine and looking for water droplets in contents confirm that you have a problem .

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You'd have to have a lot of water n the oil to be able to see it. It would emulsify, end up looking like coffee with cream in it. One heck of a mess.

Oil analysis is an excellent way of finding this.

Wonder why it shows positive for sodium but no glycol? Boiling off?

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post #27 of 53 Old Jan 12th, 2007, 4:32 pm Thread Starter
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Update on coolant leak

I carefully monitored the level in my coolant reservoir in Sept and lost 68ml in 1268 Km (760 miles). This is from just above the Max mark to just above the Min mark on the reservoir - which is a lot. In addition, after I changed the oil at the end of the season, I had the oil analyzed again and it showed a Severe coolant leak into the oil.

BMW agreed that the bike should be disassembled and the following pics show the guts of the beast. The bottom line is that they saw no evidence of a leak path!! It is going back together now and this leaves me with an unresolved problem. It may still be a porosity flaw in the block that is letting coolant directly into the crankcase??

This is what the dealer did:
- removed body and tank, made close visual inspection of engine, oil/water pump, and cooling system- no leaks, cracks or signs of damage/malfunction
- removed exhaust system- no sign of leakage from head gasket
- disassembled to accommodate removal of cylinder head
- after removing cylinder head, inspected head gasket for evidence of leakage- no visual evidence found
- inspected mating surfaces on both cylinder head and cylinder casting for signs of damage/leakage- no evidence found
- carefully reassembled engine- let sit overnight to allow sealant to set.

Any thoughts from anyone? (The bike has ~13,000 Km (7800Miles)
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post #28 of 53 Old Jan 12th, 2007, 4:33 pm Thread Starter
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More pics

A couple of more pictures
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post #29 of 53 Old Jan 12th, 2007, 5:00 pm
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From what you describe the shop was only looking for coolant leakage in the combustion section of the engine (cylinders, gaskets, heads, etc..). They did a good job of eliminating that possibility but now they need to look into other possibilities. The next step would be to remove the engine and reassemble it, leaving the oil pan off. Then hook the engine's coolant system to a pressurized tank filled with a fluid that is much thinner than water, pressurize it with the engine filled with the fluid also. Then sit back and watch for the leak/s and track it/them down.
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post #30 of 53 Old Jan 12th, 2007, 8:53 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morley
From what you describe the shop was only looking for coolant leakage in the combustion section of the engine (cylinders, gaskets, heads, etc..). They did a good job of eliminating that possibility but now they need to look into other possibilities. The next step would be to remove the engine and reassemble it, leaving the oil pan off. Then hook the engine's coolant system to a pressurized tank filled with a fluid that is much thinner than water, pressurize it with the engine filled with the fluid also. Then sit back and watch for the leak/s and track it/them down.
You beat me to it. I was going to suggest pressure testing with the oil pan, crank cover, and timing cover off. In the bike though, probably don't need to remove the engine to find the source.

They sure seem to be missing something.

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post #31 of 53 Old Jan 12th, 2007, 9:13 pm
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Do I See Something They Missed???

I may not...but if you will look at the last photo on post #27 it looks to me like I see signs of possible leakage between one of the water passages in the jacket and the combustion chamber (either #1 or #4 -- can't tell from the angle). There sure is some corrosion there and it looks suspicious to me!

LOOK IN THE TOP LEFT HAND CORNER OF THE COMBUSTION CHAMBER ON THE RIGHT END OF THE PHOTO...

CHIME IN...ANYONE?????

Plus I sure hope they cleaned it up a LOT better before they reassembled..

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post #32 of 53 Old Jan 12th, 2007, 9:41 pm
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Jack,

Is this the one you are referring to? I photoshopped the picture a little to get a better look. The right hand combustion chamber looks "oily" while the other chamber look like dry carbon buildup.

The upper left part of the combustion chamber looks like there MAY be a leak to one of the coolant channels.

David, what do you think?






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post #33 of 53 Old Jan 12th, 2007, 9:45 pm
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Yep...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevincook
Jack,

Is this the one you are referring to? I photoshopped the picture a little to get a better look. The right hand combustion chamber looks "oily" while the other chamber look like dry carbon buildup.

The upper left part of the combustion chamber looks like there MAY be a leak to one of the coolant channels.

David, what do you think?

Kevin

That's the one Kevin. I noticed that it looked wet and the others dry too! Wow...could it be???? As a service manager for years, it sure looks fishy to me, but then, I've never had a head off an LT. New to the community...but learnin' fast!

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post #34 of 53 Old Jan 12th, 2007, 9:47 pm
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Yeah, I'm sure one of the real experts around here will chime in soon and then we'll all learn something.

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post #35 of 53 Old Jan 12th, 2007, 10:25 pm
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While the exhaust valves look cleaner than the others, the intakes look just as carboned up as the others. I've delt with "blown" head gaskets in auto engines and when you get water leaking into the cylinders, all of the valves get treated to a nice steam cleaning, not to mention the piston too (all of his look the same). I was wondering if the "wet look" on that combustion chamber might not be oil from the bike sitting on the side stand for a long period of time.
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post #36 of 53 Old Jan 12th, 2007, 10:31 pm
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Just wondering...

I also notice that the two exhaust valves (the ones on the bottom) on that particluar cylinder are more of a tan color and the others are white. They do not just look cleaner to me...they are distinctly more tan than the others. This could possibly indicate a cooler running cylinder -- due to the coolant leaking in and so it cannot combust well.

Be aware that most of the photos he posted are AFTER cleanup with the exception (I hope) of the one showing the wetness of the combustion chamber, discolored exhaust valves and possbile signs of leakage between coolant passage and cylinder.

Jack Homesley
Cornelius, NC USA
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post #37 of 53 Old Jan 12th, 2007, 10:43 pm
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It looks like that cylinder is running colder to me also. I'd be suspicious of a coolant leak unless we can get some more details. It would be easier to tell if we could see the parts in person.

Kevin

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post #38 of 53 Old Jan 12th, 2007, 11:36 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevincook
Jack,

Is this the one you are referring to? I photoshopped the picture a little to get a better look. The right hand combustion chamber looks "oily" while the other chamber look like dry carbon buildup.

The upper left part of the combustion chamber looks like there MAY be a leak to one of the coolant channels.

David, what do you think?






Kevin
Sure looks like a coolant leak into the right cylinder to me too! The wetness can be from the glycol in the antifreeze. I agree that that looks like a head gasket leak at 11:00 on the right cylinder.

I would also be concerned with the white valves on the center cylinders. White is normally a sign of running too lean. could be that the O2 sensor is getting fooled, or has been contaminated with antifreeze and is setting the mixture wrong. But that makes me wonder why the left cylinder seems to be running better. I also wonder why the rear valves on the left three cylinders are greatly different from the front ones. That is a little strange also.

Something really wrong with the insides of that engine. When I pulled the head off mine, all the exhaust valves were the same light tan color, which is normal. Intakes are normally gray/black, exhausts light tan.

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post #39 of 53 Old Jan 13th, 2007, 12:26 am
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I hope that one cylinder was your problem, If so, It should be corrected when the shop installs the new head gasket. Good luck with that nice looking bike.

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post #40 of 53 Old Jan 13th, 2007, 12:26 am
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Well, IF he is burning ANY coolant, the O2 sensor is trashed. Nothing will poision an O2 sensor faster than burning glycol in a cylinder. When they reassemble the engine, tell em you want a new O2 sensor.

Oh, and make sure they check the head with a straight edge ensure it is still true.
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post #41 of 53 Old Jan 13th, 2007, 9:18 am
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How about this???

Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
Sure looks like a coolant leak into the right cylinder to me too! The wetness can be from the glycol in the antifreeze. I agree that that looks like a head gasket leak at 11:00 on the right cylinder.

I would also be concerned with the white valves on the center cylinders. White is normally a sign of running too lean. could be that the O2 sensor is getting fooled, or has been contaminated with antifreeze and is setting the mixture wrong. But that makes me wonder why the left cylinder seems to be running better. I also wonder why the rear valves on the left three cylinders are greatly different from the front ones. That is a little strange also.

Something really wrong with the insides of that engine. When I pulled the head off mine, all the exhaust valves were the same light tan color, which is normal. Intakes are normally gray/black, exhausts light tan.

YOU KNOW WHAT REALLY STINKS??? If I read the earlier posts right, then the mechanic (certainly a misnomer!), said the following:

QUOTE FROM POST #27
"BMW agreed that the bike should be disassembled and the following pics show the guts of the beast. The bottom line is that they saw no evidence of a leak path!! It is going back together now and this leaves me with an unresolved problem. It may still be a porosity flaw in the block that is letting coolant directly into the crankcase??

This is what the dealer did:
- removed body and tank, made close visual inspection of engine, oil/water pump, and cooling system- no leaks, cracks or signs of damage/malfunction
- removed exhaust system- no sign of leakage from head gasket
- disassembled to accommodate removal of cylinder head
- after removing cylinder head, inspected head gasket for evidence of leakage- no visual evidence found
- inspected mating surfaces on both cylinder head and cylinder casting for signs of damage/leakage- no evidence found
- carefully reassembled engine- let sit overnight to allow sealant to set."
END OF QUOTE


HOW IN THE WORLD CAN A CERTIFIED BMW TECH NOT SEE THE OBVIOUS????I am new to the BMW community, miles away from the components AND the shop, looking at PHOTOS for crying out loud and this engine is screaming at me, "HEAD GASKET LEAK!"

I just hope it WAS the head Gasket and NOT the Head itself, or you'll have a repeat! Do you know if they checked the head for any warping, etc. Did they at least lay a straight edge on the surface to check for flatness??? Wow... Makes me want to work on my own bike even more than ever!

Jack Homesley
Cornelius, NC USA
'06 Goldwing - "The Black Pearl"
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post #42 of 53 Old Jan 13th, 2007, 10:33 am Thread Starter
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Pressure Tests

Previous COLD pressure tests showed zero pressure drop. I've asked them to do a hot pressure test next.

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post #43 of 53 Old Jan 13th, 2007, 10:42 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cccpastorjack
YOU KNOW WHAT REALLY STINKS??? If I read the earlier posts right, then the mechanic (certainly a misnomer!), said the following:

QUOTE FROM POST #27
"BMW agreed that the bike should be disassembled and the following pics show the guts of the beast. The bottom line is that they saw no evidence of a leak path!! It is going back together now and this leaves me with an unresolved problem. It may still be a porosity flaw in the block that is letting coolant directly into the crankcase??

This is what the dealer did:
- removed body and tank, made close visual inspection of engine, oil/water pump, and cooling system- no leaks, cracks or signs of damage/malfunction
- removed exhaust system- no sign of leakage from head gasket
- disassembled to accommodate removal of cylinder head
- after removing cylinder head, inspected head gasket for evidence of leakage- no visual evidence found
- inspected mating surfaces on both cylinder head and cylinder casting for signs of damage/leakage- no evidence found
- carefully reassembled engine- let sit overnight to allow sealant to set."
END OF QUOTE


HOW IN THE WORLD CAN A CERTIFIED BMW TECH NOT SEE THE OBVIOUS????I am new to the BMW community, miles away from the components AND the shop, looking at PHOTOS for crying out loud and this engine is screaming at me, "HEAD GASKET LEAK!"

I just hope it WAS the head Gasket and NOT the Head itself, or you'll have a repeat! Do you know if they checked the head for any warping, etc. Did they at least lay a straight edge on the surface to check for flatness??? Wow... Make me want to work on my own bike even more than ever!
Are you basing your comments ("HEAD GASKET LEAK" ) on the different coloration of the valves in the cylinder head? I thought the different colors of the exhaust valves in the 4 cylinders looked pretty odd, however my experience with head gasket leaks usually show up as a distinct lack of carbon on one or more piston tops or combustion chambers.

I had already asked if a flatness check of the head was done, but dont have an answer yet.

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post #44 of 53 Old Jan 13th, 2007, 11:00 am
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Read My Post (#31)...

Earlier in this thread (post #31 by cccpastorjack) I stated the reasons for my comments. Check it (and subsequent posts) and you will both see and read the basis for my comments.

To me, when I looked at the photos very intently, it was VERY evident that there was a head gasket leak. The "wet" look of the combustion chamber was just supporting, secondary evidence. Same with the different color of the exhaust valves.

The main thing I saw was the obvious discoloration at about 11 o'clock on the last cylinder on the right. The post will explain it, but both David Shealy and Kevin Cook agree, so it's more than just my opinion.

Jack Homesley
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post #45 of 53 Old Jan 13th, 2007, 11:17 am
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Look at this too...

I was also wondering what would have caused all the corrosion on the topside of the head in this photo???? Coolant??? Is that normal?
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post #46 of 53 Old Jan 13th, 2007, 11:27 am Thread Starter
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closeup pics

I cropped the original digital photographs of the cylinder head to get a closer look. The first and second pic is the front #1 cylinder. I also noticed the mark at 11:00 o'clock, but it looked like a smudge - not a leak path.

I've asked the dealer to explain the dramatic color variations in the exhaust valves - particularly on #2 and 3 cylinders (picture 3). What I dont understand is - if one or more cylinders is running lean - then I would have expected both exhaust valves to have the same coloration.

Good point about the O2 sensor being contaminated - I'll get them to change it.
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post #47 of 53 Old Jan 14th, 2007, 9:35 pm
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Smile Coolant in oil.

Guys to check very easily for coolant in oil is as follows. Park bike on center stand and let sit over night. Loosen oil pan drain plug and slowly remove. Before you get the plug all the way out, if you have coolant in your oil it will appear in it's original color draining by the threads of the plug. The coolant is heavier than the oil and will settle to the bottom of the pan. This is the very first test I would do if you suspect coolant in the oil pan. Also coolant burnt in the combustion chamber steam cleans the effected area.
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post #48 of 53 Old Jan 14th, 2007, 9:59 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schostev
Guys to check very easily for coolant in oil is as follows. Park bike on center stand and let sit over night. Loosen oil pan drain plug and slowly remove. Before you get the plug all the way out, if you have coolant in your oil it will appear in it's original color draining by the threads of the plug. The coolant is heavier than the oil and will settle to the bottom of the pan. This is the very first test I would do if you suspect coolant in the oil pan. Also coolant burnt in the combustion chamber steam cleans the effected area.
That method will certainly work if you have a significant leak. I never saw any direct evidence of coolant in my oil. It was only picked up by oil analysis.

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post #49 of 53 Old Jan 14th, 2007, 10:11 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schostev
Guys to check very easily for coolant in oil is as follows. Park bike on center stand and let sit over night. Loosen oil pan drain plug and slowly remove. Before you get the plug all the way out, if you have coolant in your oil it will appear in it's original color draining by the threads of the plug. The coolant is heavier than the oil and will settle to the bottom of the pan. This is the very first test I would do if you suspect coolant in the oil pan. Also coolant burnt in the combustion chamber steam cleans the effected area.
If you have a bad enough leak this will work. A small one though may not be detected, as there are low spots in the oil sump that will not fully drain through the drain plug, so water settled there will not drain out. Probably only a couple ounces, but if the water leak is small it will be detected by an oil analysis, but when the engine is run the water will likely be boiled out, and then the puddle will re-start again when parked. IF it is leaking when cold and the coolant system not under pressure.

Usually the first sign of a leak if oil analysis is not done is the oil gets a brown, foamy look as the water is churned into the oil by the oil pump and all other moving parts. It takes quite a while for entrained water to coalesce back out and puddle at the bottom unless the leak is quite large.

What we see as a likely leak source in the head pictures is into the combustion chamber, where most of it would be blown out through the exhaust system anyway, very little would make it to the crankcase unless the rings have been blown. One really nasty thing that can happen is that enough water may leak into a sitting engine to cause a hydraulic "lock" when the piston comes up on it's compression stroke when started. That can cause damage anywhere from cracked rings or ring lands, bent connecting rods, or broken pistons/heads.

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post #50 of 53 Old Feb 5th, 2007, 8:43 pm Thread Starter
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The dealer had their Automotive Service Manager have a look at the head gasket and the pictures. He focused on the middle 2 cylinders and then carefully separated the head gasket and apparently identified a coolant leak path between the layers. The bike is back together and passed all pressure/leak tests. They are confident they have solved the problem. BMW Canada has reviewed this and agreed. I will be going to have a look at the head gasket myself and hopefully take some closeup pictures.
Looks like the only way to know for sure will be when I drive it in the spring and again analyze the oil.

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