How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask mike Your Own Question
mike, BMW Technician
Category: BMW
Satisfied Customers: 1162
Experience:  bmw master tech ase certified
Type Your BMW Question Here...
mike is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

2002 BMW 325i: low coolant warm up for 10 minutes

This answer was rated:

I have a 2002 BMW 325i. The low coolant light had been on for about a month, it usually would be on when the car was started and would then turn off after driving for a while. On the coldest day of the year (0 deg f) I started my car and let it warm up for 10 minutes. I then got in the car and drove away. About two blocks later the engine stopped. I tried to start it and it turned over and then stopped again. I tried one more time and the engine would not turn over. Sounded like the engine was "stuck". The car had power, as the windows went up and down. No warning lights - including no "low coolant" light came on. I checked oil and it is low but there is oil. I was at about 15k miles since last oil change. I opened up the hood and looked around and there did not appear to be oil splattered under the hood. Car has 75k miles. Had to tow car to house and haven't tried to start again. Battery now dead. This was month ago. Oil appears to be deep black based on dipstick reading.
Hi one thing you will need to do is charge the battery or install a jump pack. But first remove all the spark plugs. May have oil or coolant in the cylinders. After removing plugs see if they are wet then while they are removed crank the engine over should crank pretty easy without the plugs in it. If there is water or oil in there it will spray out then you can determine what happened. That is the first thing I would do if this was in the shop. Thanks mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX doesn't turn over when the plugs are pulled and the battery charged, then it is seized, correct? Have you ever seen a similiar situation where an engine wouldn't turn over and the source was in fact oil or coolant in the plugs? What would be the most likely source of this problem? Finally if I pay you now may I still ask you additional questions related to this issue later or must I pay again?

Hi yes if it will not turn over then. Then yes you will be looking at engine more than likely.

If it is coolant will probally have a head gasket issue. If oil could be head gasket but with oil these cars are known for the oil seperator to freeze and will cause that kind of problem you are having and can also ruin the engine. Its a very common problem with the oil seperator. Yes you still can ask questions on this issue not a problem. I will then answer as info request. Or if I hit answer just dont hit accept again. And reply back again as needed. Thanks mike

mike and 6 other BMW Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi Mike, thanks for the help - I feel like I am making progress. I pulled the spark plugs and cranked the engine and it did in fact turn over, so I guess the engine was not seize. When I pulled the plugs they were dry, except for some small oil residue at the tips. There was not any other oil visible anywhere. When I cranked the engine black oil shot out of cylinders 1, 3, 5 and maybe six - I could tell that 2 and 4 were dry. I am assuming cylinder 1 is the one closest to the front of the car. I kept cranking it and eventually the oil did stop shooting out of the cylinders. I covered the cylinders with a towel prior to doing this so the rest of the engine is still pretty clean. It didn't look like coolant was in the oil, as it was deep black. By the way, prior to doing this I filled the car up with 3 liters of fresh oil since I was low on oil and I figured it couldn't hurt.

Based on this, any thoughts as to exactly what went wrong and what needs to be repaired? Any suggestion as to what I should do next?

Since the engine is not seized I am thinking the car might be worth repairing.

Hi yes know install the plugs and try to start it if it runs great. Shut it off let me know and I will give you the info on the oil seperator which I think is your problem. Thanks mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
<p>Hi Mike, I replaced the spark plugs and the car did start and ran. However, tons of white smoke came out of the exhaust. I turned it off after about 1 minute of running it.</p><p> </p><p>Here is a video of my engine turning over after removing the spark plugs and prior to reinstalling them.</p><p> </p><p>Here is a video of my first attempt to start the car after reinstalling the spark plugs. Notice the tremendous amount of white smoke that comes out of the exhaust. <a href=""></a></p><p> </p><p>Any thoughts about what I need to do next? Based on your comments and some research I did, perhaps the oil separator froze in the open position, causing oil hydrolock. Since then we have had temperatures in the 60s and 70s and it had to have thawed - is it possible that the oil regulator will return to its regular working order? Finally - what do you think is causing the white smoke? I don't think it is steam but I could be wrong. It was not sweet smelling, so it might not be coolant (although recall my coolant had been quite low leading up to this - not sure if that was a coincidence). </p><p> </p><p>Thanks for any help you can give me,</p><p>Bobby </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi Mike, any additional thoughts on this issue. Please let me know if you require additional money to continue helping. Thanks
Hi sorry you question got timed out on my side was deleted from my question list. Defenitly seems like you need a oil seperator. On the video the motor sounds not to good. Is it the video or is it just in the movie?? All that smoke will be normal with a bad seperator. Sucks oil straight to the cylinders. Make sure you top off the coolant and make sure you dont lose any more? Thanks mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi Mike, I drove it around for about an hour and it actually drives perfect now and smoke no longer comes out of the exaust at all. No unusual sounds anymore at all. Drives perfect, like it did before all this happened. The video added a bit of a high pitch whine that was not really there. I decided to change the oil, filter, and spark plugs as well. At this point I'd like to know for sure whether the oil separator needs to be replaced or if somehow it is now functioning properly. Is there any test I can do to find out if it definitely needs to be replaced? Thanks so much for your help.
Hi really the only thing you can do it when bad will sometimes make a horn type noise when sitting there and hitting the throttle and letting off quickly. Or try to remove the oil cap while it is running if it is hard to remove it is bad. I would be very cautious because I would think that is what happened it froze. When they go bad will cause oil seals or valve cover to leak or hurt engine. It causes to high of pressure in the engine. Have seen an x5 actually blow the frt section of the valve cover apart. Glad to hear its going. Thanks mike.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
<p>Hi Mike, the oil cap comes off easily while running, the oil filter cap does not come off while running. You were referring to the oil cap, not the oil filter cap, correct?</p><p> </p><p>Thanks!</p><p>Bobby</p>
Hi yes the oil cap (((( NOT THE OIL FILTER)))). Ok just keep an eye on it. If you are capable of replacing those parts yourself I would consider it. Mike