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Thread: over heated engine... now what ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2024
    Olympia, WA
    My Cars
    1974 BMW 2002

    over heated engine... now what ?

    Hey all, so I had the car out yesterday for a drive and all was going fine, then all of a sudden I looked and the temp gauge was in the red. I never saw it climb up above normal, one second it was normal, a second later it was in the red. No slow climb, just a instant jump so at first I wondered if the gauge was reading correctly or not. I pulled over about a mile over and the car was still running fine. I let it set for about 20 minutes and then tried to drive back towards home since I was close. Started it up got on the road, temp was fine, about 3 miles later the temp gauge did it again, went from normal to hot in an instant, I slowed down a bit and kept going to a wide spot up the road that I knew was there and just before I got there it started to rattle, just as I pulled over to stop. Had it towed home from there. My question is, what could the rattling be coming from? Is the engine ruined or just need some work done to it besides fixing the over heating issue?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Tavernier, Florida
    My Cars
    '99 2.8&Mcoupe, '03 Mini
    Worst case, the “rattle” is caused by the engine starting to seize from severe overheating. This is when the pistons scuff the cylinder walls, and it can be pretty fatal for an engine. You have to really overheat and engine to do that.
    I would start by checking the oil for evidence of water/coolant, as well as the oil level. Then check the coolant level, (or if there is any coolant in the system). You didn’t notice (or smell) coolant loss? No boiling over or steam, either at the first stop, or the final stop?
    Take it from there and report back.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    My Cars
    prev -'76 2002, '81 528i
    Stumbled on this thread by accident ...

    I had a 1976 2002 ... worked on it and enjoyed driving it for years. Added Weber side drafts and a warmer cam - after having driven it halfway across the country in 1982, after leaving a gas station in he middle of nowhere, it went from fine to hot in just a few seconds. I let it cool down, added water (carried with me) - could never get the thermostat to open - took tstat off, examined - looked fine. Could NOT get it to open! Ended up using a large screwdriver to remove the insides of the tstat. Ran cold, but we were able to continue to Colorado Springs, where I bought a succession of three tstats from the dealer. None would open. Heard about a tip while there. Drill 3-4 small holes in the disk that moves in the tstat. Did this - worked perfectly after that.

    Heard later this was not an uncommon problem with OEM tstats.

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