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Rebuilding the 320/6 engine

Page 1: Rebuilding the 320/6 engine
Page 2: Removing the head
Page 3: Rebuilding the head
Page 4: Putting everything back together
So, have an E21 with a cracked head or otherwise in need of a rebuild? Thinking of disposing of it? You might as well repair it. Never fear, given the age of the E21 engines, there is nothing that you can't do yourself about them - no mysterious electronics, no complicated electrics, in fact it's really a straightforward and simple engine.

The cracked head
My car would increasingly consume oil, and after a while it started overheating a little because water dissapeared also. I had to litterally refill the coolant after each ride, which wasn't a good sign. After a while, a brown foam started to develop in my coolant expansion tank, which indicated oil leaking into the water circuit. At that point it became clear that something serious was wrong, probably a blown head gasket. Since I had just spent €1.000 on a welding job to fix the car for the technical inspection, I was really dissapointed in having invested the money for only a few more kilometers. The engine was completely bad by now, it would overheat after as little as three minutes running.
My dad and I decided that, given our investment and the attachment we had to the car, we could have the head gasket repaired by a friend mechanic. We towed the car to his place and he told us to come back to check how things are in a week. The next day he called us telling us that it looked a lot more serious than a blown head gasket. The coolant had become a thick, brown goo, and the cylinder head (which he knew was prone to cracking) would probably be bad by now.
So it was with great dissapointment that we towed the car back to our place, where it sat parked on our driveway for a few weeks. However, I decided I wanted to open up the engine to see what it looks like inside - I hadn't even dismantled a lawnmower before, so a six cylinder would sure be interesting! Here's how the car was returned to us by the mechanic. The valve cover, the air filter and the radiator was removed.

Notice how bad the coolant had become! It wouldn't even flow any more, it just stuck in the hose.


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