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You're right...sounds like a head gasket. (archive)

[ Follow Ups ] [ 5-series (E34) Message Board ] [ Msg. Board FAQ ]

Posted by R Kieffer on September 19, 1999 at 09:13:12:

In Reply to: Re: dead miss on one cylinder posted by Robert Brinson on September 19, 1999 at 01:45:00:

I think the things you've described makes it sound like a head gasket leak. If you had a plug missing or a bad plug wire, the car wouldn't speed over that cylinder when you were cranking it with the starter. The only reasons it would be doing that is because it is loosing compression. That means either a blown head gasket, a valve problem or a piston ring problem.

Did you notive anything unusual with any of the plugs when you changed them? If you're leaking into a water jacket, you should have seen evidence of that. In some cases, you may also see air bubbles in the reservoir tank. If this is occurring, then you need to stop driving the car immediately.

If you could perform a compression test, I think you'd have your answer. However, the fact that you say you can hear the puffing noise makes me think you've got a direct leak to atmosphere.

The only other thing I can even think of is an exhaust valve hanging open. Same effect. No compression and the puffing noise. You might be able to tell with the valve cover off. At any point, I think you've got to start taking the top end of the engine apart.

Sorry to deliver the bad news!


Robert J. Kieffer
1991 535i

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