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I have a 2004 3 series compact, 1.8.

Its done 110,000 miles and has been looked after well and is driving fine.

It is loosing about a teacup of water per week, there is also a tiny bit of contamination on the underside of the oil filler cap and a tiny bit on the dipstick.
it looks like white froth off bitter, its not a lot but there is a bit there. Could well be the start of a head gasket problem maybe ?

Does anyone know if any radiator stop leak and engine stop leaks work - i was thinking of putting one in each and seeing if it might seal up any tiny gaps/leaks.

Or if anyone has any other advice.

Ive seen some products made by Xado,

radiator gasket additives






oil additive












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Morning Mark

Loss of coolant is always a worry but not always a head gasket problem, like wise condensation can show droplets and mayonnaise on the dip stick and filler cap . Often leaks are else where waterpump, secondary waterpump, hoses, transmission oil cooler seals all can weep and cause the sort of loss your experiencing. A garage can do a sniffer test on your header tank to confirm if there is a head gasket problem.

Personally I would fight shy of additives that could well cause more problems long term than they fix short term.

Hope this helps

Happy New Year


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Head gasket problems usually (but not always) have much worse symptoms than a slight amount of coolant being lost each week, like drivability issues or leaving massive white clouds of smoke behind you, especially during cold starts.  You can smell if coolant is getting into the exhaust, it's got a horrible sickly sweet smell that will burn the back of your throat.  Regular exhaust should smell like the fuel you're using.  They're actually somewhat easy to replace compared to some of the other things that can go wrong, what most people do wrong is wait until there's definitely a problem.  

Definitely don't add additives unless your car is so worthless at this point that repairs will exceed the cost of replacing the whole car.  I've done that on a $500 car, and what wound up happening was the additives did fix the leak.  Then, they clogged up the relief valves in the expansion tank cap, which caused the cap to violently explode from the tank and sent several gallons of hot engine coolant all over pretty much everything.  We tried this several times, and one of the times the cap shot off with such force with the hood open that we couldn't find it and had to buy another one.  The excessive pressure blew the temporary patch that the additive did apart.  We wound up selling the car to a salvage yard.  

Signs of a cracked head or blown gasket:

1. Antifreeze pouring from overflow tube

2. Extremely excessive pressure in engine crank case (Take the oil cap off, if your hair gets blown back by what's coming out of there you have a problem)

3. Oil mixed with antifreeze - you'll typically see this in the crank case, not in the radiator, although it can go both ways.  it's just easier to see in the crank case because there's a lot less oil than there is water.  

4. Power loss when hot

5. Overheating for no apparent reason (Not that you can tell on a BMW, but if your car does have a temp gauge, it will typically be running hotter than expected)

6. Engine stalling and refusal to start when hot (it will crank but won't fire, due to the plugs becoming fouled with water)

7. Excessive pressure in radiator - this is easy to check on a car with a radiator cap, just remove the cap when cold  and start the car.  If a geyser of engine coolant immediately blows from the radiator, you've got a blown gasket.  I don't mean it bubbles a bit and flows over, it will actually shoot out like from a water cannon.  Cars which only have expansion tank caps will simply begin immediately boiling like a jacuzzi.  Not a few bubbles, but a frothy white mix like you see at the bottom of a waterfall.  





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