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From digest.v7.n1070 Tue Feb 3 23:37:28 1998
From: "Ron Browne" <>
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 21:54:04 -0500
Subject: Brief Counterpoint to Roundel Article

To : Yale Rachlin, BMWCCA; Erik Wensberg, BMWNA CC: BMWCCA, BMW Internet Digest

Subject: Facts


Thank you for taking the time to forward my letter regarding the M42 318i engine defect (profile gasket failure) to Erik Wensberg of BMWNA, and I also thank you for publishing the letter/response in the February 1998 issue of the Roundel. (Page 16, "M42 318 Gasket Problem"). I do feel the need to address a couple of significant issues which were bought up by Erik and yourself.

In your "Ed. Note" and in Erik's carefully worded "response", you both state that neither BMWNA nor the Roundel has ever heard of the "sudden loss of coolant" as a result of the failure of the Timing Case Profile Gasket. Erik goes on to state that "If the gasket does fail, the coolant loss is not sudden and complete but may develop a slow leak.....which may lead to higher than normal engine temperatures..."

I would like to quote an article by a contributing editor for a noted automotive magazine:

"...there's a little gasket in them (318 engines) that can make your own personal little Chernobyl if you don't pay's called the Profile Gasket. ...It's inside edge is visible when you remove the (thermostat) housing and stat. Assuming it still has an edge. When it blows out, the leak can be sudden and significant. As happened to a customer of mine. They were in heavy freeway traffic when the temp guage went into the red. There were no shoulders to turn off and allow the engine to cool....The damage from the extra few minutes of driving was severe. The head warped. In fact, it began to collapse into the cylinders. The oil was burned, the pistons, those beautiful little powerhouses, began to melt and transfer their metals to the side of the cylinder walls like (crayons) on a hot stove. Junk motor. ...."

An excerpt from some anonymous letter writer? A post on the internet from some possibly fictitious lunatic? No. The above quotes were made by the respected contributing editor to the Roundel, Jenny Morgan, in her "Die Werkstatt" column of the October 1996 issue of the Roundel. Not quite what I would refer to as "developing a slow leak". Kind of makes "leading to higher engine temperatures" sort of an understatement. True, the above is probably a worst case scenario. Others, like former National Capital Chapter BMWCCA President Mike Gayle, may have been shocked to approach their 318's only to find a "huge puddle" of coolant dispersed on the ground without any prior warning, at least allowing them time to limp home or call the tow truck. In Erik's comments, he alluded that the improved gaskets put in place after 10/93 "eliminate the possibility of even a slow leak". Are you certain of this, Erik? You may want to check with Raj Wallace at ....he recently had his replacement profile gasket fail on his 1992 318is. In any event, having to have major engine work done ( in many cases without reparation) needlessly and prematurely, due to a manufacturers defect is UNACCEPTABLE, and as more and more 318 owners suffer this defect, become aware of the cause, and are forced to hand over $1200+, I assure you, I won't be the only one writing letters, asking questions, and taking action.

Ron Browne
1992 318is
Bowie, MD

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