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Major Engine Problems

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    Major Engine Problems


    So if you have been watching the news the past week you may have saw that Newfoundland, Canada was hit pretty bad by hurricane Igor. During the peak of the storm I was driving to pick up a friend and had to drive through flood waters to get to where I was going. Turns out my E30 didn't want to splash around in the water, see the video below for the situation after I stalled

    Short Version:
    -Car stalled in flood water, sat there for an hour
    -Water in Cylinders
    -I drained it out
    -Troubles starting, would roll in 5th gear but would sometimes bring up on something
    -Horrible noises when starting engine

    I waited around and called a few people looking for a tow but no go. Had I known how easy it was to push the car out I would have jumped out the second it stalled and pushed it to dryer ground but I didn't. It sat there for about 15 minutes and a few people helped me push it out. It wouldn't start and I had to wait 6 hours for a tow truck to become available to get it home.

    Once I had it in my driveway I started to think about what might be wrong, hydro lock, starter broken, water in fuel lines, water in oil, etc. So I checked the oil and it looked fine, there was no white in it. I let the car sit in the sun for a day with the hood open and tired to start it and all that would happen is a click. Just one click and nothing. Then I would turn the key back and then on again and it would click. I took the spark plugs out and stuck a piece of rolled up paper down the cylinder hole and took it out and it was soaked. I tried to lite it on fire but it wouldn't (I'm still learning how to properly repair cars, I thought this was a valid test).

    Knowing I had water in there I left the plugs out and stuck the car in 5th and rolled it backwards to move the cylinders around and flush it out and the next video shows water spitting out onto napkins I placed there (I wanted to see how much would come out so I placed them there) Sorry for the shaky camera hand, I was using my blackberry and pushing at the same time.

    I did that for a while until I no longer heard a sloshing noise and I could finally smell gas. There was one thing that happened while rolling the car back, it would bring up for no apparent reason and the only way to get past this hitch would be to turn the engine over (bad noises again) and keep rolling.

    After a while I was able to get to the point where I could put the spark plugs in and turn the key and the car would start to turn over and want to start but just couldn't, this is the sound it made

    So the big question is what might this awful sound mean and is there any way I can fix it? I was told it could be a control rod and that it would be easier and cheaper to do an engine swap. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Last edited by A_Whelan; 10-03-2010, 04:27 PM. Reason: Video's wouldn't embed
    r3vlimited Lanyard Group Buy!!!

    Not sure how bad that's going to be, but I would start by draining all the oil and coolant. If you've got water in the engine block, it's also in the oil, which might not show up on the dip stick because it wasn't running. The oil is probably just sitting on top of the oil. You'll likely get some exiciting things out of the drain pan.

    When you drain it, pull the oil filter and leave everything open so that it might drain any water out.

    Hopefully others will have better info. But stop trying to start the engine until you get everything cleaned out. You probaly still have a lot of water in bad places.

    Good luck.


      If the engine was running when the car went into the deep water and it ingested water, the engine hrdo locked. The probable consequence of that is one or more ben rods. From what you say happens when you turn the engine by rolling the car in 5th gear it sounds to me like you might have a bent rod.
      The car makes it possible, but the driver makes it happen.
      Jim Levie, Huntsville, AL


        I was going to do an oil change but stopped once the car wouldn't stop. I have a new filter picked up as well.

        If it is a bent rod is it easier to swap in another engine (one that has 120,xxx km compared to mine that has 260,xxx km) or fix the rods? And if replacing the rods is the popular choice could they damage anything else from the few times that I tried to start the car?

        Thanks for the replies,
        r3vlimited Lanyard Group Buy!!!


          swap the engine. would be easier imo.


            I am not an expert but I would imagine that the force acting against the crankshaft might cause some damage to the crankshaft and the bearings as well. If I was in your position I would buy some good used connecting rods crankshaft, and new bearings and attempt that sort of repair on the cheap.


              That last video sounds sad.

              It also sounds like it's time for an M or S50.
              Me: "I can't wait to redline my car!"
              Mark: "Didn't you just break a rocker arm?"
              Me: "Yeah, I don't think I've learned my lesson."
              Mark: "You never will."


                An M or S50 would be very very nice but there are very few places where I live that will have any spare parts, I'm lucky to know where to get another M20.

                Going to check out parts tomorrow and see what a mechanic says, possibly more videos to come and if I get an engine I'll do a step by step of the swap.
                r3vlimited Lanyard Group Buy!!!


                  It's a miracle, the car started!! These things really don't want to die. The video can be found here of what the engine is like now.


                  I am going to do an oil change tonight if I have time or tomorrow. The car itself took a bit to turn over and finally start and I had to give it some gas to get it going. It idles steady and the exhaust smelt a bit bad but it might have been from sitting there and me giving it a lot of gas. The car is sitting under an awning so it also might have trapped it in or a piston is misfiring? Might anyone know what that ticking sound is?

                  Replies greatly appreciated.

                  r3vlimited Lanyard Group Buy!!!


                    even though you got it running, i think you still have some internal engine damage. as stated before, you might have a hydro locking condition, in that; when you car sucked in air/water, in went into the cylinder, and as the piston went into the compression stroke it tried to compress the water (which is a fluid, and can not be compressed). What likely happened was that the piston collided with the pressurized, but not compressed water, and as volume in the combustion chamber began to occupy, the piston had no where to go, as the crank shaft continued to spin upward. as a result your connecting rod had to give way, and bend. It's possible that this even also damaged your crank shaft.

                    I think the pinging sound your hearing is either the bent connecting rod striking the side of the cylinder wall, or an epicly horrible "rod knock", which comes from having a spun or damaged connecting rod bearing. I would think, at this point getting a new engine would be the simplest, fix. However, if you have the means to do a compression check, you might be able to find the problem exists else where.

                    if you want, do a compression check and post up what you get, although, think this might have a turn for the work, either way.



                      Thanks for the replies. I looked around two and found two engines for sale. One is out of a '87 ix and one is out of a '88 3xx something. Not 100% sure on the second one. The IX engine has an unknown amount of KM on it but had the head and timing belt replaced in the last 10,000km and is already at a garage where I am going to bring the car to have it swapped. The other engine is still in a car and I would have to get it across town which is a bit of a hassle.

                      With the cost of labor (can't find anyone to do it as an under the table cash job) and the engine I'm looking at $700. I figured while I am doing this I will also get a new clutch kit and stick in there. More updates to come.
                      r3vlimited Lanyard Group Buy!!!


                        the IX engine is useless to you, as there are different oil passages in the block, due to the configuration of the oil pan for the front diff on the IX. just a heads up
                        I saved 15% on my Bimmer parts by switching to ...


                          Swap the engine asap bud as you've def got a bent rod. That noise your hearing is rod knock and if worse comes to worse. The engine can throw it out the side of the block leaving you stranded.


                            Well I haven't been driving the car because it sounds really really bad and I still need to get it to the garage for the swap.

                            @ScottinAZ I will check back with the mechanic tomorrow or the next day and see what he has to say about that.

                            While browsing for an engine I also found basket weave rims that I am looking at. Bad thing is there are only 3 and I'll have to find a fourth then get them re finished. Should look good on the car for next spring and hopefully a new set of springs.

                            r3vlimited Lanyard Group Buy!!!


                              Gave him a call and he said the engine is out of an IS, not an IX ahah.

                              So what I gather from reading it's the same 2.5L, 168hp engine and the only difference was the extras on the car?
                              r3vlimited Lanyard Group Buy!!!