With the Spyder running and outside with the M Coupe, I finally had room to bring the E36 M3 back in the garage (it’s a two car garage, but just not enough room with all the tools.)  The M3 hadn’t been run in a couple months, so I expected a dead battery.  Unfortunately it was more than dead.  A jump off of the Titan got it running, but it was idling very very rough.  It felt like a constant misfire on at least one of the cylinders and also as if it had a bad vacuum leak.  It ran for about 5 minutes then died.  I took the battery to the local Autozone and picked up one of their inexpensive (compared to a BMW or Optima brand) batteries, which still has a 5 year warranty.  They didn’t have the exact model for the M3, but they did have one the same height.  The original clamps were already messed up, so no issue fabricating something better.

New BatteryGutted Rear

The engine cranked right up with the new battery, but the rough idle was still present.  It ran for another five minutes or so, enough for me to reverse and start to head halfway up the driveway.  Numerous cranking attempts failed to get it started again.  I checked the fuel pump fuses and coil connectors, everything looked alright.  The coolant was at the correct level, but the oil looked a little milky but still at the marks.  With rain coming, I had to get the car in.  So I put it in first, dropped the clutch and drove it into the garage with the starter.  BMW definitely used a beefy starter, as this is a very steep driveway.

With the car in the garage I noticed several pools of chocolate milk oil the car had left up the driveway.  Not a good sign, usually a result of coolant mixed with the oil, which usually means a head gasket.  I knew the car was dripping oil before, but it had been actual dirty oil.  The only other thing I can think of is there might have been rain water getting into the pan somehow, possibly a bad dipstick tube o-ring.  I had taken compression numbers before, and the engine had good, even numbers across the cylinders.  I’ll find out for sure once I tear it apart.  I had planned to leave this engine in so I could move the car around and onto a trailer, but looks like I’ll be pulling it sooner.

Oil LeakOld S50



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