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Discussion Starter #1
So 4 weeks ago got a new radiator for my 96 2.5 bmw p38.
A week and a half ago at 4am climbing a hill into Ohope Beach the radiator split 6 inches along the plastic top.
Turned around and rolled all the way to a car parts shop in the town behind us.
Very lucky as Whakatane was only a few km back and all downhill.
Sleep in the car myself kid and dog waiting for 830am shop open.
Got flush and other things like stop leak 2 pot glue different types of bottles that promise to permanently fix cracked heads and stuffed gaskets
Spent all day there fixing the rad and trying to get a head gasket.
No where was open as it's Christmas.
The places open didn't have a head gasket.
So we kept going on our trip. To the Manganuku Campsite
Which is about 50 km up a gorge road.
Got there no problems.

Then pulled rad out and spent 3 days mucking around redoing the top of plastic rad.
I cut off some of the plastic brackets from the bottom and plastic welded it.
Then covered the weld with 2 pot resin.
We had planed to offroad the abandoned farms that were mostly back to bush after wading the river.
But decided to head the nearest place with a car wreakers.
About 100km.
Which ended up taking us 4 days to drive.
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But just to go back a bit we did a test trip closer to home at Muriwai beach.
200 300 foot dunes and 2 days in soft sand.
Didn't over heat at all.
See above photo.
So here are some radiator fixing shots.
Removing first fix.
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The split
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The whole thing had come apart.
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The weld, which i have never done before, and we had zero internet or phone up in the wilderness of the gorge.
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Finished welding then i covered it with 6 layers of resin, the next day we made a run for a town with a wreckers, got 1 km and it all gave way.
Put the tent up and next day tried a different resin.
To cut it short we did about 25 km per day.
But found some great spots that we would have gone past normally.
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Got to the wreckers and it was shut for another week, it's Christmas.
So we camped at beach and i spent most of today trying to cut down on the hot gas leaking into the cooling system.
I removed the glow plug from cylinder by the fire wall.
Took the fuel pipe from the head and connected a pipe to it.
And that to a bottle.
Its running on 5 cylinders and we made it to a bigger town that has shops open.
But it's now 2am.
And we are all in the rr sleeping at a petrol station which is closed.
The rr sounds like a 1950s motorcycle crossed with a steam engine.
Anyway it's still hundreds of km to home and tomorrow I'm thinking about getting a 50 buck radiator from somewhere secondhand and taking the grill off and bolting it to the outside of the car.
And using long rad hoses.
I have been told everywhere i have emailed or rung that the radiator has a 2 month wait.
But i found a head gasket and new bolts being delivered to my home this week.
headgasket $45
new head bolts $88
That's NZD.
So with a bit luck we may make it.
But on the good side i only used the kicker 4 times.
And the new 255/70/16 good year AT tires are going great.
Can't wait till the next trip.
Next month.
 

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Man, I salute your courage. (I would have put the car on a flatbed & returned home.)
It's not uncommon that the top tank splitting. What made you think it's the HG? Don't harbour the engine and it will be the head next.
Replace the radiator with a proper one (there is a baffle in the middle of top tank) and see.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
All the oil in the cooling system made me think head gasket.
But never water in engine oil.
The oil in the water stopped after using FiberLock Head Gasket & Block Repair.
Only to be replaced weeks later by what seemed very high pressure.
Wouldn't surprise me if the head is stuffed.
I'm looking for a good radiator.
Am going to a truck wreckers this week to see what fits.
Hino 300 truck rad or similar.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So I'm doing a update.
I found a p38 dse, that had all faults fixed, EAS rebuild.
It drove geat and looked like a new car.
So i planned to give myself time to repair my other p38.
i and my 11 yr son flew to the south island and picked it up.
Hit the camping shops and entered the rainbow rd/molesworth station rd.
About 200km through the southern alps.
All good, ended up at the hot pools.
Next day caught the ferry to wellington.
It's mostly up hill to taupo from wellington.
Well the head gasket let go and got towed home on a truck.
So now have 2 p38 sitting at home.
I rang around and found a brand new head from a canceled order for 1500 nzd.
Geat as land rover in greenlane wanted 8900 ndz.
Insane.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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I would strongly recommend fitting a BMW E34 expansion tank after doing all that work. The tank has a level sensor on it that you can wire up to an alarm bulb.
It has saved me a couple of times from low coolant.
 
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