How do I proceed 1-2-2011

My car is 1999, stick shift. The neck of radiator broke off requiring replacement. This was done along with all related parts such as water pump, etc. about $1100. Work is supposed to be guaranteed but… After this work was done, I kept getting computer message saying “check coolant levels”. Told mechanic this on 4 separate occassions. Finally he scheduled appointment after I found the reservoir completely empty twice. When I got car back, now the reservoir was loose and the cap was difficult to remove. Got cap off, filled reservoir again and started to drive 6 miles to mechanics. By about 3 miles the gauge showed running hot. (Pulled over when gauge got to 3/4 mark rather quickly.) At the time, there was no evidence on ground or under hood of antifreeze spray or drip. But when mechanic was showing me ‘the problem with the reservoir’ there was a spray pattern of antifreeze visible where it hadn’t been before. Now both antifreeze and oil are leaking (first time ever) when not in use. Got towed from there to mechanic. Replaced reservoir but will not give me receipt for this. Now car runs loud and poorly so stopped driving it Nov 12th. Mechanic unwilling to schedule until now. Oil dipstick shows normal to slightly high level and looks burnt (synthetic oil changed regularly). Should I have car towed to mechanic or can it be driven without causing further damage? How can I protect myself against unscrupulouos mechanic? Any suggestions?

Possibly the radiator neck broke because there was excess pressure in the cooling system caused by failure of the head gasket. If so you may continue to repair symptoms or you can end the misery and get to the bottom of the problem. Has the mechanic made any effort to investigate the possibility of an underlying chronic problem?

Like Rod Knox I was thinking about a head gasket problem. I find it really hard to decipher your description of the issues and thus to be able to figure out what is going on or what went on.

For starters you need to provide the backstory of what led up to a broken radiator neck, including any episodes of overheating.

Yes, and especially tell us why a broken radiator required replacement of the water pump. . .

I think there needs to be a lot of clarification on this story as there appears to be a bit of murkiness.

The replacement of multiple cooling system components makes it appear to me this car was leaking coolant and overheated badly.
A quick look at a coolant recovery tank cap shows these things are rated at 20-30 PSI and that’s very high for a cooling system cap. With a rating that high and severe overheating there’s not much doubt something(s) is going to give, especially if the cap is balky.

Factor in the part about car runs loudly and poorly and it could be the engine is toast; and may likely have been toast due to the reason(?) for the water pump/radiator/whatever replacement. In a nutshell, the mechanic may have been handed looming scrap metal from the start.

Broken radiator necks are a shame upon BMW. I did not realize the problem continued until 1999 with the (could be the e-46 or the earlier e-36 3 series as this was the break period). Best guess is e-46 and broken necks was not a problem with this car. Broken necks were a big problem with earlier 5 and 7 series, it happened much ,much too often. I think “benzman” will agree on this.

One thing I am having trouble with is picturing the “resivoir” (manilito can you clear this up?)

OK on to the problems. It appears you are using coolant. First thing we want to know is was there a significant overheat event? Worst case is cracked head, and a straingt 6 BMW is just the car to crack a head if not bleed right.The detected “poor running” certainly not a good sign. I seldom say “change mechanics” (probably under 10%) but this guy is not doing you right. Use the sites “mechanic finder” or use a recommendation from a friend and go somewhere else. I would not let this 1100.00 already paid just get wasted if there is any way to recover some. Be upfront with the mechanic and say in your own way that you are worried.

OH let us know if this is e-36 (earlier car) or e-46 as they have different quirks.

It seems along with my typing my memory is giving me trouble. I must go back and correct way too many errors, odd.