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-   -   E46 Radiator DIY (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=543989)

beberle 02-04-2008 06:09 PM

E46 Radiator DIY
 
3 Attachment(s)
OK people. Here's my attempt at demonstrating my recent radiator DIY. Follow it at your own risk!

The Bentley's manual is very brief on this removal. Hopefully I can fill in some blanks.

I suggest the following parts if you're going to replace your radiator:
  • Behr radiator (I know it fits)
  • New hoses (don't trust old hose seals)
  • New fan thermostat (fits into lower hose)
  • 1 gallon BMW antifreeze (only use BMW)
  • New Expansion Tank (if you haven't replaced it by now)
  • New Expansion Tank Level Sensor (wanna risk a leak using the old one?)
  • New Transmission Thermostat (wish I had replaced it)
  • possibly new O-Rings for the transmission cooler
  • New Thermostat
  • New Water Pump (if it hasn't been done already)
  • New Belts (It'll never be this easy again!)

I replaced the thermostat, water pump, and expansion tank at 90k miles. I developed leaks from the radiator or radiator lower hose at 130k miles and decided to replace the rest.


1.The easiest part is removing the air filter housing. Instead of trying to pry those pesky latches open, just remove the two 10mm mounting bolt and loosen the air manifold clamp. Pull the whole thing out. Don't forget to remove the electrical plug on the MAF sensor.

2. Remove the fan and fan shroud. Don't forget the electrical connections on the passenger side of the fan shroud. The fan shroud comes off only when you have the fan off and can pull both out together. .Remember: the fan's bolt is left-handed thread (righty loosy). Even after reading Bentley's, I forgot and tightened it for 5 minutes :rolleyes: A large crescent wrench will do the trick. I've replace my water pump before, so it was easier to get off. You may have to buy the BMW tool to stop the water pump from rotating while trying to loosen the fan bolt.

3. Drain the sucker. Depending upon the last time you drained it, it's best to drain the radiator and the engine block. I do this as step 3 because it's my least favorite part!

4. Remove the expansion tank. Note: there's an electrical connection on the bottom of the expansion tank. Disconnect this 1st so that you don't forget while yanking the tank out. There's a hose on the side and two connections at the top. Have fun getting these off! Fortunately, you're replacing everything, so you don't have to be gentle:excited: Now for the fun part.. Yank and pull for all you're worth, straight up, to get the expansion tank out. Did you forget the quick disconnect that's holding it to the Transmission Thermostat? You've probably broken the thermostat, but you don't care because you have a new one. Pull straight up until you feel it release, then push the top of the tank away from the radiator and pull the rest of the way out.

5. Remove the lower radiator hose. It came off pretty easily from the Thermostat (since I'd replace the thermostat 40k miles earlier), but the radiator connection was a bear. This proved impossible for me. What was I to do? I cut the hose of w/ a tin snips and still had just enough room to work the radiator out.

6. Remove the Transmission Cooler. There is a quick disconnect that pulls straight up. The Trans Cooler then comes straight out of the radiator (have a bucket ready for coolant). The Cooler hung fine from its hoses.

7. Remove the radiator. Bentleys says to remove the 2 big plastic plugs that hold the radiator in. I don't believe it. There was a torx screw on the top of the driver's side corner of the radiator that was securing it to the A/C & power steering radiator in front of our radiator. May be another torx screw on the passenger's corner, but mine looked to be missing. Once the torx screws are out, push the top of the radiator away from you. Lots of dirt and grit, but it will come out (and it's not attached to the A/C hoses coming into the passenger's side or the power steering hoses coming in the driver's side). Once the top of the radiator is tilted out, just pull it straight up.

8. Did you listen to me and buy new belts, water pump, thermostat? You'll never have an easier time installing these items!

9. Mount new Transmission Thermostat to the new Radiator w/ 2 torx screws. Just check out the old setup to see how it sets. I re-used my old transmission thermostat and I know I'm going to regret it! A very flimsy plastic affair. Re-use the plastic bottom piece from the old radiator for the new one. Just snaps into place.

10. Install new Radiator. It's pretty wild, but the two wedge-shaped pieces on the side of the radiator sit on two plastic 'steps' with corresponding wedges in the middle. 1st, clean these mounts. Mine had sand and dirt built up. I used an old tooth brush and cleaned it up.. Install the radiator at and angle and rest it on these ledges until you feel the wedges in the side of the radiator seat into the wedges of the mount. Now, just push the top towards the front of the car to seat it. Secure the top w/ the torx screws. Install the Transmission Cooler into the new Radiator. Hopefully you found new O-Rings. I didn't and wonder if it will leak... Note: the new Behr radiator had a new style drain plug. No need to reuse the old plug.

The rest is a cake walk...

beberle 02-04-2008 06:16 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Pictures of the 'wedge mounts' on the side of the radiator and corresponding mounts in the car.

beberle 02-04-2008 06:18 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Pics of the Transmission Cooler hanging after removal and the cooler installed in the new radiator (actually on the Transmission Thermostat).

beberle 02-04-2008 06:23 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Pics of before-and-after. The before shot shows the A/C lines going into the 'pre-radiator' at the top of the picture. Notice new lower hose and fan switch installed.

Finally.... a shot of the old radiator. All of that dirt was trapped in between the two radiators. Can't be good for effeciency!!

Brian signing out!

EurosportAMG 02-04-2008 07:37 PM

good job :thumbsup:

robj213 02-04-2008 09:24 PM

I assume only automatics have the transmission cooler... ?

Demon Eyes Kyo 02-06-2008 04:14 PM

How long did this take to replace?

beberle 02-07-2008 10:18 AM

It took me about 6 hours. I had to figure things out as I went. Following the DIY, you might cut an hour or two, but you'll definitely be more confident than I was! :thumbsup:

SammyV 02-07-2008 11:59 AM

Thanks for spending the time to write such a DIY and take pics, im sure many peple will appreciate your efforts!
I might do my radiator next year or something, i did my thermo and waterpump last weekend using a DIY from this site, and you guys really make it easier for others do the job with these well written DIYs..

miguelflyat04 02-24-2008 08:37 PM

I appreciate you taking the time to do this my friend! I will be changing the hoses soon as I am already getting a small leak.

Thanks again!

TxZHP04 02-27-2008 08:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beberle (Post 7351485)
Note: the new Behr radiator had a new style drain plug. No need to reuse the old plug.

My Behr radiator seems to be plugged internally. Is this the "new style drain plug" you were referring to? Is there a way to drain coolant from this location or is it permanently plugged?

beberle 03-03-2008 07:20 AM

The entire plastic 'bolt' is the drain plug. I used a crescent wrench and checked that it is indeed threaded before I installed it.

TxZHP04 03-03-2008 05:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beberle (Post 7503092)
The entire plastic 'bolt' is the drain plug. I used a crescent wrench and checked that it is indeed threaded before I installed it.

Since you have an auto, you may have a slightly different setup than I do since I have a manual. I was able to confirm with my vendor that my radiator has no drain plug. Apparently Behr made a design change that allows them to use the same basic radiator core for both manuals and autos. Somehow this translated into you getting some new type of drain plug while mine is sealed internally with aluminum. I still find it weird but have been reassured that this is indeed the case.

dooodxitzxmeeh 12-06-2008 05:07 PM

Expansion tank bottom clip
 
2 Attachment(s)
Great post on the DIY expansion tank for the e46.. my only concern was when i unclip the top 2 hoses, and the side one, i pulled with all my might as describe and no go.. i ended up sticking my arm down there to see what else..

*** there is a bottom clip... left side of the tank by the fan.. if u look down with a light you can see it sticking half out.. reach down and pull to the left.. or use a long flat head to do it.. *** there is a total of 4 clips to remove the expansion tank excluding the sensor clip. 2 on top..1 on the side.. and 1 on the bottom.. you do not have to remove the sensor clip if u remove the 4 clips.. then u tug up and out the sucker goes.. once thats done u can get to the sensor a lot easier.. never had to jack the car up once..

oh and as you can see i removed the filter to get acess to the tank.. hope adding this to the thread helps

ras2247 12-17-2008 09:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dooodxitzxmeeh (Post 9024546)
Great post on the DIY expansion tank for the e46.. my only concern was when i unclip the top 2 hoses, and the side one, i pulled with all my might as describe and no go.. i ended up sticking my arm down there to see what else..

*** there is a bottom clip... left side of the tank by the fan.. if u look down with a light you can see it sticking half out.. reach down and pull to the left.. or use a long flat head to do it.. *** there is a total of 4 clips to remove the expansion tank excluding the sensor clip. 2 on top..1 on the side.. and 1 on the bottom.. you do not have to remove the sensor clip if u remove the 4 clips.. then u tug up and out the sucker goes.. once thats done u can get to the sensor a lot easier.. never had to jack the car up once..

oh and as you can see i removed the filter to get acess to the tank.. hope adding this to the thread helps


Even if you unclip that one it's still a ***** to get it out.

bmhype 01-08-2009 02:40 AM

ill get back to this

funbmws 01-10-2009 09:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ras2247 (Post 9087215)
Even if you unclip that one it's still a ***** to get it out.

Not really, this was my first DIY on a 01 330 automatic. Use lever action. It just pops right out.

funbmws 01-10-2009 09:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ras2247 (Post 9087215)
Even if you unclip that one it's still a ***** to get it out.

Not really. This was my first DIY on a 01 330i automatic. Use lever action on the xp tank. It will pop out easy.

Sente 01-24-2009 02:21 PM

Expansion Tank swap
 
Great post on the expansion tank. I was really hoping I could do this without getting underneath the car or removing the fan and this confirms it. Question for you; how much fluid do you lose when you pop off the tank? Also is it worth replacing any of the hoses or anything else while I'm at the tank?

Quote:

Originally Posted by dooodxitzxmeeh (Post 9024546)
Great post on the DIY expansion tank for the e46.. my only concern was when i unclip the top 2 hoses, and the side one, i pulled with all my might as describe and no go.. i ended up sticking my arm down there to see what else..

*** there is a bottom clip... left side of the tank by the fan.. if u look down with a light you can see it sticking half out.. reach down and pull to the left.. or use a long flat head to do it.. *** there is a total of 4 clips to remove the expansion tank excluding the sensor clip. 2 on top..1 on the side.. and 1 on the bottom.. you do not have to remove the sensor clip if u remove the 4 clips.. then u tug up and out the sucker goes.. once thats done u can get to the sensor a lot easier.. never had to jack the car up once..

oh and as you can see i removed the filter to get acess to the tank.. hope adding this to the thread helps


Whammy 01-24-2009 03:43 PM

Thanks for this!


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