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-   -   Radiator Drain Plug Leak (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=767162)

foaxaca 05-26-2010 12:41 AM

Radiator Drain Plug Leak
 
My son's 2001 325ci just started leaking coolant from around the blue radiator drain plug on the bottom of the radiator. The coolant is coming from around the black plastic fitting that the blue screw plug sits in. I looked up the part on RealOEM.com and found that the blue plug and the fitting can be removed and replaced as one unit. Have any of you fanatics had this problem before? Did a couple of searches and didn't find anyone who had done a thread on this. Any tips on changing this part out? Thanks!

dmax 05-26-2010 04:40 AM

All I can tell you on mine is that the old radiator I removed (original at 195K miles) had a blue plug. The plug itself is removable and replaceable. I looked at realoem and see some other little pieces there, but I don't think that's the fitting...I'm thinking that that's just 'pieces' of the plug...but I guess I'm wrong...or could be with yours.

First step, I'd say, is just replace the plug...assuming you did try to just tighten it. It's plastic, so overtight would prolly break it.

Also, sorry to say this, but when ET fails, it drips down to the bottom of ET and might look like it's just the plug...but it's not. So, just be careful about assuming it's one thing coz of where the drip is...water, you know, will migrate.

Tell you son to remember that if the needle starts moving rt. of center, car off and call Dad!

Had you been doing anything in that neighborhood? Is your son a fanatic who might've been reading around here and fiddling around with things?

Anywhoo...hope this helps. Make sure you've got the source of leak right is most important thing.

Doug

genuity 05-26-2010 07:37 AM

I have--freakin shop I went to for them to flush my cooling system to get that crap O'Reilly coolant out broke it by trying to wrench it off. The black hex shaped housing (radiator adjusting screw) the blue bleeder is just to be used as a counter while unscrewing the blue plug.

http://imgur.com/U3fws.jpg

In order to take this radiator adjusting screw--black hex shaped piece that is long, if you see it in the diagram, you have to just turn it more until you hear it snap. Your basically breaking the last wing(s) off of it.

After you do this, if the radiator adjusting screw does not come out, what worked for me is taking a machine screw and screwing it up into where the blue bleeder screw was then taking pliers to the machine screw and yanking it straight down. I was able to install a new adjusting screw (and bleeder screw) push it up while turning it in--you can see the pattern on the little wings. No leaks afterwards and IMHO, it is a flimsy design at best. I wonder what purpose it serves to be named an "adjusting screw" but really if you try to adjust it from any other position than what it's final position is, it will leak on you in a heartbeat.

I'll see if I can find pics of when I did it and post.

foaxaca 05-27-2010 12:36 AM

Thanks for the info. Every pic I have seen of the fitting makes it look like it is threaded. Is that the case? Just turn it until it loosens enough to come out?

foaxaca 05-27-2010 12:38 AM

dmax: Just changed out the leaking ET a couple of months ago and rechecked it so that was not the issue. Did drain the radiator and refill as part of that project and maybe that created the problem with the bleeder screw and fitting.

fotsir 05-27-2010 01:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by foaxaca (Post 11797909)
Thanks for the info. Every pic I have seen of the fitting makes it look like it is threaded. Is that the case? Just turn it until it loosens enough to come out?

In the above picture, the blue part screws in (multiple turns), while the black part is a 1/4 turn piece.

cdsol 06-16-2010 04:27 PM

The black Hex shaped housing that the blue plug screws into - - how do you get it into the radiator...what are those wings for? They're too wide to fit into the small slots at the opening of the hole where the housing plugs in. Should they be squeezed together in order to fit into the slots? It feels like they'll break off. Once engaged in the hole, give it a 90 deg clockwise twist?

genuity 06-16-2010 08:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cdsol (Post 11885115)
The black Hex shaped housing that the blue plug screws into - - how do you get it into the radiator...what are those wings for? They're too wide to fit into the small slots at the opening of the hole where the housing plugs in. Should they be squeezed together in order to fit into the slots? It feels like they'll break off. Once engaged in the hole, give it a 90 deg clockwise twist?

Push up while turning--yes don't turn it too (turn it a little at a time and stop when you feel resistance) much otherwise you'll break off the wings and have to do it all over again. I'd turn it less than 90 degrees once you have it seated properly.

cwingert 06-30-2011 12:27 PM

I had a leak around this plug and replaced one assembly and now the second one is leaking.

A couple of questions.

1) The wings are bigger than the opening, how do you get the black hex head in place on the radiator?
2) Why do they call this an adjusting screw? It seems to leak variably based on the quarter turn of the black hex head.

Thanks!
Chris

spikeE46 08-18-2012 07:47 PM

I just had a radiator replaced (by a body shop) with a BMW OEM radiator. While driving today, the low radiator fluid light came on. Pretty quickly I noticed the temp gauge go up. I pulled over immediately, parked the car and saw a stream of fluid dump out. After I got the car towed home, I took off the bottom plastic panel and found the radiator drain plug had fallen out. It only goes in one way, so if you have trouble putting it in, turn it 180 degrees and try again. Once it is in, you will need a 22 mm wrench (I believe) and turn it 1/4 turn until it locks in place. There are tabs on the outside of the hex nut that mate against some tabs on the radiator housing that prevent it from turning further.

sdstevep 03-13-2013 09:05 AM

Installing Drain Plug
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cwingert (Post 13333015)
I had a leak around this plug and replaced one assembly and now the second one is leaking.

A couple of questions.

1) The wings are bigger than the opening, how do you get the black hex head in place on the radiator?
2) Why do they call this an adjusting screw? It seems to leak variably based on the quarter turn of the black hex head.

Thanks!
Chris

Those "wings" on my plug had a little bit of taper on them - all I had to do was line up the tabs with the slots in the radiator and PUSH. The wings squeeze themselves in. Then you rotate the thing until the wings reach the part of the housing where they expand. Now the whole mess is locked in place and I don't think there's any way to back it out without ripping the wings off.

Don't know why they call it an adjustment screw. I suppose it adjusts the coolant level. And it's adjusting my sanity because I put the plug in my new radiator and it's leaking around the big o-ring. I hate this design. Now I have to remove the damned thing and try a new one. So I'll have to rotate the thing counter clockwise, breaking those wings, back enough so that the tabs are again aligned with the slots, and then pry the thing out of there. Of course I won't be able to SEE when the slots are aligned, so I think I'll wedge a screwdriver blade under the big nut and pry lightly as I rotate the nut.

Lowtech 12-05-2013 10:04 AM

Radiator Drain Plug with Adjusting Screw Update
 
I have gained a lot of helpful information from this site, so I thought it's time to pay back.

There is not much information on the removal/installation of the "Radiator Drain Plug with Adjusting Screw" so here is what I have found:

There are two types of these... one for cars with an automatic transmission and one for manual. These are not interchangeable.

To remove the old screw... take a wrench or pliers and turn the black adjusting screw nut about 1/4 turn to the LEFT. It takes some force, but you will feel it move/click. Then grab the bottom of the screw and pull out... again, it takes some force. If the screw is broken, use the technique mentioned above (thanks for that, I used) and take a 2" drywall screw and screw into the remaining broken piece (with blue drain plug removed) and pull down sharply until the broken bit is removed.

To install the new radiator adjusting screw... line up the tabs on the screw with the two slots on the radiator... push the screw into place... I used a rubber mallet to tap the screw into full seating... then take your wrench/pliers and turn 1/4 turn to the RIGHT. You will feel the part click into place.

You are good to go.

djantlive 12-05-2013 06:12 PM

i drilled into the plastic, then stuck a flat screw driver into the hole. the plug screwed out nicely.


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