"The temp hovering around 95 seems about right...but it could be a few degrees high depending on what you're doing at the time. I'll really only see 95-7 when I'm idling a bit or driving very slowly after reaching op temp."
Thus, my questions would be what components did you use? I bought the cooling system overhaul kit from Tischer. Did you replace temp sensor, yes check belts/pulleys, yes use OE coolant mixed with distilled? yes
My random guess is that the thermostat is, I hope, aftermarket, maybe an aluminum housing with crappy electronics. If you used such a therm, that'd be my guess. No. OE BMW, part of kit from Tischer which includes:
OEM BMW E46 3 Series Cooling System Repair Kit
OEM BMW E46 3 Series (non M) Cooling System Repair Kit. New E46 M3 Cooling Kits now available!
Kit includes genuine BMW:
Thermostat w/ housing/gasket (11537509227)
Upper radiator hose (17127510952)
Lower radiator hose (11531436408)
Expansion Tank (17117573781)
Radiator Cap (17111742231)
Engine drain plug crush ring (07119963200)
Lower hose temp sensor (13621433077)
1 gallon BMW antifreeze (82141467704)
Also have to ask...you said you thought your therm was stuck open before, but that the needle was 'right' of center...meaning overheating. If therm was stuck open, the needle would be to the left of dead center. Please clarify.
Actual temp was 82 to 86 degrees C. according the the hidden OBC function.
Keep monitoring temp using cluster...monitor coolant level, because it will drop after major work, even if you bled properly. Checked 3 days in a row after replacing averything.
HTH...last thing I'd think is a gauge problem, unless you had cluster off to do some silly mod...in which case, check the cluster connections. I'm going to unplug and plug the cluster back in this weekend. Everything else seems normal except for the fact that when I get on the gas more and rev higher, the temp starts to drop into the 80's. I thought it should go up. Maybe my cooling system is too efficient. Lol
I'm thinking it's a gauge issue as I've read quite a few posts in my search process where people have mentioned that their gauges don't read dead-center.