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Old 11-19-2012, 03:58 PM   #9
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: NJ
Posts: 23,709
My Ride: '99 328i 300K miles
Oil being 3 qts. low tells me that you don't check your oil regularly or were ignoring low oil light.

You undoubtedly have a leak, but that might be just the have to clean things up and find the leak and remember that there might be another cause of the leak (of the crack that's causing the leak).

One possible related thing is that since you didn't check your oil for a long time, the same might have been true of your belts...and if both belts are really bad...and/or pulley is bad/seized, it's possible this is all just a symptom of horrible maintenance and really bad belts/pulleys...which would lead to a wp not pumping so well, PS not working so well, and an AC compressor not compressing so well.

It could be just a leaking cooling system, low PS fluid, low oil, low 134a...all separate things, but if this happened somewhat coincidentally, then it might not be coincidental...ironic, huh?

Check into things, OP, and do you know not to drive the car until you get, at least, the cooling system fixed. There is some merit in replacing the whole system for around $300 if you know the radiator isn't leaking...but if you can identify the source of the leak, you still are gambling that that's the in...the ET ruptured, and that's it. But, could be ET ruptured because your wp wasn't pumping, pressure built up and popped the tank before the pressure relief valve rescued it.

If you want to save money by fixing 'just' what's broken, you'll need to read a lot of posts! See Bimmersgarage's vids on the cooling system diagnosis...and see Mango's sticky above.
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