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General E46 Forum
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:21 AM   #1
NYCsFinestE46
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Dashboard Square with Liquid Flowing WARNING ?? 2003 325xi

Hey everyone, so heres the deal...
I just started putting some exterior mods on my e46.
To be exact, it is a 2003 325xi with 105k miles.
I was driving back home from school and when i got closer to home i noticed a warning sign on my dash. I decided when I park my car I was going to take a picture of it but then it went off. I put the car back into Drive, drove about a quarter mile and it came back on, so I snapped a picture while going 10-15mph.
I attatched a picture that I took of the warning sign. Has anyone ever had this before? I just got my E46 back on Monday and I already added TINTS to the windows and I also painted the Brake Calipers RED, now im not too sure they did a good job re-installing the wheels,etc.

So with all facts straight, why would this warning sign come up when I had the car for only 4 days so far?
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:25 AM   #2
fauchpj
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That is the low coolant light, pretty common on these cars.

You have a leak somewhere, probably the expansion tank.

Do a search on the forum to find out more about it.
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:34 AM   #3
NYCsFinestE46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fauchpj View Post
That is the low coolant light, pretty common on these cars.

You have a leak somewhere, probably the expansion tank.

Do a search on the forum to find out more about it.

I just put basically 350-400$ into the tints/caliper painting being done.. my dad would kill me if I took it to his shop (he's a mechanic) and asked him to take a look. He would be pissed that within 4 days I paid that much money and now something happened to the car... so my question is, if I ignore the coolant light, could something bad happen? or is it not that big of a deal?

And lets say I do take it to him, how much, estimate, would it be to fix any coolant problems?


BTW I did a search, and found nothing useful.

Last edited by NYCsFinestE46; 12-22-2011 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCsFinestE46 View Post
I just put basically 350-400$ into the tints/caliper painting being done.. my dad would kill me if I took it to his shop (he's a mechanic) and asked him to take a look. He would be pissed that within 4 days I paid that much money and now something happened to the car... so my question is, if I ignore the coolant light, could something bad happen? or is it not that big of a deal?

And lets say I do take it to him, how much, estimate, would it be to fix any coolant problems?


BTW I did a search, and found nothing useful.
Dude... if you really did a search and found nothing useful, I don't know what to say. Search on low coolant or low coolant light and you should get tons of info.

Stop panicking and RTFM! I understand that you're young and don't know much, but you need to read a little (manual and searching).

Do not run it low on water for very far. Go to the nearest dealer and get BMW coolant and get some distilled water and you'll be fine. If you find a big leak somewhere, then take it to your dad. If you don't find a big leak and the light goes out, just check the level every day for a week or so. If the level doesn't change, don't worry.

If I were your dad and you brought it to me, I'd teach you how to fill your coolant. If he gets pissed it's probably more because you couldn't figure out how to do something this simple by yourself (which you can do just by reading the owner's manual - see the theme here?).
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:35 AM   #5
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yes...your head gasket can crap out and then you might as well consider the car total because thats a big job....aka expensive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCsFinestE46 View Post
I just put basically 350-400$ into the tints/caliper painting being done.. my dad would kill me if I took it to his shop (he's a mechanic) and asked him to take a look. He would be pissed that within 4 days I paid that much money and now something happened to the car... so my question is, if I ignore the coolant light, could something bad happen? or is it not that big of a deal?

And lets say I do take it to him, how much, estimate, would it be to fix any coolant problems?


BTW I did a search, and found nothing useful.
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:35 AM   #6
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Do yourself a favor and either open your owner's manual or if you don't have one, get one (you used to be able to download them on-line, not sure if that's still possible). Noobs get bashed a lot here. If you at least do some preliminary work on your own for something like this (just as simple at checking the owner's manual) you're less likely to get bashed.

I've occasionally had this warning with no visible leaks. You may just top it off and never see the light again. Don't panic yet. Just fill the expansion tank to the correct amount. Go to the dealer and get BMW coolant. It's no more expensive than getting something from your local auto parts store and it's better for your car (again, see owner's manual).
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:46 AM   #7
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- water pump
- thermostat
- expansion tank
- upper and lower radiator hoses

replace all of the above and you wont see that light for a while. If you dont replace the above, you'll end up with a nice parts car.

check out www.getbmwparts.com - I think they sell a total cooling system overhaul kit. somewhere around 5-600 bucks. and not to be a d*** but its a BMW, not a honda. If spending $400 on parts is going to break the piggy bank, you should cut your losses and sell the car now.
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:49 AM   #8
NYCsFinestE46
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Originally Posted by EJL486 View Post
- water pump
- thermostat
- expansion tank
- upper and lower radiator hoses

replace all of the above and you wont see that light for a while. If you dont replace the above, you'll end up with a nice parts car.

check out www.getbmwparts.com - I think they sell a total cooling system overhaul kit. somewhere around 5-600 bucks. and not to be a d*** but its a BMW, not a honda. If spending $400 on parts is going to break the piggy bank, you should cut your losses and sell the car now.
Nah its not too much money for me, we had another e46 in the family for a good 4 years, 2001 325ci and a 99 325i for 5 years. Its just the fact that I spent 400$ for 4 days of having a mod on my car is wasteful... to anyone im sure.
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:46 AM   #9
NYCsFinestE46
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Alright thanks, to the both of you. I dont have an owners manual but ill look online if their is one I could download and ill search for it, I'll take it down to the BMW dealership after I check the levels myself and if worst comes to worst I'll bring it up to my dad and learn a little. Just wondering though, would this have anything to do with my calipers being painted? Could it be that they didnt re-install the tires correctly?
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:48 AM   #10
fauchpj
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True, you may not have a leak but just low coolant. However these cars are notorious for cooling system failures.
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:55 AM   #11
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it may sound lame, but if I were you and my dad was a mechanic, I'd skip the dealer altogether. swallow your pride, its your dad. Tell him you think you may have a coolant leak and have him teach you a little about your motor and your cooling system. once you find the leak, you can just buy that part and have him help you install it. no single cooling system component that is a likely point of failure is more than $200. learning to fix your own car is one of the most priceless things we can learn in life. you'll save yourself thousands of dollars in just the next several years.
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJL486 View Post
it may sound lame, but if I were you and my dad was a mechanic, I'd skip the dealer altogether. swallow your pride, its your dad. Tell him you think you may have a coolant leak and have him teach you a little about your motor and your cooling system. once you find the leak, you can just buy that part and have him help you install it. no single cooling system component that is a likely point of failure is more than $200. learning to fix your own car is one of the most priceless things we can learn in life. you'll save yourself thousands of dollars in just the next several years.
The reason to go to the dealer is NOT to have them fix anything, but to buy BMW coolant.
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:07 AM   #13
NYCsFinestE46
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Originally Posted by EJL486 View Post
it may sound lame, but if I were you and my dad was a mechanic, I'd skip the dealer altogether. swallow your pride, its your dad. Tell him you think you may have a coolant leak and have him teach you a little about your motor and your cooling system. once you find the leak, you can just buy that part and have him help you install it. no single cooling system component that is a likely point of failure is more than $200. learning to fix your own car is one of the most priceless things we can learn in life. you'll save yourself thousands of dollars in just the next several years.
You're right EJL, i'll do that, giving him a call soon, im just reading up on the 325xi Owner's Manual online now and learning more about it before I do. And ill be sure to be with him and learn for future reference ; again thank you all.. big help.
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:07 AM   #14
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You bought the wrong car man. Your at 105k, gaurentee it hasn't had the 100k inspection and service or you would have had a coolant overhaul. You are going to dump over a $1000 on this car in the next 6 months for sure. Bmw dealerships are going to charge you a $100 to even look at it. Read everything you can about coolant on here today! Its all useful and you really need to learn asap. Bmw mechanics charge an ass load of money and seeing you're a kid in high school, you don't have money to maintain this car. The next 6 months to a year, don't do mods, catch your vehicle up to parr. You can't afford mods because you NEED the 100k maintanece! And seriously read this forum
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:12 AM   #15
NYCsFinestE46
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Quote:
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You bought the wrong car man. Your at 105k, gaurentee it hasn't had the 100k inspection and service or you would have had a coolant overhaul. You are going to dump over a $1000 on this car in the next 6 months for sure. Bmw dealerships are going to charge you a $100 to even look at it. Read everything you can about coolant on here today! Its all useful and you really need to learn asap. Bmw mechanics charge an ass load of money and seeing you're a kid in high school, you don't have money to maintain this car. The next 6 months to a year, don't do mods, catch your vehicle up to parr. You can't afford mods because you NEED the 100k maintanece! And seriously read this forum
i see where you coming from and where your getting at. i'm not a highschool student im in college (no attitude intended) and ill take your advice as well, ill step away from mods for now and work on the maintanence..

Appreciated.
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:14 AM   #16
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I add antifreeze if the coolant level is below, correct?
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:23 AM   #17
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I add antifreeze if the coolant level is below, correct?
Yes. The expansion (coolant) tank is at the front of the engine bay to the right (there's a round cap you can twist to open it next to a big black plastic tab that says "KALT" on it). You will need to add either pre-mixed 50/50 or buy concentrate and mix yourself with distilled water. Pour in slowly until the level indicator inside rises and sticks above the cap level between the two notches. Pour slowly and in small batches, since the indicator tends to stay down while coolant is being poured, and then jumps up.
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Old 12-22-2011, 12:00 PM   #18
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I add antifreeze if the coolant level is below, correct?
No, you add coolant, which is a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water.

For the love of your car, please tell your dad the light is on. he will be more pissed when you fvck something up because you were trying to hide it and didn't know what you were doing.
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Old 12-22-2011, 12:03 PM   #19
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For the love of your car, please tell your dad the light is on. he will be more pissed when you fvck something up because you were trying to hide it and didn't know what you were doing.
Sad to say but I agree (not saying the OP is some teenager, etc), it's just that a lot of members on this forum are teenagers and they think they can let certain maintenance items pass them by. That is the wrong mentality with these cars, you let something slide for too long and it will be a lot worse in the long run.
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Old 12-22-2011, 02:34 PM   #20
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That is the wrong mentality with these cars, you let something slide for too long and it will be a lot worse in the long run.
Correct. Contrary to my better knowledge, I ignored my OFHG far too long, and got to a point where I couldn't drive the car for more than 50mi without needing to add oil. And an equivalent of BP oil spill part 2 in my driveway.

At least the pressure washer will get some exercise....
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