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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 11-18-2012, 09:33 PM   #1
sl0ride
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is 1 gal bmw coolant enough?

My 330 had orange coolant from the dealership, this may or may not have caused the upper hose to spring a leak. So i replaced the $50 upper hose... and purchased 2 gal of bmw coolant. Bled the **** outa the system by leaving the upper bleed off and topping off in the radiator fill till it came out clear, 6 total gal drained. I then emptied out the radiator and poured 1 gal of unmixed coolant in. It only took the 1 gal of coolant then maybe 1/8 of the distilled water i purchased. I live in MD where the lowest it gets is maybe 20F. Do you think ill be fine or should i drain the radiator again to add the 2nd gal of unmixed.

Im ticked i went out of my way to get the dam distilled water and 90% of the water is tap water after all. lesson learned i should have read more into the multiple drain plugs. At least we have good water here with low mineral content.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:53 PM   #2
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It had orange coolant from the dealer? That's pretty weird.

You'll be fine with that. In fact, you'll be way more than fine - your coolant is definitely not gonna freeze any time soon. It's probably better to have a 50/50 (or even 70/30), but as long as your car isn't overheating, you've got no worries.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:45 PM   #3
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the "dealer" was a used car dealer.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:10 AM   #4
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I'm curious how you drained 6 gallons from a 2 gallon system. Your description of what you did is confusing.
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:00 AM   #5
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^Agreed. I don't follow at all.

1. Completely drain system. Open rad petcock and block drain plug. Wash coolant off of hands, arms, and face. Close drains.
2. Mix the coolant/distilled 50:50 in a separate container, then pour it in.
3. Bleed via the hundreds of DIYs on this forum.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:54 AM   #6
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Orange coolant--no sir. Not what a dealer would use. Someone has added other fluid, but never heard of a BMW dealer using anything but BMW blue coolant. Possible that your car was sent out to a radiator shop and they re-filled it. Orange may be the right fluid (since it is not Green) but not sure.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:41 AM   #7
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Orange coolant is definitely not the right coolant that is DEXCOOL made for GM cooling systems. Flush out the entire system as soon as yo can and get a gallon of genuine BMW coolant from the dealer, it's about $25 so it's not terribly expensive and that's enough to do the whole system when diluted at 50% with distiller water. Make sure to use distiller water or you'll get mineral deposits in your system.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:51 AM   #8
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OP - it's a 2 gallon system, so if you managed to get 1 gallon of antifreeze into it, and the rest is water, then you have a 50/50 mix as planned. Distilled water might have been better, but I'm not sure I'd drain it and start over. Just wait 2 years and do it again. You're fine.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:13 AM   #9
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You're probably fine, OP...but we'll see!

What confused the guys with your 6 gals. is that you 'flushed' it through the bleeder screw.

Did you have the heater on while you were doing this, btw? If not, you'd still have orange in your heater core.

But, if you did this while the car was running with heater on, I'm sure you're fine...if you didn't have the heater open AND the car running then you should drain completely again...from engine block drain. If it comes out orange, fill with distilled, drive, cool, and drain again...then fill 50/50.

I don't think that just having the heater valve open is enough for the heater core to drain, but maybe I'm wrong. It may be that the return from the heater core is designed so that once it starts to drain, the rest is siphoned out...otherwise I guess it wouldn't drain whether the car was on or off. But, as you used bleeder and not engine drain, I'm not sure you're necessarily out of the woods.

Sorry if this is confusing...I'm a little confused myself! Someone will understand me and correct me, I'm sure!

That, or investigate possible bad interactions between orange and blue. JPR here had a great post on coolant...search him and organic coolant and you might find it...or google it.

HTH
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:53 AM   #10
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Based on my experience the coolant requirement is about 2 gallons to 2.5 gallons. I always buy two jugs of coolant. Any coolant that is left over goes in my trunk next to my extra quart of oil


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Old 11-19-2012, 03:08 PM   #11
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although the system takes two gallons , always get an extra gallon of distilled for bleeding purposes.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:51 PM   #12
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dmax, after draining and filling the radiator 2x i was still getting orange. I decided to open the bleeder completely while adding more water through the rad cap, hence the 6+ gal. It was messy but i had the conical air filter off so coolant was just running down the frame rail. The car was running and warmed up with the heater blasted on, windows down. The car ended up taking another 1/4 gal after driving around a bit. I think ill leave it as is for now with tap water. I'm glad to hear its only a 2.5gal volume, so my mix is almost dead on. Thanks for the pointers all!
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