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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning

Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning
Talk about driveline improvements, NA tuning and DME tuning your E46 BMW here. This includes diffs, intakes, exhausts, chips, software and OBD tuning.

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Old 04-11-2010, 03:05 PM   #1
LeMansteve
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Question Non-distilled water in coolant system

I was checking my coolant level yesterday and it was at the low mark, so I decided to add some water. Basically I picked up the wrong jug of water and put in a few ounces of tap water.

Should I be concerned? I figure since I am at 66k I will probably need to flush the system and replace some of the components soon anyway.
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:46 PM   #2
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Tap water fvcked up my Keurig coffee maker.
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Old 04-11-2010, 04:03 PM   #3
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The minerals and ions typically found in tap water can be corrosive to internal engine components, and can cause a more rapid depletion of the anti-corrosion additives found in most antifreeze formulations. It's not going to f-up your car, but you should always fill up with distilled water.
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Old 04-11-2010, 05:03 PM   #4
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Yeah ideally distilled water, and a small amount of tap water isnt going to do any major damage. I'd say its better to top up low coolant levels with tap water than to drive on till you get distilled water.
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Old 04-11-2010, 05:27 PM   #5
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a few ounces will hardly matter...
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Old 04-11-2010, 05:34 PM   #6
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If you are really concerned, then add some water pump lubricant/cooling system additive. That will negate any minor issue with using just plain tap water, however, I don't think you really put in enough to do any damage whatsoever. Chas.
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:56 PM   #7
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i was just reading a bmw service bulletin saying potable water is okay for topping off.

found it

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showpos...69&postcount=7
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:22 PM   #8
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Don't worry about it. BMW's (just like every other car out there) has a self flushing device built in. It's called plastic expansion and radiator end tanks. They will rupture and flush out any old coolant and water right onto the street. Once you replace those components, you can refill with coolant and your favorite flavor of water.
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:55 PM   #9
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Don't worry about it. BMW's (just like every other car out there) has a self flushing device built in. It's called plastic expansion and radiator end tanks. They will rupture and flush out any old coolant and water right onto the street. Once you replace those components, you can refill with coolant and your favorite flavor of water.
lol I think this is the reason my coolant was low to begin with! I can see some evidence of leaks from the top of the expansion tank.

Thanks all for the advice everyone. I did have distilled water on-hand and do use it to top off when needed. (I just noticed I said WHEN, and not IF. Guess i've come to accept the E46 cooling system well )

The thing is, I also had a gallon of tap water nearby and it was in a nearly identical container as my distilled.
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:57 PM   #10
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Distilled water is around $0.78/gal at Wal-Mart.

One other thing. Many moons ago, manufacturers never specified special lubricant or tap water. These were German manufacturers that had plenty of aluminum in their coolant systems. I never understood how a 1978 928 (which is an all aluminum engine) could last for 30 plus years on plain old tap water and generic green Prestone. Today we need special water and coolant for every kind of car out there. I do have a good idea for BMW. Sell "special" top off water for $13.50/gal. They can claim it has a special molecular configuration just for BMW's.
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Old 04-13-2010, 10:29 PM   #11
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Pretty soon BMW will do what Honda does now. Pre-dilute the coolant to 50/50. You get the privilege of buying 1/2 the coolant for the same good old price.
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Old 04-14-2010, 04:06 PM   #12
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You'll find that most dealerships are just using tap water. I had to bring distilled water when I had them do a flush.
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:11 PM   #13
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I just use water from my brita filter.
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Old 04-15-2010, 01:30 PM   #14
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Has anyone ever tried recycled beer?
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Old 04-15-2010, 02:24 PM   #15
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Has anyone ever tried recycled beer?
The yellow stuff? Wouldn't even think of it.

Now I think I have a leak somewhere. The same day I started this thread, I filled up the expansion tank (when cold) from "min" until the little floating stick indicated "max". This morning before I started off to work, the level had gone down to about halfway between min and max.

There have been times in the winter where it would read min, then weeks later (without adding any water) in warmer weather it would read halfway or sometimes max. Is it possible for the level in the expansion tank to change with the ambient temperature?
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