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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 10-04-2012, 03:28 PM   #21
Mango
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Originally Posted by Alex323Ci View Post
Sorry but you are incorrect that it should or has to be hot.
You lost your self appointed 4 stars there 'Cooling System General'.

Pressure is all that is needed. Pressure is invisible too.
Pressure is large enough to break any good system, that's why it's monitored and must not go much over each car manufacturers specs. It'll find any crack in the plastic expansion tank.
Actually, Jake appointed me that title.

Nope. i've personally seen and tested cooling systems using a pressure tester where cracked expansion tanks showed no leaks until heat was applied, then you'd see tiny droplets appear at the crack down the tank. Materials expand not only under pressure but when subjected to heat as well. If the crack was tiny enough to not show under pressure, it might expand just enough when heat is applied.

I have no problem with disagreements, but keep the snide remarks to yourself.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:29 PM   #22
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Metal waterpump FTL. You guys are on this forum all the time doing your homework but you continue to just sit on your d1cks waiting for something wrong to happen
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:39 PM   #23
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Metal waterpump FTL. You guys are on this forum all the time doing your homework but you continue to just sit on your d1cks waiting for something wrong to happen
Sorry, not all of us have the time to do it man... I'm a busy person even on weekends and I ONLY DIY.

I mean sh*t, I've had VANOS repair kit and VCG in my closet for over 3 months...
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:43 PM   #24
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sounds like a ticking time bomb
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:43 PM   #25
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148k and the original everything. Will change tomorrow though!
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:43 PM   #26
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Sorry, not all of us have the time to do it man... I'm a busy person even on weekends and I ONLY DIY.

I mean sh*t, I've had VANOS repair kit and VCG in my closet for over 3 months...

Its okay man i forgive you
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:48 PM   #27
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Just bought my car a few months ago its got 109 k on as of now I assume everything is stock car runs great but any suggestions for preventative maintenance?

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Old 10-04-2012, 03:51 PM   #28
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Just bought my car a few months ago its got 109 k on as of now I assume everything is stock car runs great but any suggestions for preventative maintenance?

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Old 10-04-2012, 03:51 PM   #29
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Nope. i've personally seen and tested cooling systems using a pressure tester where cracked expansion tanks showed no leaks until heat was applied, then you'd see tiny droplets appear at the crack down the tank. Materials expand not only under pressure but when subjected to heat as well. If the crack was tiny enough to not show under pressure, it might expand just enough when heat is applied.
The way I suppose you "visually" saw a leak when hot and not cold is because it flowed up a higher waterline than the crack was at when cold (or not running). Visually seeing leaking is much different from watching the pressure cap gauge and reading the loss it gets after pressure is introduced in the closed cooling system.
There is no way a cooling system under pressure doesn't find a leak in the plastic(that's large enough to allow coolant out). This is physics. When the system is under pressure in the test with a PSI gauge in place of the radiator cap it'll show a drop if there is a leak anywhere in the system. The plastic is not going to close back up and seal it self to withstand this pressure. That is the very reason you're saying it expands to leak. Sure it can contract after heating but not to withstand a pressure test.

The Pressure Test Kit/Gauge you used was either faulty or user error if it didn't find a leak. Atleast you know now to have it checked.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:52 PM   #30
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Just bought my car a few months ago its got 109 k on as of now I assume everything is stock car runs great but any suggestions for preventative maintenance?

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my car ran great too when i bought it at 96k. i rebuilt it from the ground up and STILL not done. $8-10k so far??? Go professional
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:58 PM   #31
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Metal waterpump FTL. You guys are on this forum all the time doing your homework but you continue to just sit on your d1cks waiting for something wrong to happen
It's all good, to each their own.

When it goes out, I've got another metal one waiting to go in. It's 10 years old and still new in the box.

Everything else on my engine is new, but the waterpump. Damn thing is a trooper!!
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:08 PM   #32
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I have everything original minus the thermostat, which was replaced because I physically broke it. (Don't ask, I found out later why it broke, and realized I did it).
I have 87k miles.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:16 PM   #33
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but the e46 M3 has a more reliable cooling system, doesn't it?

Don't think I've read much about any M3s overheating because of cooling system failures..
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:19 PM   #34
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Kudos to you, OP. I think a good portion of the amateur DIYers on this board probably do more harm than good mucking about with perfectly-functioning parts. The rest waste their money imo.

Fix it when it breaks. Check your coolant level when you check your oil (regularly). Pay attention to warning lights. If you're worried, you can buy like 3 or 4 years of AAA for what The General will tell you to spend on unnecessary parts.

Honestly, however, I would probably do the expansion tank and water pump. That IS preventative maintenance, simply because you won't get a warning light if your water pump fails and the et really is underengineered on these cars.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:48 PM   #35
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If you've changed parts, then I'd say you do *not* have the original cooling system.

Period.
I agree. I haven't changed anything except for my original coolant from 1998 (once,) which is what I said in the OP.

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Originally Posted by E46Mango View Post
Yes you should be worried. Rolling the dice every time you start your car. Comes down to how lucky you feel. your low coolant light came on for a reason. your expansion tank has a crack on it. pressure drop test wont reveal anything if your car is cool. once up to temp, crack expands and water comes out
My pressure test was done about 20 minutes after a 20 mile drive, I'm pretty sure it was up to temp. Especially because the coolant light came on right when I floored it to merge on the freeway. I'm not worried because it turned on and off, and I checked my parking spot for leaks and didn't find anything. I think it's more likely to be my sensor than anything else. They didn't top my coolant off because they didn't have any BMW coolant in stock, and the light didn't come back on when I drove 40 miles later on in the day.

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221K and I'm still on my original water pump...
Damn dude, be careful with that. My friend has 179k and his just seized up on him last week.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:13 PM   #36
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my radiator blew up while driving and the front fan died... everything else should be stock.... worst part is the car only has 65k still cant figure out why a radiator failed at that millage.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:29 PM   #37
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156k and now changing the original water pump and rad. Both still work but but want to avoid a breakdown. TStat and ET have been replaced at least once before.
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:23 PM   #38
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78k miles on my '04 330Cic and the coolant system works great. No leaks, hoses feel normal not hard or cracking, water pump & clutch fan quiet. I am slowly piecing together all the components needed to for a coolant system overhaul. Not in a hurry but I know it's one my to do list for my Vert (hello all metal WP).

I just finished the VANOS seal repair kit and replaced the PS - ALT - WP drive belt cause I noticed cracks in the old one. Also while I had the clutch fan off I cleaned the front face since it had lots of road grime and dirt on it. It cleaned up very well. Maybe one day another project will be to replace the clutch fan for an electric one... so many projects so little time (& $$$).
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:00 AM   #39
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I have a (now) boosted '99 with ~100k miles on the original cooling system.
I have been curious to pull out the WP and see if the early models in fact had metal impeller or not...
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:05 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by E46Mango View Post
Actually, Jake appointed me that title.

Nope. i've personally seen and tested cooling systems using a pressure tester where cracked expansion tanks showed no leaks until heat was applied, then you'd see tiny droplets appear at the crack down the tank. Materials expand not only under pressure but when subjected to heat as well. If the crack was tiny enough to not show under pressure, it might expand just enough when heat is applied.

I have no problem with disagreements, but keep the snide remarks to yourself.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex323Ci View Post
The way I suppose you "visually" saw a leak when hot and not cold is because it flowed up a higher waterline than the crack was at when cold (or not running). Visually seeing leaking is much different from watching the pressure cap gauge and reading the loss it gets after pressure is introduced in the closed cooling system.
There is no way a cooling system under pressure doesn't find a leak in the plastic(that's large enough to allow coolant out). This is physics. When the system is under pressure in the test with a PSI gauge in place of the radiator cap it'll show a drop if there is a leak anywhere in the system. The plastic is not going to close back up and seal it self to withstand this pressure. That is the very reason you're saying it expands to leak. Sure it can contract after heating but not to withstand a pressure test.

The Pressure Test Kit/Gauge you used was either faulty or user error if it didn't find a leak. Atleast you know now to have it checked.
Hmm... Honestly, I think you're both right. If a crack already exists, then a pressure test will reveal it - either by coolant showing through, or by the pressure slowly dropping. If a crack has not yet formed, then perhaps the mixture of heat and pressure will throw it over the edge.

But simply increasing the pressure slightly beyond what would be seen in a real-world scenario should stress it to a similar extent as heat.
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