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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 11-28-2012, 06:08 PM   #1
always-there
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Coolant

It seems the more I repair the car the more it needs. Yes yes, I've already it's '10' years old, I get it. Now while I wait for the rest of the parts to continue this journey of repairing till I die, I shall fix the ongoing coolant leak I have. When I was having this problem with my fan clutch I decided to replace the water pump in hopes that, that was the problem. I fixed the fan clutch problem..but now I have coolant leak. I have to add water every morning and before I leave work. Gah! So far I have a new water pump, new expansion tank, cap, and brass bleeder screw, but it's still leaking. I know I'm going to get told to replace 'everything else', yea I know, but with everything else I'm repairing you'd think you'd have a little sympathy for me, haha. It's leaking exactly where the radiator is so my guess is that it's bad. The irony is that it happened right after I replaced the water pump? Great. It was just fine before.
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:09 PM   #2
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Been tols*
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:09 PM   #3
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Been told* damn it lol
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:14 PM   #4
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You may need a new radiator, but it could be the expansion tank bracket, especially if you have an automatic. The transmission cooler connects to that part and sucks off some coolant. Mine is leaking slightly (like 2 drops per day).
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:21 PM   #5
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I accidentally broke the bracket from the expansion tank to the radiator...but what does that have to do with the coolant leak I'm getting.
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:28 PM   #6
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Oh..but how?
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:32 PM   #7
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The automatic transmission cooler connects to the cooling system at that location I think.



Just look at the bottom part there. You can see where the joint is. Compare that to the manual tranny version:



Someone please correct me if that is not what actually hooks up there on the autos...

Last edited by WDE46; 11-28-2012 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:42 PM   #8
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So it's taking in coolant or perhaps I didn't push the expansion tank in far enough? It does leave a big water stain/puddle whenever I leave work.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:05 PM   #9
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Figure out which side of the car the leak is on.

Drivers side likely the expansion tank or something in that area.

Passenger side likely the fan switch in the lower radiator hose.

Make sure you look at the top of the lower engine cover and not just on the ground. The lower engine cover can catch and redirect any leaks.

Fan switch O-ring is a VERY common leak, cheap and easy to fix. Part number in my signature.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:32 PM   #10
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If you didn't use radiator hose lube (or some other water based lubricant) to push the expansion tank onto the bracket, that may be it. However, if that didn't seal, I would think you'd lose all of your coolant and overheat in a few miles. I would jack the front of the car up and crawl under it with the engine running and just meditate for a few hours. You'll find out where it's leaking. Just make sure you use good jack stands.
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:31 AM   #11
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Here's a thread where I'd approve of Mango's usual "Follow the links in my signature" input. A majority of members all have random cooling system related failures after 100k miles, just replace all that you haven't yet and be done with it. Do it once the right way and all your woes will be gone, trust me. I did mine in the summer including radiator for $450 and haven't had an issue since. You've already done some of the items, just do the things you haven't done yet and you'll be good to go and have piece of mind. I also hope you've been filling it with distilled water and not just tap or spring water over and over again...
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:24 AM   #12
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Thanks.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:12 AM   #13
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Today my car overheated due to it leaking a huge amount of water. Now I have to see what is leaking tomorrow morning. Guys, I like how the car drives; I just hate the stupidity BMW invested in how reliable they made the car, and I'm pointing out the cooling system. Why the need of an expansion tank ? Why not just a simple radiator without all the additional unnecessary fragile plastic they add ? If I could go back or had the option, I'd go for an STI !
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:05 AM   #14
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Sounds like an unreliable owner, not car...
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:27 AM   #15
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I had this problem on my e46 and I two leaks in the end which took me a long time to find but it was the radiator and the little heater pipe plastic connecter at the rear the rear of the engine it was very cheap but not that good to get to good luck mate
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:37 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UDM-E46 Enthusiast View Post
Today my car overheated due to it leaking a huge amount of water. Now I have to see what is leaking tomorrow morning. Guys, I like how the car drives; I just hate the stupidity BMW invested in how reliable they made the car, and I'm pointing out the cooling system. Why the need of an expansion tank ? Why not just a simple radiator without all the additional unnecessary fragile plastic they add ? If I could go back or had the option, I'd go for an STI !
For this type of pressurized system you have to have an expansion tank. There is no way around it. Why they went with a pressurized system, I have no idea.
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:47 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Nerdy46 View Post
Sounds like an unreliable owner, not car...
This.

The issues with the cooling system are so ridiculously well documented that you'd have to be a fool not to expect this. Basically you could have avoided this by avoiding this. Overhaul your system for
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:40 AM   #18
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I saw this scribbled on the sidewalk

"For E46Mango so loved E46fanatics, he wrote the *E46 Cooling Guide (information w/ complete parts list*, that whosoever followeth thy guide shall never overheat, but experience everlasting cooling."
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:47 AM   #19
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It's not that I'm "unreliable", the previous owner just neglected to maintain this car so much that I'm stuck having to renew literally the whole car. Unreliable? Nope. I take care of all my cars.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:47 AM   #20
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I saw this scribbled on the sidewalk

"For E46Mango so loved E46fanatics, he wrote the *E46 Cooling Guide (information w/ complete parts list*, that whosoever followeth thy guide shall never overheat, but experience everlasting cooling."
Yes I know Mango. Thank you for all your help.
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