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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 02-10-2013, 11:04 PM   #1
terdwrassler
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Denver
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My Ride: 2002 330XI
Coolant issue plus battery

Well gents it's been a hell of a day for me. I left the rocky mountains after a great day of skiing and in stop and go traffic uphill my car kept overheating. Right before it would hit the red on the needle gauge I would pull over and promptly cut it off to avoid further damage. I popped the hood after the first time and it was spewing steam around my driver side headlight. Now there is anti freeze all over everything around my intake and headlight. I'm thinking the expansion tank/reservoir has a crack but I need to now the cause mostly. I'm guessing it could be the thermostat sticking and making it get excessively hot causing the rupture. Does anyone else have any experience with this problem? Oh and to top it off my battery randomly went dead during the stop and go process. AAA towed me 70 miles back home and then jumped me off. I drove around trying to charge the battery back up but it was no use. Could the battery have just coincidentally gone dead at the same time?
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:18 PM   #2
BMWCaptain
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The battery is probably a separate issue. You should take it out and have it charged at Advance Auto Parts. About 30 min to fully charge and test the battery. It takes a while to charge a dead battery through alternator method.

Check your cooling system to see what else may not be working right. Is it time to change your WP and thermostat?

Do you have a code reader to see if you have any codes set?
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:26 PM   #3
terdwrassler
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No codes yet. I'll take the battery tomorrow to have it tested just to make sure before I get a new one. What else should I check with the cooling system? Before this happened i've been in stop and go traffic before and the temp guage would go almost to the red then finally pull back to the middle when I was getting ready to pull over. Looks like thermostat to me but I could be wrong.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:44 PM   #4
e46alfonso
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If the battery is original just buy a new one.

Replace the cooling system, water pump, thermostat, both hoses, expansion tank, temp sensor. Replace everything except radiator and never worry again. Use oem or genuine parts.
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:01 AM   #5
terdwrassler
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That's what I was thinking. It has quite a few miles on it and a good coolant tune up now done properly will save me some headache down the road.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:12 AM   #6
BMWCaptain
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Check your Aux fan and mechanical clutch fan ( if you have an automatic ). Many times when folks have problems when they are in traffic it indicates the fan is not working properly. You can checkout mechanical by trying to spin it with the car off. If you spin it and it has resistance, the fan probably works correctly. If it spins very easy, then it is bad. Check your Aux fan by idling your car and turn the AC on. Confirm the Aux fan is on. Then disconnect the lower radiator hose temperature sensor. The Aux fan should go to high speed. If it does not, then the controller is bad and your Aux fan must be replaced.

Check your radiator above the expansion tank for leaks. If it is the original radiator, it can leak in the area above the upper hose.

Ps: if you are going to get a new battery, you can use the A123 discount code for Advance Automate.com to buy a battery. It will save you $40 off of $110 or more. You just have to order the battery online and then just pick it up at the store.

Last edited by BMWCaptain; 02-11-2013 at 05:20 AM. Reason: Auto-save 1360581627
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:00 AM   #7
terdwrassler
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Thanks for the help. It is an auto but will that aux fan work even with the a/c off? I was in 18 degree weather so I had the heater on. Also, while I have it apart can I put electric fans on the engine side of the radiator? I'd rather do away with the manual fan altogether.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:12 AM   #8
BMWCaptain
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terdwrassler View Post
Thanks for the help. It is an auto but will that aux fan work even with the a/c off? I was in 18 degree weather so I had the heater on. Also, while I have it apart can I put electric fans on the engine side of the radiator? I'd rather do away with the manual fan altogether.
No, you need the ac on to do the test. If it is that cold there now, your Aux will probably not come on normally. Try the test anyway. When you disconnect the temp sensor it goes into safemode and turns the fan on full to prevent an overheat. Are you getting hot just idling in that cold weather?
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:15 AM   #9
terdwrassler
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I don't know if it will get hot just idling. I was in stop and go traffic maybe 2 minutes when it started to veer to hot. It's usually after the engine first warms up too.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:16 AM   #10
SamDoe1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e46alfonso View Post
If the battery is original just buy a new one.

Replace the cooling system, water pump, thermostat, both hoses, expansion tank, temp sensor. Replace everything except radiator and never worry again. Use oem or genuine parts.
Do this and do it now, preferably do it yesterday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWCaptain View Post
Check your Aux fan and mechanical clutch fan ( if you have an automatic ). Many times when folks have problems when they are in traffic it indicates the fan is not working properly. You can checkout mechanical by trying to spin it with the car off. If you spin it and it has resistance, the fan probably works correctly. If it spins very easy, then it is bad.
Agree 100%. My guess is that your expansion tank cap relieved the pressure in the system caused by the fan not forcing air over the radiator (overheated) hence the coolant all over the engine bay. Check for fan operation and make sure you replace your tank cap ASAP.

If you have a mechanical fan, it might be a good opportunity to convert to an electric fan.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:23 AM   #11
terdwrassler
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Cooling system parts have been ordered. Where can I find an electric fan that will fit my auto?
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:32 AM   #12
SamDoe1
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Originally Posted by terdwrassler View Post
Cooling system parts have been ordered. Where can I find an electric fan that will fit my auto?
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...t=electric+fan

You will need to find one either from a junkyard or buy a new one.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:39 AM   #13
terdwrassler
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Thanks for the link, I ordered the electric fan too so I can just do it all in one swoop.
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