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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 02-14-2013, 05:11 PM   #1001
norcalmike
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Originally Posted by caleb6 View Post
its a long story. catch up on all the new maintenance threads and you'll see.
I didnt but this car for long stories, I bought it to have fun. If my fuel pump cant hold up to a few burnouts, well, maybe i should sell it and get an XI with an Automatic
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:14 PM   #1002
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I didnt but this car for long stories, I bought it to have fun. If my fuel pump cant hold up to a few burnouts, well, maybe i should sell it and get an XI with an Automatic
Nah, its all good man. by the way, my XI is a 6 speed manual if you were somehow trying to refer to mine.
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:34 PM   #1003
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anyway. Back to cooling.
This is the kit i bought
http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...oem-e46coolkit

Maybe I could have done a better job handpicking stuff from various vendors but i found this kit inexpensive and easy. I added new belts and a metal pump pulley but I ended up re using the OEM pulley that was already on there. it was only about 4 years old and to be honest, the metal pulley just seemed cheap and unrefined to me. so, ill throw it in the trunk just in case.
In hindsight though, i should have replace the idler pulleys while I was at it. That was a mistake on my part but the bearings in the idlers seemed good so i rolled with it.
The expansion tank was a bit scary to get off the mounting tab. i heard you had to pull hard, and i did. it popped right off with some force.
Here's the weird part to me. Before i did the cooling system, I had that erratic idle occasionally. Where it would dip down and then go back up to normal. It doesn't do that anymore. Could it have been the temp sensor? That's the only sensor i replaced
Anyone that is considering tackling this project, I highly recommend it.
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:44 PM   #1004
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anyway. Back to cooling.
This is the kit i bought
http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...oem-e46coolkit

.
Kit's OK, but I would not have done it with some of the sketchy brands in there. My rational for avoiding them is that too many times it's subterfuge to get Chinese crap into the mix. Just really not wanting to put any of their really awful quality stuff on anything I own.
You'd think something as simple as a WP would be tough to mess up, but substandard bearings or a cheap seal is enough to ruin your day when you're a few hundred miles from home.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:41 PM   #1005
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nothing in the kit said made in china
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:13 PM   #1006
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nothing in the kit said made in china
those brands are fine. the only thing i'm not sure about is FAE.. sounds OEM but not 100% sure. either way you did OK. make sure you do the pulleys and belts because all the new parts in the world won't work right if the belt/pulleys cease to function
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:17 PM   #1007
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nothing in the kit said made in china
Glad you checked, and hope you're correct!

I just try to keep the awareness flag flying.
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:33 PM   #1008
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Belts were replaced, they needed it too. I will definitely go back and replace the pulleys soon. Again, that was poor judgement on my part for not adding them to my order. Im not sure about the FAE temp sensor either. there was no country of origin on the box. there was an part # sticker on the side that i could not peel off to see what was under it. thats probaly where it said made in china

UPDATE: after some research, I stand corrected. FAE is a company out of Spain and it appears that the switches ARE made in China. BOOOOO!!

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Old 02-14-2013, 08:34 PM   #1009
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I'd get an OE switch just to be safe. that is a very crucial part both electronically as it triggers the fan and physically (the seal)
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:41 PM   #1010
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Originally Posted by norcalmike View Post
Belts were replaced, they needed it too. I will definitely go back and replace the pulleys soon. Again, that was poor judgement on my part for not adding them to my order. Im not sure about the FAE temp sensor either. there was no country of origin on the box. there was an part # sticker on the side that i could not peel off to see what was under it. thats probably where it said made in china

UPDATE: after some research, I stand corrected. FAE is a company out of Spain and it appears that the switches ARE made in China. BOOOOO!!
Not meaning to beat anyone up for sure. Just hoping all pay attention to China.
I use the term loosely to avoid China at all costs. But there is some nuance to this judgement. For instance I use an Apple computer which comes from China.
The difference that should be made important is that if a major company such as Apple, Sony, or whoever has their manufacturing done in China, they oversee the quality standards on all fronts.
The real animal to be avoided at all costs is the part made in China, designed by Chinese, quality set by Chinese, and the overseeing company is Chinese. This virtually assures low grade and possibly tainted material along with very unreliable, untested and unimproved design parameters. Look close and you'll probably wonder why these parts don't fail immediately. Oh, I forgot! Lots of times they do quit immediately.

So I'd not fret too much the FAE part made in China. It's not a part that will likely fail tragically, and it's probably OK if FAE oversees.

Last edited by Stinger9; 02-14-2013 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:46 PM   #1011
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Copy That! OE switch ordered along with some new pulleys. Stinger9 was right. they slipped ONE chinese part in on me. GRRRRR!
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:49 PM   #1012
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E46Mangoooooo! Thanks for such a great post! Very detailed and addresses so many of the different failures our E46 Cooling Systems can have.

Your post described my cooling system failure perfectly. I bought my '04 330Cic in 11-2011 with 63k and cooling system checked out fine. Fast forward to this week and I now have 80.5k miles and the low coolant light came on while driving last night. Was a couple miles from home and the needle stayed still so I got her home carefully.

I parked the Vert in the garage and when she cooled down I followed your coolant system refill and bleed video on YouTube. Everything looked good after the refill last night so I took it out this morning. Ran a quick errand and noticed some coolant when I had returned to the car. Topped off again and took her straight home (only 3 miles and the needle again stayed still).

I put the front on ramps and I could hear and see a leak coming from the cooling system. But it was such a slow drip I couldn't locate it; until I looked over your post again.

I checked out the expansion tank and there it was... a leak had developed through the plastic just above the connection for the heater hose. When I grabbed that heater hose and moved the connection that leak was obvious so under pressure it definitely was coming out with some force.

I am attaching a photo of the leak to show others where my expansion tank failed me.

Thanks again for the post and for those reading this please make sure you give your cooling system the necessary overhaul as it approaches 65-75k miles. It is not a matter of if... but when! Take Care!
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:03 PM   #1013
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Originally Posted by Nickvjr View Post
E46Mangoooooo! Thanks for such a great post! Very detailed and addresses so many of the different failures our E46 Cooling Systems can have.

Your post described my cooling system failure perfectly. I bought my '04 330Cic in 11-2011 with 63k and cooling system checked out fine. Fast forward to this week and I now have 80.5k miles and the low coolant light came on while driving last night. Was a couple miles from home and the needle stayed still so I got her home carefully.

I parked the Vert in the garage and when she cooled down I followed your coolant system refill and bleed video on YouTube. Everything looked good after the refill last night so I took it out this morning. Ran a quick errand and noticed some coolant when I had returned to the car. Topped off again and took her straight home (only 3 miles and the needle again stayed still).

I put the front on ramps and I could hear and see a leak coming from the cooling system. But it was such a slow drip I couldn't locate it; until I looked over your post again.

I checked out the expansion tank and there it was... a leak had developed through the plastic just above the connection for the heater hose. When I grabbed that heater hose and moved the connection that leak was obvious so under pressure it definitely was coming out with some force.

I am attaching a photo of the leak to show others where my expansion tank failed me.

Thanks again for the post and for those reading this please make sure you give your cooling system the necessary overhaul as it approaches 65-75k miles. It is not a matter of if... but when! Take Care!
You are welcome, sir! Any time of day or night, I am at your service! This is a 100% perfect example of the reason I put this information out there. Glad things worked out!!
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:26 PM   #1014
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Dumb.

Had a guy change my starter a month ago in my garage because I'm out of work. Within a tank of gas there was the noted hairline crack, and the lower connection was leaking. Being the brokanic that I am - I assumed it was his fault for jerking on the hose too hard. Until I ran into you beautiful people.

Besides the fact that I owe him a mild apology, I have had NO money to fix it, and I've been putting an unmeasured amount of green coolant and distilled water in it for the last couple weeks. 2 months in arrears on my life - I can't afford to do the above total solution if I wanted to. The other day she got totally pissed after I left the cap cracked to alleviated the pressure. (I know - wrong answer.) Lets just say it has been bleeding water more than air. I watched the temp gauge pin the red, and I quickly pulled over, let her cool and topped it off. I can't afford a tow truck, so I left it at a friends and tried to take it home cold the next day. It was at temp until half way home, started to climb, then dropped (thermostat?) - till it climbed again and I shut it down. Smelled a little but nothing huge. 3 miles more the next day, and finally shut it off just as the temp was rising - leaking all over the garage.

Beyond this, it makes a sound similar to a fail steering pump at idle - so I'm assuming it's the idler pulley. It used to only do it cold, but its much more consistent as a part of this issue. All of a sudden, no heat during the above. Thermostat?

Sorry for the novel. At the moment A car is better than no car...and I'll let her go If Chase puts a gun to my head. Belts are all new, hoses are good, I'm just looking for a list of reasonable musts. It kills me - the car is immaculate, and half ass is not my style. Cross fingers no damage. Without beating me up too bad - may I please have some advice?
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:43 PM   #1015
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Simply put, you've put your car at immeasurable risk of destroying your engine so deeply that you'll need an engine swap as the most economical option.
Never drive your car when the cooling system is not functioning normally.
That you have already pegged your temperature gauge at least once means you may have already gone too far.

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Old 02-16-2013, 12:41 AM   #1016
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Oh, Stinger.... that's a bit dramatic. The car is fine. The advice I'm looking for is a short cut I can afford. I appreciate your point of view, however.
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:02 AM   #1017
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you can have my old expansion tank. just pay shipping. it's dated 2006 and is in excellent shape
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:22 AM   #1018
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Thanks NorCalMike ! I'm going to gather enough for OEM parts I need. Would love it if somebody could copy & paste must haves from the very complete list above, and comment on the noise I'm hearing. I'll stumble through it until I get frustrated.
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:48 AM   #1019
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Thanks NorCalMike ! I'm going to gather enough for OEM parts I need. Would love it if somebody could copy & paste must haves from the very complete list above, and comment on the noise I'm hearing. I'll stumble through it until I get frustrated.
Dude, you OK, seriously? You sound very down. No matter what, things will get better - they always do. Always. The opposite of anger/frustration is what? Patience my friend.

What do you mean "somebody could copy & paste must haves"?
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Old 02-16-2013, 02:35 PM   #1020
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Thanks, Caleb - yea, I'm thoroughly bummed at the moment. Barely scrapped together enough so that only I'm 2 months late on Monday. I'm upside down in the car, so selling it isn't an option. Can't afford to do things the right way. Back on rent too - so if I did screw it up more than a few hundred bucks, I'm going to let them repo it. I've run out of alternatives. In the day, I would have whipped out my AAA - and dropped it at my indy shop. Times are hard. For now, I'm thinking of doing the expansion tank/cap - (hairline crack and leaking from bottom hose on tank) and replacing the o-rings to get it back on the road. All belts have 10k miles, and hoses are fine...The car was leaking, and the light was coming on. For 2 weeks while I drove it around town, it would leak about a cup a day. Temp was always normal. When I shut it down without letting it cool, obviously it would expand and leave a small puddle. I did not mix coolant 50/50. Dumb. When I drove a few miles the other night, finally the gauge rose till the the light came on and I quickly pulled over and shut it off. Motor was not too hot - smelled a little, and I was able to open the cap. It was going to be towed, so I had to move it the next day. Temp came up to normal and I let it run for 10 minutes. The only thing I noticed was no heat in the cabin. Stubborn, I don't ask for help - and my buddy who works for a tow company couldn't find a driver on valentines day, and I wanted it off the streets. It was almost all down hill to my house, I milked it home totally cold...temp came up normally while driving - and remained at temperature. When it started to slowly rise I was going to pull over, now that I was in a better hood, but then it dropped to normal again. Milked it the rest of the way home, and as I pulled into the drive the temp was rising again. Turned it off and it was now leaking consistently. All that being said...the power steering noise/vibration used to be at cold idle, and since, it has been constant should lead me to believe ?? The lack of heat in the cabin since the temp went up leads me to believe ?? I know everybody else has two pennies to rub together - but, that's all I have. Driving it was stupid, but I'm stuck trying to work as hard as I can. At some point, I'll be forced to throw in the towel. Most likely I save up and have this guy do it in my garage...I really shouldn't take a crack at it myself. With 91k, it really needs the full service - and it should be done properly. =(
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