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Old 01-31-2013, 06:29 PM   #201
jfoj
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dlsboomer,

Thanks for at least giving the idea a try and seeing if unplugging the heater on a bad stat would buy some time for some of the folks with in the colder regions.

So it looks like the heater is only commanded on to lower the thermostat temp under certain conditions and the heater is normally in the full off state.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:40 PM   #202
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After fully warming up I'm getting temps of 96-98 degrees C in stop and go city traffic. Outside temp is about 25 F.

This is after my CCV froze up about a week ago. New VCG and plugs. Still burning off oil in the exhaust. Anything to be concerned about? Still on the original water pump and thermostat but are working fine after the mechanic tested all of these parts. Plan on replacing these in the spring when temps get warmer anyway.

Last edited by Stryker336; 02-04-2013 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:28 PM   #203
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Originally Posted by dslboomer View Post
My t-stat that was replaced in 2005 is going bad.
I got P0128 code (Coolant Temperature Below Thermostat Regulating Temperature) and milk shake under oil filler cap for the first time even though I have only one year old cold weather CCV system.
Coolant temperature was 82 C at highway and 84 C during idle. Ambient temperature today was 40 F.

I received the new t-stat today. I will replace it over this weekend and report it back.
Changed out t-stat along with new serpentine belt for ALT/PS/WP.
Coolant temperature is now 94 to 96.
Here is how coolant temperature, speed, and throttle position look like on the way to work in the morning.
Full operating temp didn't reach until I hit the highway at 12 minutes mark.
BTW, car was in the garage last night.



And there is still a lot of condensation under the oil filler cap after 17 minutes driving.


Last edited by dslboomer; 02-05-2013 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:52 PM   #204
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dslboomer,

Thanks for the graphing and the additional info.

What your ambient start temp actually around 50F?
Maybe due to the car being in the garage?
What was the outside air temp approximately?

The condensation in the crankcase may get better now that your engine temps are up approximately another 20F as compared to where they had been running.

The only issue is even a 17 mile drive is really lack luster for these engines. With the large 6 quart oil sump it likely takes about 30 minutes to get the oil up to temp?? Not sure if you can graph coolant and oil temps, but you would see that the oil temps are more linear to rise and likely do not peak or stabilize until around the 25 minute mark? Obviously driving conditions can affect that, more likely to hit the higher oil temps from you 70+ MPH highway run than puttering around town in stop and go traffic.

As I mentioned in my edited comments in the beginning of this thread, you likely will need to check your oil cap and valve cover weekly in the Winter temps and manage the yellow/brown mayo-goo.

But keep us up to date on how your oil fill cap and valve cover look because you may get everything cleaned up and cooked out of the crankcase within a week or so now that the engine temps are where they belong.

At least you have a 17 minute cruise and not 5 minute drives.

I think your graph really illustrates that the engine likely will not hit 70c within 5 minutes and the engine oil will likely be only 45-50C within this time frame and this is with a properly operating thermostat!!

Thanks again for your great data plots, these are the kind of baseline plots that can help everyone understand what to expect in ideal conditions.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:59 PM   #205
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Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
dslboomer,

Thanks for the graphing and the additional info.

What your ambient start temp actually around 50F?
Maybe due to the car being in the garage?
What was the outside air temp approximately?

Not sure if you can graph coolant and oil temps.

But keep us up to date on how your oil fill cap and valve cover look because you may get everything cleaned up and cooked out of the crankcase within a week or so now that the engine temps are where they belong.

Thanks again for your great data plots, these are the kind of baseline plots that can help everyone understand what to expect in ideal conditions.
Ambient temp was 35 F during my morning drive.
But the starting temp was higher because the car was in the insulated garage since I came home last night.

I will do same log when I have a freezing cold night if that ever happens before the Spring hits.

I am visual guy and firmly believe in "A picture is worth thousand words" because I can not speak or write well.

Unfortunately, engine oil temperature is showing in the torque pro, but data is not supported. I don't know if this is the limitation of my bluethooth scanner or not. Trans oil temperature is not supported either.

One of these days, I like to learn a way to program and extract more BMW specific data out of toque pro. I don't know which will be the first; my ability to program, no more desire to maintain this ultimate PM (preventive maintenance per Mango) machine, or the car running out of steam.
I like VW way better than BMW. My wife has an Audi C6 A6, and I have VAG cable, and it is a fun tool to use. Next car will definitely have 2.0T in it. I saw you also have VW 1.8T in your household.

jfoj,

This was a great subject, and I wish I had log with the bad t-stat to compare with the good one.
This really reminds the fellow fanatics in the cold region to watch out for the actual coolant temperature and CCV before Winter hits their regions. We saw several engine stall cases last week probably due the frozen CCV aided by soft failing (you coined it) t-stat. And we have a false sense of safety that 12 O'clock position of coolant temperature gauge is perfect indicator of actual temperature.

Last edited by dslboomer; 02-06-2013 at 01:48 AM.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:11 AM   #206
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:16 AM   #207
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My engine is running colder than it used to.
I drive my car while the cluster displays the engine temp once in a while. The previous time I did this - about a year ago - i was getting 92-97C. Now it has dropped to 83-87C. Can't raise the temp above 92C even if I try.
Most likely this is the reason my milleage has dropped by about 1 MPG.
The thermostat was purchased from a BMW dealer less than four years ago, has about 46K miles on it... looks like I'm not going to keep it until the next cooling system overhaul.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:38 AM   #208
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Megalocnus.

Your situation is not too uncommon. It sounds like you have at least a benchmark on where your engine temps used to run and and what I am seeing is much beyond 3 years it is likely the thermostat starts to go soft and unless the driver really know how to keep a watchful eye the baseline temps most likely this type of slow downward drift goes unnoticed.

This is part of the reason I started this thread, I expected once everyone started to critically look at their engine temps, we would likely find a trend where many would be missing the fact that the thermostats are going soft.

Also everyone needs to understand this is not just a BMW or E46 issue. It is an issue within the entire auto industry. I cannot speak for all engines, but I can say for almost all engines (other than BMW M cars) you should expect to see them run approximately 200F or above consistently.

A rule of thumb I have been using lately is to take the thermostat operation temperature, usually easy to determine at is it usually stamped physically on the thermostat or by basic part look up, even if using an aftermarket supplier like Stant, then add 15F to the thermostat operating temp if the coolant temperature sensor located in the cylinder head or outboard of the cylinder head. So if the thermostat application book calls for a 185F thermostat, then add 15F to this and you will end up with 200F operation temperature. I am still a bit perplexed about the this rule of thumb for some of the BMW's as the Wahler thermostat I have here is marked 97C, so this kills my general rule of thumb at least for these BMW 6 cylinder engines in the E39, E46, Z and X cars, maybe BMW's in general. This is part of the reason I started this thread as I wanted to find out what the baseline is for a larger number of like vehicles!

This rule of thumb also assumes the outside ambient temperature is at 70F or lower. After 70F ambient the engine temp can rise above the baseline operating temp and in this situation it is sometimes hard to determine if a thermostat is just starting to go soft. Have not confirmed if the garden hose to the cool the radiator will work to help ID a soft thermostat in the warmer months, however, I believe this may be a good way to confirm a soft stat when the outside ambient temps are above 70F.
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Last edited by jfoj; 02-06-2013 at 05:48 AM.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:37 AM   #209
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dslboomer,


The only issue is even a 17 mile drive is really lack luster for these engines. With the large 6 quart oil sump it likely takes about 30 minutes to get the oil up to temp?? Not sure if you can graph coolant and oil temps, but you would see that the oil temps are more linear to rise and likely do not peak or stabilize until around the 25 minute mark? Obviously driving conditions can affect that, more likely to hit the higher oil temps from you 70+ MPH highway run than puttering around town in stop and go traffic.

As I mentioned in my edited comments in the beginning of this thread, you likely will need to check your oil cap and valve cover weekly in the Winter temps and manage the yellow/brown mayo-goo.

I think your graph really illustrates that the engine likely will not hit 70c within 5 minutes and the engine oil will likely be only 45-50C within this time frame and this is with a properly operating thermostat!!

Thanks again for your great data plots, these are the kind of baseline plots that can help everyone understand what to expect in ideal conditions.
Here is the same hour long drive in about 20 F weather, I posted earlier, with the coolant temps and oil temp graphed.

450 on the X axis is at about 23 minutes, when the oil temp finally reached close to its peak value (193 F). The Oil temp started at about 50 F from being in my garage.
Even an hour long drive didn't get the oil to over 212 F to boil off the moisture. It is likely that in some parts of the engine the oil temp did get hot enough to boil the water off.
You would also need enough running for the CCV to pull all the water vapor out of the crankcase. With a normal PCV that would pull the air out better under heavy throttle (low intake manifold vacuum opens the PCV valve pulling air through the crankcase), I am not sure if the BMW system works exactly the same way.

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Old 02-06-2013, 07:50 AM   #210
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Shanneba,

Thanks for your contribution of the graph.

I think this will help all owners really understand what it takes to get these cars up to temp in the colder climates.

I had not graphed my oil temps as of yet, but on my M5 I can bring up the oil temps via the hidden OBC menu and I know the oil temps do take a lot longer to stabilize on the M5 and it it has an oil-water-air oil cooler, or what I really claim it to be and call it and "oil warmer".

I recall close to 20 minutes or so being a good figure to use for my M5 oil temps to stabilize (and this was with the oil cooler/warmer) and I figured looking at the E46 temp curve 25 minutes was about a good guess.

Water cooled oil coolers are actually helpful in the colder areas as they do heat the oil up a bit quicker, by maybe as much as 10 minutes and for shorter driving in cold weather this could make a difference.

The problem is I do not think anyone makes a cost effective and easy to install water cooled oil cooler for the E46.

So you are likely into some sort of oil sump heater or there is a heated engine blanket that you can just open the hood and toss on top of the engine. Its not cheap, but can be an option assuming AC power is easily available. Having a power outlet handy seems to be an issue for some of the folks in cold climates, they likely do not have a garage or park in a large underground parking area without power outlets.

I think anyone that stumbles across this thread will be able to learn a lot about the cold weather nature of these cars with all the contributions from other members.

It's kind of ironic these E46 seem to be either running too cold or over heating, they seem to be PITA to keep in check and running at the proper temps.

Mango on one end with the cooling system PM issue and this thread on the far end with the Winter time thermostat blues!

I t
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:31 AM   #211
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Mine runs any where from 88 to 94 c, and I live in Florida.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:16 AM   #212
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finally tried this and mine sits at 93. I know its winter but my car has averaged 18mpg with my short trips. I read another member had their MPG jump from 18 to 25? I was expecting better then 18mpg. Curious if I should be seeing better.

This is all that hasn't been replaced under my hood: Disa, Vanos, OFHG, AIR Pump. The rest has been replaced and some probably did not need it but I did it while stuff was apart. I ordered the Vanos cover gasket and plan to focus on this area next. No noises. The car is more responsive after replacing the fuel pump last week but no change in MPG.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:13 AM   #213
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Progress report here.
I am happy to report that under side of the oil filler cap is bone dry now.
I think warmer than normal winter temperature is helping, but the properly working thermostat is critically important along with long highway driving.

1. T-stat changed Feb 3.

2. Feb 4. See the post 203 after t-stat change and 1st 17 miles driving

3. Feb 6 before highway driving. It looks better than earlier.


4. After 30 minutes highway driving to a store


5. After 30 minutes highway driving back home.

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Old 02-17-2013, 06:04 PM   #214
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I checked my temp on a 120 mile round trip today. Mostly highway cruising at 70MPH, temperature outside was 28F, car coolant temp per hidden test #7 was a consistent 98c-99c. Never went over 99c, mostly stayed at 99c, sometimes dropped as low as 97c.

2005 330XI with brand new cooling system, belts, pulley.

FWIW.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:51 PM   #215
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Caleb6,

Thanks for your report.

Every piece or benchmark can be helpful.

Seems your engine is running slightly warmer than most, not necessarily a problem, just an observation.

Do you know what make thermostat you have?

Do you know if you have a stock style OE plastic impeller water pump or metal impeller pump?

Do you know your cooling system is bled well?

Automatic or manual trans?
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:59 PM   #216
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Caleb6,

Thanks for your report.

Every piece or benchmark can be helpful.

Seems your engine is running slightly warmer than most, not necessarily a problem, just an observation.

Do you know what make thermostat you have?

Do you know if you have a stock style OE plastic impeller water pump or metal impeller pump?

Do you know your cooling system is bled well?

Automatic or manual trans?
It's a Wahler thermostat. I have an OE plastic impeller water pump. Both just replaced a few weeks ago by me.

I think I bled the system well - followed the TIS on it. I'll double check tomorrow and update though.

And it is a 6 spd manual.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:36 AM   #217
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OK, re-bled the system this morning. Seemed OK, if anything I had a little too much coolant in the system - not much, but perhaps a little.

Took it for a 25 minute jaunt around the country block. Outside temp is the same, around 29f. Engine ran at 97-98c consistantly. Didn't reach 99c at all, went as low as 96c at times.

Difference between today and yesterday: 1. Yesterday was with four adult size passengers, today just me. 2. Yesterday was mostly (100 out of 120 miles) flat out highway cruising in 6th gear, today was back road twisty driving, getting stuck behind a slow car, slowing down, speeding up, mostly in 4th gear.

As it sits idling now, it goes from 98c down to 96c or 97c.

Question - when should the electric fan kick on? I don't notice mine running at all. I would think it would come on when sitting at idle, no? EDIT** I do see it running now. Would still like to know the parameters for when/how it turns on though.

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Old 02-18-2013, 05:20 PM   #218
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83F before reading this thread. My heater was just a warm breeze. 94-96F after replacing thermostat, and a fully functional heater now.

Thanks a lot for all the knowledge shared in this thread.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:09 PM   #219
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jfoj, thank you for making this thread. Even though I just did the cooling refresh, after seeing the temps on here I got worried and decided to replace the tstat again and now I'm at 96c once warmed up. After my last post it was getting as high as 105c so thank you posting this, I wouldn't have even thought to check the temps as I had just replaced everything.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:57 PM   #220
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Hmmm, I'm wondering if my coolant temp is a little low. On my commute home today from work (about 27 miles) I averaged between 90 - 92C on the freeway. Outside temps ranged from 44F to 48F. The coolant did reach 95 at one point but cooled right back when going up Sylvan Hill past the Vista Ridge tunnel; at one point even briefly dipped to 89C. When I'm stopped at a traffic light, it goes up to about 94c. I'm not experiencing any yellow mayo and my mpg on the last tank was 30.7 (413.7 miles/13.476Gal).
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