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Old 03-17-2013, 01:36 AM   #1
E46CentralCali
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My Ride: 2001 E46(325i) Sport
2001 325i: Only stays cool when heater is on

I noticed a slow leak for about two weeks, and noticed the car was running warmer than normal. I had it pressure tested at my local rad shop and turns out that O Ring on the water pump was failing.

I changed the water pump and no leak. Happy about that! I filled and properly bled. The first time I had an issue was when I turned on the AC. This car gets hot after a while with the AC on. I decided to turn the heater on, and of course no issues at all no matter how hard I drive or for how long. I continuously check the fluid levels after a minimum 10 hour cool and the level is fine, note I am checking level with bleeder screw crack open (is that wrong)

Replaced ET, upper and lower rad hoses, water pump, serpentine belt, expansion tank cap, thermostat, radiator and valve cover gasket all in the last 6 months. I have not changed or disconnected the temp sensor in the lower rad hose. Could this be an issue?

I thought I may have an auxiliary fan issue but it seems to come on when the AC is on after a short delay. I checked the fuse and that was also good. Is there a way to test this fan? Maybe it comes on but not at the correct speed? I have no way of knowing

Any help is appreciated. Thanks
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Old 03-17-2013, 02:38 AM   #2
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sounds like radiator is plugged up
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Old 03-17-2013, 02:42 AM   #3
E46CentralCali
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Thanks but I dont think that's it unless you mean plugged by an air bubble. My radiator is about two months old....I also forgot to mention my car is an auto transmission so it has two fans, one belt driven and one auxiliary
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:38 AM   #4
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To check the level, just open ET cap when cold...fill to between min and max levels to be sure you're not overfilling.

What brand thermostat did you get? Did you get the plastic or aluminum housing therm?

I'm going to suggest that it might still be a bleeding issue. If air gets into wp, it will cavitate and not pump so well. Did you do a complete coolant drain from engine block?

Search for my 'alternative bleeding' method in Mango's sticky thread on cooling...should be in the beginning.

Also, used advanced/title search using your symptoms as keywords--helps me find stuff here.

Read up on the fan. The fan clutch needs to be kept vertical when removed from car or it'll get messed up...not sure what sends signal to the aux fan in an automatic, but if it's temp sensor on lower hose, cheap enough to replace it.

Also, are you saying warmer than usual because you see the temp needle rise or because you're monitoring coolant temp, or both?

Anyway, most of the time, for whatever reason, those who say they properly bled it didn't really...so that's an odds on favorite, I'm afraid.

Try the method I suggested. You'll know soon enough if that's it or not.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:58 AM   #5
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incorrect bleed or plugged core in rad. could also be a fan issue.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:39 AM   #6
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Thanks DMAX and Nerdy. You bring up some good points. I did some more looking around and noticed that about 10% of my fan shroud is gone on the very bottom.

My T-Stat is whatever O'Reilly sells, it's got the aluminum water necks. I got it for $47 bucks.

I also neglected to keep the fan clutch upright as you mentioned, I was so frustrated after trying to get the fan off without the special tool (read up on that halfway into my project) i just set the fan to side.

About the coolant drain, I did not do a complete flush on the WP change out. I just disconnected the rad hoses from the T-Stat and folded them to side. Once I was done, i just filled and bled.

I'm going to bleed again, probably wont let the coolant run for 5 mins with no bubbles but at least two...lol. If I have the same issues I will resort to changing the sensor and if that doesn't do it then I guess I should replace the fan clutch and shroud??
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E46CentralCali View Post
Thanks DMAX and Nerdy. You bring up some good points. I did some more looking around and noticed that about 10% of my fan shroud is gone on the very bottom.

My T-Stat is whatever O'Reilly sells, it's got the aluminum water necks. I got it for $47 bucks.

I also neglected to keep the fan clutch upright as you mentioned, I was so frustrated after trying to get the fan off without the special tool (read up on that halfway into my project) i just set the fan to side.

About the coolant drain, I did not do a complete flush on the WP change out. I just disconnected the rad hoses from the T-Stat and folded them to side. Once I was done, i just filled and bled.

I'm going to bleed again, probably wont let the coolant run for 5 mins with no bubbles but at least two...lol. If I have the same issues I will resort to changing the sensor and if that doesn't do it then I guess I should replace the fan clutch and shroud??
Fix the fan clutch before you do anything... does it seem to get hot when you are stopped?
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:03 AM   #8
E46CentralCali
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It gets hot when AC is on while sitting in traffic or even with AC off while in traffic but never when the heater is on.
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:23 AM   #9
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sounding like the fan.
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:08 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by E46CentralCali View Post
It gets hot when AC is on while sitting in traffic or even with AC off while in traffic but never when the heater is on.
Aluminum housing thermostats made in china are very suspect based on all I've read here...could be fan, but could equally be therm too...the electronics just don't seem to play nicely with our cars.

Also, find my posts on 'alternative bleeding' try that before your method.
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Old 03-17-2013, 02:33 PM   #11
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Sounds like a suspect thermostat to me.
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Old 03-17-2013, 02:37 PM   #12
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Thanks again DMAX and Nerdy. So I bled again and ran the car with the AC on, maxed out, with load and at idle in my driveway with the ebrake on for about 40 minutes, literally. The needle stayed normal for about 30 minutes and then slowly began to creep to 3/4 from 1/2.

I confirmed that it's not the aux. fan because that came on without fail and stayed on the entire time the car was running. When the temp started to rise, i got on the throttle just to see what would happen and sure enough, the temp went back to normal once I hit about 3000 RPM. After doing that about 3 times to confirm I shut it down.

So my question is can I just buy a fan clutch, O'Reilly's wants $150 for theirs, ebay has NIB from $40. My other thought is that because I have a gaping hole in about 15% of my shroud the air dynamics are not correct around the fan, not letting it pull the proper amount of warm air away from the radiator thus causing me this issue and maybe it could be resolved by a simple shroud replacement?

Or should I just go all out and get replace the fan, shroud and clutch......uuuugggghhh between this E46 and my E38 life is very expensive :/ but smoking my 285's at stop light launches with no DSC makes up for it I guess
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Old 03-17-2013, 02:49 PM   #13
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That doesn't confirm it's the fan to me. I know why you're thinking that, but it could still be a bad therm. If it's not opening when it should, you'd have the same symptoms you have. It would stabilize when the rpms climb because the water flow is greater. IIRC the AC signals the therm to open...there are a number of signals that trigger the therm opening...rpm is another.

Could be shroud is affecting things too, but honestly, I believe the therm control the temperature much better than just the fan. My fan hardly ever comes on...the therm can regulate temp very well and does much of the work without needing help from the fan, except in the hottest weather while idling...at least, that's what I think.

Alum therms are always considered bad stuff here...you need proper electronics and rarely do after market electronic things work in our cars without some issue. The therm issue is well known.
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:04 PM   #14
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hmmmmmm. Good information. I just bought the therm two months ago and it's still under warranty. I can pull it and return it, but all they are gonna do is give me another one because it has already been installed. What good is another cheap chinese thermostat gonna do for me. I would hate to go the stealer and get one but at this point if If that resolves it then why not.

Where do you get you t-stats from?
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:16 PM   #15
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see bmaparts...and there's some link to a program that searches a few sites for best prices...

Also, realoem.com for PNs...enter your vin and bookmark the site if you haven't already done so.

Also stupid things like coolant on belts, misrouted belt (it's happened). Hang on to see what others think...
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:31 PM   #16
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shroud shouldn't make that much of a difference... swap out the T stat and see where that gets you.
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:00 PM   #17
E46CentralCali
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DAMN....You guys are good. It was the thermostat. After the last messages I R&R'd the thermostat and it was all good.

Ran it around town for an hour with the AC at 59 degrees with no issues. Altough I did get a code P0128, I'll search that later.

Thanks again everyone! Saved me alot of $$. I could have came to this conclusion sooner but I was discounting a T-Stat failure because it was only two months old....smh

I attached a pic of my shroud hoping this helps anyone rule out any fan/circulatuion issues.
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