E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Welcome to the E46Fanatics forums. E46Fanatics is the premiere website for BMW 3 series owners around the world with interactive forums, a geographical enthusiast directory, photo galleries, and technical information for BMW enthusiasts.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > DIY: Do It Yourself

DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rating: Thread Rating: 14 votes, 5.00 average. Display Modes
Old 02-04-2008, 06:09 PM   #1
beberle
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 181
My Ride: 2009 328 wagon
E46 Radiator DIY

OK people. Here's my attempt at demonstrating my recent radiator DIY. Follow it at your own risk!

The Bentley's manual is very brief on this removal. Hopefully I can fill in some blanks.

I suggest the following parts if you're going to replace your radiator:
  • Behr radiator (I know it fits)
  • New hoses (don't trust old hose seals)
  • New fan thermostat (fits into lower hose)
  • 1 gallon BMW antifreeze (only use BMW)
  • New Expansion Tank (if you haven't replaced it by now)
  • New Expansion Tank Level Sensor (wanna risk a leak using the old one?)
  • New Transmission Thermostat (wish I had replaced it)
  • possibly new O-Rings for the transmission cooler
  • New Thermostat
  • New Water Pump (if it hasn't been done already)
  • New Belts (It'll never be this easy again!)

I replaced the thermostat, water pump, and expansion tank at 90k miles. I developed leaks from the radiator or radiator lower hose at 130k miles and decided to replace the rest.


1.The easiest part is removing the air filter housing. Instead of trying to pry those pesky latches open, just remove the two 10mm mounting bolt and loosen the air manifold clamp. Pull the whole thing out. Don't forget to remove the electrical plug on the MAF sensor.

2. Remove the fan and fan shroud. Don't forget the electrical connections on the passenger side of the fan shroud. The fan shroud comes off only when you have the fan off and can pull both out together. .Remember: the fan's bolt is left-handed thread (righty loosy). Even after reading Bentley's, I forgot and tightened it for 5 minutes A large crescent wrench will do the trick. I've replace my water pump before, so it was easier to get off. You may have to buy the BMW tool to stop the water pump from rotating while trying to loosen the fan bolt.

3. Drain the sucker. Depending upon the last time you drained it, it's best to drain the radiator and the engine block. I do this as step 3 because it's my least favorite part!

4. Remove the expansion tank. Note: there's an electrical connection on the bottom of the expansion tank. Disconnect this 1st so that you don't forget while yanking the tank out. There's a hose on the side and two connections at the top. Have fun getting these off! Fortunately, you're replacing everything, so you don't have to be gentle Now for the fun part.. Yank and pull for all you're worth, straight up, to get the expansion tank out. Did you forget the quick disconnect that's holding it to the Transmission Thermostat? You've probably broken the thermostat, but you don't care because you have a new one. Pull straight up until you feel it release, then push the top of the tank away from the radiator and pull the rest of the way out.

5. Remove the lower radiator hose. It came off pretty easily from the Thermostat (since I'd replace the thermostat 40k miles earlier), but the radiator connection was a bear. This proved impossible for me. What was I to do? I cut the hose of w/ a tin snips and still had just enough room to work the radiator out.

6. Remove the Transmission Cooler. There is a quick disconnect that pulls straight up. The Trans Cooler then comes straight out of the radiator (have a bucket ready for coolant). The Cooler hung fine from its hoses.

7. Remove the radiator. Bentleys says to remove the 2 big plastic plugs that hold the radiator in. I don't believe it. There was a torx screw on the top of the driver's side corner of the radiator that was securing it to the A/C & power steering radiator in front of our radiator. May be another torx screw on the passenger's corner, but mine looked to be missing. Once the torx screws are out, push the top of the radiator away from you. Lots of dirt and grit, but it will come out (and it's not attached to the A/C hoses coming into the passenger's side or the power steering hoses coming in the driver's side). Once the top of the radiator is tilted out, just pull it straight up.

8. Did you listen to me and buy new belts, water pump, thermostat? You'll never have an easier time installing these items!

9. Mount new Transmission Thermostat to the new Radiator w/ 2 torx screws. Just check out the old setup to see how it sets. I re-used my old transmission thermostat and I know I'm going to regret it! A very flimsy plastic affair. Re-use the plastic bottom piece from the old radiator for the new one. Just snaps into place.

10. Install new Radiator. It's pretty wild, but the two wedge-shaped pieces on the side of the radiator sit on two plastic 'steps' with corresponding wedges in the middle. 1st, clean these mounts. Mine had sand and dirt built up. I used an old tooth brush and cleaned it up.. Install the radiator at and angle and rest it on these ledges until you feel the wedges in the side of the radiator seat into the wedges of the mount. Now, just push the top towards the front of the car to seat it. Secure the top w/ the torx screws. Install the Transmission Cooler into the new Radiator. Hopefully you found new O-Rings. I didn't and wonder if it will leak... Note: the new Behr radiator had a new style drain plug. No need to reuse the old plug.

The rest is a cake walk...
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	new rad.jpg
Views:	4771
Size:	117.3 KB
ID:	258595   Click image for larger version

Name:	trans therm 1.jpg
Views:	8859
Size:	146.5 KB
ID:	258596   Click image for larger version

Name:	rad bottom piece.jpg
Views:	7759
Size:	150.0 KB
ID:	258597  

Last edited by beberle; 02-04-2008 at 06:14 PM.
beberle is offline   Reply With Quote
Ads by Google

Guests, get your FREE E46Fanatics.com membership to remove this ad.
Old 02-04-2008, 06:16 PM   #2
beberle
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 181
My Ride: 2009 328 wagon
Pictures of the 'wedge mounts' on the side of the radiator and corresponding mounts in the car.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	new rad- left side mount.jpg
Views:	5104
Size:	124.9 KB
ID:	258598   Click image for larger version

Name:	new rad- right side.jpg
Views:	4308
Size:	124.0 KB
ID:	258599   Click image for larger version

Name:	driver side rad mount.jpg
Views:	6026
Size:	138.8 KB
ID:	258600   Click image for larger version

Name:	pass side rad mount.jpg
Views:	4459
Size:	137.8 KB
ID:	258601  

beberle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2008, 06:18 PM   #3
beberle
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 181
My Ride: 2009 328 wagon
Pics of the Transmission Cooler hanging after removal and the cooler installed in the new radiator (actually on the Transmission Thermostat).
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	trans cooler hangin.jpg
Views:	7015
Size:	165.7 KB
ID:	258602   Click image for larger version

Name:	new rad installed- driver side.jpg
Views:	6398
Size:	143.0 KB
ID:	258603   Click image for larger version

Name:	new rad expansion installed.jpg
Views:	6485
Size:	137.0 KB
ID:	258604  
beberle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2008, 06:23 PM   #4
beberle
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 181
My Ride: 2009 328 wagon
Pics of before-and-after. The before shot shows the A/C lines going into the 'pre-radiator' at the top of the picture. Notice new lower hose and fan switch installed.

Finally.... a shot of the old radiator. All of that dirt was trapped in between the two radiators. Can't be good for effeciency!!

Brian signing out!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	rad out.jpg
Views:	7313
Size:	149.2 KB
ID:	258605   Click image for larger version

Name:	new rad installed.jpg
Views:	5865
Size:	121.9 KB
ID:	258606   Click image for larger version

Name:	old rad.jpg
Views:	5940
Size:	138.9 KB
ID:	258607  
beberle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2008, 07:37 PM   #5
EurosportAMG
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: around the world
Posts: 244
My Ride: bm mb
good job
EurosportAMG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2008, 09:24 PM   #6
robj213
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Ft Worth, TX
Posts: 365
My Ride: '03 325i
I assume only automatics have the transmission cooler... ?
robj213 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2008, 04:14 PM   #7
Demon Eyes Kyo
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Irvine
Posts: 142
My Ride: 2001 330i
How long did this take to replace?
__________________
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
Demon Eyes Kyo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2008, 10:18 AM   #8
beberle
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 181
My Ride: 2009 328 wagon
It took me about 6 hours. I had to figure things out as I went. Following the DIY, you might cut an hour or two, but you'll definitely be more confident than I was!
beberle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2008, 11:59 AM   #9
SammyV
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Hoboken / Long Island
Posts: 1,378
My Ride: CB M3
Send a message via AIM to SammyV
Thanks for spending the time to write such a DIY and take pics, im sure many peple will appreciate your efforts!
I might do my radiator next year or something, i did my thermo and waterpump last weekend using a DIY from this site, and you guys really make it easier for others do the job with these well written DIYs..
SammyV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2008, 08:37 PM   #10
miguelflyat04
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Palm Bay, FL
Posts: 40
My Ride: 2001 325i
Send a message via AIM to miguelflyat04
I appreciate you taking the time to do this my friend! I will be changing the hoses soon as I am already getting a small leak.

Thanks again!
miguelflyat04 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2008, 08:14 AM   #11
TxZHP04
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: DFW
Posts: 5,728
My Ride: ESS TS2+ ZHP
Quote:
Originally Posted by beberle View Post
Note: the new Behr radiator had a new style drain plug. No need to reuse the old plug.
My Behr radiator seems to be plugged internally. Is this the "new style drain plug" you were referring to? Is there a way to drain coolant from this location or is it permanently plugged?
TxZHP04 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2008, 07:20 AM   #12
beberle
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 181
My Ride: 2009 328 wagon
The entire plastic 'bolt' is the drain plug. I used a crescent wrench and checked that it is indeed threaded before I installed it.
beberle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2008, 05:23 PM   #13
TxZHP04
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: DFW
Posts: 5,728
My Ride: ESS TS2+ ZHP
Quote:
Originally Posted by beberle View Post
The entire plastic 'bolt' is the drain plug. I used a crescent wrench and checked that it is indeed threaded before I installed it.
Since you have an auto, you may have a slightly different setup than I do since I have a manual. I was able to confirm with my vendor that my radiator has no drain plug. Apparently Behr made a design change that allows them to use the same basic radiator core for both manuals and autos. Somehow this translated into you getting some new type of drain plug while mine is sealed internally with aluminum. I still find it weird but have been reassured that this is indeed the case.
TxZHP04 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008, 05:07 PM   #14
dooodxitzxmeeh
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Dubb K
Posts: 6
My Ride: 2001 325i
Expansion tank bottom clip

Great post on the DIY expansion tank for the e46.. my only concern was when i unclip the top 2 hoses, and the side one, i pulled with all my might as describe and no go.. i ended up sticking my arm down there to see what else..

*** there is a bottom clip... left side of the tank by the fan.. if u look down with a light you can see it sticking half out.. reach down and pull to the left.. or use a long flat head to do it.. *** there is a total of 4 clips to remove the expansion tank excluding the sensor clip. 2 on top..1 on the side.. and 1 on the bottom.. you do not have to remove the sensor clip if u remove the 4 clips.. then u tug up and out the sucker goes.. once thats done u can get to the sensor a lot easier.. never had to jack the car up once..

oh and as you can see i removed the filter to get acess to the tank.. hope adding this to the thread helps
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	expansion tank.JPG
Views:	3939
Size:	16.3 KB
ID:	294500   Click image for larger version

Name:	Picture 084.jpg
Views:	1307
Size:	121.1 KB
ID:	294501  
dooodxitzxmeeh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2008, 09:22 PM   #15
ras2247
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 41
My Ride: 2003 330i
Quote:
Originally Posted by dooodxitzxmeeh View Post
Great post on the DIY expansion tank for the e46.. my only concern was when i unclip the top 2 hoses, and the side one, i pulled with all my might as describe and no go.. i ended up sticking my arm down there to see what else..

*** there is a bottom clip... left side of the tank by the fan.. if u look down with a light you can see it sticking half out.. reach down and pull to the left.. or use a long flat head to do it.. *** there is a total of 4 clips to remove the expansion tank excluding the sensor clip. 2 on top..1 on the side.. and 1 on the bottom.. you do not have to remove the sensor clip if u remove the 4 clips.. then u tug up and out the sucker goes.. once thats done u can get to the sensor a lot easier.. never had to jack the car up once..

oh and as you can see i removed the filter to get acess to the tank.. hope adding this to the thread helps

Even if you unclip that one it's still a ***** to get it out.
ras2247 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2009, 02:40 AM   #16
bmhype
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: chi-town stizzle
Posts: 61
My Ride: 325 izzie
ill get back to this
bmhype is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2009, 09:39 PM   #17
funbmws
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: San Gabriel Valley, So. Cal
Posts: 5
My Ride: 01 330i
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by ras2247 View Post
Even if you unclip that one it's still a ***** to get it out.
Not really, this was my first DIY on a 01 330 automatic. Use lever action. It just pops right out.
funbmws is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2009, 09:42 PM   #18
funbmws
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: San Gabriel Valley, So. Cal
Posts: 5
My Ride: 01 330i
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by ras2247 View Post
Even if you unclip that one it's still a ***** to get it out.
Not really. This was my first DIY on a 01 330i automatic. Use lever action on the xp tank. It will pop out easy.
funbmws is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2009, 02:21 PM   #19
Sente
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 1
My Ride: 2000 BMW 328i
Expansion Tank swap

Great post on the expansion tank. I was really hoping I could do this without getting underneath the car or removing the fan and this confirms it. Question for you; how much fluid do you lose when you pop off the tank? Also is it worth replacing any of the hoses or anything else while I'm at the tank?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dooodxitzxmeeh View Post
Great post on the DIY expansion tank for the e46.. my only concern was when i unclip the top 2 hoses, and the side one, i pulled with all my might as describe and no go.. i ended up sticking my arm down there to see what else..

*** there is a bottom clip... left side of the tank by the fan.. if u look down with a light you can see it sticking half out.. reach down and pull to the left.. or use a long flat head to do it.. *** there is a total of 4 clips to remove the expansion tank excluding the sensor clip. 2 on top..1 on the side.. and 1 on the bottom.. you do not have to remove the sensor clip if u remove the 4 clips.. then u tug up and out the sucker goes.. once thats done u can get to the sensor a lot easier.. never had to jack the car up once..

oh and as you can see i removed the filter to get acess to the tank.. hope adding this to the thread helps
Sente is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2009, 03:43 PM   #20
Whammy
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: WI -> CO
Posts: 20,109
My Ride: ZHP
Thanks for this!
__________________
Whammy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Censor is ON





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:27 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
(c) 1999 - 2011 performanceIX Inc - privacy policy - terms of use