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Old 08-04-2015, 06:52 PM   #1
kdoubt
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Question OMG another coolant thread. Leaking (just had expansion tank work done)



I was able to rig my phone to a fishing rod. I know, a real Macgyver but was able to capture some decent video under the circumstances. Warning, vert-vid.

The Pipe that connects the hose to the expansion reservoir broke about a week ago and I had things fixed up. Fine today all day (300km highway driving) until I was parking and calling a client when I heard a "pop-fizzzshshhhshssh" and then saw the steam. Shut the car off instantly so no damage or overheating. After it cooled down I was able to get in there and at least see its coming from the resevoir underside (or so I think).

Any experts identify whats going on?

Tomorrow when I'm near the car again I'll try to get a video from the other side. Airbox in the 330 is a fairly large obstacle though.

Edit: Going forward "et" or "ET" stands for Expansion Tank or otherwise may be know as an overflow reservoir
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Old 08-04-2015, 07:25 PM   #2
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Your coolant is blowing components because it is too hot. Have you checked your electric fan is working properly. Btw seeing it spin at any time means nothing other than the motor might be working. The fan may not turn on when needed tho. Were you idling or in stop n go when the previous part blew?

Where are you in ON? I'm in the gta

When you are driving the moving air keeps the coolant temp in check. When you stop to idle if the fan isn't working the coolant heats up and expands till something blows - usually the expansion tank which is what appears to be leaking on your video. Likely it has a split in it


Jump to the section "Electric Fan Failure - Symptoms of a failing unit"

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Last edited by BMW-North; 08-06-2015 at 09:24 AM.
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Old 08-04-2015, 08:24 PM   #3
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Airbox can be easily removed. What's your budget? If you haven't done an overhaul now might be a good time while it's this nice out
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Old 08-04-2015, 08:40 PM   #4
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Airbox can be easily removed. What's your budget? If you haven't done an overhaul now might be a good time while it's this nice out
There is no point in recommending any cooling component changes till the cause is known. I've seen every single item in mangos thread changed and the week old et blew up. Same as this guy.

Poor bleeding also does not cause this. It is heat and pressure from coolant. Doesn't occur when your driving. It happens at Stop n go or idle after a long drive. No moving air if the fan doesn't work.

Premature to start replacing parts. For all we know his entire cooling system could be a week old and all oe.


Problem is you will have to flatbed it to a repair shop and you will be at their mercy for the new parts and labour. There are a couple of visual & physical tests you can do to test the fan. There is also a bypass that might work to trick it into running high speed to allow you to drive it to get fully diagnosed after the leak is fixed. You do not want to take this to any BMW dealer for repair. The cost will be 4 figures.

Last edited by BMW-North; 08-05-2015 at 06:42 AM.
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Old 08-04-2015, 08:52 PM   #5
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Expansion tank is cracked . This happened to me just last week .
Mine had a crack from top to bottom on one side of the tank . And the leakage dripped down just like in this video my entire tank was empty in 5 mins.
Good thing I spotted this before I started to drive .
Bad thing I was 25 miles away from home stuck in a ghetto parking lot lol
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Old 08-04-2015, 08:56 PM   #6
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thanks everyone for your responses. I actually have a mechanic here in London who is going to take a peek at it in the lot. I figured this could be more of a symptom resource for future searches so I'll be updating this with what exactly was replaced. It wasnt a complete overhaul but didnt expect this to happen right away. I also suspected something to do with the passive nature of the car vs the highway km & active cooling, but we'll see. He actually came to look at it this evening as he was in the area and the video suggested to him it was the expansion tank and possibly something else.

I'll know tomorrow - and thanks again for the info/offers.
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Old 08-04-2015, 08:58 PM   #7
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Expansion tank is cracked . This happened to me just last week .
Mine had a crack from top to bottom on one side of the tank . And the leakage dripped down just like in this video my entire tank was empty in 5 mins.
Good thing I spotted this before I started to drive .
Bad thing I was 25 miles away from home stuck in a ghetto parking lot lol
How old was the et? Did you find out what caused it to crack. Lots of bmws use the same plastic et setup Et's can crack and split due to ageing but more crack and blow up cause of an underlying issue.
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:01 PM   #8
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thanks everyone for your responses. I actually have a mechanic here in London who is going to take a peek at it in the lot. I figured this could be more of a symptom resource for future searches so I'll be updating this with what exactly was replaced. It wasnt a complete overhaul but didnt expect this to happen right away. I also suspected something to do with the passive nature of the car vs the highway km & active cooling, but we'll see. He actually came to look at it this evening as he was in the area and the video suggested to him it was the expansion tank and possibly something else.

I'll know tomorrow - and thanks again for the info/offers.
Please have him read my prior link to the electric fan diagnosis. Your symptoms are classic. New part. Blows up at idle after long run. Seeing the fan spin does not mean it is working. Read the doc. Good luck.
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:07 PM   #9
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thanks everyone for your responses. I actually have a mechanic here in London who is going to take a peek at it in the lot. I figured this could be more of a symptom resource for future searches so I'll be updating this with what exactly was replaced. It wasnt a complete overhaul but didnt expect this to happen right away. I also suspected something to do with the passive nature of the car vs the highway km & active cooling, but we'll see. He actually came to look at it this evening as he was in the area and the video suggested to him it was the expansion tank and possibly something else.

I'll know tomorrow - and thanks again for the info/offers.

Most likely its your expansion tank . Check the sides for cracks or try blowing air into the tank I tried doing that and a gush of coolant was pouring from a huge crack on the side .
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:10 PM   #10
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Please have him read my prior link to the electric fan diagnosis. Your symptoms are classic. New part. Blows up at idle after long run. Seeing the fan spin does not mean it is working. Read the doc. Good luck.
I will definitely do that, thank you.

Perhaps you could identify (receipts in the car) the hose & pipe / assembly on top of the reservoir that was replaced for those who might experience the same?
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:16 PM   #11
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How old was the et? Did you find out what caused it to crack. Lots of bmws use the same plastic et setup Et's can crack and split due to ageing but more crack and blow up cause of an underlying issue.

I bought the car 2 years ago and like the noob that I was driving my first BMW . I skipped out on a lot of the preventive maintenance and for that this happened.
I found out the tank was aftermarket not oem lucky me .
Finally got new hoses and oem et I plan on switching my radiator as well soon .
But first I must change some things that are on the way .
Mods can suck it until I get my car back in shape
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:42 PM   #12
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I will definitely do that, thank you.

Perhaps you could identify (receipts in the car) the hose & pipe / assembly on top of the reservoir that was replaced for those who might experience the same?
The parts you are talking about are the upper rad hose and the expansion tank but you could change every cooling component and if the electric fan failed in one of its speed ranges the car would still overheat.

All the part numbers for the cooling system are listed here.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=914109


If you change the et and anything else that blew (unlikely as the pressure released when the sidewall of the ET split) after refilling coolant and bleeding if the mechanic does not have the BMW software to diagnose the fan at least test its fail safe by unplugging the lower rad temp sensor connection. The fan should default to high speed. Similarly once the car is at normal op temp (needle at 12 o clock) turn on the AC. Within 30 secs the fan should be spinning in the high range and stay on. All this time keep an eye on the temp gauge - especially if the fan isn't spinning fast. If the needle jumps up shut her off. The worst thing that you can do to these engines is overheat them.

As you will note in the linked doc there are parameters that override fan speed requests to force the fan on high to protect the engine. If the fan spins on some speeds but not all it is typically the fan module box that is bolted on the shroud. This only comes as a complete assembly however.

Lastly check fuse 37. It is the 50amp circuit the fan is on.

If it is what I suspect you are looking at about $80 for the ET, $250-$600 for the fan assembly (price variance is Chinese aftermarket vs German OE). And 1 hour labour for a manual tranny. 3 hours labour if the car is auto as the electric fan in the auto is behind the bumper and it has to come off.

Edit: Ok looked at your video again and it appears you have the manual as I see no clutch fan on the water pump. Unless you removed it? This is good as the costs will be lower. If you need a new fan and ET it should take about an hour labour.

Again good luck.

Last edited by BMW-North; 08-05-2015 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 08-04-2015, 11:52 PM   #13
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Yes its a Manual Transmission. Reason for fan removal on the automatic?
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Old 08-05-2015, 12:03 AM   #14
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The parts you are talking about are the upper rad hose and the expansion tank but you could change very cooling component and if the electric fan failed in one of its speed ranges the car would still overheat.

All the part numbers for the cooling system are listed here.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=914109


If you change the et and anything else that blew (unlikely as the pressure released when the sidewall of the et split) after refilling coolant and bleeding if the mechanic does not have the BMW software to diagnose the fan at least test its fail safe by unplugging the lower rad temp sensor connection. The fan should default to high speed. Similarly once the car is At normal op temp (needle at 12 o clock) turn on the AC. Within 30 secs the fan should be spinning in the high range and stay on. All this time keep an eye on the temp gauge - especially if the fan isn't spinning fast. If the needle jumps up shut her off. The worst thing that you can do to these engines is overheat them.

As you will note in the linked doc there are parameters that override fan speed requests to force the fan on high to protect he engine. If the fan spins on some speeds but not all it is typically the fan module box that is bolted on the shroud. This only comes as a complete assembly however.

Lastly check fuse 37. It is the 50amp circuit the fan is on.

If it is what I suspect you are looking at about $80 for the ET, $250-$600 for the fan assembly (price variance is Chinese aftermarket vs German oe). And 1 hour labour for a manual tranny. 3 hours labour if the car is auto as the electric fan in the auto is behind the bumper and it has to come off.

Edit: ok looked at your vid again and you have the manual as I see no clutch fan on the water pump. Unless you removed it? This is good as the costs will be lower. If you need a new fan and et should take about an hour.

Again good luck.
This is a questionable approach to the problem. This was an expansion tank rupturing because of age, not because of a fan failure.

The tank itself was most likely NOT replaced, rather, the upper hose and its plastic connector were probably replaced. If the tank was indeed replaced it was probably replaced with an aftermarket unit, not a genuine BMW tank. The cap would vent anything more than 2.0Bar of pressure. 2.0 bar is not enough to crack a brand new genuine BMW tank, but it is enough to crack an old tank or an aftermarket tank.

A fan failure would result in a slow overheat. In the winter when I did my cooling system refresh I forgot to plug my fan in. (I also have a habit of over filling expansion tanks to compensate for air bubbles.) Long story short, the car began to overheat slowly a month later at JFK airport. The temp gauge got to the 3rd tick before I was able to get the heat on and back into traffic. New genuine BMW expansion tank didn't blow, but the original one might have. Cap vented at 2.0 bar and I had dry coolant all around the cap (that functioned as intended).

My point being that a fan failure shouldn't cause anything to blow that is in reasonably good condition. If the temps begin to climb while in heavy traffic or idling, then the fan would be suspect. Also, if the fan was not working the AC would probably not work.

OP replace your expansion tank with a genuine BMW tank. If the car begins to overheat at idle or in traffic then you need a new fan as well. Good luck!
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Old 08-05-2015, 06:13 AM   #15
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This is a questionable approach to the problem. This was an expansion tank rupturing because of age, not because of a fan failure.
Are you friggin serious????????????????????
Only a month ago you advised member IPDF the same thing based on your wealth of experience. You told him that his ET didn't blow up because his fan might not be working. Guess what - his ET blew up because his fan wasn't working.

Read the whole thread here
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I would make sure 100% that the system is bled properly. My E39 had a similar issue where the fan would not turn on and at idle the temp would begin to rise. The cause was a system that was not bled correctly. I have since bled all my BMWs the same way: Fill the expansion tank all the way to the brim with the front of the car elevated and the bleed screw open.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreBXP View Post
If the fan was working prior to the failure of the expansion tank I find it unlikely that it chose to die right after.


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Originally Posted by IPDF View Post
Yup, it's definitely the fan. Last night my neighbor knocks on my door alterting me that my car sounds like it's prepping for lift off. Immediately knew my fan was glitching out. I came out to see/hear my fan running at FULL speed hours after I had shut the car off. I was pissed because I just bought a new battery and didn't want to see it drained. OBC showed voltage at 10 so I started her up and went for a 30 mile drive to charge it up a bit. Took out the fuse for the fan just to make it stop. This morning my voltage was still at 10 pre-start so I hope the battery isn't #$%#@$. Prior to this episode it would always be at a nice and healthy 12.4 pre-start.

Needless to say I'm just gonna go ahead an order a new fan today. Damn thing has been a headache draining my batt and causing my car to overheat. Enough already
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...346&highlight=
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BTW - Your e39 fan not coming on at idle had absolutely nothing to do with bleeding. PERIOD.


Quote:
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A fan failure would result in a slow overheat.
Wrong - needs no explanation. Further, on a car without a mechanical fan and only a single electric fan, in summer the overheat would be rapid and result in the hot, high pressure coolant seeking relief (blown ET). Driving in this condition with only a single fan can cause severe engine damage (Linked BMW Service Bulletin

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreBXP View Post
In the winter when I did my cooling system refresh I forgot to plug my fan in. (I also have a habit of over filling expansion tanks to compensate for air bubbles.)
You recommend overfilling the ET -

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreBXP View Post
My point being that a fan failure shouldn't cause anything to blow that is in reasonably good condition. If the temps begin to climb while in heavy traffic or idling, then the fan would be suspect. Also, if the fan was not working the AC would probably not work.
This statement assures me that you know little about the interrelationship of the DME driven fan and the IHKA and your statement is a guess at best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreBXP View Post
OP replace your expansion tank with a genuine BMW tank. If the car begins to overheat at idle or in traffic then you need a new fan as well. Good luck!
So your approach is to put in another ET and hope that this one doesn't blow, kinda like what you told IDPF, but my recommendation to repair the broken ET and test the fan unit as the underlying cause is "questionable", even though it proved correct in the last diagnosis where you recommended the same thing?

The only thing worse than no advice is bad advice.

Last edited by BMW-North; 08-05-2015 at 06:32 AM.
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Old 08-05-2015, 12:41 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by BMW-North View Post
Are you friggin serious????????????????????
Only a month ago you advised member IPDF the same thing based on your wealth of experience. You told him that his ET didn't blow up because his fan might not be working. Guess what - his ET blew up because his fan wasn't working.

Read the whole thread here
____________________________________________________________ _____






http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...346&highlight=
____________________________________________________________ _____


BTW - Your e39 fan not coming on at idle had absolutely nothing to do with bleeding. PERIOD.




Wrong - needs no explanation. Further, on a car without a mechanical fan and only a single electric fan, in summer the overheat would be rapid and result in the hot, high pressure coolant seeking relief (blown ET). Driving in this condition with only a single fan can cause severe engine damage (Linked BMW Service Bulletin



You recommend overfilling the ET -



This statement assures me that you know little about the interrelationship of the DME driven fan and the IHKA and your statement is a guess at best.



So your approach is to put in another ET and hope that this one doesn't blow, kinda like what you told IDPF, but my recommendation to repair the broken ET and test the fan unit as the underlying cause is "questionable", even though it proved correct in the last diagnosis where you recommended the same thing?

The only thing worse than no advice is bad advice.
Alright I think some clarification is needed. 1st things 1st, I never said I knew everything and had all the answers. You HAVE been here longer than I have and I respect that, but hear me out. (That's what a forum is for, right?)

In IDPF's case the failure was his electric fan. His electric fan failure was NOT the only failure. In IDPF's car the expansion tank failed to hold 2.0 bar of pressure (or the cap had failed to vent that pressure). The failure of his fan only demonstrated that his tank was on the way out and the fan was the final nail in the coffin. A new BMW tank wont blow before the cap vents; that's what the cap is there for.

'Slow' and 'rapid' are both vague terms. A rapid overheat would be one where you have lost all your coolant(due to ET failure) and the temp needle quickly rises in a matter of seconds; A fan failure is much slower. Using the OBC menu you can watch how long it takes for a car to overheat without a fan.

My E39 fan did not turn on. I have eyes and I know when the system was not properly bleed the fan did not work correctly. The fan now works at all speeds without issue.

I never *recommended* over filling the ET. I just stated that MY ET was overfilled at the time. I said that to illustrate my point that the cap will vent pressure and a good tank will not rupture even if slightly overfilled.

The idea that I was trying to get across was that a fan failure will only cause failure of parts that were going to fail anyway in the near future. A failed expansion tank is much much much more common than a failed fan. (Although at this point these cars are old enough for fan failures to become more common).

The questionable approach was assuming that this was a fan failure and not an old/aftermarket expansion tank failure.

No hard feelings, and good luck OP.

Last edited by AndreBXP; 08-05-2015 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 08-05-2015, 12:49 PM   #17
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I just got a text from my mechanic, the ET is in fact cracked up the entire side. Explains why it wouldnt hold a drop.

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Old 08-05-2015, 12:52 PM   #18
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I just got a text from my mechanic, the ET is in fact cracked up the entire side. Explains why it wouldnt hold a drop.
was the ET new?

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Old 08-05-2015, 01:03 PM   #19
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No the ET was not new. I'll be replacing it with new however.
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:10 PM   #20
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No the ET was not new. I'll be replacing it with new however.
Make sure to use a Genuine BMW tank. If after tank replacement that car holds temp at idle and doesn't slowly overheat then the fan is good and this was just a classic expansion tank failure.
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