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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 01-25-2016, 10:11 PM   #1
MirraCoBMX40
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Dayton, Ohio
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My Ride: 2000 323ci
Shop Is Closed and I Need Advice

A little bit of a story:

I was driving home from chipotle and noticed that my battery light had come on. I thought this might be from my alternator, as I had been hearing a weird sound coming from the engine that would point to that. Then, I looked and my temp gauge was all the way in the red. I turned off to the closest street and as I was turning, I lost all power steering control. Turned the car off, opened the hood and without even getting close, I could tell the engine was extremely hot. Didn't have any oil lights or coolant issues before this, car was perfectly maintained.

Last service was done roughly 2,000 miles ago which included the tightening of all belts, oil change, and complete checkup.

Specs:
2000 323ci
Automatic
124,500 miles

If you have any idea what may have happened please let me know. Also, if you know of a potential fix, let me know if this would be a relatively cheap one or if I should start looking for a new manual e46.
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Old 01-25-2016, 10:18 PM   #2
Serega91
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Since you got an automatic, my thoughts are the clutch fan shat itself.

Open hood, check fan.
Check if it looks like so

or has blades missing.

It could be that the clutch fan disintegrated and resulting shards/blades hitting and disabling your alternator, ps pump/lines, and accessory belt amongst other things

If you havent warped the head/blew the headgasket do an electic fan retrofit.
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Old 01-25-2016, 10:19 PM   #3
lmr2wil
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Your belt came off / broke for one reason or another - likely either a pulley seized, accessory gave out, or the waterpump failed. In any event, at this point you have likely done some damage. Don't drive it until you can get the cooling system flowing again. Even then, you will need to have the engine checked for a failed head gasket or a warped head. Hopefully you'll be lucky, but if it went that long...

Good luck!

Luke

Edit: Serega91 beat me to it - he's right to look to the fan clutch too (I forget that's there on autos )

Last edited by lmr2wil; 01-25-2016 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 01-25-2016, 11:03 PM   #4
Geo31
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You threw the main serpentine belt for sure. The source of why is yet to be determined. Hard to say if you've done damage to the engine. I'd guess not, but it depends upon how long you drove like that. If you pulled over right after noticing the battery like, you're probably fine. You definitely don't want to drive anywhere with it right now though.

Now that it has cooled down, check the water for oil and the oil for water (milkshake look). If you have no issues, I'd guess you're fine. The guys are right that this can ruin your engine, but it's not a given.
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Old 01-26-2016, 04:12 AM   #5
MirraCoBMX40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geo31 View Post
You threw the main serpentine belt for sure. The source of why is yet to be determined. Hard to say if you've done damage to the engine. I'd guess not, but it depends upon how long you drove like that. If you pulled over right after noticing the battery like, you're probably fine. You definitely don't want to drive anywhere with it right now though.

Now that it has cooled down, check the water for oil and the oil for water (milkshake look). If you have no issues, I'd guess you're fine. The guys are right that this can ruin your engine, but it's not a given.

Just checked the engine and you're right. The serpentine belt came off while I was driving. Will be taking the car to the shop tomorrow to asses the damage. The forums could be gaining another part out soon
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Old 01-26-2016, 07:36 AM   #6
Geo31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MirraCoBMX40 View Post
Just checked the engine and you're right. The serpentine belt came off while I was driving. Will be taking the car to the shop tomorrow to asses the damage. The forums could be gaining another part out soon
Have it towed to the shop or I can guarantee that there will be another part-out.
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Old 01-26-2016, 10:31 AM   #7
zander271
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How do you tighten the belts on these cars?
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Old 01-26-2016, 11:11 AM   #8
dmax
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Ha...you can't 'tighten' the belts...the tensioner does that.

Yes, OP, if you stopped right away, you could be perfectly fine...but for a belt and some other, to be determined parts.

Could be fan, could be one of the three pulleys seized...easy-ish diy...but as you're obviously new to this...a shop would be a good bet.

Good luck! You'll probably be fine.
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Old 01-26-2016, 06:30 PM   #9
MirraCoBMX40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmax View Post
Ha...you can't 'tighten' the belts...the tensioner does that.

Yes, OP, if you stopped right away, you could be perfectly fine...but for a belt and some other, to be determined parts.

Could be fan, could be one of the three pulleys seized...easy-ish diy...but as you're obviously new to this...a shop would be a good bet.

Good luck! You'll probably be fine.

Thanks! Yeah I am pretty new to this but I do know my way around some of this stuff. Will be towing the car to the shop tomorrow. If it needs an engine swap, I may drop a zhp engine in it and do a 5 speed swap. I'll keep you guys updated.
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Old 01-26-2016, 07:20 PM   #10
BKMrSteel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zander271 View Post
How do you tighten the belts on these cars?
This is what I want to know, lol...

Hope you didn't hurt anything. You can overheat a engine very quickly after throwing a main belt. If I ever see the temp go up at all like that, I just shut the car off, and cost off. I would rather risk the car on the shoulder, leaving it for a safe location and call a truck (or fix it) then replace or repair an engine.

Good luck!!!
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