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Old 01-04-2015, 03:30 PM   #1
gewais
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Orlando
Posts: 3
My Ride: 2003 BMW 325i
Coolant Leak, Drain Plug?? Radiator?? please help

Hello everyone,
I need help figuring out a problem i have in my car.I noticed a coolant leak by the radiator drain plug(screw). Now after checking the car multiple of times, i found out that when the car is cold and parked and not used for hours or days or weeks, there is no leak. when i warm up the car for a while i don't notice any leaks, once i drive around i start to notice drops of coolant. Today, i cleaned the radiator, expansion tank, hoses and every place around the leak area so i can test the car and see where the leak is coming from. Drove it a little, kept the engine running, pulled the car up and i saw the leak. It drops one drop a minute or so. I cant tell if its from the radiator drain plug or not but its from the bottom corner of the radiator. Definitely not from the top or expansion tank or hoses or anywhere else Its from the bottom. sometimes i see a drop on the drain plug and sometimes like today i saw it dripping from bottom of radiator and a little wet around the drain plug screw but i am not sure if its old or not. Now one more thing, if i push on the drain plug with my hand it starts to leak a lot and once i take my hand off it stops. so not sure if the drain plug is the problem. i dont know if it cause an inside leak or something and it comes out from the bottom of the radiator. I did order a new drain plug and waiting for it. Is there a specific way to install that? any ideas or anybody has same issue? The car doesnt overheat or lose a lot of coolant. Maybe if i drive it for a month it might get low.

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Old 07-09-2016, 05:25 PM   #2
EssArr
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Join Date: Jun 2016
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My Ride: 330ci
Having the same problem -- coolant dripping just from the drain plug area

Were you able to figure this out? How did you fix it?

Thanks
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Old 07-10-2016, 08:54 AM   #3
Travis424
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Have you done a cooling system refresh yet. Could be from anywhere. My radiator was leaking and it looked like it was coming from the drain plug. Check lower radiator hoses. Underneath the expansion tank. All the common areas it could be leaking from. And like I said if the car hasn't had a cooling system refresh done now might be the time. Better safe then sorry IMO.
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Old 07-10-2016, 08:59 PM   #4
KawiNinjaZX
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Mine did the same thing, drain plug didn't fix it, I put in a new behr radiator $120 and it has a traditional drain plug instead of the bmw one.
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Old 07-10-2016, 09:03 PM   #5
EssArr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KawiNinjaZX View Post
Mine did the same thing, drain plug didn't fix it, I put in a new behr radiator $120 and it has a traditional drain plug instead of the bmw one.
What happened when you replaced the drain plug?
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Old 07-10-2016, 10:10 PM   #6
Travis424
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The drain plug is at the bottom of the cooling system. Any coolant leak eventually will make its way to the bottom Your leak could be anywhere and I'm sorry to tell you but its probably not the drain plug. Try it and see if it works. Just be careful replacing it because it is only plastic and very fragile. Do not use pliers or wrenches to tighten it in. It should twist in by hand. If you over tighten it it will break and then you will have a bad leak. They don't tend to develop spontaneous leaks so if the drain plug hasn't been touched I doubt that is your problem. Unfortunately your symptoms seem to point to a leaking radiator considering you didn't notice any leaking elsewhere in the system. OEM radiators have a lot of plastic parts on them that can expand and crack over time. If you can get a good look at your radiator (ie: removing fan) Check along the edges where the radiator meets the plastic. You might see some white or black staining or residue. Also check for any bowing of the radiator. also remember that short of removing the radiator you will only be able to see one side. If you see any of this that's probably where the leak is coming from. Granted I am not a mechanic so these are only suggestions based on my experience. If you really want to find out where the leak is coming from you should bring it to an indie shop. If you have to replace the radiator go for either OEM or Behr. I replaced mine with a Behr for roughly $120. I also noticed from your pictures that the coolant appears to be adjacent to drain plug and not on the actual plug. Another indicator that its probably not your plug.

Last edited by Travis424; 07-10-2016 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 07-11-2016, 02:43 AM   #7
e4six03
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I had a leak on the drain plug, replaced the o-ring on it and it stop leaking.
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Old 07-13-2016, 09:54 PM   #8
EssArr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis424 View Post
The drain plug is at the bottom of the cooling system. Any coolant leak eventually will make its way to the bottom Your leak could be anywhere and I'm sorry to tell you but its probably not the drain plug. Try it and see if it works. Just be careful replacing it because it is only plastic and very fragile. Do not use pliers or wrenches to tighten it in. It should twist in by hand. If you over tighten it it will break and then you will have a bad leak. They don't tend to develop spontaneous leaks so if the drain plug hasn't been touched I doubt that is your problem. Unfortunately your symptoms seem to point to a leaking radiator considering you didn't notice any leaking elsewhere in the system. OEM radiators have a lot of plastic parts on them that can expand and crack over time. If you can get a good look at your radiator (ie: removing fan) Check along the edges where the radiator meets the plastic. You might see some white or black staining or residue. Also check for any bowing of the radiator. also remember that short of removing the radiator you will only be able to see one side. If you see any of this that's probably where the leak is coming from. Granted I am not a mechanic so these are only suggestions based on my experience. If you really want to find out where the leak is coming from you should bring it to an indie shop. If you have to replace the radiator go for either OEM or Behr. I replaced mine with a Behr for roughly $120. I also noticed from your pictures that the coolant appears to be adjacent to drain plug and not on the actual plug. Another indicator that its probably not your plug.
Thanks very much for the informative reply, very useful info!

For my leak, I spent time under the car looking right at the drain plug with a very bright light and saw the leak slowly forming right at the connection of where the plastic hex plug meets the radiator. I'm 100% certain that the leak wasn't anywhere else..
Although I agree with you that the radiator itself is probably on its way out maybe
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Old 07-13-2016, 10:13 PM   #9
Travis424
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EssArr View Post
Thanks very much for the informative reply, very useful info!

For my leak, I spent time under the car looking right at the drain plug with a very bright light and saw the leak slowly forming right at the connection of where the plastic hex plug meets the radiator. I'm 100% certain that the leak wasn't anywhere else..
Although I agree with you that the radiator itself is probably on its way out maybe
Good luck hopefully the drain plug fixes the problem. If the radiator looks like its on its way out I would replace as soon as you can however. You really don't want to overheat your car. Doesn't take long to cause some serious damage. Go easy on the install. The plugs are cheaply made. Also if you use the drain plug I recommend using a coin to tighten the blue plug. Its very easy to strip or break using a screwdriver.

Last edited by Travis424; 07-13-2016 at 10:14 PM.
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