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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 10-17-2014, 06:50 AM   #1
wahmed
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 4
My Ride: 03' 325i & 13' 328i
My e46 says it is cool but it is not

I recently bought a 2003 325i with 75k miles on it. I have replaced the expansion tank, pullies, water pump and flushed the coolant. I did this 3 months ago and yesterday i had to put a quart of coolant again to top it up.

When i drive the car around for lets say 30 min and then park it. The temperature needle just stays in the middle even after two hours. What is confusing me that i have done the OBI test and the coolant temperature has not exceeded 94C.

But i still think the car is overheating as it takes a very long time to cool down and even a foot from the front grill you can feel heat. The other thing is that you can also feel heat in the foot area under the dash on each side of the front seats.

Feel free to tell me i am paranoid :-)
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Old 10-17-2014, 07:26 AM   #2
B78SYX
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Romania, Europe
Posts: 517
My Ride: 325CI 2004
Any issues when starting your car, after you leave it parked - as due to this heat soak?
Regarding that normal reading and excessive heat soak, like you got some bbq under the hood - I've used to encounter this issue with same symptoms (while all coolant readings were "normal"), before I have replaced the CCV and presumably fixed any vacuum leaks. Or, maybe it is just placebo effect but, still...this summer, I haven't felt that "fire breath" coming out the grilles, any more, as it was one year go...
Anyway, you should try a more advanced diagnose, using INPA, DIS etc - see if you find any irregularities.
Forgot to mention: I have also removed the engine hood inner insulation, due to this issue, when I've bought the car. And left it that way.
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Old 10-17-2014, 07:55 AM   #3
zQUEz
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My Ride: '03 325i
Your coolant loss is the symptom you should focus on because it shows you have a leak somewhere. I would take a close look at your radiator. Maybe just replace and also your hoses as you didn't say you did above.

I generally feel these cars feel hotter than your typical sedans, but that is just how they are. Get on that coolant loss issue though.

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Old 10-17-2014, 07:57 AM   #4
jfoj
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A few things you have to learn about and understand with these cars.

1. On the non M cars, the coolant temperature gauge is buffered and will stay dead vertical over a 50F range, so it can be very misleading.

2. The engine compartments in these cars has no free air space, open the hood and just look for yourself. The I6 is canted over toward the passenger side with a wide double overhead cam cylinder head and a long runner intake manifold.

3. There is a lower engine cover to protect the lower accessories as well as control airflow under the engine, but it also boxes in more heat.

4. Unlike most cars, these engines have the catalytic converters mounted in the exhaust manifolds on the side of the engine rather than under the floorboard behind the engine compartment. This causes a lot of heat, especially when the engine is turned off to migrate up into the engine compartment.

5. The front grill opening is rather small on these cars, however, there is air that works its way under the bumper and will supplement the grille opening to some extent.

6. The typical engine operation temperature for these engines is 96C.

The fact the engine appears warm 2 hours later is not unusual given everything outlined above.

Read the 3rd link below in my signature for more engine temperature info.

Do not make things more difficult on yourself, it seems your situation is "normal".
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Old 10-17-2014, 09:14 AM   #5
LeMansteve
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: USA - GA
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My Ride: '04 330i 6mt ZSP ZPP
The needle stays in the middle for all coolant temperatures from 75C to 115C. You did the right thing by measuring the actual temperature through the OBC. Like jfoj says, 94C is right around normal. I believe the stock thermostat is designed to hold 97C. A few degrees of variation is normal.

Our inline-6s do hold a lot of heat and therefore require much more than a couple of hours to cool down when compared to, say, a 4-cylinder Accord.
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Old 11-04-2014, 06:37 PM   #6
wahmed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zQUEz View Post
Your coolant loss is the symptom you should focus on because it shows you have a leak somewhere. I would take a close look at your radiator. Maybe just replace and also your hoses as you didn't say you did above.

I generally feel these cars feel hotter than your typical sedans, but that is just how they are. Get on that coolant loss issue though.

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Thanks. It turns out that there was a very slow leak in the Radiator. It set me back $250 with parts in labor but at least now i have everthing changed in the cooling system. Hopefully no more troubles for the next 75k miles!
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