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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!

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Old 01-25-2015, 08:10 PM   #1
gumanov
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No heat at idle - bled coolant system twice

Hi all,

I've been having trouble trying to get my 330Ci to heat while at idle.
It recently had a leak at the water pump, so I replaced the o-ring (water pump was replaced last year). And I also went ahead and replaced the heater valve.

Bled the system twice, and it still will not put out heat at idle - only when I rev above 1500 RPM.

Here is how I bled the system:
Start with the engine cold
1) Fan set to Lowest setting, Temp 91F
2) Open bleed screw on upper radiator hose, and open coolant tank cap
3) Pour coolant in slowly until it flows out of the bleed port
4) Wait for air bubbles to come out of the bleed port (I gave it 5 minutes, while continuously adding small amounts to keep the coolant at the top of the bleed port)
5) Close bleed port, and use turkey baster to remove coolant from expansion tank until level is between MIN and MAX.
6) Close cap, and run engine to operating temp

Still had no heat at idle.
So I allowed the engine to cool off, and repeated the steps again, and no luck..

Any thoughts?
Thanks!
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Old 01-26-2015, 12:50 AM   #2
Siddy1200
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I think when you bleed the system the front of the car is supposed to be higher than the rear.
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Old 01-26-2015, 06:45 AM   #3
gumanov
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I had it parked on an upward incline in the driveway - I did not jack it up though, would it make that big a difference?
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:23 AM   #4
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Update: Went out to bleed it again.
Engine cold. Opened the coolant tank cap - level was just above MIN.
Set fan to low, and temp to 91F.
This time I started the engine, with the cap open, and squeezed the lower radiator hose several times. The coolant in the tank was showing a bunch of little air bubbles - it started to look foamy.
Kept squeezing the hose until there were no more air bubbles.
At this point the engine was at operating temp, so I set the fan to high and I could feel just barely warm air - a slight improvement I suppose.


Turned off the engine and closed the radiator cap. Will check the level again later tonight.

In the meantime, any suggestions on how to push any further air pockets out of the system?
I tried squeezing the hoses that attach to the heater valve as well - no bubbles in the tank while doing so..
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Old 01-26-2015, 08:00 PM   #5
Kye7
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It seems silly - but is your heater dial set to hot? (three red dots)
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Old 01-26-2015, 08:12 PM   #6
gumanov
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Haha xP yeah I always double check.
It's definitely set to three red.

Would it be a good idea to start the engine up cold, with the coolant tank cap open, and rev it? Would this possibly move the air pockets out into the tank and release the air?
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Old 01-26-2015, 09:17 PM   #7
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Well... You're only going to get heat if your engine is warm. Like more than 1/2 the way to the normal temperature point.

I don't think air bubbles are your problem

Is this your first time bleeding the system? If so, I can see why you're worried about air.
After you bleed it a couple times, it becomes much less tedious. Even though our systems are self-bleeding, try giving both of the coolant hoses a squeeze at same time (slower, then faster) and even more air will come out.

Question: Have you overhauled your cooling system, or done anything to it recently? Other than the heater valve/pump.

This may help you. Even though you said yours was new, it's worth a shot.

Last edited by Kye7; 01-27-2015 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 01-27-2015, 06:06 PM   #8
gumanov
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No heat at idle - bled coolant system twice

First time bleeding it? No, I have done work on the cooling system before.

When I bought the car 2yrs ago, the thermostat was stuck open. I bought it at 90k miles. So over time I replaced a lot of the cooling system components (since it was near 100k). Note: the heat was not working at idle either - I knew all this before I bought the car.

I replaced the water pump, water pump pulley, thermostat, upper radiator hose, fan switch/sensor, expansion tank cap, did a coolant flush, and a heater core flush.

Bled the system, and could never fix the heat issue.

So recently it started to leak at the water pump, so I pulled the pump and replaced the o-ring again.
And this time also replaced the heater control valve in an attempt to finally fix the heat issue.

Update:
For the past several days I've been keeping an eye on the coolant level before I use the car (when engine is cold).. I've added small amounts each time.

Also, every time I start the engine cold, with the coolant tank cap removed.. the coolant gets foamy.. Has lots of little air bubbles. Could this indicate a blown head gasket?
(I do not see any major white smoke in the exhaust, and there is NO "milky" colored residue on the oil cap. And when I pulled the water pump, all the coolant that poured out was not discolored - it was a clean bright green)

Maybe just needs a lot more bleeding?
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Last edited by gumanov; 01-27-2015 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 01-28-2015, 10:04 AM   #9
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So I did a bit of looking up. And here's what I got..

Basically, everything points to a head gasket leak, or cracked cylinder... No fun at all.

Another post had mentioned if there was ever soap in there. I seriously doubt that's your problem though. Perhaps remove your hoses and clean them on the inside. Again, I seriously doubt this.
How full is your expansion tank? The bobber-indicator-level-thing should be about halfway between "low" and "full" when your engine is cold in the morning. I once made the mistake of filling it up towards the cap... Expansion tank was replaced shortly after.

I guess you can try to keep bleeding. But I think you've already done that enough.

That's all I can offer. Best of luck.

Last edited by Kye7; 01-28-2015 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 01-28-2015, 10:43 AM   #10
gumanov
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Hmm :/ I guess the best option would be to get a head gasket leak test kit.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0007ZDRUI/..._cdrYub1VAEZP8

And I doubt there was ever any soap in the system; and the "foam" isn't very consistent with a soap type foam.

Also, the tank level is between the max and min level when engine is cold. I've checked every morning, and kept adding a small amount to bring it up to the max mark each time.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:19 AM   #11
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I have the same problem. This seems to be a common issue on the 330ci.

Last edited by dillymanilli; 01-29-2015 at 02:19 AM.
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Old 01-29-2015, 06:41 AM   #12
gumanov
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Could you check if yours has air bubbles/foam when you run the engine with the coolant tank cap off?

Make sure to only do this when engine is cold. Open the cap (make sure level is between MIN and MAX, then start the engine, and look down into the tank (flashlight may help).
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:57 AM   #13
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I stored my car for the winter. As for your car having bubbles/foam in your coolant is interesting. I would probably do a head gasket test to make sure you don't have a blown head gasket. I don't want to worry you but that could be related to your no heat problem. I never had foam in my coolant from what I remember. I got my heat to a point where it was really warm in the cabin, after a really good bleed but then it goes cool a few days later. I'm thinking air is getting introduced into the cooling system somehow or there is a nasty air loc in the system prohibiting the flow of coolant through the heater core. I'll dive into it a Lil more in the spring time.
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Old 01-29-2015, 06:46 PM   #14
gumanov
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Ok gotcha.
Just got a test kit from AutoZone.
I'll do the test either this evening or tomorrow morning.
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:09 PM   #15
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Let me know how the test goes.
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Old 01-30-2015, 11:16 AM   #16
gumanov
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Test is good. Fluid stayed BLUE, throughout the test.
I started the test with engine cold, and continued until it was at operating temp.

The level of coolant increased significantly as the engine got warmer (as expected, it expands), and the coolant accidentally entered into the test fluid, and contaminated it, making it almost a green-yellow color (scared me for a second)..

I shut off the engine, cleaned the tester, removed some coolant from the expansion tank to lower the level, and re-tested it with the engine running at operating temp - it remained blue.

Still no heat when the engine reached operating temp
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Old 01-30-2015, 11:33 AM   #17
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That's good news. At least the head gasket is in good shape. Have you flushed the heater core? Can you get your hands on a cooling system pressure tester? That will indicate if you have a leak in the cooling system. If you don't have a leak then I'll flush the heater core
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Old 01-30-2015, 11:39 AM   #18
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Look for a thread started by Jled. He fixed his heating problem by replacing a hard water line under the intake manifold. The pipe was clogged and so the coolant wasn't flowing well
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Old 01-30-2015, 12:01 PM   #19
gumanov
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I did flush the heater core a while back - almost a year ago. And it did have some gunk in it.. looked brown/rusty colored. Basically looked similar to mud with rust.
After I flushed it with a hose, the flow of water was clean in both directions through the core.
& are you referring to this post?
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...2#post16393394

Trying to determine which pipe he is referring to.. It's solid pipe, not rubber?
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Old 01-30-2015, 12:06 PM   #20
gumanov
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Item 8?
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...00&hg=11&fg=35
http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-330...05210/ES24836/

Solid pipe, runs from engine to the heater control valve.

Probably impossible to replace without removing the intake manifold
I should have replaced that pipe when I pulled the manifold to replace the intake gasket several months ago.

EDIT: Going to take out as much of the intake parts I can today to have a look. If I can pull that pipe out without removing the manifold - I'll do it today and flush it.
Otherwise, I'll save that project for later.

Also, In the thread they were talking about the heater core temp sensor.
I do have access to INPA as well as ISTA/D - I can read the temp values with this software.. Maybe I should check that next.
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Last edited by gumanov; 01-30-2015 at 12:21 PM.
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