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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 01-11-2011, 10:17 PM   #41
japicella
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 325myAZ View Post
If you have a manual transmission, you need to make sure to get a radiator for a manual - otherwise it's probably leaking at the fitting (hole) for the Automatic Transmission cooling line.
I have the manual transmission and my new radiator is identical to my old one (although aftermarket through Rockauto).

It is leaking at the bottom left hole just below where the T25 screw holds the expansion bracket. There is a round cap on the back of the bracket that presses into this hole. I can't seat it properly and just seems that there should be an O ring or something else to seal this. I've blown up the assembly diagram and it just doesn't show anything there.
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:26 PM   #42
genuity
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Quote:
Originally Posted by japicella View Post
I have the manual transmission and my new radiator is identical to my old one (although aftermarket through Rockauto).

It is leaking at the bottom left hole just below where the T25 screw holds the expansion bracket. There is a round cap on the back of the bracket that presses into this hole. I can't seat it properly and just seems that there should be an O ring or something else to seal this. I've blown up the assembly diagram and it just doesn't show anything there.
The mounting plate for the automatic has an O ring for the part of the mounting plate that goes into the very bottom of the radiator there below the T25 screw. The mounting plate for the manual does not have an O ring for that part.

Are you sure you are using the radiator adjusting screw for a manual, part number 17111437359?
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:58 PM   #43
japicella
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Originally Posted by genuity View Post
The mounting plate for the automatic has an O ring for the part of the mounting plate that goes into the very bottom of the radiator there below the T25 screw. The mounting plate for the manual does not have an O ring for that part.

Are you sure you are using the radiator adjusting screw for a manual, part number 17111437359?
The adjusting screw that came installed was the longer one which appears to be for the automatic.
The shorter one was tie wrapped to the lower inlet when shipped.
I'm guessing you solved my problem! I didn't understand why it cam with an extra adjusting screw..
Thanks!
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Old 01-22-2011, 02:33 PM   #44
Heilbronner
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Two notes:
1. using "Seafoam Deep Creep" spray to loose the lower pipe connector with the radiator.
2. open "Air Bleed Screw" before filling in new coolant.
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Old 03-08-2011, 03:22 PM   #45
t16ole
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Does the Transmission thermostat restrict the flow of water in order for the transmission to heat up

Then allow full flow of water to keep it cool ?
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:49 PM   #46
E46M56
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Quick question

I have a 2005 325i about 106K miles with an M56 engine. Ive been seeing coolant drip ever since my warranty ran out. I took it to one BMW technician and he said that the expansion tank had a crack. He was going to replace only the expansion tank. I took it to a different technician and he said it was best to change the whole cooling system since by removing the expansion tank only, you run a chance of cracking the radiator. My question is, will it be ok to change the expansion tank and not the whole cooling system?

I've been researching online, and thanks to forums like this one, I'm going to do it myself. I'm going to definitely change the expansion tank. I was thinking of changing both hoses while I'm there. And of course the thermostat and water pump. Plus my tensioner is bad (makes noise) so minus well change that. But should I get a new radiator? Never had any problems with it so far.
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Old 04-11-2011, 05:50 PM   #47
gsbmw
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E46M56 (and others): If you have 106K miles, you should definitely replace the whole cooling system including the radiator. You are running on borrowed time. The whole system is plastic and it gets brittle over time and cracks. I have less than 70K miles and several parts of my cooling system have failed me already (expansion tank, thermostat (twice), water pump, lower hose temp sensor o-ring). I was chasing slow coolant leaks for months, and with the gauge showing normal operating temps at all times, the head apparently wasn't getting enough water and developed a crack, causing oil and coolant to mix and requiring a new (used) head (bill was almost $6000!!!). Now I am replacing my whole cooling system every 60K miles. You just cannot afford to let your coolant get chronically low or to have a cooling system failure in these aluminum engines.

A tip: Do not use a Behr parts for the radiator or expansion tank -- they are not OEM for the E46. Modine/L&R (the two companies merged in the 90's I think) is OEM for the radiator, mounting plate and expansion tank (it was the brand of the original parts on my car). I bought a Behr radiator from autohaus (even though they called it OEM) and it did not fit my original mounting plate (made by Modine/L&R), which is the only cooling system part I did not replace. It is possible that the Behr radiators made back when this post was started did fit, but the one I bought a few months ago specific for my automatic did not. I had to spend hours doing a LOT of surgery on the plastic of both the Behr radiator and the mounting plate in order for that radiator to fit, and it stlll did not fit well. Usually you can check the Pelicanparts online catalog and it will tell you what is OEM reliably in my experience. Also, if you still have original parts on your car, the radiator and expansion tank will be labeled with the manufacturers name. For the radiator, it is labeled right on top of it (white sticker). You can see this easily if you loosen or take off the fan housing (or maybe by peeking under the fan housing). My orig expansion tank also had L&R stamped on it.
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Old 04-12-2011, 02:57 AM   #48
E46M56
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Originally Posted by gsbmw View Post
E46M56 (and others): If you have 106K miles, you should definitely replace the whole cooling system including the radiator. You are running on borrowed time. The whole system is plastic and it gets brittle over time and cracks. I have less than 70K miles and several parts of my cooling system have failed me already (expansion tank, thermostat (twice), water pump, lower hose temp sensor o-ring). I was chasing slow coolant leaks for months, and with the gauge showing normal operating temps at all times, the head apparently wasn't getting enough water and developed a crack, causing oil and coolant to mix and requiring a new (used) head (bill was almost $6000!!!). Now I am replacing my whole cooling system every 60K miles. You just cannot afford to let your coolant get chronically low or to have a cooling system failure in these aluminum engines.

A tip: Do not use a Behr parts for the radiator or expansion tank -- they are not OEM for the E46. Modine/L&R (the two companies merged in the 90's I think) is OEM for the radiator, mounting plate and expansion tank (it was the brand of the original parts on my car). I bought a Behr radiator from autohaus (even though they called it OEM) and it did not fit my original mounting plate (made by Modine/L&R), which is the only cooling system part I did not replace. It is possible that the Behr radiators made back when this post was started did fit, but the one I bought a few months ago specific for my automatic did not. I had to spend hours doing a LOT of surgery on the plastic of both the Behr radiator and the mounting plate in order for that radiator to fit, and it stlll did not fit well. Usually you can check the Pelicanparts online catalog and it will tell you what is OEM reliably in my experience. Also, if you still have original parts on your car, the radiator and expansion tank will be labeled with the manufacturers name. For the radiator, it is labeled right on top of it (white sticker). You can see this easily if you loosen or take off the fan housing (or maybe by peeking under the fan housing). My orig expansion tank also had L&R stamped on it.
I just did it earlier today. I replaced the radiator with an OEM one from pelicanparts. Expensive, but its the only one I found that will go with the M56 engine. Also replaced the expansion tank, water pump, thermostat and radiator hoses. Did all that the whole day. And when I finally put everything back together. As I was pouring in the coolant, I noticed a leak on the right corner of the radiator. Of course I had put everything back before I poured in the coolant. Should of done that before I put the fan back on the car!
So I decided to turn on the car to see if I can spot where the leak was coming from. It looked like it was coming from either the radiator or the expansion tank bracket. By the time I turned off the car, I noticed the car temperature was in the red I hope nothing got ruined. As I was putting everything away and being pissed that I had to do it again tomorrow, I was double checking the old radiator. I stuck my pinky in where the expansion tank's hose goes into. And sure enough, out came an O-Ring! So now I know why my radiator is leaking. now to do it over again tomorrow!
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:08 PM   #49
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:37 AM   #50
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Well, I was right about the o-ring being the cause of the leak. Went to BMW bought another gallon of coolant and bought the o-ring. Took about 30 minutes to replace.

I also did a tune-up and oil change. That was another headache! After I took the drain plug out, I was sitting there trying to take the 'washer' off of the plug. After damaging the plug, I went back to BMW to get a plug. When I saw the plug, I noticed that that's the way it looks. like it has a washer. Later on when I was emptying the oil pan, I saw the old washer!!

So as I was putting the new plug in, I over tightened it and broke. So half of it was left in the oil pan! So I had to run to pep boys and get a nut puller. Also had to go back to BMW to buy another plug. And ran to Sears to get a 36mm socket. I was careful this time putting on the new drain plug! Then I realized the 36mm socket was 1/2 inch fitting. So yet another trip to pep boys to get a 3/8 to 1/2 connector. And now after another looooong day, it was all done! No more leaks period!!

I did notice however, that the first spark plug had oil on it! Now I have to investigate why its like that.
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:41 AM   #51
gsbmw
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That's a hilarious story! Sounds like one of my repair nightmares...

But good to hear you went with the whole cooling system replacement. Smart choice. And sounds like you weren't in the red very long, so your head is probably okay... we hope.

If you happen to have an automatic, be sure to also replace the transmission thermostat, which is found in the mounting plate where the expansion tank connects. Besides the head, you definitely want to protect that transmission.

You mentioned a tensioner pulley earlier... I suppose you already did it, but for others: you can replace just the pulley and not the whole tensioner (parts places usually only offer the whole tensioner/pulley assembly, which is not needed). I got mine at Amazon. See this thread: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=710564

Oil drain plug... you can get inexpensive, but functional, torque wrenches from Harbor Freight Tools to head off the next broken bolt. For oil changes, I use an evacuator (MityVac) -- you can quickly and easily do an oil change in a suit and tie with one of those.

Finally, the oil on the spark plug... If the oil is in the well for the spark plug (vs only on the combustion chamber end of the plug), it's probably one of the gaskets that is part of the valve cover gasket set.
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:49 AM   #52
E46M56
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Originally Posted by gsbmw View Post
That's a hilarious story! Sounds like one of my repair nightmares...

But good to hear you went with the whole cooling system replacement. Smart choice. And sounds like you weren't in the red very long, so your head is probably okay... we hope.

If you happen to have an automatic, be sure to also replace the transmission thermostat, which is found in the mounting plate where the expansion tank connects. Besides the head, you definitely want to protect that transmission.

You mentioned a tensioner pulley earlier... I suppose you already did it, but for others: you can replace just the pulley and not the whole tensioner (parts places usually only offer the whole tensioner/pulley assembly, which is not needed). I got mine at Amazon. See this thread: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=710564

Oil drain plug... you can get inexpensive, but functional, torque wrenches from Harbor Freight Tools to head off the next broken bolt. For oil changes, I use an evacuator (MityVac) -- you can quickly and easily do an oil change in a suit and tie with one of those.

Finally, the oil on the spark plug... If the oil is in the well for the spark plug (vs only on the combustion chamber end of the plug), it's probably one of the gaskets that is part of the valve cover gasket set.
Yes quite a nightmare! The oil was in the combustion chamber end of the plug. Is that worse case scenario? Also failed to mention that when I bought the nut extractor, it came with a drill bit. I was trying to drill a hole in to the broken nut to tap in the nut extractor. Of course if I would of looked at the old plug, I would of noticed that its hollow in the middle. So I could of just tapped in the nut extractor without using the drill bit. Now as I was taking off the bit, somehow the tip broke and it stayed in the oil pan! Should this be a major concern??? Should I remove the oil pan and take it out? I also noticed that the oil pan had a sensor (I think) going in through the bottom of it. Can I just take that off and stick my hand in there to take out the drill bit?
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Old 04-13-2011, 05:31 AM   #53
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E46, E46, E46! Just when I though it couldn't get any worse, now there's a drill bit in the oil pan!? What are we going to do with you!
Seriously, you've got to stop. I am staying up all night now just to get the next episode!!

You might have to try what you said about removing the oil sensor and trying to fish around for it (not sure how big the hole is though). A magnet may help to drag it over to the hole.

Okay. enough ribbing. Oil in the combustion chamber is typically not a good sign. Are you sure the oil didn't just drain down in there from the spark plug well when you removed the spark plug?
Is the spark plug fouled from burning oil in there or does it have areas of dry brown/gray color like the others? The latter is the optimistic part of me asking.
Is the engine misfiring on one or more cylinders? (it would if there is oil getting into the cylinder chronically.)
I haven't gotten to this problem yet with my car, but I could only guess that it could be worn piston rings, valve guides or ...brace yourself... a head gasket failure or, worse, a cracked head. There's an outside chance that the oil separator is not functioning well and somehow shooting oil into the cylinder. I am hoping for your sanity that the oil just seeped down around the spark plug (making you think it is from the cylinder).

I would try to get it out of the cylinder as much as you can (syringe and tubing or similar). Then put it togther (new plug) and start it up and see if your new blue smoke will burn off quickly or not. But don't mess up your O2 sensors, although they are due for replacement too I think. You should probably start doing some searching of the forums now to see what these symptoms generally indicate before you drive it. I hope it is not a head problem. If you see white smoke when you start it up and/or find oil in the cooling system (giving a chocolate milkshake consistency), then it is (99%) the head gasket or head crack. If not, then it is probably something less serious. A compression test would probably help steer a diagnosis.

I've got to sleep now, but will be waiting for the next installment tomorrow if you have time for some more troubleshooting and searching of the forum(s). Good luck dude!
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:21 PM   #54
E46M56
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I remember when I changed the oil pan gasket on my 1991 Honda Accord, it had a magnet inside the oil pan to attract small metal fragments. Im hoping that this car has one too. i can only assume.

As far as the spark plug, the lower half was covered in oil. When I wiped off the oil, it did look like the others (brown and used). When I was removing the spark plugs, there was hardly any oil in the engine. I removed the oil drain plug and was letting drain before I started removing the spark plugs. I did drain the coolant two days ago, and it was blue. No signs of oil in it. I do see some clear smoke coming out of the exhaust every time I start it for the day. But it usually clears up right away. Im going to have to search here in the forum. See what I can find.
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:09 PM   #55
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I remember when I changed the oil pan gasket on my 1991 Honda Accord, it had a magnet inside the oil pan to attract small metal fragments. Im hoping that this car has one too. i can only assume
No--these cars do not come with magnets at the bottom of the oil pan. Get an oil drain plug with a magnet if you want one.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:02 AM   #56
shottasean
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Thanks Man I did my 2002 330 Ci yesterday and your DIY help alot good now I have another 100k plus miles to go
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Old 08-25-2011, 11:03 PM   #57
aleksankazakov
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how do you reattach the radiator hoses? the hose clap seems to be just a factory ring which can not be released nor tightened.
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:06 PM   #58
Mesa3077Boogie
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Hello guys. Im experiencing leaking form either the neck of the radiator or the expansion tank on my E46 325i sport with manual tranny.

I will replace the belts and hoses as well as the thermostat, radiator and water pump and level sensor.

I was wondering though. Does the manual transmission cars have the transmission cooler parts to deal with? (i dont think they do)

Also, It looks like there are 2 hoses that connect from the power steering reservoir to the radiator? Is this true? Or are those powersteering hoses just connecting to something thats really close to the radiator expansion tank and radiator? How the heck do you get those hoses off? Should i replace those hoses as well? It looks like i would have to break them in order to replace them..

Does anyone else recommend changing the alternator as preventative maintenence while im in there?

Anybody live in st. louis want to help?
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:08 PM   #59
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how do you reattach the radiator hoses? the hose clap seems to be just a factory ring which can not be released nor tightened.
good question I wonder this too!

Also has anyone seen or recommend this kit?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...#ht_2243wt_632
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:42 PM   #60
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Lots of threads on this. Try the search engine......
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