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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 08-10-2010, 11:48 AM   #1
Gopher
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: South Africa
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My Ride: 318i A/T Touring
DIY Expansion Tank replacement

Ok. Today my expansion tank cracked and I had to replace it. Searching a lot of forums I got some DIY's but none with exact Pictures of removal and all including Pully, coolant system replacement.
As my coolent system is ok I needed to just replace the Expansion Tank.


BMW 318 i 2005 Tourer A/T N46B20 engine 4 cyl.

Tools needed.
Spanners:
Size 16 and 13 for bottom plate. Size 10 for Air fillter
Pliers.
Philips head screwdriver (Flat Head) and Star
Trolly Jack
2 x Tripods.
Claw Hammer(What I used to lift old tank out)
Some patience.
2 Hours.

Part Number 17117573781
R785.00 vat inclusive (South African Rands) (Goldwagen Roodepoort)
Dealers price R1100.00 part only no fitment.

Note: The difficult bits are removing and replacing the bottom plate (plastic) and the metal one (Bloody Heavy).
Removing the Expansion tank with the claw hammer as I was scared I was going to brake someting. After 5 years it was a bit stuck so wiggled it a bit and then claw hammer gave me the leverage.

Jack up car and insert tripods.
Always make sure car is secure on the tripods before doing any work.
This is how I did it. It might not be the only way but this worked for me. I am not a mechanic and rate this DIY a 3 out of 10. Just take your time and do not get frustrated if the pipes are stuck a bit.

Good Luck. I hope this helps somebody out there.





















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Old 08-10-2010, 11:49 AM   #2
Gopher
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Please feel free to post a reply and tell me if you found this helpfull.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:50 PM   #3
e30mike
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used this when i did mine a few weeks ago, helped a lot. only thing i would add is greasing up the bottom o-ring on the new tank when you put it in, makes life easier.
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Old 09-20-2010, 11:20 PM   #4
SwissMadeMan
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Thanks a lot. Helped me as well.
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Old 11-07-2010, 06:13 PM   #5
tcphoto
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I suspect that I will be doing this in the next day or two. Today, I pulled into my parking space at home and I heard a rather load pop, saw some steam and a trail of liquid running down the parking lot from under my vehicle. After opening the hood and pulling the radiator cap, I found that the expansion tank or a radiator hose blew. I will wait till the morning, pull the airbox and see what blew. The only good thing is that it didn't happen away from home.
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:25 AM   #6
tcphoto
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This thread has been a great resource. The first image is of the coolant as I found it this morning, the next is the crack which runs down the length of the tank followed by the build date of 4/01. The previous owners did not pass on any service records but I would think that this one is not the original since my VIN states that it was built in 01/01...Now to buy a replacement and get back up and running.
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:42 PM   #7
sulli
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Wow, exact same thing happened to me yesterday evening when I got home. Pulled in to the driveway, parked the car, then just before I turned off the ignition I heard the pop. Got out, saw the steam, then saw the coolant all running out.

Very considerate of our cars to wait till we get home before it does this!

Highly Recommended : Do this as a preventive item if you're doing any other coolant system work!

Thanks OP for your write up.
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:31 AM   #8
tcphoto
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The installation was fairly easy for a fairly new DIY'er. I ran down to Bakers Import and picked up the tank, coolant and then a gallon of distilled water. I will admit that I spent a little time cleaning up the engine compartment while the airbox was removed, so it took me about 90 minutes to complete along with bleeding the system. The best part is seeing the temp gauge settle where it should.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:17 PM   #9
fgin
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We need more 4cyl DIYs here. Well done!
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:21 PM   #10
Cecil328i
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exact same thing happened to my coolant tank today. i've gotten the tank out and now i've just gotta find a decent replacement.
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:48 PM   #11
Chronic2112
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Wow, it's funny how these seem to go right after you park the car. I was about 10' away from mine - walking into a meeting 20 miles from home...and 'POP'. I looked back and saw the coolant running down the parking lot. I'm going to use your DIY this week when the replacement arrives! Thanks in advance. -Tim
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:08 PM   #12
kay9
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hi newbe

changed expantion tank 2 days ago but coolant level sensor light wont go off
coolant is fine dosent leak or anything

ANY IDEAS!

Last edited by kay9; 07-10-2011 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:22 PM   #13
arby2211
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Easy method to pull out the old tank...

I too was having a difficult time removing the tank. I used some large Channel Lock type pliers to grip onto the cap threads of the tank. I then applied downward pressure on the handles the tank came right out. See the attached picture.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:47 PM   #14
Frank_E46
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Old thread, but still helpful.
Thanks OP! (Gopher)

I too used a clawhammer to remove the ET--slow steady pressure 'easily' removed the ET (was worried about the removing process-but it was actually easy w/clawhammer).

Upon installing the new ET, used a jack and 4x4, 2x4 to ensure a solid platform to securely seat the new ET.

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Old 03-11-2013, 06:49 PM   #15
Frank_E46
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Here's another view:

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Old 03-11-2013, 06:53 PM   #16
Frank_E46
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And a third view.

Once again, using the jack, 4x4, 2x4 will provide you a solid platform to confidently slide the new ET back on the braket without being afraid to break the braket it sits on.

Remember to lube the ET O-rings w/coolant to help lube and provide a good seal. Once again, THANKS Gopher!

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Old 03-11-2013, 06:59 PM   #17
Frank_E46
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Here's an image of the clawhammer in action. Get under the lip of the old ET--and steady pressure and up/out the old Expansion Tank came out.
Once again, removing old ET and replacing was a concern--but it was actually quite easy.

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Old 03-11-2013, 07:18 PM   #18
arby2211
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Great idea to use the wood block to support the bottom of the tank when installing the new one. I wish I had known this trick at the time I did mine. I ended up pressing too hard trying to seat the new tank and cracked the bracket that holds it.

Amazingly the car ran without leaks for about a month before it starting gushing anti-freeze. I was tired of messing with it at that point so I took it to a local guy that specializes in BMWs. He told me that I cracked the bracket and also said to always lube the seal first before re-installing the tank. Rookie mistakes! Anyway, Your suggestions are great and I am sure they will help the next guy (and me if I ever do this job again).
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:27 PM   #19
Frank_E46
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Thanks arby2211...

I was going to just press-down but looking at the braket the ET sits on...I was concerned of breaking it.

So I looked around the garage and e46-riged the jack/4x4/2x4 set-up.

Thankfully it worked and there was a audible 'thump' when the ET sat on the braket--no question it was seated

I'm just glad to be able to 'add' to this awesome site!!!
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:59 AM   #20
the_stick
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Awesome idea with the claw hammer. It works great by providing leverage of loosing the expansion tank. It pops right off with ease. No need to go under car nor lowering tank onto jack. What crazy ideas! And if you have an automatic transmission, you can't get to the tank from underneath. Thanks
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