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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 05-11-2008, 03:28 PM   #1
Mike325i
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Easy coolant question

I'm about to change the coolant in my car and I have read the diy on bmw325i.net but I'm not completely positive on one thing. It says to turn the heater on but doesn't mention when to turn it off or anything like that. Am I supposed to keep the heater on while draining and filling or just when I'm draining the fluid?
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Old 05-11-2008, 03:28 PM   #2
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no, i think you just do all that when your bleeding it right?
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Old 05-11-2008, 03:45 PM   #3
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Yeah. Fill it up a decent amount, then run the engine and keep filling with the heater on. When it starts to overflow, then you watch for bubbles in the bleed valve to know when you're done bleeding
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Old 05-11-2008, 04:56 PM   #4
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Thanks, but know I'm more confused because when I was looking underneath the car there is only one blue drain plug, not two like there is on the DIY.
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Old 05-11-2008, 06:28 PM   #5
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I think the 2nd one is up top isn't it. I think the way it is, one bleeder before the thermostat, and one after.
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Old 05-11-2008, 06:51 PM   #6
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I dunno, there is a bleeder right next to the cap up on top and only one blue drain underneath. In the pics of the DIY it shows 2 blue drains underneath and the same stuff up top.

This is the pic of the DIY. On my car I drained the blue plug marked higher up in the picture, but the lower plug isn't there. I have a metal thing right in the way which I don't know what it is, maybe trans cooler or something. My car is a step, while the pictures are of a manual trans car.

I ended up draining the one plug that I found and the one on the block and I got like half of one of those wash buckets. Would have been more but most of the fluid that came out of the block ended up all over the floor.

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Old 05-11-2008, 08:19 PM   #7
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I think you only need to drain the radiator plug (the top one). The engine block too...
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:39 PM   #8
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Some cars (automatics?) only have one drain plug in that area. Don't worry about it.
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Old 05-12-2008, 10:42 AM   #9
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Do it during drain to help get all the old fluid out and again when you are filling. Just recently did mine and it filled fine. Remove the bleed screw. You must go SLOWLY during fill when it starts to top off. Let it sit and add more till the level stops dropping at the bleed screw. Be patient! I started mine to let it warm up and did NOT have to add any additional fluid. Don't understand why people have so many problems with air in the system and overheating. This procedure works!
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:33 PM   #10
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Turn on the heater when draining then turn off. Put your plugs back in then clean up the ocean of coolant underneath the engine drain (use the biggest pan you can find). I replaced my radiator drain plug because it had a tiny crack in it (48,700 mi). You only need to make this plug snug, don't wrench it down.

Turn the heater back on Full Warm, ignition ON. Pour your coolant mix (50/50 distilled water and BMW coolant) VERY slowly. Take your time. You can leave the bleeder open if you like , just stop pouring when it leaks out. Put the Tank cap back on, turn on the engine and let it warm up not super hot just warm. Go back and open up the bleeder screw and look for tiny bubbles. When there are no more bubbles close the screw. (snug, don't wrench it down). It helps greatly to get the front of the car at least 6-12 inches up in the air.

Leave the undertray off and go for a short drive. Take some coolant mix and a funnel with you and watch the temp guage. Stay close to your home if you like. Check the plugs for leaks.

Some cars a piece of cake and go very quick and easy. Once in a while you get an air bubble trapped in there and you have to keep bleeding. If the temp guage gets hot you most likely have some trapped air. Obviously don't let the temp guage get anywhere near the red.

Have fun and tell us how it went...
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Old 11-04-2008, 10:29 AM   #11
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I just did the coolant change but did not drain the engine block and only jacked up my driver side using the jack that came with the car. I refilled the coolant slowly but did not see any bubble coming out of the vent screw. I did have heater on at 91 and lowest fan setting.

The reason I did not have any bubble coming out of vent screw is because I did not drain the engine block? How long should I drive to monitor the temperature to make sure I don't have air?

Thanks
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Old 11-07-2008, 05:55 AM   #12
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Just make sure the temperature needed hits the middle (12 o'clock position). When it cools completely, check the level in the expansion tank again and top off if necessary.
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