E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Welcome to the E46Fanatics forums. E46Fanatics is the premiere website for BMW 3 series owners around the world with interactive forums, a geographical enthusiast directory, photo galleries, and technical information for BMW enthusiasts.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Go Back   E46Fanatics > E46 BMW > General E46 Forum

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!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rating: Thread Rating: 1 votes, 5.00 average. Display Modes
Old 01-11-2010, 09:22 AM   #1
Newbs24
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Posts: 47
My Ride: Pepsi Blue e46
Losing coolant, sweet smell, temp down...

So I have a problem with my 00 323ci. Losing significant coolant, but it is not puddling in the garage. Can smell a sweet smell when the heat is turned up into the cabin. Temperature gauge stays in the middle when idiling but will drop to the cold side when running for 25+ mins. With that the heat is not blowing hot into the cabin but when it is stopped and idiling, thus moving the needle to the middle of the temp gauge the heat will then start getting hot again.

Heard anything from expansion tank to heater core to head gasket. Any ideas or solutions to similar problems? Thank you very much
Newbs24 is offline   Reply With Quote
Ads by Google

Guests, get your FREE E46Fanatics.com membership to remove this ad.
Old 01-11-2010, 09:37 AM   #2
scoon
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 155
My Ride: 2001 325i
Hey there,

first thing I'd do if i were you would be to try and figure out where the leak is coming from. Start with removing the splash shield. Next thing you can do is to remove the air box and take a good look at the expansion tank. They crack, mine did @ 60k.

BMW's have what is known as a closed system for cooling -- a leak usually means that something is broken. This is something that really isn't good to let go for to long, as something just hasn't catastrophically failed yet.

Thanks.
scoon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2010, 09:40 AM   #3
IxNay
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New England //M Posts: 56,959
Posts: 1,242
My Ride: 2000 328Ci 5sp SP
Check for oil in coolant, or coolant in oil - if found then likely head gasket. But with smell of coolant in cabin it is more likely a leak in the heater core, or hoses to/from the heater core.
__________________
IxNay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2010, 09:44 AM   #4
dmax
Registered User
 
dmax's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: NJ
Posts: 22,789
My Ride: '99 328i 1.04646 mu
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbs24 View Post
So I have a problem with my 00 323ci. Losing significant coolant, but it is not puddling in the garage. Can smell a sweet smell when the heat is turned up into the cabin. Temperature gauge stays in the middle when idiling but will drop to the cold side when running for 25+ mins. With that the heat is not blowing hot into the cabin but when it is stopped and idiling, thus moving the needle to the middle of the temp gauge the heat will then start getting hot again.

Heard anything from expansion tank to heater core to head gasket. Any ideas or solutions to similar problems? Thank you very much
Hope I can help.

First, your thermostat has broken 'open,' and needs to be replaced.

Second, you have a leak and you'll want to find it. That it's not puddling, might mean that it's still a slight leak and only visible when your car is running. It might be leaking onto underskirt, but when you pull into garage and turn car off in your freezing temp, the engine cools so quickly that the pressure is relieved right away, so you're not puddling, or perhaps the underskirt is holding that which you've leaked. Then when you drive, it's blowing away and 'emptied' leaving room for the next round of leaking coolant to stay contained within your underskirt.

You might 'just' be leaking from the thermostat and it's dripping on hot engine, thus the smell. Almost always, it seems, the leak is from the seam at top of expansion tank...so when it's running, check there. Could also be from expansion tank cap...or one of the many hoses.

Many recommend replacing many things at first sign of this...expan tank, therm, upper and lower hoses and therm sensor.

Read all the many threads on coolant leaks and you'll see opinions vary somewhat...but your therm is broken and you have a leak from somewhere.

How much coolant you losing? Check level when engine is cool, you know.

Do some investigation, read some of the many threads, and let us know what you find. If you're handy with tools, it's all a DIY.

Doug
__________________


Performing at the Comedy Cove--595 Morris Ave. Springfield NJ reservations 973 376-3840

A recent set

dmax on the radio every Wednesday 7-9 p.m. NYC time. Call in! (661) 449-9340 watsonnwatson.com
dmax is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2010, 09:48 AM   #5
dmax
Registered User
 
dmax's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: NJ
Posts: 22,789
My Ride: '99 328i 1.04646 mu
IxNay,

Don't you think the smell could just be that the coolant has sprayed onto engine from maybe a leaking therm, or maybe the expansion tank crack is so fine, that the pressure is blowing it over to engine...then wafting through cabin air filter...same sort of thing when VCG blows and you smell oil in cabin.

Not to argue with you and your obvious greater experience with the cars as evidenced by your bizillion posts! LOL

D
__________________


Performing at the Comedy Cove--595 Morris Ave. Springfield NJ reservations 973 376-3840

A recent set

dmax on the radio every Wednesday 7-9 p.m. NYC time. Call in! (661) 449-9340 watsonnwatson.com
dmax is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2010, 10:05 AM   #6
Arsevader
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,829
My Ride: '90 325i, '02 325it
I would take a good look in the engine compartment but loss of coolant with no visible source, sweet smell in the heating system would point me to either heater core or valve or something else inside the dash.
__________________

- James

'85 E30 325e
'90 E30 325i
'02 E46 325it
'03 E46 320i

'96 Volvo 850R


Arsevader is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2010, 12:03 PM   #7
Phoenix330ci
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 537
My Ride: 04 330Ci Convertible
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmax View Post
Hope I can help.

First, your thermostat has broken 'open,' and needs to be replaced.

Second, you have a leak and you'll want to find it. That it's not puddling, might mean that it's still a slight leak and only visible when your car is running. It might be leaking onto underskirt, but when you pull into garage and turn car off in your freezing temp, the engine cools so quickly that the pressure is relieved right away, so you're not puddling, or perhaps the underskirt is holding that which you've leaked. Then when you drive, it's blowing away and 'emptied' leaving room for the next round of leaking coolant to stay contained within your underskirt.

You might 'just' be leaking from the thermostat and it's dripping on hot engine, thus the smell. Almost always, it seems, the leak is from the seam at top of expansion tank...so when it's running, check there. Could also be from expansion tank cap...or one of the many hoses.
I agree here. Your Thermostat is done. The other reason you get no heat in the car is because of the loss of coolant. When the car looses coolant it drains the heating lines which become empty and you get air. Feel your heating lines are they will be empty. Also with the themostat open the car is not heating properly and the mix valve will not open properly to the heater core.

The sweet smell you are smelling is definately coolant. And I agree again with Doug that it is probably leaking somewhere but burning off/drying before it drips down to the lower sheild. Mine did that. Never a leak on the ground. On my friends, his leak in the expansion tank actually shot out toward the left rail and followed some lines attached to it and then went further back.

Also from the tanks I have seen that cracked, the leak so far has been on the lower left corner (if sitting in your car) of the expansion tank, very near the corner. It will be vertical along this corner and will be around the upper smaller hose near the bottom of the tank. Only way to see this will be by removing the air box.

Oh and the smell could be from the engine bay because your getting the smell through the fresh air cabin filter.
Phoenix330ci is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 11:47 AM   #8
LeMansteve
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: USA - GA
Posts: 1,642
My Ride: '04 330i 6mt ZSP ZPP
I have had a very slow coolant leak for the last 30k miles or so. It is either the expansion tank itself or one of the hose connections to the tank.

What I experience is a sweet smell every morning. I'll start the car from cold and back out of the garage. Since my apt complex does not give remotes for the garages, I have to get out and press a button to close the garage. When I get out of the car, that's when I smell the sweet coolant. I'm wondering why I would smell it more when the car is cold vs when it has warmed up and hot, pressurized coolant would be more likely to spray out from wherever the leak is.
LeMansteve is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
low coolant, low temp, no heat, sweet

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Censor is ON





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:45 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
(c) 1999 - 2011 performanceIX Inc - privacy policy - terms of use