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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 02-22-2015, 04:43 PM   #1
rosshurlow1
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How far to go on cooling system??

Car has 111k miles. It seems to be slowly leaking coolant(about a quart every other week). I havent put it on stands yet but have a feeling its the waterpump or the expansion tank. By the looks of it at one point the cooling system has been replaced. Money is tight right now. So I was wondering if doing a overhaul from like rockauto wouldn't be regrettable. My thoughts were expansion tank, thermostat housing(ebay), thermostat,ac delco water pump, gates hoses, sensor 0 ring. Any parts I should look into? stay away from? Im a novice on gas burners so go easy on the lashings... thanks guys
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Old 02-22-2015, 05:55 PM   #2
Gatriel
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If money is tight then you could get away with keeping the radiator.

I would say replace;

- Expansion Tank
- Expansion Tank Cap
- Thermostat
- Waterpump
- All hoses
- The main drive belt

and only put BMW blue coolant in there.

Then when you have a bit more cash, swap out the radiator, the AC belt and various belt tensioners and pulleys.
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Old 02-23-2015, 02:48 AM   #3
SilberVogel
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You can go cheaper with different brands, but I wouldn't stray too far from OE/OEM parts for the cooling system. To expand on Gatriel's comment above, and focusing on quality parts, here are the brands I'd be most likely to go with:

Expansion tank (#17117573781): Modine/CoolXpert
Thermostat (#11537509227): Wahler
Water pump (#11517527910): Saleri
Upper radiator hose (#17127510952): Rein/CRP-ContiTech
Lower radiator hose (#11531436408): Rein/CRP-ContiTech
Main drive belt (#11281706545): Continental/CRP-ContiTech

Have gone ahead and done some of the legwork for you, and below is a quick overview of prices for each of the parts and brands mentioned above. If you bought these brands at the best price available from each individual vendor (ignoring shipping rates), the total would come to $244.63. If you bought everything from a single vendor, RM European currently has the lowest price at $260.88 (with free shipping on $65+).



Note: Dealerships and vendors that didn't show those specific brands available have been removed from the list, and BMA Parts' prices have already been adjusted to reflect their 5% off coupon code SPECE30.

In addition to the above, I'd also recommend going with an expansion tank cap from an E30 (#17111742232) which vents at 1.4 Bar, as opposed to the higher pressure 2.0 Bar. Reutter is the OEM for the cap, and prices are pretty consistent at around $10-$14. Would also throw in a crush washer for the engine coolant drain plug (#07119963200) if you plan on doing a coolant flush.

I'd hang on to your old expansion tank cap, bleeder screw, and the metal retaining clips from the old hoses, as they may be useful to you or another member in the future.

Just looked at Amazon, and while I don't buy from them often, I always seem to have a gift card or two that doesn't get used for anything. Prices are more expensive on some things, but may be another option (about $45 difference):

Genuine BMW expansion tank - $79.26: http://www.amazon.com/BMW-genuine-fa...YADWKBA5F4TU23
Wahler thermostat - $51.37: http://www.amazon.com/Wahler-Thermos...X2QARDX2BWFXPJ
Saleri water pump - $69.95: http://www.amazon.com/select-models-...RZKCXNOZP3ZGXA
CRP upper radiator hose - $42.48: http://www.amazon.com/CRP-Industries...LHUCUIVTBVY347
CRP lower radiator hose - $36.21: http://www.amazon.com/CRP-Industries...7SPPTCDOE3Y6Y6
ContiTech main drive belt - $17.14:http://www.amazon.com/ContiTech-W013...IQI7MHIJLA6QVN
Amazon total: $306.41

Again, you're welcome to go with different brands in order to tweak the cost, just don't use URO or MTC for anything. Hope some of the above helps point you in the right direction and saves you a bit of time!

Edit: just realized I might as well continue pricing out a full cooling system overhaul, both for OE and OEM parts. May update this post in the future sometime to include the rest.
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Last edited by SilberVogel; 02-25-2015 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:47 AM   #4
Solidjake
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^ Exactly that.

Do not get a Delco water pump. That is some generic junk that was never supposed to be made for our cars. I know autohausaz.com has the Saleri pumps which are OEM. The pump and tank have to be oem, the thermostat walher and the hoses doesn't matter.
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:51 AM   #5
Foxtrot_Uniform
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I'd worry about replacing the drive pulleys before the radiator...
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:04 AM   #6
Squiddie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosshurlow1 View Post
Car has 111k miles. It seems to be slowly leaking coolant(about a quart every other week). I havent put it on stands yet but have a feeling its the waterpump or the expansion tank. By the looks of it at one point the cooling system has been replaced. Money is tight right now. So I was wondering if doing a overhaul from like rockauto wouldn't be regrettable. My thoughts were expansion tank, thermostat housing(ebay), thermostat,ac delco water pump, gates hoses, sensor 0 ring. Any parts I should look into? stay away from? Im a novice on gas burners so go easy on the lashings... thanks guys
You should put a large piece of paper under the car, with the cover removed if you can, and idle it for a bit to verify that it is dripping. The coolant could also go through the engine and there's no leak.

Quite honestly while preventative replacements are a good idea I would also avoid ripping the cooling system apart for no reason. If you think it has recently be overhauled, and maybe you can verify that, then I would for now only change things in need of it. You are also a bit tight on money so you don't want to put yourself into a position of first spending your money on things that aren't actively broken and then being overtight when something real happens.

Having said, if you open up the system at all and you need new coolant then I'd do things that are reasonably priced and often affected, especially hoses and the stupid extension tank, and its cap. I also had a thermostat where the electric heater element in it broke, so I look at that suspiciously, too.

On the other hand, if you already have a replaced waterpump and it is working, hold back on that money. Nobody benefits from tossing a perfectly fine pump.
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:03 PM   #7
rosshurlow1
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I really appreciate your help guys. the only thing I was still wondering is gates hoses a no no? or is oem the way to go there. It looks like Im putting this off till warmer weather. So I was going to plan on the radiator too if it looked old. What regarding the drive pulleys should I look at?
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:43 PM   #8
SilberVogel
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I donít have any experience using Gates for the upper and lower radiator hoses, and you may want to see what others have to say, but here are a few comments I've seen about leaks and them coming with jubilee clips that would make me stick to OEM. There may be others with good experiences, though, these are just some recent comments I remember seeing (more discussion in each of these respective threads):
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWCaptain View Post
That adjustable clamp comes with the Gates hoses. Never liked it when i ordered one and returned it. The oem style hoses have a permanent ring crimp on them and don't have any tails sticking out like the Gates one does.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AWDBMW View Post
What was the brand of the replacement hose? I used a new Gates hose and it leaked in the spot I described from the onset. I ended up replacing it with a Contitech and I had no problems.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mango View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by WDE46 View Post
the radiator hoses are not oe, but gates makes good fuel hose so, maybe their bmw radiator hoses are okay too. I'd be wary of those and the vaico et. I'd sooner put gates hoses on my car than the vaico et though. Vaico could be repacked oem for all we know, but we don't know until someone orders it. :-)
mah boi nick installed gates hoses and had some nasty leaks.

I've exclusively recommended oe/oem hoses several times. Nobody needs to do anything else.
Regarding pulleys, here's a good overview of what you'll be looking at: http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=974746 (Mango's definitive tensioner pulley guide).
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Old 02-24-2015, 04:12 PM   #9
riverwolf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosshurlow1 View Post
I really appreciate your help guys. the only thing I was still wondering is gates hoses a no no? or is oem the way to go there. It looks like Im putting this off till warmer weather. So I was going to plan on the radiator too if it looked old. What regarding the drive pulleys should I look at?
I went with the Gates 23404 and 23405 hoses via Amazon last October for my refresh. The Gates are indistinguisable from the, presumably, OE hoses I replaced. Maybe Gates changed suppliers after the posts Silber dug up. IIRC, mine were tagged as made in Turkey FWIW.

I also went with Amazon for the Wahler 'stat and Gates 38018 tensioner pulley (A/C mechanical pulley). The Gates pulley is identical in ID/OD/width to the OE part, but it doesn't have the recess to hold the OE pulley cap in place.

I didn't see them on Silber's list, but the TheBMWPartStore was my choice for OE expansion tank ($77.60) and a few other OE bits (coolant, fasteners\hardware). Like GetBMWParts, they're something of a "skunk works" internet operation within a traditional BMW dealership's parts department.

You can spend a lot of time price comparing, especially when shipping costs are involved. My strategy was to decide first what parts I wanted to be OE (expansion tank, coolant, fasteners, hardware) and what parts, if available, could be OEM/3rd party. Then price shop vendors that offered the parts in question, including shipping where applicable. For a few things, I still went OE when the price difference for OEM/3rd party was only a couple of bucks. In addition to Amazon and TheBMWPartStore, Pelican was my other vendor of choice. YMMV.

-Brent
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