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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!

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Old 07-20-2010, 05:37 PM   #1
tavuslokus
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Coolant system problem!

Hellow guys, over the weekend only hint I had was low level coolant light on dash, here a couple pics on closer inspection for someone knowledgeable to please assist.

- LOOoOoooooow level...

- Pass. side, all good...

- Rear, all good...

- Bottom, moisture noticeable...

- This caught my eye...

- Closer look...

- Oopss...

- Drain plug all moist...

- Lower cover, all dirty and moist, top side was PITA oil leak taken care of.

I'm inclined to say, it's the radiator itself and not the ET as many here.
(Car is 2002 318i 71500mi engine n42 auto tranny Production Code: AY71 )

Thanks for taking a look.
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Old 07-20-2010, 05:42 PM   #2
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100 percent is the rad, take a pic of the bottom of the upper radiator inlet
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:04 PM   #3
tavuslokus
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Tough space to get shot, this was the best.

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Old 07-20-2010, 06:30 PM   #4
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Radiator connection was deteriorated, I guess. When did you maintain the cooling system last time?
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:48 AM   #5
tavuslokus
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I don't do the maintenance myself but recent changes on this area include ET replaced 4 yrs and Upper + Lower radiator hoses about 2 yrs ago. After that nothing had been pointed out by mechanic. Good thing is that the car went into the shop this morning. Initial feedback was the radiator needs to be replaced, but I've to wait further evaluation for a quote if any other parts are required to be replaced as well. I guess it's only a matter of time now.
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:03 PM   #6
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Yes, it's the radiator, but your ET might be leaking too...so if other things are replaced, fine...but do ET too...good time for Therm, WP, belts, maybe a pulley or two.

If ET has 50K miles on it or more, it's worth the $50...and a rad, online, $140 for a manual.

If you got 195K miles out of your original radiator like me, you should be happy...anything over 150K prolly pretty good!

This is the time for cooling system refresh, though...whatever didn't come out 2 years ago...maybe even the four ancillary hoses for heater/engine?

Sorry...you 'sort of' asked!

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Old 07-21-2010, 01:08 PM   #7
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Yep. I also agree on doing the exp tank while you are in there, you will have to sooner or later anyways. I would also check various coolant hoses around the bay for leaks/cracks while you are at it.
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:10 PM   #8
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I just did my ET because I thought it was leaking. While pulling it out I noticed that my radiator had a small crack at the same location yours did. Right now I used RTV to fix the joint . Temporary of course until I can source a radiator (OEM or Aluminum). I haven't decided yet.
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:59 PM   #9
tavuslokus
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Just off the phone with mechanic. Culprits were the plastic radiator joint (?) and plastic ET (once again ), rest is A-OK! parts and labor $710.
All will be good now as I get my wheels back, give it a good wash and roll turning heads around
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Old 07-22-2010, 05:21 PM   #10
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mine leaks a little. Guess Ill have to try rtv haha
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