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 Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 05-10-2011, 11:10 AM   #1
wceoscar
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Santiago, Dominican Republic
Posts: 640
My Ride: 323i
Question Coolant consuption question

Hello, About a year ago I overhauled my entire cooling system since I blew 2 expansion tanks and my radiator developed a hairline crack, when both expansion tanks exploded the first time I just parked and it cracked, coolant was all over the floor, Had it towed and replaced. Second time It exploded by driving in the city, Once it exploded white smoke was all over the place, parked and had it towed once again. Then I overhauled the whole system with OEM parts. Both of the times it cracked the temp needle never went past 75% (Never got to the red zone). Since then the car consumes about 10-15oz of water/coolant mix every 2-3 months, wondering if this is normal?

Last time the car was filled with Prestone coolant and had to be added 50% of water, the guys at the shop used tap water not distilled. Also when my first expansion tank exploded we used bmw coolant and I did not notice this consumption but at the time i did the cooling system overhaul the shop didn't had any left. My oil and oil cap are normal, no creamy stuff anywhere. My coolant when I dip my finger in the expansion tank and rub it feels a bit viscous/ oily but the color is perfectly fine (lime green).
__________________

Last edited by wceoscar; 05-10-2011 at 11:14 AM.
wceoscar is offline   Reply With Quote
Ads by Google

Guests, get your FREE E46Fanatics.com membership to remove this ad.
Old 05-10-2011, 11:14 AM   #2
Mango
Grand Superpatriot Sport+
 
Mango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,165
My Ride: M54B30
could be anyones guess as to whats causing the consumption.
__________________
A lifetime free of problems if you follow my guides
Cooling | Maintenance | Suspension | Vacuum | Supreme Reliability | Details

OVER A MILLION VIEWS
Mango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 11:18 AM   #3
jdstrickland
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Murrieta, CA
Posts: 6,383
My Ride: '94 325iC & '00 323i
Two cups in 3 months?

It's not alarming.

The distilled water vs. tap water is an insignificant issue. In more than 40 years of owning cars, I've never used distilled water. Is it better? Perhaps. But using tap water is not a fatal event, and surely not part of the coolant consumption problem you are chasing.
jdstrickland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 11:23 AM   #4
xavi330i
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 2,958
My Ride: 2004 330i smg
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdstrickland View Post
Two cups in 3 months?

It's not alarming.

The distilled water vs. tap water is an insignificant issue. In more than 40 years of owning cars, I've never used distilled water. Is it better? Perhaps. But using tap water is not a fatal event, and surely not part of the coolant consumption problem you are chasing.

Tap water will cause deposit build up in excess. BMW coolant is what should be used.
__________________
xavi330i is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 11:36 AM   #5
jdstrickland
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Murrieta, CA
Posts: 6,383
My Ride: '94 325iC & '00 323i
Quote:
Originally Posted by xavi330i View Post
Tap water will cause deposit build up in excess. BMW coolant is what should be used.
That's all well and good, but it's not the problem here.

One cannot blame the choice of water on the loss of it. One can blame the choice of water on other things, maybe -- I have 40+ plus years of car ownership, and another 10-ish years before driving where I did service tasks -- and I lived through all of them and never once used distilled water. I'm closing in on 12 years with BMW, 4 different cars plus a friend's car, and I can not point to a single problem that would be averted with the use of distilled water.

Use distilled water, that's fine. It might even be better.

But the OP stated in a somewhat concerned fashion that his car has tap water in it, as if that is why it is consuming coolant. That concern is misplaced. That's all I'm saying.

Indeed, 2 cups over 3 months is misplaced concern.
jdstrickland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 11:39 AM   #6
xavi330i
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 2,958
My Ride: 2004 330i smg
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdstrickland View Post
That's all well and good, but it's not the problem here.

One cannot blame the choice of water on the loss of it. One can blame the choice of water on other things, maybe -- I have 40+ plus years of car ownership, and another 10-ish years before driving where I did service tasks -- and I lived through all of them and never once used distilled water. I'm closing in on 12 years with BMW, 4 different cars plus a friend's car, and I can not point to a single problem that would be averted with the use of distilled water.

Use distilled water, that's fine. It might even be better.

But the OP stated in a somewhat concerned fashion that his car has tap water in it, as if that is why it is consuming coolant. That concern is misplaced. That's all I'm saying.

Indeed, 2 cups over 3 months is misplaced concern.
I did not respond to OP. I responded to your post. I made a simple statement. I did not need your entire car driving background.
__________________
xavi330i is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 11:48 AM   #7
jdstrickland
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Murrieta, CA
Posts: 6,383
My Ride: '94 325iC & '00 323i
Quote:
Originally Posted by xavi330i View Post
I did not respond to OP. I responded to your post. I made a simple statement. I did not need your entire car driving background.
Dude, you are having a bad day. I know who you were talking to, and I also made a simple statement. Mine is actually relevent to the issues at hand...
jdstrickland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 11:55 AM   #8
GuitarmanTT
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Ogden, Utah
Posts: 207
My Ride: 1999, E46 328i
Coolant has lubrication in it. It should feel a bit oily. As long as the tank doesn't smell like exhaust fumes in that case its bad!


Is it leaking on the ground? When you change your oil fill a jar with some of the old oil and let it sit for a few hours. Pour out the oil and look to see if any sludge is on the bottom of the jar. Sludge in jar may mean blown head gasket. I've always taken samples of my oil when I do changes and test it for coolant.

Many times people think the oil needs to look milky to diagnose coolant in it, but thats mostly with larger leaks, With slow leaks the coolant is unnoticeable to the eye, when the car is ran it becomes distributed in the oil again and needs time to settle. I recently took my XC-90 to the dealer for a head gasket based on what i found in the oil and the coolant light kicking on every couple months. Because the leak was so small they couldn't find coolant in the oil they tested, I took them the old oil and showed them the sludge, they told me it wasn't the head gasket just condensation in the pan. It was allot of trips to the back to the dealer and a big expense for oil cooler, new radiator, hoses, thermostat, and turbo coolant lines. At my request and a bet for the cost of the dealer requested repairs, they pulled the pan and pressure tested the cooling system with me watching coolant started dripping into the oil pan (where it was). I will post some pics of the sludge to look for. Hopefully its not that, but thats better then chasing ghosts.
__________________
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg231/scaled.php?server=231&filename=img20110608111530.jpg&res=medium

Last edited by GuitarmanTT; 05-10-2011 at 12:01 PM.
GuitarmanTT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 12:00 PM   #9
Mango
Grand Superpatriot Sport+
 
Mango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,165
My Ride: M54B30
^ yikes!
__________________
A lifetime free of problems if you follow my guides
Cooling | Maintenance | Suspension | Vacuum | Supreme Reliability | Details

OVER A MILLION VIEWS
Mango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 12:14 PM   #10
wceoscar
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Santiago, Dominican Republic
Posts: 640
My Ride: 323i
Thanks for the reply's, I will change my oil soon and do the jar experiment to see if there is any sludge in the oil, I will also try to source OEM bmw coolant and flush the cooling system.
__________________
wceoscar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 12:41 PM   #11
GuitarmanTT
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Ogden, Utah
Posts: 207
My Ride: 1999, E46 328i
This oil is Castrol synthetic 5w30 out of a 2001 BMW with 140,000 miles. 13,000 miles sense the last oil change.



This is Castrol synthetic 5w30 out of a 2001 Volvo XC90 with 97,000 miles. 5,000 miles on the oil, and a blown head gasket. This amount of sludge is from 6 fluid oz of oil.


Both oils next to each other. Color reference showing coolant isn't that easy to spot in oil. Left is BMW, Right is VOLVO



I poured most the oil out of these after they separated. so that much gunk didn't come from that little amount of oil.
__________________
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg231/scaled.php?server=231&filename=img20110608111530.jpg&res=medium
GuitarmanTT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 01:02 PM   #12
GuitarmanTT
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Ogden, Utah
Posts: 207
My Ride: 1999, E46 328i
I'm going to add one more thing. In some cars there is a oil cooler that runs coolant into an heat exchanger in the oil pan, those can leak. I'm not sure that we have one. Its to cold and rainy outside for me to get under my car and look and I cant find one on realoem.

If we do have one that should be tested before the head gasket is attended to.
__________________
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg231/scaled.php?server=231&filename=img20110608111530.jpg&res=medium
GuitarmanTT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 01:22 PM   #13
wceoscar
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Santiago, Dominican Republic
Posts: 640
My Ride: 323i
^ Very good info, thanks a lot for taking the time to snap pics and explaining what to look for.
__________________
wceoscar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 01:29 PM   #14
Penguin Koolaid
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Chitown
Posts: 6,701
My Ride: Inline Six
Tap water...

Do a coolant flush and use distilled water. Easy DIY.
Penguin Koolaid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 04:01 PM   #15
mujjuman
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: New York
Posts: 3,339
My Ride: not an E46
+1 on distilled if you have hard water in your area... or harder than normal.
just use distilled.

before you suspect consumption and blown headgasket, CHECK FOR LEAKS. maybe something wasnt fully tightened down.
__________________
mujjuman

2003 325xi 5MT
Jet Black, ZSP, ZPP, ZCW, OEM Xenon ^^RIP
sig by Solidjake
mujjuman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 05:29 PM   #16
dmax
Registered User
 
dmax's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: NJ
Posts: 22,657
My Ride: '99 328i 1.04646 mu
Quote:
Originally Posted by wceoscar View Post
Hello, About a year ago I overhauled my entire cooling system since I blew 2 expansion tanks and my radiator developed a hairline crack, when both expansion tanks exploded the first time I just parked and it cracked, coolant was all over the floor, Had it towed and replaced. Second time It exploded by driving in the city, Once it exploded white smoke was all over the place, parked and had it towed once again. Then I overhauled the whole system with OEM parts. Both of the times it cracked the temp needle never went past 75% (Never got to the red zone). Since then the car consumes about 10-15oz of water/coolant mix every 2-3 months, wondering if this is normal?

Last time the car was filled with Prestone coolant and had to be added 50% of water, the guys at the shop used tap water not distilled. Also when my first expansion tank exploded we used bmw coolant and I did not notice this consumption but at the time i did the cooling system overhaul the shop didn't had any left. My oil and oil cap are normal, no creamy stuff anywhere. My coolant when I dip my finger in the expansion tank and rub it feels a bit viscous/ oily but the color is perfectly fine (lime green).
Given it's such a small amount of loss, nothing to worry about, but that's probably just a little above normal, I'd guess. I think I might lose maybe 2-3 oz. every 2-3 months.

Still, not a bad idea to try to find out where it's coming from, just so you can monitor, and be prepared with appropriate part.

I'd clean up things really well, because a loss that small, if it's a leak, will probably come out as a mist and deposit a white powder around.

Anything could leak, of course, except the ET, that wouldn't seep, that's crack.

Could be almost everything else...any o-ring on hose might have failed or been reinstalled without fittings being clean, 0-ring on temp sensor, ET cap, bleeder screw.

Clean things and look well, and you'll find it eventually. But monitor regularly now, just in case, and check level in a.m. when you can easily and consistently compare loss.

You know not to drive your car if temp starts going up, right?
__________________


dmax on the radio--answering all your car questions as best I can!
watsonnwatson.com every Wednesday at 9 p.m. NYC time. Call in! (661) 449-9340 Click "Watch and Chat"
Please 'friend' me!
https://www.facebook.com/DMaxstandup
dmax is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 05:44 PM   #17
Mango
Grand Superpatriot Sport+
 
Mango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,165
My Ride: M54B30
distilled is a no-brainer. available at any store for like a dollar per gallon (if that)
__________________
A lifetime free of problems if you follow my guides
Cooling | Maintenance | Suspension | Vacuum | Supreme Reliability | Details

OVER A MILLION VIEWS
Mango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 07:06 PM   #18
wceoscar
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Santiago, Dominican Republic
Posts: 640
My Ride: 323i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penguin Koolaid View Post
Tap water...

Do a coolant flush and use distilled water. Easy DIY.
Already sourcing BMW coolant in order to do a proper coolant flush.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mujjuman View Post
+1 on distilled if you have hard water in your area... or harder than normal.
just use distilled.

before you suspect consumption and blown headgasket, CHECK FOR LEAKS. maybe something wasnt fully tightened down.
In my area water is not that hard, I will do a proper flush and mix the coolant with distilled water as soon as I source the BMW coolant, as far as leaks I previously (2 weeks ago) did a complete engine bay clean up which came out great. During the process I didn't noticed any leaks or white buildup from dried coolant, I will remove the lower engine bay cover and inspect for leaks in that area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmax View Post
Given it's such a small amount of loss, nothing to worry about, but that's probably just a little above normal, I'd guess. I think I might lose maybe 2-3 oz. every 2-3 months.

Still, not a bad idea to try to find out where it's coming from, just so you can monitor, and be prepared with appropriate part.

I'd clean up things really well, because a loss that small, if it's a leak, will probably come out as a mist and deposit a white powder around.

Anything could leak, of course, except the ET, that wouldn't seep, that's crack.

Could be almost everything else...any o-ring on hose might have failed or been reinstalled without fittings being clean, 0-ring on temp sensor, ET cap, bleeder screw.

Clean things and look well, and you'll find it eventually. But monitor regularly now, just in case, and check level in a.m. when you can easily and consistently compare loss.

You know not to drive your car if temp starts going up, right?
I will try to source any leaks developed by the cooling system, but I highly doubt there is any on the upper components since I did a engine bay clean up and did not come across any white dried up coolant residue or build up however I will check the lower side of the cooling system to see if there is any signs of leak under there.

As far as driving the car overheated I am very very aware of this and inspect the temp needle with frequency while driving, I was lucky that when both expansion tanks exploded I took precautions immediately and the temp never went over 75%.

Quote:
Originally Posted by E46Mango View Post
distilled is a no-brainer. available at any store for like a dollar per gallon (if that)
Yes, it is pretty cheap I use distilled water when topping the reservoir, will use when doing the flush.
__________________

Last edited by wceoscar; 05-10-2011 at 07:08 PM.
wceoscar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 08:17 PM   #19
GuitarmanTT
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Ogden, Utah
Posts: 207
My Ride: 1999, E46 328i
White crusty stuff is a sign off coolant leaks, look around for white residue. I've noticed on a few BMWs that the bottom of the expansion tank where the sensors and pipes go in will bleed coolant and not drip (sign of just replacing the tank and not the sensor) You'll need to take off the splash shield to check it, Speaking of splash shield! Coolant may be dripping on that and evaporating before it pools and reaches the ground.

I find it kinda fun to get the car up, taking the shields, top engine covers, intake, washer fluid tank, and fan off and cleaning the motor, trans, shields, and check for any leaks, check the belts, pulleys, radiator, and bushings. I do it twice a year. It takes a few hours, but most the stuff that can go wrong you'll catch before it does or as it starts.

Just get a comfy crawler a beer fire up the bbq.
__________________
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg231/scaled.php?server=231&filename=img20110608111530.jpg&res=medium
GuitarmanTT is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

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 10:13 PM.


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