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Old 06-16-2011, 06:25 PM   #1
mack89
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Boiling coolant,,DUH!?!?!?!?

Well, my car's been driving jjjjust great til I found this problem..

On my way back to home today, low coolant light came on. Thankfully it happened two blocks away from my place.
So I parked my car, checked under the hood, and hhhoooolllllyyyyyy ssshh111tttttt!!!!!! Boiling coolant was coming off the cap

Seriously, this kind of disaster never happened before..It happened right in front of my face

So far, I've replaced thermostat, water pump(stewart), radiator cap and lower radiator hose. Expansion tank and upper radiator hose is old, but I don't think they could possibly cause this mess, yes?

I do know I need to replace auxiliary fan because of minor AC issue, but I'm not sure if a failed aux fan could heat up the coolant and eventually boil it. I thought when coolant heats up, thermostat does reduce the engine performance to prevent it from overheating..Perhaps coolant overheated beyond the thermostat's control?

Please give me any thoughts if anyone has experienced this mess before..
TIA!
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:39 PM   #2
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Well, first, therms themselves fail so don't think there's a method the car uses to cool itself off when it otherwise can't. Failed therm, wp are probably the leading causes of overheating...and of course, cracked ET.

If it was me, I'd fill up with just water and run it after bleeding and see if you fixed the issue. If you did, drain completely and fill with 50/50...just saves a little trouble and expense in case you have to do something over.

Anything can leak, and the cap itself does above 2 bar, but that's a safety, not a control.

Also, overfilling might lead to coolant leaving from cap too...you need that buffer of air in top of ET...don't overfill...I'm sure you know! Fill to between the two balls on the stick and you'll be safe.

Also, since this sounds like your first cooling issue, be sure to study bleeding threads...you know, until you're sticking needles in your fingers hoping it will lessen the agony...it won't!

Oh, btw, if you have a manual and only one fan, that issue you mention might well be the reason for your overheating...though the therm and wp are always welcomed additions to our cars!
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:40 PM   #3
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It could also be that the cap failed and it could have caused the coolant to come out.
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:41 PM   #4
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Are you sure it's the cap and not the bleeder screw? It's possible the cap went bad but the bleeder screw failing is far more likely.
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:57 PM   #5
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@Doug,

Well thermostat and WP are almost new, WP is less than a year old and thermostat is about half-years old. As far as I know, thermostat should be controlling coolant temperature to prevent coolant from boiling, BUT WHY did it boil??? I don't really think thermostat failed prematurely, well at least I hope so ....I'm leaning more toward aux fan..Last option would be head gasket, of course.....

@chris-alfonso
I just checked cap, o-rings were fine. I guess rings couldn't hold the pressure since coolant was boiling..

@deadpass
Absolutely don't think so, I did replace bleeder screw when this stupid thing broke..Both cap and bleeder screw are practically new, seals are just fine
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:06 PM   #6
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The way you wrote this, I thought you'd replaced that stuff after this leaking incident...which is why I wrote what I did.

Yes, the fan failing and you not driving fast enough could cause overheating.

If therm and wp are relatively new, you can hold on them for now, but you need to consider everything...no matter what any fanatic says...it's a system, and you need it all to be there for you!

If AM therm and not OE, that makes it more suspicious. You know Bimmersgarage has great vids for diagnosing leaks/issues with cooling system...I don't know where he got all those naked girl mechanics though!

I just read that there was a separate relay able to be bought for the electric fan, though I think maybe you have an auto and are talking about the fan in front...and I don't know how important that is with cooling issues, but it's there for a reason, I know that!
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:08 PM   #7
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If you are correct and your coolant is actually boiling, that means you didn't mix the correct amount of water/coolant last time you filled it. You added too much water.

More water than coolant will cause the boiling point to drop.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:09 PM   #8
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do both fans work and come on?
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:11 PM   #9
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@Doug
Indeed it's a system..I tend to focus on one subject, a small picture, not the whole system, big picture..
Even though thermostat was replaced with new factory part, I'm going to take it apart and inspect it again..More sweating is better than more spending

@330ciandr6
Only mechanical fan works, fan clutch is in great condition btw, and auxiliary fan does not work anymore. Obviously motor is dead since E46s don't have relay, I need a new fan unit...
If you are correct about wrong water/coolant mixture caused the boiling point to drop, that means...the combination of dead auxiliary fan and wrong mixture did accelerate coolant to boil sooner?

If aux fan was working properly and water/coolant mixture was correct, it could've prevented coolant from boiling, then coolant would've never came off from the cap, THEN low coolant light would've never came on...Indeed it's a system, not just a part. +1 Doug lol

Ok I'll start with coolant mixture and replace auxiliary fan in near future..
You guys saved me from circling around and getting into deep confusion which happens all the time to me, thank you
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mack89 View Post
@Doug
Indeed it's a system..I tend to focus on one subject, a small picture, not the whole system, big picture..
Even though thermostat was replaced with new factory part, I'm going to take it apart and inspect it again..More sweating is better than more spending

@330ciandr6
Only mechanical fan works, fan clutch is in great condition btw, and auxiliary fan does not work anymore. Obviously motor is dead since E46s don't have relay, I need a new fan unit...
If you are correct about wrong water/coolant mixture caused the boiling point to drop, that means...the combination of dead auxiliary fan and wrong mixture did accelerate coolant to boil sooner?

If aux fan was working properly and water/coolant mixture was correct, it could've prevented coolant from boiling, then coolant would've never came off from the cap, THEN low coolant light would've never came on...Indeed it's a system, not just a part. +1 Doug lol

Ok I'll start with coolant mixture and replace auxiliary fan in near future..
You guys saved me from circling around and getting into deep confusion which happens all the time to me, thank you
I hope it isn't a circle for you!

Not sure what you'd see inspecting the therm...also, you have another thermostat too for your trans...not sure how that fits into the picture. But work one thing at a time and don't ignore anything.

I'm not sure if the aux fan would result in overheating...so search threads on that. Good luck!
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:05 PM   #11
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How fast was the car moving when this happened?
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:18 PM   #12
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Mack,
With the heat we've been having.. were you idling for long periods? I would suspect your fan clutch is failed.. (Not pulling enough air flow.)
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:22 AM   #13
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@doug
I was going to replace AT fluid and t-stat very soon..but well, I gotta deal with cooling system until it gives absolutely no problem..how lucky afpojdspo

@pk_zhp
I was about 45mph, got off the 15 minutes of highway driving..

@BG
dont scare me!!!!!!
jk lol I have a brand new fan clutch from my friend's dead e36, but I forgot to take care of FC few hours ago..darn it.

I'll give you a sitrep tomorrow
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Old 06-17-2011, 05:19 AM   #14
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afpojdspo? Sorry, I'm not a man of letters!

I honestly don't know how the trans. cooling therm affects the rest of the system, but seem to recall an issue with trans. therm causing issue with cooling system. You're getting more heat into car because of trans and need to get it out...but it would surprise me if the aux fan failing is enough to cause an overheat...but then again, as we know, our car is one of fine balance...damn it! lol

Be dispassionate about diagnosing your system...just like a mechanic. One-by-one, easy/cheap, to difficult/expensive, and if your attempt doesn't work, just go wider in your replacing of random stuff. Still don't know if therm is aftermarket one or not...if it is, it 'could' be as simple as that. It 'could' be just the cap, but that's doubtful.

Your fan hadn't worked for a while, I guess, so either you've been lucky in your driving patterns, or something else has failed.

Also, on the 'boiling' and your mix: not so sure the mix could be that far off, as that'd be kind of odd...even here. When pressure is released, though, much gas that was dissolved will come out of solution. Why? PV=nRT

If you meant because steam was pouring out of system and thought it was boiling...that would just be because system was really hot and under pressure.
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:31 AM   #15
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At 45 MPH you fan has NO effect on the car. The airflow at that speed is far greater than anything a fan could provide. This sounds to me like either a bad water pump or a stuck thermostat.
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Old 01-19-2014, 08:47 AM   #16
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same problenm as 1st thread

Hello everyone, im now having this problem after replacing the water pump and fixing the hose pipe thingy the water is now coming out like a volcano lol, im going to mix water coolant as i put only water in and the light is not coming up on the dash as it was before but being that @mack89 had this problem im wondering if he sorted the problem n what it was because we all know how ppl smell money when they see our BMs and id like to know off ppl in the same boat as me please x
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