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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 06-26-2011, 06:48 PM   #1
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My Ride: 2005 330xi
First BMW, First Post - Question on cooling system

Hi folks:

Just got my first BMW last month and have been trying to absorb as much as I can from reading e46fanatics. Needless to say, there's a lot of information and it very overwhelming.

Anyway, I bought a 2005 330xi with about 82k miles last month. In reading this website, I see a lot of mention of cooling system problems. Can someone tell me whether these problems are restricted to a certain model or certain year(s) of manufacture?

Thanks for any info.
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Old 06-26-2011, 07:53 PM   #2
Mark M
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Location: Lancaster, PA
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Hi and welcome. Great choice for a first BMW!

Generally BMW cooling systems have reached the end of their life span at or around 100k miles. The cooling systems are made of mostly plastic components. With countless heat cycles and age the plastic begins to get brittle and can and will crack leaving you stranded or worse....a blown motor if you drive on an overheated engine.

On the e46 the first part prone to fail is the expansion tank. It is plastic and it will rupture spilling all coolant out on to the motor way.

A typical cooling system overhaul includes:
Expansion tank
Water Pump
Serpentine belts
Upper and lower Radiator hoses if needed
Radiator if needed

Some choose to do the radiator at the same time because you already have it apart, others, due to cost of the unit, choose to wait until it absolutely needs it.

On my dad's and my car, I did the radiator at the same time. This way I know I am guarenteed another 100k miles.

Not sure what climate your car spent it's life, if it was in a cooler Northern state, you should be good for another 15 or 20k miles until you need to do this overhaul. Or if you want the solid piece of mind, plan for it sooner.

Just DON'T drive the car if the coolant ruptures and leaks out!! It is an aluminum block and head....meaning it will warp from heat very quickly leaving you with a nice 330xi paperweight.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:16 PM   #3
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Prevent cooling issues and take service of your cooling system one step further with an ECS Tuning Level 2 Cooling System Maintenance Kit. The experts at ECS have identified all of the common parts that fail on a BMW and included them all in this convenient kit.

BMW has been designing notoriously failure-prone cooling systems since the late 1980s. The coolant capacity in most BMW engines is not sufficient to accommodate any driving or overheating near red zone temperatures. After the gauge reaches this critical area, it is common for thousands of dollars in damage to occur.

Stop the problems before they arise. If you vehicle has 60,000 miles or more, replace all of these components to ensure that your vehicle stays healthy. To keep everything in top order, continue to replace these components at 60,000 mile intervals. Water pump failure, cracked plastic housings, and expansion tank leaks will not be a concern once all these problem parts are replaced.

Click HERE for more information.

Please let us know if you have any questions! Feel free to shoot me a PM or email.


Have questions? Need answers? Live Chat us! 8:30am to 12:00am Midnight EST
sales@ecstuning.com | customerservice@ecstuning.com
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:24 PM   #4
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-Stewart waterpump
-OE thermostat
-OE expansion tank

Do those and you should be good to go. Radiators last about 200k, hoses are more durable than this forum suggests.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:34 PM   #5
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Thank you all for the info.
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Old 06-28-2011, 02:08 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum!

Just make sure you Start planning (saving) for the inevitable. As mentioned above... all cooling system components, Plus suspension & brakes, window regulators, A/C FSR. Not necessarily in that order, BUT those are the parts that (are most susceptible to failure) will need to be replaced around your mileage.
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Old 06-28-2011, 02:33 PM   #7
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Read the link in my sig.
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:53 PM   #8
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ECSTUNING - thats not showing up on ur site, u have another link
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:11 PM   #9
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WARNING reading all the posts about all the bad that can happen to your car will make you paranoid in no time, and they didnt even get to the front end yet
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:17 PM   #10
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ha true, im just lookin into things since i gotta PCS to san antonio n my XI is gonna b making the 1700+ mile drive down there
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:34 AM   #11
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Recommend doing the tensioner pulleys at the same time. They're cheap, and the bearings can and do go after time. Easy to do while in there too. Most kits don't include them for whatever reason though.
"It doesn't matter if your car is the fastest on the race-track. It's a different story on the streets. Your car has to be fun, fast, and safe in any road condition." - Keiichi Tsuchiya
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