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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 10-17-2011, 07:52 PM   #1
Bake
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Low Coolant

Drove from NYC to Philly this morning for work and this evening I go to my car to grab my bag and move my car to a better spot in the garage and my coolant light comes on. My problem is I am in the middle of the city so there is no place to buy coolant close by. The next time I drive the car will be when I am headed back to NY. If I buy coolant once I get out of the city, I will have to sit around and wait for the engine to cool down to add and it will already be late and I just want to head home. My question is, if I just add water to get the level back up to normal, how do I get back the right mix of coolant/water when I return home? Normally I would just use antifreeze that is already a 50/50 mix. I guess this is a sign that I need to do my coolant system overhaul sooner rather than later.
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:11 PM   #2
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Do you have access to distilled water? That is your best bet. I am almost willing to bet that you will need so little of it hat you won't have to worry about diluting the mixture too much.

If you have no way of getting distilled, using regular is not the end of the world, it's fine.

2nd point regarding cool-off. If you are rally really careful you *can* open the cap while it's hot. Twist very slowly, once you hear hissing, stop twisting and move your hand away. Once the hissing goes away it means there is no residual pressure in the system you can untwist the car.

Again, it's doable, just be careful.
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:15 PM   #3
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yes it will be fine just after you get back you will need to flush your system and redo the coolant. However to loose that much coolant it is probably got a leak somewhere. have a safe trip home. Also try to used distilled water and keep a gallon or two with you on your way home just incase....worst comes worst throw a towel or shirt on the cap and then open it most would say never do that but sometimes you got to do what ya got to do.
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:18 PM   #4
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U can add plain water ,your car wont explode.
Your perfect 50/50 mixture wont be disturbed.
Lol

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Old 10-17-2011, 08:47 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. There is a pharmacy right by my office so hopefully I can grab some distilled water there. If not, bottled water will have to do. :-)
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:48 PM   #6
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Monitor engine temp more than you would normally, and if it starts to rise, pull over, turn car off and to position 2, fan on high, heater on high...take as much heat away from engine as you can through the heater.

Distilled from any supermarket is best. You can fix ratio if you need to by turkey basting out ET and adding straight coolant.
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmax View Post
Monitor engine temp more than you would normally, and if it starts to rise, pull over, turn car off and to position 2, fan on high, heater on high...take as much heat away from engine as you can through the heater.

Distilled from any supermarket is best. You can fix ratio if you need to by turkey basting out ET and adding straight coolant.
Good tip, thanks bud!
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