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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 09-27-2014, 09:42 AM   #1
Ceric
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Join Date: Apr 2014
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What can cause coolant to leak once and not again?

Thank God I check under the hood often.

Three days ago I checked under the hood and saw white stains all over the place. My immediate suspicion was a coolant leak. I checked the expansion tank coolant level and the floater that indicates the fluid level was completely bottomed out.

Now here is the interesting thing, the dash light for low coolant never came on! When i do the dash light check, it comes on, so the bulb is functional. Why didn't the warning indicator come on?

I filled it with what I think was around 800 ml of water (almost a liter) and it was enough to get the level indicator floating thingy back up to full status. I have been driving it for 3 days since then and the level has not dropped at all.

Between me last checking the under the hood and checking again and noticing a leak was 2 to 3 days max (I like to check under the hood often). So what could cause such a big leak, and then completely disappear??

The mechanical radiator fan blades where white with coolant and they flung the coolant on to everything, its on the expansion tank right next to the fan, on the hood right above the fan, and on everything else in direct path of the fan. What in the world could have caused this leak? I tried looking all over the place and no luck. As well, as i've mentioned, it's not leaking anymore since i've topped it off with distilled water.
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Old 09-27-2014, 09:45 AM   #2
wasp9166
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water pump leak , replace it


you filled it with just water?


bmw coolant or zerex g-05, 50/50 ..................

Last edited by wasp9166; 09-27-2014 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 09-27-2014, 10:14 AM   #3
Ceric
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Yeah filled it with just water until I could sort out where the leak was, and to test how fast it would empty again. But it doesn't seem to be emptying anymore. I have no intention of permanently running it on water.
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Old 09-27-2014, 10:33 AM   #4
tcphoto
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I would pull the fan and clean everything in order to see where the coolant is coming from. I'd also pull the water pump pulley and see if there is residue from a bad pump. You may also have a bad cap on the tank. I finally sorted out my leak which was a bad water connection pipe under the expansion tank, bracket and ORings on the transmission cooler.
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Old 09-27-2014, 10:37 AM   #5
TRITONAL
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Originally Posted by tcphoto View Post
I would pull the fan and clean everything in order to see where the coolant is coming from. I'd also pull the water pump pulley and see if there is residue from a bad pump. You may also have a bad cap on the tank. I finally sorted out my leak which was a bad water connection pipe under the expansion tank, bracket and ORings on the transmission cooler.
I had to do this to find out my upper radiator hose leaked where it connected to the expansion tank. Replaced the hose, and no more leaks
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The E46s are the Knights of the chessboard. They can outmaneuver the other, more powerful pieces on the board. They aren't the King or Queen of the garage, but they are the first piece that you want to move.
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