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Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning
Talk about driveline improvements, NA tuning and DME tuning your E46 BMW here. This includes diffs, intakes, exhausts, chips, software and OBD tuning.

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Old 11-17-2011, 02:59 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 10
My Ride: e30 318iS
Identifying extent of cooling issue

Looking at purchasing an '01 325i manual that's currently experiencing overheating at idle, but "runs perfectly" on the highway (quotes from seller).

Car has 200k miles on it.

Seller has no service records -- calling the dealer and doing a VIN lookup shows that it was last serviced by an authorized BMW dealer in 2003.

Price is a bit less than bluebook value, and I'm confident I could talk him down a grand or so -- coupled with an ECS Tuning Cooling System II overhaul, I think I could have a really nice car on my hands for cheap.

Problem is, I'm not sure the extent of the overheating damage -- was the car shut off in time? Head gasket failure? Warped heads?

Keep in mind, I'm a novice mechanic at best (I've changed plugs, oil, and wheels, that's about it), so I'm looking for a sure-fire way of identifying whether there's been any permanent/expensive damage at all or whether it's a thermostat, faulty fan, relay/fuse, etc. Basically anything below head gasket failure I'm going to pull the trigger on the car; anything more than that, I walk away.

Also, I don't mind spending a bit on getting an inspection so if you think that this would best be left to a pro with proper tools, lift, etc. please let me know what kind of test I should be asking for (I've heard "block test" being tossed around in the forums).

Thanks. Hope to be an active member of this site soon!
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Old 11-19-2011, 11:30 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Houston
Posts: 88
My Ride: 1987 R10
quick and dirty way to tell how bad it overheated:
Are the hoses NEW on the car ? yes .. no quick and easy way to find out.
Are the hoses OLD hoses - get a pocket screw driver and remove the upper radiator hose from the expansion tank and remove the hose. Your going to loose a little bit of coolant so count on adding some. Also cound on the fact to replace the bleeder screw.. chances of it failing after you remove it- high. So if you have hold hoses, and the car has been overheated badly, you will have white gummy looking caked on crud in the hose. Good chance your gona need an engine.
E46 323 swaped 2.8l
E39 LS v8 swap - in progress - motor/trans installed
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