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General E46 Forum
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:28 AM   #1
Toxx
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Overheated?!

Alright, kinda freaking out, hope it's nothing.

Just sitting in the car with the girlfriend car idling eating. Look at the dash, needles way in the red. This could've possibly been going on for a couple minutes.. Maybe only a few seconds, I have no idea. Turned the car off right away, got out checked the oil, perfect. I'm no mechanic.. But I'm guessing I'm going to be getting "read my sig about replacing your entire cooling system lolool".

Tldr: temp needle in red, possibly for minutes
Oil fine
Where to start
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:08 AM   #2
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I'd probably start by looking for leaks and checking my coolant level.
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:51 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Toxx View Post
Alright, kinda freaking out, hope it's nothing.

Just sitting in the car with the girlfriend car idling eating. Look at the dash, needles way in the red. This could've possibly been going on for a couple minutes.. Maybe only a few seconds, I have no idea. Turned the car off right away, got out checked the oil, perfect. I'm no mechanic.. But I'm guessing I'm going to be getting "read my sig about replacing your entire cooling system lolool".

Tldr: temp needle in red, possibly for minutes
Oil fine
Where to start
i take it replacing everything isn't an option, correct?

if it suddenly overheated without prior repair or warning, then something failed. two possibilities :

fan switch failed

leak introduced air into system

you know my advice. regular fanatics should known better.

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Old 09-20-2012, 06:05 AM   #4
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Idling with gf...getting a little cold outside and you wanted her to feel comfortable removing, say, her jacket...right?

You turned on the heat maybe?

Maybe it is just a bleeding issue...

If you have a fan clutch, there are threads on diagnosing it too. Read Mango's cooling sticky and about 4 more long cooling threads...to get a sense of what's up and what your options are.
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:39 AM   #5
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worried about a bad HG?

only REAL way to confirm failure is with a compression leakdown test...NOT A COMPRESSION TEST but a COMPRESSION LEAKDOWN test.

I'm not sure how to check for the fan function on the E46 but I'm going to assume it's the same as the facelift (99+) E38 where the fan receives a square wave signal from the ECU to run.......It's tough to diag without the proper tools. It could be a bad fan temp switch/coolant temp sensor, low coolant level, air pocket in cooling system (unlikely to happen all of a sudden) Can this be checked with GT-1?

crude HG diag tools? Does your coolant hose stay pressurized afte driving the car and checking it in the morning? Is there oil in your water or vice-versa (you can see oil in the water...in the oil, you can see some white-ish frothiness)


the possibility of a blown HG is very high if it was for over a minute....along with a warped or even cracked cylinder head
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:48 AM   #6
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It is a secondary concern but take a good look at your valve cover also - warps very easily in a overheat situation.

First concern, of course, is why it overheated in the first place. Check your cooling system - all of it. If you have coolant, check the water pump.
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:52 AM   #7
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It is a secondary concern but take a good look at your valve cover also - warps very easily in a overheat situation.

First concern, of course, is why it overheated in the first place. Check your cooling system - all of it. If you have coolant, check the water pump.
I would call a potential bad HG a primary concern..........the causes have reaped what they have sown and are now secondary

fix the HG (if it is in fact borked) before it gets so bad you mess up your motor (it can happen) with a cracked block or a seized rotating assembly
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:12 PM   #8
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Bleed the coolant first and make sure there is no air bubbles. If you didnt see any smoke/steam from under the hood, you might get lucky. It might have been just 5 seconds that you noticed the temp in red zone. Dont make big assumptions right away.
You were not driving, so may be the fan was not running(faulty temp sensor or the fan may be the culprit, not running the fan when needed).

Test the fan by sending direct 12V.

Check for oil in the coolant and vice versa.

If it all passes out, then you might want to do a compression leakdown test as mentioned above.

Cooling system, mango is already here to explain everything so no need for me to mention again, but do check(test) everything.

You dont want to be in the red zone again, so be proactive here now.
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:49 PM   #9
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Also it's a good thing you were just idling, as this would not give you big spikes in temp or rapid rise that driving would do. So the odds are better for you that you didn't damage anything (than if you were driving in the red)

I'm guessing it's not the fact that you didn't have a proper bleed, unless you just messed with your cooling system in some way. Something had to cause this. The cooling system was compromised in some way so that it lost pressure. This can come from, as mango said, the fan not operating properly (causes coolant temp to reach boiling via increased temperature) or because the system is not holding pressure due to a leak (causes coolant temp to reach boiling because it is lower than required pressure)
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:15 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by choxor View Post
I'd probably start by looking for leaks and
checking my coolant level
.
^ this
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:56 PM   #11
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I was having overheating issues with my 323ci but took care of it, i took it to get checked out and at first my radiator was cracked, so got that replaced with the proper coolant and they bleed system properly. I noticed it would still overheat in standstills after like 20 or 30 miutes. Just was taking a bit longer to overheat since the radiator was new. Then i noticed my radiator fan was not turning on. Long story short got the fan along the the control module and the temperature sensor and its all good now. I was at the Tijuana border for over 3 hours with no issues.
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:16 PM   #12
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Well fellas, thanks for all the replies. Coolant is low.. So buying some coolant as we speak, so you guys know what this is? This seems pretty burnt. It's the little metal box with a plastic backing on it right behind the radiator.
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:19 PM   #13
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Looks like the electronics that control the fan. If that's buggered, you may have found the problem. Or possibly another effect of a still-unknown cause.
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:43 PM   #14
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Found a little something else..
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:47 PM   #15
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Found a little something else..
Secondary air pump. It's not related to any overheating or coolant leakage concerns.
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:50 PM   #16
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That's probably not connected with the overheating problem, but will need to be fixed. The gadget that hose is attached to is the Secondary Air Pump. It pays to have a look around under the hood once in a while. You may find all sorts of stuff you'd prefer not to know about!
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:08 PM   #17
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Thanks guys, appreciate it. Going to replace that fan motor(?) and the hose. No oil or anything in the coolant, it wasn't completely empty, just filled it up. Then what's the next step?
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:10 PM   #18
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Toxx. You've been here since March 2011.

1) have you read my cooling thread?

2) assuming you have, how come you didn't follow my advice to prevent this from happening in the first place?

3) how come you are saying you'll just replace the fan motor (which you can't replace independently) and "the hose"? Are you in disagreement with replacing everything?
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:19 PM   #19
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I haven't read your entire thread I've been in classes in and out all day. Once I get home i'll read up. I'm a sophomore in college, so money doesn't come easily, guess I'm in denial of having to replace a ton of stuff!
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:23 PM   #20
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I haven't read your entire thread I've been in classes in and out all day. Once I get home i'll read up. I'm a sophomore in college, so money doesn't come easily, guess I'm in denial of having to replace a ton of stuff!
skip the beer for a few months!
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