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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 11-03-2012, 03:26 AM   #1
Shadow330xi
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All aluminum radiator?

Anyone replaced their OEM radiator with an aftermarket all aluminum one? Looking at doing my cooling system soon and wondered if people have and what their experiences have been with them. Thanks!
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:59 AM   #2
White_Knuckles
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All aluminum like the side tanks and everything? I've only spotted one company that makes that description. They even have an aluminum expansion tank built-in!

Unfortunately, they are made per order and cost near $1000! The company started with a "Z" and these are for racing applications. Should others clone them, I'm sure they would be a good seller at a $300 price point.

Edit: For your system effort, look into a Stewart pump. You'll have considerable piece of mind for a few more bucks. Also, if you have an automatic, buy the lower thermostat too. When the E-tank breaks free from the coupling it often damages the stat from impact. Mine blew into pieces. A new stat is a good thing whether you shatter it or not. Don't go cheap with cooling replacement parts OEM or an OEM supplier only. Especially that E-tank!!!
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:23 PM   #3
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Ya, ordering all new belts and pulleys here next week and then onto the cooling system. Luckley I don't have to drive anywhere so that gives me some time. I wasn't aware that they costed that much, hopefully someone clones them soon and makes them cheaper haha. Mines a manual, I hate driving automatics for some reason.

Does the stewart pump increase the flow of coolent over the OEM pumps? I know it has a metal impeller instead of a composit one, so that is nice.
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:36 PM   #4
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I wouldn't do a radiator preventatively. They are usually good to 200k miles in my experience.
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:09 PM   #5
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Does the stewart pump increase the flow of coolent over the OEM pumps? I know it has a metal impeller instead of a composit one, so that is nice.

Yes, but very slight flow increase. The impeller, massive bearing and quality is the bonus. Just look at the pictures, they're killer pumps that won't grenade.

You may get a new pump drive pulley in aluminum (cheap) as the composite one you're taking off may be tired and crack. Don't get underdrive pulleys! Stewart says NO.
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:46 PM   #6
Shadow330xi
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ya, wasn't planning on the radiator, just was wondering about it. Ill have to check out the pump and I agree white_knuckles I was planning on replacing both the powersteering and water pump with aluminum ones.
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:38 PM   #7
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^Return the belt then, and buy a power pulley set and match it with a Stewart waterpump.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:57 AM   #8
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Kubica, not sure if you're suggesting underdrive by "power pulley set"?

Basically, Stewart states in their info. to not underdrive their water pump as flow result will be wrong. Just match the factory mm spec. for all aluminum replacement pulleys.

Edit: I never argue with Kubi, ('cause he knows a great deal more than I) however, I'm certain on this one. Keep the factory belt and pulley sizing. You may confirm this on the Stewart website.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:47 PM   #9
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^Its worked for me for many years/miles/races.

It's still a net increase in flow. Either mod alone works fine. I'm sure it's just Stewart covering their butt. I see no downsides. Tightens up the steering too.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:00 PM   #10
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No reason for all aluminum, and frankly, as they're all aftermarket and expensive and seemingly don't always fit...not seeing the reason for one. My OE radiator started leaking around 185K miles. Of course, ymmv, but for me, it couldn't be much better. Same with OE ET (mine lasted 9 years)...my wp is going on 90K miles (graf, I think).

Don't mess around with the cooling system...it's too important. Also, the pulleys you have are fine...when you get to them, replace both tensioner pulleys and idler pulley and inspect the rest.
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:29 AM   #11
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^Its worked for me for many years/miles/races.

It's still a net increase in flow. Either mod alone works fine. I'm sure it's just Stewart covering their butt. I see no downsides. Tightens up the steering too.

Long as this has been tested then experience prevails. Underdrive may spin it down from rated flow closer to factory flow? Spinning it faster would be bad.

I found quality aluminum pulleys for under $20 each. Reusing the composite pump pulley has been reported that they sometimes crack when tightening. It's plastic that's been cooked from engine heat for months, seems probable.
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:53 AM   #12
Shadow330xi
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dmax, ya wasn't planning on going all aluminum, was just wondering if anyone had and their experience. I plan on replacing all the pulleys just for peace of mind.
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:57 PM   #13
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I've put aluminum radiators in other vehicles. I measure the size of the stock radiator then check out universal aluminum radiators on Summit Racing to find one the right size and with the intake and output in the right places. Those can be moved if necessary by a good aluminum welder. Weld mounting tabs in the stock positions and you are done. You can usually do it for $200-$300.

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