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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 11-06-2012, 12:31 PM   #1
noc0de
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: LaGrange, OH
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My Ride: 2004 325i
100k Problems!

Been reading here since I bought my car a year ago. I recently had some issues with my E46 and figured I would share for the masses, and of course I have a question.

A few hundred miles after hitting 100k, my car stalled on me immediately after starting. After sitting a few minutes it started, and had some power loss. I recently pumped gas, so I thought that possibly it was bad gas. I drove for 3-4 days like this, sometimes having no symptoms. It stalled again, and this time after starting it was almost as if it was out of gas until it warmed up a little. I'm now thinking my fuel filter is clogged, and still wondering if it was bad gas. The tank was almost gone, so I pumped gas, and went about my way. The next time I tried to start the vehicle it wasn't having it.

Long story short, I got the vehicle home and started troubleshooting. My fuel pump was dead. It was strange to me how it has a slow fail. In my experience they either work or they don't. I didn't get any loud "whirrling" noises from the pump before it started to go. I did however run my tank until the low fuel light came on several times before refueling before this happened. Lesson learnt.

So I changed the fuel pump and filter at the same time. Everything went well. This was my first time having to work on my vehicle by jacking it up. Normally I use ramps. What a pain! Since the car wouldn't start I couldn't get it on my (rhino) ramps this time, so I placed my jack under the front driver side jack point and jacked it up high enough to put a ramp under the front tire, then did the same to the passenger side. I was not particularly fond of the twisting motion this puts on the vehicle, but from what I read a lot of people jack their cars this way to put them on jack stands, which is probably a few inches higher than my rhino ramps.

So now time for my question, after finishing the job, my coolant light started coming on, and twice I've gotten a yellow oil light after shutting off the vehicle. This did not start until after jacking the vehicle to do the fuel pump and filter. I did my cooling system overhaul(pump, tank, hoses, therm, and sensors) less than 10k ago. Checking the coolant with the engine warm, I see no coolant in the tank. I haven't overheated and the coolant light goes out when the engine comes up to temp. There is a small leak, but I haven't found it yet. Could this have happened from jacking up the vehicle? I decided against replacing my radiator when I did the overhaul, I'm wondering if that is the source of my leak.

Also the oil light? Any suggestions? It's about time to change the oil again, so I guess I will see if it persists after changing.

Anyways, just my experience lately. Don't let your tank go below 1/4 unless you like changing fuel pumps! I'm hoping I get all of this solved before winter and don't have more problems. I really love this car and hope to see it hit 200k!
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:40 PM   #2
lcoleman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noc0de View Post
Since the car wouldn't start I couldn't get it on my (rhino) ramps this time, so I placed my jack under the front driver side jack point and jacked it up high enough to put a ramp under the front tire, then did the same to the passenger side. I was not particularly fond of the twisting motion this puts on the vehicle, but from what I read a lot of people jack their cars this way to put them on jack stands, which is probably a few inches higher than my rhino ramps.
Please use jackstands, not ramps. This is extremely dangerous, as there is absolutely nothing to stop the car from rolling off of the ramps unless you chock the wheels, and even then, it's pretty sketchy. I recommend jacking the front and back independently, but that's a can of worms and the general disagrees with me.

Quote:
So now time for my question, after finishing the job, my coolant light started coming on, ... Checking the coolant with the engine warm, I see no coolant in the tank.
Check coolant when cold (it says so right on the cap!). If you're low, add more. Monitor to see just how much you're losing.
Quote:
...and twice I've gotten a yellow oil light after shutting off the vehicle.
Have you considered checking your oil with the dipstick? That's generally the next step.
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:44 PM   #3
trj
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Fuel pump is an easy DIY.
But Fuel filter is a dirty DIY, especially when you get sprayed on the face with the petrol.
Glad you got both taken care of.

Yellow oil light means you are low on oil. Just check the oil level and top it up. May be you have an oil leak at VCG, OFHG or CCV went kaput. These are the main reasons for oil loss. No need to change the oil if its not time yet. I hope you are familiar with BMW LL-01 spec oils and use the same. You can go upto or more than 10000 miles with these spec oil(although the dealer says you can go 15k, I refuse to do so).

Low coolant light means you are loosing/low on coolant. Dont drive the car till you trace the leak(if there is any). Our engines overheat really quickly and render the engine useless if it is driven without the coolant circulating even for a short amount of time. Since you have done an overhaul of cooling system recently, radiator(which is the one that you didnt replace) sounds like the culprit. But I'd not bet on the radiator till I see the leak there. Check the upper and lower hoses and thermostat housing for leaks. Expansion tank may have a hairline crack that you are not able to see. But first step is to add coolant and see if the level dips.

Unless you drained the coolant when you jacked the car up, there is no reason for loosing coolant just by jacking it up.
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:52 PM   #4
jfoj
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Your problems are NORMAL!

See all the links below in my signature.

Likely your fan switch in the lower radiator hose is leaking, O-ring part number in my signature.

Oil light coming on when you turn the engine off likely means you are at least 1 quart low on oil and/or your thermal oil sensor is failing.

Also look at the cooling system thread in the stickies at the begining of the forum, in the first 10 items listed. E46Mango has all you need to know about major cooling system issues.

Welcome to the 10 year/100k club, spend your money on tools and PM, otherwise you should by by a Honda!
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Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:52 PM   #5
noc0de
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Quote:
Have you considered checking your oil with the dipstick? That's generally the next step.
LOL. Yes, I considered it immediately after getting the yellow light and I did it. I figured that went without saying I guess. It's not low, and I have no leaks as far as I can tell. I'm assuming the oil level sensor is at fault. I was wondering if it was somehow related to the twisting force on the car when jacking it.

Quote:
Please use jackstands, not ramps. This is extremely dangerous, as there is absolutely nothing to stop the car from rolling off of the ramps unless you chock the wheels, and even then, it's pretty sketchy. I recommend jacking the front and back independently, but that's a can of worms and the general disagrees with me.
I keep some pressure on the jack point with my floor jack while it's on the ramps as a fail safe, and emergency brake applied and wheels chocked. Sometimes I will also put a tire underneath as additional caution. I would like to use my jack stands but I don't have adapters for them, and they don't play nicely with the plastic jack points.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:01 PM   #6
noc0de
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I hope you are familiar with BMW LL-01 spec oils and use the same. You can go upto or more than 10000 miles with these spec oil(although the dealer says you can go 15k, I refuse to do so).
Yes sir. I used Mobil-1 0W-40 (European Formula) last time I changed the oil. I planned on changing it every 7,500. It has close to 6,000 miles since I changed it, so I might just go ahead and do it now before winter.

Quote:
Likely your fan switch in the lower radiator hose is leaking, O-ring part number in my signature.
I changed this as part of my overhaul. Could it possibly have went out again that fast? I see a little dried up coolant on the top of my expansion tank, but it could be from the bleeder screw. I suppose it's possible I overfilled and caused a leak when I did the overhaul. I've heard they are very sensitive to overfilling, and have even been advised to run it just a little low if anything.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:19 PM   #7
trj
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Originally Posted by noc0de View Post
LOL. Yes, I considered it immediately after getting the yellow light and I did it. I figured that went without saying I guess. It's not low, and I have no leaks as far as I can tell. I'm assuming the oil level sensor is at fault. I was wondering if it was somehow related to the twisting force on the car when jacking it.
The twisting force will not trigger yellow oil light. Our cars go through all kinds of bumps and pot holes. If that kind of force triggered the oil light then our cluster would always be a christmas tree.

Dont count on the visible leaks. Belly pans on e46 are pretty big, they can easily hold upto a quart. So you might be leaking and never know because you didnt see a puddle where you parked. Also VCG leaks the oil directly on the exhaust(usually) so if might be burning out the oil before it has a chance to make a mark.
CCV is another culprit in making our cars loose oil.
Then comes OFHG, which will leak around 100k mark. Its a good idea to do OFHG with CCV if you plan on doing CCV because its a $7 part and makes CCV job a hell lot easier.
Other is oil pan itself. You might be leaking on the oil pan as well.

When the oil level sender goes bad, it usually lights up red when you start the car and stays on for about 15 secs.

Chasing a leak is not fun, I just re-did the VCG and still loosing oil. I know I have to replace CCV and OFHG, but I just am strapped because of time constraint.
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:24 PM   #8
Wolrab
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If you wind up changing the oil level sensor, oil change time is the time to do it.
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:27 PM   #9
FenderGuy05
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You only need to change the sensor if the orange light comes on when you start the car right? If it pops on when you turn the car off, means your at the minimum line. This happened to me this morning, guess I'm losing about a quart every 4-5k, just going to add some myself until I hit the 7500 mark and then I'll do a change and possibly the OFHG. VCG and CCV are on my list as well.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:01 PM   #10
noc0de
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I just pulled the splash shield and I do see some small leaks. Not enough to form drops. Not sure if it's the OFHG or not. I'm going to try and get a picture of where I am assuming the leak is. I'm sure at 100k it's probably time for VCG, OFHG, and dreaded CCV/OS anyways.

Oil level is above the minimum, but not at full. The yellow light has only come on twice. Once right after test driving with the new fuel pump, and again almost a week later. Only comes on after shutdown.

Now back to trying to find the coolant leak. I am suspecting radiator, somewhere around the drain plug on the rad. Appears to be a very small leak, I guess it's just coincidence that it happens right after doing the fuel pump. I also want to tell everyone that I hate plastic. At least the plastic that BMW uses in our cooling systems.
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