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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 12-20-2012, 11:54 AM   #21
330iPilot
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Today my car overheated due to it leaking a huge amount of water. Now I have to see what is leaking tomorrow morning. Guys, I like how the car drives; I just hate the stupidity BMW invested in how reliable they made the car, and I'm pointing out the cooling system. Why the need of an expansion tank ? Why not just a simple radiator without all the additional unnecessary fragile plastic they add ? If I could go back or had the option, I'd go for an STI !
I haven't seen a cooling system w/out an expansion/overflow tank of some sort for at least 30 years. Some of them might not, I just don't know of any.

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Old 12-20-2012, 11:58 AM   #22
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I haven't seen a cooling system w/out an expansion/overflow tank of some sort for at least 30 years. Some of them might not, I just don't know of any.
They all have some sort of reservoir as does any fluid system on the vehicle (engine/tranny are built in). The difference on ours is that it is 100% sealed and pressurized. Regular reservoirs are at atmospheric pressure.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:02 PM   #23
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I haven't seen a cooling system w/out an expansion/overflow tank of some sort for at least 30 years. Some of them might not, I just don't know of any.
Every other car I've ever worked on has only had a radiator, water pump, upper/lower radiator hoses, thermostat, heater core/hoses and that's it. Our cars seem to be full of unnecessary plastic crap we don't need. It's already been understood it's the weakest link of the car, so why defend it with when there's no wise logic behind this? It's so stupid. It's my first time seeing this "expansion tank" addition crap.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:03 PM   #24
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* coolant reservoir.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:09 PM   #25
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They all have some sort of reservoir as does any fluid system on the vehicle (engine/tranny are built in). The difference on ours is that it is 100% sealed and pressurized. Regular reservoirs are at atmospheric pressure.
Right. Other cars have the much simpler coolant overflow reservoir so why in the world do we need the vulnerable crap we have to replace and worry of blowing up all the time? Look at all these other cars who don't utilize this "expansion" tank; they don't have this problem. Don't get me wrong, I love how the car handles, I just despise how needy it is due to BMW's lack of constructing a tougher cooling system.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:11 PM   #26
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Our cooling system is pressurized, hence we have pressure cap.
Our engine temperature is hotter than most cars hence we need higher pressure.

P/T = nR/V. We can assume the right hand side as constant. Then higher pressure leads to higher temperature. Which is more efficient.

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Old 12-20-2012, 12:12 PM   #27
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Right. Other cars have the much simpler coolant overflow reservoir so why in the world do we need the vulnerable crap we have to replace and worry of blowing up all the time? Look at all these other cars who don't utilize this "expansion" tank; they don't have this problem. Don't get me wrong, I love how the car handles, I just despise how needy it is due to BMW's lack of constructing a tougher cooling system.
I wish I could think of a good reason for it. All I can think is that they wanted it to be a minimum volume (2 gallons is tiny) so they had to pressurize it because of concerns about boiling the coolant. The pressure also eliminates cavitation which would reduce the water pump efficiency. Cavitation also eats the material surrounding the location of the cavitation.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:14 PM   #28
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It's not that I'm "unreliable", the previous owner just neglected to maintain this car so much that I'm stuck having to renew literally the whole car. Unreliable? Nope. I take care of all my cars.


You bought a used car... what did you expect?

(Please pardon my auto-correct)
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:24 PM   #29
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You bought a used car... what did you expect?

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Lol
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:33 PM   #30
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You bought a used car... what did you expect?

(Please pardon my auto-correct)
I'm well aware of the obvious. My point is that the e46 cooling system is retarted and weak.
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:48 PM   #31
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I'm well aware of the obvious. My point is that the e46 cooling system is retarted and weak.
No. Owners are retarded and weak. I'm on my 6th BMW and have driven well over 250,000 actual driving miles. I've never had a problem with any of my BMW cooling systems.

I do, however, have first-hand experience with cooling system failures of other makes including Toyota, Inifniti (brand new off the lot Inifniti that blew its transmission due to a blown cooling system off the showroom floor--few k miles), Honda, etc.

Never BMW though. Easily the most reliable brand I've ever owned. Would never drive anything else.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:19 PM   #32
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Why not just find the leak and fix it, or take the more expensive route and replace everything? Coolant leaks don't get better, you should've fixed it instead of driving it when you knew you had to add water every morning.

I think your water pump install was botched, and created the leak. You said it didn't leak before that.
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:03 PM   #33
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Why not just find the leak and fix it, or take the more expensive route and replace everything? Coolant leaks don't get better, you should've fixed it instead of driving it when you knew you had to add water every morning.

I think your water pump install was botched, and created the leak. You said it didn't leak before that.
I'm thinking you are right. People pinch the WP oring on install and ruin the seal sometimes.
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:43 PM   #34
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I took a look at the water pump and around the area to see if there were any wet spots and nope. Did I install the expansion tank incorrectly maybe! There's small pieces at the bottom of the expansion tank were it connects. Maybe i didn't install it right? I did out it back the way it was on the older tank. Any pics or vids I can look at to see where I could have gone wrong ? Mango I know you have this info!!
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:44 PM   #35
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He'll ask you why you didn't replace the radiator hoses as well
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:45 PM   #36
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^ Mango, don't ask me that. Tell me more about the expansion tank and how to correctly install it, please? Lol.
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:47 PM   #37
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^ Mango, don't ask me that. Tell me more about the expansion tank and how to correctly install it, please? Lol.
you just seat it down firmly then snap the locking clip into place. You'll know you've pushed it down far enough when the hook of the expansion tank hooks onto the ET bracket
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:51 PM   #38
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Facepalm...I remember accidentally breaking the clip. Prior to this, I still had a leak. Buy the clip now ?
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:51 PM   #39
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I have a new tank installed, but I don't think it came with it?
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:52 PM   #40
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Did the ET click? It's probably not seated.
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