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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 12-07-2012, 12:22 PM   #1
BMWirris
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Join Date: Dec 2012
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Question Coolant/Heat Problems

Hey guys! I'm Will. I recently joined the site after buying my first BMW, 2003 330i 5 speed. Now, I must say I LOVE the car, but in the 6 weeks I've owned it, I've spent almost as much time with it in the shop as driving it, and with Oklahoma's consumer laws, there's nothing I can do about it, so, here's whats going on. I'm REALLY hoping someone has a few suggestions.

10 days after buying the car the coolant light comes on, and I have a 2"x 2" puddle of coolant under my car. Just to be on the safe side, I bring it to my mechanic, he refers me to a performance shop. The guy tells me water pump, so I get the water pump done. Great. 2 weeks later, coolant light again and although no puddle, I can smell the coolant every time I get out. Bring it back, he pressure tests it, can't get it to leak but replaces the radiator cap. I pick it up yesterday, drive away, and the heat doesn't work. According to the thermostat, the car is at normal operating temp. So I get on the highway, after 1/2 mile of ~70 mph the heat starts working, simultaneously my good ol coolant light comes on. If I stop for 20 seconds at a stoplight, my heat turns cold and the coolant light goes off. I start driving again, heat works and the coolant light is on again.
I won't even try to make a guess as to what it is, I've driven Nissans and Acura's for the 9 years I've had a driver's license. Help?
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:50 PM   #2
limpiabota809
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http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=914109

^ read mangos coolant thread ^
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:19 PM   #3
scarede46er
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Thermostat is definitely one culprit. Read mango's thread. It is time for a cooling system overhaul.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:39 PM   #4
Wolrab
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The whole cooling system would cost you $300 to $400 for parts (luckily you have a manual). You've already done the water pump, so that takes down what's left a bit. It's an easy DIY, and all the info you need is in Mango's sticky thread at the top of the main page. Read first, get started, then come back on here for help if you get stuck. Good luck!

Edit: By the way, my crystal balls tell me that there's a fuel pump and filter in your near future. The choice is whether to change the pump before it fails, or after. Both arguments are heavily represented in this forum. Better start reading about that too. And way before you wanted to know, you'll probably find out what OFHG, VCG and CCV all stand for. And RTAB and FCAB. And VANOS and DISA. Welcome to our world!
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Last edited by Wolrab; 12-07-2012 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:21 PM   #5
BimmersGarage
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@BMWirris

Learn to Bleed your cooling system first, that should solve your no heat issue. Secondly, you could have a small leak in one of your cooling system components. Check my videos - Exp. Tank Diagnosis to get an idea Where and What to look for.

Last edited by BimmersGarage; 12-07-2012 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:19 PM   #6
BMWirris
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Thank you everyone! I guess the days of moths in my wallet (my last car was a maxima I just couldn't kill) are gone, but the handling and fun of driving my BMW is well worth it.
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Old 12-08-2012, 11:00 AM   #7
BMWirris
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Update: While sitting in my car at work last night, it started to overheat for the first, of course I immediately shut it down before the needle hit the red zone and had it towed back home. The coolant is completely full, so I have the feeling it's the thermostat. Anyone agree?
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Old 12-08-2012, 11:05 AM   #8
scarede46er
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Actually bimmersgarage might be right and a bleeding issue would cause the overheat as well as the inconsistent coolant light. That being said, I would recommend you do a system overhaul. 300 dollars well spent. You can scan your car to see if the therm is actually bad. They usually fail open however.
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Old 12-08-2012, 11:10 AM   #9
limpiabota809
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Thermostat fails most of the time stuck open resulting in the needle showing as if the car is cold, if it were to fail closed then I see the logic of it saying that the car is overheating, even though coolant is there...yes replace thermostat there also numerous things that you can change if you're in that general vicinity
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:02 PM   #10
BMWirris
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Thanks guys! I have an appointment at BMW for them to check it out..I have a warranty on the car, so I figure I might as well use it before spending the money and doing it myself. You're all so helpful..love this forum.
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