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General E46 Forum
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:27 AM   #1
petemo94
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 223
My Ride: 2004 325CiC
Lessons Learned: OFHG, Pulleys, Cooling System,...

E46'ers

After spending a good part of 10 hours over 2 days to perform the following, I noticed a few things along the way:
  • OFHG: Surprisingly EASY to get to if you 1) take your time 2) read the DIY's on the forum and 3) watch the video below. Honestly there is a lot of noise about the alternator being a PITA, but it took me all of 2 minutes to pull it and put it back in place. Line up the BOTTOM bolt, secure it loosely, then swing the alternator up to align the top bolt.
  • Pulleys:No issues too. Followed the DIY's to a tee. Only issue was the $350 part upgrade I didnt plan for by getting a hydraulic idler tensioner. I had the mechanical one on my 04-325CiC.
  • Belts: Again simple and quick. Follow this link to see the belt diagram. AC belt comes off first, but goes on LAST.
  • Hoses: I have very little confidence in these connections, but time will only tell. Of all of the hose connections (lower, upper, heater core, transmission, ET) only had an issue (leak) with the upper hose mating to the radiator. Only required more force to properly secure it. But I feel like it may "pop off" at any given time. 15 miles so far with no leaks. But I gotta say, these hose connections are nerve wracking (getting off and hopefully staying on). Is anyone else nervous about these things?
  • Expansion Tank:Lesson learned? Take the ET and BRACKET off in 1-piece! Buy the bracket with the ET. For automatics, get the thermostat. My AT-thermostat broke on the way out ($100 part at the dealer - had to get it, see below for image). By putting the ET and bracket car OFF of the car, you ensure its on correctly.
  • Cooling System: Everything in the cooling system seems to hang on a simple "gasket". If not seated properly, it will leak. If not replaced it will leak over time. This is unnerving. Can't imagine those push pins at each junction will truly work under high pressure. So far it is, but I'm quite nervous about them.

I was a great experience to undertake. Had a LOT of parts to replace, but none of it is difficult EXCEPT for 2-3 of the hose connections (lower hose - just pull/wiggle and pry with a tool; ET - take off with bracket - put on with bracket; top-hose: make sure both are snug to the backstop). Everything else was truly simple.

Thanx to those that contributed to the various DIY's along the way. Great source of reference.

VIDEO:
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2004 325Cic, ZSP, ZPP, ZCW, Owned since 12/1/12
///M3 Floor Mats - Power under my feet!

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Old 12-30-2012, 01:04 PM   #2
BimmersGarage
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Dallas, TX (USA)
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My Ride: E46 330i
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Good observations.

ATT will most likely always be broken (if original) once the Exp. tank is removed.
(See my diagnosis video for reference.)
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:11 PM   #3
WDE46
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Location: Old Greg's Cavern
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My Ride: 2004 330Ci OBM
The ET comes off the bracket most easily by using a rachet extension and a jack to press that into the bottom of the tank. It probably takes 200 lbs of force to remove a 10 year old ET. I couldn't pull mine from the top for my life. Half a pump with my jack popped it right out.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:27 PM   #4
dslboomer
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Location: Show-me state
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petemo94 View Post

Hoses: I have very little confidence in these connections, but time will only tell. Of all of the hose connections (lower, upper, heater core, transmission, ET) only had an issue (leak) with the upper hose mating to the radiator. Only required more force to properly secure it. But I feel like it may "pop off" at any given time. 15 miles so far with no leaks. But I gotta say, these hose connections are nerve wracking (getting off and hopefully staying on). [B]Is anyone else nervous about these things?
Thanks for sharing your experience.
Did you use new hoses or reuse old ones?
Don't worry about the hose connection design. It is not a main problem for E46 cooling system.

It would have been perfect time to replace CCV system when all those stuffs in the front and the side were out.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:20 PM   #5
WDE46
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Location: Old Greg's Cavern
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My Ride: 2004 330Ci OBM
BTW the hose connections are just an oring gripping a tube. The clips are there just to prevent the hose from shooting off. They don't need to be firm. They can have a little play. As long as the oring is well seated on the tube, then it's good.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:00 PM   #6
petemo94
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 223
My Ride: 2004 325CiC
Quote:
Originally Posted by dslboomer View Post
Thanks for sharing your experience.
Did you use new hoses or reuse old ones?
Don't worry about the hose connection design. It is not a main problem for E46 cooling system.

It would have been perfect time to replace CCV system when all those stuffs in the front and the side were out.
EVERYTHING was new - hoses, pulleys, belts, coolant, thermostats, clips, sensors, OFHG gasket, hydraulic puley...

Havent looked into the CCV enough, but it was fairly easy to get to the CCV by shedding everything up to the alternator. That task alone, takes no more than 15 minutes to get rid of the alternator and everything next to it. The fan/shroud is another 15 minutes and its amazing how much space was freed up.

Still worried about the coolant hose connections -especially the TOP hose. After a 15 minute drive, a small leak developed, on top of the ET and I believe it comes from the top hose (double connection). It appears being under pressure, it slowly leaks and then a gusher appears. Still investigating the cause.
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2004 325Cic, ZSP, ZPP, ZCW, Owned since 12/1/12
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:37 PM   #7
chudzikb
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Location: Lancaster PA
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My Ride: 04 330ci
Excellent DIY, you have the patience of a saint! I would not worry so much about the hose connections, there are other places that have much greater trouble. The design of the hose connections just seems to work. Why is it better than a good old clamp? No idea? Guess they just wanted to be different?
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