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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 01-20-2013, 04:23 PM   #1
adaseb
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To Change Radiator Or Not When Doing Cooling System Maintaince?

A lot of confusion regarding the radiator when it comes to doing the cooling system.

Some say that radiators are usually built for the life of the car while others say since they aren't too expensive and are made out of brittle plastic they should be replaced along with everything else.

I always done a coolant changed with BMW coolant and distilled water, so I am pretty sure my radiator passages aren't clogged.

Also in Canada a new radiator made by Nissens costs about $200. No idea how much an OEM radiator costs probably $350-400.

I think its better to keep the old OEM radiator than replace it with a non-OEM radiator.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:25 PM   #2
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OEM radiator is Behr.

What mileage you have? I personally wouldn't change it unless it is damaged by the fan blades or if the bottom is expanded so much it's bent.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:28 PM   #3
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My radiator failed at 185K miles or so. My Behr replacement has been fine for 60K miles.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:38 PM   #4
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:02 PM   #5
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My OEM radiator failed at 210,000 miles...
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:13 PM   #6
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Depends on so many variables, including what you expect from your car in terms of reliability.
New Behr delivered in the USA for under $150US.

Some last long time. Others leak at gasket where plastic joins metal.

Yours probably not clogged depending upon duty cycles.
Do we know your mileage?
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:14 PM   #7
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Mine was still working at 155k miles. No leaks but very inefficient and was running hot (not enough to overheat). Changing it made a big difference for me even though it "did not fail". Here is what it looked like. I vote to change it.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:15 PM   #8
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Mine started leaking at the tank seem around 110k. It was just a seap, but I changed it anyway.

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Old 01-20-2013, 05:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Solidjake View Post
OEM radiator is Behr.

What mileage you have? I personally wouldn't change it unless it is damaged by the fan blades or if the bottom is expanded so much it's bent.
Currently I have 115K miles
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:20 PM   #10
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If leaking, yes. If not leaking, no.

When it starts leaking, it'll be a slow leak and won't be catastrophic, so you can wait on it. It's a crap shoot on how long the radiator will last. Some people still have them OEM, others needed a replacement. I had to replace mine at 100k due to a small leak.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:20 PM   #11
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The cheapest price for the Behr w/ shipping to Canada was around $250
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:20 PM   #12
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Eh, I guess if you have the cash go for it.

Here's an example of what you would pay

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/OEM-BEHR-BMW-...#ht_881wt_1271
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:23 PM   #13
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change it when it leaks/fails
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:28 PM   #14
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What Merc said.

Also, what is this cooling system maintenance/overhaul you're talking about? I change my fluid every 50000 kms but haven't found need to change any parts yet...
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:35 PM   #15
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What Merc said.

Also, what is this cooling system maintenance/overhaul you're talking about? I change my fluid every 50000 kms but haven't found need to change any parts yet...
Basically everything.

Water pump, Thermostat, Rad hoses, ET, ET Bracket, Auto tranny thermostat, ET Cap, etc.

Don't want the car to break down and have to pay extra to get it towed and pay premium prices at the dealership because I can't wait for parts.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:37 PM   #16
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Like I said, you have the cash do it and it will be good for another 100k miles.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:43 PM   #17
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What's the point of changing the ET bracket? Doesn't it just sit on the radiator, and that's it? Or does it actually connect to the radiator for autos? I don't remember seeing a connection on my manual.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:44 PM   #18
2003 325i
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adaseb View Post
Basically everything.

Water pump, Thermostat, Rad hoses, ET, ET Bracket, Auto tranny thermostat, ET Cap, etc.

Don't want the car to break down and have to pay extra to get it towed and pay premium prices at the dealership because I can't wait for parts.
Hmmm, how often do you have to do this?
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:50 PM   #19
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The cheapest price for the Behr w/ shipping to Canada was around $250
Can't get somebody here to deliver up to you for cheaper?

www.furiousmethod.com
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:53 PM   #20
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mine failed at 95k ( leakage) but that was on my Z4, dont E46 and e85 z4 share the same cooling system?

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