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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, 05:56 PM   #21
helalo
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Originally Posted by MercForHire View Post
change it when it leaks/fails
dont do that, some guys will treat any cooling system part the same, my waterpump went boom and damaged hoses and belts
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:57 PM   #22
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I didn't change mine. I have 140k on mine now(did cooling system at 107k) and haven't had any issues. If yours is clogged solid like the above poster than you could change it, or just clean it out with some compressed air and a soft brush.

I'm changing mine when it when it starts leaking. you can decide when to change yours.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:58 PM   #23
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Replace it. Use OEM or pay out the ass for a better one.
Mine failed at around 102k miles and I quite honestly never thought it would fail.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:16 PM   #24
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My Previous owner had his radiator go around 140k along with the Expansion Tank. I would say if its 10+yrs old you might want to...
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:17 PM   #25
2003 325i
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Don't replace it. I have 116K miles and no signs of failure. Invest your 250+ and come out ahead IF/when you need a tow.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:01 PM   #26
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Don't replace it. I have 116K miles and no signs of failure. Invest your 250+ and come out ahead IF/when you need a tow.
Risking the failure could result in a $200+ tow and potential damage to his engine. Doesn't sound like a way to come out ahead to me. Sounds like a loose loose. If it was 4 years old I'd say wait. It's not. It's original.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:35 PM   #27
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Mine is still fine at 110k, my buddy's went at 120k. A quick tally of the comments made here don't say anything confident about more than 150. I will swap mine out with my cooling system refresh in about a month. My car's a keeper and I want to feel confident when driving it. To me it's like having less than a quarter tank of gas. Think about it too much. I'm putting in a fresh one and will worry about it again at 220k
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:48 PM   #28
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Where are you located in Canada? I'm in Vancouver and it's best to have parts shipped to the US side of the border and then just pick them up and drive them across. Pelican Parts has Behr for $148 with free shipping to the border (I use Hagen's of Blaine for my receiver). The border guards will generally let you bring back anything less than ~$350 without charging duty/taxes.

If it was me I would replace the radiator if I was overhauling the cooling system, your choice.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:52 PM   #29
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Risking the failure could result in a $200+ tow and potential damage to his engine. Doesn't sound like a way to come out ahead to me. Sounds like a loose loose. If it was 4 years old I'd say wait. It's not. It's original.
The radiator will not blow up like that. He'll know it's leaking long before he would need a tow and damage to his engine.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:00 PM   #30
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The radiator will not blow up like that. He'll know it's leaking long before he would need a tow and damage to his engine.
Not necessarily. The plastic can crack and leak just like an ET. Mine cracked on the top so only steam seeped out but if a crack were to occur anywhere else it could be bad.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:10 PM   #31
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did mango got the flu or what?
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:22 PM   #32
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Where are you located in Canada? I'm in Vancouver and it's best to have parts shipped to the US side of the border and then just pick them up and drive them across. Pelican Parts has Behr for $148 with free shipping to the border (I use Hagen's of Blaine for my receiver). The border guards will generally let you bring back anything less than ~$350 without charging duty/taxes.

If it was me I would replace the radiator if I was overhauling the cooling system, your choice.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:24 PM   #33
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did mango got the flu or what?
50 bucks on The Mango tells you to replace.

Seriously if you look at it and it looks good and you don't; It's your car you make the overall choice. here its 50 on one side 50 on the other. Just make sure you have a AAA card with these cars either way personally.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:29 PM   #34
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did mango got the flu or what?
Believes in whole cooling system replacement but not flu shots?
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:34 PM   #35
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I did my whole cooling system a year ago, which included every single part that touched water. Et bracket, sensors, houses..... Everything. I either ordered or was shipped the wrong radiator because I got an automatic radiator. I just said the hell with it and kept the old radiator in and figured I'd change it when it leaked. Low and behold the damn thing started leaking 10 months later. In my case, it was a slow leak that I let ride for two months or more and never set off the low coolant light, I think it was at the end cap at the top side near the expansion tank. Your experience may vary but it was a non issue for me, my leak started at about 140k.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:44 PM   #36
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I replaced everything but that, about the 120k mark, due to slowly dropping levels. Not sure where it was coming from, but it got to the point where I could fill it, and after 15 minutes of normal driving, the coolant light would come on. However, I have noticed some seepage from where the tank and ET meet, some seal there. Due to the colder weather, I haven't had a chance to really chase it down, but since I also didn't change the cap at the time, dunno why, but I gotta get a new one anyway. So, while everything else is new, I still have a slowly dropping coolant level. It's not nearly what it was, now the light takes a week or more to come on, but then again, it IS colder weather, so...

I'd say if you CAN swing it, replace it while you do everything else. If for no other reason, it will make it a one-shot job, instead of having to take it apart again to replace the rad, while risking damage to anything when you do that. I'm hoping above hope that I can get everything back apart for the radiator job without damaging anything, but we'll see...it'll be for a time when I have a few days off, just in case I have to order anything.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:00 PM   #37
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If you're overhauling it, my vote is to do it if you have the cash.
Think of it, You have everything off and it's just three screws.

I did...with 145,000 mi. I plan to keep the car until it kicks the bucket or I do.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:10 PM   #38
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If you're overhauling it, my vote is to do it if you have the cash.
Think of it, You have everything off and it's just three screws.
How many times in the life of the car will you replace it with every cooling system replacement? Makes sense unless money is that tight.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:53 AM   #39
peytonracer4
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Believes in whole cooling system replacement but not flu shots?
:Rolf: preventative maintenance on the car only. Body is a repair only when broken basis.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:15 AM   #40
MJLavelle
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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.
The point is that it is made of the same plastic as the other parts, so it can be just as brittle, and prone to breaking. It would be a shame to do everything else, and have a part like that fail, when you were in such a good position to change it, if you are doing a complete overhaul. It is not that expensive.
Of course, this goes back to how you feel about the overhaul in the first place. If you are the "replace it when it breaks" type, then you probably will not agree with this. If you are OK with a complete overhaul, then it is just one more item that can fail, and you should just get it done while you are in there.

@OP - if you can afford it, I would change the radiator. It has many of the same plastic components that get brittle with age. If you factor in the cold Canadian weather, then it is even more brittle with age. Also, it is probably more clogged than you believe, even on a well maintained cooling system. The passages inside are quite small, so even small amounts of deposits can reduce the flow dramatically. It comes down to what you can afford, and how much risk you are willing to live with. The weakest component will be the part that fails first. If you are already spending the money to do a complete overhaul, then you may as well do it all. You have already unzipped, you may as well fvck.
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