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Old 10-20-2017, 12:16 PM   #1
turbobrick
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Coolant Level Float

2003 325i Wagon - I just changed the radiator and used an old expansion tank that I still had from a previous repair. I know the expansion tank is not leaking. I filled in coolant and bled the coolant system properly but the Coolant Level Float Indicator seems not to work correctly.
If the Coolant Level Float is in the proper position by just adding coolant to the expansion tank (end of float stick lines up with filler tube) I can see the coolant level which is about 4 inch below the expansion tank inlet. In my opinion there is too much coolant in the expansion tank (nearly or no air pocket). Also if I push down the indictor it stays down, if I pull it up, it sticks out of the expansion tank. So my guess it that the float is not working properly.
Can someone measure the distance from the top of the expansion tank inlet to the coolant level? As I said, mine is 4 inches from the top.
I don't want to over-pressurize the system.
Any ideas how I can fix it?

thanks in advance!
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Old 10-20-2017, 01:22 PM   #2
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"if I push down the indictor it stays down, if I pull it up, it sticks out of the expansion tank. So my guess it that the float is not working properly."
Seems like the float is loose with the stick. What's about the dash level indicator?

This is just superficial and has no effect on engine and you can drive with it temporarily. Coolant should be below the bottom horizontal stationary piece which keeps the floater below it.
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Old 10-20-2017, 01:31 PM   #3
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I'd say just use a light when you fill and if you overfill slightly, itll come out the cap release. not a big deal
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Old 10-20-2017, 01:41 PM   #4
turbobrick
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is that the right level

I have no coolant warning light on the dash

would that be about the correct coolant level as indicated in the pic?
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Old 10-20-2017, 01:44 PM   #5
turbobrick
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Originally Posted by Bpat1218 View Post
I'd say just use a light when you fill and if you overfill slightly, itll come out the cap release. not a big deal
just to clarify - so there is a pressure release "valve" in the expansion tank cap, correct?
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Old 10-20-2017, 01:57 PM   #6
chconger
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Yes...the level in your image is correct.

My rule of thumb; the stick should pop up ,and you should not be able to see why :-)
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Old 10-20-2017, 02:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by turbobrick View Post
just to clarify - so there is a pressure release "valve" in the expansion tank cap, correct?
Yep. You typically have to overall for a bleed procedure so it will just let the extra coolant/pressure out . Don't sweat it. But yeah , as was stated, you shouldn't be able to see the coolant when it is full to the proper amount. I think the line you drew looks correct or at least close enough

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Old 10-20-2017, 02:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bpat1218 View Post
Yep. You typically have to overall for a bleed procedure so it will just let the extra coolant/pressure out . Don't sweat it. But yeah , as was stated, you shouldn't be able to see the coolant when it is full to the proper amount. I think the line you drew looks correct or at least close enough

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Overfill not overall. Sorry on mobile can't edit

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Old 10-20-2017, 03:13 PM   #9
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This happened to me recently. Coolant float would stick at the bottom and if I lifted it, it stayed stuck at the top. This was regardless of my coolant level. After inspecting my ET I found it was bulged and deformed, but still functioning without leaks. I had it replaced under warranty.

My mechanic said this happens and the ET should still function fine you just won't be able to use the float. But because my was warrantied we replaced it anyway.
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Old 10-20-2017, 03:22 PM   #10
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I would NEVER use an old ET. It is the weak link in the pressurized system and a sudden failure can be catastrophic. There are places to find OEM or BMW tanks at less than $100 delivered.
Because the forum has sponsors and they may or may not be on my list of sources, I dont like to post names but if you DM me, I may have a good source at a cheap price with free shipping.


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Old 10-20-2017, 03:53 PM   #11
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"I have no coolant warning light on the dash

would that be about the correct coolant level as indicated in the pic?"

Correct.

For those who said overfill is OK since the cap will release. Cap was designed to release gas and if thank is overfilled with coolant bad thing can happen: exploded ET
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Old 10-20-2017, 03:59 PM   #12
turbobrick
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thanks for the offer - and you're right about using old parts. When I bought the car, the previous owner had just replaced the ET (couple month old - saw the receipt) but it still had a small leak. Not knowing BMWs at the time, I bought a new ET (but kept the "old" one). Turned out to be the radiator. Bought a crappy one - learned my lesson there.
That's the only reason I used the "old" ET.

Thanks everybody for all your input - I guess for now I just peek into the Expansion Tank with a light and order a new on for next time I have the car on my ramps.
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Old 10-20-2017, 09:31 PM   #13
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Get a Modine ET from FCP euro, Genuine BMW with the labels and roundels removed. Best bang for the buck.
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Old 10-21-2017, 01:54 AM   #14
ti317
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Get a Modine ET from FCP euro, Genuine BMW with the labels and roundels removed. Best bang for the buck.


+1 On the Modine. I got one and compared it side by side with the BMW and they are identical except for the labeling.


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