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-   -   Mixing two brand of coolant?? (

kshade40 12-08-2012 11:19 AM

Mixing two brand of coolant??
Do bmw need bmw coolant? Also bmw dealership put coolant in but the light came on, so an Indy dealer said it had a small leaks and added a universal coolant....but is it bad that it isn't the same stuff?!

Fast Bob 12-08-2012 11:42 AM

I think a MORE important issue for you is:

Your car is now 14 years old....has the (entire) cooling system ever been rebuilt ? I`m talking about expansion tank, radiator, water pump, T-stat, hoses, etc.

kshade40 12-08-2012 11:43 AM

I have no idea, I'm 17 I don't know a lot about it. I know a lot of hoses were replaced and the dealership said a new radiator was not necessary

jvr826 12-08-2012 02:42 PM

Welcome... find the WIKI at the top of the page and read it. You'll know a lot more after doing so.

Hoses are not a common failure item, but what are common is: water pump, pulleys, expansion tank, expansion tank cap, thermostat. Every 60-80k miles these items should be replaced as a preventative maintenance measure to save you big buck repairs later.

Search on "oh $hit overheated!" or some combination of those words. :) Many an engine has been claimed by an overheat event.

scarede46er 12-08-2012 09:15 PM

OP, the other people are right. You have more worries than mixing two kinds of coolant at this time.

GoForthFast 12-09-2012 10:46 AM

But it is not recommended to mix coolant types. As you do all else that is suggested after reviewing the advice, drain and get only one coolant type in there. Cheap compared to all else.

Good Luck in learning all about cars.

kshade40 12-09-2012 03:01 PM

Around How much would all of that cost???

bluebee 12-09-2012 05:30 PM


Originally Posted by kshade40 (Post 7237968)
I have no idea,

These cooling system date clues, written to the E39, should apply for the most part to the E46 also:
- Cooling system date stickers & radiator date codes & markings (1) (2)


Originally Posted by GoForthFast (Post 7239269)
But it is not recommended to mix coolant types.

Exactly. BMW says you can mix brands - but not certain types.
- BMW fluid summary printout for your glovebox (1)

Here's what we have in the BMW E39 glovebox printout for cooling system summaries (which uses the same engine as the E46 so the cooling system threads should apply):
- Coolant, for engine, automatic transmission, power steering, and AC evaporator cooling (1)

See the last line regarding mixing brands versus types (more details in the aforementioned thread).

E39 Engine coolant: phosphate free (for Europe's high-mineral-content water), amine & nitrite/nitrate free (for USA long-life requirements), & low-silicate or silicate free (for Japan requirements) 50:50 mixture of ethylene glycol & water (the Bentleys say distilled water (Bentley 020-11), aka de-mineralized or de-ionized water, some call it purified water, and the BMW AG TIS 12.11.2007 18:56 specifies water with a pH from 6.5 to 8.0, maximum total hardness of 3.6 mmol Ca++/liter, maximum chloride content 100 mg/liter, and maximum sulphate content 100mg/liter; interestingly the BMW TIS says "potable tap water usually fulfills these requirements". EPA reports show San Jose & NYC tap water easily fulfill these requirements. The BMW TIS expressly states additives are not helpful and are not recommended. BMW lists a score of recommended coolants in their BMW AG TIS 12.11.2007 18:55 which meet the BMW N 600 69.0 standard, some of which are BMW PN: 1.5-liter; BMW PN: 1 gallon; Castrol Anti-Freeze NF; BASF Glysantin Protect Plus G48, & Havoline AFC (BD04); but most of which are not easily found in the USA. Many Bimmerfesters recommend BMW coolant; however other Bimmerfesters recommend Prestone Extended Life 5/150, Valvoline Zerex G-05, and Service Pro Universal Formula. Others (e.g., chiefwej, aioros), have tested Evans NPG+ but be aware propanol entails a different maintenance philosophy than the aqueous fluids listed above and is not compatible with them. [Total Volume: 1997 I6=10.5 quarts (2.6 gallons), 1997 V8=12.0 quarts (3.0 gallons), 1998-2002 I6=11.1 quarts (2.8 gallons), 1998-2002 V8=12.7 quarts (3.2 gallons), 1997-2002 V8 with latent heater=13.5 quarts (3.4 gallons)]. Prestone says the only reason for phosphate free is the extremely high mineral content of water in Europe - and that in the USA, it's not needed. Replacement Interval: Every three years (Bentley page 020-9) or every four years (aforementioned BMW AG TIS) starting from date of manufacture (except for M-Power vehicles which have 3-year intervals). Note: Mixing BMW-recommended coolant brands is permissible; but mixing types is not permissible unless it's an emergency.

vandyboy 12-11-2012 11:36 AM

Putting the universal stuff in with the BMW coolant is okay. Its better than having low coolant by any stretch of the imagination. When you diagnose and fix your leak, replace all the coolant with one kind and stick to it.

As far as your part replacement costs, I have seen cooling refresh kits go from $250 to $450 (without the radiator). Difference in price is based on including the fan clutch and temp sensor. At the very minimum, get the expansion tank & cap, the water pump+gasket and thermostat+gasket. Those will cost you around $175 or so. Stick with the plastic thermostat and housing and make sure the water pump has a metal impeller instead of a plastic one (you will see them listed as such.) Have someone check your top and bottom hoses before you order or buy parts.

If you have a garage put on the parts, expect 2-4 hours of labor, plus supplies (coolant.)

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