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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 02-05-2011, 07:50 PM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
 
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Mein Auto: 2002 330ci conv
DIY Complete X3 Cooling System Overhaul

I was planning on doing this as preventative maintenance in the spring but the X3 had different ideas. It started leaking coolant, luckily the engine never overheated.

Here's the parts list for a 2004 X3 3.0 automatic and the prices I paid. Total was $846.89.

11-53-3-400-207 Coolant Hose $34.58
17-12-3-413-819 Coolant Hose $57.02
11-53-3-400-205 Coolant Hose $24.33

17-11-3-400-013 Radiator $179.75
17-13-7-787-039 Expansion Tank/Coolant Reservoir $37.76
17-11-1-742-231 Radiator Cap/Expansion Tank Cap $10.82
17-11-1-712-788 Coolant Bleeder Screw; Brass $3.66
17-11-1-707-818 Water Drain Plug $4.75
17-11-1-437-361 Radiator Drain Plug $3.50
17-11-1-437-360 Radiator Drain Petcock; Adjusting Screw $5.43

17-11-1-437-362 Expansion Tank Thermostat $53.25
17-11-7-506-601 Coolant Level Sensor $17.76
13-62-1-433-077 Temperature Sensor $16.50

11-53-7-509-227 Thermostat $60.64
11-51-7-527-910 Water Pump; (Stewart High Performance) $176.70

11-28-1-706-545 Serpentine Belt/Ribbed Drive Belt $18.15
11-28-7-512-758 A/C Belt Tensioner $56.00
11-28-1-748-131 Adjusting Pulley $17.25
11-28-7-516-847 Belt A/C Compressor $24.00
11-28-7-512-762 Belt A/C Compressor $9.75

07-11-9-963-200 Engine Drain Plug Crush Washer $1.28
82-14-1-467-704 BMW Engine Coolant $31.82
Distilled Water $2.19

Most of the parts are pictured below. I'll follow up with separate posts for each section of the job.
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  #2  
Old 02-05-2011, 08:29 PM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
 
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Posts: 66
Mein Auto: 2002 330ci conv
Tools Used

Here is a list of all the tools I used for the project.

Torque wrench
Floor jack and 4 jack stands
Breaker bar
Extension bars
Speed handle
3/8" universal joint
1/2" to 3/8" adaptor
Magnetic pickup
Small pry bar
Plastic mallet

Sockets
8MM - Engine splash shield
10MM - Water pump, thermostat bolts, air box
13MM - Thermostat bolt to engine hook
16MM - Alternator tensioner pulley,
17MM - Wheel nuts
19MM - Wheel nuts with locks
22MM - Radiator adjusting screw

25 Torx - Radiator
35 Torx - Intake ducts
45 Torx - Water pump tensioner pulley, alternator deflection pulley

Might have been a few other odds and ends that I can't think of.
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  #3  
Old 02-05-2011, 08:49 PM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 330ci conv
Step 1 - Jack up the car

First loosen the lug nuts on the front passenger wheel. This is the only wheel you need to remove.

Then jack up the front and put jack stands under the front jack pads. This was much easier than my E46 because there is a central jacking point at the front in the middle of the plastic engine splash shield.

Jack the back end up using the cross member INFRONT of the diff and put jack stands under the rear jack points.

Unscrew the 9 bolts holding the plastic engine splash shield using an 8MM socket. Then using a small pry bar remove the plastic expansion bolts at the back of the shield.
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  #4  
Old 02-05-2011, 09:09 PM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Step 2 - Drain the coolant

Make sure the engine is cool before proceeding. If it's warm go have a break and come back in a couple of hours.

Turn the ignition on without starting the engine. The turn the heat all the way up with the fan at the lowest setting.

Remove the expansion tank cap and the bleeder screw on the upper rad hose. Put your drain pan (forgot that in my tools post) directly under the expansion tank and unscrew the two blue radiator drains. Wait until the coolant stops flowing.

Next you'll need a 13MM socket on a universal joint with several extensions so you can get to the engine drain plug behind the passenger wheel. Use a breaker bar to start the bolt then you can remove it by turning the extensions by hand. I used a magnetic stick to grab the drain plug. Put the drain pan underneath before you remove the bolt, but be prepared to move the pan as it splashes around when it hits the skid plate.

Don't forget to retrieve the drain plug.
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Last edited by littleE46; 02-05-2011 at 09:10 PM. Reason: fixed title
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  #5  
Old 02-05-2011, 09:33 PM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 330ci conv
Step 3 - Remove air box

Next remove all of the plastic air intake parts so we can get at the cooling system.

Start by removing the four torx bolts for the plastic intake duct at the front of the engine compartment. Remove the intake duct to get to the four torx bolts for the air duct. Before removing the air duct you need to undo the 5 clips holding the top of the square air box and the two clips holding the mass air flow sensor to the air box.

With the air box loose you can separate it from the air duct and remove both of them.

Using a 10MM socket remove the two bolts holding the bottom of the air box down. Separate the wire connector at the back of the air box and then remove the air box by easing it out from the back, lifting up and out.
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  #6  
Old 02-05-2011, 09:51 PM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Step 4 - Remove the radiator fan

Now we need to get the electric radiator fan out of the way. Luckily this one is electric, I was thinking automatics had one with a fan clutch attached to the water pump pulley.

Start with the torx bolt to the left of the fan. Then unclip the electric connection to the fan right beside it. On the right hand side use a small pry bar to remove the plastic expansion bolt. Once you remove the F AUC sensor on the top right of the fan just pull the fan straight up and out. You might have to jiggle it to get around the expansion tank.
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  #7  
Old 02-05-2011, 10:16 PM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 330ci conv
Step 5 - Remove belts

With the rad fan out of the way there's enough room to remove the belts.

To get the a/c belt out, remove the cap on the lower deflector pulley, use a 45 Torx with a large breaker bar to remove the tension then ease the belt off the pulleys.

To get the water pump belt out, use a 16MM socket on the tensioner with a large breaker bar to release the tension. If you have a short thick nail, insert it when the holes align on the tensioner to keep the pressure off. Remove the cap on the tensioner pulley if your replacing the pulley.

Also remove the cap on the deflector pulley if your replacing that one.
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  #8  
Old 02-05-2011, 10:40 PM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 330ci conv
Step 6 - Disconnect wiring

Next remove the wiring connected to the parts we're replacing. Disconnect the thermostat, pulse generator and vanos connectors then move that wire bundle out of the way. Near the bottom of the lower rad hose is the temp sensor connection.

At this point I would have also removed the coolant level sensor connection on the bottom of the expansion tank. However, the suspension on the X3 won't really allow access from below like an E46. I left this one until later, but it wasn't that easy.
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  #9  
Old 02-05-2011, 11:07 PM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 330ci conv
Step 7 - Remove hoses

With a flat head screwdriver (missed that in my list) popup the wire connectors that fasten the various hoses to the expansion tank, radiator, thermostat and engine block. Wiggle the upper rad hose away from the expansion tank, I used a large flat head screwdriver in various places to pry them apart. Then you can wiggle and pull the upper rad hose off the thermostat and remove it. Wiggle and pull down on the lower rad hose to separate it from the thermostat, then you can pull the hose away from the radiator.

Now look down just to the left below the expansion tank and you'll see the oil heat exchanger. There is a clip with a tab in the center at the top. Pull up on this to free it then wiggle the three connections loose (I think I used a screwdriver to pry this off). Just leave the heat exchanger resting on the suspension parts below.

Carefully pull the heater hose away from the expansion tank. Assuming your not replacing this one be very careful. I can't see an easy way of replacing this hose without removing the intake manifold so careful, you don't want to damage the plastic end.

Now you can separate the coolant hose that connects to the engine block. I would have also removed this from the expansion tank but again there is little room to get at this from below.
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  #10  
Old 02-05-2011, 11:21 PM
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CleanKM CleanKM is offline
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Fantastic write up! Thanks!
__________________
2011 328i SA SULEV Black Sapphire Metallic, Dakota Beige, ZPP, Nav
Prod Date: July 1, 2010

Traded in with 90K Miles:
2007 X3 3.0si Black Sapphire Metallic, Grey Nevada, M Sport Package, Premium, Cold Weather, Navigation, and Xenon.
Prod Date: March 2, 2007
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  #11  
Old 02-05-2011, 11:43 PM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CleanKM View Post
Fantastic write up! Thanks!
Thanks man. I'm not done yet and it's almost taking me as long to write up as it was to do the job. This was my second M54B30 cooling system overhaul. This time I kinda just jumped in and did it from memory. I like taking all the pictures because it slows me down and makes me think about every step. Less likely to make mistakes that way.
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  #12  
Old 02-07-2011, 07:51 AM
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CleanKM CleanKM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littleE46 View Post
Thanks man. I'm not done yet and it's almost taking me as long to write up as it was to do the job. This was my second M54B30 cooling system overhaul. This time I kinda just jumped in and did it from memory. I like taking all the pictures because it slows me down and makes me think about every step. Less likely to make mistakes that way.
I figured you weren't, but wanted to get my thanks in! Really appreciate you taking your time to do all that.
__________________
2011 328i SA SULEV Black Sapphire Metallic, Dakota Beige, ZPP, Nav
Prod Date: July 1, 2010

Traded in with 90K Miles:
2007 X3 3.0si Black Sapphire Metallic, Grey Nevada, M Sport Package, Premium, Cold Weather, Navigation, and Xenon.
Prod Date: March 2, 2007
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  #13  
Old 02-27-2011, 08:33 PM
szee1 szee1 is offline
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Great write up, just replaced the water pump, expansion tank etc. Easy job and actually pleasant to work on.
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  #14  
Old 02-27-2011, 09:30 PM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by szee1 View Post
Great write up, just replaced the water pump, expansion tank etc. Easy job and actually pleasant to work on.
Thanks...I hope this helped. The X3 has been running great ever since. It's snowing here now so I'm leaving the head gasket/spark plugs/compression test until spring when it's warm again.
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  #15  
Old 02-06-2011, 12:14 AM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Step 9 - Remove thermostat and water pump

To remove the thermostat there are three 10mm bolts and one 13mm bolt, with the bolts out give the thermostat a clockwise twist before pulling straight out.

The water pump is a little more tricky. If you forgot to loosen the four bolts on the pulley before removing the serpentine belt, like me, then you'll probably have to put it back on to put some tension on the pulley. With the pulley removed, start by removing the four 10mm bolts on the water pump. To get the pump out you need to take 2 of the long 10mm bolts from the thermostat and thread them into the two threaded holes provided on either side of the pump. Tighten the two bolts evenly and this will begin to force the water pump out of the engine block. Once you can see the large O ring, you should be able to slide the pump out.

You can see in the pictures the lousy plastic impellers from the original stock water pump. The high performance Steward replacement is a much better design for maximum peace of mind. I'm not sure how easy it is to remove all the pieces when a plastic impeller implodes inside the engine.

Anyways, that's about it for removal...except for replacing the tensioner pulleys. The next step is rebuilding the radiator.
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Last edited by littleE46; 02-06-2011 at 12:44 AM. Reason: fixed title number
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  #16  
Old 02-06-2011, 01:03 AM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Step 10 - Remove parts from old radiator

With the old rad out we need to remove the parts we need.

Unbolt the torx screws that hold the mounting plate to the radiator. Use a large flat screwdriver to separate the expansion tank from the mounting plate. Slide the cooling water collector out of the mounting plate. Finally unclip the black plastic mounting strip on the bottom of the radiator.
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  #17  
Old 02-06-2011, 01:13 AM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Step 11 - Attach mounting plate

To attach the black mounting strip to the bottom of the new rad, place the front edge (towards the front of the car) of the strip in first. Then squeeze the clips on the back edge to force the strip in place.

Next slide the mounting plate into position making sure the top edge fits over the lip at the top and the bottom edge fits under the tab in the black strip.

Replace the thermostat...wait...WTF...now there's your problem. My old thermostat had self destructed, I wonder if that cause the leak...hmmm.

Replace the two torx bolts that hold the mounting plate to the rad.
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Last edited by littleE46; 02-06-2011 at 01:34 AM.
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  #18  
Old 02-06-2011, 01:21 AM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Step 12 - Replace the cooling water connector

The cooling water connector has the blue drain plug for the expansion tank. Unscrew this completely then pull hard on it to remove it from the connector. Replace with a brand new drain plug, for $3 it's not worth doing this job and leaving in the old one. Then slide the connector back onto the mounting plate.

Make sure the clamp for the oil cooling heat exchanger is in the released position to help when reinstalling the rad.
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  #19  
Old 02-06-2011, 01:31 AM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Step 13 - Install new expansion tank

Next step is to install the new expansion tank. First attach the expansion tank clamp from the old expansion tank and make sure the clamp is in the released position. Now position the tank so the hook on the back is aligned with the slot on the mounting bracket. Push the tank back towards the rad and down onto the thermostat. Push the clamp in place to hold the tank.

Install a brand new coolant level sensor, insert it in the bottom of the tank and twist counter clockwise into position.
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  #20  
Old 02-06-2011, 01:43 AM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Step 14 - Replace rad drain

The new rad came with two different radiator adjusting screws, a short one for standard and a long one for automatics. For me the long one was right.

Install a brand new blue plastic drain plug in the adjuster and push the adjuster into the bottom of the rad. Note that for this particular radiator there was one side of the adjuster with a notch cut out that fit a notch on the bottom of the rad. There are also two notches sticking out of the adjuster that fit into to slots in the rad. You need to push the adjuster in very hard so I gave it a few taps with a plastic hammer. Once its all the way down use a 22mm socket to give it a twist and lock it in place.
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  #21  
Old 02-06-2011, 01:50 AM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 66
Mein Auto: 2002 330ci conv
Step 15 - Hose assembly

Finally, install a new temperature sensor in the new lower rad hose and a new drain plug (I like the brass ones better) in the new upper rad hose.

Oh yeah. Don't forget to replace the crush washer on the engine drain plug with a new one. Not much point in doing all this if it's going to leak from the engine.
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  #22  
Old 02-06-2011, 02:00 AM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
 
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Posts: 66
Mein Auto: 2002 330ci conv
I don't have any pretty pictures for the reassembly. At this point you're all ready to start replacing everything we removed. It's pretty smooth from this point on as long as you have a good torque wrench and the specs.

Here are some of the spec's I gathered up as I was putting it back together. I used the chart in the front of the E46 Bentley manual to calculate torques.

A/C tensioner pulley 10mm 8.8 class = 47Nm using 16mm socket
Water pump tensioner pulley 8mm 10.9 class = 34Nm using 45 torx socket
Deflection pulley 8mm 8.8 bolt = 24Nm using 45 torx socket

Water pump nuts m6 nut 24Nm (from Bentley) with 10mm socket
Water pump pulley m6 bolt 10Nm (from Bentley) with 10mm socket

Thermostat m6 8.8 class = 10Nm with 10mm socket
Thermostat M8 8.8 class = 24Nm with 13mm socket

That's everything I've got...probably could have shown more of the reassembly but I needed to finish before dark. More tomorrow.

Last edited by littleE46; 02-06-2011 at 02:01 AM. Reason: typo
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  #23  
Old 02-06-2011, 07:42 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Location: Silicon Valley
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,513
Mein Auto: '06 X3
Outstanding write up! Takes me back to the "olden days" when I was doing stuff like that on my cars. Now I know why I stopped and let the professionals do it. Reading between the lines it sounds like the problem was your thermostat self destructing. Never mind it was good to do the rest and now you will not have to worry about that crummy water pump (why BMW can't put a decent pump in I just don't understand, it can't cost them that much more) and the rest of the "plumbing" for as long as you keep the car. Thanks for some great memories!

Last edited by UncleJ; 02-06-2011 at 07:45 AM.
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  #24  
Old 02-06-2011, 09:19 AM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 66
Mein Auto: 2002 330ci conv
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleJ View Post
Outstanding write up! Takes me back to the "olden days" when I was doing stuff like that on my cars. Now I know why I stopped and let the professionals do it. Reading between the lines it sounds like the problem was your thermostat self destructing. Never mind it was good to do the rest and now you will not have to worry about that crummy water pump (why BMW can't put a decent pump in I just don't understand, it can't cost them that much more) and the rest of the "plumbing" for as long as you keep the car. Thanks for some great memories!
Thanks bud. For me in the "olden days" I would have always taken it to my mechanic. I didn't even change my own oil until I picked up an E46 Dec '09. Mostly because I had a mechanic that I really trusted. He did a great job and would never do any unnecessary work. When I got the Bimmer it was gonna cost more cause he would have to learn about BMWs to do the work. Besides parts for BMWs up here in Canada are outrageous.

I decided to try a few basic things myself, always ordering parts online from the US (Pelican Parts, Autohausuz...) using a Bentley manual (awesome) and DIYs on E46Fanatics. It's been so easy I'm determined to do everything I can possibly do myself. Last year I replaced the seals on my Vanos and it made such a difference in my 330ci, that was very satisfying.

For me its been far better to DIY rather than take it to a BMW Steelership where I feel like I need a shower afterwards to wash away the feeling of being raped.

Honestly I can't believe how easy these cars are to fix. The biggest reason I bought an X3 for the wife was because I new that I could work on the engine. I think BMW has done a great job for their mechanics to charge an arm and a leg for jobs that are really simple.
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  #25  
Old 02-06-2011, 09:20 AM
codog2 codog2 is offline
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Location: boston, ma
 
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Mein Auto: 5
awesome post - How many miles on the X?
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