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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 09-01-2010, 04:21 PM
s25019 s25019 is offline
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Location: Kingston, ON
 
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Mein Auto: 1992 325i e36
coolant system again- Coolant in Expansion Tank refuse to go down

Hello, today I was draining my coolant. I only removed the radiator drain plug.(while leaving the block drain plug alone) At the end, I got about 1/2 of gallon out. when I got up from under the car, I noticed that the coolant in the expansion tank did not go down. Also there were no hot air coming out of the vents inside the car. I then put back everything and started the engine in hope of lowering the coolant tank level. It kind of worked, and I put in about the same amount of distilled water in. after I turned off the engine, I tried to bleed the system, but no air bubbles nor fluid emerged from the bleeding hole. (even when I squeezed the hoses) I can hear the air being sucked back in the hose when I released it. I also tried pouring water into the bleeding hole, but I don't know if it does anything. I put everything back together and heated the engine to operating temp. Which hose should be hot?(upper, lower, or both) because my lower hose was hot while the upper one remain the same. I squeezed the upper hose and I didn't feel alot of resistance. Could this be because of the pump? I have read some of the threads and diagnosed that my radiator and/or expansion tank connection might be clogged, may be my thermostat is busted again(replaced year and a half ago). I don't want to take the system apart until I can get some advice from the forum, because it seems to be working right now (ie not over-heating or at least that is what the gauge is telling me) Is there a way to check the function of the thermostat and water pump without removing them?(like feeling the resistance and temperature of the hoses?) I will have to worry about the heated air when winter comes. Thank you in advance for your help.

Last edited by s25019; 09-01-2010 at 04:35 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-01-2010, 05:37 PM
gone2plaid gone2plaid is offline
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Mein Auto: 1993 325i Sedan
When you squeeze the upper radiator hoses, does the level in the expansion tank change at all? Any bubles?
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  #3  
Old 09-01-2010, 05:51 PM
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TRaV MaNN TRaV MaNN is offline
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You took out the plug at the bottom of your radiator and the tank didn't empty? never heard of that

faulty thermostat would result in your engine taking forever if at all to get to the middle part of the gauge

bad water pump could be your engine overheating or it making an awful noise.



no matter what, sounds like your due for a cooling system overhaul
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  #4  
Old 09-01-2010, 06:24 PM
s25019 s25019 is offline
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Location: Kingston, ON
 
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There is heat all of a sudden. I think it might just be the hot day that made the air vent seem disfunctional. Though I am still confused by the expansion tank not draining normally. When I squeezed the upper hose, coolant is squirted out a very small hole (smaller than 1/16) within the expansion tank on the side closest to the bleed screw. This is the same with the lower hose. Also there seem to be a little bit of pressure and heat in the upper hose when I started the engine again. It takes about 10 min for the gauge to reach normal temp. I haven't heard any awful noise(please define)
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  #5  
Old 09-01-2010, 06:43 PM
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crisscross crisscross is offline
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Check the coolant system bleeding in the diy section in Ed's sticky or on pelican parts website. You should have the front of the car in the air, and the defroster on, along with a bunch of other stuff.
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  #6  
Old 09-01-2010, 07:48 PM
s25019 s25019 is offline
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Location: Kingston, ON
 
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Mein Auto: 1992 325i e36
O yea, I followed the Bentley and the Haynes manuals. I have also read Pelican parts website along with some other DIY sites. Would the front of the vehicle being elevated affect the expansion tank/radiator? I did have the temperature to max. Has this happened to anyone else? I bought this car 3 months ago. I should of changed the coolant earlier, but I was busy. It still seems to be working fine(operationally) I would need to add more coolant in, because it will be winter soon. I have been running 70% water to 30%coolant.(I just kept adding distilled water) I don't know how to get the right mixture if it refuse drain properly. I am now affraid to drain the coolant in the engine block because I might not be able to refill the coolant due to the faulty expansion tank/radiator. My next step would be to flush the radiator. I am hoping to get some confirmation from the forum before spending more and more $.
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  #7  
Old 09-02-2010, 09:28 PM
BimmerBro97 BimmerBro97 is offline
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Hey, funny thing, I just stumbled upon this post today after posting my e36 issue on bimmerforums. I have the EXACT set of symptoms as you do. I've been thinking that the expansion tank hose was clogged but ive just been putting off doing anything yet until i find out what other people think the problem might be. I drained the engine block too, but still, the expansion tank level didn't drop. I noticed there was a problem when i started adding in the 10 total liters expected to go into the expansion tank, but was full at only 6 liters. I also noticed the expansion tank level was high (only on the left side furthest from the radiator) even after everything was drained from the cooling system. The coolant should flow properly even if the thermostat is bad, it just won't get to your engine. I'll be checking in and out of your post for updates and I'll let you know if i find anything out. If you find a solution, please post it!

Last edited by BimmerBro97; 09-02-2010 at 09:29 PM.
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  #8  
Old 09-02-2010, 10:06 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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The solution to this has been covered a bazillion times. It's in the stickies at the top of the forum like criss cross said. Our cars are a real pain to get the cooling system properly bled of trapped air. Look to have to do it more than once. The tell-tale is the heater output. If you can't get heat (lots of it, continuously) from the heater, the system is still air-locked.
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Last edited by hornhospital; 09-02-2010 at 10:15 PM.
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  #9  
Old 09-02-2010, 10:09 PM
Eight Thirty Eight Thirty is offline
nothing.
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i must have got REALLY lucky.... becuase i ran my car dry... it heated up. i turned it off i added coolant


drive more... heated up.

let the pressure out... more coolant

Got hot. let pressure out... more coolant

Did this until it would stop going over half. heater works and no problems every since.
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  #10  
Old 09-03-2010, 06:31 AM
s25019 s25019 is offline
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Location: Kingston, ON
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Mein Auto: 1992 325i e36
So last night I took my Car to my auto club and talked to a couple of experienced old guys. their explanation of the coolant in the expansion tank not going down because there were no suction in the system.(can anyone else verify this?) They also confirmed for me that the thermostat and the pump is working. We kinda bleed the system a different way. Ran the car(engine, heater and defrost) with the bleeding screw in and expansion cap removed. There were bubbles coming out and he rev'd the engine in order to keep the suction going(so the coolant does not overflow out of the expansion tank). Some coolant spilled. I am going to refill some more coolant this morning. I understand what these sticky's are because at the top of the forum there are only 5 sticky's and none of them to do with coolant. I found a thread in Bimmerforum http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1173975 and I am going to contact the guy to see how he managed to solve his issue.

Last edited by s25019; 09-03-2010 at 06:38 AM.
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  #11  
Old 09-27-2010, 07:35 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Location: Seattle, WA
 
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Mein Auto: 1998 BMW 328is
Okay ladies & gents, brace yourselves because I have a seriously stupid question for you. Last week I performed a total cooling system overhaul and was able to successfully bleed all the air out without any trouble. The car has been running beautifully, and everything is working perfectly, but I did notice that my coolant level is about 5 inches below the "cold/kalt" mark on the expansion tank when the engine is bone cold in the morning. That said, as soon as I open up the filler cap to add coolant, the system pressure neutralizes and the coolant level quickly raises up above the cold/kalt line, leaving me little room to add coolant. Seems like someone is playing a practical joke on me... The coolant level is a tad low when the cap is on, and a tad high as soon as I take the cap off... What gives? It's like trying to hit a moving target.

I would like to clarify that I do not have any leaks, and have never received a low coolant warning. It's been at this level ever since I did the overhaul last week and the needle has always stayed at 12 o'clock.
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Last edited by ZeGerman; 09-27-2010 at 10:44 PM.
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  #12  
Old 09-27-2010, 10:25 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Mein Auto: 1995 318is / 1993 325is
If you still have enough pressure in the AM when the system is cold to keep the coolant forced down in the tank, you don't have any leaks. Put just enough in to bring it to the kalt mark when cold before romoving the cap, then quit worrying about it and drive.
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Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13

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BMW-CCA #441426
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?


Last edited by hornhospital; 09-27-2010 at 10:26 PM.
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