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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 04-02-2012, 10:08 AM
tbateman57 tbateman57 is offline
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Question 1999 E36 318i OVERHEATING

Hi
On Saturday while sat in traffic, my heater guage started rising from the usual half way mark to just below the red. Then it would go down a touch, then up again, then down again etc etc. Had a look at coolant level when I got home and it was very low. Filled it back up and left it. The following day I drove 2 miles, and the coolant level was low again.
Filled it up again and left it overnight.
Going to work this morning and after 7 miles the guage went up to red again, then down again to just over halfway, then back up again, down again etc and it has been carrying on like this on the drive home. My coolant level however has stayed at the full mark.

Does anybody have any ideas as to what can be causing this? i I have searched so many threads, but am unable to find anything with these symptoms.

Thanks in advance
Tina
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  #2  
Old 04-02-2012, 11:38 AM
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petriej petriej is offline
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Sounds like coolant is leaking somewhere, and causing bubbles, which cause sporadic overheating. When the car is running, do a quick visual inspection in the engine bay for leaks. Sometimes the system will have a leak somewhere the coolant doesn't sit when the engine is off, so you won't have any puddles under the car, but when it is running, it leaks.
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Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
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Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
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  #3  
Old 04-02-2012, 01:09 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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^ this, and QUIT DRIVING IT until you get the leak fixed and the coolant system 100%. You will damage the engine, if you haven't already. We see one of the overheating postings every week...sometimes several per week. We wish BMW had put a sticker on the dash stating "Driving this vehicle with the temperature gauge over the center mark will ruin the engine" but they didn't. I'm afraid you've already hurt it pretty badly. Good luck.
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  #4  
Old 04-02-2012, 01:38 PM
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  #5  
Old 04-02-2012, 04:22 PM
buellxb buellxb is offline
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This exact thing just happened to me 2 days ago....end result was blown head gasket. Check your coolant for oil, and vice versa
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  #6  
Old 04-03-2012, 10:15 AM
tbateman57 tbateman57 is offline
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Thanks for the replies. I put some bars leak seal in and have not lost any coolant since. I still have the overheating problem, though it's not happening anywhere near as often. Just 3 times on a 15 mile trip where before it was up and down constantly. It never gets into the red, just below it, then would go back to the halfway mark for a good few miles. No white gunk on either dipstick or oil cap. Tried to bleed the radiator, but had no air escape at all. Could it be a sign of a dodgy thermostat? If so, where do I find this?
Thanks
Tina
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  #7  
Old 04-03-2012, 10:24 AM
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The best and only way to really test the thermostat is to remove it and throw it in a pot of water on the stove. Stick a good thermometer in the water and when the temp hits 90C (or whatever temp thermostat you have) the thermostat should pop open. If it stays closed, it's not working.


That being said, our thermostats have a tendency to fail in the OPEN position, so it's not likely your problem. My guess is an air bubble or two.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
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1999 M3 Cabrio TiAg Metallic/Dove Grey/Black 5 Speed Manual
-------------------------------------------------------------------
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2004 645Ci Mineral Silver Metallic/Black 6MT RIP 04/2011
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  #8  
Old 04-03-2012, 10:29 AM
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Nobody states the easiest and probably the most obvious culprit...an unbled coolant system.

Do a proper bleed of the system.
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  #9  
Old 04-03-2012, 11:09 AM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petriej View Post
My guess is an air bubble or two.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayjaya29 View Post
Nobody states the easiest and probably the most obvious culprit...an unbled coolant system.

Do a proper bleed of the system.
The comment directly above yours is implying that the system needs to be bled. The other reason why bleeding the system is not particularly relevant is because the system developed the overheating symptoms out of thin air, meaning something is not right. So, while it may have air trapped in the system, there is something else which is allowing the air to enter the system in the first place. OP should check for leaks, fix them, and re-bleed the system.
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Last edited by ZeGerman; 04-03-2012 at 11:14 AM.
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  #10  
Old 04-03-2012, 11:11 AM
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Yep, bleed that system like a slaughtered goat!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
2005 X5 4.8is Le Mans/Black/6spd Steptragic
1999 M3 Cabrio TiAg Metallic/Dove Grey/Black 5 Speed Manual
-------------------------------------------------------------------
1997 328iC Schwarz II/K/K 5MT SOLD 5/2012
2004 645Ci Mineral Silver Metallic/Black 6MT RIP 04/2011
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  #11  
Old 04-03-2012, 11:39 AM
tbateman57 tbateman57 is offline
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I had the engine running,heater gauge upto halfway mark, radiator cap off, bleed screw loose and heaters turned on full. I didn't have any air escape. Is there something else I should be doing?
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  #12  
Old 04-03-2012, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbateman57 View Post
I had the engine running,heater gauge upto halfway mark, radiator cap off, bleed screw loose and heaters turned on full. I didn't have any air escape. Is there something else I should be doing?
Leave the rad cap on and crack the bleeder screw, you will know its fully bled when only coolant comes out.
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  #13  
Old 04-10-2012, 12:07 PM
tbateman57 tbateman57 is offline
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Thanks for all the replies. It turned out to be the water pump and thermostat.
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  #14  
Old 04-11-2012, 07:25 AM
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Time2Fly Time2Fly is offline
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Get the bars leak out of the system!!!! That is the quickest way to kill the cooling system. Look down by the oil filter housing right against the block is a black pipe, right where that pipe goes into the block is where leaks develop. Around the tank on the right side of the radiator at the bottom they can leak there. If this car hasn't had any maintenance done to the cooling system in awhile that you know of then it's time........If you don't find any leaks it the areas I mentioned and you are still losing coolant pop the cap and smell the coolant if it smells like fuel or exhaust and you notice some dark build up in the expansion tank then you probably have a cracked head. Even with a cracked head it will not show oil in the coolant or coolant in the oil mine didn't. You will have a slight coolant loss along with some of the symptoms you describe. Good Luck and report back.
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  #15  
Old 04-11-2012, 07:27 AM
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Time2Fly Time2Fly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbateman57 View Post
Thanks for all the replies. It turned out to be the water pump and thermostat.
If you are losing coolant this has nothing to do the pump and Tstat
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