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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 04-30-2012, 09:29 PM
majorpeace majorpeace is offline
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Location: Vienna VA
 
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Mein Auto: 2003 330 Ci Convertible
Fan Clutch Nut Seized

I am in the process of the Oil Filter Housing Gasket and Beisans Vanos Seals replacement of the 330 Ci overall.

My fan Clutch nut is seized possibly from an overheated engine earlier in its life.

I tried the Sledge technique and promptly broke my Thermostat. Still no movement. I have the water pully pump tool and 32 mm Wrench and still no movement.

The sledge was a 3 lb number and maybe I need a 5 lb. Or just more strength/courage to get the nut to break. I want to drive it to the dealership 3 miles away but the coolant system is no longer operational.

Suggestions.
If anyone is in the Vienna VA area and can assist I can buy the beverage and pizza of choice.
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  #2  
Old 05-01-2012, 04:46 AM
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jonathan2263 jonathan2263 is offline
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This is going to sound like a stupid question, and no offense intended, but, you know that nut is reverse threaded, right?

After that, leverage is the key, not force. With the fan clutch holding tool on, if you can find a way to extend the 32 mm wrench, you should be good. Or maybe have a friend hold the fan clutch and you lean on the 32.

Btw, I cracked my thermostat with the sledge hammer trick also. Then borrowed the correct tools and they worked like a charm.
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Last edited by jonathan2263; 05-01-2012 at 04:47 AM.
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  #3  
Old 05-01-2012, 06:49 AM
majorpeace majorpeace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan2263 View Post
This is going to sound like a stupid question, and no offense intended, but, you know that nut is reverse threaded, right?

After that, leverage is the key, not force. With the fan clutch holding tool on, if you can find a way to extend the 32 mm wrench, you should be good. Or maybe have a friend hold the fan clutch and you lean on the 32.

Btw, I cracked my thermostat with the sledge hammer trick also. Then borrowed the correct tools and they worked like a charm.
Not a stupid question at all. Yes I aware of the reverse thread. I have checked and read most of the DIYs on removing, which by the way most of them never actually show the moment of release, probably because no one wants to drop the fan while holding a camera.

Well I have the correct tools and I agree it is leverage. I have to find a way to extend the pully pump tool. It is about 4 inches short to get the leverage without me feeling that I am going to shatter the pump as well.

Did you JB weld your thermostat or did you replace it?
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  #4  
Old 05-01-2012, 06:54 AM
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G. P. Burdell G. P. Burdell is offline
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If the nut still doesn't budge, spray a penetrating lubricant such as PB-Blaster on the threads, let it sit for a while, and try again.
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  #5  
Old 05-01-2012, 07:11 AM
majorpeace majorpeace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G. P. Burdell View Post
If the nut still doesn't budge, spray a penetrating lubricant such as PB-Blaster on the threads, let it sit for a while, and try again.

Thanks I have some PB and will do that.

I also just viewed video of using a cheater/breaker bar. I will go to Home Depot (on my bike) and get two pieces of pipe that can extend the leverage without adding force.

On the brite side I have watched and learned more about the BMW engine than I ever thought possible. I replaced my FCAB in 35 minutes (not including removing the almost seized engine cover bolt). Saved $$$ and have added tons to my Man card status.

I will provide photos as well.
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  #6  
Old 05-01-2012, 07:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majorpeace View Post
Not a stupid question at all. Yes I aware of the reverse thread. I have checked and read most of the DIYs on removing, which by the way most of them never actually show the moment of release, probably because no one wants to drop the fan while holding a camera.

Well I have the correct tools and I agree it is leverage. I have to find a way to extend the pully pump tool. It is about 4 inches short to get the leverage without me feeling that I am going to shatter the pump as well.

Did you JB weld your thermostat or did you replace it?
I started my cooling system overhaul because I got the thermostat failing code. (P0128 I think) It was no big deal that I cracked it because my intention was to replace it anyway. However, I would never attempt to repair a cracked thermostat housing. The part is just a bit over $50 and well worth the peace of mind.
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  #7  
Old 05-01-2012, 07:44 AM
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I have encountered 3 cars in my career that the fan nuts would NOT come off. No amount of prying would remove it. Here is the way to remove them (or at least the only way I have found).

1. Loosen the fan shroud and push it forward toward the engine, this gives you access to the bolts that hold the fan to the clutch. Unbolt the fan.
2. With the fan off you can pull the fan shroud and fan blades out.
3. Unbolt the tstat and get it out of the way (you broke it anyways)
4. Option time. Either break the plastic water pump pulley to access the water pump bolts OR unbolt the pulley from the water pump and slide it toward the fan clutch to access the water pump bolts.
5. remove water pump and fan clutch as an assembly
6. I always break the pulley and buy a new clutch fan so without the pulley in the way you clamp it in a vice and get the fan clutch off. With the pulley on, it might not work.
7. Replace all parts with new ones and move along.

It isn't worth fighting a stuck nut. Just do the above. And when you re-install, add some anti-seize to the threads of the fan nut.
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #8  
Old 05-01-2012, 08:13 AM
majorpeace majorpeace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
I have encountered 3 cars in my career that the fan nuts would NOT come off. No amount of prying would remove it. Here is the way to remove them (or at least the only way I have found).

1. Loosen the fan shroud and push it forward toward the engine, this gives you access to the bolts that hold the fan to the clutch. Unbolt the fan.
2. With the fan off you can pull the fan shroud and fan blades out.
3. Unbolt the tstat and get it out of the way (you broke it anyways)
4. Option time. Either break the plastic water pump pulley to access the water pump bolts OR unbolt the pulley from the water pump and slide it toward the fan clutch to access the water pump bolts.
5. remove water pump and fan clutch as an assembly
6. I always break the pulley and buy a new clutch fan so without the pulley in the way you clamp it in a vice and get the fan clutch off. With the pulley on, it might not work.
7. Replace all parts with new ones and move along.

It isn't worth fighting a stuck nut. Just do the above. And when you re-install, add some anti-seize to the threads of the fan nut.

I have searched quite a few threads and this procedure did not come up.

I will take it step by step. On step 4 I will most likely take the unbolt path.

I will update after this process.

A lesson to my fellow NOOBs. Always post your questions there is a ton of knowledge, and yes apply the search tool liberally.

Victory comes to those who overcome obstacles!
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  #9  
Old 05-01-2012, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majorpeace View Post
I will take it step by step. On step 4 I will most likely take the unbolt path.
That'll work to get it out of the car, but I don't think it'll allow the pump to go in a vice. Hope it does.
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #10  
Old 05-02-2012, 04:31 PM
majorpeace majorpeace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
That'll work to get it out of the car, but I don't think it'll allow the pump to go in a vice. Hope it does.
Smolck,

My Karma and this car.

I successfully removed 2 of the screws holding the fan to the clutch, however the remaining two screws are stripped a bit and I can not get anything to move them especially with the amount of sludge that has accumulated. I am not giving up but just reporting so's yous guys know that I am out there working.

I have tried to fit a rounded nut over the entire screw but 3/8 is to small and it is a rounded head anyway. The space is so small and my hands can barely function.

If necessary I will remove the entire front end or cut the shroud and buy a new one.

I mistakenly typed that the remaining screws were/ are stripped which is not accurate, the hex head has been rounded so that there is no grip to the hex head. I do not know what that is called but it is what I am dealing with.

Last edited by majorpeace; 05-02-2012 at 04:34 PM.
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  #11  
Old 05-02-2012, 04:59 PM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majorpeace View Post
Smolck,

My Karma and this car.

I successfully removed 2 of the screws holding the fan to the clutch, however the remaining two screws are stripped a bit and I can not get anything to move them especially with the amount of sludge that has accumulated. I am not giving up but just reporting so's yous guys know that I am out there working.

I have tried to fit a rounded nut over the entire screw but 3/8 is to small and it is a rounded head anyway. The space is so small and my hands can barely function.

If necessary I will remove the entire front end or cut the shroud and buy a new one.

I mistakenly typed that the remaining screws were/ are stripped which is not accurate, the hex head has been rounded so that there is no grip to the hex head. I do not know what that is called but it is what I am dealing with.
Try a small vicegrips if you can get it in there.
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  #12  
Old 05-02-2012, 05:18 PM
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smolck smolck is offline
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Try a torx head
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #13  
Old 05-02-2012, 05:55 PM
chansta chansta is offline
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in most cases having more leverage works.

if not try using a chisel and putting it in the cornor of the bolt in the direction of rotation and hammer.

or if u have it make it easier on yourself and use a impact hammer and chisel away at the cornor and it will come loose like nothing.
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  #14  
Old 05-02-2012, 06:20 PM
majorpeace majorpeace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SJBimmer View Post
Try a small vicegrips if you can get it in there.
They would have to be very small and with a L-shaped needle mouth for it to reach into that tight space. But thanks I willing to try any and everything.
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  #15  
Old 05-02-2012, 08:28 PM
majorpeace majorpeace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chansta View Post
in most cases having more leverage works.

if not try using a chisel and putting it in the cornor of the bolt in the direction of rotation and hammer.

or if u have it make it easier on yourself and use a impact hammer and chisel away at the cornor and it will come loose like nothing.
I just uploaded some random pictures to let you know what the hell I am trying to do.

It seems that those who worked on this vehicle previously took some short cuts as I find that bolts are missing and such things. But all in all I like this Car! My friends complain that I am always working on it and they are right, but soon I will know what I am doing and then Let the Highway beware.

The first pix is my lab or the loading dock at my apartment building I got kicked out because I worked overnight. The second pix is a wide shot of the same area. The 3rd is the breaker bar that I was using to try and get the damn reversed thread fan clutch nut to release. I added the engine radio (would be a cool mod) The 4th pix just my coils exposed, the 5th the offending fan shroud mix. The 6th pix the nut that has been driving me crazy for the past 5 days. It dares me to remove it.
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  #16  
Old 05-02-2012, 09:44 PM
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smolck smolck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majorpeace View Post
I just uploaded some random pictures to let you know what the hell I am trying to do.

It seems that those who worked on this vehicle previously took some short cuts as I find that bolts are missing and such things. But all in all I like this Car! My friends complain that I am always working on it and they are right, but soon I will know what I am doing and then Let the Highway beware.

The first pix is my lab or the loading dock at my apartment building I got kicked out because I worked overnight. The second pix is a wide shot of the same area. The 3rd is the breaker bar that I was using to try and get the damn reversed thread fan clutch nut to release. I added the engine radio (would be a cool mod) The 4th pix just my coils exposed, the 5th the offending fan shroud mix. The 6th pix the nut that has been driving me crazy for the past 5 days. It dares me to remove it.
Now that you got the shroud out, it is easy sailing.
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #17  
Old 05-03-2012, 05:03 PM
majorpeace majorpeace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
Now that you got the shroud out, it is easy sailing.
Well the fan shroud is not actually off. It is just the angle of the photo.

The problem I have is even with the fan shroud removed I will not be able to reach the bolts with any tool that I am aware of that can grip it due to the nearness of the radiator. the bolts on the fan will not turn.

My next choice, remove the entire front including radiator to give me space to get at the fan or try and remove the clutch from by removing the water pully giving me room to apply nut release solution and then try to release the nut from this direction.

And yes this is embarrassing. You should see the reaction from my neighbors. "Hey are you okay, maybe you should get a professional to look at it, that is a nice car after all"

Me grumbling @#EW$.

Last edited by majorpeace; 05-03-2012 at 05:06 PM.
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  #18  
Old 05-03-2012, 05:46 PM
chansta chansta is offline
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if i can't remove it with more leverage i always bust out the impact hammer and remove it in matter of seconds. again if u dont have impact hammer get a long chisel and a hammer and hammer at the cornor of nut towards the direction of loosening.

you are wasting time by pulling the front end apart or w/e u decide to do.



place the chisel along the red line i drew up there and hammer. it will come loose
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Last edited by chansta; 05-03-2012 at 05:53 PM.
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  #19  
Old 05-04-2012, 04:51 PM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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Major,

I have to admire your determination. As a last resort, just get a sawzall with a long blade and cut through the water pump snout. Of course you will have to buy a new fan clutch and water pump, but I assume you were planning on that anyway. Hang in there!
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  #20  
Old 05-04-2012, 07:30 PM
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goosefoot33 goosefoot33 is online now
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I am doing a similar project on my e34 (new radiator, hoses, water pump, thermostat and thermostat housing). When it came time to remove the fan clutch from my old WP, it would not budge at all. I ended up buying a new fan clutch and pulley. I had not anticipated buying a new fan clutch and pulley but I was forced to after I broke my fan clutch trying to loosen that nut!
I would say, for the extra $150 it cost me, it was worth it knowing that I will not have to replace them in the near future. I think you will find the same if you choose to purchase a new fan clutch. Like you, I do not give up easily (especially knowing that I had to shell out an extra $150), however there's a point in every project where you have to gauge how much time and frustration you must go through in comparison to the possible reward.
Either way- best of luck and good for you for DIYing on a loading dock
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  #21  
Old 05-04-2012, 10:25 PM
majorpeace majorpeace is offline
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The end of an really short era

If you have been following my Fan Clutch exploits you will not believe what happened to my bimmer. As you know I have been working on my car and I had this morning just removed the fan due to the overnight workings of the WD40 and I was able to get to the serious business of replacing my Vanos seal and my oil filter housing when...I will let the pictures speak for themselves.


Okay I can't let the pictures speak. I cannot believe this. I was working on the car behind the apartment building I was ecstatic because the fan clutch was no longer an obstacle I was beginning the Beisans Valve replacement and looking forward to finally replacing the Oil filter housing gasket when I heard a car (actually the tires) coming around the corner at about 60 mph and I knew that at that speed the car wasn't going to make it. It is a 15 mph zone coming into a parking garage. There is absolutely no where to go at that speed.

I saw the driver swerve to avoid the cement wall and I knew that meant he would have to come directly at me. I was under the hood removing the Vanos and peek out the side to see this SUV coming at me at 55 mph and I lept about 15 feet away just in time before he plows into my rear end.

Yes it all occurred in slow motion and the car was only 20 feet away when I jump. Fortunately no one was seriously hurt. I am coming down from the adrenaline and am going to the hospital in the morning should I feel anything not right.

The driver was some teenager who had been drinking (at 4:30 in the afternoon). Neighbors who witnessed the event called the police and eventually 8 patrol cars and many iPhones were in attendance recording the drama for posterity.

My car was totaled and now I will be in the market for another Bimmer this time I will check to see if the fan clutch is functional. As you will see from the video my Engine Radio Mod was not able to survive.

I have a video and there is a some graphic language so if you are sensitive please do not listen.


I do want to thank everyone for the advice and encouragement. I almost had completed everything and that car was sure to run like a demon in heat, alas it was not meant to be.
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  #22  
Old 05-05-2012, 07:31 AM
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catso catso is offline
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Bummer. On a positive note; you now know alot more about repairing Bimmers. Maybe the insurance company will let you keep the car. It could come in real handy for parts if you buy another E46.
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  #23  
Old 05-05-2012, 07:32 AM
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G. P. Burdell G. P. Burdell is offline
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Unbelievable. I'm glad you weren't seriously injured, and I hope the drunk driver realizes that this story could have had a far worse ending if you hadn't jumped out of the way.

Good luck settling with your insurance company, and have fun in your new ride.
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  #24  
Old 05-05-2012, 08:58 AM
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I would have pummeled that drunken asswipe within an inch of his life and then kicked him one more time. Glad you are ok.

On a lighter note, here is how to avoid problems with those pesky fan clutches, BUY A MANUAL!!!!! They don't have one....see below video I made.

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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #25  
Old 05-05-2012, 09:04 AM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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I could not believe it when I read this. Like the other members, I am glad you are ok, and I hope this kid goes to jail for a while. I hope you can find another vert that was as nice as the one you had. Best of luck, and get a lawyer involved if things don't go your way.
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