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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 02-15-2013, 07:38 AM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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I've tried bleeding coolant... still no heat! HELP!

Hey guys,

I know there's TONS of threads on this topic but i just cant seem to sort out how to solve my problem... So i figured i'd describe it.. and hope some kind soul will take pity on me and offer up some sort of amazing insight as to what's going on.

Here's basically what happened:

Car started not blowing heat no matter what setting... engine temp was always at 12:00
Figured it was the thermostat so i changed the thermostat with a new OEM one
Changed the lower radiator hose because it was leaking after the change.
Changed the temp sensor o-ring... no leaks.
In changing out the thermostat i drained the coolant but didn't flush (it's cold, my hose is frozen)
Bled the system according to all instructions i could find.
1. heat up to 91 degrees
2. blower lowest setting
3. key on.. car off
4. cap off... bleed screw off. Fill coolant till top.
5. squeeze tubes until bubbles stop coming out
6. fill more till it doesn't bubble and decrease level anymore.
7. cap on... bleed screw in.
8. start car.. let it warm up to 12:00
9. Drive car 2 miles.. park on incline.
10. burp radiator by taking off cap while running.. foam, bubbles seen...
11. cap back on.. let run and pressurize... bleed screw loosened.. wait till green antifreeze comes out.. bleed screw closed.


I've done #10 and #11 multiple times now.


But still here are my problems...

sometimes i get heat... sometimes I dont. Randomly
Doesn't seem to be any relation to how fast i'm going.. or how hard i'm pushing on the accelerator.


All i can think is that I still have air trapped in the heater core.. but how the heck do i get it out if bleeding and burping doesn't work?
Do i need to bring it to a garage to do a pressure bleed?
Could my water pump be bad?


I'm sorry this is probably a super duplicate of all other threads..
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  #2  
Old 02-15-2013, 07:38 AM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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Mein Auto: 1995 BMW 318i red
wups... forgot to say what car i have
2001 e46 325xi 4/2001 manu. date
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  #3  
Old 02-15-2013, 08:13 AM
Jat007 Jat007 is offline
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This might be a dumb question, but do you have the temp set correctly at the climate control panel? If so, what's the setting? Do you have heat anywhere coming out from any of the vents at all?? Couple of things could be happening with the heat in your car:

1. Circulation servo that controls your blend door is not working properly - Try playing the recycle button and see any changes
2. plugged heater core.
3. make sure the climate control indeed working and the temperature setting is correctly.

Let us know the result.

Jay
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  #4  
Old 02-15-2013, 08:16 AM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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yea.. i have the climate setting to 91 degrees pretty much all the time now.
I get air out of all vents depending on what i set it up to do.. mostly been trying the dash vents.. but i know air is coming from defrost vents and floor..
I've tried playing with the recycle button and dont really get different results other than the fact that when it's on.. the fan speed seems to slow down a bit.
If i drop the temp way down.. the air does come out cold... and then when i jack it back up .. it seems like it's trying to adjust back to warm..
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  #5  
Old 02-15-2013, 08:54 AM
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Is this all because your heater does't work?. It's probably your final stage resistor and I'm not trolling that's really what it's called.
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  #6  
Old 02-15-2013, 10:13 AM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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malibu... not sure what you mean? The issue is that i get heat sometimes and other times it's luke warm if not cold. Always set to 91 degrees...

Doesn't matter if i'm driving or sitting idle.
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  #7  
Old 02-15-2013, 10:22 AM
joegr joegr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddstaples View Post
malibu... not sure what you mean? The issue is that i get heat sometimes and other times it's luke warm if not cold. Always set to 91 degrees...

Doesn't matter if i'm driving or sitting idle.
If you always have airflow and you can control the amount (fan speed control works) then it is not the FSR. If when you say you don't get heat, you mean that you don't get any air at any temperature, then it could be the FSR.

It sounds to me like you have a temperature problem and not an air problem.

It could be your heater valve.
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  #8  
Old 02-15-2013, 10:50 AM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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Yea.. I always have air coming out... sometimes it fluctuates... but it's always blowing hard.. (no pun intended)...

definitely a temperature problem.. I cant imagine there's any air still left in the system at this point that would be causing this much of an issue.

Is there any test i can do to see if it's the heater valve?
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  #9  
Old 02-15-2013, 10:58 AM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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found this thread http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=617301

which says this to test the heater valve....

so in order for my to bypass it, do i just unplug it ???
Guessing...

Set the temp to the highest and then unplug it to have always on heater
Set the temp to lowest+ac and then unplug it to have always off - cool air
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2013, 02:02 PM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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Ok guys.. replaced the heater valve with a new one this weekend and noticed a few remaining oddities.. maybe you can shed some more light..

1. in the driveway.. up to temp... no heat at idle. If i rev the engine to 4k.. and hold for a little bit.. i get heat. Let off the accelerator.. heat goes back to luke warm.
2. driving to work today.. had heat cranking out.. and then randomly while on the highway.. the heat went back to luke warm again... then it came back..

water pump?

All i can think is that my water pump maybe lost some pieces, they got send up the line and jammed up my original heater valve. Now that i replaced that, the water pump isn't really pushing the water through the system very well..

thoughts?
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  #11  
Old 03-05-2013, 07:47 AM
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If your water pump lost pieces, you'd have other problems... increased engine temps being one of them. The bearings fail, so it would make noise or throw the belt off because the pulley goes out of alignment.

Does your outside ambient temp sensor work? If not, this could be contributing to your problem.

The system is pressurized and when I did mine, I bled with the expansion tank cap ON and opened the bleeder screw only. I had a heat problem as you describe and just kept bleeding it until it resolved itself.
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  #12  
Old 03-05-2013, 09:02 AM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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Good to know.. ok.. so water pump it isn't.. that's good.

When I bleed it i've been leaving the cap on and unscrewing the bleed screw only.. it spews out what looks like white liquid (air mixed with coolant?) ... and then goes solid green. Once it goes solid green i tighten it back down.

I'll keep bleeding ... post back with further results if it gets better..

thanks for the help!
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  #13  
Old 03-05-2013, 11:36 AM
chet31 chet31 is offline
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What does your coolant temperature gauge indicate? Is it at 12 Noon when the car is fully warmed up?
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  #14  
Old 03-05-2013, 01:16 PM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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Yup.. it gets up to 12 noon and stays there...
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  #15  
Old 03-06-2013, 11:12 PM
chet31 chet31 is offline
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When you say "it's cold, my hose was frozen" does that mean the coolant within your hose was frozen? Also, when you drive your car for a long time, does your heat start working fairly normally?
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  #16  
Old 03-07-2013, 06:43 AM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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haha.. i meant my garden hose.. sorry.. should have specified.

So last night when i got home from work i did more bleeding.. checking of levels.. bleeding.. checking of levels.. etc.. Levels look good. Then i reached in and squeezed the hoses going from the heater valve to the heater core to see if i could feel any type of blockages.. nothing felt.

Got in the car... and still at idle it's blowing luke warm

So i stepped on the gas.. got the car up to 4000-4500 RPM and pinned it there for a bit. As i did that.. i got more and more heat until the heat was damn good..
let my foot off the gas back to idle.. and the heat dropped in temp back down to luke warm.

All i can think is that there's a bit of a blockage somewhere in the system... when i crank o the gas.. the water pump speeds up and forces enough coolant through the system so i can get heat... when it's going idle.. it's not enough force from the water pump to force enough coolant through the blockage so i get minimal heat..

I'm thinking about calling a few shops around the area to see if they can do a pressurized flush of the coolant system on this thing... thoughts?
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  #17  
Old 03-07-2013, 07:01 AM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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oh. and to answer your other question chet.. while driving the car the heat is all over the place.. sometimes good.. sometimes luke warm... sometimes on the less than luke warm side.
I've also noticed.. and maybe i'm just crazy... that hotter air comes out of the driver side vents than does out of the passenger side vents..

That's what makes me feel like there's a blockage somewhere.. or maybe some trapped air that i just cant bleed out
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  #18  
Old 03-07-2013, 10:48 PM
chet31 chet31 is offline
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Crap, I was hoping your coolant was frozen, which would have been an easy fix. From your description, the T-stat was a likely culprit. It turned out to not be correct, but that's OK, at this stage in your car's life, it's a good thing to replace anyway. Has your water pump ever been replaced? A dying/inefficient water pump would explain why at low revs you get lukewarm heat, but at high revs you get heat. It's another common failure on our cars. Also, you might was well replace the coolant expansion tank while your at it. A hairline fracture in your expansion tank could also explain your problem because you are losing pressure in the system. I don't like just throwing **** out, but if your water pump and expansion tank have never been replaced, this should be done anyway, they are failures waiting to happen. I think these are more likely culprits than a blockage in your cooling system.
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Old 03-08-2013, 03:36 AM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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I was hoping you wouldn't say that..

I've already done the Tstat and heater valve..
I haven't replaced the expansion tank or water pump.. I've been thinking it was the water pump for a while based on what you say.. but i haven't been sure.

Is there a way to check the pressure in the system so i can see if it's the expansion tank? i'd rather not replace that If i can help it. I know that the water pump is only like 45 bucks on fcpgroton.com and a relatively easy replacement and I should do it anyways... and i guess if i'm doing that.. i should just do the expansion tank as well..

but what if i do that and then it turns out to be that there's still a blockage.. should i go get a coolant system pressure test and pressurized flush at jiffy lube or something just to make sure before i take on replacing the water pump and expansion tank?

ugh.. this is such a pain in the friggin ass
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:41 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Yes, all you have experienced is a pain.

But STOP, do not let Jiffy Lube near your car unless your father works there and he is a master mechanic.

Have you used the OBC hidden functions to monitor the coolant temperature?
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:51 PM
chet31 chet31 is offline
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Here's why I like the water pump/expansion tank theory. These items are on borrowed time anyway and even if it's wrong for your current problem, replacing them is not wasted effort or money. I don't like the blockage theory as presented because it involves the water pump throwing a blade, blocking the system, yet still functioning well enough to keep the coolant and normal temp - with no blades. Yes, a pressure test would be a good idea, because the expansion tank is not the only place the cooling system can lose pressure. Are you DIY'ing this?
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Old 03-09-2013, 07:53 AM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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Thanks Chet..
Yea i'm DIY'ing this ... always do.. unless it's something really serious. I've always been a backyard mechanic since i was 16 and changed my first transmission in my 85 Daytona Turbo Z... ahh.. those were the days..
But yea.. I agree with ya on the water pump and expansion tank. They're both about 45 each at FCPgroton (my preferred vendor).. and as far as I'm aware.. neither is a HUGE job..
Problem is that it's FREAKIN COLD out! I'm up in Massachusetts.. I dont have a garage.. sucks.

GoForthEast..
Yea.. I dont trust those guys at jiffy lube either.. but I was just trying to think of places near me that might be able to do a pressurized flush of the system. Or at least a coolant system pressure check.

I guess i should just order the water pump and expansion tank and commit to doing those jobs... i'm getting really sick of this though.. i've been working on this single problem for like 2 months.. and i've got my hand caught in the engine once while bleeding and it ripped my fingernail clean off... had to go to the ER.. which cost me $200.. so this is getting expensive at this point.

UGH!
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:48 PM
chet31 chet31 is offline
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Good luck, and don't even think about not telling us what the problem turns out to be once you fix it.
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:03 PM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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I absolutely will..
Gonna order the water pump and expansion tank. I'll take the expansion tank out gently, and try to save what's in it and put it back in the system with the new expansion tank and report as to if that was the problem.. then either way, i'll do the water pump.. then report if that solved it..

Shameless Help Call Time:
anyone got a garage in the Worcester to Natick Massachusetts area? haha i dont have a garage.. I wouldn't be able to get the job done until like april when it gets warmer than 30 degrees.. Cause this really sucks in the winter. maybe i'll rough it though :-) I need heat damnit!
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:03 AM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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UPDATE:

So i've been bleeding and bleeding and bleeding and still no change. I found that the upper radiator hose was leaking so i replaced that... more bleeding... still no good.

When i turn the car off and bleed.. LOTS of air comes out... normal? or does that mean i have to keep bleeding?

I narrowed the issue down to either the water pump isn't pushing the coolant through the system well enough to keep the heat on.. OR... the heater core valve isn't operating correctly.

I tested the voltage at the connector for the heater core valve. Seemed to always be between 12-14 volts even if i shut the heat complete off. Weird. Anyone know how that valve works? what voltage levels i should expect from the connector?

I then took the heater core valve completely out of the picture. Connected the in hose to the out hose directly with a temperature rated pvc elbow. Still heat is sketchy. IF i bleed a bunch with this modification and I still get crappy heat, i'm guessing it to be the water pump.

I was going to replace the expansion tank but after replacing the faulty hose... the system seems to be plenty pressurized... evident by the amount of air that fires out of the bleed port when i shut off the car after it's been running and loosen.


So what do you guys think? water pump? That's my next job to tackle.. If you guys think i've errored in my analysis of the above datapoints... let me know
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