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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 04-04-2013, 04:03 PM
ryder23's Avatar
ryder23 ryder23 is offline
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what is in this area of this photo?

Say I am looking for a coolant leak in my system. I found some coolant located on the surface in the photo circled in red. This location is on the front of the engine block next to where the Tstat is located (right of red circle).

I want to know is this an area potential for leak and what is that circular piece inside the red highlight. My reason for asking is I don't know if coolant was splashed here when I was taking things apart or did it get there by itself.

thanks all.

e36

Last edited by ryder23; 04-04-2013 at 04:11 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-04-2013, 04:09 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is online now
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No photo.
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  #3  
Old 04-04-2013, 04:11 PM
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ryder23 ryder23 is offline
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Thanks I some probs with the code
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  #4  
Old 04-04-2013, 04:22 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is online now
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Ah, now I see it. That is is what's called a freeze plug, or a blow-out plug. They're pressed in, and are designed to blow out if the coolant/water inside the engine freezes and expands. That way the internal pressure is released, instead of cracking your engine block. If yours is leaking it will have to be replaced. You can probably find some info online about how to replace them. I've never done it myself (successfully).

Edit: there are a bunch of videos online:
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1966 Pontiac GTO
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For sale: E30/E36 front sway links
For sale: OEM E36 328 catback

Last edited by ZeGerman; 04-04-2013 at 04:29 PM.
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  #5  
Old 04-04-2013, 04:26 PM
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ryder23 ryder23 is offline
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Very interesting that they have such a safety blow off mechanism. Well thanks! I'll have to find some info on it.



hmmm what are the odds that my freeze plug is leaking? My car is a lifetime Southern Cal car. When I had wiped off the coolant before taking the photos, there wasn't any white residue runoff on the dirty engine surface or nearby. I ask b/c it looks like a bitch to put in a new one and it doesn't seem like it is something that would fail esp not seeing below zero freezing winters.

Beyond this, I couldn't find the obvious leak elsewhere, perhaps it is the T-stat cover, which has never been replaced in 15 year. The gasket seal looked weak when I pulled it off, but no cracks on the plastics or evidence around the perimeter of coolant spray.

Last edited by ryder23; 04-04-2013 at 07:29 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-04-2013, 06:12 PM
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They don't usually fail at the line between the plug and the block. Most of they time the rust through from the inside. Clean it and examine it carefully for evidence of rust-through.
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  #7  
Old 04-04-2013, 07:30 PM
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Ok thanks, it is dark now, but I'll check it out tomorrow and let everyone know.
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  #8  
Old 04-04-2013, 07:35 PM
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Yeah, they don't leak often (this would be the first I've heard of it happening in this forum), but they can leak. Of course, do everything to make certain the traces of coolant your are finding aren't from another source. With the wind from the speed of the car, the belts, and the fan, coolant can be blown everywhere on the front of the engine. Clean everything up really well and see if it comes back.
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  #9  
Old 04-09-2013, 08:31 PM
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Sorry for the late reply. After cleaning up the area (freeze plug) a bit more, I didn't find any rust or coolant seeping out without pressure. So it looks ok. My parts for the cooling system repair came in yesterday. One of the new parts was the new t-stat case & gasket, which was a suspect too. So, I bolted it all back together, then filled it up with some phosphate free blue coolant from O'Reilly's, mixed in with the green stuff =)

No leaks so far. Thanks all for chiming in!

My friends and I were talking about the miles on my car. Yeah they are high and down here in SoCal it is common cars break the 200K mark. Then one guy points out that my miles are far greater b/c when I'm behind the wheel, I'm working the car a lot harder then Gramps.

Last edited by ryder23; 04-09-2013 at 08:35 PM.
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