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Do-It-Yourself H.Q.
Share your DIY projects or ask questions about how to fix something on your own. Help fellow Bimmerfest members improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 05-25-2013, 08:58 AM
kc318i kc318i is offline
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Location: Tallahassee
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 7
Mein Auto: 318i
Unhappy Sleepless overheating...

I have an early year model (1/94) E36 that was overheating on and off until it just stopped cooling completely. I drained the coolant (a little dirty - my bad) and replaced the radiator (leaking), the thermostat (literally shattered), and the water pump (leaking). After putting it all back together I drove it to work and noticed it heated up faster than normal, but was not overheating (temp stopped halfway as it should). Then half way down the interstate the fan belt and A/C belt shredded off (my bad- I knew they needed replacing).
I went through hell trying to find 3 new belts for my car (that's right, 3, decided to go ahead and replace the power steering belt as well) because everyone thinks there are only 2 belts, but as I said before, I have the earlier year model which has 3 belts - no serpentine. I'd feel special if I didn't have to argue with every mechanic and parts dealer in town. The repair manual mentions 2 models, but shows no diagrams except for the later model, which is obviously not helpful.
So I think I've finally found the right belts and I installed them all, but as soon as I started driving the engine over heated within 10 minutes. I noticed a very small amount of steam coming from the thermostat when I popped the hood, but no leaks and plenty of coolant, all the belts are spinning and are tight. I don't understand. I've checked the hoses what feels like a billion times and they look great as if they were new (they're not, but they look it and feel it).
Any ideas? Did I purchase a bad water pump?
I'm very DIY and though it might make me cry, I'm considering inching her to a mechanic I partially trust. Dad-in-law (hotrodder) is coming into town today to take a look.

I created and attached an early model belt diagram since they don't exist; just for yucks.
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:42 AM
kc318i kc318i is offline
Registered User
Location: Tallahassee
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 7
Mein Auto: 318i
...I didn't refill the coolant properly...
There's a bleed screw on top of the radiator that has to be opened and then you have to turn on the A/C so that the electric fan in the front is running (but not the engine). Then add the coolant until it starts over flowing from that top screw. Afterwards, put the screw and radiator cap back on and turn on the engine till it's warmed up. Then pour in however much more fluid you need to bring it to the "cool/kalt" line after the engine has cooled off. The instructions are in the repair manual that I didn't read completely through until the dad-in-law came by to point out my rediculous error.
In my defense, due to the air bubbles trapped in the system, no one could tell that I needed more coolant and before bleeding the system of air I was able to cram 1 gallon of coolant in (only .5 away from full - supposedly). I swear i'm not a complete idiot... just partially.
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