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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 02-02-2009, 07:30 AM
hansbockler hansbockler is offline
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What type of Coolant?

I had posted a few days ago saying my coolant light had come on. Two questions:

1) when it comes on, it is only on for maybe a minute, then it turns off. should I even be worried?

2) what type of coolant? just any old 50/50 brand? also, under the hood, i fill it up under the cap that says "do not open when engine is hot", right?

sorry! my dad used to do all this stuff for me - now i am reaping the "benefit" of that

I have a 2001 325i

Last edited by hansbockler; 02-02-2009 at 07:33 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-02-2009, 08:45 AM
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milobloom242 milobloom242 is offline
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1) maybe it's the coolant level sensor going bad, if the fluid level is in fact ok
2) it's safest to pick up BMW coolant from the dealer

You can also find a local independent BMW mechanic near you, and have them check it out instead of the dealer. Search w/ this site http://www.bimrs.org/
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  #3  
Old 02-02-2009, 08:46 AM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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+1.. and only check the level when the engine is completely cold (i.e. first thing in the morning).
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  #4  
Old 02-02-2009, 08:49 AM
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Solidjake Solidjake is offline
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Hey Hans, go to the dealer and buy BMW coolant. It is 100% coolant and it comes as 1 gallon. Buy a gallon if DISTILLED water and have an extra gallon bottle from like milk or something and clean it out WELL. Put half of the distilled water into the empty gallon bottle so it's half and half between the two bottles of distilled water. Then pour half of the BMW coolant to one of the bottles and then take the other half a gallon and put it into the BMW coolant bottle.

When the car is cold, before you turn it on for the first time, check the level. You will see this little stick and the second ball from the top should be where it is shown in the pic. If not add coolant.
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  #5  
Old 02-02-2009, 08:50 AM
Strategery Strategery is offline
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Is there a cheaper place than a stealership to get BMW coolant? My local group of "I need to pay for my new boat" BMW guys charges 25 bucks a gallon for the crap..
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  #6  
Old 02-02-2009, 08:56 AM
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Solidjake Solidjake is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strategery View Post
Is there a cheaper place than a stealership to get BMW coolant? My local group of "I need to pay for my new boat" BMW guys charges 25 bucks a gallon for the crap..
All the sites have them for like 15 to 20. after shipping and all it may end up being more than the dealer. Just go to the dealer and get it.
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  #7  
Old 02-02-2009, 08:56 AM
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milobloom242 milobloom242 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strategery View Post
Is there a cheaper place than a stealership to get BMW coolant? My local group of "I need to pay for my new boat" BMW guys charges 25 bucks a gallon for the crap..
CCA membership provides discount @ the dealer
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  #8  
Old 02-02-2009, 09:30 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Why do we use a 50-50% mix of antifreeze and distilled water?

Assuming that the active ingredient in BMW coolant is ethylene glycol, why that dilution? I know that it is an easier dilution, since you only have to do a half-and-half, but technically speaking a 60-40 mix gives you a wider protection range.

A 50% ethylene glycol and 50% distilled water mix freezes at -36F/-37C and boils at +225F/+107C*

A 60% ethylene glycol and 40% distilled water mix freezes at -70F/-55C and boils at +232F/+111C*

*Reference: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/et...col-d_146.html

So, does BMW coolant contain some other secret ingredient that requires the specific 50-50 mix, or is it just plain convenience? Cause the wider freezing/boiling range afforded by a 60-40 mix will probably look mightily attractive to some folks in Kentucky and other colder parts this winter, as well as those in Arizona, NM, etc., this coming summer.

BTW, don't get any funny ideas of using ethylene glycol straight up without diluting: when pure, it freezes at +8.6F /-12.9C and boils at +387F/+197.3C.
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Last edited by jcourcoul; 02-02-2009 at 09:33 AM.
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  #9  
Old 02-02-2009, 09:40 AM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcourcoul View Post
So, does BMW coolant contain some other secret ingredient that requires the specific 50-50 mix, or is it just plain convenience?

Even though 40% water will have more protection, 50% water will cool your engine better - distilled water has a lower specific heat.
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  #10  
Old 02-02-2009, 09:54 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Originally Posted by KrisL View Post
Even though 40% water will have more protection, 50% water will cool your engine better - distilled water has a lower specific heat.
Ok, so it is related to the amount of fluid the system holds, and how fast it can carry the heat away. So, in the high end (AZ, NM, NV, even TX), that is important. But for folks in the North, the difference between -36F and -70F may mean the difference between being able to ride out and a split engine block.
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  #11  
Old 02-02-2009, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcourcoul View Post
Ok, so it is related to the amount of fluid the system holds, and how fast it can carry the heat away. So, in the high end (AZ, NM, NV, even TX), that is important. But for folks in the North, the difference between -36F and -70F may mean the difference between being able to ride out and a split engine block.
Yep.
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  #12  
Old 02-02-2009, 11:49 AM
dakarm dakarm is offline
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my gfs 02 330i was doing that, I would check the level and it would be need about 1-3cups of coolant/distilled water (I alternated). After a month or so of this, it turns out the plastic end tank was split and weeping coolant. No coolant light ever since the tank was replaced.
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  #13  
Old 12-21-2013, 09:26 AM
cashmonay cashmonay is offline
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Is there another type of coolant you could use instead of the BMW coolant as I do not have access to a dealership ATM???
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  #14  
Old 12-21-2013, 10:58 AM
ticklemejoviemo ticklemejoviemo is online now
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Re: What type of Coolant?

i googled this several months back, there is a pdf datasheet from bmw that lists other approved coolants. cant seem to find it as of now, but i remember glysantin g-48 was one and i believe prestone extended life.

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  #15  
Old 12-22-2013, 03:09 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Originally Posted by ticklemejoviemo View Post
i believe prestone extended life.
+1
I've used Prestone for upwards of seven years and the inside of my engine looks close to new.
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  #16  
Old 12-22-2013, 06:00 PM
ticklemejoviemo ticklemejoviemo is online now
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Re: What type of Coolant?

i inquired about Delo extended life, and according to their datasheet is approved by many vehicle manuf., including volkswagen, audi, andif im not mistaken mercedes. but bmw was not listed. at the end of the day though, im sure its more than adequate protection as most of those other engines are composed of the same exact material. however, i did end up using BMW coolant

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