Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E46 (1999 - 2006)

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-05-2008, 08:32 AM
cruztopless's Avatar
cruztopless cruztopless is offline
take'r easy
Location: El Dorado Hills, Ca
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 849
Mein Auto: '03 330i - ED 05.12.03
I keep losing coolant

I'm losing coolant but don't see any leaks. The car was just repaired days ago for leaking coolant. I drove home from dealership (5 miles) and when I went to start it the next day the coolant light came on. Checked and couldn't even see the float and proceeded to add 3+ cups of coolant/water mix. Drove less than 40 miles, waited for it to cool off, checked and had to add 3.5 cups. I didn't see any leaks. I dropped it off at the dealer but the last message I got was that the coolant was a little low but they pressure checked it and everything looked ok but they'll keep looking. I made sure it was full when I left for the dealership so for it to be a little low after less than 5 miles should tell them something! Ugh. Any ideas on where it could be going? I figure 3+ cups would show up as a leak somewhere but where else could it be going? Thanks.
__________________

Beautiful daughter born 10/12/2008!! I am blessed.
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
  #2  
Old 10-05-2008, 08:45 AM
smolck's Avatar
smolck smolck is online now
ROLL TIDE!
Location: Birmingham, AL
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 22,348
Mein Auto: 2004 ZHP Sedan
Quote:
Originally Posted by cruztopless View Post
I'm losing coolant but don't see any leaks. The car was just repaired days ago for leaking coolant. I drove home from dealership (5 miles) and when I went to start it the next day the coolant light came on. Checked and couldn't even see the float and proceeded to add 3+ cups of coolant/water mix. Drove less than 40 miles, waited for it to cool off, checked and had to add 3.5 cups. I didn't see any leaks. I dropped it off at the dealer but the last message I got was that the coolant was a little low but they pressure checked it and everything looked ok but they'll keep looking. I made sure it was full when I left for the dealership so for it to be a little low after less than 5 miles should tell them something! Ugh. Any ideas on where it could be going? I figure 3+ cups would show up as a leak somewhere but where else could it be going? Thanks.
I have a very similar problem, only it doesnt happen as rapidly. In my case I have a hairline crack at the top of the expansion tank just below the filler neck. I would venture to say you might have the same issue. The expansion tank is a very common "failure" point.

The other issue could be a blown head gasket. Have you recently overheated? Do you have white smoke coming from the tail pipe?
__________________

Check out my YouTube Channel for DIY's and other fun stuff HERE
Check out my BMWBLOG!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-05-2008, 12:26 PM
SJBimmer's Avatar
SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
Living Life At The Beach
Location: In This Place
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,810
Mein Auto: 2004 325 Convertible
Is the oil milky? ie looks like mayonaise? If so you are likely looking at a head gasket. let's hope not.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-05-2008, 01:21 PM
phoenixreborn's Avatar
phoenixreborn phoenixreborn is offline
I'm an agent of chaos
Location: New York
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,720
Send a message via AIM to phoenixreborn
Mein Auto: '04 LR Discovery II
Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
I have a very similar problem, only it doesnt happen as rapidly. In my case I have a hairline crack at the top of the expansion tank just below the filler neck. I would venture to say you might have the same issue. The expansion tank is a very common "failure" point.

The other issue could be a blown head gasket. Have you recently overheated? Do you have white smoke coming from the tail pipe?
Me too smolck. You know of any good DIY threads to change this? Is it going to be easy or should I just pay someone to do it? If I remember correctly the stealer wanted a couple of hundred to do this on my 325i last year, so it can't be that complicated.
__________________


Quote:
How can you move faster than possible, fight longer than possible without the most powerful impulse of the spirit: the fear of death

Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-05-2008, 02:14 PM
MalibuMafiaV's Avatar
MalibuMafiaV MalibuMafiaV is offline
L4P
Location: Malibu, CA
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 11,592
Send a message via AIM to MalibuMafiaV
Mein Auto: E60 M5 & Stage 3 Audi S4
Quote:
Originally Posted by cruztopless View Post
I'm losing coolant but don't see any leaks. The car was just repaired days ago for leaking coolant. I drove home from dealership (5 miles) and when I went to start it the next day the coolant light came on. Checked and couldn't even see the float and proceeded to add 3+ cups of coolant/water mix. Drove less than 40 miles, waited for it to cool off, checked and had to add 3.5 cups. I didn't see any leaks. I dropped it off at the dealer but the last message I got was that the coolant was a little low but they pressure checked it and everything looked ok but they'll keep looking. I made sure it was full when I left for the dealership so for it to be a little low after less than 5 miles should tell them something! Ugh. Any ideas on where it could be going? I figure 3+ cups would show up as a leak somewhere but where else could it be going? Thanks.
Just speaking from my experience on this issue but.
I had a similar problem. My hose that went from the radiator to where the coolant goes in was cracked i replaced it and it was totaly fine and then months and months later it started leaking again. I noticed it was coming from the top near the area of where the coolant cap was because there was coolant ALL over the top of my engine and other areas so I changed the cap and all went well.
__________________
http://www.luxury4play.com
BMW 2006 M5 - REALLY LOUD
Audi S4 2000 Stage 3 - Dat turbo spool
BMW 2000 3-series - Supercharged Because race car SOLD
Maserati 2004 M128 GT - HREs/tint/straight piped SOLD
BMW 2006 M3 - stock - SOLD
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-05-2008, 02:17 PM
jsc's Avatar
jsc jsc is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Calgary
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,441
Mein Auto: E85 M-Roadster, E82 135i
Might be your expansion tank cap, fairly cheap to replace ($10 or so from what I remember). Mine didn't show any signs of a leak when it had failed, just a slight residue in the threads of the cap. The system will pass a pressure test if they attach to the expansion tank filler, the cap should be tested separately, but it may just be better to replace it.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-05-2008, 03:00 PM
smolck's Avatar
smolck smolck is online now
ROLL TIDE!
Location: Birmingham, AL
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 22,348
Mein Auto: 2004 ZHP Sedan
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenixreborn View Post
Me too smolck. You know of any good DIY threads to change this? Is it going to be easy or should I just pay someone to do it? If I remember correctly the stealer wanted a couple of hundred to do this on my 325i last year, so it can't be that complicated.
It really isn't that bad. I am SURE there is a DIY somewhere out there. I don't know where, let's see what I can find.....
__________________

Check out my YouTube Channel for DIY's and other fun stuff HERE
Check out my BMWBLOG!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-05-2008, 06:44 PM
KarlB KarlB is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Crockett,tx
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 881
Mein Auto: 11 335d,08 K12GT,10 S1000
I just replaced the expansion tank, upper hose, and exp tank cap on my daughters 00 323 and it was a 30 min job. couldnt find a crack and couldnt determine the exact leak point but it was coming from this general area so just replaced all three cost about 90.00 in parts, no more leak
__________________
11 335d
2010 S1000RR
08 K1200GT
08 WR250R

Last edited by KarlB; 10-05-2008 at 06:46 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-05-2008, 09:18 PM
cruztopless's Avatar
cruztopless cruztopless is offline
take'r easy
Location: El Dorado Hills, Ca
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 849
Mein Auto: '03 330i - ED 05.12.03
Thanks for the replies. I don't think the expansion tank was replaced because the SA stated if it was up to him, any work done to the coolant system would include replacing the expansion tank ... but BMW won't let them unless there is a problem. I'll keep my fingers crossed that they find it without me having to create a scene.
I've got a baby coming in 9 days and this is going to be her ride home!!

edit: SJ - oil has been looking fine based on an oil change from a few months ago. I've been losing coolant, slowly at first, for about a year now so hopefully it isn't a gasket. If it is it BETTER be covered by the OOP program.
__________________

Beautiful daughter born 10/12/2008!! I am blessed.

Last edited by cruztopless; 10-05-2008 at 09:21 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-06-2008, 07:04 AM
smolck's Avatar
smolck smolck is online now
ROLL TIDE!
Location: Birmingham, AL
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 22,348
Mein Auto: 2004 ZHP Sedan
Quote:
Originally Posted by cruztopless View Post
Thanks for the replies. I don't think the expansion tank was replaced because the SA stated if it was up to him, any work done to the coolant system would include replacing the expansion tank ... but BMW won't let them unless there is a problem. I'll keep my fingers crossed that they find it without me having to create a scene.
I've got a baby coming in 9 days and this is going to be her ride home!!

edit: SJ - oil has been looking fine based on an oil change from a few months ago. I've been losing coolant, slowly at first, for about a year now so hopefully it isn't a gasket. If it is it BETTER be covered by the OOP program.
Congrats on the new baby! It sounds like an expansion tank issue or something simple. If you have the CPO then don't worry, just complain loudly!
__________________

Check out my YouTube Channel for DIY's and other fun stuff HERE
Check out my BMWBLOG!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-06-2008, 07:09 AM
v33_n0d3's Avatar
v33_n0d3 v33_n0d3 is offline
Black Mage
Location: Burbank
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,337
Mein Auto: 2001 325i Sedan
Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
It really isn't that bad. I am SURE there is a DIY somewhere out there. I don't know where, let's see what I can find.....
DIY on the expansion tank or the head gasket? The former is a 4/10 in difficulty and the last one.... probably a 12/10.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-06-2008, 07:42 AM
smolck's Avatar
smolck smolck is online now
ROLL TIDE!
Location: Birmingham, AL
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 22,348
Mein Auto: 2004 ZHP Sedan
Quote:
Originally Posted by v33_n0d3 View Post
DIY on the expansion tank or the head gasket? The former is a 4/10 in difficulty and the last one.... probably a 12/10.
Yea, I meant the expansion tank. Head gasket is a wee bit more difficult.
__________________

Check out my YouTube Channel for DIY's and other fun stuff HERE
Check out my BMWBLOG!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-06-2008, 01:10 PM
SJBimmer's Avatar
SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
Living Life At The Beach
Location: In This Place
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,810
Mein Auto: 2004 325 Convertible
cruztopless,

Glad the oil looks ok! Congrats on the baby! Sleep straight through for the next 9 days! you're gonna need it!

SJ
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10-06-2008, 09:55 PM
cruztopless's Avatar
cruztopless cruztopless is offline
take'r easy
Location: El Dorado Hills, Ca
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 849
Mein Auto: '03 330i - ED 05.12.03
Thanks all! Got a call from the SA today and they didn't change out the cap so he's made it a policy to change the cap out when the expansion tank is replaced (which happened a few days before this posting and I thought that fixed the problem). I asked that someone just drive it 5 to 10 miles then check the coolant level again before I go down to pick it up. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Thanks for the well wishes! I definitely could use them.
__________________

Beautiful daughter born 10/12/2008!! I am blessed.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-06-2008, 10:34 PM
1bmwdude 1bmwdude is offline
Registered User
Location: Broken Arrow OK
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 8
Mein Auto: 325ci
I had the same problem replaced every coolant part on car but exspansion tank and guess what where the top and bottom seam together it leaks out 72 dollars at dealer. fixxed the prob
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10-07-2008, 07:10 AM
Scott ZHP's Avatar
Scott ZHP Scott ZHP is offline
We want the Lion!
Location: PA, USA
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 7,568
Mein Auto: 03 ZHP, 01 X5, 73 MGB
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1bmwdude View Post
I had the same problem replaced every coolant part on car but exspansion tank and guess what where the top and bottom seam together it leaks out 72 dollars at dealer. fixxed the prob
The tank is probably the weakest link, followed by the water pump. Not sure where you're getting your maintenance advice, but you may want to reconsider the source.
__________________


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
JUST...LOOK...UNDER...THE...CAR....for Chrissakes....it`s like checking to see if a dog is male or female....
Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
A bimmer with forced induction should have a proper manual gearbox. Anything less is like french kissing your sister.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 10-10-2013, 03:30 AM
Maikuljay Maikuljay is offline
Registered User
Location: Australia
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 5
Send a message via AIM to Maikuljay
Mein Auto: 02' 318i
This is great guys, i'm having exactly the same problem. So strange cant find a leak anywhere, no overheating, no milky residue.. Just having to refill the coolant every 2-3 weeks.

I'd love to read up about a DIY expansion tank if anyone has linkage.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 10-10-2013, 06:36 AM
my05crf280 my05crf280 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: andreas pa
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 113
Mein Auto: 2000 323i 5spd
One if the reasons its hard to find leaks on the expansion tank is that when the engine is cool the cracks tighten up and dont leak. Then when its hot and the system builds pressure the crack slightly open up. I replaced my whole system and it was one thing after another. I actually had to put silicone in the hoses where the o ring is supposed to seal.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 10-10-2013, 09:30 AM
ahull's Avatar
ahull ahull is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Carolina
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 3,556
Mein Auto: ist schnell! (03 330i SC)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maikuljay View Post
This is great guys, i'm having exactly the same problem. So strange cant find a leak anywhere, no overheating, no milky residue.. Just having to refill the coolant every 2-3 weeks.

I'd love to read up about a DIY expansion tank if anyone has linkage.
The temp sensor in the lower rad hose can leak too and it's hard to see that one. New o-ring usually does the trick.

Check the e46 wiki link near the top of the page for lots of DIYs and info about the e46, including cooling system. Look under maintenance first and I think cooling has it's own section too.
__________________
2003 330i TiAg Sport Pkg ~90k miles
DIY MODS: AA Stage I supercharger, Meyle HD FCAs w Powerflex CABs, Bilstein shocks, Meyle HD Rtabs, Angel Eyes, Clear Corners/Markers w/ LEDs, LED tails, ZHP rims, Akebono pads, AUX input
DIY E46 Merit Badges: Sunroof resurrection, CCV, OFHG, VCG w/ VANOS seals, DISA, Cooling Refresh I, steering giubo, window regs, Magnetic Infandibulator (see wiki)
DIY On deck: Rear Diff bushing. UUC SSK, clutch job eventually, Wavetrac LSD
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E46 (1999 - 2006)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:48 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2011 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms