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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 07-20-2009, 10:02 AM
magnet420 magnet420 is offline
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Question 328i Coolant Loss PLEASE HELP!!!!!!

I recently treated myself to a lovely looking BMW 328i e36 coupe after driving a 318 for the past year. I was overjoyed when i bought it and set about rectifying any silly little issues. I have only had the car a month and driven around 2000 miles so far and had no problems other than this coolant loss. I am petrified its the head gasket or a cracked head, but can see none of the tell tale signs such as oil in water or water in oil. It doesnt overheat, it goes to 12 o clock and stays there. Iv driven it far, iv driven it hard and it makes no difference. I fill the tank up to the max mark when cold and withing a few days its dropped down a few inches. I have seen no leaks or obvious problems so have no idea why its doing this? Any help would be greatly appreciated as I'm assuming the worst I have already been quoted £500 for head gasket replacement, but another garage said its unlikely just the gasket is gone and it might be a cracked head
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2009, 10:21 AM
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E36 Phantom E36 Phantom is offline
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Pressure test the system. Probably a pinhole in the top of a hose or a crack in the radiator or expansion tank.

You need to top of the system a bit, then pressurize it with a pressure tester and see where it comes out of.


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  #3  
Old 07-20-2009, 10:27 AM
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ianiac ianiac is offline
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This same thing was happening to my car for a while. I wound up finding a crack in the side of the radiator. It wouldn't overheat either, untill one day it cracked way more. Got it towed and a new radiator
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:33 AM
ChristopherJLee ChristopherJLee is offline
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this is helpful, i'm having the same problem with my car. now if i can only find a place to do a pressure test for cheap
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  #5  
Old 07-20-2009, 10:34 AM
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Chris, it should only take about a half hour of labor, it's not exactly a tough thing to do.
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  #6  
Old 07-20-2009, 11:01 AM
magnet420 magnet420 is offline
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Cheers

Thanks for your advice, I called the local BMW specialists who said they will pressure test and test for gasses in the water, reckon they will only charge me 20 quid so can't complain. I guess I will have to wait till tomorrow to find out for sure.
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:14 PM
Larry_N Larry_N is offline
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I hope what I'm about to tell you will help you a lot, because I posted a similiar question about a head gasket in another section, and the only answers I got pertained to the head gasket, which of course wasn't the issue at all. Here are a couple of head gasket test's if you don't see water in the oil, or oil in the water. Pull the fuse to the fuel pump, pull off the cap for the over flow tank, and have a friend try and start the car, If the gasket is blown, you'll see air bubbles come up in the tank. Leave the spark plugs in, don't pull them out, just pull the fuel pump fuse and Crank it over as if you are trying to start it. If no air bubbles, replace the fuel pump fuse, start the car, and let it warm up to temp. Quickly accelerate a few times, meaning stomp on the gas rev the engine, look at the ground below the exhaust tips. If there's water on the ground and a little bit of white smoke, chances are the head is cracked at a valve seat, or seal. meaning some place behind the valve. I hope this info is of some help, feel free to pm me if you want for any additional help. I found mine only blew water when I thrashed the gas pedal, and not when I held it above 2200 rpms or when the car idled and of course, I had no water in the oil, no oil in the water, and no air bubbles in the overflow tank and no overheating.
Larry
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:22 PM
Larry_N Larry_N is offline
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Oh and here's one more thing you can do before you start the car. After you have some one crank the engine for you, then pull the plugs, look at the plugs for water, then shine a lamp, or flash light down the spark plug holes. You may see moisture on the top of the pistons if you do, chances are a crack in the head at the valves.
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:12 AM
magnet420 magnet420 is offline
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Well went to garage today, they pressure tested and gas tested it. There is definately no gasses in the water system and no water in oil. He detected a few small wet areas around some pipes and the temp sensor. The mechanic who is a BMW specialist handed me a bottle of sealant, advised me to replace the viscous coupling and fit a fan shroud as there isnt one for some reason. Apparantly he has seen a few cars do the same thing and its normaly a small leak thats almost undetectable. So 45 minutes and £20 less later and I'm feeling confident the engine is ok, but not entirely convinced. I guess I will just have to do what he said and hope for the best, after all the car runs fine. I will keep you all posted once i fit the shroud, new viscous and sealant. Thanks for all your help and advice and I hope this may help others too.

Cheers, Luke
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