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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 08-22-2009, 09:06 PM
toshiba toshiba is offline
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FIXED: 2004 X3 overheat. Need help!

Hello all,

I have a 2004 X3 2.5i, less than 35k mileage. Recently it overheated, when I was driving, and after turned on the AC. I don't drive a lot, and it is a surprise for a pretty new car like this. The next morning, I put the car on idle from cool for 5-10 minutes, and checked under the hood. What I found out is that one right hose near (or attach?) to thermostat is hot, and the opposite was cool. Anyway, I turned off the engine when the temp gauge on the panel reach 12o'clock.

I really appreciate any inputs or anyone that can point me to a right forum to ask. I suspect a broken thermostat.

Last edited by toshiba; 09-09-2009 at 06:34 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-22-2009, 09:11 PM
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A thermostat and any leaking coolant etc would be the first thing to look for. If not that, check the electric fan because if the thermo is working the X3 SHOULD NOT overheat theoretically. I am not familiar with the 2.5's, so I'm not too sure if any have any overheating issues, let alone any X3's yet, although knock on wood
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  #3  
Old 08-22-2009, 09:15 PM
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You're the first person I've heard of any overheating issues in an X3. Check the hoses otherwise I can't help much.
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  #4  
Old 08-22-2009, 10:33 PM
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Ishniknork Ishniknork is offline
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More than likely it's a stuck thermostat.
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  #5  
Old 08-22-2009, 10:37 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toshiba View Post
I suspect a broken thermostat.
Thermostats normally are made to be "fail safe" so that it should fail in the open mode.

With your test the following morning, keep in mind that temp. gauges nowadays are thought to show that they have reached full warmup before the engine actually has.

Not just BMW, but other makes as well.

Apparently to discourage owners from complaining that their cars take too long to warm up.

Whether that is true or not, the X3's temp. gauge is certainly well-damped and does not reveal any small changes in temp.

As you suspect, the thermostat should have opened by that time - but I don't know if we can definitely say it should have.

Based on time rather than miles, your 2004 should have had a coolant flush and fill last year.

If not, maybe this is a good time to do it?

Re. the temp. gauge reading:
The Owner's Manual is not too clear.
It says the Normal Operating Range is "between the blue and red fields".
And, "the dial may wander into the red field".
But, then it goes on to tell you to switch off the engine immediately when the dial is red.

You didn't say where the needle reached while you were driving.
If it wasn't too far toward the red, maybe it's worth waiting for further clues to emerge.
You can always switch the A/C off and turn the heater on to cool the engine down a bit, and at the same time verify that the coolant is circulating.
(Even if it is 95 deg. outside.)
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  #6  
Old 08-23-2009, 08:59 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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+1, good advice. Turning on the heater is an old trick to give you a quick shot of fresh coolant into the system when it begins to overheat. Very valuable to know, and useful on long grades (like the Grapevine) on hot summer days. I am nearing 50K miles in my '06 and getting ready for the final warranty/maintentance visit. I asked about the coolant replacement and was told by the SM that there isn't one, the fluid is "lifetime". Which means of course they will not pay for it, and if I want to have it done, it is on my dime. So far the "free" maintentance plan has saved me the cost of two oil changes, a couple of wiper inserts, and a brake system flush. I hope the brake pads and rotors will be changed this time along with the oil!

Last edited by UncleJ; 08-23-2009 at 09:20 AM.
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  #7  
Old 08-23-2009, 11:49 AM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleJ View Post
I asked about the coolant replacement and was told by the SM that there isn't one, the fluid is "lifetime".
Maybe my Canadian Waranty and Service Guide 2004 booklet is different from yours, but on page 35 it says:

Important: Renew coolant every 'X' years from production date, in conjuction with Inspection.

That is the page describing BMW Inspection I,
and for the 3 series/X3 the 'X' says 4 (3 for an M3 and a Z8)

As it is timed from production date, and obviously your in-service date was at least a month later, I believe your dealer should cover it within the 48 months scheduled maintenance.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf inspection1.pdf (117.8 KB, 159 views)

Last edited by Supercourse; 08-23-2009 at 06:44 PM. Reason: Added PDF of Inspection I
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  #8  
Old 08-23-2009, 05:05 PM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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Do early X3's have plastic water pump impellers?

http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/tech...water-pump.htm

From Bav Auto:

Metal impeller water pumps for
most 6-cylinder engines in 3 series
92 on, Z3, Z4, 5 series 91 thru 03.
These better-built water pumps
replace the original factory water
pumps that have plastic impellers. The
plastic impellers are known to crack
and slip on the pump's drive shaft or
to completely break apart, leading to
potentially catastrophic failure.


http://www.bavauto.com/newsletter/20...newsletter.pdf

Last edited by rs6655; 08-23-2009 at 05:07 PM.
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  #9  
Old 08-23-2009, 06:41 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rs6655 View Post
Do early X3's have plastic water pump impellers?
Hmmmm, not sure.

That could explain the OP's overheating.

Maybe BMW wanted to use up the older pumps in the 2.5 engine?

But as AzNM mentions, there have not been any other reports on this forum of X3s overheating.

Just a plastic radiator and intake manifold is as much as I can take.
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  #10  
Old 08-23-2009, 07:11 PM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
Hmmmm, not sure.

That could explain the OP's overheating.

Maybe BMW wanted to use up the older pumps in the 2.5 engine?

But as AzNM mentions, there have not been any other reports on this forum of X3s overheating.

Just a plastic radiator and intake manifold is as much as I can take.
It was just a thought.

I'm not familiar with pre N52 X3's at all.
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  #11  
Old 08-23-2009, 07:22 PM
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Well, I also have a 2004 with the 2,5 litre M54 engine and I haven't done anything to the coolant yet except top it off at times. I know it's overdue for a coolant flush, but maybe it has something to do with the low mileage of the OP's vehicle. My X3 has 82k miles on it.
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  #12  
Old 08-24-2009, 09:51 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Super, checked my manual and found nothing about coolant replacement. The only replacement fluid mentioned (aside from oil) was the brake fluid flush every two years. I suspect when I mention this to the SM he will tell me it has been "superceeded" by the use of "new improved" coolant that does not need to be changed. Right!
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  #13  
Old 08-24-2009, 07:27 PM
toshiba toshiba is offline
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Thank you all for valuable replies.

To Supercourse, my x3 temp needle did go up to red and gave me a beep sound yesterday when it overheated.
Today, I drove the car for 10 mins leave the AC on, temp was a little pass 12 o'clock. Not too bad. Checked the hoses connected to thermostat, they both were hot. So i thought the thermostat shouldn't be broken. Then I left the car idle for 5 mins, the temp needle slowly went up to red, so we had to turn off the engine. A few things we notice that the fan at the front near radiator (auxiliary electric fan?) didn't rotate; the fuse for "electric fan" is still working (tested with a multimeter); and A/C was not really cold at max level. Now I suspect the fan sensor or something like that.

Really need your help!
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  #14  
Old 08-24-2009, 08:19 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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That fan should definitely come on when idling - almost immediately.

If you can see a way that you could test feed 12v. to it, from the jump start terminal in the engine bay, you could verify whether the fan itself is O.K.

If it's not, you might be looking at:

http://www.worldimpex.com/parts/bmw-...n_1507602.html

If the fan is O.K., you would have to track down where its sensor is located.

For a temporary workaround, you could even snake a 12v. feed through to the cabin and have a manual switch.
Better to fix it properly though, of course.
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  #15  
Old 08-24-2009, 08:53 PM
toshiba toshiba is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
That fan should definitely come on when idling - almost immediately.

If you can see a way that you could test feed 12v. to it, from the jump start terminal in the engine bay, you could verify whether the fan itself is O.K.

If it's not, you might be looking at:

http://www.worldimpex.com/parts/bmw-...n_1507602.html

If the fan is O.K., you would have to track down where its sensor is located.

For a temporary workaround, you could even snake a 12v. feed through to the cabin and have a manual switch.
Better to fix it properly though, of course.
Thank you Supercourse. Sounds good. Is there a diagram to locate this fan sensor . I've been looking on the internet, but still no luck. Is it this "fan switch? http://www.bimmerparts.com/ShopByVeh...Switch&mode=PA

Update: On some websites, people say that even if the aux fan doesn't work, the engine should not overheat. Does it have something to do with the quality of the coolant fluid? maybe it needs a coolant flush? I've been owner of this x3 for only 2 years, and adding the bmw coolant few times (without distilled water)

Last edited by toshiba; 08-24-2009 at 09:06 PM.
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  #16  
Old 08-24-2009, 09:27 PM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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If the fan does not kick in with the engine running AND when you turn ON the A/C, I bet the fan motor is dead. There are two circuits, it would be so rare that the two of them failed at the same time.
Supercourse is right, T-stats are designed to fail open, and busted water pumps are designed to leak. If there's no coolant leak, that narrows it down to the fan motor IMO.
Granted that you visually checked the coolant level and is OK.
Just my two cents.
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  #17  
Old 08-24-2009, 09:35 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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That's a reasonable price for a fan switch.
I've paid twice that for a Honda one 20 years ago.

Hard to say where it is located, but somewhere near the thermostat would be logical.
You could kitchen-bench test it in a cup of boiling water.

In other vehicles, I have found that if the fan is not working, overheating is inevitable at low speeds or idling. Not sure about the X3 though.
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  #18  
Old 08-25-2009, 07:20 AM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post

In other vehicles, I have found that if the fan is not working, overheating is inevitable at low speeds or idling. Not sure about the X3 though.
It should be the same.

OP, is it overheating at highway speeds?
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  #19  
Old 08-25-2009, 08:11 AM
toshiba toshiba is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X3-terrestrial View Post
It should be the same.

OP, is it overheating at highway speeds?
No, it was driven in small city, and overheat happened when I was stuck in the traffic, it rained and I turned on the AC to defog the windshield.
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  #20  
Old 08-25-2009, 08:38 AM
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yeah, I bet it won't overheat in the highway.
If you are not familiar with voltmeters and electrical diagnosis, just take it to a BMW/ Euro independent shop, get them to diagnose the problem, and you should be able to replace the parts yourself if you want to save some $$$...
I've done fan motors, t-stats and thermo switches, they are easy to replace. I wouldn't advice to do a water pump yourself if never done it before.

Last edited by X3-terrestrial; 08-25-2009 at 08:40 AM.
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  #21  
Old 08-25-2009, 09:58 AM
toshiba toshiba is offline
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I unplugged the connector to the electric fan today. It has 3 prongs. Then by using a car battery charger, I connected positive and negative to the 2 larger pins. The fan didnt work. Is there a another switch or sensor on the fan? The fan worked a little bit after the overheat incident, but now stop functioning completely. Is there a more specific guide to diagnose the electric fan. Could a bad coolant temp sensor be a cause for non-working electric fan?
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  #22  
Old 08-25-2009, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toshiba View Post
I unplugged the connector to the electric fan today. It has 3 prongs. Then by using a car battery charger, I connected positive and negative to the 2 larger pins. The fan didnt work. Is there a another switch or sensor on the fan? The fan worked a little bit after the overheat incident, but now stop functioning completely. Is there a more specific guide to diagnose the electric fan. Could a bad coolant temp sensor be a cause for non-working electric fan?
Battery chargers throw a very low amp rate, it won't do anything, I would be very careful when putting current to any terminals because something else can be damaged in the way, no without the schematics and a good guide. (I.E. Bentley).
You can get a lot of advice on this matter in the e46 forum, you have the same e46 325i engine, try doing a search or posting there.
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  #23  
Old 08-25-2009, 04:56 PM
szee1 szee1 is offline
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second that X3-terrestrial, battery chargers can actually damage components as they are not designed for this purpose and better designed ones will not even turn on until the unit senses at least 4 volts from the battery to be charged. As such, hopefully this meant that the charger didn't supply any current and no damage was done to the fan. I would suggest a multi meter or 12v test light to see if the fan is getting power.

See faqs for battery chargers.
http://www.schumacherproducts.com/faq

good luck
Stephan
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  #24  
Old 08-25-2009, 06:00 PM
Flambeaux Flambeaux is offline
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I have always used a Power Probe. Great tool for all kinds of electrical diagnosing.
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  #25  
Old 08-25-2009, 06:53 PM
toshiba toshiba is offline
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I decided to go ahead and installed a new thermostat today, no flushing coolant, just added the missing. The electric fan still not working. The car run fine at 40 mph, and at idle, while the AC was turned to level 2 for about 20 mins. Then we parked and let it idle with AC set to highest. Then temp needle started to raise to hot red. We shut the engine off. Again, radiator fan still not rotating. I think I narrow it down to the fan. I thought it could be the temperature fan switch.

P/S: Is the electric fan on 2004 X3 supposed to turn on when the AC "snow flake" button is pressed at any time?

Last edited by toshiba; 08-25-2009 at 10:39 PM.
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