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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 09-27-2009, 07:49 PM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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Question Coolant Service and Cost

So, with my X3 over 5 years old and past 83k miles, any ideas on the coolant? Is it worth it to do a coolant flush or should it just be a drain-and-refill? I can do the latter myself probably, but if a coolant flush is the way to go, how much is a "reasonable" price?

Note: I haven't done relating to the coolant except top it off at intervals when needed.

And a bit off-topic: anyone done a fuel filter by themselves? Or should this be something done by a technician? I don't notice any starting or driveability problems, though.
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  #2  
Old 09-27-2009, 09:05 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Sometime after 2004, the recommendation went from,

"Important: Renew coolant every 4 years from production date, in conjunction with inspection",

to being a lifetime fluid. Is and always was the same blue G-48 formulation AFAIK.

Striking a balance between the two, a DIY partial drain and fill every few years makes sense.

As with most fluid replacements, you are never going to get all the old stuff out, so it doesn't pay to fret about it.

Draining the radiator/expansion tank is easy, the engine block much less so.
Also, it is apparently hard to properly contain the coolant coming out of the block.

So, my regimen is on alternate years, in summer, to drain just the radiator and refill it with distilled water.
That means you are running at, say, a 40/60 concentration instead of a 50/50
Run the car for a day or two, and turn the heater on to circulate the new mixture as much as possible.
Then do another draining of the radiator, only this time refill completely with undiluted fresh coolant, which will bring the mixture back to the original 50/50.

You can only get about 1/4 the total capacity out of the radiator, but I figure that even refreshing the mixture by that amount is good enough.
Law of diminishing returns, etc.
This assumes that at the start your coolant mixture is a healthy-looking color.
If not, might be best to have the dealer do their flush and fill for whatever it costs ($150?).

On the 2004 2.5i X3 there is just one drain plug in the area at the bottom of the radiator.
Some other BMW engines/models have 2 blue plastic plugs close together - one for the expansion tank, and one for the radiator.

For access, no need to completely remove the black plastic undershield - just loosening it at the leading edge allows you to fit a drain pan in.

I just drive the front wheels up on pieces of 2x10 lumber to raise the car sufficiently.

Never had any problem expelling air bubbles - the bleeder valve on the upper hose works well, in combination with squeezing the hose.

Doing this makes me think that I should be forestalling any potential problems with the water pump or other components.

Regarding the fuel filter - I don't plan to touch it until I think there is a problem.
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  #3  
Old 09-28-2009, 01:21 PM
miklm miklm is offline
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I think this question is related, so I hope you don't mind if I ask here instead of creating a new thread.

I'm an E36 guy, having owned several, and done multiple waterpump/tstat/radiator replacement jobs due to the problems of those models (always as preventative maintenance)

I'm not as familiar with the newer E46 cars so I don't know if it is still a problem on the 3-series. Do the X3 models, sharing the same engine, have coolant issues as well? Or are too many of them still low miles and under warranty that it isn't showing up for the average owner community yet?

We're looking for an X3, 2004-2005, and will end up with something between 60-100k for the price we want to spend. I do all my own work myself on my 3ers (currently have an old E30, just sold my E36 328is) but I've come to expect very high mileage with little maintenance from my BMWs. Had multiple 3s with well over 200k; I know the motor is good, a little worried about the auto trans but the wife refuses to learn to drive a manual, but unsure about the AWD system and other problem issues with these cars. Seems like more people on this board are in the new/lease/CPO mindset than buy/own long-term and DIY maintenance/repair so I'm not finding a lot of good information posted other than how expensive dealer repairs are... Hah.
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  #4  
Old 09-28-2009, 01:28 PM
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The cooling system on X3s seem to be fairly reliable. There are a few folks here with well over 100k, 120k, even 140k miles on their earlier X3s and none have suffered any catastrophic failures like those on the E39.

Unfortunately there is not a lot of DIY product support, not even a Bentley manual, for the X3 since a huge majority of X3 buyers in the X3 leased the vehicles, and the X3 is not very popular in the US. Most of the info from the E46 does apply to the E83 though.
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  #5  
Old 09-28-2009, 04:04 PM
sunnyyan sunnyyan is offline
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end of last yr, I simply drained and replaced my X3 coolant on my own. Coolant cost around $20.

Next day, my dash warning light came on and my coolant was low due to coolant leaking on my way home. Dealer replaced my expansion tank free of charge.

Until today, still have absolutely no idea what caused the expansion tank to leak by a simple drain and fill.

Be careful

SY
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  #6  
Old 09-28-2009, 07:33 PM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
The cooling system on X3s seem to be fairly reliable.
It is indeed. I own a 2005 with 65k miles (out of warranty) and planning to keep it until 150k+ miles. Also planning on doing all the work I can myself.
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  #7  
Old 01-13-2010, 03:23 PM
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Believe it or not, as of this writing, I still haven't gotten around to replacing the coolant. I feel really bad putting off maintenance like this to defer costs (I'd make a great gov't official). But this calendar year, I plan to do this items in this priority:

1. Fix the remote antenna so the damn remotes work. (couple hundred $$)
2. Coolant drain and refill. Can I do this myself? Do I really need to pay $300 for a flush?
3. Battery replacement. I'm running on borrowed time. About $170.
4. Inspection I. A few hundred $$$

How do these other ones sound? Excessive? I'll do it when budget allows:

5. Fuel filter replacement: $400
6. Brake service if needed. (Not cheap $$$$)
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  #8  
Old 01-14-2010, 05:52 AM
T1T2GRE T1T2GRE is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
Believe it or not, as of this writing, I still haven't gotten around to replacing the coolant. I feel really bad putting off maintenance like this to defer costs (I'd make a great gov't official). But this calendar year, I plan to do this items in this priority:

1. Fix the remote antenna so the damn remotes work. (couple hundred $$)
2. Coolant drain and refill. Can I do this myself? Do I really need to pay $300 for a flush?
3. Battery replacement. I'm running on borrowed time. About $170.
4. Inspection I. A few hundred $$$

How do these other ones sound? Excessive? I'll do it when budget allows:

5. Fuel filter replacement: $400
6. Brake service if needed. (Not cheap $$$$)
1. What remote antenna?
2. Yes. You can do this. I would do the passive approach and drain/waterise/refill/drain. There are also flush solutions out there. I admit I have some trepidation working on the E83 after working on the rather paleolithic E30s, but so far mechanical stuff isn't too bad. It's the electronics
3. Easy fix.
4. No way around that if you want long-term warranty etc.
5. I leave fuel stuff to the pros. I tell myself it's because it's dangerous, blablableeblee but more likely it's a component of laziness and limited skills in this arena.
6. My understanding is that this isn't too bad to do on your own on the E83 (I am assuming you have brake repair/swap skills already).
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  #9  
Old 01-14-2010, 10:21 AM
enamoured enamoured is offline
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I got coolant job done by dealer on my X3 after it was through 4 years in service, along with brake fluid, oil change and power steering fluid change. The total cost was about 450 including taxes. It was a fair price in my opinion, you may want to get a quote too. I have decided to get all maintenance done at dealer till CPO warranty is in effect, so that they don't blame on work done outside when it comes to warranty related jobs. After 2011 I will either go to a good indy or do it myself.
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  #10  
Old 03-06-2010, 04:22 PM
didymos didymos is offline
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I got coolant from dealer for $17.50. Not worth messing around.

After draining just the front plugs I got 3/4 of gallon (may have been close to low). For that reason I thought that rotating with water first and coolant later, would have changed the ratio. I mixed all before.

Seems that in order to drain fluid from the engine block car needs to rest on the lowest level of rack stands, it is a quite a stretch to reach the screw (#4: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...66&hg=11&fg=10) that is why it is not worth lifting the car to maximum. There is little room for moving 13mm socket. Lesson learned for me is to have funnel with the hose leading to pan, otherwise the fluid will burst on you (at least I wore protective glasses), but I washed the bottom off after the everything and things are OK, meaning no burning smell.

After the whole process, I am left with 1Q of mixed formula.

FYI: Before you start, set heating to max. Treat engine block and front plastic blue screws very gently, tighten only until they stop (BTW; expansion tank plug did not go off but there is a nozzle on the side through which the old coolant is drained) - dealer sales man told me he learned it hard way that being overzealous does not pay off, he had to replace the radiator.

Last edited by didymos; 03-07-2010 at 11:15 AM.
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  #11  
Old 03-06-2010, 06:49 PM
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Evlengr Evlengr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
Believe it or not, as of this writing, I still haven't gotten around to replacing the coolant. I feel really bad putting off maintenance like this to defer costs (I'd make a great gov't official). But this calendar year, I plan to do this items in this priority:

1. Fix the remote antenna so the damn remotes work. (couple hundred $$)
2. Coolant drain and refill. Can I do this myself? Do I really need to pay $300 for a flush?
3. Battery replacement. I'm running on borrowed time. About $170.
4. Inspection I. A few hundred $$$

How do these other ones sound? Excessive? I'll do it when budget allows:

5. Fuel filter replacement: $400
6. Brake service if needed. (Not cheap $$$$)
Sell 2004 and buy 2006 ---priceless
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  #12  
Old 03-07-2010, 05:04 PM
MikeTerp MikeTerp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
Believe it or not, as of this writing, I still haven't gotten around to replacing the coolant. I feel really bad putting off maintenance like this to defer costs (I'd make a great gov't official). But this calendar year, I plan to do this items in this priority:

1. Fix the remote antenna so the damn remotes work. (couple hundred $$)
2. Coolant drain and refill. Can I do this myself? Do I really need to pay $300 for a flush?
3. Battery replacement. I'm running on borrowed time. About $170.
4. Inspection I. A few hundred $$$

How do these other ones sound? Excessive? I'll do it when budget allows:

5. Fuel filter replacement: $400
6. Brake service if needed. (Not cheap $$$$)
I just had my E90's coolant changed at my dealer. Cost about $200. I have 50K on a three year old car, but am a maintenance "nut" and I figured lifetime fill or not, I would sleep better with a proper flush and fill. Could have done this myself? Probably, as I have always done much of my own maintenance, but decided to let the dealer do this one. Many of us who grew up with short maintenance intervals have a very tough time with 15K oil changes, "lifetime" coolant, etc, etc. Our cars cost a lot of money, so for those of us keeping them for 150-200+K miles, doing some of the service more often than the factory calls for is good insurance and piece of mind. No doubt the "leasers" don't care as much, but that's up to them.
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  #13  
Old 03-07-2010, 07:39 PM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evlengr View Post
Sell 2004 and buy 2006 ---priceless
Nein! My 2004 is reliable and I wouldn't want to replace something that's not broke.

If the coolant is as hard to drain/access as didymos suggested, I might rethink doing it myself..........
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  #14  
Old 03-11-2010, 08:50 PM
didymos didymos is offline
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I got on changing because of the water valve issue - started to click, someone suggested to change coolant too. As it turned out, at 56k, fluid looked like ice tea while the brand new is blue. I called dealer service for advice. Surprisingly, the guy was kind enough to talk about it and told me that after long time of non-changing the fluid, it turns to the color described. Additionally the valve upper part had some brownish sediment.

So bottom line, you are asking for trouble at 85k and not changing the coolant.

Last edited by didymos; 03-12-2010 at 04:52 AM.
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  #15  
Old 03-12-2010, 07:12 AM
al_macaroni al_macaroni is offline
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For pricing, check Internet specials on your local dealer's website. I just got an email from my local dealer with a coupon for a $99 coolant flush. (Regular price $149) Sometimes they will do a combined brake fluid and coolant flush for $129.
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  #16  
Old 07-01-2010, 02:11 PM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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Maintenance update

Back from some maintenance and repair work.

Back in April, we changed out the coolant ourselves. Simply drained out as much as we could, and refilled. Since I already had the BMW coolant from prior top-up use, i just used what I already had.

Yesterday, I had the indy shop replace the fuel filter ($490), replace the cracked serpentine belts and tensioners ($560), and the brake fluid ($119). Add up all the various fees and charges (I hate these, why not just include it in the quote?!) and the repair bill was a few bucks short of $1300.

In retrospect, I would have purchased the fuel filter part myself and saved $40. They charged me $125,70 for it when I could have purchased it from Crown auto parts for $85-ish.

I declined their $143 offer to change my Power Steering fluid; I figured I can do this myself. Hopefully it will greatly reduce the groaning that comes from the steering.

The battery is still going strong so I do not intend to replace in the short-term. Next up will be tires when the money allows for it.

Funny thing: somehow the indy shop turned on automatic door locking when driving off. I called them immediately after I picked up the vehicle and told them to turn it back off. I stopped by today and had it deactivated- it's not a feature I like nor want.

Last edited by AzNMpower32; 07-01-2010 at 02:12 PM.
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