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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 11-26-2009, 05:29 PM
Starless Starless is online now
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My E46 Expansion Tank Mini DIY

I finally did my expansion tank today! About time with 80K on the original one. It was easy, easy, easy and took me about 1.5 hours (2hrs with taking pictures). There are very good DIYs on this topic, but I figured you would not be complaining if I post a couple of more pictures. It's not intended as a complete diy guide but to supplement what's already available online.












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  #2  
Old 11-26-2009, 05:34 PM
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MMME30W MMME30W is offline
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Very nice job...Good clear pictures.
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  #3  
Old 11-26-2009, 06:01 PM
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968RACER 968RACER is offline
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Once again, awesome write up.
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  #4  
Old 11-26-2009, 06:03 PM
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Gryphon Gryphon is online now
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Nice job, it's good to see an engine bay that's not clean enough to eat from. At 80k you got your money out of that expansion tank.
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  #5  
Old 11-26-2009, 06:21 PM
Starless Starless is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wingspan View Post
Very nice job...Good clear pictures.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 968RACER View Post
Once again, awesome write up.
Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gryphon View Post
Nice job, it's good to see an engine bay that's not clean enough to eat from. At 80k you got your money out of that expansion tank.
Believe it or not, the engine bay is actually not as bad as it seems on the pictures. The camera magnifies all the details making it look gross. But overall yeah, I do not get crazy over it
Thank you.
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  #6  
Old 11-26-2009, 08:09 PM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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Starless,

You do nice work man! This really adds a lot to the existing DIY's The pics give a nice clear perspective. Thanks
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  #7  
Old 11-27-2009, 04:43 AM
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Thank you!



Believe it or not, the engine bay is actually not as bad as it seems on the pictures. The camera magnifies all the details making it look gross. But overall yeah, I do not get crazy over it
Thank you.
LOL, when I did my power steering flush, I had to clean around the area before I even wanted to think about opening the resevoir. My engine bay is filthy, and with road salt coming it's not gonna get any better.
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  #8  
Old 11-27-2009, 08:09 AM
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ANOTHER excellent DIY - even mentioned the manual tranny differences.

Nice! Thanks!
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  #9  
Old 03-03-2010, 09:01 PM
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Thanks so much man. Amazing work.
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2010, 01:32 AM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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sweet. cant wait to tackle it this summer
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  #11  
Old 04-29-2010, 12:39 AM
bshade1 bshade1 is offline
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I followed these instructions and all went well removing the tank. However, I cannot for the life of me get the new tank to seat properly. I can see it needs to go down about a half a centimeter more but it won't budge. Am I missing something?
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  #12  
Old 04-29-2010, 05:05 AM
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Good job, once again.
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  #13  
Old 04-29-2010, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by bshade1 View Post
I followed these instructions and all went well removing the tank. However, I cannot for the life of me get the new tank to seat properly. I can see it needs to go down about a half a centimeter more but it won't budge. Am I missing something?
I'd say no. You need to push on it really hard to get it seated properly. I'm not sure if it's ok to use some lube on the mount (I did not use anything), but it's probably ok...I remember I used my body weight to push the tank into the mount so a considerable amount of force may be needed.

Last edited by Starless; 04-29-2010 at 06:14 AM.
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  #14  
Old 04-29-2010, 06:49 AM
bshade1 bshade1 is offline
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Thanks. Yeah, I slept on it and lo and behold it slid into place this morning with marginal effort. Making sure the system is bled properly now and I should be good. Seems like a lot of fluid is going in in order for it to come out the bleed screw, but hey.....goin' with it.
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  #15  
Old 04-29-2010, 07:59 AM
Starless Starless is online now
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Originally Posted by bshade1 View Post
Thanks. Yeah, I slept on it and lo and behold it slid into place this morning with marginal effort. Making sure the system is bled properly now and I should be good. Seems like a lot of fluid is going in in order for it to come out the bleed screw, but hey.....goin' with it.
Glad you figured everything out. In this write up I did not include bleeding instructions so make sure to use any other cooling system diy for correct procedure. It's very easy but ppl get air in the system all the time...Basically with the key in ignition 2 set the temp to max, fan speed to min and fill untill the coolant starts coming out of the bleeder screw hole.

Good luck!
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  #16  
Old 04-29-2010, 01:08 PM
Ozymandias Ozymandias is offline
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You know, those clips don't have to be removed. They just need to be pulled until they won't move anymore.
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  #17  
Old 07-23-2010, 11:39 PM
bernoccoZHP bernoccoZHP is offline
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Starless, Great DIY!!

I like to gently PRY things so for the final removal of the tank, from under the car I very GENTLY pried the bottom of the tank against adjoining housing members and one small pry (medium blade screwdriver) between the two bottom ports and POP! It came right off in about 30 seconds.

DISCLAIMER: Not responsible for heavy handed bruiser types that don't move slowly and carefully while putting pressure on plastic parts.... they can and will break if not treated with respect. Move slowly and listen carefully for cracking. If you hear cracking noises - STOP and try a different angle or tool.

Thanks again Starless, now I have to get back to figuring out a way to remove my fan clutch so I can change water pump and belts. BTW, my car has 78,500 Mi and the coolant looked like NEW! A good excercise non the less. eric

EDIT: I did a pry technique on the fan clutch as well. By taking a mediium pry bar (pry bars have a bend at the end) and wedging it between one of the bolt heads and the 32mm nut, you can break the clutch nut loose easily. Let me explain, since the nut is reverse thread (clockwise to loosen) put your pry bar on the passenger side (left side while looking at the engine from the front) of the pully between a pully mounting bolt head and the clutch nut itself - that will give you leverage on the pully to the left side. With that leverage you will be able to stabilize the pully as you apply pressue to the clutch nut to loosen it (to the right or clockwise). I simply used a large spread cresent (adjustable) wrench. With very little resistance the nut quickly broke loose. Once it has broken loose and because it is a very quality machine thread, you can remove the pry bar and literally start spinning the fan assembly in the clockwise direction to remove it. The clutch will have enough drag to bring the nut along, again because the machine quality of the thread is so good there is no thread resistance.

I hope this helps. I have not seen a DIY on removing the fan clutch - should I do one for those of us who like to approach things from a backyard mechanic point of view?

eric
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Last edited by bernoccoZHP; 07-24-2010 at 11:46 AM.
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  #18  
Old 07-24-2010, 11:47 AM
bernoccoZHP bernoccoZHP is offline
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Bump - new info above about FAN CLUTCH REMOVAL
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  #19  
Old 07-24-2010, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bernoccoZHP View Post
Bump - new info above about FAN CLUTCH REMOVAL
Congrats on your successful diy experience! I'm glad you found the info useful. There are plenty of clutch removal diys on the bmw forums and web pages, however it's always a good thing to share your own experience with the project!
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  #20  
Old 07-25-2010, 02:14 PM
rlpete01 rlpete01 is offline
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Thanks for the DIY, looks like I am getting ready to do this myself. Bought my 325i with 67,000 and was hoping that it had already been changed, however Thursday night the coolant started leaking. My car now has 95,000 so I guess it is time. I refilled the system and ran it until it was up to temp and looked for leaks but do not see any. I would appreciate any pointers on where and what to look for, if I am going to work on it I might as well take care of any leaks. Thanks.
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  #21  
Old 07-25-2010, 03:01 PM
Starless Starless is online now
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Originally Posted by rlpete01 View Post
Thanks for the DIY, looks like I am getting ready to do this myself. Bought my 325i with 67,000 and was hoping that it had already been changed, however Thursday night the coolant started leaking. My car now has 95,000 so I guess it is time. I refilled the system and ran it until it was up to temp and looked for leaks but do not see any. I would appreciate any pointers on where and what to look for, if I am going to work on it I might as well take care of any leaks. Thanks.
Inspect everything in the cooling system. Look for a crack on the side of the expension tank. Check radiator hoses and water pump. If the entire cooling system has not been overhauled at 95K, it has to be done now! Do not do just 1 component cause there will be other issues soon. The entire cooling system is a weak point in E46 bmws. Tisher sells the entire replacemnet kit. I'd strongly consider it. There great detailed DIYs too.

Here:http://www.trademotion.com/partlocat...catalogid=4462

$315 is nothing for the peace of mind that your car will not overheat leading to the engine damage...
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  #22  
Old 07-29-2010, 01:47 PM
2bms 2bms is offline
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Got to this DIY via a link from Bimmerforums. Fantastic information, just did this and it all worked a treat. Just one thing though. the clip which is removed from under the car (in the picture that says "2 more things to disconnect from under the car") - where exactly does it go back?! I can't for the life of me find a place for it, and of course can't remember exactly where I took it from! Can anyone help? Thanks.
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  #23  
Old 07-29-2010, 09:15 PM
Starless Starless is online now
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Originally Posted by 2bms View Post
Got to this DIY via a link from Bimmerforums. Fantastic information, just did this and it all worked a treat. Just one thing though. the clip which is removed from under the car (in the picture that says "2 more things to disconnect from under the car") - where exactly does it go back?! I can't for the life of me find a place for it, and of course can't remember exactly where I took it from! Can anyone help? Thanks.
I do not remember all the details but there is a slot for that clip at the very base of the exp. tank and the same corresponding slot on the mount plate. You can not miss it. It fixes the expansion tank in it's place from the bottom basically.

See the picture in red box - at the very bottom, there is a slot in the wall of that big orifice:

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  #24  
Old 07-29-2010, 10:04 PM
bernoccoZHP bernoccoZHP is offline
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You may be talking about the clip on the TRANS COOLER.

I have learned that those clips are designed to NOT be removed completely. Just pull them back about 25% and the ends will hit "stop blocks" that intentionally keep the clips from being pulled all the way out. You will find that you have to actually work at getting them past the stop blocks, HOWEVER if you do you will stretch the clip so that when you go to put them back in they may feel spoungy. If you find that this has happened, remove the clip and slightly squeeze the two ends together to close the gap. This will put the SPRING back into the clip as it seats into the slots in the receiving bosses or necks of the radiator and expansion tank. RE-INSTALLING: when you get ready to reinstall the hose or item (trans cooler) put the clip back down into place on the pipe (the original "locking" level) and simply push the unit back onto the neck. Again, it has been designed this way so you don't have to fool with the clips separately. With the clip in place, as you push the pipe back onto the neck the clip will expand and then "CLICK" into place on the slot when the pipe has reached the proper depth and "seat" where it belongs. It is now locked into place and you don't have to do anything more.

Anyway, back to the mysterious extra clip. If you removed your trans cooler you had to reach back behind it to grab a small plastic handle to pull up on the clip. If you did remove your trans cooler and IF you did remove a clip with a plastic handle - then that might be your mystery clip. (another good reason to NEVER remove the clip entirely)

eric
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  #25  
Old 07-29-2010, 10:13 PM
Starless Starless is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bernoccoZHP View Post
You may be talking about the clip on the TRANS COOLER.

I have learned that those clips are designed to NOT be removed completely. Just pull them back about 25% and the ends will hit "stop blocks" that intentionally keep the clips from being pulled all the way out. You will find that you have to actually work at getting them past the stop blocks, HOWEVER if you do you will stretch the clip so that when you go to put them back in they may feel spoungy. If you find that this has happened, remove the clip and slightly squeeze the two ends together to close the gap. This will put the SPRING back into the clip as it seats into the slots in the receiving bosses or necks of the radiator and expansion tank. RE-INSTALLING: when you get ready to reinstall the hose or item (trans cooler) put the clip back down into place on the pipe (the original "locking" level) and simply push the unit back onto the neck. Again, it has been designed this way so you don't have to fool with the clips separately. With the clip in place, as you push the pipe back onto the neck the clip will expand and then "CLICK" into place on the slot when the pipe has reached the proper depth and "seat" where it belongs. It is now locked into place and you don't have to do anything more.

Anyway, back to the mysterious extra clip. If you removed your trans cooler you had to reach back behind it to grab a small plastic handle to pull up on the clip. If you did remove your trans cooler and IF you did remove a clip with a plastic handle - then that might be your mystery clip. (another good reason to NEVER remove the clip entirely)

eric
Great tips on those clips, bernoccoZHP! However i think he is talking about the clip at the very bottom of the tank and not trans cooler. See the picture I provided.
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