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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 04-09-2012, 10:06 PM
dlocruz dlocruz is offline
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Location: Downey
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Mein Auto: E36(Bmw 318i 97 Auto)
Car over heating

Driving an e36 318i automatic four door

My car was a salvage title, I bought this car because it was cheap and I need a car really fast. I understand I got what I paid for and did so knowing I will have problems with my car. This problem only occurred today.

There is a water leak coming from the center back(ish) end of the car which my brother says it is probably apart from the AC coolant system which has nothing to do with the car over heating at all.

Earlier my car was over heating and I drove home slowly, when I got home I let it sit idle for the remainer of the day and most of the night (17 hours) so the engine can cool down. I checked the coolant level and it was very low so I topped t off with water and took it to a near by, well lit, parking lot and drove it around for 10 minutes.

I parked and revved the engine a bit and drove it from 2 minutes and the car started to over heat. I parked once again and let it sit for about three minutes and moved the car up 6 feet and went to take a look at the ground where my car was parked. There were drips of the same clear watery odorless liquid that my brother and I were discussing earlier.

I am a struggling part-time college student working two part time jobs, I am on a extremely tight budget and would find it hard to cough up some money to take it too the BMW Auto Mechanic and at the same time struggle to take it to a local mechanic. (I took it to a local mechanic (Roger European) and charged me 500 for an ignition switch issue involved the car remaining on when the ignition switch was turned to off and was stuck. He fixed it but two months later it was stuck again and wanted to charge me 300 dollars more. I took it upon my self to do it and got it fixed. So that experience has left me kind of left me "traumatized" when dealing with mechanics, I can't help but feel like they want all my limbs.)

I can really use some help, I have no experience with except for changing a transmission, swapping out the radiator, installing a new window regulator and performing an oil change. I can really use help and will accept any and all help. I don't really have too many tools at my disposal either.

There is also a light on near the speedometer(?) it has a cirle i the center with three curved dashed on both side of the circle. Think it has something to do with ATF.
I live near in Downey California and would appreciate all help!
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  #2  
Old 04-10-2012, 05:39 AM
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jonesin jonesin is offline
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  #3  
Old 04-10-2012, 09:00 AM
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Shigeta Shigeta is offline
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Location: Hayward, CA
 
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There should be a "nose goes" or somehow draw straws for each member when it comes time to reply to all the "overheated help!" threads.
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  #4  
Old 04-10-2012, 09:44 AM
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Archetype Archetype is offline
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Location: North Carolina
 
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Mein Auto: 1998 e36 sedan
You have two plastic housings for water circulation on your engine. The one on the front of the engine is the thermostat housing. On the back of the engine, there is another that looks like this:
http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E36-318...oling/ES25010/
or this,
http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E36-318...oling/ES24882/
That is possibly where the leak is. Common failure of old brittle plastic parts.

You may have several issues. Bad thermostat. Broken water pump fins/blades and air in the system. Start by finding the leak.
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  #5  
Old 04-10-2012, 09:56 AM
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Shigeta Shigeta is offline
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Mein Auto: '96 328is
Also, basically since you kept on running it despite over heating, there is a solid chance you blew your head gasket. They are a very weak point in these cars and driving it anytime it's past the 12 o'clock position on the temp gauge is very dangerous.

I would be more concerned about the HG. Search some of the threads around here and you'll learn some of the symptoms and possible fixes. Good luck.
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  #6  
Old 04-10-2012, 09:59 AM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlocruz View Post
Driving an e36 318i automatic four door

My car was a salvage title, I bought this car because it was cheap and I need a car really fast. I understand I got what I paid for and did so knowing I will have problems with my car. This problem only occurred today.

There is a water leak coming from the center back(ish) end of the car which my brother says it is probably apart from the AC coolant system which has nothing to do with the car over heating at all.

Explain "center back(ish) end of the car". Under the trunk? Or the back of the engine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlocruz View Post
Earlier my car was over heating and I drove home slowly, when I got home I let it sit idle for the remainer of the day and most of the night (17 hours) so the engine can cool down. I checked the coolant level and it was very low so I topped t off with water and took it to a near by, well lit, parking lot and drove it around for 10 minutes.

You should have stopped immediately when it over heated and let it cool then, not driven home slowly. The damage may or may not be fatal to the engine. How high did the temp gauge go? Did the red warning light come on?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlocruz View Post
I parked and revved the engine a bit and drove it from 2 minutes and the car started to over heat. I parked once again and let it sit for about three minutes and moved the car up 6 feet and went to take a look at the ground where my car was parked. There were drips of the same clear watery odorless liquid that my brother and I were discussing earlier.

Did it have antifreeze in it to begin with, or mostly/entirely water? That would explain "clear watery odorless" You put water in it when it was very low. That's what will come out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlocruz View Post
I am a struggling part-time college student working two part time jobs, I am on a extremely tight budget and would find it hard to cough up some money to take it too the BMW Auto Mechanic and at the same time struggle to take it to a local mechanic. (I took it to a local mechanic (Roger European) and charged me 500 for an ignition switch issue involved the car remaining on when the ignition switch was turned to off and was stuck. He fixed it but two months later it was stuck again and wanted to charge me 300 dollars more. I took it upon my self to do it and got it fixed. So that experience has left me kind of left me "traumatized" when dealing with mechanics, I can't help but feel like they want all my limbs.)
I don't know what exactly was wrong with your ignition switch (but I have a pretty good idea), so I can't say for sure if that was an unreasonable charge, but it sure sounds high to me. And two months and the problem is back? MOST states have at minimum a 90 day warranty requirement unless it's specifically stated otherwise in the paperwork you should have gotten when you retrieved the car. No way I'd plunk down another $300 for what should have been a repair that would last years at least.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dlocruz View Post
I can really use some help, I have no experience with except for changing a transmission, swapping out the radiator, installing a new window regulator and performing an oil change. I can really use help and will accept any and all help. I don't really have too many tools at my disposal either.
If you've done all that you have more experience than what you let on. I think the leak you have is from the heater control valve behind the head. It's a royal pain to get to, but you could change it yourself, provided you narrow it down to that part. Don't run out and buy a valve before making sure that's what it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlocruz View Post
There is also a light on near the speedometer(?) it has a cirle i the center with three curved dashed on both side of the circle. Think it has something to do with ATF.
I live near in Downey California and would appreciate all help!
That is the brake pad wear warning. Has nothing to do with the transmission. Do you have an owners manual with the car? The dash warning symbols are explained in there.

All the above still doesn't address the possible damage that was done to your engine with the overheating. It's likely you have a blow head gasket (the other possible place the coolant is leaking). I'm just trying figure out whether the leak caused the overheat, or the overheat caused the leak.

Noticed the two quotes below. Truer words were never spoken.
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Last edited by hornhospital; 04-10-2012 at 10:39 AM.
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  #7  
Old 04-10-2012, 12:15 PM
dlocruz dlocruz is offline
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Location: Downey
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: E36(Bmw 318i 97 Auto)
@ Hornhosptial
1) The center back would be under the middle of the back passanger seat
2) The red light did come on but the pin didn't reach the far right
3)It is water because it had mostly water, I just don't understand why it was leaking
4) I wasn't aware of the 90 day policy but the mechanic did have a sign that said no warranity on the wall behind the cash register(Thanks for informing me on that law!)
5) I took it to a local mechanic that my brother treust and he gave me a good deal on a diagnostic and he said that the heating core(in the dashboard?) is broken and needs to be replaced
6) Hoppefully I didn't blow a head gasket :/
Thanks for all your replies you guys!
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  #8  
Old 04-10-2012, 01:23 PM
westfield westfield is offline
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Location: san antonio
 
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Posts: 89
Mein Auto: 1995 325
Do these cars overheat ? (just being a smart a*&)
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  #9  
Old 04-10-2012, 01:28 PM
dlocruz dlocruz is offline
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Location: Downey
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Mein Auto: E36(Bmw 318i 97 Auto)
Nope just drink! (oktoberfest+bimmerfest=Awesomeness-fest!)
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  #10  
Old 04-10-2012, 02:04 PM
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veteran011 veteran011 is offline
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Location: Westchester Co, NY
 
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Mein Auto: 97 328is
Middle of the back passenger seat would make sense if it was the heater core that went. the heater core is inside the passenger cabin and if that's leaking the coolant can get on the transmission tunnel and then flow back to the passengers.

HOWEVER your cooling system needs a 50/50 mix of DISTILLED water and coolant. you should not just be adding water.

also FYI the heater core is a B!TC# to replace. good luck.
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