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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 04-20-2012, 07:42 AM
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rgk330i rgk330i is offline
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Location: Fairfax, VA
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 247
Mein Auto: 2013 335i M-Sport
2001 330i coolant work

No question here, at least not yet, but thought people might be interested.

I recently did a bunch of engine work to control oil leaks -- new valve cover gasket, new oil separator, all new vacuum hoses, oil filter housing gasket. And while I was at it, I replaced all the coolant hoses just on general principles. The good news is, no more oil leaks! The bad news is, a new coolant leak! The top left corner of the radiator, near the expansion tank, was leaking at the metal-to-plastic joint. It's not a lot, but since we all know these coolant systems tend to let go rather spectacularly, I figured it was time to replace the radiator.



But when I took the belly pan off, I found this mess:



Yuck. Bad water pump? Well, it only has about 30,000 miles on it, but maybe. Further inspection showed that the water pump was good -- solid bearings, no coolant slinging inside the pulley. But, it's pouring on down from the thermostat:



Turns out the top mounting bolt on the thermostat housing was loose -- what the heck? The thermostat hasn't been touched in 3 years (when I did the expansion tank and water pump), and maybe it wasn't even replaced then, I don't remember.

I guess the jiggling of putting the new hoses on broke the thermostat seal against the block. Okay, new thermostat in hand, time to start putting things back together again. Hopefully there won't be too many more "while-you're-at-its" on this job. More later.
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Old 04-20-2012, 12:31 PM
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charlesberry charlesberry is offline
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Mein Auto: E46 E89 F30(Msport)
Funny - I had the same cooling leak, found a loose bolt on the thermo. I torqued it back up and I've been ok, but I keep a close eye on it.

Same exact spot as yours.
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Old 04-20-2012, 12:42 PM
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rgk330i rgk330i is offline
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Location: Fairfax, VA
 
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Mein Auto: 2013 335i M-Sport
I hate to tempt fate, but this job got finished up with no unpleasant surprises. Other than a bit of difficulty installing the new radiator (I had misaligned the bottom bracket, which caused me to misalign the expansion tank bracket, which caused... well, you get it) things went very smoothly. Refilled and bled the system, and ran it up to temperature with no apparent drips.

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