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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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Old 10-08-2009, 08:26 AM
simelberg simelberg is offline
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Location: Long Island
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 2001 330ci
e46 Cooling system Problem. NEED HELP!!!!

Hello All. I am having an unusual problem and have not been able to figure out what is wrong with my cooling system. I have a 2001 e46 330ci. Here is what happened. Any info and what I could do to fix this would be GREATLY appreciated.

After driving 45 minutes, I restarted my car and it immediately overheated and stalled out. I did some checks and found that my expansion tank had burst at one of the corner seams and coolant was everywhere! The next day I replaced the expansion tank, put the car back together and started it. It ran well for about 15 minutes and then began to over heat again so I immediately turned the car off. I assumed the burst expansion tank could have spiked other cooling system problems - so long story short - I changed the thermostat and the water pump. I did also do a compression test to make sure the head/head gasket was working correctly and it was. All cylinders pressurized between 180-195. After changing those two, I started the car and it did the same thing again. It ran fine for about 15-20 minutes and then began to overheat. I turned the heat in the car all the way up and on full blast and I'm getting no heat as well. What can this possibly be? What am I missing? Is it air in the cooling system? How do I remove air from the cooling system? What else could I possibly change? Are there temperature sensors I should check?

If you've had any experience with this or any tips to help me solve this problem please let me know. I will greatly appreciate any info that could possibly get this fixed. Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:29 AM
Brian McKinney's Avatar
Brian McKinney Brian McKinney is offline
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Location: Austin
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,390
Mein Auto: e92 M3 6mt
put car on an incline, turn heat to full blast until temp is midway and bleed repeatedly until all air pockets are out...make sure you aux fan/electric fan or fan clutch is working properly
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:16 AM
robj213 robj213 is offline
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Location: Ft Worth, TX
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 742
Mein Auto: 2003 325i SP, Xenon
Sounds like you didn't bleed the system like Brian said. Here's a DIY that contain info for bleeding the coolant.

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Old 10-08-2012, 06:45 AM
Rnbmw Rnbmw is offline
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Location: California
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 2006 325i
Help- did you ever solve this problem?!!

I just bought a 2006 BMW 325i and it is having the SAME issues. Did you ever get it worked out? Thank you!
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:54 AM
TannerT TannerT is offline
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Location: Columbia, Missouri
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 990
Mein Auto: 03 330ci 3pdl 89 325i
Yep bleed the system. You can do it very easy. Remove the filling cap. Start the car and let it warm up. Then go to the vent secretary and slowly loosen it but not all the way off! Coolant will begin to spit from the vent screw back into the expansion tank and water will begin to rise out of the expansion tank turn the car off and tighten down the vent screw right before it overflows. Takes 5-10 minutes

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