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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 04-27-2011, 11:24 PM
VDPHB VDPHB is offline
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Coolant temp "idiotic" light, Cooling system dump, and BMWAssist towing sucks...

So I'm happily driving my 2008 335i on the freeway at "65" mph this afternoon when my dashboard (no idrive) coolant light warning appears in yellow than immediately goes to red on the display. Within 30 seconds or so, I pull over from the fast lane to the right shoulder and notice the auxiliary fans are on full blast.

I shut the car down, give it a minute, than start it just to make sure this isn't an electronic glitch (hey, you never know since we don't have a gauge). Same situation, coolant light appears in yellow than goes to red with auxiliary fans on. I shut down, step outside and notice the right side of my car is wet and a nice puddle of coolant is underneath the engine.

I jump back in the car, hit the SOS button and am quickly connected to a very pleasant and professional BMWAssist operator who confirms I'm ok and safe and asks the problem. I explain the situation and she conferences in my service advisor who recommends I have the car towed in. The awesome BMWAssist operator conferences in BMW Roadside Assistance (I'm not sure who they're operated by) and the operator gets my location and vehicle information, puts us on hold, and comes back on apologizing and letting me know the shortest tow truck ETA she can get is 110 minutes!!!

Bear in mind, it's 4:30 PM and I'm in Coastal Orange County within 10 miles of 3 BMW dealers. I let her know that I'll call AAA and see what their ETA is. I call AAA and they quote me 20 minutes. 15 minutes later, a flatbed arrives and I'm on my way to my dealer.

Funny thing is my car has 49,200 miles and I'm supposed to go to the dealer in the morning anyway for them to replace the driver's window switch panel, which is peeling.

Oh well, glad my car did this under factory warranty, more glad I have an extended warranty, and REALLY glad I have AAA still. Moral of the story is that coolant idiot lights are completely uninformative (it would have been nice to see a rise in a needle on a gauge) and BMWAssist's contracted towing provider network really needs to step up their response time.

Just wanted to share...

Last edited by VDPHB; 04-27-2011 at 11:27 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-28-2011, 11:52 AM
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1985mb 1985mb is offline
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If it's any consolation, the needles on temp gauges in many previous BMWs basically work in the same way. They'll display dead center in a wide range of "acceptable" temps and will only move/warn you at a very high temp outside the range.
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  #3  
Old 04-28-2011, 12:18 PM
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That sucks, but glad to hear the problem was solved with relative ease.

The BMW Assist is good to know / worrisome. It came along w/ my bluetooth option (4 years i think) when i ordered my 335. Once i took i delivery and was impressed by everything the SOS lady told me when i set it up, i cancelled my AAA. Wonder if i should re-up it. hmmmmmmmm
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  #4  
Old 04-29-2011, 12:07 AM
VDPHB VDPHB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW-Esq. View Post
That sucks, but glad to hear the problem was solved with relative ease.

The BMW Assist is good to know / worrisome. It came along w/ my bluetooth option (4 years i think) when i ordered my 335. Once i took i delivery and was impressed by everything the SOS lady told me when i set it up, i cancelled my AAA. Wonder if i should re-up it. hmmmmmmmm
Like any roadside assistance, AAA is basically an insurance policy you hope you'll never use. I think the reason why AAA's service is so much better is that they have to convince customers to renew, where most of BMW's Roadside assistance customers are likely subscribers because its included with the vehicle for 4 years. I'm glad I had AAA and will continue to renew.

On a side note, my water pump took a dump and was the cause. It was replaced under warranty.
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Old 04-29-2011, 12:08 AM
VDPHB VDPHB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1985mb View Post
If it's any consolation, the needles on temp gauges in many previous BMWs basically work in the same way. They'll display dead center in a wide range of "acceptable" temps and will only move/warn you at a very high temp outside the range.
Agreed, today's gauges are buffered, but at least I could have seen it creep up (even if it is delayed) as opposed to seeing a nice red light come up. But then I could complain about RFTs, dipsticks, toolkits, flashlights, and more....
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  #6  
Old 04-29-2011, 06:47 AM
tagheuer tagheuer is offline
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On all of the Hondas I have had, the coolant/temp gauges gave me very accurate warnings about when the vehicle was running too warm.

It would move off dead center, slowly, and I could continue to drive for a very long time, but it was a clear signal that the radiator had suffered a small leak and I knew it because of the increased temperature reading.

This happened to me twice on Hondas (both were over 200k miles, and running perfectly except for the rad issue)

radiators were repaired in both cases, no damage done, no coolant dump.

Not sure why BMW completely abandoned the coolant gauge....I'm willing to bet dollars to doughnuts your gauge would have been reading hot and you would have had a chance to pull over before pressure got too high and caused a coolant dump.

I know about buffered gauges but even with those I have never had a single instance where the gauge just shot up and coolant blew, sure its possible...but at least the gauge gives you a chance.
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Old 04-29-2011, 09:39 AM
Tom K. Tom K. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VDPHB View Post
Agreed, today's gauges are buffered, but at least I could have seen it creep up (even if it is delayed) as opposed to seeing a nice red light come up.
No, you wouldn't have seen it. While driving my '97 Z3, I glanced down at the water temp gauge which read normal and 2 miles later, it was nearly pegged with the motor overheating due to loss of coolant. Luckily I was able to shut the car down quickly and there was no damage, but the only use for those BMW temp gauges was to tell when the car had warmed up.
While I don't like the current system either (at least the turbo gets an oil temp gauge), the old one wasn't much better!

Tom
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  #8  
Old 04-29-2011, 09:49 AM
HPIA4v2 HPIA4v2 is offline
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Wouldn't your oil temp will hit > 250F when you loose coolant?

At least 335i has oil temp, my 535i has mileage gauge in that spot, useless.
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  #9  
Old 04-29-2011, 11:23 AM
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floydarogers floydarogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagheuer View Post
I know about buffered gauges but even with those I have never had a single instance where the gauge just shot up and coolant blew, sure its possible...but at least the gauge gives you a chance.
As TomK mentions, no. By "buffered", we mean a situation where the gauge is completely driven by the computer. Since the '90s (certainly E46), there have been essentially only three things the temperature gauge can read: cold, just right, hot.
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:02 PM
tagheuer tagheuer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
As TomK mentions, no. By "buffered", we mean a situation where the gauge is completely driven by the computer. Since the '90s (certainly E46), there have been essentially only three things the temperature gauge can read: cold, just right, hot.
really? Because the temperature gauge in my 2004 325i read slightly above normal one summer and I had to add coolant...

and like I said, I know for a fact that the two temperature gauges in the last two Honda Accords I owned read slightly above normal which indicated in one case a small radiator leak and in the other case a badly corroded radiator element which led to very inefficient cooling...
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Old 04-29-2011, 02:19 PM
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Saintor Saintor is offline
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Scangauge is my answer.

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  #12  
Old 04-30-2011, 03:38 AM
VDPHB VDPHB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HPIA4v2 View Post
Wouldn't your oil temp will hit > 250F when you loose coolant?

At least 335i has oil temp, my 535i has mileage gauge in that spot, useless.
I thought my oil temp would go up as well, but when the coolant temp light came on, I checked the oil temp and it was still at 240. It didn't go up as I moved to slow down or as I let the engine idle for a moment.

Perhaps the oil temp gauge is buffered as well...makes you wonder how long it would take oil to heat up as opposed to coolant. (which of course is longer...)
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  #13  
Old 04-30-2011, 10:15 AM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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Triple A to the rescue, And gauges for the win.

But it's sad to know these bmws still suffer water pump issues, even with the new electric pumps. Cmon BMW.
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  #14  
Old 11-18-2012, 12:05 AM
bigwen1 bigwen1 is offline
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Bigwen - Same problem today what was the issue?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VDPHB View Post
So I'm happily driving my 2008 335i on the freeway at "65" mph this afternoon when my dashboard (no idrive) coolant light warning appears in yellow than immediately goes to red on the display. Within 30 seconds or so, I pull over from the fast lane to the right shoulder and notice the auxiliary fans are on full blast.

I shut the car down, give it a minute, than start it just to make sure this isn't an electronic glitch (hey, you never know since we don't have a gauge). Same situation, coolant light appears in yellow than goes to red with auxiliary fans on. I shut down, step outside and notice the right side of my car is wet and a nice puddle of coolant is underneath the engine.

I jump back in the car, hit the SOS button and am quickly connected to a very pleasant and professional BMWAssist operator who confirms I'm ok and safe and asks the problem. I explain the situation and she conferences in my service advisor who recommends I have the car towed in. The awesome BMWAssist operator conferences in BMW Roadside Assistance (I'm not sure who they're operated by) and the operator gets my location and vehicle information, puts us on hold, and comes back on apologizing and letting me know the shortest tow truck ETA she can get is 110 minutes!!!

Bear in mind, it's 4:30 PM and I'm in Coastal Orange County within 10 miles of 3 BMW dealers. I let her know that I'll call AAA and see what their ETA is. I call AAA and they quote me 20 minutes. 15 minutes later, a flatbed arrives and I'm on my way to my dealer.

Funny thing is my car has 49,200 miles and I'm supposed to go to the dealer in the morning anyway for them to replace the driver's window switch panel, which is peeling.

Oh well, glad my car did this under factory warranty, more glad I have an extended warranty, and REALLY glad I have AAA still. Moral of the story is that coolant idiot lights are completely uninformative (it would have been nice to see a rise in a needle on a gauge) and BMWAssist's contracted towing provider network really needs to step up their response time.

Just wanted to share...

I just had this happen to me today 11 17 2012 and I had to have my car towed back to my house. I am taking it in on Monday.
What was the ISSUE WITH YOURS and what did that fix?
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  #15  
Old 11-18-2012, 01:39 AM
VDPHB VDPHB is offline
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My water pump blew out (which is why coolant was everywhere). They replaced the water pump under warranty and I'm still on the second one at 75,000 miles. Hopefully that's your problem too. It seems to have happened to a few others in this forum. Good luck!
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  #16  
Old 11-18-2012, 01:00 PM
TXFred TXFred is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VDPHB View Post
My water pump blew out (which is why coolant was everywhere).
Manufacturers began buffering gauges because most drivers are made nervous by gauges that are constantly changing their readings. It's silly, but most drivers expect a needle to stay at the same position at all times unless there's a problem.

And to be fair to BMW, when your water pump pukes out all of your coolant over the course of 1 minute, you're not going to see a slow rise of coolant temperature. It's going to go from "All Good" to "ZOMG OVERHEAT" in a very short amount of time. It did warn you and saved your engine, which is all it could do in that situation. Had you experienced a slow leak, I think that you would have been given plenty of warning.

Frederic

EDIT: I just saw that this was an old thread. But I'm leaving my comment anyway.

Last edited by TXFred; 11-18-2012 at 01:02 PM.
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  #17  
Old 11-20-2012, 04:04 PM
VDPHB VDPHB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXFred View Post
And to be fair to BMW, when your water pump pukes out all of your coolant over the course of 1 minute, you're not going to see a slow rise of coolant temperature. It's going to go from "All Good" to "ZOMG OVERHEAT" in a very short amount of time. It did warn you and saved your engine, which is all it could do in that situation. Had you experienced a slow leak, I think that you would have been given plenty of warning.

Frederic

EDIT: I just saw that this was an old thread. But I'm leaving my comment anyway.
Good and valid point. Thanks for the perspective!
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  #18  
Old 11-20-2012, 08:42 PM
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tturedraider tturedraider is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigwen1 View Post

I just had this happen to me today 11 17 2012 and I had to have my car towed back to my house. I am taking it in on Monday.
What was the ISSUE WITH YOURS and what did that fix?
How did your get your car to the dealer? I hope you didn't drive it.
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