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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 11-15-2012, 10:20 PM
xpage517 xpage517 is offline
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Crack in Expansion Tank

I'm completely new to this forum and all this stuff so please forgive me if this is a dumb question. I was driving back from work today and everything was going fine with my car. it wasn't running hot or anything. I pulled into my apt put the car in park and turned it off. I got out of the car and out of nowhere I hear this pop noise and I look down underneath the car and its a steady flow of water coming out and then smoke starting coming out from under the hood. So I wait for the engine to cool down (about an hour later) I go back out and crank the car. Its not running hot or anything I look inside at the gauges and the ant-freeze sign turns on. So I turn the car off and wait about 30 minutes for everything to be cooled down when I open up the cap to the expansion tank to pour some anti-freeze and water in and as fast as I pour it in I can see it coming out the side of the tank out of a pretty big crack. My car has been running fine with no obvious problems. it has 129,676 miles on it. Then I started thinking about it it was about 2 weeks ago the fan or the ac and the heater went out in my car. I could still feel warm air or cold air depending on whether I had the heater or the ac on but it wouldn't blow out of the vents unless I was driving down the road. Basically the wind of me moving was pushing the air threw the vents. I've been out of college for a total of 4 months just moved to a new city for a new job and I'm pretty broke right now after the cost of moving and starting out this new job. SO I was wondering if any of you guys had advice on my situation with the car trying to spend the least amount of money that I can for a month or so until I start getting my paychecks and can afford to take it in and get a complete check and tune up. Any ideas of what my problem could be? I'm hoping it's just the expansion tank but I'm also a novice when it comes to cars so I'm just trying to get as much info as I can on forums to help me... Thanks for the advice in advance that any of you guys can help me out with......


P.S. I have a manual transmission and I drive a 2001 330ci

Last edited by xpage517; 11-15-2012 at 10:22 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-16-2012, 03:00 AM
tttomttt tttomttt is offline
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This happens. Do a search. Looks like you'll be busy this weekend.
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  #3  
Old 11-16-2012, 03:25 AM
heztheone heztheone is offline
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being ur car is 130,xxx miles old, blowing a hose or the expansion tank is bound to happen.
since this is gonna be a DIY job, fill the car with water and trace down the leak. when u find it, if u'r new to the BMW E46 club, look for a DIY vid on youtube (or here) on how to change that specific part, and u should b good to go
however, i advise to do an overhaul of the entire cooling system once u start getting ur pay check to prevent cooling related breakdowns...
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  #4  
Old 11-16-2012, 04:54 AM
jdauria jdauria is offline
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second, overhaul the entire cooling system. No point in doing 1 component when the others are bound to fail right after.

ECS has cooling system kits with all parts: http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-330...ngine/Cooling/
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  #5  
Old 11-16-2012, 06:51 AM
TannerT TannerT is offline
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Do not cut corners! I did! I only replaced the water pump because I did all new pulleys. Three weeks later the thermostat went, two weeks after that expansion tank. Replace all 3 and atleast the upper radiator hose. None of them are hard at all. Get the fan off and your looking at 30 mins of work for each if you work slow.

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  #6  
Old 11-16-2012, 08:34 AM
numindast numindast is offline
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First, don't over analyze this situation. The expansion tank on our cars are known to crack as they age due simply to, well, age really. (There are more detailed reasons but it all ends up in the same place: it got old, brittle, and broke.) You didn't cause the problem, it's just a common issue as E46's get older.

It's not a big do-it-yourself job if you want to give it a shot yourself since you are limited on funds. If you must take it to a mechanic, expect to pay for 2 or 3 hours of labor tops, and parts costs include the replacement plastic tank and a gallon of coolant. Use the bimmerfest "search" function for "expansion tank DIY" and you should find numerous threads describing how to do it.

You should do a cooling system overhaul but it's not required -- just very, very good preventive maintenance. I replaced my coolant expansion tank about 20,000 miles ago but everything else is okay. That said I have all the other cooling parts on a shelf awaiting installation.

Don't panic. This is not a big deal. But don't drive the car if you can help it. Do not use "stop leak" additives though, that will not solve this issue and it WILL introduce more problems down the road.
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Last edited by numindast; 11-16-2012 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:06 PM
FredoinSF FredoinSF is offline
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  #8  
Old 11-16-2012, 06:46 PM
timucuan timucuan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by numindast View Post
First, don't over analyze this situation. The expansion tank on our cars are known to crack as they age due simply to, well, age really. (There are more detailed reasons but it all ends up in the same place: it got old, brittle, and broke.) You didn't cause the problem, it's just a common issue as E46's get older.

It's not a big do-it-yourself job if you want to give it a shot yourself since you are limited on funds. If you must take it to a mechanic, expect to pay for 2 or 3 hours of labor tops, and parts costs include the replacement plastic tank and a gallon of coolant. Use the bimmerfest "search" function for "expansion tank DIY" and you should find numerous threads describing how to do it.

You should do a cooling system overhaul but it's not required -- just very, very good preventive maintenance. I replaced my coolant expansion tank about 20,000 miles ago but everything else is okay. That said I have all the other cooling parts on a shelf awaiting installation.

Don't panic. This is not a big deal. But don't drive the car if you can help it. Do not use "stop leak" additives though, that will not solve this issue and it WILL introduce more problems down the road.
This is very good advice.
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