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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

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 12-29-2012, 11:29 AM
DannyDD DannyDD is offline
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Thermostat

Hi everyone,

I recently purchased a 97 BMW 318i. I noticed that it runs very cold (needle in blue) but when it's idling, it gets to operating temperature. As soon as I begin driving it cools down again. I read somewhere that these symptoms are due to a faulty thermostat. Seems logical. Just wanted to get a few more opinions.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2012, 11:37 AM
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Search for "replace entire cooling system".

You should find a thread or two about it.

Hope that helps.

Ed
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  #3  
Old 12-29-2012, 12:54 PM
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i agree with ed, but double check the coolant level first. there are a lt of little, brittle plastic parts on the m42/44 that get overlooked when doing a cooling system service.


there's a pipe that runs along the block under the manifold, as well as a bunch of nipples along the back of the head.

i wish someone made them out of metal....




df
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  #4  
Old 12-29-2012, 12:58 PM
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Shot thermostat. Best off doing an entire system overhaul.
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2012, 02:35 PM
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Thermostat is stuck open. While you're replacing it do the water pump (get one with metal impeller), replace the plastic thermostat housing with a metal one and replace the hoses. Some would recommend replacing the radiator too, and I'd agree but if you're on a tight budget you can do the basics above and then do the radiator as soon after as you can.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:44 AM
DannyDD DannyDD is offline
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Ok. So I guess I need to do the entire cooling system. I'm at 130,000. I probably won't do the radiator.

Thanks guys
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:45 AM
DannyDD DannyDD is offline
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Is it relatively easy to do yourself? I've done it on my other car, eagle talon, but haven't done any work on the bimmer yet
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:46 AM
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Very, very easy. Plenty of DIYs available online for reference.

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Originally Posted by DannyDD View Post
Ok. So I guess I need to do the entire cooling system. I'm at 130,000. I probably won't do the radiator.

Thanks guys
The radiator needs to be replaced if it has more than 75k miles on it, so you're way overdue and flirting with disaster. Do yourself a favor and read all the stickies at the top of E36 page, and also search for "E36 overheat", and then read all the responses you find. You'll figure it out pretty quickly.
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Last edited by ZeGerman; 12-30-2012 at 11:54 AM.
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  #9  
Old 12-30-2012, 12:57 PM
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I know I said earlier you could defer the radiator, but with that many miles I would replace it unless you can verify that it's been replaced once and doesn't have a bunch of miles on it. The failure on these radiators is the upper neck on the radiator breaking off. Sometimes there will be some micro-cracks form first and you get a drip/drip leak and sometimes it's just spontaneous catastrophic failure. Bonehead Performance has great prices on all aluminum Mishimoto radiators for the I-6 engines but I haven't looked to see if they make on for the I-4.
Cooling system on an E36 is much easier than on any transverse engine car.
If you go to the "Useful Links" sticky and click on the second link (This one went missing....) it's a link to the Bentley Manual for the E36. Best manual you can get for these cars.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:54 PM
DannyDD DannyDD is offline
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Thanks a lot guys. Guess ill have to do everything. Will be cheaper if I can manage to do everything myself. I'll read up the links.
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  #11  
Old 12-30-2012, 07:23 PM
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Yeah, just replace everything and you'll be very happy you did. By far, the number one thing that kills these cars is a blown head gasket due to cooling system neglect. If you replace the cooling system according to the widely recommended intervals before something breaks, you'll never have a problem and the car will last you forever. Just about every other major system in these cars is bulletproof. The process of swapping everything out is very straightforward. Took me a few hours when I did it the first time, and I was going sloooowly to make sure I did everything right.
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Last edited by ZeGerman; 12-30-2012 at 07:25 PM.
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