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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 01-29-2013, 05:11 PM
Dud Dud is offline
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1994 325i overheating mystery

Hey guys I read around on a bunch of forums on overheating and none of them seemed to be in my wheelhouse. For starters i just bought it from a friend it had been sitting in a garage for a while without anything being done to it. Changed the oil, thermostat, and coolant yet i keep getting overheating issues. Id blame the water pump or radiator but those were both replaced by the previous owner a little while before he sold it to me. it overheated every 50 yards or so and id pull over with the car running only to find that the cooling fan in the grill wasnt spinning. People were telling me it was air in the cooling system and that i had to bleed it, but now that i noticed the fan isnt working when it overheats Im not sure if i could still have a problem somewhere else in the car. everyone ive gone to has given me weird answers. im hoping i can get a straight answer from you guys.
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  #2  
Old 01-29-2013, 05:22 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is online now
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One thing you should know right off the bat is that if all other components in the cooling system are working correctly, the electric auxiliary fan should not even need to come on unless you have the A/C turned on, or are driving through Death Valley in August. What that means is that the fact that yours isn't turning on at all is only one part of your problem. Yes, it should turn on if the coolant temp goes beyond the threshold at which the belt-driven fan can no longer adequately cool the engine, but if everything is working correctly, it should rarely (if ever) get that hot in the first place. Your aux fan probably has a bad relay or fuse, so you'll certainly want to fix that. Once that is dealt with, you'll want to figure out exactly why it's getting so hot in the first place.

How many times did you attempt to bleed air out of the system, and which method did you use? Are you getting hot air out of the vents inside of the cabin?
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Last edited by ZeGerman; 01-29-2013 at 05:23 PM.
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  #3  
Old 01-29-2013, 05:27 PM
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When you bleed the system, what has always worked for me is pouring coolant in even when the little inlet that you pour into is already full. It makes a mess but bubbles will still flow out. How does the oil look? Milky?
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:46 PM
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first things first, check the colant level when cold. if low, then refill and pressure test the system for leaks.

you should also do a block test, which is a chemical test for co2 in the cooling system. there should be *no* co2 in the cooling system. if you do have it present, then that indicates a blown headgasket (at minimum), and the head needs to be removed and sent to a machine shop for inspection.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=664696





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Old 01-29-2013, 07:30 PM
Dud Dud is offline
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I havent tried bleeding it yet i havent had the time or the weather to do it. But i just changed the oil and the thermostat. What method of bleeding would u recommend? also the heat is only working on the drivers side and at best only gets hot when i give it some gas
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:37 PM
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I just dont know where to start or what to look at. i have a bit of an idea as far as diagnosing the issue goes like the water pump or clogs but idk its just so hard this is my first car but ive learned so much about it in the first week of owning it so idk what to expect and whats normal and whats not
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:44 PM
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I guess I'll take this opportunity to let you know that you cannot, under any circumstance, remove the t-stat (or any other cooling system component) and continue driving the car without bleeding the air out of the system first. If you don't, you will 100% overheat the engine.

There is a good chance you've done severe, possibly terminal damage to your engine by overheating it multiple times.
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Last edited by ZeGerman; 01-29-2013 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ZeGerman View Post
I guess I'll take this opportunity to let you know that you cannot, under any circumstance, remove the t-stat (or any other cooling system component) and continue driving the car without bleeding the air out of the system first. If you don't, you will 100% overheat the engine.

There is a good chance you've done severe, possibly terminal damage to your engine by overheating it multiple times.
Well it's only overheated a few times. I haven't driven it since. What do you think I should do? I'm all out of ideas and don't trust anything else on the Internet
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  #9  
Old 01-29-2013, 07:57 PM
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^ It only takes one slight overheat to kill an e36. First you should confirm that the head gasket is blown. Then start shopping for a new engine.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dud View Post
I havent tried bleeding it yet
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Originally Posted by Dud View Post
But i just changed the thermostat.
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Originally Posted by Dud View Post
the heat is only working on the drivers side and at best only gets hot when i give it some gas
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Originally Posted by ZeGerman View Post
I guess I'll take this opportunity to let you know that you cannot, under any circumstance, remove the t-stat (or any other cooling system component) and continue driving the car without bleeding the air out of the system first. If you don't, you will 100% overheat the engine.
The answer is in front of you. It only takes one overheating to destroy a BMW engine. Cross your fingers and hope for the best. Overheating + wavering heat from the vents = air in the system. You cannot replace cooling system parts without bleeding the air afterward. So the answer to your question is: bleed the air out of the system.
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Last edited by ZeGerman; 01-29-2013 at 08:04 PM.
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  #11  
Old 01-29-2013, 08:03 PM
Dud Dud is offline
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If it helps whenever I start it up the car bounces a little and idk what that means
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:04 PM
Dud Dud is offline
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Okay what method should I use. Or what's the process? A link would be fine if u don't want to type it all up
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  #13  
Old 01-29-2013, 08:08 PM
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I gotta run out the door right now, but someone else should give you the info. Search the E36 forum for "cooling system bleeding" and you should get some good stuff to read.
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  #14  
Old 01-29-2013, 08:10 PM
hunter94 hunter94 is online now
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As killjoy asked above is the oil milky? Does the oil look like coffee with creamer?
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Last edited by hunter94; 01-29-2013 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:12 PM
Dud Dud is offline
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Originally Posted by ZeGerman View Post
I gotta run out the door right now, but someone else should give you the info. Search the E36 forum for "cooling system bleeding" and you should get some good stuff to read.
Okay thanks a lot for the help really appreciate it!
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:14 PM
hunter94 hunter94 is online now
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Take a look here regarding to your cooling system questions.

http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/tech...lant-Flush.htm
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:31 PM
Dud Dud is offline
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Thank you for that ill get on reading it
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:33 PM
hunter94 hunter94 is online now
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Thank you for that ill get on reading it
Your welcome, if you have any further questions feel free to ask.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:51 PM
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Your welcome, if you have any further questions feel free to ask.
well my only other question is would air in the cooling system be the reason why heat is only working on drivers side and also be the reason why the car bounces on start up?
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:58 PM
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well my only other question is would air in the cooling system be the reason why heat is only working on drivers side and also be the reason why the car bounces on start up?
No I don't think the cooling system affects the air system in your car. No the bouncing is most likely caused by something else. Just take it one step at a time. Your worst problem is fixing the over heating issue so put all your focus on that. How is your coolant level when your car is cold? Have you checked your oil lately?
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:20 PM
Dud Dud is offline
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The coolant level is normal and I just changed the oil
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Dud View Post
The coolant level is normal and I just changed the oil
Okay, it's a good sign the coolant level is fine but pull the dipstick out and check the oil a couple times. Also take the oil cap off (where you put oil in) and look at the underside of the cap and inside where the camshafts are. Look for a white like residue on the dipstick, the cap, and inside where the cams are. The reason for checking this is to make sure their is no coolant getting into the cylinders and oil due to a bad head gasket or a bad head. When these engines are overheated it is very easy to blow the head gasket or crack the head.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:36 PM
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http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...cooling+system

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Old 01-29-2013, 09:41 PM
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No I don't think the cooling system affects the air system in your car.
As is the case with all liquid-cooled cars, the heat you get inside the cabin is sourced from the cooling system. Heat from the engine is absorbed by the coolant cycling through the block. In addition to passing through the radiator to dissipate heat into the atmosphere, the coolant also passes through the heater core, which is what allows you to have hot air inside the cabin of the car (the blower motor pushes air through the hot heater core, which then comes out through the vents). If the air will only blow hot when revving the engine (as the OP described), you either are low on coolant and/or have air trapped in the system. Since the OP replaced the t-stat, didn't bleed the system afterward, and now only gets hot air through the vents, I can say with total certainty that he has air trapped in the system which needs to be bled out.

The fact that warm air is only coming out on one side of the cabin is most likely due to the blender doors being stuck. Pretty small issue considering everything else going on here.
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For sale: E30/E36 front sway links
For sale: OEM E36 328 catback

Last edited by ZeGerman; 01-29-2013 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:46 PM
Dud Dud is offline
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Originally Posted by hunter94 View Post
Okay, it's a good sign the coolant level is fine but pull the dipstick out and check the oil a couple times. Also take the oil cap off (where you put oil in) and look at the underside of the cap and inside where the camshafts are. Look for a white like residue on the dipstick, the cap, and inside where the cams are. The reason for checking this is to make sure their is no coolant getting into the cylinders and oil due to a bad head gasket or a bad head. When these engines are overheated it is very easy to blow the head gasket or crack the head.
Okay will do tomorrow. The weather ha either been in the 30's or pouring rain the last few days so ill be sure to check the oil tomorrow when I get a chance. Thanks for the help. Ill update tomorrow
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