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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 03-04-2013, 01:04 PM
hnaz hnaz is offline
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Unhappy A Disturbance in the Air box.

So last night I was getting ready to start my engine up after replacing the valve cover gasket, spark plugs, spark plug boots, valve cover breather plug thingie, etc until I decide to give the airbox a look-see. So I remove the cruise control module and put it aside. I then loosen the hose clamps on the two hoses that go into the thermostat in the airbox. I go ahead and try to remove the airbox and it comes out with ease. I figure, huh! Awesome... until I saw why it was easy.

After some coolant spilled everywhere, the two nozzles were broken off. I guess they were extremely brittle and have never been replaced until now. Upon remove the nozzles from the hoses, I try get the remaining nozzle pieces and they just kept breaking apart. So of course, now I may get debris going to my TB once I replace the T-stat in the airbox. So I figure I just clamp the hose and tilt it downward and let the water carry out the debris. I cleared it out as much as I could, but am unsure what else is left in there. Now I know the coolant jackets on the block and TB are pretty nicely sized, but I don't want to risk getting crap flowing around. So here are my three options:

1.) Clamp the hoses, get some water in a spray bottle, change to stream, squirt and let the debris flow out, or...
2.) Start the car and let the pressure of the coolant push out the debris, but in return lose coolant in the process. I'd like to avoid this as much as possible, but if it is the most effect way of cleaning, I'll do it. Or...
3.) Just say F it, and bypass the hose from the block straight to the TB and replace the airbox with an airbox from a 96 or newer (since they don't have the t-stat in their boxes and the coolant goes straight to the TB).

What do you guys think? This has me a bit bummed right now and the dealer won't have the part until tomorrow.

Oh, once I replace the T-stat, do I still need to bleed the cooling system? I figure if it is just for cold starts, it shouldn't be a worry, but I don't know how all this system works to tell you the truth.
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  #2  
Old 03-04-2013, 01:19 PM
RHiN0 RHiN0 is offline
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Without seeing how much debris got in there, I would go with option 1. If you know lots of it is in there go with option 2. Get the pieces replaced and re install.
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2013, 01:20 PM
RHiN0 RHiN0 is offline
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And always bleed the cooling system, bmw cooling systems are finicky like that and you don't want any air in the system.
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  #4  
Old 03-04-2013, 02:30 PM
hnaz hnaz is offline
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Well not a lot of debris got in there. Just small crumpled pieces of plastic from the nozzle. I managed to get a good bit out, but I am just taking precautions.
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  #5  
Old 03-04-2013, 02:46 PM
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I'd do option 3. Then you only have to worry about clearing debris out of one hose, the one the flows OUT of the cylinder head. I'd do a quick engine on off and let the coolant flush it then connect it direct to the TB like the later models are. Bleed the system, done.
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:31 PM
hnaz hnaz is offline
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Well, here is what came out...





I saw that the color of the liquid is not the same color as the coolant in the expansion tank. So I thought to myself "Damn this is really making the rabbit hole get deeper." I think what I may do is just do a coolant flush and play this safe. The only problem is I can't lift the car high enough to get underneath it and unscrew the bolt on the block to drain the liquid out. I'd have to drive 20 miles to the DIY garage and do the flush there. Thankfully the temperature is cold enough to go easy on the throttle, and keep the temps down in case

I know the thermostat in the air box is seized since I can't even compress the damn thing.

What do you guys think? I checked the viscosity of the coolant with the coolant checker and it shows I am good until 34*F... so it looks good, but the liquid in the cup gave me protection up to 47*F. So yeah, this is confusing
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hnaz View Post
Well, here is what came out...



I saw that the color of the liquid is not the same color as the coolant in the expansion tank. So I thought to myself "Damn this is really making the rabbit hole get deeper." I think what I may do is just do a coolant flush and play this safe. The only problem is I can't lift the car high enough to get underneath it and unscrew the bolt on the block to drain the liquid out. I'd have to drive 20 miles to the DIY garage and do the flush there. Thankfully the temperature is cold enough to go easy on the throttle, and keep the temps down in case

I know the thermostat in the air box is seized since I can't even compress the damn thing.

What do you guys think? I checked the viscosity of the coolant with the coolant checker and it shows I am good until 34*F... so it looks good, but the liquid in the cup gave me protection up to 47*F. So yeah, this is confusing
Damn! If that was in a specimen cup they'd take you to a trauma center. If you drain from the radiator petcock you'll get a large volume of the old coolant out and with the new coolant fill you should be good for a while until you have time to do a complete flush including the block.
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:17 AM
hnaz hnaz is offline
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Damn! If that was in a specimen cup they'd take you to a trauma center. If you drain from the radiator petcock you'll get a large volume of the old coolant out and with the new coolant fill you should be good for a while until you have time to do a complete flush including the block.
Drain from the radiator petcock?
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  #9  
Old 03-05-2013, 03:59 AM
hnaz hnaz is offline
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At least the good news is I got the debris out. Seeing as how insignificant the debris was, I should have just done a coolant flush. I will be stopping by the dealer to get that BMW coolant stuff. I think in the mean time, would it be OK to just get some cheap coolant from Advanced Auto, fill it in, then do the flush on the weekend? I figure some protection is better than no protection. I just hope this will not hurt the new thermostat in the airbox. Also, how do BMW radiators and blocks react to radiator flush detergents? I see that the t-stat has some copper in it so I think mild detergents would be fine.

As far as bypassing the T-Stat and going straight to the TB, I'm trying to keep the 325IS M-tech as original as possible. I thought about it long and hard, while it would make perfect sense to just upgrade the setup to what BMW eventually did, it wouldn't keep the car original, thus hurting its value. But if this happens again, I will bypass the T-stat and call it a day.
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  #10  
Old 03-05-2013, 04:15 AM
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Drain from the radiator petcock?
Petcock is an old school term for the drain point on the radiator. Older cars had a drain valve at the bottom that was called a petcock valve for the type of mechanism it had for opening and closing. BMWs just have a screw in plug in the lower corner on the driver's side.
I would not use a flush detergent of any kind. They're difficult to get completely flushed out and there a lots of aluminum parts in the cooling system that don't react well to unknown chemicals. Same for using the cheap coolant. If you want to do something temporary and it's not going to be below freezing for the next few days, just use distilled water for your fill. It's cheap and has no chemical side effects and the only risk you have is freezing up.
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Old 03-05-2013, 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
Petcock is an old school term for the drain point on the radiator. Older cars had a drain valve at the bottom that was called a petcock valve for the type of mechanism it had for opening and closing. BMWs just have a screw in plug in the lower corner on the driver's side.
I would not use a flush detergent of any kind. They're difficult to get completely flushed out and there a lots of aluminum parts in the cooling system that don't react well to unknown chemicals. Same for using the cheap coolant. If you want to do something temporary and it's not going to be below freezing for the next few days, just use distilled water for your fill. It's cheap and has no chemical side effects and the only risk you have is freezing up.
I agree with this Harry, I'd fill with the distilled to get it to your DIY shop and do a proper drain. Better to know what's in there after a flush than think you got it all. Just my .02!
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  #12  
Old 03-05-2013, 01:41 PM
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I'm confused. I guess I am not familiar with the terms you are using. What nozzles broke? What does your air box have to do with your coolant system?
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this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:24 PM
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Jared, I didn't realize this until this thread, but some of the earlier M50 engines had a second water thermostat to regulate the coolant flow to the throttle body. The secondary thermostat is mounted in the air filter housing so there's a coolant line that runs from the cylinder head to his air filter housing, then from there to the throttle body.
On our engines it just goes from the cylinder head direct to the throttle body.
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:28 PM
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Crazy. I've never owned (or examined, even) an M50, so this is news to me. Hope it works out then.
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Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
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this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:29 PM
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In case it's worth noting the car he is working on is a 1993 M-Tech 325is. One of 150 made. The other one on this forum is owned by one of the Alans. Alan777 if I'm not mistaken. Harry's has 330k on it and he's doing a boatload of work on it. But I expect it will have some peculiarities.
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:34 PM
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Oh right. The one that belongs in a museum.
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Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
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Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:35 PM
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Crazy. I've never owned (or examined, even) an M50, so this is news to me. Hope it works out then.
Yeah.....that coolant line was crazy and unexpected.....way back in the days of yore my first E36 was an M50. Installed a CAI, and I couldn't get the damn temp sensor out of the airbox. Not having any idea what the two lines were, I decided to remove them from the sensor and was greeted with a face full of coolant. Yay for surprise coolant showers...























Not that you'd know anything about those.

Any errors in this post are purely Swype's fault, not mine.
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:47 PM
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Haha. I wish I could have seen my face. You know I lost that jacket? It's hiding somewhere in my garage, all greasy and covered in coolant residue.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
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Old 03-05-2013, 04:26 PM
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No worries about this car are necessary. Hnaz (Harry) is going to take care of that thing. He's doing it right too. It went into good hands.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:01 AM
hnaz hnaz is offline
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Oh boy... I think a coolant flush is a must now. I am uploading the pics now. I thought the headgasket or head was cracked, but the fluid is not murky or milky... it's... full of debris and crud... I will post the pictures in a second. It looks like this thing was never flushed which is now making me **** bricks.

Stay tuned...
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:39 AM
hnaz hnaz is offline
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Here they are. Note, the car does not overheat, and when I replaced the valve cover gasket, no milky residue was found. The oil still had a nice consistent viscosity when I did the finger pinch test. I also checked the liquid to see if it was soft and slippery (suggesting oil in the coolant), it felt more like water than anything else.

Without further ado, the pictures:







This is the same color liquid as my sample picture above, when I was draining the thermostat hoses from the broken airbox thermostat. So now the question becomes, since it doesn't overheat, would adding distilled water hurt anything until I get the car to the DIY garage to do a good flush? I have the BMW coolant (2 gallons worth), but I just need to drain the engine first. But I want to make sure I get all of this stuff out. Shall I run pressurized water through the system or cheap coolant to catch all the debris?

Please help.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:03 AM
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Here they are. Note, the car does not overheat, and when I replaced the valve cover gasket, no milky residue was found. The oil still had a nice consistent viscosity when I did the finger pinch test. I also checked the liquid to see if it was soft and slippery (suggesting oil in the coolant), it felt more like water than anything else.

This is the same color liquid as my sample picture above, when I was draining the thermostat hoses from the broken airbox thermostat. So now the question becomes, since it doesn't overheat, would adding distilled water hurt anything until I get the car to the DIY garage to do a good flush? I have the BMW coolant (2 gallons worth), but I just need to drain the engine first. But I want to make sure I get all of this stuff out. Shall I run pressurized water through the system or cheap coolant to catch all the debris?

Please help.
I was thinking about this yesterday, I'd run the cheap coolant through so long as you aren't worried about the price. What $20 when it comes down to it right? Only thing I'd be worried about is how much debris might be getting in places it shouldn't. No way you could do a simple flush at home with the garden hose type kit, then fill with cheap Coolant and drive to the garage?
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Last edited by SCJon; 03-06-2013 at 10:08 AM. Reason: damn typos
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  #23  
Old 03-06-2013, 10:07 AM
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Gross. Definitely flush that bad boy. Add distilled in the mean time...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:08 PM
hnaz hnaz is offline
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Well here is an idea I am considering in terms of doing the flush... I don't know if this is going to be dangerous, but it will definitely be more effective in terms of cleaning the engine without using detergents:

1.) Drain the current coolant in the radiator, but leave the block coolant alone. Once the radiator is drained, I stick on the garden hose, start the car, and pour some water from the tap into the radiator until it is full and flowing.

2.) Once the water gets dirty enough, cut the car off, and drain. Repeat step 1. This will all be done with the cap off. But since the car won't be driving, I don't think this should cause any issues.

3.) Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the water stays clean and doesn't murk up anymore.

4.) Drain the water from the block and the radiator, look for any more silvery deposits in the water (like were in the samples above). I also noticed that the water had a film on it, suggesting detergent has been used (since there were no signs of a head gasket failure or cracked head). I scoop it up with my screw driver and put the substance on my fingers and do the finger pinch test... it isn't slippery, but more gel-like.

5.) Grab some Deer Park Water or Giant Brand or Whatever other distilled water brand from the grocery store, a 5 gallon plastic gas jug, and one of the BMW coolants. Toss in the coolant first, then add in the distilled water and mix. Then take the gas gallon jug and pour into the block first via the main hose to the block until the coolant start filling up the hose. Plug the main hose back.

6.) Start the car and let it run close to operating temperature and add in the coolant into the expansion tank, with the bleed screw off. Continue doing this until there is a steady and consistent amount of coolant being squirt back into the expansion tank and no more bubbles coming up from the bleed screw.

7.) Run the car at varying speeds and RPMs and look for the temp gauge to react. If it stays at 12 o'clock, good to go. If not, bleed some more.

What do you guys think? I figure I just put my thoughts into steps. Feel free to jump in and provide comments. I am hoping to bleed and flush the car this weekend. I'm also going to change all the other fluids as well, considering how bad this poor car was treated.
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:24 PM
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If you have some fittings, here's what I'd do.

Put a drain hose with a valve in the engine block coolant drain plug. It's going to spill out a bit, so protect yourself (and your O2 sensor).

-Run the car to operating temp. You really just want the t-stat to open. Then shut it off.

-Hook your garden hose up to the expansion tank, open the engine block valve you set up and run fresh water through until only clear fluid runs out your makeshift engine block drain hose.

Repeat last 2 steps until no more ****. Then drain and fill with distilled/coolant mix. That stuff is expensive. Shouldn't be an issue to flush with regular water, unless you have some crazy tap water.
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Quote:
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Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
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