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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E46 (1999 - 2006)

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 03-05-2013, 04:01 AM
clydesdale clydesdale is offline
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Thermostat seems stuck open - good time for coolant overhaul - questions- radiator?

When driving around the temp drops right down to just above the blue zone. If I let it sit, it will climb back up to almost the 12 o'clock position. If I drive, it then drops down again. I think the stat may be stuck open. The car has 75k, so it may be time to do the whole coolant overhaul. Is it necessary to replace the radiator? I saw a kit at bavauto. Is that who you suggest for this kit or anyone else? Any other tips? Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2013, 04:17 AM
heztheone heztheone is offline
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preventive maintenance would be:
- changing expansion tank
- water temperature sensor (or even the o-ring would be enough)
- t-stat
- radiator flushing/cleaning
other than that would be throwing your money away.
while u'r there, check for any leak
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Old 03-05-2013, 04:59 AM
clydesdale clydesdale is offline
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What about the hoses? It is a 2004 330i zhp. Thanks.
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:12 AM
heztheone heztheone is offline
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nope no need...
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:46 AM
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Don't forget to change the water pump and get a good look at your pulleys and belts. Most of us do it all at the same time since you're there anyway.
A failing thermostat usually throws a code. Is your SES light on and if so, have you read the codes yet ?
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:55 AM
clydesdale clydesdale is offline
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No ses. Just the cool water temp. One cold morning I just hopped right onto the interstate for about 15-20 minutes and the water temp was right at the edge of blue. Once I got off the interstate, it started to rise.
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Old 03-05-2013, 01:37 PM
Fishful Thinking Fishful Thinking is offline
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Y'know, you can just change the thermostat, bleed the system, and call it good. But while you're in there, do a thorough visual check for leaks, belt problems, etc.

Changing the thermostat is such a quick and easy DIY, there's no need to couple it to other DIYs. Good luck.
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:23 AM
clydesdale clydesdale is offline
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The thought is crossing my mind to just do the thermostat. What percentage of coolant do you think I will lose? The thermostat seems to be up pretty high. Maybe I can just replace the stat and go a little longer.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:28 AM
heztheone heztheone is offline
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sure u can do that, just keep a bottle of water of 2L with u for emergency, u never know what might happen. i keep one in my trunk even after i did a complete cooling system overhaul.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:48 AM
jdauria jdauria is offline
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Originally Posted by heztheone View Post
sure u can do that, just keep a bottle of water of 2L with u for emergency, u never know what might happen. i keep one in my trunk even after i did a complete cooling system overhaul.
+1 I keep a gallon of distilled water and a quart of motor oil in my trunk at all times. Never know, and better to be safe than sorry. Never had to rely on them though.
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  #11  
Old 03-06-2013, 01:56 PM
Fishful Thinking Fishful Thinking is offline
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Originally Posted by clydesdale View Post
The thought is crossing my mind to just do the thermostat. What percentage of coolant do you think I will lose? The thermostat seems to be up pretty high. Maybe I can just replace the stat and go a little longer.
You'll lose a little bit, enough to put a pan under the car to catch it. Just be sure to go through the bleed process to purge out all air, and you'll be fine.

I keep a gallon of pre-mixed BMW coolant and a quart of oil in my drug bin at all times - good habit to get into.
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:29 PM
clydesdale clydesdale is offline
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Well, I thik I am going to do just the stat. I ordered one today and we will go that route until life warms up here in the northeast. What is the estimated time on this job? I have changed stats before, but never on an e46. I have done them on a taurus, powerstoke diesel and my e30. It didn't look like I had to take anything else off to get to it. Or do I?
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:56 PM
heztheone heztheone is offline
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shouldn't take u more than half an hour if it's a manual (being a ZHP, please tell me it IS a manual ... off topic ) if it's an auto, it's gonna be a bit of a PITA, since u'd have to removed the fan to get to the t-stat.
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:11 AM
clydesdale clydesdale is offline
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Yeah, I have a manual. But looking in the book it says remove the fan shroud and fan, then remove the stat. On a manual, you can just go right for the stat? I apologize, it is my wife's car and I have not had to pop the hood much yet. All I repaired was a torn intake boot. For all I know it doesn't even have a viscous fan.
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by clydesdale View Post
Yeah, I have a manual. But looking in the book it says remove the fan shroud and fan, then remove the stat. On a manual, you can just go right for the stat? I apologize, it is my wife's car and I have not had to pop the hood much yet. All I repaired was a torn intake boot. For all I know it doesn't even have a viscous fan.
I've always removed the fan to work on the cooling system, it's a few expanding rivets and torx fasteners to remove it. Get yourself a new t-stat gasket too if that's all you're going to replace. When I did my cooling system I did the t-stat, hoses, thermostat, and upgraded the wp to the stewart model. As others have said as well, evaluate your belts and pulleys. Failure of the belts and pulleys usually has catastrophic results on the cooling system components.
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  #16  
Old 03-07-2013, 08:15 AM
clydesdale clydesdale is offline
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Hmmm, stewart model. That is the first I have heard of that. I will look into that. Thanks. It looks like it is just electric fans for the manual trans. I will look in the book to see what it will take to remove the fan. I kind of just want to do the stat at the moment until I can research the system, such as the suggestion you just gave about the WP, and wait for the weather to warm. I can see the top bolts of the stat, but the bottom bolts are hidden by the fan. Are they reachable with the fan in place?
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:28 PM
Fishful Thinking Fishful Thinking is offline
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Pulling the fan assembly takes removing a couple of expanding rivets and one torx bolt. Disconnect the electrical connection, then just lift it out. 3 minutes, tops. If you have big 'ole gorilla hands like me, you'll really appreciate the extra room.

The hoses disconnect with clips, IIRC. Not traditional hose clamps. A little fiddly, but once you figure them out, they're easy.

Your new thermostat should come with a new gasket.

I suggest picking up some replacement plastic rivets, as they're real easy to break.

Good luck.
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  #18  
Old 03-07-2013, 01:50 PM
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If you want the full Monty go here:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=914109

Anything less will put doubts in the back of your mind. But within the next 1-2 years you will be doing most of this.

This is your definitive guide for the E46 cooling system. Good luck.
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:52 PM
clydesdale clydesdale is offline
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Yeah, I saw Mango's list and he has answered a few of my other questions regarding this. I realize the full job is coming, but from what I understand, the stat is so easy that I may be able to just do that now, while it is still cold outside. Then, while in there, I can get a look at everything and order the parts and plan for a warmer time of year.
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:20 PM
petemo94 petemo94 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clydesdale View Post
Yeah, I saw Mango's list and he has answered a few of my other questions regarding this. I realize the full job is coming, but from what I understand, the stat is so easy that I may be able to just do that now, while it is still cold outside. Then, while in there, I can get a look at everything and order the parts and plan for a warmer time of year.
Sure. Cold temps would keep me from doing the overhaul too. Removing the thermostat you stand to lose about 1/3 of your radiator coolant IF you are careful with the bottom hose (not let it drop). The other thing you risk is damaging the hose o-rings. These d@mn things are what keep you from having leaks. Take care prying them off and putting on. Also take pics of the hose connections and make sure they are put back in the same depth as before.

Good luck and report results.
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  #21  
Old 03-08-2013, 04:32 PM
clydesdale clydesdale is offline
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I am not familiar with these o-rings. Thanks for the warning. I do see that the clamps appear to get pryed out and then pushed back in. When I pull the hose off, where will the o-ring be?
BTW, what is the system capacity? I have one gallon of BMW concentrate coolant.
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Last edited by clydesdale; 03-08-2013 at 04:33 PM.
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  #22  
Old 03-08-2013, 05:44 PM
petemo94 petemo94 is offline
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The clamps keep the hoses from flying off. However the key to no leaks is proper insertion, no distortion of the o-rings and the clamp pushed down. The o-ring for the hoses will be embedded in the hose. It is a non-serviceable part. If it damaged, the hose is toast. Clean and lube the oring after removal.

1 gallon of concentrate is plenty. Mix only with distilled water. Others may disagree but this guarantees no problems (in terms of fluid and longevity).
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:46 PM
petemo94 petemo94 is offline
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I shoulda said clean and lube after removal of the "hose" and not the oring. The o ring cannot be removed.

Good luck and report back results.
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Old 03-09-2013, 06:55 AM
clydesdale clydesdale is offline
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What are you lubing the o-rings with? Just putting a little coolant on them to help them slide on the stat housing? I imagine this will all make more sense when I dig into it. But, I now know to be very careful with these hoses. Thank you.
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:41 AM
clydesdale clydesdale is offline
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I read up a little on the stewart pump. It seems pretty bulletproof. But, isn't the rest of the system such crap that you have to tear into it anyway? Is it better to just replace an oem one every 75k? Thoughts on that?
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