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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 03-10-2013, 09:52 PM
jyeh74 jyeh74 is offline
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coolant

Do we need specific BMW coolant? I bought a Prestone 50/50 antifreeze and it said "all make" "all models"

I have 2003 e46 sedan.
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  #2  
Old 03-10-2013, 11:19 PM
scarede46er scarede46er is offline
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Ya it's fine. Some would disagree.
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  #3  
Old 03-10-2013, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyeh74 View Post
Do we need specific BMW coolant? I bought a Prestone 50/50 antifreeze and it said "all make" "all models"

I have 2003 e46 sedan.
"50/50 Mix" antifreeze is for suckers....you`re paying top dollar for about 20 cents worth of distilled water....you could buy the full-strength stuff, mix it yourself, and have twice as much for the same money.
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  #4  
Old 03-10-2013, 11:47 PM
scarede46er scarede46er is offline
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Originally Posted by fast bob View Post
"50/50 mix" antifreeze is for suckers....you`re paying top dollar for about 20 cents worth of distilled water....you could buy the full-strength stuff, mix it yourself, and have twice as much for the same money.
+1.
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  #5  
Old 03-11-2013, 07:43 AM
joegr joegr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyeh74 View Post
Do we need specific BMW coolant? I bought a Prestone 50/50 antifreeze and it said "all make" "all models"

I have 2003 e46 sedan.
That's what I've been using. No problems so far.
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  #6  
Old 03-11-2013, 12:40 PM
jyeh74 jyeh74 is offline
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Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
"50/50 Mix" antifreeze is for suckers....you`re paying top dollar for about 20 cents worth of distilled water....you could buy the full-strength stuff, mix it yourself, and have twice as much for the same money.
I guess suckers are lazy people...
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  #7  
Old 03-11-2013, 01:12 PM
TannerT TannerT is offline
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I use the pure Preston's and mix in my own distilled water. I am not a fan of 50/50 outside of freezing temp. I do more like 60/40 with some good brand water wetter. I'm running fine still.

Sent from my PantechP9060 using Bimmer App
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  #8  
Old 03-11-2013, 01:14 PM
jyeh74 jyeh74 is offline
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Thanks guys. Do you know what the Prestone "GM approved" mix is? Its a bit more expensive than the standard ones.
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  #9  
Old 03-11-2013, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by TannerT View Post
I use the pure Preston's and mix in my own distilled water. I am not a fan of 50/50 outside of freezing temp. I do more like 60/40 with some good brand water wetter. I'm running fine still.

Sent from my PantechP9060 using Bimmer App
You can save the dough you spent on that water wetter and substitute a small squirt of liquid dishwashing detergent....it does exactly the same thing.
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  #10  
Old 03-11-2013, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
substitute a small squirt of liquid dishwashing detergent....it does exactly the same thing.
How dare thou speak of such Black magic and sorcery!

(it's all about surface tension my boys)
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #11  
Old 03-11-2013, 01:57 PM
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How dare thou speak of such Black magic and sorcery!

(it's all about surface tension my boys)
For sure....to demonstrate, put a drop of plain tap water on a smooth horizontal surface....notice it`s domed shape.
Do the same with a drop of water that`s had a tiny amount of dishwashing liquid added to it, and observe the difference.
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When faced with choosing between two evils, always go with the one you`ve never tried before....
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  #12  
Old 03-11-2013, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
For sure....to demonstrate, put a drop of plain tap water on a smooth horizontal surface....notice it`s domed shape.
Do the same with a drop of water that`s had a tiny amount of dishwashing liquid added to it, and observe the difference.
I just found Bob's picture online......



for those of you who are pre-30's......this one might make more sense....

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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #13  
Old 03-11-2013, 04:12 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyeh74 View Post
Do we need specific BMW coolant?.
What coolant you use is more dependent on your personality than on anything else.
- How personality plays a role in BMW coolant decisions (1),

Plus, this question has been asked, oh, only about fifty thousand times already, so, you're not likely to get the real answer without a few well deserved jokes for not just looking it up.

If you type /coolant F3 into the bestlinks, for example, this pops up:
- Coolant: Coolant, for engine, automatic transmission, power steering, and AC evaporator cooling (1) & bleeding (1) (2) (3) or refilling DIYs (1)

This was written for the E39, but it applies equally well to the E46:
Quote:

E39 Engine coolant: phosphate free (for Europe's high-mineral-content water), amine & nitrite/nitrate free (for USA long-life requirements), & low-silicate or silicate free (for Japan requirements) 50:50 mixture of ethylene glycol & water (the Bentleys say distilled water (Bentley 020-11), aka de-mineralized or de-ionized water, some call it purified water, and the BMW AG TIS 12.11.2007 18:56 specifies water with a pH from 6.5 to 8.0, maximum total hardness of 3.6 mmol Ca++/liter, maximum chloride content 100 mg/liter, and maximum sulphate content 100mg/liter; interestingly the BMW TIS says "potable tap water usually fulfills these requirements". EPA reports show San Jose & NYC tap water easily fulfill these requirements. The BMW TIS expressly states additives are not helpful and are not recommended. BMW lists a score of recommended coolants in their BMW AG TIS 12.11.2007 18:55 which meet the BMW N 600 69.0 standard, some of which are BMW PN:81.22.9.407.454 1.5-liter; BMW PN:88.88.6.900.316 1 gallon; Castrol Anti-Freeze NF; BASF Glysantin Protect Plus G48, & Havoline AFC (BD04); but most of which are not easily found in the USA. Many Bimmerfesters recommend BMW coolant; however other Bimmerfesters recommend Prestone Extended Life 5/150, Valvoline Zerex G-05, and Service Pro Universal Formula. Others (e.g., chiefwej, aioros), have tested Evans NPG+ but be aware propanol entails a different maintenance philosophy than the aqueous fluids listed above and is not compatible with them. [Total Volume: 1997 I6=10.5 quarts (2.6 gallons), 1997 V8=12.0 quarts (3.0 gallons), 1998-2002 I6=11.1 quarts (2.8 gallons), 1998-2002 V8=12.7 quarts (3.2 gallons), 1997-2002 V8 with latent heater=13.5 quarts (3.4 gallons)]. Prestone says the only reason for phosphate free is the extremely high mineral content of water in Europe - and that in the USA, it's not needed. Replacement Interval: Every three years (Bentley page 020-9) or every four years (aforementioned BMW AG TIS) starting from date of manufacture (except for M-Power vehicles which have 3-year intervals). Note: Mixing BMW-recommended coolant brands is permissible; but mixing types is not permissible unless it's an emergency.
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Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #14  
Old 03-11-2013, 04:42 PM
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bmw330ci04 bmw330ci04 is offline
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i had to use prestone to top up once or twice, no big deal.. if i were to flush the coolant completely and add new id pay the extra couple of bucks and get the BMW Coolant, i like to take that precaution
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  #15  
Old 03-11-2013, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by smolck View Post
I just found Bob's picture online......



for those of you who are pre-30's......this one might make more sense....

And one that`s more reflective of recent developments....
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__________________
The road goes ever onward....
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*Please support the Wounded Warrior Project*

When faced with choosing between two evils, always go with the one you`ve never tried before....
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  #16  
Old 03-11-2013, 05:14 PM
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smolck smolck is offline
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Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
And one that`s more reflective of recent developments....
So wrong! LOL>
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #17  
Old 03-11-2013, 08:22 PM
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catso catso is offline
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Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
And one that`s more reflective of recent developments....
I Love the headgear Bob!
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  #18  
Old 03-11-2013, 09:51 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
"50/50 Mix" antifreeze is for suckers....you`re paying top dollar for about 20 cents worth of distilled water....you could buy the full-strength stuff, mix it yourself, and have twice as much for the same money.
The only catch is that 50/50 is different than the full strength Prestone cut with 50% distilled water. The former is certified Phosphate free to completely meet European car specs, whereas the full strength is not. But the euro specs are for European water that is different than NA water.
I run the full strength Prestone cut with distilled water.
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  #19  
Old 03-12-2013, 10:45 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoForthFast View Post
the euro specs are for European water that is different than NA water.
I'm sure you know, but the others might not know that a lot of water in the US meets the specs handily, so, there's no need for distilled.

Nothing wrong with distilled; just that tap water is fine in the two localities we arbitrarily tested (because the figures were available).

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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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