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E36 (1991 - 1999)
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:50 AM
rufus2004 rufus2004 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 740IL
1997 328ic Check Coolant Light On

After turning the engine off, the "Check Coolant Level" light displays, and I blow off coolant. I have filled the tank to the black mark on the outside, and it still displays. I have filled it above the mark thinking that it was still too low, and it blows off coolant and still displays the warning. I don't seem to lose coolant when filled to black mark on the tank. My BMW mechanic told me that it will not display if filled above the mark, so I tried it. When the coolant is filled to the mark and the cap is off, the tank appears to be completely empty with the engine running ,but refills to the correct level. The temperature gauge runs right in the middle, and the engine doesn't feel unusually warm, but living in the desert, I am concerned with overheating. Whatever the cause, I still would like to keep the warning display from coming on. The car has 147k on it, but have owned it about a year, so I am still learning. Do I have a normal situation with the coolant level, and could a sensor or cap be defective? The cap looks to be in good shape. Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:34 AM
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dc_wright dc_wright is online now
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Mein Auto: '06 Z4 3.0si, '11 128CiC
The coolant level sensor in the bottom of the coolant reservoir uses a foam float with a magnet in it. With age the foam deteriorates and the float sinks to the bottom of the reservoir giving a low coolant indication when there's actually plenty of coolant. Replacing the sensor is the fix and you may as well do the reservoir with it.

With 147K miles if you haven't already done a cooling system overhaul you're way overdue. The plastic parts in the cooling system (water pump impeller, radiator end caps, coolant reservoir, thermostat housing, fan, etc.) get embrittled with heat and age and tend to fail suddenly. Most of us do the overhaul every 60K-70K miles as preventive maintenance.

Check out the "cooling system 101" sticky.
2006 Z4 3.0si Sport Package (But I'll still hang with my "homies" in the E36 forum)
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