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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 12-08-2013, 01:31 PM
Tebpac Tebpac is offline
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Antifreeze....

Newbie owner here. 2005 325xi. Been reading threads on coolant. When checking my car this morning the service engine soon light was on. Took the gas cap off and put it back on. Turn the car back on and along with the service engine soon light, the coolant light came on as well. Check the reservoir and it is either empty or very very low. No puddles in the driveway. Car is not overheating. In checking with the auto parts stores around town, they stated that ethylene glycol was the main ingredient used for the coolant. Of course it's Sunday and Bimmer shop is not open. Need to use the car Monday. How detrimental would it be using Peak to top off the reservoir?
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  #2  
Old 12-08-2013, 01:42 PM
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Yeah, it`s OK to use for emergency purposes....just be sure to mix it 50/50 with distilled water (don`t waste your money on the pre-mixed stuff, it`s a ripoff....)
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  #3  
Old 12-08-2013, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tebpac View Post
Newbie owner here. 2005 325xi. Been reading threads on coolant. When checking my car this morning the service engine soon light was on. Took the gas cap off and put it back on. Turn the car back on and along with the service engine soon light, the coolant light came on as well. Check the reservoir and it is either empty or very very low. No puddles in the driveway. Car is not overheating. In checking with the auto parts stores around town, they stated that ethylene glycol was the main ingredient used for the coolant. Of course it's Sunday and Bimmer shop is not open. Need to use the car Monday. How detrimental would it be using Peak to top off the reservoir?
You probably have a small leak somewhere.

SES light - get your error codes read and we can advise on that issue.
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2003 330i TiAg Sport Pkg ~90k miles
DIY MODS: AA Stage I supercharger, Meyle HD FCAs w Powerflex CABs, Bilstein shocks, Meyle HD Rtabs, Angel Eyes, Clear Corners/Markers w/ LEDs, LED tails, ZHP rims, Akebono pads, AUX input
DIY E46 Merit Badges: Sunroof resurrection, CCV, OFHG, VCG w/ VANOS seals, DISA, Cooling Refresh I, steering giubo, window regs, Magnetic Infandibulator (see wiki)
DIY On deck: Rear Diff bushing. UUC SSK, clutch job eventually, Wavetrac LSD
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  #4  
Old 12-08-2013, 04:30 PM
Tebpac Tebpac is offline
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Thanks...

I don't have my own code reader as of yet. We have an Autozone close by and once I've gotten the OEM coolant in, I was planning on stopping by there to see if they could do the "free read". (Unless that's a waste of time, then it's off to the dealer) Planning on buying the Haynes manual as well. Will let you know more hopefully soon....
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  #5  
Old 12-08-2013, 04:43 PM
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ahull ahull is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tebpac View Post
I don't have my own code reader as of yet. We have an Autozone close by and once I've gotten the OEM coolant in, I was planning on stopping by there to see if they could do the "free read". (Unless that's a waste of time, then it's off to the dealer) Planning on buying the Haynes manual as well. Will let you know more hopefully soon....
Not a waste of time. Would be first thing dealer would do....... before suggesting a lot of stuff you don't need along the way to actually fixing the car (sorry for the anti-dealer rant).

Bentley is the manual to get. Not sure haynes does one, but I'm sure it's pale to the Bentley.

If you have any inclination to DIY the maintenance and smaller repairs, the Bentley and this forum will take you far indeed. The e46 actually isn't that hard to work on. And, check out the e46 wiki link near the top of this page and in the sticky links at the top of the forum. Easily a small gold mine of info and DIYs.
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2003 330i TiAg Sport Pkg ~90k miles
DIY MODS: AA Stage I supercharger, Meyle HD FCAs w Powerflex CABs, Bilstein shocks, Meyle HD Rtabs, Angel Eyes, Clear Corners/Markers w/ LEDs, LED tails, ZHP rims, Akebono pads, AUX input
DIY E46 Merit Badges: Sunroof resurrection, CCV, OFHG, VCG w/ VANOS seals, DISA, Cooling Refresh I, steering giubo, window regs, Magnetic Infandibulator (see wiki)
DIY On deck: Rear Diff bushing. UUC SSK, clutch job eventually, Wavetrac LSD

Last edited by ahull; 12-08-2013 at 04:46 PM.
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  #6  
Old 12-08-2013, 05:05 PM
Tebpac Tebpac is offline
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Thanks AHull

I do plan on doing some DIY work. Just need to clear out my garage to fit it in. Of course, all of this starts when it gets colder...
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  #7  
Old 12-08-2013, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Tebpac View Post
How detrimental would it be using Peak to top off the reservoir?
You could top it off with urine and it wouldn't make all that much of a difference.
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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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  #8  
Old 12-08-2013, 09:56 PM
lgr122 lgr122 is offline
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You could top it off with urine and it wouldn't make all that much of a difference.
And THAT'S why you should have enough beer in hand.
+ Vodka, if you need stronger antifreeze.
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  #9  
Old 12-09-2013, 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by lgr122 View Post
And THAT'S why you should have enough beer in hand.
+ Vodka, if you need stronger antifreeze.
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2003 330i TiAg Sport Pkg ~90k miles
DIY MODS: AA Stage I supercharger, Meyle HD FCAs w Powerflex CABs, Bilstein shocks, Meyle HD Rtabs, Angel Eyes, Clear Corners/Markers w/ LEDs, LED tails, ZHP rims, Akebono pads, AUX input
DIY E46 Merit Badges: Sunroof resurrection, CCV, OFHG, VCG w/ VANOS seals, DISA, Cooling Refresh I, steering giubo, window regs, Magnetic Infandibulator (see wiki)
DIY On deck: Rear Diff bushing. UUC SSK, clutch job eventually, Wavetrac LSD
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  #10  
Old 12-09-2013, 03:41 AM
Tebpac Tebpac is offline
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Lol!
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  #11  
Old 12-09-2013, 05:33 PM
Tebpac Tebpac is offline
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Coolant added.....codes read.

Ok, so I added the OEM coolant tonight 50/50. The "low coolant" light went out and has stayed out. Drove the car to Autozone where the kid plugged in the code reader and came up P0171/P0174. Running lean. Cleared the code and the light has not come on again for the short ride home. Rechecked the coolant after it cooled down and it has not dropped. Does not appear to be leaking anywhere that I can see. Will recheck daily to make sure it's not dropping down.

So what up with the codes? Would running bad gas cause this? Actually, my daughter has been running low octane (87) fuel every third tank or so (which is what the previous owner had done) Been putting in 93 octane for the last 2 refuels. I just read the thread by Tacobuster. (Dammit code thread) and I gotta tell ya....

"Lean codes - air leak or fuel restriction. Intake boots and ccv hoses. Fuel filter, pump, or vac hoses to the pressure regulator. Check pressure at the rail is most conclusive. The wiki has a good troubleshooting link" (Ahull)
"You sure the DISA seal is good?" (TommyD)

No idea what all this means (except the air leak/fuel restriction) and not afraid to say so

Gonna read thru Wiki for starters...
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Last edited by Tebpac; 12-09-2013 at 05:53 PM.
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  #12  
Old 12-09-2013, 05:39 PM
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Dollars to doughnuts you have a tear in one of your boots. It's the most likely cause. Check the accordion folds carefully, as they like to hide in there.
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  #13  
Old 12-09-2013, 05:42 PM
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You could top it off with urine and it wouldn't make all that much of a difference.
At least we have some sort of aim! (although some would dispute that) LOL How do YOU do that? (no cheating by using a secondary container either)
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  #14  
Old 12-09-2013, 05:53 PM
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My car was doing the low coolant light every morning since it has been cold. I added a little distilled water and no issue. I don't have a leak either, they just evaporate or something over the summer heat maybe. Nothing to make a fuss over.

What I WOULD make a fuss over is the 87 octane. Several folks many years ago did the calculations, it actually costs MORE to run 87 octane due to the lost performance and gas mileage than 93. The cars DME sees the low octane and pulls out timing and a few other things to make it "safe" to run the cheap stuff.
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  #15  
Old 12-09-2013, 06:59 PM
Tebpac Tebpac is offline
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Gas Mileage..

I did recently read something about the gas mileage plummeting due to the low octane. Did a 229 mile trip recently, mostly highway, and got 29mpg.
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  #16  
Old 12-12-2013, 04:57 AM
Tebpac Tebpac is offline
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Hmmm....

So I rechecked the coolant level in the expansion tank. -3 degrees with the windchill. Brrrrrrrrrr! Coolant level was down. The red stick that was just above the threads after refill was just at the threads or below. No obvious leaks that I can see. Coolant light still off and not overheating. Possibly a slow leak somewhere. Gonna have to find time to pull some plastic off this weekend. Oh crap, better check the oil too which hasn't been done in a few weeks. Hate to think of finding coolant in the engine block. If that's the case, that $3000 didn't go far!
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Last edited by Tebpac; 12-12-2013 at 06:15 AM.
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  #17  
Old 12-12-2013, 05:33 AM
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Mine did this for about a month, was leaking out so slow could never find the leak, ended up being hairline cracks in the expansion tank. Replaced and have been good for months.

Good luck, just don't overfill, will do more harm.
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  #18  
Old 12-12-2013, 05:33 AM
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You could top it off with urine and it wouldn't make all that much of a difference.


I did this once. 1978 Chevy Monza Spyder. What? ... It's all I had available.
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  #19  
Old 12-12-2013, 06:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tebpac View Post
So I rechecked the coolant level in the expansion tank. -3 degrees with the windchill. Brrrrrrrrrr! Coolant level was down. The red stick that was just above the threads after refill was just at the threads or below. No obvious leaks that I can see. Coolant light still off and not overheating. Possibly a slow leak somewhere. Gonna have to find time to pull some plastic off this weekend. Oh crap, better check the oil too which hasn't been done in a few weeks. Hate to think of finding coolant in the engine block. If that's the case, that $3000 didn't go far!
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjp735i View Post
Mine did this for about a month, was leaking out so slow could never find the leak, ended up being hairline cracks in the expansion tank. Replaced and have been good for months.

Good luck, just don't overfill, will do more harm.
Another possibility that rarely gets mentioned is leakage around the freezeout plugs.....while not all that common, there is a great deal of expansion/contraction with aluminum-block engines, especially in cold weather.
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  #20  
Old 12-12-2013, 06:20 AM
Tebpac Tebpac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjp735i View Post
Mine did this for about a month, was leaking out so slow could never find the leak, ended up being hairline cracks in the expansion tank. Replaced and have been good for months.

Good luck, just don't overfill, will do more harm.
JJP, did you DIY? if so, besides the wiki links on changing this out, were there others that you followed? Looks like I should buy the Bentley manual sooner than later.
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  #21  
Old 12-12-2013, 10:03 AM
rebelx5150 rebelx5150 is offline
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This is a good DIY write up for the entire cooling system, which is more than likely past due.
http://www.bmw330ci.net/maintenance/completecoolant.php
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03 330i - GAS DISA Rebuild, Koni FSD, Meyle HD CAB, GAS Coolant Cap. On Deck- Cooling System Refresh, Coils/Plugs

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  #22  
Old 12-12-2013, 10:57 AM
Tebpac Tebpac is offline
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Thanks...

I spoke to the Indy garage where the car was serviced last. They did a tune up more or less on it plus some other things. One thing the gal said was that they did not do anything with the cooling system. She of course recommended getting to an Indy garage or dealer for "proper" computer read since the Autozone read is basic. So, I'm going to pull in the car this weekend and start taking off plastic parts to see if I can find anything. Actually found some ramps in my shed which I forgot I had. Bonus! Begrudgingly, I made an appt next week to have a code read just in case I can't find anything....

BTW, checked the coolant level while warm and it's still fine. Had a dementia moment and remembered the hot / cold rule. So far, normal.
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Last edited by Tebpac; 12-12-2013 at 12:48 PM.
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  #23  
Old 12-12-2013, 11:35 AM
davidmaria1 davidmaria1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tebpac View Post
Ok, so I added the OEM coolant tonight 50/50. The "low coolant" light went out and has stayed out. Drove the car to Autozone where the kid plugged in the code reader and came up P0171/P0174. Running lean. Cleared the code and the light has not come on again for the short ride home. Rechecked the coolant after it cooled down and it has not dropped. Does not appear to be leaking anywhere that I can see. Will recheck daily to make sure it's not dropping down.

So what up with the codes? Would running bad gas cause this? Actually, my daughter has been running low octane (87) fuel every third tank or so (which is what the previous owner had done) Been putting in 93 octane for the last 2 refuels. I just read the thread by Tacobuster. (Dammit code thread) and I gotta tell ya....

"Lean codes - air leak or fuel restriction. Intake boots and ccv hoses. Fuel filter, pump, or vac hoses to the pressure regulator. Check pressure at the rail is most conclusive. The wiki has a good troubleshooting link" (Ahull)
"You sure the DISA seal is good?" (TommyD)

No idea what all this means (except the air leak/fuel restriction) and not afraid to say so

Gonna read thru Wiki for starters...

I have a lean code theory. It's revenge for WWII. The Nazis are still angry. Just like the radioactive Mazdas from the Hiroshima factory. Think about it.....
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THINGS I'VE DONE: Cooling system refresh with radiator, key fob surgery, K&N filter (removed), pulleys and tensioners, ECSTuning aluminum w/p pulley, CCV cold weather, DISA gasket, OFHG, Fuel pump/filter PM, ZF auto trans fluid/filter, motor mounts, fcabs, 2nd trans fluid change, steering guibo
VENDORS USED: ECSTuning, German Auto Solutions, Oembimmer, Amazon, Nationwide Auto Parts (salvage)
BMAauto, Autohausz
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  #24  
Old 12-12-2013, 04:37 PM
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ahull ahull is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmaria1 View Post
I have a lean code theory. It's revenge for WWII. The Nazis are still angry. Just like the radioactive Mazdas from the Hiroshima factory. Think about it.....
That or the CCV.
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2003 330i TiAg Sport Pkg ~90k miles
DIY MODS: AA Stage I supercharger, Meyle HD FCAs w Powerflex CABs, Bilstein shocks, Meyle HD Rtabs, Angel Eyes, Clear Corners/Markers w/ LEDs, LED tails, ZHP rims, Akebono pads, AUX input
DIY E46 Merit Badges: Sunroof resurrection, CCV, OFHG, VCG w/ VANOS seals, DISA, Cooling Refresh I, steering giubo, window regs, Magnetic Infandibulator (see wiki)
DIY On deck: Rear Diff bushing. UUC SSK, clutch job eventually, Wavetrac LSD
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  #25  
Old 12-13-2013, 09:18 PM
chet31 chet31 is offline
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I highly doubt there is anything special about BMW anti-freeze.
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