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E36 M3 (1995-1999)

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Old 12-14-2013, 03:51 PM
mcmeyer89 mcmeyer89 is offline
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Location: Fort Lewis, WA
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW M3
Water pump... failure?! help!!

My 98 M3 has been having overheating problems recently, I only drive it when I NEED to simply because of the problem and never for long. I had to add coolant for the first time since owning the car in august this year. after adding the coolant I drove to my apartment and started seeing steam from under my hood, nothing crazy, but I pulled off the road, turned it off and checked it out. The steam was coming from the radiator. and didnt take long to disappear. the temp gauge was reading hot. ive never had a problem with the radiator before and its a newer all aluminum "big" radiator. the owner before me upgraded the water pump to a STEWART HIGH PERFORMANCE WATER PUMP, im unsure how long its been installed. but the only thing I can think of is that the water pump is failing on me, not pushing the fluid through the system and getting backed up in my radiator, causing overheating and with the fluid being backed up in the radiator is forcing itself out through steaming... is that far fetched idea or is it a possibility... or am I completely off here, and advice or help would be greatly appreciated. Thank You!
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Last edited by mcmeyer89; 12-14-2013 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 12-18-2013, 08:20 AM
Miller335 Miller335 is offline
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Location: Portland, OR
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Mein Auto: 2007 E92
If the rad is steaming that's because it's losing coolant as the system comes up to pressure.

Havent' had to replace a rad on a BMW but I've replaced three radiators in my life and all because they were losing pressure and steaming when getting to op temp.
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Old 12-20-2013, 07:08 AM
7pilot 7pilot is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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Mein Auto: 90 Ford Tempo
Here is a scenario that may explain your issues.
At some point during the previous ownership, the car overheated, likely until the coolant gauge was in the red.
The owner replaced the cooling components with upgraded, but the headgasket was stressed, maybe not to failure or to the type of failure where the coolant leaked into a combustion chamber. This type of failure will go un-noticed due to the heavily damped and therefore unreliable temp gauge, and as long as the engine does not see thermal loads as high as it would if driven on track.

Under your stewardship the head gasket has finally been breached badly enough that the combustion gasses from the chamber(s) are being pumped into the cooling system. Now it boils the coolant under normal driving conditions.

Driving the car with knowledge that it overheats, may now have caused the head to warp .
Straight sixes don't tolerate overheating.
It is nerve wracking to bleed them even after maintenance to the cooling circuit.

Now compression and leakdown tests will be needed to determine if it is definitely the gasket, and if so, the head will need to be measured for warpage also.
There is the possibility that it is the upgraded pump but they are a quality piece.

Good luck.


Last edited by 7pilot; 12-20-2013 at 07:09 AM.
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