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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 01-09-2014, 06:14 PM
observer15 observer15 is offline
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2007 328xi overheating in extreme cold weather

Hello -

Yesterday (-20F temps outside) on my way to work (10 minute stop/go commute) a loud fan came on. About 3 minutes later the yellow temperature gauge indicator came on the screen...followed by about 1 more minute and it turned red. I drove about another 100 yards, and the car wouldn't accelerate. I rolled to side of road, turned it off. I let it sit about 5 minutes. Started car back with no problems. No indicators on so I drove it about another quarter of a mile to my office, where it sat the rest of the day, and overnight.

Today, the temperature outside was 30f. I started it. Drove it home fine (5 miles). No lights. No fan. No issues.

My question is:

Can extremely cold temperatures cause issues like this with the tstat? Is it possible that the car didn't actually overheat, but that the extreme cold temps glitched something in the engine?

The nearest dealership is booked until next week, so I am hoping this is some fluke and nothing serious since it is acting fine now that the temps outside aren't as low.

Thanks.

Last edited by observer15; 01-09-2014 at 06:16 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-09-2014, 08:45 PM
Miller335 Miller335 is offline
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I'd be getting the water pump checked out.

How many miles?
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  #3  
Old 01-09-2014, 11:39 PM
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MP3_E46 MP3_E46 is offline
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Originally Posted by Miller335 View Post
I'd be getting the water pump checked out.

How many miles?
+1. Your symptoms matches loads of people who have had the issue often at ~80K miles IIRC (of course it could be anywhere from ~60K to 100K+ depending how lucky you are). I believe there are codes to check for (google for other threads on this). Driving it far would not be wise; obviously stop if it happens again.

If you are luckily it could be just the thermostat. On these cars it's virtually always the water pump.
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Last edited by MP3_E46; 01-09-2014 at 11:43 PM.
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  #4  
Old 01-10-2014, 03:38 AM
hondo402000 hondo402000 is offline
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so what it the temperature rating of the coolant in BMW"s it could be been slushy and just wouldnt circulate, then it finally warmed up enough to become liquid again?
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  #5  
Old 01-10-2014, 05:10 AM
observer15 observer15 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller335 View Post

How many miles?
68,000. Dealership service manager quoted me about $1100-1500 (parts/labor) if it is the water pump. He said we should replace tstat too if that is the case. They can't get me in until next Thursday, so until then it will be sitting in my garage. I am not anything close to a mechanic and neither is my boyfriend so I can't check any codes or do anything remotely technical. I will just have to wait and see I suppose. I am affraid to drive it and cause major damage (i've read head gasket blowing from driving cars with overheating engines?).

UGGGGHHHHHHHHHH
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  #6  
Old 01-10-2014, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by hondo402000 View Post
so what it the temperature rating of the coolant in BMW"s it could be been slushy and just wouldnt circulate, then it finally warmed up enough to become liquid again?
Good point, now fully awake I see it said minus twenty which is -30C!! Few areas of the country saw that, I'd have stayed home. With a 2007 it's very possible coolant froze in places, did not circulate and led this this issue. I'd probably do for a drive keeping close to home and see what happens, shutting off immediately if the temp gauge hits yellow.
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  #7  
Old 01-10-2014, 07:02 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by observer15 View Post
Can extremely cold temperatures cause issues like this with the tstat? Is it possible that the car didn't actually overheat, but that the extreme cold temps glitched something in the engine?

As they say in Alaska: You betcha!

See, if you have an 'ecologically acceptable' 50% propylene glycol antifreeze, it freezes at -29F give or take a few for other components. Slap a wind chill on 'er and there you are.

But 50% ethylene glycol freezes at -36F, needing that wind chill t'slush yer ride. Once it does, you're gonna stop.

So. Extreme cold, and from your info we're not sure if you reside in, say, Sagavanirktok, Alaska [Prudhoe Bay] or Boston. But when Global Warming chills yer wah, you want to replace your water based charge with a true cold weather heat exchange fluid compatible with BMW metallurgy. Contact BMW Engineering at the Four Tubes in Munich, Germany.

For you Bimmerfest dare-devils, here's a photo of tourists traversing Prudhoe Bay during the cross country ski season:




Yup, Prudhoe Bay....right next t'Deadhorse and North of Coldfoot, it's an Alaska destination not to be missed! Accommodations available HERE


Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 01-10-2014 at 07:29 AM.
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  #8  
Old 01-10-2014, 07:06 AM
observer15 observer15 is offline
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So, I talked to another mechanic (NOT the dealer). He said he felt strongly that if this was truly a water-pump issue, it would not have acted "fine" the next day when the temps increased by double. He said it would still be over-heating. He feels strongly that the extreme cold absolutely was the root cause. But did tell me to bring it in so he can check the coolant.

If it acts up again, I will pull over. Last time, it started with the fan coming on. If I hear the fan, I am stopping. I won't even wait for the temp indicator to come on.

Thanks for helping a girl out fellas. Didn't even have to bat my eyelashes.
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2014, 07:18 AM
observer15 observer15 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
As they say in Alaska: You betcha!

See, if you have an 'ecologically acceptable' 50% propylene glycol antifreeze, it freezes at -29F give or take a few for other components. Slap a wind chill on 'er and there you are.

But 50% ethylene glycol freezes at -36F, needing that wind chill t'slush yer ride. Once it does, you're gonna stop.
I am in Cleveland, Ohio. We usually don't get as cold as it was Monday/Tuesday. External temperature on my dash said -14.. With wind gusts we were in the -20 to -35 range, at a total standstill. So this is not factoring the additional windshield factor when driving/moving.

I had the car serviced in July, including the coolant system (approx 3,000 miles ago). I am going to call them and find out about the antifreeze used and what the limits on it are.
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  #10  
Old 01-10-2014, 07:25 AM
Watchme Watchme is offline
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windchill affects a car? hmm well they do "brrrr" sometimes, I guess
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  #11  
Old 01-10-2014, 07:27 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by observer15 View Post
I am in Cleveland, Ohio. We usually don't get as cold as it was Monday/Tuesday. External temperature on my dash said -14.. With wind gusts we were in the -20 to -35 range, at a total standstill. So this is not factoring the additional windshield factor when driving/moving.

I had the car serviced in July, including the coolant system (approx 3,000 miles ago). I am going to call them and find out about the antifreeze used and what the limits on it are.

OK - here's the BMW MAN from Cleveland - check his Continental Divide ride and remember, this is a guy who rode in Prudhoe Bay in Sept - my wife won't go to Canada unless the last week of July or 1st week of August, and she's from the Great White. Maybe because....
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  #12  
Old 01-10-2014, 08:36 AM
hondo402000 hondo402000 is offline
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if it gets that cold again, take the coolant overflow cap off, look in the top with a flash light and see if it looks like a slushy.

otherwise you can start the car, let it idle for about a minute, shut it off, wait about 3-4 minutes and repeat. you might have to repeat the procedure for 15 minutes to get it to thaw out


One winter when I was in College it was about 20 degrees out and I ask my dad " do you think I need antifreeze in my car?" He said yes DA. looked in the radiator and it looked like a slushy, Cranked the car, ran for a minute, turned it off, repeated several times till the engine got hot and the thermostat opened and started circulating hot water till it unthawed the radiator, drained the radiator and refilled with antifreeze and ran the car till it mixed
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  #13  
Old 01-10-2014, 09:07 AM
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BostonB6 BostonB6 is offline
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Originally Posted by Watchme View Post
windchill affects a car? hmm well they do "brrrr" sometimes, I guess
Windchill does not impact a car. From NWS:

1. What is wind chill temperature?

A. The wind chill temperature is how cold people and animals feel when outside. Windchill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by wind and cold. As the wind increases, it draws heat from the body, driving down skin temperature and eventually the internal body temperature. Therefore, the wind makes it FEEL much colder. If the temperature is 0 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind is blowing at 15 mph, the wind chill is -19 degrees Fahrenheit. At this wind chill temperature, exposed skin can freeze in 30 minutes.

2. Can wind chill impact my car's radiator or exposed water pipe?

A. The only effect wind chill has on inanimate objects, such as car radiators and water pipes, is to shorten the amount of time for the object to cool. The inanimate object will not cool below the actual air temperature. For example, if the temperature outside is -5 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind chill temperature is -31 degrees Fahrenheit, then your car's radiator will not drop lower than -5 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by BostonB6 View Post
Windchill does not impact a car. From NWS:

1. What is wind chill temperature?

A. The wind chill temperature is how cold people and animals feel when outside. Windchill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by wind and cold. As the wind increases, it draws heat from the body, driving down skin temperature and eventually the internal body temperature. Therefore, the wind makes it FEEL much colder. If the temperature is 0 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind is blowing at 15 mph, the wind chill is -19 degrees Fahrenheit. At this wind chill temperature, exposed skin can freeze in 30 minutes.

2. Can wind chill impact my car's radiator or exposed water pipe?

A. The only effect wind chill has on inanimate objects, such as car radiators and water pipes, is to shorten the amount of time for the object to cool. The inanimate object will not cool below the actual air temperature. For example, if the temperature outside is -5 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind chill temperature is -31 degrees Fahrenheit, then your car's radiator will not drop lower than -5 degrees Fahrenheit.

OK!

Let's hear how cows & Bimmerfesters can be windchilled but a BMW can't....?
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  #15  
Old 01-10-2014, 12:00 PM
ptrcd003 ptrcd003 is offline
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Originally Posted by hondo402000 View Post
so what it the temperature rating of the coolant in BMW"s it could be been slushy and just wouldnt circulate, then it finally warmed up enough to become liquid again?
The coolant shouldn't even start being affected until around -40 - it says so right on the coolant bottle (at 50% mix).
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  #16  
Old 01-10-2014, 01:51 PM
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Vanos4:12PM Vanos4:12PM is offline
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Since the water pump is driven by an electric motor now and not belt driven, could the cold weather cause a relay/switch, etc. to not turn on the electric motor for the water pump?
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  #17  
Old 01-10-2014, 03:34 PM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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I agree its the frozen/slushy coolant at that temp....I just replaced a waterpump and they are indeed electrically driven...so they either work or dont work...not much inbetween. If it were the pump failing, you would have gone right to red with no yellow warning like mine did!

I very fortunately found a great independent mechanic 150 miles from home via an internet search from the side of the road and got the pump, thermostat, oil filter housing gasket, oil change, and coolant flush for about the same price range.

I think you have it figured out....

JP
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  #18  
Old 01-10-2014, 07:32 PM
AndrewHA AndrewHA is offline
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Happened to me few weeks ago when it was about 10F outside. Hasn't happened since, so I guess I'll just wait until the water pump fails.
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:47 AM
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MP3_E46 MP3_E46 is offline
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Originally Posted by ptrcd003 View Post
The coolant shouldn't even start being affected until around -40 - it says so right on the coolant bottle (at 50% mix).
It's a 2007 so coolant has had a while to degrade
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  #20  
Old 01-11-2014, 07:29 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptrcd003 View Post
The coolant shouldn't even start being affected until around -40 - it says so right on the coolant bottle (at 50% mix).

Let's not forget.....wind chill.

Question: Exactly how chilly does a radiator get when -30 wind chill, nose to t'wind, is compounded by a 40 mph increase?

Answer: If temp's -10 and prevailing wind's 15 mph, wind chill is -32F. Add 40 mph BMW forward velocity into the wind - wind chill now -46F.

Did you know: Wind Chill was originally based on the cooling rate of a small plastic bottle as its contents turned to ice while suspended in the wind on an Antarctic expedition hut roof?

The wind chill calculation above is based on a more modern formula, and is somewhat warmer than the original calc yielded. But for our radiators, the older calc may be more accurate!


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