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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 10-25-2018, 08:27 PM
carls540i carls540i is offline
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e46 coolant leak

my son's car went from a hose leaking to dripping coolant under the entire car! can't see exactly where it's coming from but it seems to be coming from the engine block right by the rack and pinion. The car did run hot because it was low on coolant. Upper hoses are not leaking/torn. The return hose from the expansion tank was the initial leak. Around the waterpump and thermostat are dry. when I pour coolant into the expansion tank, the coolant is running back out in drips from the center of the engine block. Please tell me this block is not cracked??

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 10-26-2018, 06:17 AM
marcozandrini marcozandrini is offline
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The expansion tank sits on a plastic (what else, bmw?) bracket. Thereís a hose that connects to the bottom of the bracket. Itís the heater return hose. Check that area first.
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Old 10-26-2018, 07:41 AM
carls540i carls540i is offline
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Thanks Marcoz! I had it up on stands last night and I know exactly where you mean but the coolant seems to be dripping/running down the front of the oil pan facing the front of the car behind the drive pulley towards the bottom. The thermostat area and waterpump area up top are dry so I ruled those out. I did notice that from the top of the car looking down at the fan clutch, as crazy as it may sound, the fan clutch looks" crooked". Worked on his car plenty of times and it's always been parallel with the car..something seems off..idk, maybe the waterpump cracked?
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Old 10-26-2018, 07:54 AM
JKRIT JKRIT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carls540i View Post
Thanks Marcoz! I had it up on stands last night and I know exactly where you mean but the coolant seems to be dripping/running down the front of the oil pan facing the front of the car behind the drive pulley towards the bottom. The thermostat area and waterpump area up top are dry so I ruled those out. I did notice that from the top of the car looking down at the fan clutch, as crazy as it may sound, the fan clutch looks" crooked". Worked on his car plenty of times and it's always been parallel with the car..something seems off..idk, maybe the waterpump cracked?
Sounding more and more like the pump. Dripping from the center bottom is usually the pump even though droplets from the weep hole get slung all over the place and can fool you into thinking the pump is dry. Get a mirror under the pump so you can see the weep hole, and I'll bet you'll see your leak. A "crooked" fan would be a dead give-away; It would also feel really loose when you release belt tension. If you replace it, BTW, recommend you use a genuine BMW pump. The last "OEM" pump i put on didn't last a year.
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Old 10-26-2018, 08:36 AM
carls540i carls540i is offline
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thanks JK! Yeah, I DIDN'T release the belt tension yet to see if it's wobbly but I did try to wiggle the fan clutch but the belt tension obviously holds it tight. I'll definitely do that once I get home. I'm hoping it's just the waterpump! Was so concerned he cracked the head or something. I'll update later! Thanks all!
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Old 10-27-2018, 01:04 PM
carls540i carls540i is offline
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Waterpump was shot! changed it last night and finished up this morning..no leaks..thanks fellas!!
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Old 10-29-2018, 07:36 AM
JKRIT JKRIT is offline
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Originally Posted by carls540i View Post
Waterpump was shot! changed it last night and finished up this morning..no leaks..thanks fellas!!
Good news! Since you didn't do a complete cooling system overhaul, have your son watch that temperature gauge like a hawk. You can keep up with it piecemeal, or plan to replace everything else at a convenient time instead of on an urgent/emergency basis.
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Old 10-29-2018, 09:20 AM
carls540i carls540i is offline
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Hey Jk! Well I actually did a semi overhall! lol, changed his thermostat a few weeks ago, and changed his lower coolant hose that was leaking on Saturday along with the Waterpump and his drive belt. Didn't replace the expansion tank and other hoses since they looks pretty good. He's been buying the parts and I'm his cheap labor! lol, I already told him to keep an eye on the temp gauge too but after I finished up Sat morning I let it run for over 30 mins and no leaks or over heating.

thanks again man!
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Old 03-04-2019, 08:48 AM
earl.lewis earl.lewis is offline
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These things never seem to overheat while sitting idling. Just went through this whole thing with a hole in the expansion tank and replacing that. It was fine (temp in the middle of the gauge) while the car sat and idled. A couple minutes of driving and the gauge pegged because the system was air-bound (I didn't properly add/bleed the coolant). Got it sorted out now and the needle sits dead center all the time.
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