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Old 01-30-2019, 07:55 AM
rpickoff rpickoff is offline
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Low Coolant Alarm

Got a message that the coolant level is low. Went away on restart. Level slightly low. Don’t see any evidence of leak. Anything to worry about?


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Old 01-30-2019, 08:01 AM
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Doug Huffman Doug Huffman is offline
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Something to pay attention, trust and verify. Water coefficient of thermal expansion is quite small, IIRC 4%.
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Old 01-30-2019, 08:33 AM
Autoputzer Autoputzer is online now
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I keep a maintenance logbook on an Excel spreadsheet. I note the date, mileage, and volume of coolant added. When the consumption (ml/mile) starts to go up, I start worrying. My 535i with 56k miles was using about 200ml every 10k miles. But, the last top off was 200ml after only 3.5k miles. So, I'm checking it more often and starting to think something bad might happen soon. The usual prime suspect is the expansion tank, followed by the water pump.

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Old 01-30-2019, 08:35 AM
rpickoff rpickoff is offline
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Originally Posted by Autoputzer View Post
I keep a maintenance logbook on an Excel spreadsheet. I note the date, mileage, and volume of coolant added. When the consumption (ml/mile) starts to go up, I start worrying. My 535i with 56k miles was using about 200ml every 10k miles. But, the last top off was 200ml after only 3.5k miles. So, I'm checking it more often and starting to think something bad might happen soon. The usual prime suspect is the expansion tank, followed by the water pump.


It took about a quart. Last checked 10,000 miles ago.


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Old 01-30-2019, 08:39 AM
Autoputzer Autoputzer is online now
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Originally Posted by rpickoff View Post
It took about a quart. Last checked 10,000 miles ago.


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That's high. But, don't expect them to do anything about it until you see a puddle.

When the low coolant message came up on the X3, it took 700ml to get it back to MAX.

Don't fill the tank up all the way to the top. It's an expansion tank, and you want room for the coolant to... well... expand.
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Old 01-30-2019, 08:42 AM
rpickoff rpickoff is offline
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Originally Posted by Autoputzer View Post
That's high. But, don't expect them to do anything about it until you see a puddle.



When the low coolant message came up on the X3, it took 700ml to get it back to MAX.



Don't fill the tank up all the way to the top. It's an expansion tank, and you want room for the coolant to... well... expand.


Definitely no puddle in the garage. I don’t know that it was full 10,000 miles ago. Had the dealer service.


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Old 01-30-2019, 08:44 AM
rpickoff rpickoff is offline
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Definitely no puddle in the garage. I don’t know that it was full 10,000 miles ago. Had the dealer service.


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Bringing it in next Wed for 30,000 service. I’ll see what they say.


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Old 01-30-2019, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autoputzer View Post
It's an expansion tank, and you want room for the coolant to... well... expand.
Where does the gas air go when the coolant expands into the expansion tank?

Why doesn’t that hypothetical vent valve (and there is one) work for liquid as well as gas?
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:04 AM
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Scepticism and Animal Faith (1923)
Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
(The Works of George Santayana p. 65)

Eschew eristical argumentation. I am responsible for what I write, not for your understanding of it.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:49 AM
ctorrey ctorrey is offline
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I've gotten a couple of warnings in my '17 340xi (8,500 miles) when it is very cold out (under 20 degrees). It's not due for routine service until June, so will just keep an eye on it.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:56 AM
ebs0712 ebs0712 is offline
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[QUOTE=rpickoff;12892759]Got a message that the coolant level is low. Went away on restart. Level slightly low. Don’t see any evidence of leak. Anything to worry about?

Which motor do you have? 4 to 6 cylinder?
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Old 01-30-2019, 02:26 PM
rpickoff rpickoff is offline
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[QUOTE=ebs0712;12892935]
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpickoff View Post
Got a message that the coolant level is low. Went away on restart. Level slightly low. Don’t see any evidence of leak. Anything to worry about?



Which motor do you have? 4 to 6 cylinder?


4


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Old 01-30-2019, 04:07 PM
John MS John MS is offline
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Expansion tanks can develop several micro cracks that slowly seep fluid. In my experience no puddle or stain developed but the fluid slowly disappeared. Replaced the tank and problem disappeared.
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Old 01-30-2019, 04:11 PM
rpickoff rpickoff is offline
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Expansion tanks can develop several micro cracks that slowly seep fluid. In my experience no puddle or stain developed but the fluid slowly disappeared. Replaced the tank and problem disappeared.


Even in the first 30,000 miles??


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Old 01-30-2019, 06:04 PM
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Got the same low coolant warning on my 2017 330i ...... less than 20,000 miles ......
which led me to discover that I have two coolant fill points / two cooling systems.

Brought them both up to spec ....... doesn’t seem to be recurring.
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Old 01-30-2019, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctorrey View Post
I've gotten a couple of warnings in my '17 340xi (8,500 miles) when it is very cold out (under 20 degrees). It's not due for routine service until June, so will just keep an eye on it.
That last cold snap we had 2 weeks ago I got the low coolant msg several times, even once it said refill coolant. I took it into South Shore BMW and had them take care of it. They also refilled my washer fluid at the same time. I know adding coolant is easy enough you can do yourself but why not let them take care of it while under warranty. Create the paper trail so if something does develop later down the line, there's a history to it.
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Old 01-30-2019, 07:32 PM
TheAirman TheAirman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
Where does the gas air go when the coolant expands into the expansion tank?

Why doesn’t that hypothetical vent valve (and there is one) work for liquid as well as gas?
The "gas air" doesn't go anywhere. It stays in the tank. And automotive coolant doesn't "expand."

Plus the vent valve will work for both liquid and gas. Reach the pressure limit on that relief valve and anything sitting there will come out. That's why they tell you don't open the cap on a hot engine with your ugly mug in the way.
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:48 AM
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I've been getting the same message, its only happened recently during the days where temps have been significantly below average. I'm thinking that might have something to do with it?
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Old 02-01-2019, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by TheAirman View Post
And automotive coolant doesn't "expand."
Then what’s the purpose of the “coolant expansion tank”?
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by ams3141 View Post
I've been getting the same message, its only happened recently during the days where temps have been significantly below average. I'm thinking that might have something to do with it?


This is interesting. My 440 has 20,000 miles and has been trouble free. It normally lives in a garage at home and at work. It camped out overnight last week ( temps below zero) and in the morning when started, the add coolant light came on. Since there was no puddle or evidence of leakage, I drove to work and parked inside. At the end of the day, when started, the light did not come on and the warning was gone.
When I got home, after allowing the car to cool, I checked the coolant and added a small amount. I did not measure how much was added, but it was only a little.
Everything has been fine since. The car goes in for service soon so I will ask and pass on anything I learn.

jummo


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Old 02-02-2019, 02:47 PM
Mike Pratl Mike Pratl is offline
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I had the same light going on when below freezing in the morning but was reset when leaving work from a heated parking garage. Then the temps went down to zero 2 weeks ago and an "enhanced" warning light go on so I filled a half quart. Everything's been fine since then and will have it checked in 5k when I hit 25K.
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Old 02-04-2019, 04:52 PM
Jimfocus Jimfocus is offline
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Last week I had to bring my wife to the airport. It was bitter cold (2 degrees). As we got to the airport the low coolant warning came on. At first I assumed it might be due to the extreme cold (heat expands/cold contracts, although water expands when it turns to ice, I don't know). When I came back out it took awhile but the warning came back on. It turned out to be a plastic fitting that connects the upper radiator hose to the top hose that goes to the expansion tank cracked and broke (again maybe brittle from the cold). I thought it would need a new upper radiator hose that includes the plastic connector with the fitting on it but it appears they fixed it with the smaller hose to the expansion tank. $268 for the hose, BMW coolant and purging the system at my corner garage. I think the sensors are very sensitive because I have used a pint of distilled water to make the light go away on past BMWs with no recurrence.
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:43 PM
328DxVancouver 328DxVancouver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
Where does the gas air go when the coolant expands into the expansion tank?

Why doesn’t that hypothetical vent valve (and there is one) work for liquid as well as gas?
If the pressure is lower than the rating of the cap, it goes nowhere. It compresses as the coolant level in the bottle raises.

It does. If you fill your bottle to the brim and exceed the pressure it will come out of the bottle.

Even if the car said to fill it to the brim, i'm sure there is a built in air "cushion" somewhere in the system that you can't see
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:05 PM
rpickoff rpickoff is offline
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Originally Posted by 328DxVancouver View Post
If the pressure is lower than the rating of the cap, it goes nowhere. It compresses as the coolant level in the bottle raises.



It does. If you fill your bottle to the brim and exceed the pressure it will come out of the bottle.



Even if the car said to fill it to the brim, i'm sure there is a built in air "cushion" somewhere in the system that you can't see


Just got the car back frm the dealer. Coolant level was LOW!! Found coolant leaking from clamp on hose to oil filter housing, coolant pipe not ‘snapped in’! WTF does that mean?


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Old 02-08-2019, 02:16 PM
rpickoff rpickoff is offline
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Originally Posted by 328DxVancouver View Post
If the pressure is lower than the rating of the cap, it goes nowhere. It compresses as the coolant level in the bottle raises.



It does. If you fill your bottle to the brim and exceed the pressure it will come out of the bottle.



Even if the car said to fill it to the brim, i'm sure there is a built in air "cushion" somewhere in the system that you can't see


Just got the car back frm the dealer. Coolant level was LOW!! Found coolant leaking from clamp on hose to oil filter housing, coolant pipe not ‘snapped in’! WTF does that mean?


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