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  #1  
Old 01-08-2019, 05:31 AM
GaryDZ GaryDZ is offline
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Faint coolant smell, Foggy Windows

2007 Z4 3.0i

I cannot get a break with this coolant system.* About 4 months ago an ASE mechanic friend (works mostly on US and Japanese cars/trucks) replaced the Expansion tank because of a very fine crack/leak.* A month later I had another leak and he replaced the thermostat, plastic housing and hoses. I did not do the work---so this is the best description I can give.*

For the past 3-4 days I have been smelling a faint coolant smell.* I do not see a leak (no fluid on the floor of my garage) and the temp is running fine with an hour drive to work.

Today my interior windows (Front and sides) started fogging up pretty bad. I had to drive with the defrosters on.* After the fog cleared, it came right back when I turned it off.

For a “normal” car I would think it might be the heater core… any ideas or advice?


Thanks for any help.

Gary DZ

*
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  #2  
Old 01-08-2019, 11:39 AM
Andyz4 Andyz4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryDZ View Post
2007 Z4 3.0i

I cannot get a break with this coolant system.* About 4 months ago an ASE mechanic friend (works mostly on US and Japanese cars/trucks) replaced the Expansion tank because of a very fine crack/leak.* A month later I had another leak and he replaced the thermostat, plastic housing and hoses. I did not do the work---so this is the best description I can give.*

For the past 3-4 days I have been smelling a faint coolant smell.* I do not see a leak (no fluid on the floor of my garage) and the temp is running fine with an hour drive to work.

Today my interior windows (Front and sides) started fogging up pretty bad. I had to drive with the defrosters on.* After the fog cleared, it came right back when I turned it off.

For a “normal” car I would think it might be the heater core… any ideas or advice?


Thanks for any help.

Gary DZ

*
Yes heater core does seem likely. You can check under dash for moisture with a good flashlight and also hose connections under the hood at the firewall. But if mechanic overfilled the expansion tank (which is easy to do -- ask me how I know), it might be cracked again. To test, set the heater to full hot and take the car for a drive to fully warm it up. Now switch it off and with the hood open, listen for steam escaping at the expansion tank. (Also under the dash). Give it at least 5 minutes to fully heat soak. You can also use a length of fuel hose as a stethoscope to help pinpoint any source of leakage. Hope you find it. Andy

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Old 01-08-2019, 11:53 AM
wifesauto wifesauto is offline
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have it pressure tested before anything
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:50 PM
z4mepp z4mepp is offline
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i have smelled the very faint odor as well. Its my first year and its been a top down driver. I think I sourced it in the right side of the engine bay. Then I wondered if it wasn't actually oil-ish. All dry too. Weird how this seems so hard to pin point. You didn't give a reference point, like did it do this last year, last month etc... No fog so far as I can tell, but I always "see" that "normal" AC dehumidifier is running during heat when I drive.

Does a pressure test mean put pressure on the cooling system with an external pump? it must..... will research that. I wonder if antifreeze flouresces.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:15 PM
Andyz4 Andyz4 is offline
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Yes AutoZone should have a pressure tester you can borrow that hopefully has the Euro Style adaptor that screws on in place of your filler cap. Or you can take my suggestion and simply drive the car to build pressure. If you can't find the leak they make a fluorescent dye you add to the coolant and then check around with a black light to reveal the seepage point(s)

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Old 01-09-2019, 06:14 AM
GaryDZ GaryDZ is offline
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Thanks for everyone's comments.

Today.. I had no problems with steaming of the windows.

I did not think of Autozone/Advance Auto for borrowing a pressure tester.

I checked the carpet in the front of the car yesterday and along the firewall--- dry.

I checked the coolant level this AM. The level was OK, but I found a gelatinous material on the CAP and a little in the spout.

Not sure why--- I gave the mechanic OEM BMW Coolant when I dropped it off. I will have to check with him



I guess I will drain and rinse/flush the system then refill with Distilled water and OEM BMW Coolant again and see how it goes.



ANYONE have any advice on how to flush the system and/or help dissolve the jell material? I hope it did not screw up my whole coolant system.

Should I use a commercial flush fluid to clean out the old fluid that has some jelling-- I just heard about prestone super rad flush/cleaner-- no idea if it is BMW safe.

Last edited by GaryDZ; 01-09-2019 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:06 AM
Andyz4 Andyz4 is offline
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Gary, I don't believe the gel in the coolant filler cap is anything more serious than old crud that floated to the top of the system. But if the bottom of your oil filler cap looks like chocolate milk, I would be concerned. Also, if you have the N52 engine your car has an electric water pump. Do you know if your mechanic performed the auto bleed after he re-filled the coolant?
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:25 AM
GaryDZ GaryDZ is offline
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Picture of jell

Thanks for responding...

The current fluid is only 2-3 months old... Do you think this is just some residual junk from the last time it was drained? I had the thermostat and casing replaced about 2 months ago and the reservoir about 3-4 months ago. So a lot of fresh fluid has been run through it in the past 4 months.

I am pretty sure the mechanic did everything right. He has access to the BMW TIS and OEM computer and he is good.

I have attached a pic of the amount of Jell. Since I have not seen it before, I do not know if it is a lot or a little.


Not to cut corners--- but do you think it would be safe to suck out all of the jell that is visible--- top it off with fresh coolant mix and re-check it is a week to see how much comes back.

If it is just residual, I might not need to do a complete flush.

The temps have not been running hot at all.

It is a 2007 Z4 E85
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Last edited by GaryDZ; 01-09-2019 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:27 AM
GaryDZ GaryDZ is offline
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Oil

I recently changed the oil my self--- about a week ago. The old oil looked OK. I will check the cap when I get home.

Wish they had a dip stick in the Z4. Drives me crazy.
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:56 AM
Andyz4 Andyz4 is offline
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Looks like normal crud to me. I agree with you about the dipstick, I don't think an electronic nanny is progress. Mostly though, I don't like being the only dipstick in the car.
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:59 AM
GaryDZ GaryDZ is offline
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To make sure I understand...

Normal Crud--- Clean it out, and top it off only?

Thanks Again...
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  #12  
Old 01-09-2019, 08:33 AM
Andyz4 Andyz4 is offline
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Yes-- correct-- but make sure you don't overfill. The top of the bobber should just be even with the top of the filler neck when cold.
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