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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1989 325i: Lifted up the driver's side floor mat today to find what appears to be coolant seeping through - not dripping down. (I think it's coolant. It's green and has a slippery feel to it, though absolutely no smell that I could detect. Impossible to wipe off the rubber foot pad built into the car's carpeting; just spreads thinner.) Didn't form a pool, but pretty close. Coolant level in reservoir seems down a little, but not a radical amount. Anybody have any thoughts as to what's going on here?

This poor car has 170,000 uncared for miles on it and I'm getting tired of chasing down problems. Great little car with a strong engine, but the previous owners were unapreciateive of the importance of maintenance (can you say "idiots" any more politely?) and I think I'm going to be the one to pay the price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Makes sense. Any idea how involved and expensive the job may be if it's the heater core. Any thoughts about how to tell which it might be? Getting under the dash and looking around probably....

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here's one for you: talked to the nearest dealership, Foreign Motors West, Natic, MA, explained the problem and was told the job was at least $1,000. Big job. You're right, essentially you have to pull apart the dash. Told the service rep that I didn't think I'd do that given the milage on the car and some other potential work it needed, but that I'd get back to him with a definitive answer. Little while later he calls me back and says that he had vaguely remembered something about heater core problems in this model, went back and reserached the service bulletins, and found out that there was a safety bulletin for cracked heater cores, and that because it was a safety issue (scalding water can spray on the driver's legs causing serious burns; I drove to the half hour to the dealership with a rubber floor mat draped over my legs!), there was no time limit on BMW's obligation to fix it. He said to bring it in and everything except maybe $200 in incidental parts likes clamps and hoses would be picked up by BMW. Now THAT'S a service rep! Car's there now and should be back home in three days.

I thanked that guy for going above and beyond on my behalf and believe me, he's made a future customer out of me.

I'm really pleased because I've only had the car about a year and the more I drive it the more I really like driving it. I was very dissapointed to think I might have to get rid of it since it's such a strong engine.
 

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just copacetic!!!
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89 325i said:
Here's one for you: talked to the nearest dealership, Foreign Motors West, Natic, MA, explained the problem and was told the job was at least $1,000. Big job. You're right, essentially you have to pull apart the dash. Told the service rep that I didn't think I'd do that given the milage on the car and some other potential work it needed, but that I'd get back to him with a definitive answer. Little while later he calls me back and says that he had vaguely remembered something about heater core problems in this model, went back and reserached the service bulletins, and found out that there was a safety bulletin for cracked heater cores, and that because it was a safety issue (scalding water can spray on the driver's legs causing serious burns; I drove to the half hour to the dealership with a rubber floor mat draped over my legs!), there was no time limit on BMW's obligation to fix it. He said to bring it in and everything except maybe $200 in incidental parts likes clamps and hoses would be picked up by BMW. Now THAT'S a service rep! Car's there now and should be back home in three days.

I thanked that guy for going above and beyond on my behalf and believe me, he's made a future customer out of me.

I'm really pleased because I've only had the car about a year and the more I drive it the more I really like driving it. I was very dissapointed to think I might have to get rid of it since it's such a strong engine.
Is there any way to tell if the heater core has been replaced? I bought my 89 325i from my independant mechanic and this safety issue concerns me as my daughter is the one driving the car on a daily basis. Does BMW keep records on the recalls done via the VIN number?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Dan,

Yes, I believe you can have a dealer check by your VIN to see this work was ever performed. That's what my guy did. Of course, their records only reflect work done by BMW.

When I pick up the car I'll get the number of the service bullitin and pass it along. It might make it go a little easier when you try to track this down.

By the way, the service guy didn't make it sound like these things were injuring people left and right. He said he had heard of it happening though he personally hadn't run across it. So while I can certainly undestand your concerns with a child in the car, this guy didn't make it sound like it had a really high likelyhood of happening.
 

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just copacetic!!!
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89 325i said:
Sorry, just read your post more slowly (too much coffee) ... your daughter is DRIVING the car and so is not a child. I get it. Was wondering why you didn't just put her in the back seat.
Thanks, 89! (Reminds me of "Get Smart"). Yup, the only time my daughter rides in the back seat is when I'm chauffering her and another friend! I'll give my dealer a call about whether the recall has been done, but it sounds like this is not a common problem and it appears that the car has been pretty well maintained (118K miles). I just purchased it 2 months ago for the daughter and am replacing things gradually - the four shocks/shock mounts are next on the agenda. TIA for posting the service bulletin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Update: turns out that the heater core was OK after all. They didn't replace it because the chasis number was beyond the number for the cars that got the defective heater core.

This means the problem is a blown valve that runs off the heater core. Not covered under the safety bulletin and a few hundred bucks to replace. Another hard to get at part.

'89 out.
 
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