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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday I was driving without issue and then noticed the temperature gauge shoot up, I pulled over immediately and it was close to red. No warning lights, no driving issues and no limp mode prior to pulling over and shutting off the vehicle. I started seeing some steam from the front of the vehicle near the radiator. I left the key in the on position and cranked the heat to 91 and put it on full, popped the hood, removed the oil cap and the coolant bleed screw, and took some towels and removed the coolant cap, all to try to let the heat escape as soon as possible. I also had some extra coolant mix (keep it just in case) in to provide some more heat transfer and reduce the average temp of the existing coolant in the system). I then had the vehicle towed to the local indy shop. They diagnosed a crack in the upper radiator plastic tank and recommended that the following be replaced: radiator, thermostat, radiator adjustment screw, radiator drain plug, and water pump.

Long story short, I am wondering if anyone knows (a) how necessary it is to replace the water pump when a car overheats (it was just replaced a year ago), and (b) if anyone on here has overheated the car before and had engine damage as a result. I have read multiple posts, and it seems both questions can have variable answers, but I am really unsure if spending $1,200 on the above is worth it to only find that the engine is damaged. Keep in mind I have driven the car as a daily driver, commuting highway miles for the most part and religiously change the oil every 7k miles, so the engine is in excellent shape prior to this incident and as far as I know. Love the car, but I can't be pouring thousands into one that will still have major issues later. Thanks in advance for any advice, comments and/or suggestions.
 

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Keeping it surreal
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There is no "variable" with BMW cooling systems....they are ALL doomed to failure, anywhere beyond the 75,000 mile mark. And YES, catastrophic engine failure can be part of that equation. If you like this car, and plan to keep it, you should perform a complete cooling system rebuild, that`s the only way to avoid "the weakest link in the chain" syndrome that is so prevalent with these cars.

If you have even a basic level of mechanical aptitude, and a few hand tools, this can be a Saturday or Sunday DIY job, it probably rates about a 4 on a scale of 10 for a backyard mechanic.

There are two levels of kits available, one is more comprehensive than the other:

https://www.oembimmerparts.com/BMW-Cooling-System-Refresh-Kit-p/e46coolrefrkit.htm

https://www.oembimmerparts.com/BMW-E46-3-Series-Master-Cooling-Kit-Value-Line-p/e46coolmastrkit-vl.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Fast Bob - Thank you for the quick response. Do you have any experience with the engine overheating? What I am really trying to determine is whether it is worth investing the money in replacing the thermostat and water pump after a quick overheat where the car was turned off within seconds of overheating but where the temp hit the bottom of the red mark. No engine problems were noted by the indy shop who looked at the vehicle after it was towed to them, but I no that the repair generally will have to be done to determine if any problems do exist. The car has 150k miles and has had the water pump replaced along with the thermostat, expansion tank and hoses within the last year (didn't do the radiator as should have been done), so the idea of pouring another $1,300 in for the radiator, water pump and thermostat seems to be close to a tipping point of whether its time to move to another car. I'm hoping someone with a similar experience with overheating can let me know if they had subsequent engine damage or if the likelihood of it is too high to justify the repair at all.
 

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Use the SEARCH function to read up on the perils of overheating a BMW (it`s not a pretty story).
These temp gauges are heavily buffered (meaning they do not respond in real time, they lag far behind), so by the time the needle gets into the red zone, it`s usually too late, and the damage is already done.

Noticed you quoted a price of $1300, where did that come from ???
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The indy who I had the car towed to quoted me $1300 for the replacement of the radiator, thermostat and water pump. I had $1200 earlier which is because I have some of the smaller parts already that were included in the quote that I could drop off before they start the work if I decided to move forward with the repair. As for searching, I definitely did a significant amount of research before posting on here. It was a long shot as it seems that determining if someone actually does damage is dependent on a lot circumstances and people seemed to have posted both that things were fine or that other issues (related or not) popped up after the repairs to the cooling system.
 

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That’s a rip off price!!! Where is the indie getting the parts? Are they gold plated? The OEM parts to replace almost every part of the cooling system will cost about $600 from fcpeuro. The cost of the radiator, expansion tank and the water pump is less than $300! Total time is about 2 hours. I know because I’ve done it in that amount of time. Can you do the work yourself? It’s actually fairly simple.

The thermostat needs to be replaced also.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I felt it was pretty high too, and I did look to FCP Euro first as soon as I received the quote since I always buy their parts now because of the warranty. The expansion tank doesn't have any issues surprisingly, but it was just replaced. The quote is for the thermostat, water pump and radiator, and has 5 hrs of labor for all of the parts. I can do some simple DIYs, but even I felt that 5 hours seemed excessive unless they were to run a compression test during that time which I think they may be doing. The problem I have is I am leaving for business all of next week out of the country and rely heavily on the car for work as it's my sole car and daily driver, so time really equals money unfortunately for this one. On another note, the shop who I have taken it to is one of the more reputable shops in the area, but is also 35 minutes from my home. So taking it off and driving it is a risk with the chance of overheating again. Just not an ideal situation any way I look at it.
 
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