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What a perfect opportunity for an old line: "They all do this."

Seriously, just after a reading a post on this last year, our 2011 X3 displayed the same warning, albeit at around 12,000 miles. The post suggested that this was common and related to hoses expanding after some heating/cooling cycles. Not sure I really believe that, but after adding maybe 2 cups of coolant it hasn't happened again; we're approaching 21,000 miles. Note that when adding coolant, at least on the 6 cylinder, there is a fill level ridge/insert inside of the filler. Fill to just cover this.

BTW, I used BMW antifreeze for the 'big' top-off beacause I'm anal and we live in a cold climate. Could just as well have used distilled water from the grocery store, given the minute amout used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What a perfect opportunity for an old line: "They all do this."

Seriously, just after a reading a post on this last year, our 2011 X3 displayed the same warning, albeit at around 12,000 miles. The post suggested that this was common and related to hoses expanding after some heating/cooling cycles. Not sure I really believe that, but after adding maybe 2 cups of coolant it hasn't happened again; we're approaching 21,000 miles. Note that when adding coolant, at least on the 6 cylinder, there is a fill level ridge/insert inside of the filler. Fill to just cover this.

BTW, I used BMW antifreeze for the 'big' top-off beacause I'm anal and we live in a cold climate. Could just as well have used distilled water from the grocery store, given the minute amout used.
Brought it in yesterday figuring that a mechanic would check it and add some coolant. No, the service advisor had a container of coolant (by his station) and added it himself right at the check-in station and off I went. Odd, I thought!
 

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I brought my F30 today for this very same reason. Got the warning Friday and will come on again after a few minutes of driving. One of the technician topped it off, but I noticed that it was above the Max level before he even put some more coolant into it. This didn't go well for me and I insisted on talking to one of the service managers. Turns out, there's a recall for the coolant expansion tank "B17 01 13". Had to leave my car for that and the wind noise I complained about.
 

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I brought my F30 today for this very same reason. Got the warning Friday and will come on again after a few minutes of driving. One of the technician topped it off, but I noticed that it was above the Max level before he even put some more coolant into it. This didn't go well for me and I insisted on talking to one of the service managers. Turns out, there's a recall for the coolant expansion tank "B17 01 13". Had to leave my car for that and the wind noise I complained about.
Any idea what the manufacturing date range is for the coolant expansion tank recall?
 

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I have no idea. It doesn't show up on the recall section of bmwusa.com. Lead technician mentioned something about transparent tank. Not sure if newer car have the non-transparent tank but I'll find out tomorrow what they replaced it with.
 

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Same happened to me with about 6,000 miles. I put in a fresh bottle of Costco water and it's fine. Remember, the freezing temperature of a water / coolant mix is much lower than straight coolant (or straight water).
 

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But the recall is on the F30's, not necessarily applicable to the X3.
Yes, it was for F30 but I wasn't sure it was limited to that series. The point is that BMW don't seem to actively notify owners, but passively acting on it, waiting for customers to come complain. And if you don't talk to the right people, you'll never know. I mean, I went there and the guy just topped it off, and was ready to send me away, so it's worth talking to your service manager and ask.
 

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Same happened to me with about 6,000 miles. I put in a fresh bottle of Costco water and it's fine. Remember, the freezing temperature of a water / coolant mix is much lower than straight coolant (or straight water).
I thought the optimum mixture is 50/50 to 60/40 coolant to water ratio? If you added plain/pure water, you lowered the coolant ratio to say 45-55, lowering the freezing point but making it less efficient as a coolant. It's probably OK where it's mostly cold all the time though
 

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Yes, it was for F30 but I wasn't sure it was limited to that series. The point is that BMW don't seem to actively notify owners, but passively acting on it, waiting for customers to come complain. And if you don't talk to the right people, you'll never know. I mean, I went there and the guy just topped it off, and was ready to send me away, so it's worth talking to your service manager and ask.
I always check the TSB/recall bulletins for the X3 is there is nothing on there for the coolant tank.
 

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I have no idea. It doesn't show up on the recall section of bmwusa.com. Lead technician mentioned something about transparent tank. Not sure if newer car have the non-transparent tank but I'll find out tomorrow what they replaced it with.
I have a 2012 5 series and a 2013 X3 35i, both of the expansion tanks are not transparent. One have to open the cap to figure out how much coolant is in there, what is dangerious and dumb design. On top of that, the max and min indicators are hard to read, instead of a marker on the side of the tank, it is a step like level indicator which is very confusing. This design adds no benefit to its function or the user and it actually makes it less user friendly in my opinion.
 

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I always check the TSB/recall bulletins for the X3 is there is nothing on there for the coolant tank.
Is this where you enter your short VIN to find out recalls applicable to your vehicle, or a list of all TSBs? BMW USA used to have this page listing all recalls for all series but I can't seem to find it anymore.

Recall check page didn't yield anything when I checked prior to going to the dealership
 

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I have a 2012 5 series and a 2013 X3 35i, both of the expansion tanks are not transparent. One have to open the cap to figure out how much coolant is in there, what is dangerious and dumb design. On top of that, the max and min indicators are hard to read, instead of a marker on the side of the tank, it is a step like level indicator which is very confusing. This design adds no benefit to its function or the user and it actually makes it less user friendly in my opinion.
I can see your frustration. The semi-transparent tank max level is exactly at the middle/seam, while the markings aren't exactly clear, it is very convenient to just look at it to get a visual indication of where the fluid level is
 

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I thought the optimum mixture is 50/50 to 60/40 coolant to water ratio? If you added plain/pure water, you lowered the coolant ratio to say 45-55, lowering the freezing point but making it less efficient as a coolant. It's probably OK where it's mostly cold all the time though
Remember that when my system lost 0.5l it was a 50/50 mix, so when I added 0.5l of water the mix is now 47.5/52.5. Even at 40/60 I'm good to -25C. I read somewhere that if you use a 25/75 coolant/water ratio the temperature drops 10-15 degrees and you've only dropped the cooling ability (heat capacity) of the system by 5%. Reason is that the specific heat of coolant is less than that of water - coolant (antifreeze) holds less heat than water, so the higher the percentage of water the more heat is moved. I believe the optimal ratio to get the lowest freezing temperature is 65/35, but at that mix the cooling capability is down by 20% (pure water gives 100% cooling capacity, but the engine corrodes).
 
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