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Symptoms of coolant leak/Defroster/A.C. mystery

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Hello folks:

You've always helped me with my 2002 325i/E 46, and I am back to seek your wisdom once again. Here we go:


Started about 4 days ago ~
1. Defroster mysteriously kicks on every time I start car.
2. A/C goes warm every now and then (blowing no cold air) then reverting back to cold. (Replace Final Resistor Unit aprrox 4 months ago, so doubt its that)
3. Yesterday, after driving 10 miles, heard Expansion tank "gurguling" after parking. Lifting hood, saw minor about of water "blurping" from rad cap. Under car, saw significant leaking mid way thru car under section, closer to driver side.
4. Checked oil: very low. Dry on dip stick. Filled it with 3 quarts, showed it was quite full, so it wasn't totally empty of oil.
5. Today, have not driven it, oil level still same. Filled rad with 50/50, removed bleed screw, allowed coolant to over fill in attempt to remove air. Started car, ran A/C on high heat. Heat never blew hot, only cool. Within 5 mins, coolant light illuminated, leak underneath seen again, quite rapidly leaking.

So, cannot tell what the association is with the defroster, A/C temp changes, low oil and leaking is.

Would really appreciate all opinions.

Side note: Power steering pump is bad. Steering has been quite difficult, was ready to take it in this week to change out. Had it changed out 2.5 yrs ago, but the dang part went bum on me. Any correlation to this, ya think?

Many thanks!

Christi
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Bump...for advice?
I don't know what's going on with the AC, but you need to fix the cooling system leak(s) ASAP before you do serious damage to your engine.
I am thinking the A/C issue is the capacitor and totally separate from the coolant leak issue. I am going to have it towed to a tech soon. I need a better tech as my former is a twit.
1) Your AC control panel can be set via MODITEC (computer at the dealership) to have any function come on when you start the car...somehow, yours got preset for the defrost to come on...you also could have a bad diverter motor, but since you did not say it is stuck in defrost or cannot change I think it is a preset that changed

2) you need freon

3) you need a new expansion tank, stop driving until you get one installed, along with new cap

4) very bad to get 3 quarts low on oil- not good- check it more frequently and then fix your oil leaks

5) you still have air in the system is my guess is why heater valve did not allow hot coolant into heater core- change the expansion tank and bleed system with key on, engine off, heater on 91 degree setting to make sure coolant moves into these lines

I never had a power steering pump go bad- you probably have a leak there to- maybe in the lines coming out of the reservoir- which is most common.
Thank you, Fred :)

I've spoken to a tech friend who lives out of state, gave the issues to him. His over-the-phone opinion is might be the heater valve causing these issues as well.

I had the expansion tank/cap replaced approx 1 year ago, but I realize they can go bad frequently. What makes you think this is bad?

I added one quart of oil exactly 6 days prior to this event, and had checked coolant level. I do this every week as prevention.

Thanks for the tip on the power steering pump. It does stink this is my second none gone bad just 3 years after I replaced the prior one.
What makes me think it has gone bad is you stated, " Lifting hood, saw minor about of water "blurping" from rad cap. Under car, saw significant leaking mid way thru car under section, closer to driver side".

Unless your radiator cap is loose, you have a leak somewhere and need to investigate it. Once you fix the leak, do the bleed properly, you will know if you just have air in the system or a stuck heater control valve.

You must have a bad oil leak to have topped fluid regulary and still need 3 quarts. You really need a mech to look at your car and determine your coolant and oil leak/consumption issues.
Thank you, Fred :)

I've spoken to a tech friend who lives out of state, gave the issues to him. His over-the-phone opinion is might be the heater valve causing these issues as well.

I had the expansion tank/cap replaced approx 1 year ago, but I realize they can go bad frequently. What makes you think this is bad?

I added one quart of oil exactly 6 days prior to this event, and had checked coolant level. I do this every week as prevention.

Thanks for the tip on the power steering pump. It does stink this is my second none gone bad just 3 years after I replaced the prior one.
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