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E46General discussion and technical help for 1999-2004 3 series cars.
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Your Ride: 2003 BMW 325i
I am having slow coolant leakage. About a quart of coolant leaks out each week and I have to keep adding new coolant to top it off.
I took it to a Garage that specialized in Mercedes and BMW's (where I normally take my car), but recently everytime someting goes wrong they want to replace many items at a high cost. For example, I had a sligt skreak and they replaced all pulleys (tension arms assemblies at a cost of near $1000.
When I explained my coolant loss problem, they came back with a $1400 repair estimate that called for replacing the radiator, water pump, coolant resevior and thermostat and all hoses. Interesting as they had just replaced my thermostat about 3 months ago.
My car is a 2003 325i with 84K miles. Should I follow their plan and just go in and replace all components that is part of the cooling system, or is there a way to isolate which element is the culprit and repair only that faulty item?
Well it could be a vast amount of thing, it could be expansion tank, water distribution pipe, expansion tank retainer, hole or leaked seal on radiator, upper hose, lower hose, expansion tank hose, water pump, thermostat, radiator cap, leak out of fan switch, Check these components, if you can see them or am not sure which it is, I suggest reaching under car and removing just the front of your splash gaurd, this will allow you to see where the leak actually is, after doing this let me know where its coming from and ill give you a shorter list of possibilities
There are both good and bad reasons why the shop comes back with a laundry list of parts. A lot of the cost of these repairs is labor, so you hate to drain the coolant and tear everything off the front of your engine to replace a thermostat for example, and then have to tear it all apart again in six months or a year to replace a water pump. I do all my own work on my four BMWs and I have a policy of - "If it comes off for any reason and it is questionable at all, replace it, because I do NOT want to do this again soon." Pelican parts sells parts in kits for guys like me. They look at every job, consider the parts you will have to remove to do the job, plus the normal wear parts that are easy to replace while you are in there, and they put them all in a kit with a group price. It is a big $$ bill for parts, but you spend a lot fewer Saturdays in your garage under your car.
More importantly, on an 8-year-old car, all the plastic and rubber parts are getting shrunk and brittle, so any of them could fail at any time. The shop knows that if they spend $500 of your money replacing cooling system parts, and a month later something else fails and the cooling system starts leaking again, you will blame them for 'not fixing it right' and want them to fix it at their own expense, even if the new leak is a part they did not touch. Hence, they want to replace all related parts on your tab, to make sure they don't see you again next month. This liability motive is OK sometimes (like with cooling systems) but sometimes is really expensive for you (electrical systems) which is why you save a lot of money if you do your own work.