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E46 General discussion and technical help for 1999-2004 3 series cars.

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Old 11-04-2012, 05:45 AM   #1
bmw stressed out

Name: bmw stressed out
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over heating and loosing coolant

hello guys

i recenlty bought my first bmw 316ti se compact, 2002 model few days ago

it is coverted to lpg (gas)

YESTERDAY
i was while driving, it gone over heat. i stopped for a bit and when it get cool down, i drove it to home. it was over heat near the red mark, i turn off the engine. i can hear a whistle noise and the noise was on for an hour.

i felt a pipe, i can feel it was a boiling water inside the pipe and i can hear gurgles somewhere in the bonnet.

i am very stressed out because i paied all money to the guy i bought a car from and he said, it was as seen as sold.

can anyone tell me, what problem it could be?

TODAY

the coolant level low, i filled some water and then it run well for few miles and heater was throwing full hot air.

i came back home, parked up and drove after an hour and it get heat up again, i parked and wait till it get cool down, i check the coolant level, it was low so i filled in 1 more litre of water. and drove back to home, it didn't get heat up but heater was not working.

add coolant light coming on.

i checked the oil level with dipstick, it was little bit low from maximum, so i reckon if head gasket is gone then water go in oil and the oil level will increase right?

i also checked the oil cap, there was no yellow substance on it.

now my lpg is not working as well.
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:47 PM   #2
bmw stressed out

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over heating issue

i am a member of RAC recovery. i called them and the mechanic come and checked the car.

few things he checked after i told him about the heating problem

1) he open the radiator cap and filled in some water, it was pretty ful few hours earlier but i think he half litre in ( half litre is gone missing in engine some where)

2) he looked around in but he didn't find any external leaking, he goes, if any pipe split or radiator problem then it the water leak will be slower but as i told him, it lose water like 5 -6 litre a day. so he goes water is going somewhere inside the engine so he goes its internal leaking.

3) from the exhaust pipe, water is dripping slowly and hence engine is hot but still white smoke coming out.

4) he said, it can't be thermostate or radiator because it wouldnt lose water that quik so he goes either its headgasket or water pump. but he goes, he think its head gasket is gone.

5) i asked him about compression test, he goes there is no need for that. you need to do CO test instead.

he goes, head gasket or pump is still a big job to do, if you will get it fixed, the mechanic will have to look all the bits like pump, pipes etc so it cost you around about 600 - 800 quid.

i am so worried because i only bought a car few days ago. is there anything you all can think of?
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:35 PM   #3
Manolito

Name: Manolito
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A 2002 e46 that has not had its cooling system rebuilt is overdue, so it is not surprising that it is loosing water. Could be overflow reservoir cracked, could be thermostat cover. Could be water pump. Could be any of the hoses. Generally, however, you will see some steam coming from somewhere when the car is overheating.

I have two 2004 e46s. Within the past year I have completely replaced both those cooling systems. On the 330, the water pump failed at 100k miles. On the 325, the overflow tank split at 130k miles. On both cars, I replaced everything, radiator, thermostat, water pump, hoses, fan clutch on the 330, everything. I learned on my e36s that I like myself better if I do it all and get it over with all at once.

Filling the overflow tank full but not bleeding the system will leave a lot of air in the system. That will lead to prompt overheating which builds up a lot of pressure and forces what water you have out the leak fairly quickly.

Normally I would not be very concerned about a head gasket, but it sounds like this has been very hot several times, and you mentioned white 'smoke' coming out of the exhaust. The fact that you don't see water in the oil or oil in the water is good, but it is no guarantee that the head gasket has not failed.

Open the bleed screw up near the fill cap, fill the overflow tank clear up with water till you get all the bubbles out of the bleed. Drive the car till it is hot and then shut it off and look under the hood for steam coming out somewhere. If the exhaust still blows steam when the car is fully warmed up, you have big problems.

Last edited by Manolito; 11-04-2012 at 11:37 PM..
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:33 PM   #4
bmw stressed out

Name: bmw stressed out
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manolito View Post
A 2002 e46 that has not had its cooling system rebuilt is overdue, so it is not surprising that it is loosing water. Could be overflow reservoir cracked, could be thermostat cover. Could be water pump. Could be any of the hoses. Generally, however, you will see some steam coming from somewhere when the car is overheating.

I have two 2004 e46s. Within the past year I have completely replaced both those cooling systems. On the 330, the water pump failed at 100k miles. On the 325, the overflow tank split at 130k miles. On both cars, I replaced everything, radiator, thermostat, water pump, hoses, fan clutch on the 330, everything. I learned on my e36s that I like myself better if I do it all and get it over with all at once.

Filling the overflow tank full but not bleeding the system will leave a lot of air in the system. That will lead to prompt overheating which builds up a lot of pressure and forces what water you have out the leak fairly quickly.

Normally I would not be very concerned about a head gasket, but it sounds like this has been very hot several times, and you mentioned white 'smoke' coming out of the exhaust. The fact that you don't see water in the oil or oil in the water is good, but it is no guarantee that the head gasket has not failed.

Open the bleed screw up near the fill cap, fill the overflow tank clear up with water till you get all the bubbles out of the bleed. Drive the car till it is hot and then shut it off and look under the hood for steam coming out somewhere. If the exhaust still blows steam when the car is fully warmed up, you have big problems.


hi mate, whatever you describe up there was true and have felt that in my car, there is a small up date.

today i filled water into radiator and drove like 30-40 miles. it worked good, heating came on and lpg was working.

but coolant light keep coming on, so in between driving when car get cold, i checked the coolant, it was less. so i filled it again. but it never heat up.

in the end, when i was coming home, i saw a white smoke which i think was steam coming out of bonnet. i stopped the car and looked around, there were steam water near the radiator and from the radiator cap, little bit smoke coming out and little bit water too.

i think, when all car coolant system is sealed then you can't hear gurgle noise if m right? you only hear the gurgle water noise when water is leaking out somewhere in a steam .

i went to a garage and told him everything and i also felt smell coming out of heater, he said it might be engine burning the water. i am going to back to him on Friday to get it checked out

do you think, it is head gasket? as it run well for 40 miles but water little bit missing and there was NO water dripping from the exhaust today. it was bit leaking from the radiator cap and steaming from there too.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:41 PM   #5
Manolito

Name: Manolito
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Rate My Car: 338 / 340
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At this point, I would pull all my spark plugs out and compare them. If one of them is steam cleaned and looks like a new one, you are getting water into that cylinder and you have big problems.

When a head gasket leaks or a head cracks, the leak goes both ways. Water gets into the cylinder and steam cleans it, and exhaust forces its way into the cooling system and pressurizes it such that it pushes water out through the cap. The way that a mechanic in a well-equipped shop checks for leaks is by taking his exhaust analyzer and checking for carbon monoxide at the radiator cap when the car is running. If he detects any, there is exhaust forcing its way into your cooling system and the head has to come off.

If you pull your spark plugs, be sure to take the tray that holds your cabin air filter out of the car before trying to access the rear spark plug. you can get the plug in and out with the tray in place if you happen to have the exact length extension to fit, but it is easy to cross-thread the plug working under the tray.
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:16 AM   #6
bmw stressed out

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over heating issue

little update

i went to garage and he checked the car for any leakage, he goes there is a small leakage near the tank but it is a drip after abit of time other then that, he didn't find anything wrong. he said, engine works fine. he flushed all the coolant and took all the air out from the system and filled with fresh coolant.

i drove for half an hour and coolant light was came on, went back to the garage, he goes let it cool down and fill the water in again and see how long will it last over the weekend. if it goes quickly then we will go into depth of it. he goes to change the tank will be 70quid include the expansion tank price.

he goes, he kept the car running for an hour and did rev up as well but it didn't find any fault other then little drip from the tank.

as the coolant light came on, the heater start blowing cold air but i didn't let the car heat up.

other question, i bought a K-seal. shall i put it in the radiator? i asked the garage, he goes it is good but i wouldn't put in yet.
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:50 PM   #7
Manolito

Name: Manolito
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Join Date: May 2006
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I don't know what k-seal is, but if it is cooling system stop-leak, I would not suggest putting it in your cooling system. There are a whole array of plastic parts in your cooling system that get brittle and start to fail after 8-10 years. Stop-leak will not help crumbling plastic.

On an e36, the most common failure is the top hose nipple on the radiator. It disintegrates from the inside. It starts to leak and within a few days the nipple blows off and your cooling system evacuates within a few seconds. This typically occurs when you are en route to the airport to catch an important flight.

On an e46, a common first failure is the expansion tank. I tried to attach a photo of the failed expansion tank on my '04 325iT. It split up the outboard side. It is an 85 kB .jpg image, but this lame website rejected it as "not a valid image file" sorry.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:21 AM   #8
bmw stressed out

Name: bmw stressed out
Title: United Newb
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Your Ride: 2002 316ti se compact
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manolito View Post
I don't know what k-seal is, but if it is cooling system stop-leak, I would not suggest putting it in your cooling system. There are a whole array of plastic parts in your cooling system that get brittle and start to fail after 8-10 years. Stop-leak will not help crumbling plastic.

On an e36, the most common failure is the top hose nipple on the radiator. It disintegrates from the inside. It starts to leak and within a few days the nipple blows off and your cooling system evacuates within a few seconds. This typically occurs when you are en route to the airport to catch an important flight.

On an e46, a common first failure is the expansion tank. I tried to attach a photo of the failed expansion tank on my '04 325iT. It split up the outboard side. It is an 85 kB .jpg image, but this lame website rejected it as "not a valid image file" sorry.
hi manolito
thanks for your reply back.

there is a small leak in expansion tank but when car is idle or idle revving, it leaks a small drop of coolant. but after 10miles, one litre of coolant gone because i filled up this morning.
i also bought a block test kit to see any gases in the system.
how i used it:
1) the car was cold and not running.
2) the car was cold but engine running
3)car was on normal temperature and engine running
4) when car was got on normal temperature, water start boiling up and it coming out from radiator so fast so i switched the engine off and checked any gases with block test.

the color did not changed at all.

QUESTION: can a very tiny hole in expansion tank cause to lose one litre of coolant in 10-15miles??

i drove it today for several miles, heater was working, lpg was working and car didn't heat up, i looked for the leakage underneath car, didn't find any coolant dropping.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:19 AM   #9
Manolito

Name: Manolito
Title: Member
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Sacramento
Rate My Car: 338 / 340
Your Ride: (2) '97 328s; '04 330; '04 325iT
The answer to the question about the leak rate changing is yes. The expansion tank likely has a crack up the side. If so, when it is cold and has no pressure, the crack closes nearly water-tight. When the pressure in the system builds and the side of the tank bulges out, the crack opens up and leaks a lot.

If you want to try to replace just the expansion tank, it is designed to be removed without removing the radiator from the car. In fact, the radiator is a heck of a lot easier to get out after the expansion tank has been removed. However, after this many years, you have to be really careful about how you get the expansion tank loose without breaking any of the brittle plastic parts, and even more careful about putting the new one in. The first thing to remove and the last thing to put back is the water level sensor (1/4 turn to release from bottom of tank) because it is a very fragile part.

On the last expansion tank that I put in, the plastic molding was imperfect where the water level sensor went in. It looked OK but the sensor would not fit until I filed down the plastic a little with a small file.

Last edited by Manolito; 11-13-2012 at 08:24 AM..
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