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E36 General discussion and technical help for (E36) 1992-1999 3 series cars. 318, 323, 325, 328.

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Old 08-17-2010, 01:55 AM   #1
bmw328i98

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E36 328i 1998 Mystery Overheating..

Hey guys,

This is going to be the 3rd bmw forum I signed up for some help.

So I have a 1998 BMW 328i and since the summer came it began to overheat.
My main mechanic has been trying to fix this problem for 2 months now and no luck... He has a 1998 BMW 328is that's not overheating and he tried to replace part by part, but still no luck and he even saw that my parts were good. (previous owner had changed the waterpump to metal)
I changed thermostat, radiator cap, and fanclutch(replaced with spal puller 16" fan). And also bled it A LOT of times. He even took the tstat out to check it it flows freely and it does so the tstat wasn't closing. I even took it to 2 other BMW mechanics and they didn't know what the hell was going on, they even checked all the parts and did tests on the engine. They told me " we have some good news and some bad news.. the good news is that its not your head gasket and we found nothing wrong with the parts and the bad news is we don't know how its overheating "..
The mechanics are scratching their heads at the moment trying to find the solution to this.

Now lets get into how it overheats..

When I'm driving with the heater on, it doesn't overheat so I can drive as much as I want, then when the heater is off, it SLOWLY starts overheating maybe 10-15 mins driving normally until the overheating kicks in, then it starts making its way to the 3/4 line although I never let it get past the 3rd line before shutting it off.

Right now the cars at my mechanics and tomorrow hes gonna bleed it upwards so hopefully 100% there is no air bubbles stuck inside.

Also I notice when the car is in normal temp 2/4, the hoses are squeezable but when it starts to overheat they are really stiff(rock hard).

Thanks for reading and if you have any input, please tell me, thank you.

EDIT: Also BOTH of my hoses are equally hot the top and the bottom.

Last edited by bmw328i98; 08-17-2010 at 02:01 AM..
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:45 AM   #2
Big Evil
 
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Sounds like a clog in the block perhaps. How are the fans? Viscous and electric?
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Old 11-24-2010, 01:21 PM   #3
markus32

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I've got a 1998 328i and the same thing happened to me, after emptying the coolant system, checking the operation of the thermostat and making sure the electric fans worked ok.it turned out to be air-locked in the system.

I had bled the radiator with the bleed screw (crossed head plastic screw next to the radiator filler cap) whilst "massaging" the hoses while the car was running but in a stationary position, I thought I'd got all the air out, but when I took it for a run, it overheated, and no hot air could be felt coming out the vents.

I let the car cool down drove home and tried again, same thing happened, appeared free of air whilst idling, but under load it overheated.

Long story short, I took a screwdriver with me on the next run and bled the radiator every few minutes whilst driving in between stops, and it worked like a dream.
Haven't had any trouble since.

Basically, bleeding the car while stationary doesn't always work, don't ask me why, but you may need to take the car for a short drive, then bleed the rad at the side of the road.
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Old 11-25-2010, 04:37 PM   #4
Manolito

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Overheating while the car is moving is not a fan problem. The fact that turning on the heater helps means the problem is in your radiator. I am surprised that the mechanics have not isolated this problem.

Have you hosed all the bugs, pet hair, and grass seed out of the radiator air fins? If the air fins are clear, the internals are plugged up. If the internals are plugged up, the only solution will be a new radiator since there is no way I know to clean these.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:43 PM   #5
IgotBMW
 
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markus32, when you bled it on the side of the road, you were putting in new coolant right? You said all your brought was a screwdriver. And when you bled, was the engine on or off?
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:09 AM   #6
markus32

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The engine was still running when I bled it, and you only need a screwdriver to undo the bleed screw (cross shaped screw on top of radiator), I found that was the only way it worked, think the engine might need to be under load to pupm the water right through the system.
Previously I had everything bled while the car was just ticking over on my drive, well, it appeared that way, "massaged" the hoses and did everything by the book, but as soon as I travelled a short distance the temp gauge was in the red.
I didn't put any more coolant until the engine had been left off for 20 minutes or so, because the system pressurises it has a tendancy to bubble out of the filler hole immediately after switching off.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:06 AM   #7
Manolito

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I presume that you have made sure that the air fins in your radiator are not plugged with insects, grass seed, or old pet hair, right? If that is not it, I would bet $20 that there is either silicate or mineral deposits in your radiator. If so, you are going to need another one. Flushing won't help. In the future, use only BMW coolant and distilled water.
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Old 12-21-2010, 11:29 AM   #8
stanold1207

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Is the car an automatic? The trans could be overheating and causing the radiator to get hot and the engine. May need to install a trans cooler if you have tried all the above solutions others have posted. All are good posts.
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