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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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Unread 06-30-2012, 12:27 PM   #1

Name: thoroughbred323ic
Title: United Newb
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Macon, GA
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Your Ride: 99 323ic
323i Problems and a NEW owner

I am a new BMW owner and I'm driving a 323i convertible, 1999. I purchased the car with 113,00 miles on it and the check engine light was on. Ran the codes and minor repairs (O2 sensors) corrected that problem. I got home last night and the radiator has sprung a leak, I am in the process of removing it to replace it but I am having trouble trying to figure how the two plastic hold downs on the top two corners release, each has an arrow on the top pointing towards the front of the car (away from the engine). When you push it in the direction the arrow is pointing it lifts up (some) but does not come out of the radiator so it is free, so I'm stuck and do not want to break those fittings, I know it is probably pretty easy but I don't want to break them... Is there someone on the site that can help me out. Thanks in advance.

Thorughbred 323ic
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Unread 07-02-2012, 09:53 AM   #2

Name: Manolito
Title: Member
Status: Offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Sacramento
Rate My Car: 339 / 340
Your Ride: (2) '97 328s; '04 330; '04 325iT
It is easy. You need a wide flat blade. I use a motorcycle tire tool, but a flat blade screwdriver would probably work. You stick it in through the slot in the top of the latch and pry the latch below about 1/8" to get the teeth to let go. I forget which way you pry but it will be easy to feel it move.

These plastic latches get old and have to be replaced every decade or so. I have replaced them on both of my '97s. They don't really break, they just stop holding securely and and they pop up when you hit a bump, which makes the radiator start to rattle around.

Unless other cooling system parts appear to have been replaced recently, you will like yourself better in the long run if you replace everything you touch in the cooling system while you are in there. That way you won't be draining the coolant and dismantling it again in a year. I recently sprung leaks in both of my 2004s - one in the water pump and one in the expansion tank. Both cars have a little over 100k miles. I replaced everything I touched, fan clutch, expansion tank, hoses, radiators, water pumps, thermostats and covers, everything. Now I drive with confidence (for the next seven years anyway). This is particularly critical if your wife drives the car because if she is like mine, she will not pull over until the car overheats so badly that it will no longer move.

Last edited by Manolito; 07-02-2012 at 10:00 AM..
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Unread 07-08-2012, 08:53 PM   #3
DEATH2000's Avatar

Name: DEATH2000
Title: Moderator
Status: Offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Rate My Car: 111 / 340
Your Ride: 1998 E36 328i sedan
I had to remove them recently on my car as well and it is diffcult, but possible as Manolito described. I however broke one of them as the plastic is really old. I would honestley not worry about breaking them and just replace them anyway. After 13+ years their due for a replacement.


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