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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 12-17-2005, 02:26 AM   #1
delmarco
 
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Name: delmarco
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Help! Blue-Green Liquid leaking into my cabin around footwell area!?

The Situation:
1) I washed my car thursday at a trusted andf tried auto/manual carwash.

2) I did over 300 miles of Highway driving between thursday and tonight.

3) Last night a female passenger spilled coffee w/ soymilk in it around the passenger carpet, seat, and the cupholder area. I cleaned it out and did not notice any stains on carpet or footwell area at the time. Last night it also started raining really hard...after midnight all thru the night until around noon today.

4) I drove thru the pouring rain to the local mall this morning w/ a male passenger and he had an yellow and brown umbrella around the footwell area. He had no drinks nor did I have any drinks or food in the car.

5)Tonight I noticed my glovebox light was NOT working. Then a minute later I noticed these stains...on both sides of the car.

6)I checked my coolant and washerfluids (the only blue-green liquids in my car that i know of) for any leaks or anywhere it could get from the engine bay into that area. After searching I could not find any spills or leakage. My coolant and washer fluid was alittle lower than I'd expect them to be. Also today whiles driving in the rain I may have sprayed my washer fluid to clean my window...which is normal for me when it rains..but I don't recall doing that today at all.

Okay, The million dollar question, what is this liquid?

It had a , slight mildew like odor to it (but that could have been the carpet that was still damp from the rain water from my friend's shoes) and it was already dried into the carpet when I saw it tonight...I did not recall seeing it earlier today...and it's something I would have definately noticed. Also when you peel back the black footwell area-upper-shield the liquid does not appear to be dribbling from behind the shield because there are no stains on the carpet there. but more likely it is coming out of the vents or another opening on the black shield.











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Old 12-17-2005, 02:41 AM   #2
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Old 12-17-2005, 06:42 AM   #3
Dudesky

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Dude, I think you're screwed. If I had to guess, I'd say your heater core is shot.
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Old 12-17-2005, 07:44 AM   #4
EuroStyle

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dudesky
Dude, I think you're screwed. If I had to guess, I'd say your heater core is shot.
Good luck paying for that. The tech has to dismantle the entire dash board assembly.

Better start saving...

-Matt

P.S. Your car is super clean, nice work. Oh and sorry bro...
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Old 12-17-2005, 08:37 AM   #5
delmarco
 
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There is blue-green liquid in the heater core? Is that coolant? And my heat still works fine, so would that be a sign that it may not be heater core.

I just need alittle more specific...
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Old 12-17-2005, 08:49 AM   #6
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yea, anti freeze/coolant runs through heater core. It may not be a BIG leak and you'ld still get heat. A small leak would spread easily as it gets soaked into carpet. Have a local place pressure test system that'll let you know if the system has a leak before rippin' dash apart. Heater control valves can also do that. Good Luck..
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Old 12-17-2005, 08:58 AM   #7
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Thanks Clapton.
I'm thinking small leak since;

a) I still get heat

b) the leak was more of a slow dribble and not like an explosive burst of blue-green coolant all over the footwell area.

am I right in this reasoning?
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Old 12-17-2005, 09:06 AM   #8
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Yes sir - you are correct. Give you a little history/info. Factory BMW heat & AC parts have a mixture of copper & aluminum parts because they don't have access to the alloys here in the states (cost prohibitive) Any of them built here have the advantage. The two different materials expand & contract at different rates and usually if a leak apppears it's at a seam/soldered connection. That's why radiators can be a headache occassionally.
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Old 12-17-2005, 09:15 AM   #9
delmarco
 
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Clapton,
one more thing. I did notice my coolant tank cap was loose and not tightly screwed on.
And it was a while ago since I checked my coolant so the cap may have been loose for a long while. I'm now wondering if the system had a lack of pressure and created some sort of puddling along the pipes.

Does this make sense? I'm trying to rationalize how the failure happened so I can describe it to the mechanic today.
Thanks again.
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Old 12-17-2005, 09:21 AM   #10
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Actually a loose cap would cause "lack of pressure" tightening it might make the leak worse. Take it to your mechanic and have him pressure test your cooling system. It's easy and quick. He'll connect a pump to radiator opening, pump it up to about 18lbs of pressure then watch the pressure guage - if it drops you have a leak. Make sure your heat switch is in "FULL ON" so he gets the whole system. Any pics of the stains? (trying to diagnose from desk - sucks)
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Old 12-17-2005, 10:00 AM   #11
delmarco
 
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yeah the pics of the stains are in the first post of this thread.
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Old 12-17-2005, 10:05 AM   #12
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my bad, blind in one eye, can't see out of the other That almosts looks like "washer solvent" (window douche) I can't imagine where it would come in there unless it's coming in through micro filter, or a hose leaking into cowl area. What color is your actual coolant/anti-freeze? Most are a dark or emerald green. Some factory stuff is blue but that really looks like washer solvent.
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Old 12-17-2005, 10:30 AM   #13
delmarco
 
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yeah, I did a coolant flush at the dealership 11/2004
and I got the blue-green BMW coolant...

so it looks alittle like washer fluid.
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Old 12-17-2005, 10:54 AM   #14
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delmarco, i know you really wouldnt use this, but when you turn on your heater, do you see like a mist coming out of your vents or if you have it on defrost, your winshield fogs up?
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Old 12-17-2005, 11:24 AM   #15
delmarco
 
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yes actually I use my heat at nighttime and I have seen that happen like when it rains or during the mornings when the dew is out, but it doesn't happen frequent or on occasions when its dry.

I do see alittle fogging around the lower windshield but only a tiny spot...

I'm agreeing that the heatercore problem may be the issue.
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