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3-Series (E21, E30) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1975-1983 and 1984-1991 line. Specific models: BMW 315, BMW 316, BMW 318, BMW 318i, BMW 320/4, BMW 320i, BMW 320/6, BMW 323i, BMW 320i. E30 Family models include: BMW 325e, BMW 325i, BMW 325is, BMW 325ix.

 
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#1 (permalink) Old 08-23-2005, 01:33 PM
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Alright so the other day i was driving my '90 325i cabrio and the check light came on and it said it needed coolant, so i put some in and then it was fine for like another 3 or so hours then it got really hot again and started to ask for coolant again. I went to a local bmw shop and he said to replace the tempature sensor gauge. 30 dollars later and it installed (it was easy only 3 bolts to take off) it was fine for about 6 hours after i replaced that then it has the same problem again today. i dont see any leaks comming out of the engine or cooling system and it doesnt leak on the ground but if you turn on the heat (to cool down the engine ) it smells like coolant. im thinking there has to be a leak somewhere but where?

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#2 (permalink) Old 08-23-2005, 02:34 PM
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Thermostat? If the thermostat is dead, and you don't have a failsafe version... then the engine will only be able to use whatever coolant is in the block, because the thermostat is not allowing flow into the engine.

Thermostats should be CHEAP and equally as easy to install and I HIGHLY recommend a Failsafe version (fails open so that if it dies, your engine isn't starved of vital coolant!) which might be a whole $3-5 more expensive than a standard "Fail Closed" variety 'stat.

Hope this helps!!!

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#3 (permalink) Old 08-23-2005, 02:45 PM
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I concur. It also couldn't hurt to flush your coolant. Winter's coming in a few months, want to make sure you have fresh antifreeze anyways. Well, okay, so winter in Nevada won't be freezing or anything, but you should get new antifreeze every year anyways.

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#4 (permalink) Old 08-23-2005, 02:46 PM
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yea the thermostat is what i replaced and yes it is a failsafe version. but when im driving and i turn on the heat to cool down the engine i can smell coolant like burnt coolant but i cant find any leaks what do i replace next, the radiator?

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#5 (permalink) Old 08-23-2005, 03:00 PM
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maybe check the heater core? See if there is any moisture on your carpet underneath the dash area. If so, the heater core may have gone south or sprung a leak. Also, try looking at both the feed and return coolant lines while the engine is running... are either of them pinched or colapsed? If so, that can SIGNIFICANTLY reduce flow...
Next suggestion is the Water Pump. However, if you are going to do the water pump, it is highly adviseable to do the Timing Belt as well. That is no small feat, but Pelicanparts .com has a "Water Pump Super Kit" I think it's called, that consists of EVERYTHING you need to do that swap except the tools themselves. An ounce of prevention saves a pound of cure!.

Oh, and one last idea...
Fan Clutch?
Maybe the clutch is burned out, (it doesn't seem to happen often) but if it did, your cooling fan could just be sitting there not spinning and forcing air through the radiator.

Geez, sorry if that one is kind of rambling, but I am facing several of the same issues, so they all came to me at once! LOL

Hope SOME of this helps!

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Originally Posted by <b>superdeadman</b><br>Josh W. IS my hero!

Originally Posted by <b>JoeMadoo</b><br>325eXTATIC, you're my hero...
Originally Posted by <b>Moosepuck</b><br>Oh yeah... 325eXTATIC...you're my hero...
Originally Posted by <b>e30dream</b><br>325eXTATIC....youre my hero.
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#6 (permalink) Old 08-24-2005, 01:45 AM
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Probably a blockage somewhere in the cooling system causing it to overpressurize/overheat. The smell you smell is most likely the overflow hose which bleeds coolant through the drivers side front fender onto the ground when the system gets too hot/over pressurizes. You smell it because the air you are sucking through comes from the leading edge of the hood which is the same air / general area where you'd be able to smell the coolant overflow.


Check your oil for foamy/milkiness. How long ago since you flushed the sytem/replaced ALL hoses (esp. smaller heater hoses(the ones which require the removal of the intake runners))

From my experience the HG is very susceptible to calcium deposit buildup as well, which leads to alot of bad things. But thats the last thing to check.

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#7 (permalink) Old 09-18-2005, 12:59 AM
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Hey guys,

New here but thought I might be of some help. My '89 325is was having the same problem. It just wouldnt stay cool no matter how much coolant I poured in. I checked the reservoir cap to make sure it was maintaining pressure, the thermostat (pot of boiling water), the lines, and I flushed out the entire system twice. After an array of parts, there simply wasnt anything left to change but the radiator. I pulled the radiator out and tried to flush IT so maybe I wouldnt have to buy a new one... needless to say the inside was corroded and this gray material washed out. I bought a new radiator and the car ran perfect.

Dont let the radiator fool you. I placed my hand on the tubes leading to and from the radiator and they seemed to be full of fluid (and I assumed it was working). Even if there is fluid it seems to be caught in the system and stagnant. The only time the coolant flows is when its spewing out of the resevior.

Hope that helps.

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#8 (permalink) Old 09-19-2005, 03:51 PM
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Okay, so here is the REAL question, if the radiator is bad and does have to be replaced... I can find a new radiator for under $300 from pelicanparts.com, but is there a better radiator that can be popped in with a minimum of modification that would also maintain a budget of $300 or less? My guess is...
NO.

Can anyone prove me wrong?

Josh W.

Not currently on the Bimmer kick. Drivin' a 2003 Silver Civic at the moment, but I am STILL the Founding Member of the "325eXTATIC You're my hero" club.
Quote:
Originally Posted by <b>superdeadman</b><br>Josh W. IS my hero!

Originally Posted by <b>JoeMadoo</b><br>325eXTATIC, you're my hero...
Originally Posted by <b>Moosepuck</b><br>Oh yeah... 325eXTATIC...you're my hero...
Originally Posted by <b>e30dream</b><br>325eXTATIC....youre my hero.
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#9 (permalink) Old 09-19-2005, 05:20 PM
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hold up here kiddies......we are taking lessions from ford mechanics today.....don't just throw parts at it. i agree with nuke your smell may not be your heater core. however i would still check for leaks.

if your radiator is bad you can check it by getting the car up to temp and puting your hand in different spots on it (may have to remove the fan and shroud to do so). if it is even everywhere and not leaking then that's probably not at fault. if it is cold/less warm in certain areas than others, then yes your radiator is bad......yeah and if she is leaking then replacement is also advised.

if you are overheating we would do these steps:
1) we'd check level and condition of coolant. if she's low, then we would check for leaks/pressurize the system and look and see if we could find anything.
2)check all the aux fans/primary fans. your viscus fan (primary) is pretty easy to check. give it a spin with the car off (like you just came home from work) if there is a bunch of resisitance then more than likely it is good. you can also spin it when it is cold and see if she spins a bit too freely. there should be a slight drag even when cold.........alright aux fan testing, depending on which switch set up you have you can test one of two ways....one, pull the connection and jump the contacts (use your manual for the wiring diagram, and i suggest using a jumper with a fuse inline). or two, if you know your a/c system works, or works good enough to kick the compressor on you can turn on your a/c. the fan always kicks in on the low speed no matter the temp of the engine (i do believe, don't quote me may be different depending on years).
3)now we also may do this first sometimes. check the flow. turn off the motor and open the radiator cap and take it off. fire up the car and check the flow in the return line. inspect it for air pockets (not steady stream) and the amount of flow. if your flow isn't good, then it's on to the next step....
4)now if you are a good BMW owner then you are doing water pumps with every timing belt change at 50k....so i am less likely to suspect that is the source right off the bat. now i would try another thermostat. they are cheap and easy to replace........now if you have gone thru everything on the list and everything checks out ok (and there is no oil in your coolant, no foam in the oil, and after a compression leak down test yields nothing out of the ordinary) then i would suspect the waterpump.

alright that's all i got, i may be off a bit here and there and i may need to correct a couple of things, feel free to point them out as it is the end of my day and i am heading home

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