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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 07-24-2005, 12:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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For about a day on start up and shut down my computer keeps flashing:

"Check coolant level - see owner's manual"

I don't have the owner's manual so I don't know what to do to "check it". I have found the DIY guide to doing a coolant flush which I should probably just do but what does it mean to "check level" and how do I do that? I just bought the car a week ago so I haven't done any maintainence.

If I decide to do the DIY coolant flush thing - where do I buy "BMW brand coolant" ? At a dealer? Same with distilled water in 1 gallon form. Where do I buy that? How much will this whole procedure cost me?
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Old 07-24-2005, 12:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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One gallon of OEM coolant is about $20-21 depending where you get it. The distilled water you can buy at any supermarket. THe wather will run you about $2 per gallon.
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Old 07-24-2005, 12:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally posted by BImmerN2B@Jul 24 2005, 09:21 AM
One gallon of OEM coolant is about $20-21 depending where you get it. The distilled water you can buy at any supermarket. THe wather will run you about $2 per gallon.
[snapback]364807[/snapback]

OEM BMW coolant - where do I buy it from? Dealer? Auto-parts store?
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Old 07-24-2005, 01:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You buy at the dealer.
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Old 07-24-2005, 01:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Live_the_Curves@Jul 24 2005, 10:03 AM
You buy at the dealer.
[snapback]364813[/snapback]
I just talked to previous owner (previous as in one week ago ) and he said in june the car just had a coolant flush. This means all I need to do is just add more for whatever reason. I checked for leaks already and their aren't any - it may just be the fact that it is 105 degrees everyday now.

How can I just add more coolant? Or more importantly: how do I check if coolant needs to be added?
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Old 07-24-2005, 01:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Common issue is the coolant level sensor. Also, you DO NOT need to buy BMW anti-freeze, go to PEP BOYS or AUTO ZONE and get some ZEREX G05 (about $9.00 a gallon) this is a euro spec coolant used by Mercedes, Audi, VW etc.
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Old 07-24-2005, 01:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Bear@Jul 24 2005, 10:47 AM
Common issue is the coolant level sensor. Also, you DO NOT need to buy BMW anti-freeze, go to PEP BOYS or AUTO ZONE and get some ZEREX G05 (about $9.00 a gallon) this is a euro spec coolant used by Mercedes, Audi, VW etc.
[snapback]364819[/snapback]

hmm great tip.

I check the overflow/tank thing next to the radiator...it is pretty low and allowing air to touch what I believe is the sensor. Obviously I am just going to fill it up with 50/50 water and coolant.

One thing that scares me a bit is that the tank looks like it is divided into two sections with a plastic wall down the middle of the tank. Is it trying to tell me that one liquid belongs in one area and another liquid belongs in the other?

If I am adding that Zerex stuff to already present coolant is that bad? Do the brands and types have to be the same in order to fill? Do I need to flush if I add zerex?
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Old 07-24-2005, 03:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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oh I thought it was just like that on the side, so you could see the levels on the side to see how much you have.
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Old 07-24-2005, 04:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Can someone answer my question about topping off coolant? I am not sure what the dealer/mechanic put in with the previous owner so I don't know what kind of coolant is in there. I assume either BMW brand or similar.

Can I top it off with zerex/water or do I definitely need to flush first? I am out of town with my car for a few weeks so don't have proper tools to flush and don't want to spend $100 getting it flushed elsewhere. Can I just top off?
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Old 07-24-2005, 05:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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For now, just top it off with water, there should be a mark, like an arrow cast into the expansion tank that indicates the coolant fill level. if yu overfill it will be pushed out of the overflow tube on the tank.
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Old 07-24-2005, 05:45 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Bear@Jul 24 2005, 02:43 PM
For now, just top it off with water, there should be a mark, like an arrow cast into the expansion tank that indicates the coolant fill level. if yu overfill it will be pushed out of the overflow tube on the tank.
[snapback]364870[/snapback]
When I top it off do I unscrew that air vent deal next to the tank first?
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Old 07-24-2005, 08:25 PM   #12 (permalink)
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all I do is unscrew the cap on the radiator.
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Old 07-24-2005, 09:10 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I would top off the expansion tank, the plastic tank that is probably located next to driver fender and has a scew off cap and the coolant level sensor. This is not the washer reservoir tank.
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Old 07-24-2005, 09:16 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Just go to your dealer's service entrance and ask them to top it off, they'll do it for free., they've done so for me at different ones in different states. Its normal for our bimmers to go through some coolant.
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Old 07-24-2005, 09:33 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bear@Jul 24 2005, 12:47 PM
Common issue is the coolant level sensor. Also, you DO NOT need to buy BMW anti-freeze, go to PEP BOYS or AUTO ZONE and get some ZEREX G05 (about $9.00 a gallon) this is a euro spec coolant used by Mercedes, Audi, VW etc.
[snapback]364819[/snapback]
Buy BMW coolant.

Read this to find out why:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/techarticl...olant-Flush.htm
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