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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 08-03-2004, 04:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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hello,

Recently my dad brought a new E36 (328i 1996) he is experiencing the coolant level dimishing quickly. He confess's he puts water inside (and i flipped when he said that ghead ) but replacing it with anti-freeze/summer coolant will that cure our problem? or is ther something wrong that even with my dad ghead putting only water inside, it goes really quickly!!

any help guys be really helpful
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Old 08-03-2004, 05:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I know coolant can dissipate over time...I guess if there is more water in the mix, and it is super hot where you are..then it could dissipate faster (maybe?)...also, someone in this forum had a minor leak that only sprayed lightly when the car was in motion, so there was never any evidence of a leak...can't remember who it was, but that could also be the problem.
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Old 08-03-2004, 05:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Straight water will actually cool better than a coolant antifreeze mix. It's has a higher specific heat than antifreeze (how much heat it can absorb) so I dont think this is really your problem.

"But won't just straight water evaporate once it hits the block because it boils at 100* C and the block is probably 200?!?!"

The answer, most likely no. The coolant system is under pressure constantly effectively raising the boiling point of the water.

So I don't think that is your problem. Have you noticed a puddle under the car? How about smoke coming out the exaust?
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Old 08-03-2004, 05:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Ok... a few major things could be happening.. and a few small things could happen that could contribute to a diminishing coolant level... I just wrote a pretty big FAQ thing that is not in the FAQ forum.

First... your water pump gasket and or seal might be deteriorated and is leaking... your water pump might be starting to go bad.... your thermostat housing has cracked due to pressure. These are the nominal small things that come to mind when You say your losing fluid. You might want to check all of the hoses that go in and out of your radiator... there is one that is connected to the resevroir... that runs from left to right then back around your power steering resevroir. Check that... and there are a few more visible ones you or your dad can find pretty easily. Other than that... just look at the integrity of the lines.. and if they are coming apart.. and or rubbing on something... or just plane old and need to be replaced.

GOOD LUCK!
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Old 08-03-2004, 05:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by RIBEMR26@Aug 3 2004, 05:51 PM
I know coolant can dissipate over time...I guess if there is more water in the mix, and it is super hot where you are..then it could dissipate faster (maybe?)...also, someone in this forum had a minor leak that only sprayed lightly when the car was in motion, so there was never any evidence of a leak...can't remember who it was, but that could also be the problem.
I am the one who is struggling with this coolant leakage problem for a couple of weeks and was waiting for the comments/suggestions for the post "Coolant Leakage problem".

Here are my two leakages that I noticed.

Yesterday when It was really hot and when my car ran for 1 hr, I figured out, two leakages from the car

1. The coolant is leaking only when the engine gets heated up and ran after 30-40 mins. I see a coolant drops, drop by drop once for every 30-40 secs. And when "Check the coolant level" comes up for once a week I am filling the coolant (70/30). I really want to get this done as quick as possible (If it can be done on my own). If it is really a serious problem that I should not wait any more, I better take to the same guy and get the water pump replaced. So, I will be waiting for your suggestions.

2. I see some water dripping of drop by drop exactly at the middle of the chassis, What could be the possibility. I smell nothing and not a greezy its just like water?

I really don't see any leakage (on the ground) when we park the car in the night, I think its leaking only when it is really hot.

So, I guess you better test on yours and see if its the same problem.

A few weeks ago My mechanic replaced the Temostat and the Themostat hose and a gasket, But it didn't stop the leakage. So, this time I wanted to do it on my own (replacing the water pump) If you guys can give me a green signal (for replacing the water pump) and instructions (because I am very new to this BMW world) and a little afraid being my first work on the car. So, Once I have the enough information, I will work on replacing my water pump. Hopfully till then my car doesn't break down.
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Old 08-03-2004, 06:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Ok... if he didnt seat the thermostat correctly with the O-ring.. it WILL leak no matter what... unless you do it CORRECTLY. If you can... which might be difficult... can you check and see if it is dripping from your thermostat... or around your pully..(your thermo is of course above your water pump pully which is in front of your pump). If it is leaking from the thermo... then he didnt seat the thermostat correctly. I dont think you can see all of the housing unless you take the fan out and look underneath it.. but you should look at the housing and see if you can find any cracks.... and about the pump... unless you see water/coolant dripping from below the pully and not above... then its your water pump....

One quick question that I my self would like you to answer... can you wobble your fan around with minimal pressure?... does it more at all if you try?..(not in a circle.. but just grab a blade and try to move it up and down.. how much does it move?
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Old 08-03-2004, 06:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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When you see water dripping, mid chasis, with engine running, is the AC on? If yes, it is probably just water removed from the air by the condensor and it is ddripping out of the condensor drain (normal). Take a good lok around the expansion tank and any lines from radiator to expansion tank to see if any are leaking, also, slide under and check the drain plug on the radiator, I have hhad them slowly leak, and the water catch on the slplash shield and get blown away whie driving.
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Old 08-04-2004, 05:30 AM   #8 (permalink)
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thanks for all you guys who have contributed on here. I am slowly going through the recommendations posted. BUT i have noticed the A/C in my dad's E36 doesn't seem to be strong as my e36, can this be related in anyway????? used
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Old 08-04-2004, 06:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally posted by 97alpineM3@Aug 3 2004, 06:35 PM
Ok... a few major things could be happening.. and a few small things could happen that could contribute to a diminishing coolant level... I just wrote a pretty big FAQ thing that is not in the FAQ forum.

First... your water pump gasket and or seal might be deteriorated and is leaking... your water pump might be starting to go bad.... your thermostat housing has cracked due to pressure. These are the nominal small things that come to mind when You say your losing fluid. You might want to check all of the hoses that go in and out of your radiator... there is one that is connected to the resevroir... that runs from left to right then back around your power steering resevroir. Check that... and there are a few more visible ones you or your dad can find pretty easily. Other than that... just look at the integrity of the lines.. and if they are coming apart.. and or rubbing on something... or just plane old and need to be replaced.

GOOD LUCK!
wer is that FAQ thanks for yuor suggestions really appreciated
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Old 08-04-2004, 08:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I had a small crack in the top of my radiator tank. WHen the air temp was warm and I was driving in the city with my a/c on, coolant would spray a fine mist out of this crack.

I never really saw a puddle under my car, but a quick pressure test on my rad exposed the crack. I would have to add water every day.

One day, I didn't tighten down the rad cap ghead and over heated. This caused me to pull my rad, clean the snot out of it, replace the fan clutch, and install BMW blue coolant. A little JB weld fixed up the crack.

I also took a hose to my A/C condenser and it seems my a/c runs MUCH better. Also, R-134 leaches through rubber hoses, so your dad might just need a recharge.

Beg, borrow, buy or steal a pressure tester and that'll tell you where your water is going.
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Old 08-04-2004, 08:27 AM   #11 (permalink)
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how do i use a pressure tester? to test the problem i am having? used
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Old 08-04-2004, 09:20 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Yesterday, I paid $500 to replace my radiator tank. I had exactly the same problem. I initially thought the cap gasket got worn out or clamp on the hose got loose, but none worked. One day I saw the leakage from the radiator after long drive in summer.BMW radiator uses a pressurized radiator. when it's hot, it expands the tank leading to leakage. When it cools down, there is no leak. I had to refill every week myself.

I strongly suggest to replace your tank. It will save you money in the long run if you gonna drive that for a while. If the tank fails on you in the highway, that will cost you more. Don't be fool yourself saying that you would fill the coolant once in while.

I got Nissons radiator which is cheaper, $100, than German made. The performance should be the same claimed by my mechanic, so far trustworthy.

Good luck!!!! B)
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Old 08-04-2004, 10:48 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I'd find out exactly what is leaking... and replace that... I am a firm believer that you shouldnt fix it if it isnt broken. Unless your upgrading.. .in that case... get a better radiator.
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Old 08-04-2004, 11:10 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Old 08-04-2004, 11:40 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Adding water to your antifreeze is normal, as long as it is not pre-mixed. My manual says to use a 50-50 mix.
As was said previously water will absorb more heat than antifreeze, but you don't want to use too much water or it will freeze in the winter and boil in the summer.
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