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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 01-27-2013, 11:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation e36 waterpump failure (with video)

A short video of my E36 (us model) waterpump -

Some background:
-I purchased this car from a guy who claimed 'To only drive in the summer' in November 2012- CEL light was on.
I used odbII tools to fix the 02 sensor. (Wiring). Car never would get above 140-150f .
Installed a 192 F Thermostat (old thermostat was stuck open (failed))
Once the new thermostat was in, the car would over heat after reaching the thermostat opening temp (190f)
-Lower (right) hose was cold but upper (left) hose was hot. (this is a sign of bad coolant flow.. either radiator blockage or waterpump failure )
Continued fighting to 'bleed' the system did not resolve this issue. Last attempt resulted in loud cracking sounds from the radiator.
-Replaced radiator with Behr OEM replacement model. Replaced waterpump (a WYAAT move)
-Removed radiator , cleaned fan clutch, replaced waterpump, installed new radiator-
-system bled easily using the following proceedure-
---Elevate car on Ramps
---Turn key in the on position (II) not start with the heater controls set to full hot full speed fans.
---Remove expansion chamber cap, remove upper bleeder screw (set to the side)
---Place a catch bucket under the car [I used a large polystyrene ice cooler as it was cheap and disposable]
---Fill the expansion tank with 1 US gallon of coolant (system will bubble through the bleed hole)
---Add additional 1/2 US gallon of coolant to the system (squeezing the lower and upper hoses at this time will help move air pockets) until the coolant flows freely from the bleed hole.
---Replace the bleed screw (hand tight the oring seals this. no need to monkey grip this screw)
---Start the car and continue to add coolant to keep the expansion chamber fill to the tip top--
---pro tip - a cut off litre bottle with a short length of radiator hose can be used to extend the coolant expansion tank's neck, to get your coolant level above the bleed screw, this will force air more rapidly from the bleeder valve) in any case keep the coolant level high in the expansion tank as the car warms up.
---Crack the bleeder screw from time to time as the car warms up and continue to add coolant.
---Pro tip - a bluetooth ODBII reader and an android or Iphone app such as Torque can be used to monitor the coolant temp. It is more accurate than watching the DME buffered gauge needle.
---As the car approaches the temp for the thermostat to open, your level may drop (however if you filled it correctly it will not drop very much). Crack the bleeder screw to assist the egress of any air pockets. Continue to keep the coolant level as high as possible.
---Monitor the heat, the heat should be warm but not scalding. Your temps should stabilize from 182F - 194f depending on the thermostat you have.
---Rev the engine to 2000 rpms and hold steady for about 30 seconds.
---Temps should climb ~5 degrees however it should remain below 195f. If you start seeing temperatures climb north of 210-220f shut the car down. Failure to keep the temps below 240f may cause damage to the cylinder head and/or head gasket.
---Crack the bleed screw gently. The system should not be under any pressure (The expansion cap is still of), there should be no surging or aggressive purging of coolant. Cracking the screw should weep coolant. At this point your system should be mostly free of any excessive air.
---Close the bleed screw firmly, reinstall the expansion chamber cap. The optimal level for the coolant should be just a hair below the top of the bottle, just about 4 cm below the top.

Check the system for leaks and drive it around to make sure you do not have any problems. If the temp spikes and / or you start to lose heat shut down the car and investigate your problem.

Here is my video

E36 waterpump failure - YouTube
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