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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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#1 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 06:08 AM
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OMG! Not another newbie! (got a question guys)

Yep, another newbie here.
I just bought my first BMW, a 1997 328is 2dr.
The PO had replaced the thermostat housing and said it needed a head gasket (I bought the car for $2500).
I drove the car 30 miles home and the temp gauge never went above the halfway point.
The next day I was checking it over, no water in the oil and no steam/condensation/drips from the tail pipe.
I thought, HMMMMM!
The driver display says "check coolant level"
I followed the coolant fill/bleed procedure (heater on high, bleed screw, etc), heated up and cooled down 4 times, bleeding each time.
The coolant system was pretty much full and the reservoir took only about 2 quarts.
Yesterday I drove the car about 45 miles in varied traffic and speeds, the temp gauge again never went above halfway.
After the drive, I checked the reservoir and it was full to the top.
The "check coolant level" message is still there?

HOWEVER, I do smell coolant near the front of the car.
I have searched extensively all around the radiator and engine for even the smallest of leak, only to find nothing!
Everything is bone dry, nothing dripping on the ground, NADA.

I'm a GM tech of 22 years and well versed in leak detection but this one eludes me.
If anyone has had a similar problem or knows where I should look, please let me know.
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#2 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 06:57 AM
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Is the sensor plugged in? maybe its faulty

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#3 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 07:15 AM
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I see a sensor in the bottom of the reservoir and another in the side of the radiator, near the top.
Both are plugged in.
Any test procedure to check these sensors?
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#4 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StPete36 View Post
I see a sensor in the bottom of the reservoir and another in the side of the radiator, near the top.
Both are plugged in.
Any test procedure to check these sensors?
pull out the connector and short the wires with a paper clip. IGN OFF, then IGN ON. if u lose the check coolant message. sensor is defective... or the sensor float is "just" stuck.

coolant leak? what about heater core leak???

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#5 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 03:49 PM
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It could be the heater core, but if he is not lossing an coolant, it could just be the sensor. I would keep checking the level and if it does not go down after a week of driving, you are probably fine.

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#6 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 04:19 PM
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Sounds like you got a deal ont he car. I would say pressure test it but I'm sure you already thought of that. Just keep driving it and checking the fluid level periodically.

+1 on darkhorse for testing the level sensor


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#7 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 04:40 PM
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Thanks darkhorse and everyone for the replies.
Gonna test that sensor as soon as the rain stops
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