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3-Series (E46, E90) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.

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Old 05-26-2012, 03:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Temperature Guage - BMW 320i E46 a/t (2001)

On the first early morning start, the temperature gauge is not at 12 O’clock. It stays at 12:10 or 12:15. It will stay there as long as I do not switch off the engine and let it rest for 2 to 3 three minutes. Once I let it rest for 2 minutes and restart the car the gauge re-adjusts itself to 12 O’clock.

I have started experiencing this problem just a month ago when I did the following work on my car:

1) Radiator – replaced.
2) Thermostat – replaced (genuine BMW part).
3) Upper & Lower hoses – replaced (genuine BMW parts).
4) Coolant Temperature Sensor on Lower Hose – replaced.
5) Camshaft Sensor – replaced.

Important -- Got the system bleeded with heaters on


Once this work was done, from the second day I started experiencing this problem. In a quest to solve this mystery I have recently got the following things done.

1) Fan clutch – replaced.
2) Coolant temperature Sensor on cylinder (one on the engine) – replaced.

Having said all this, I got the following checked:

1) Auxiliary Fan – good working condition
2) Water pump – no leakage

The car is checked by three BMW Mechanics. Out of the three, one is of the opinion that there is nothing wrong with the car and am just wasting money on it.

The second one says it is the cluster – he thinks the temperature gauge does not sit at zero. So that is why it is going over by 2 or 2.5 mm over the mid point.

The third one says in any case it has to sit at the mid point.

I am confused and baffled over this. It is giving me headache – please help.
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Old 05-26-2012, 05:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the Werkz

Have any of these people told you what temperature the coolant is running at through reading the on board computer. If its within the normal range, then opinion number 2 may be correct, and number one may have a point.

What started you on the path of having all this work done on the coolant system in the first place? Were there other issues?

Are there any performance issues other than a slightly elevated temperature gauge?
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think it may be a temperature sensor that is causing the issue. A bad sensor can through off the reading.
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Old 05-26-2012, 03:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply. No they haven't told me but I am definetly going to get it diagnosed again on Monday and would for sure raise your point with them.

The reason that prompted me to get all this done was that almost 2 months ago the Eml light came on and when I took it to the mechanic he told me that the exausht system was clogged and did an alteration on it , that is he took out the front silencer and instead fitted in two straight pipes. After a while, at the onset of winter season, the fan belt started making a screeching sound. When he opened up the belt it was extremely rustic - almost like withering away (falling apart). The bearings were also making noise so got the belt as well as all the three bearings replaced. Anyhow, after a shortwhile the car became sluggish. On diagnosis it showed a faulty camshaft sensor. However, it got me really worried and so I took the car to the most renowned bmw machenic in South Africa and got it fully diagnosed. As per his diagnosis, there was a leakage in radiator and thermostat was also leaking as there were antifreeze marks on it. That is why I did all the work as mentioned above.

Now, there is no performance issuses with the car except for this temperature issue. But what I do not understand is that during noon when it is really hot the guage stays in the middle but in the morning when it is cold - below 5 centrigade- it would rise 2mm above
midpoint and no matter even if I would turn on the heater it won't climb down. Similarly, just to check I have also turned on the ac to see whether it would rise further but it just stays there. But when I turn off the car to walk my son to his classroom in the morning and come back it readjust itself to mid point. I must also mention that his school is just 2 km away from my home and it does this when I am half way to the school. I have done nearly everything on this car and have spent alot of money. At the same time, I like this car and simply sette

Last edited by Aftab; 05-26-2012 at 03:44 PM. Reason: To sum up the reply
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Old 05-26-2012, 03:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Brittski, pls help me in sorting out this temp issue. I simply don't want to sell this car amd the same time am worried about damaging gasket or the motor on this.
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Do you have acess to a digital laser thermometer? I would use this to determine te ACTUAL temperatures of the engine. Using a laser thermometer will give you the temperature of various components in the cooling system to determine if their really is an issue. If the needle only moves a very slight bit past the 12 O'clock mark it shouldnt be a big issue.
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Here I am attaching the temperature reading from my car system. The pics of temp gauge will be attached later on.
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Temperature Guage - BMW 320i E46 a/t (2001)-temperature-reading.jpg  
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Old 05-28-2012, 01:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Have you taken an actual reading? That's good you have that, but you need an actual reading of the temp in the engine bay to compare. That way you will know if a sensor is bad.
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