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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1990 320i bmw. Filled up the coolant overflow tank with 750 mils (filled up to cold level line when engine was cold) about 2 weeks (220 kilometers ago). Drove 20 or 40 k's that night and about 500 or so mils had disapeared when I checked it in the morning. 190 kilometers later the rest of the 250 remianing mils of coolant has disapeared. Car has new radiator. Car only smokes white smoke out the exhaust when engine is cold and when the engine was COLD a few days ago there was water coming out of exhaust tip. I cant see any leaks around the radiator pipes. I cannot see any evidence of water in the oil.
 

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Get a cylinder pressure test done, or you can DIY if you buy a gauge.
 

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that's simple to find out...if it's not leaking on the ground then start it up in the morning and let it warm up and then look at the exhaust. If white/ish vapor comes out of the exhaust then you are burning coolant, which would explain where it's going (the coolant). There is no other place coolant can go, it either is leaking all over the ground or it's being burned due to a cylinder head gasket leak...that's it...my guess is that it's a cylinder head gasket that's shot...figure $1000 to clean the whole thing up at a shop...around $500 if you do it yourself...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
the other day

i noticed a small wet patch on passenger floor, I currently have the center console out as i have been fixing the reverse lights so i had a good view up into the dash with a big halogen lamp but couldnt see where it was coming from? The fluid might have been antifreeze but it was hard to tell because it was soaked into the carpet. Thought it might be a leaking heater so I have used the heater alot since and there hasnt been one more drip. Any ideas?
 

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Taste it, sounds nasty but its one way that I've always done and I'm still here. If so check your hoses to your heater core and the core its self. Go to autozone and do that renta tool thing and get a pressure tester for the cooling system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
hasnt leaked since

checked hoses etc. Am going to remove firewall panel soon to see if i can see anything. How does a pressure test actualy work, this is my guess they pump it up to a pressure higher than operating pressure and then look for the leaks? and will a pressure test detect a leak in the heater core or is it only when the heater is turned on that coolant flows through the heater core?
 

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checked hoses etc. Am going to remove firewall panel soon to see if i can see anything. How does a pressure test actualy work, this is my guess they pump it up to a pressure higher than operating pressure and then look for the leaks? and will a pressure test detect a leak in the heater core or is it only when the heater is turned on that coolant flows through the heater core?
pressure test is done by introducing about 15psi into the cooling system over a period of 5-10mikes. the 15psi in the system usually will expose exactly where the leaks are. In bimmers, if the system cannot hold pressure, then the car will overheat. Pressure test will detect leaks in the heater core if your ignition is ON or car is running while doing the test.

*wet patch on floor could come from A/c condensate when the condensate discharge hose is clogged or disconnected.

** other test... turn on heater(KOER)and the whole cabin will smell of coolant if heater core is leaking-FOR SURE!

If you use green coolant. check spark plug condition. If you have a cylinder head leak(depending on severity) spark plug will be coolant wet, or have an orange hue at the electrodes(the effect of coolant burning in the combustion chambers)

Best of Luck to you:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thanks

update i caught it when it was leaking. As i currently have the center console removed after keeping a close eye on the heater i caught a drip come out from underneath one of the screws which hold the heater in place, bingo. In the process of finding a new core have read you should also replace the seals so i will do that too. I hope this is where all of my coolant is going i would rather replace a heater core than a head gasket. Thanks for the info on sparkplug colour..i will check
 
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