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limenuke
07-08-2012, 12:51 AM
As I posted earlier, my car overheated when my fan clutch died. The fan doesn't spin at all anymore. My main question is: what should you have checked out after your car overheats due to a non-running clutch fan?

The scenario (long story for those who want to know the exact details):

The first time I noticed this problem, I was coming off the highway. I didn't see that there was a problem until I looked at the temps and found that the heat needle was in the red (red light came on and I noticed small amounts of steam from under the hood). I instantly pulled over. Let it cool for 10 minutes and then drove it to a plaza (2 minutes away).

I taxii'd to my destination and came back to the car 6 hours (completely cool) later. Topped up the coolant (I had almost none left in the reservoir, it seemed) and limped the car home. Since it was dark and cool out, I was able to ease my way around at 50kmph on 60kmph roads in the right lane, turning off my engine at red lights and just being very light with the car. <1km from my house, the car's needle goes into the red again, I see small amounts of steam, but I decide to limp it home even in the red.


The next day, I topped up the coolant once again (no leaks. all of it was steaming out), drove the car around the block once more and it seemed totally fine (once around the block is not even enough to get the engine near normal operating temps).

That said, since my car has overheated twice, what should I check for in the car to ensure everything's alright? Coolant system pressure test? Reservoir cracks? *shrug* I'm not sure.

Ceeker
07-08-2012, 08:29 AM
You can't visibly check for cracks. NEVER overheat a BMW engine. might be lucky "MIGHT" that you didn't warp the head but there is a good chance you "might" have. Check your oil for anti freeze going in. if the oil has a milky color then your SOL. this will be a sure indicator the head gasket is leaking or head is cracked or warped. Another indication will be antifreeze consumption. now that you ran it into the red twice???? it would be a miracle that nothing has gone wrong. these motors are very temperamental.
Replace your fan clutch, and then keep close eye on the coolant level, oil condition, white smoke out the tail pipe(sometimes a sweet smell) if there is any. performance of the car and the temperature gauge while driving and sitting.

Then go forward with the coolant system pressure test. you can check the rad, the reservoir

limenuke
07-08-2012, 10:45 AM
What's the best way to check the oil without dumping it all out of the car?

Tekals
07-08-2012, 11:03 AM
I guess you could always do a compression test... if you have any sort of leaks from your cylinders, it should show up...

Ceeker
07-08-2012, 10:28 PM
What's the best way to check the oil without dumping it all out of the car?

pull the dip stick out. if you see any yellowish goo. that will tell you enough.
that means antifreeze is mixing with the oil. which means most likely you're head is toast.

kenmar
07-08-2012, 11:11 PM
Do the visual fluid checks and monitor levels closely for a few weeks. Then follow up with a compression test. Further yet, get your engine oil analyzed for anti-freeze contamination. The oil analysis will also give you an indication of how much internal wear there is in your engine. I use Blackstone Labs in the US (US$26).

The best source I ever found for fan blade removal tools was Princess Auto (Dixie south of Derry): http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=107500&highlight=32mm

Eurostyle
07-09-2012, 12:13 AM
I hate to say it, but chances are you have a blown head gasket; even without ANY cooling fan, the car will NOT overheat when moving! Very slight chances you might just have air in the system after you lost coolant the first time. Get a new fan clutch, add water (no need to even waste coolant at this point) and bleed the system.

Unlike the newer all aluminum motors, the M52 can take a lot of abuse. In the worst case you will need a head (if cracked) and gasket.

limenuke
07-09-2012, 01:43 AM
I took the dipstick out and it was not milky. I took it out several times, in fact. I'm just going to hope the head gasket isn't blown. If it is, I'll either DIY or find the cheapest indy garage willing to do the job, drop the bills and sell the car immediately. This car was in worse shape when I bought it and I've poured way too much effort into it at this point. I don't mind taking a loss so long as I don't have these headaches again...

As for it overheating, the car came fresh off the highway (hot engine) with no cooling fan and was in 36 degree blazing hot road surface. I was stuck in traffic for at least 30 minutes before that. It started to get bad when I was navigating on street roads. Noticed some steam coming out of my hood (I heard that there is a pressure release system built into the reservoir) so I assume it was coming from that.

328IScreamer
07-09-2012, 01:04 PM
Even though you lost your clutch fan your car should not have over heated. Anybody who knows e36s will tell you one of them most common mods is to just remove the clutch fan completely as there is still the aux fan which is ran electically. This way you don't get the drag on the motor when it kicks on.

As for why you over heated maybe both of your fans quit working or your thermostat got jammed. Also possible you have a crack in one of your rad hoses. There are a couple posabilities but I don't think you cracked your head gasket or did any damage to your motor from what you described. I have seen these motors take a sh^t kicking in my day with no issues.

SiR
07-09-2012, 03:48 PM
hg is likely gone. Would need to pull to repair and you would have to check the head for warpage and any other leaks.

limenuke
07-09-2012, 08:50 PM
Everyone seems to say HG is gone. So are E36s notorious for blown headgaskets?

Also, how can cars be designed like this? I'm a bit surprised that there was no way to know that your car is overheating unless you monitor the temp dial regularly. Considering how fast a car can overheat, you'd have to monitor it at least once a minute, which seems rather troubling. There really should be a "limp" mode activated or a "bong" to indicate that the car is starting to reach undesirable temperatures.

Another scratch in the wall for a most-likely-trashed E36. Just wonderful.

iverson03tj
07-09-2012, 10:10 PM
I took off my fan clutch n put in a spal 16inch medium profile puller fan, and to this day it hasn't kicked on even in the hottest days, n i live real close to down town, so traffic is a b*tch! and it still never over heated... so its maybe your thermostat or HG... i would first do the thermostat, i hate the e36 thermostats.. i swear they work till i let my car sit for winter and every summer i gotta replace it :@

hawgripper
07-10-2012, 06:50 AM
Don't assume anything. Fill it with water like someone suggested earlier and run it. If you don't notice a consumption in either the oil or water level than everything should be ok. I overheated one of mine a few years ago after a rad broke and never had an issue.

SiR
07-10-2012, 09:18 AM
People are jjust preparing you for the worst. Do what is suggested above.

But e36's are old. hg get tired but also it has an iron block an an aluminum head. When the iron over heats the aluminum isnt to fond of it ;)

sometimes you can get away with an over heat and be ok...depends on severity and how many times. These cars are old . No such thing as over heat limp mode back in those days. Not that that would do much because generally if your car is over heating it will do so even at idle or low rpm and low speed conditions(which is usually where it happens) You also cant have a car that automatically turns off because it begins to overheat. That would be unsafe.

sb_600
07-10-2012, 11:38 AM
The "first" thing to go would be your headgasket. Do a compression test, and if that turns out fine, your head & gasket are most likely fine. I overheated my engine several times while it was a street car (cracked radiator fitting once, blown aux fan another time, blown tensionner pulley a third), and then I ran it for 2 years on the track before I swapped it for my M52 build. Yes it "could" happen, but it could also be ok.

Dinanstu
07-10-2012, 12:01 PM
Even though you lost your clutch fan your car should not have over heated. Anybody who knows e36s will tell you one of them most common mods is to just remove the clutch fan completely as there is still the aux fan which is ran electically. This way you don't get the drag on the motor when it kicks on.

As for why you over heated maybe both of your fans quit working or your thermostat got jammed. Also possible you have a crack in one of your rad hoses. There are a couple posabilities but I don't think you cracked your head gasket or did any damage to your motor from what you described. I have seen these motors take a sh^t kicking in my day with no issues.



I disagree.

Removing the clutch fan and not replacing it with an electric alternate is not a mod, it's just removing the first stage of engine cooling. The aux fan comes on if that is inadequate or the A/C is on.

328IScreamer
07-11-2012, 10:39 AM
I've owned 2 e36's for close to 10 years both with this mod and neither have ever passed the half way mark temp wise. Even in stop and go traffic on hot days. There is nopthing wrong with having the aux fan come on in place of the clutch fan.

This is a very common mod and has already been mentioned in this post by others having no issues after romoving clutch fan.

SiR
07-11-2012, 12:26 PM
keep in mind the aux fan mod is just taking the mechanical fan off. it also involves a lower temp fan switch and lower temp t stat

Dinanstu
07-11-2012, 12:56 PM
I just don't consider that a "mod". The E36 has its own cooling issues, why compound the risk? I don't consider removing the spare tire or the A/C system for weight reduction a mod either....

Just my opinion...

limenuke
07-11-2012, 01:30 PM
How does the E36 fare without its clutch fan if you do a clutch fan "delete" and do NOT put in the aux fan + lower tstat?

328IScreamer
07-11-2012, 03:47 PM
you do not need to put in the aux fan it is already there, just an lower t-stat which a lot of people don't bother with. I didn't bother with is on one of my e36s and drove it for 3 years with no issues at all.

Dr. Flyview
07-12-2012, 02:56 PM
How does the E36 fare without its clutch fan if you do a clutch fan "delete" and do NOT put in the aux fan + lower tstat?

It would overheat. You need the aux fan to be working. I have the fan delete mod and I have to be careful that the aux fan works. Whenever it stops working, it will overheat at idle/slow traffic.

Don't worry, if there isn't coolant in the oil, and if there's no oil in your coolant, you're fine. I've overheated mine a few times over the years. The last time a shop was doing an e-test and didn't listen to me to keep the heat blasting inside the car (aux fan was broken). This is something you can do if you see your car is overheating. Moves the heat away from the engine and into the car. The car wouldn't start after they did that and I was pretty scared but after 10min it started again and everything seems to be fine 9 months later...

limenuke
07-13-2012, 02:17 AM
@Flav,Sir,Screamer
- If you remove the main clutch fan but do NOT get a lower t-stat and fan switch for the aux fan (which we assume to be working), how will the car fare?

Well I'm back in Toronto and with my car.

Things I noticed:
1) No white smoke out of back of engine. (Good!)
2) No visible oil in coolant. (Good!)
3) No coolant visible in oil from dip stick checks. (Good!)
4) Unplugged coolant overflow hose & wet radiator (cracked rad maybe? I'll have to see once I bleed the system).
5) It's a bitch to get the fan clutch out without a fan tool. I need a 3lb sledge. Smashing the end of the 32mm wrench with rubber mallet or pipe wrench is not doing the trick. I've been told you can shove something into the pulley to try to increase the friction of the belts. Doesn't sound healthy for the car though.

Anyone want to chime in?

SiR
07-13-2012, 10:01 AM
Ya its a bitch to remove the fan without the tool. Do able but you have to get creative.

I wouldnt do the mechanical fan mod unless you do it properly

Dr. Flyview
07-13-2012, 11:05 AM
@Flav,Sir,Screamer
- If you remove the main clutch fan but do NOT get a lower t-stat and fan switch for the aux fan (which we assume to be working), how will the car fare?

Well I'm back in Toronto and with my car.

Things I noticed:
1) No white smoke out of back of engine. (Good!)
2) No visible oil in coolant. (Good!)
3) No coolant visible in oil from dip stick checks. (Good!)
4) Unplugged coolant overflow hose & wet radiator (cracked rad maybe? I'll have to see once I bleed the system).
5) It's a bitch to get the fan clutch out without a fan tool. I need a 3lb sledge. Smashing the end of the 32mm wrench with rubber mallet or pipe wrench is not doing the trick. I've been told you can shove something into the pulley to try to increase the friction of the belts. Doesn't sound healthy for the car though.

Anyone want to chime in?

I don't know, I put in the full kit: 80c thermostat, water wetter (though I've changed coolant since so guess not), fan nut cap, and let's not forget a working auxiliary fan.

P.s. if you decide to keep a fan clutch, I think I still have one you can have for $30.

Sent from my LG-P930 using Tapatalk 2

328IScreamer
07-13-2012, 11:33 AM
Car will work fine without the kit......I have done it with no issues what so ever. As mentioned above though it's good to be confident your aux fan is in good working condition

Axxe
07-13-2012, 10:15 PM
Electric fan or nothing. **** OEM fans, even if they flow great. I have a 14" puller unshrouded on my mishimoto and have zero issues.

Eurostyle
07-13-2012, 11:19 PM
@Flav,Sir,Screamer
- If you remove the main clutch fan but do NOT get a lower t-stat and fan switch for the aux fan (which we assume to be working), how will the car fare?

Well I'm back in Toronto and with my car.

Things I noticed:
1) No white smoke out of back of engine. (Good!)
2) No visible oil in coolant. (Good!)
3) No coolant visible in oil from dip stick checks. (Good!)
4) Unplugged coolant overflow hose & wet radiator (cracked rad maybe? I'll have to see once I bleed the system).
5) It's a bitch to get the fan clutch out without a fan tool. I need a 3lb sledge. Smashing the end of the 32mm wrench with rubber mallet or pipe wrench is not doing the trick. I've been told you can shove something into the pulley to try to increase the friction of the belts. Doesn't sound healthy for the car though.

Anyone want to chime in?

The fan removal tool is under $20 at Princess Auto, do yourself a favour and get one!

What people seem to forget about when talking about head gaskets is that mixing coolant and oil is NOT always a must! You can have 0 mixing, but engine pressure escaping to the cooling system. In some cases this works VERY slow, and it may take over a week to build up (at wich point it starts overheating), you open the cap and you are good for another week! I once drove a car like this for almost a year.

Once you have everything together, run the car and open the overflow tank. Look for any bubbles coming out, even very slow ones....

limenuke
07-14-2012, 12:16 AM
I guess it's time for me to update this thread since there's a lot of activity here! I have a parallel thread on bimmerforums.


I replaced the clutch fan and re-connected the overflow hose. I couldn't get any of the three Princess Auto representatives I contacted to find me a fan tool over the phone so I decided not to make the huge trip to missisauga to chance not finding it. I called NAPA and Partsource but searches came up dry. Ended up going to a local garage who cracked my fan clutch loose for free =).

Anyways, through the repair, I found out three things:
1) The overflow hose sends a LOT of coolant into the reservoir if you overfill the reservoir.
2) I had a lot of air in my system (bled it) using the bleeder cap and letting the car run for about 20 minutes. Lots of extra coolant came out of here (overfilled the expansion tank).
3) My fan shroud has a tendency to come loose. Prior to my fix, I found my clutch fan not moving at all. Thought the clutch fan part was completely obliterated but when I took it off, I noticed that clutch fan was still good and had no play in it. This means that the fan should've been spinning. Weird, I thought.

After putting on the new fan and fan clutch, I drove for a bit only to find that my new fan had stopped as well. I immediately noticed that my fix had undone itself and that the overflow hose was jamming the fan, cracking a new blade (noo!!).

It was unclear how this happened, but I found my shroud unmounted from the rad (Even though the side rivets are still good) and the entire thing had shifted into the way of the fan.

My remedy so far has involved discovering the following:

1) Fixing destroyed overflow hose clips on fan shroud:
The original hose mounts on the fan shroud were destroyed, so I drilled some holes in the shroud for zip ties. These zip ties can hold your overflow hose. This must be done if your fan shroud's clips are cracked.

2) The fan shroud unseated itself (top plastic clip is intact but somehow came off of the rad).
This was really weird. Furthermore, I realized that I had no idea how the bottom of the fan shroud mounts to the rad.

Fixing #2 involved drilling a hole through the fan shroud's plastic clip that holds on to the rad. I took a screw, washer and nut and fastened the shroud to the rad firmly from the top. Reinstalled the plastic rivets on the side.

Took the car for another test drive and I don't appear to be losing coolant or anything. As I parked back home, I did not turn off the car. Popped the hood to see if my fan got jammed again (just to check). It was fine. Got back in the car, reversed and repositioned my car. At this point, I suddenly started hearing a periodic thub-thub-thub-thub noise. It seemed to be coming from the vicinity of the fan. I have a feeling the fan shroud got loose at the bottom and that the fan is brushing agianst something along the bottom of the shroud.... but I've no idea.

Any ideas on how else to ensure my fan shroud does not come loose and what a fan-related thub-thub-thub noise is?

328IScreamer
07-16-2012, 10:46 AM
Massive headaches could have been saved if you just didn't bother with this useless fan lol

not to mention the power gains :)