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Old 10-21-2010, 11:50 AM   #1
Philboski
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Well, I think I've finally done it.....

I did the expansion tank this weekend. Job went well, got the coolant bled according to the Bentley procedure, everything looked good.....

....until this morning. Got a low coolant warning on my way in. Nothing out of the ordinary -- I'd had my suspicions that the coolant tank might not have solved my leak, and when it's come up in the past, I simply topped up while the car was cool after work. I have been watching the temperature gauge like a hawk since the weekend, and no issues came up. Then today, it started to get past halfway -- quickly. Dammit, I say to myself, better get off the road.

So I try to get over -- no luck, cars blowing past me on the right. My state of panic wasn't helping. I finally make the right lane, and I am caught between exits. Of course, I am without my cell phone, so parking on the highway would be problematic at best. I kill the motor and coast as long as I can with the hazards on.

I finally made it to the Parkdale exit, and got it off the road. I got CAA to tow it to Autobahn in Manotick, and we'll see what happens (if Todd ever gets to it).

I have a bad feeling that I have really screwed it up, and it's my own damn fault. I am trying to console myself with the fact that the car wasn't worth much, even before this morning's events, so if it is toast, it won't be too much of a financial hit. But still, there is the issue of my "car guy" pride and credibility, which may have taken a serious hit today.

If the motor is done, or the car's too expensive to fix, I will likely get my impact gun out, and the feeding frenzy for parts can begin.

Last edited by Philboski; 10-21-2010 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 10-21-2010, 05:54 PM   #2
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Man, I've had my E30 almost at red. I have no cell and I was a hour drive from my house. I just waited and let it cool then drove the piss outta it and even turned the engine off on hills and then turn it back on to gun it back on a straight to get it back home. You had to have busted a hose. Changing a coolant tank to one that doesn't leak wouldn't do that. The pressure must have built up and went to the path of least resistance. Don't feel bad. I've busted 2 hoses and then said F#@!%#@% this... then replaced the rad and hoses just to make sure it doesn't happen again.
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:48 PM   #3
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It was firing steam out of the bleed screw like crazy. It could have been an air pocket that didn't show up until today.

On the upside, Todd, started the car up to move it, and it ran fine. I'm trying not to get my hopes up because they often crushed with an iron boot when I get too optimistic (in auto-related cases, anyway).
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Old 10-21-2010, 11:57 PM   #4
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If it helps, mine was just a heater hose from the water valve to the block. I think my tryig to change the motor mounts did it...

I also saw the low coolant message on and off all summer, I bled it three times and it finally stopped coming back. I'd say air pocket.

If you need help, my offer is still open. Seriously.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:12 AM   #5
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Sell it and get another 540i.

But seriously, sounds like this car has given you enough troubles already. Time to sell and get something else.
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Old 10-22-2010, 07:29 AM   #6
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Next year I'll be hunting for another car. I love the 540i but I don't want to get one that needs some work. I don't have tools to fix things
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:11 AM   #7
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What method did you use to bleed the system? If you used the procedure in the Bentley, it doesn't work at all.

Hope everything works out. I'd say the only thing I'd be worried about would be head gaskets. But if everything seemed fine when he started it up, I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 10-22-2010, 11:53 AM   #8
Philboski
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Yes, I used the procedure in the Bentley. Logically, it makes sense, especially since more coolant went in than came out when I drained the rad.
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:00 PM   #9
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Yeah unfortunately the bentley procedure really doesn't circulate the coolant enough to get all the air out. The only way that really works well, coupled with a raised front end, is the one from the BMW TIS. Which involves running the car with the bleed screw out and tank cap off. Fill as it's running and the level in the tank keeps dropping. It always works first try, without the need to bleed again later.
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Old 10-22-2010, 02:29 PM   #10
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Yeah, that's the classic, non-fancy-BMW way that I have done on other cars.


Sigh.
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:12 PM   #11
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Got word back from Autobahn -- new water pump and thermostat installed, and we're good to go. Todd said he didn't find any other issues.

Whew!
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:52 PM   #12
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Glad to hear you're back on the road!
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:53 AM   #13
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Your car is a 1997 and if the valley pan gasket has not been changed it might be its time. Tends to leak in the rear of the motor.

Hopefully VPG is not an issue because its a big job.
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:55 AM   #14
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Did the valley pan with the intake manifold gaskets two years ago.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:24 AM   #15
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A further update: Got the snow tire on Saturday morning (whew!) and threw in new rear end links while I was at it. The car is running fabulously, warms up nicely, and the temp has not spiked. A huge relief!

It's easy to forget how nice the E39 is in the colder weather. The heated seats, heated wheel, and excellent climate control system really make things nice and cozy on a cold day.
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