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Old 07-17-2006, 04:07 AM   #1
beemer bum
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Question newbie rad prob

i am the new proud owner of a 1999 bmw 323i. i won't wax poetic about the ride, suffice it to say, i'll never leave the marque.

now, i've just had a horrifying occurence. i got a light for the rad on the dash. heat was okay. when i turned off, i noticed fluid leaking onto the pavement. opening the hood some very hot high pressured spraying was still taking place and a fair amount had been forced out from the looks of the hood and surrounding parts. it wasn't drenched, just wetter than i would have liked. the rad cap or at least where the fluid was coming out of (i'm new to beemer technological wizardry) seemed to be sound, seals and all looked fine, it was fitted tight).

questions: what would have caused this hissing out of fluid? i just recently had it serviced (level one) at the local bmw dealer, and it inlcuded a flush. i've put a couple of thousand kilometers on it since with no perceivable problems.

2. am i filling up the rad right? i added some water to the spout (this is the area which seems to have a hydrometer rod which floats upwards at the addition of fluid). i've heard others commenting on "bleeding" the system. i have not seen an overflow jar. i would assume that, once i find it, should be maintained at a proper level as well. can anyone educate my relative stupidity with my new toy?

much thanks.
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Old 07-17-2006, 05:16 AM   #2
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Hi Beemer,

I believe your 1999 323i (Sedan) is an e46 not an e36... I'm going to move this thread to the e46 section.

The fluid usually hisses out from:

a) hole in radiator
b) hoses coming loose / not clamped properly
c) crack in reservoir
d) bad seal on radiator cap

Note that the rad cap is designed to leak under extreme pressure... (there is a PSI rating on the cap itself)... so if you were to over-fill the system, it would purge out the excess coolant However, this doesn't seem like the problem you're facing since you've had rad fluid all over the engine and your car was over-heating.

I think there are two bleeder screws on e46's. One is at the thermostat housing (against the engine block), the second is beside the reservoir where the rad cap is. I'd have to go outside and double check on the e46 to be certain though... I'm more familiar with the e36 engine bay still.

What you have to do right now is isolate where the leak is... allow your engine bay to dry, fill up the reservoir again.... open the hood, and start the engine up. Wait for it to warm up and inspect the engine bay for leaks. Be careful not to rev the engine otherwise it could spray and burn you.

Once we figure this out, we will know what needs to be done to fix your cooling system.

Justin
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Old 07-18-2006, 01:29 AM   #3
beemer bum
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin e36
I believe your 1999 323i (Sedan) is an e46 not an e36... I'm going to move this thread to the e46 section.
correct sir. just got that confirmed by the dealer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin e36
The fluid usually hisses out from:

a) hole in radiator
b) hoses coming loose / not clamped properly
c) crack in reservoir
d) bad seal on radiator cap
d) cap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin e36
Note that the rad cap is designed to leak under extreme pressure... (there is a PSI rating on the cap itself)... so if you were to over-fill the system, it would purge out the excess coolant However, this doesn't seem like the problem you're facing since you've had rad fluid all over the engine and your car was over-heating.
no, the temp was fine. the dash light came on for a few kilometres, i slowed and before i got off the highway it went out. when i got it home, another few kilometres, it was hissing from the cap, and fluid was dripping onto the pavement. all from the cap. i've not located the overflow cannister. anyone got any pix to point it out?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin e36
I think there are two bleeder screws on e46's. One is at the thermostat housing (against the engine block), the second is beside the reservoir where the rad cap is. I'd have to go outside and double check on the e46 to be certain though... I'm more familiar with the e36 engine bay still.

What you have to do right now is isolate where the leak is... allow your engine bay to dry, fill up the reservoir again.... open the hood, and start the engine up. Wait for it to warm up and inspect the engine bay for leaks. Be careful not to rev the engine otherwise it could spray and burn you.
i will get on this tomorrow. thanks for the response.
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Old 07-18-2006, 12:06 PM   #4
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new cap might do the trick but have it chkd out asap for sure!

its been really hot too so this happens to a lot of ppl, something just gave up i guess!
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Old 07-18-2006, 05:55 PM   #5
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Could be a faulty cap. Get it replaced at the dealer.. they're not very expensive. The seal on them can go over time. Take it off and check the bottom for any white deposits.

Also ensure your reservoir is not over-filled.. if it is, as I said.. the cap is designed to leak to let out excess pressure.
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Old 07-18-2006, 10:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin e36
Could be a faulty cap. Get it replaced at the dealer.. they're not very expensive. The seal on them can go over time. Take it off and check the bottom for any white deposits.

Also ensure your reservoir is not over-filled.. if it is, as I said.. the cap is designed to leak to let out excess pressure.
looks like the overflow container is cracked. the service guy suggested it, as well as the thermostat housing (made from the same plastic material) be replaced. i opted to have the overflow ($134Cdn) replaced. at the same time i'm having both belts replaced (they were cracking kinda scary like).

wouldn't this condition have been observable if the previous dealer had done a pressure check when they flushed and refilled the coolant??? i have a bad feeling that their service was sub par.
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Old 07-19-2006, 10:58 AM   #7
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they will never admit that, was it elite?

you are from ottawa too, cool!
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Old 07-20-2006, 12:37 AM   #8
beemer bum
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aziz
they will never admit that, was it elite?

you are from ottawa too, cool!
otto's

just took it in to duss brothers. rudy says they don't pressure check the rad (and he assumed otto's wouldn't have either). too many other parts may fail. looks like everything's up for high speed cruisin, again

been thinking about joining the bmwccottawa. are you a member?
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Old 07-20-2006, 12:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beemer bum
otto's

just took it in to duss brothers. rudy says they don't pressure check the rad (and he assumed otto's wouldn't have either). too many other parts may fail. looks like everything's up for high speed cruisin, again

been thinking about joining the bmwccottawa. are you a member?

not yet but i do attend the cruzs sometime, lots of fun, to meet the rest of the ottawa boys, chk this link:
http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=87

welcome to max!
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