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General E46 Forum
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:52 PM   #1
nicholasglass
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Cool Radiator Flush- Engine drain plug

Wanted to see if anyone else has changed the coolant on their e46 lately. I have a 325xi and the radiator flush was easy, but am having some trouble locating the engine coolant plug, my bentley manual picture isn't quite what im seeing under the car. I think I might have located the plug up high on the block next to where the exhaust enters, looks like a plug anyway. But if it is the right one, how in the heck do you even get it loose, its tight space to work a ratchet or much of anything else either. Any ideas would be fantastic.

Thanks everyone.
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Old 10-18-2008, 10:14 PM   #2
Custom3
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your sure its not the oil drain plug your looking at??

the drain plug for the coolant should be right on the driver side of the engine block.
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Old 10-18-2008, 10:22 PM   #3
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no, not the oil plug, its up on the mid passenger side of the engine. But the bentley manual said the exhaust side, which is the passenger side. So.... is it on the drivers side?
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:16 AM   #4
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Hmm interesting, the guy on bmw330ci.net says it's on the driver side, while the guy on BMW325i.net says it's in the exhaust side. I thought the plug was on the exhaust side, but I couldn't get it loose for the life of me, so I just did a partial drain/fill when I changed my thermostat.
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:51 AM   #5
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Haven't actually looked at my e46 but all the other BMW's I've worked on have the plug on the exhaust side due to the angle that the engine is mounted on.
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:52 AM   #6
nicholasglass
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That is what i was thinking, partial drain. Not only is it in a terribly tight spot, but it must be torqued 100lbs plus. It would be nice to drain the engine block too though. Well i will give it one more try and bag it otherwise. Thanks gents.
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:55 AM   #7
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I was thinking about draining my own coolant.

When I added up the cost to buy the coolant, buy the long handled pivoting head wrench needed to open that bolt, considered the probability I would need to replace one or more plastic parts in the process and get completely soaked with coolant while completing the drain....

When the stealership told me they charge $200 including the fluid I decided I'll let them get wet.
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Old 10-19-2008, 12:08 PM   #8
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Well, no dealership within 250 miles for me, and good lord there is no way im letting anyone around here touch my car unless it is completely necessary- But i do know what you mean especially the water in the face thing, but i guess its all part of diy, get wet and greasy. Ok, so after looking at the bmw325i.net post about the coolant flush, i am sure that even though it didnt look quite the same as my bentley manual picture, that the plug 3/4 of the way up the block on the exhaust side in the terribly cramped location that you need a extended attatchment for your ratchet set "is" in fact the engine coolant drain plug. HAHA
Thanks everyone for your helps.
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Old 10-19-2008, 12:09 PM   #9
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Drain plug is on the exhaust side. This is the passenger side for US spec cars, driver's side for certain Euro or other RHD models.
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Old 10-19-2008, 12:14 PM   #10
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Nice commercial custom 3, i enjoyed it.
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Old 10-19-2008, 12:26 PM   #11
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The drain plug for the engine block should be tightened to 25Nm and not 100Nm. The plug can be taken off using flexible head ratchet or flexible extension for normal ratchet. An additional 1.5 foot extension bar means the ratchet can be used underneath everything.

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Old 10-19-2008, 12:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwbun View Post
I was thinking about draining my own coolant.

When I added up the cost to buy the coolant, buy the long handled pivoting head wrench needed to open that bolt, considered the probability I would need to replace one or more plastic parts in the process and get completely soaked with coolant while completing the drain....

When the stealership told me they charge $200 including the fluid I decided I'll let them get wet.

I don't know of anyone who is so proud of his incompetance as you, or as clueless on technical matters as you.

It cost me about $50 for the OEM fluids. Based on equivalent local buying power, that eqautes to $25. Can you see why you car is high maintenance ?

There's no need to get wet in this job either. One of my other posts describes a splash free method for draining the engine block: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...ne+block+drain.

Last edited by GoingNuts; 10-19-2008 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 10-19-2008, 12:58 PM   #13
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thank you
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholasglass View Post
Nice commercial custom 3, i enjoyed it.
and to the OP....My plug was on the driver side....check near the alternator
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Old 10-19-2008, 01:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Custom3 View Post
and to the OP....My plug was on the driver side....check near the alternator
Well, for everyone else on the planet with an M54 motor, the correct drain plug is located on the exhaust side of the block.
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Old 10-19-2008, 02:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholasglass View Post
Wanted to see if anyone else has changed the coolant on their e46 lately. I have a 325xi and the radiator flush was easy, but am having some trouble locating the engine coolant plug, my bentley manual picture isn't quite what im seeing under the car. I think I might have located the plug up high on the block next to where the exhaust enters, looks like a plug anyway. But if it is the right one, how in the heck do you even get it loose, its tight space to work a ratchet or much of anything else either. Any ideas would be fantastic.

Thanks everyone.
The IX sucks to get to that plug it is relay tight best bet is to remove one 02 sensor so you can get to it. Make sure to plug the hole and move the sensor as coolant in the exhaust will ruin the 02 sensors and possiably damage the cat.
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoingNuts View Post
I don't know of anyone who is so proud of his incompetance as you, or as clueless on technical matters as you.

It cost me about $50 for the OEM fluids. Based on equivalent local buying power, that eqautes to $25. Can you see why you car is high maintenance ?
You spent 6 hours trying to figure out how to put a baggie around a hole and you still ended up getting wet.

You're the techno-god alright.



I'm happy to throw a few bucks at some moron like you to go crawl under there and get wet. Its a simple enough task that's hard to screw up and just as importantly, easy to tell when you do.



.

Last edited by bmwbun; 10-20-2008 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:20 PM   #17
Art Vandelay
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When I did my cooling system refresh (thermostat, water pump, expansion tank, belts), I had the same problem as the OP. I obviously was able to drain much of the fluid through the two plugs in the front of the engine compartment, but when it came time to remove the plug from the engine block, I tried for about 30 minutes and gave up. Didn't have an adequate extension for my socket set, and I couldn't generate enough leverage to get it loose. Ended up taking the car to an indy shop to have the fluid drained and replaced. Cost me about $85, and well worth it.

Am I showing pride in my incompetence too?
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Old 12-16-2008, 01:32 PM   #18
hen2
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Engine drain plug issue

I had a question regarding the engine drain plug. After draining the two radiator screws, i went under to take out the engine drain plug and this is what i saw:



shouldnt it look like this?:

http://www.bmw330ci.net/maintenance/...t/Coolant7.jpg

any ideas? cant get it off...
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Old 12-16-2008, 02:11 PM   #19
blackbeard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hen2 View Post
I had a question regarding the engine drain plug. After draining the two radiator screws, i went under to take out the engine drain plug and this is what i saw:



shouldnt it look like this?:

http://www.bmw330ci.net/maintenance/...t/Coolant7.jpg

any ideas? cant get it off...
for you i would just buy extra coolant and drain and fill twice through thte radiator drain as dfrilling and tapping that would be a nightmare
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Old 07-11-2009, 05:12 PM   #20
JS8736
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Radiator drain plug DIY remove reinstall

I just finished a cooling system rebuild on my E46, M54 330XI. I got the block drain plug out with two 10" 3/8 inch extensions, and a 3/8 inch swivel then of course a 13mm socket. I'd suggest you use a 12 pt. socket vs. a 6 point which aids in a solid seat on the bolt head. You also should use two 10", or one 20" extension if you can find one to avoid play created by using too many extensions. Use a flash light and extend the tool just forward of the front boot, (passenger side), and just behind the AC compressor. Make sure the socket is tight on the drain plug head pressing the tool against the head, (to avoid allowing it to torque off), and TURN with some force. It will crack free and just unscrew it. I kept going until it turned all the way out and fell onto the cross member and I then fished if off by feeling around. (I also used rhino ramps....As you're not directly underneath but off to the side, you also won't get wet, at all. Getting the plug back in is tricky as my arm was a little too fat to thread up there, so I had my 18 year old son with thinner arms thread it in. Use the extensions again but with a torque wrench and tighten to 25 nm. I've attached pictures of the drain plug and tools I used. Finally I used a torque wrench in place of the small ratchet. That's it!!
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