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Old 02-09-2020, 04:21 PM   #1
maytool330ci
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Coolant reservoir popped

Been working on this 330cic project I picked up last month. Did a ton of work so far, plenty more to go.

I finally threw picked up some wheels yesterday. Style 68s with brand new tires. Just changed em out today and took the car for a short ride to the gas station (first actual drive since doing my VANOS,VCG, 02 sensors, ccv tubing, and tune up)

In total id say it was about a 15 minute trip. As soon as I park the car back at my shop and turn it off. I go to close my gate and I hear a small pop, and coolant started pouring out. I thought a coolant hose blew but it turns out it was the reservoir. There is a crack running vertically down the side of it.

The good thing is that I already ordered one and itís on itís way. I swear this car hates me, but thatís what happens when you buy a 170k mile ,neglected car.


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Old 02-09-2020, 04:26 PM   #2
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Very common failure. What brand replacement did you buy? This is an OEM-or-nothing part. 75K replacement interval recommended, even if the tank isn't leaking.

Adding a lower-pressure radiator cap (1.2 or 1.4 bar) helps the longevity of the cooling system also.
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Old 02-09-2020, 04:31 PM   #3
maytool330ci
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Very common failure. What brand replacement did you buy? This is an OEM-or-nothing part. 75K replacement interval recommended, even if the tank isn't leaking.

Adding a lower-pressure radiator cap (1.2 or 1.4 bar) helps the longevity of the cooling system also.


I bought the genuine bmw part from ecstuning.

Thanks for that info on the cap. I didnít know that. Iíll pick one up from the parts store when I change the tank.


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Old 02-09-2020, 04:48 PM   #4
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And remember, don't overfill the tank. This is the one expansion tank killer when there is no place for the expanded coolant when the engine is at temperature.
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Old 02-09-2020, 05:34 PM   #5
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I think that happened to me twice. One morning, I was heading out to meet a friend and it popped before I put it in gear. Hang in there, it looks like you've tackled the main issues and it's easy sailing from here.
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Old 02-09-2020, 05:55 PM   #6
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And remember, don't overfill the tank. This is the one expansion tank killer when there is no place for the expanded coolant when the engine is at temperature.


I may have actually overfilled it and caused this.

I replaced my thermostat and housing. Filled up the coolant and my upper hose ended up blowing off bc it wasnít pushed all the way into place.

So I refilled the coolant and it seemed like it was taking way more than I thought it should.

Fill until it comes out of the bleeder screw port right?


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Old 02-09-2020, 06:00 PM   #7
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I think that happened to me twice. One morning, I was heading out to meet a friend and it popped before I put it in gear. Hang in there, it looks like you've tackled the main issues and it's easy sailing from here.


Iíve done a ton of work so far and it still needs a whole lot more. Sometimes I wish I would have bought a car that was in better shape. But I got this one for $800 , so I feel itís worth it.


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Old 02-09-2020, 06:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by maytool330ci View Post
I may have actually overfilled it and caused this.

I replaced my thermostat and housing. Filled up the coolant and my upper hose ended up blowing off bc it wasn't pushed all the way into place.

So I refilled the coolant and it seemed like it was taking way more than I thought it should.

Fill until it comes out of the bleeder screw port right?


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Once you bleed it as you have done, you need to remove the excess coolant. I use a simple turkey baster. You should have a level probe inside the radiator when you remove the cap. I set mine to the first mark and the level float is just starting to float when cold.

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Old 02-09-2020, 06:10 PM   #9
maytool330ci
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Once you bleed it as you have done, you need to remove the excess coolant. I use a simple turkey baster. You should have a level probe inside the radiator when you remove the cap. I set mine to the first mark and the level float is just starting to float when cold.



Cool , thanks Iíll keep that in mind when I fill it up.

I gotta refresh the whole cooling system tbh. 170k miles and I have no idea when the water pump was last changed.


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Old 02-09-2020, 06:16 PM   #10
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Cool , thanks Iíll keep that in mind when I fill it up.

I gotta refresh the whole cooling system tbh. 170k miles and I have no idea when the water pump was last changed.


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At 170K miles, you are on borrowed time if it is all still original. My water pump let go at 150K and I replaced everything, I mean everything, even down to the bolts that hold the fan to the fan clutch (automatic). I spent about $1500 at the dealer but you can get the kits from ECS Tuning or FCP Euro for about $800+. I have 208,000 miles now without a second thought about coolant system failure
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Old 02-09-2020, 07:10 PM   #11
maytool330ci
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At 170K miles, you are on borrowed time if it is all still original. My water pump let go at 150K and I replaced everything, I mean everything, even down to the bolts that hold the fan to the fan clutch (automatic). I spent about $1500 at the dealer but you can get the kits from ECS Tuning or FCP Euro for about $800+. I have 208,000 miles now without a second thought about coolant system failure


Yeah judging by the condition of the rest of the car Iíd say everything is WAY past due. The car was a mess. Finally have it running well mechanically, so Iíll have to invest in that whole refresh now before the water pump grenades on me.


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Old 02-09-2020, 07:23 PM   #12
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This is kind of what I got when I did mine but I did replace the fan and fan clutch with bolts as I mentioned earlier. This is from ECS Tuning with all Genuine BMW parts but you can get this with OEM manufacturers like Rein and Febi for about half the cost. I just like Genuine when it lasted 150,000 so I like the reliability of Genuine BMW. Up to you and your budget.

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Old 02-09-2020, 08:25 PM   #13
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Once you bleed it as you have done, you need to remove the excess coolant. I use a simple turkey baster. You should have a level probe inside the radiator when you remove the cap. I set mine to the first mark and the level float is just starting to float when cold.

This. I bleed then drain, giving it just enough so I know itís off the bottom. I index mine right about where you do. 105k since my last tank change.
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:30 PM   #14
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Yeah judging by the condition of the rest of the car I'd say everything is WAY past due. The car was a mess. Finally have it running well mechanically, so I'll have to invest in that whole refresh now before the water pump grenades on me.
If you want (or need) to go the OEM route on some or all of the parts, consider using Saleri for the water pump, Wahler or Behr for thermostat, Modine for the expansion tank, CRP Rein for the upper & lower rad hoses, and Nissens for the radiator.
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:30 PM   #15
maytool330ci
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This. I bleed then drain, giving it just enough so I know itís off the bottom. I index mine right about where you do. 105k since my last tank change.


That was a total newbie move on my part. I didnít remove the excess coolant when I filled up.

I planned on changing everything anyway, but my mistake is making sure I change it a lot sooner now lol


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Old 02-10-2020, 01:00 AM   #16
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I'd do the hoses, thermostat, & water pump while your there. Not completely necessary, but it will make your life easier. Nice style 68s, they are my favorite wheel for the e46
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:18 PM   #17
maytool330ci
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I'd do the hoses, thermostat, & water pump while your there. Not completely necessary, but it will make your life easier. Nice style 68s, they are my favorite wheel for the e46


I already did the thermostat and housing , now I just have to tackle the rest.

Thanks , they do look pretty good on the car. Iím lowered on H&S race springs. Looks pretty good.


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Old 02-10-2020, 01:02 PM   #18
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I didnít remove the excess coolant when I filled up.
So you didn't wonder what was the tank floater rod for, and didn't read the warning printed on the tank tap (indicated where the rod ball should be)?

Btw, after replacing the tank and run the engine to operating temperature, squeeze the radiator upper hose to see if it is under high pressure (rock hard) or as expected. Rock hard as about to explode could mean bad head gasket and combustion gas got into coolant.
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:24 PM   #19
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So you didn't wonder what was the tank floater rod for, and didn't read the warning printed on the tank tap (indicated where the rod ball should be)?



Btw, after replacing the tank and run the engine to operating temperature, squeeze the radiator upper hose to see if it is under high pressure (rock hard) or as expected. Rock hard as about to explode could mean bad head gasket and combustion gas got into coolant.


My first fill up I did it properly. Then I lost my upper hose and lost a bunch of coolant so I had filled it back up real quick. Then didnít touch the car for 2 weeks so I forgot I still needed to remove coolant. I hate not finishing a job completely before stopping bc things like that happen.

Iíll check the upper hose when I replace my tank and stuff. I think it was just my fault for leaving too much coolant in there. That and the tank could possibly have 175k miles on it. Luckily I had it ordered before this even happened.


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Old 02-10-2020, 05:55 PM   #20
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My first fill up I did it properly. Then I lost my upper hose and lost a bunch of coolant so I had filled it back up real quick. Then didnít touch the car for 2 weeks so I forgot I still needed to remove coolant. I hate not finishing a job completely before stopping bc things like that happen.

Iíll check the upper hose when I replace my tank and stuff. I think it was just my fault for leaving too much coolant in there. That and the tank could possibly have 175k miles on it. Luckily I had it ordered before this even happened.


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Don't feel bad. I am fairly experienced at working on my BMWs and didn't get quite enough out of my 170,000 mile X5 expansion tank when I did the water pump and cracked it. Maybe God's way of telling me I should have replaced it when I did the water pump.
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