BMW E46 Fanatics Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
'04 330ci 6MT
Joined
·
289 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We all know the E46 cooling system can be a bit fragile, and overheating from a failure can cause irreversible engine damage. We also know that the gauge in the instrument cluster is not a regular gauge, with the needle pointing unwaveringly to 12 o'clock for the entire 75-115C range. Beyond that, it moves very quickly into the red. There's no light or gong to warn you when that's happening, and unless you happen to glance at the gauge at just the right time it'll likely be too late by the time you notice.

I've recently come across a number of dashtop electronic gauges on ebay that plug into the OBDii port, and can display various parameters. Like this one:

909517


Coolant temp is one of the parameters monitored. You can set an alarm for whatever value you choose, and it'll sound an alert and flash the temp in big red numbers if triggered. Only downsides I can foresee is there'll be a slight 10mA residual current draw, so I'd want to unplug it if the car's going to sit unused for some days, and it'll probably look a bit cheap and tacky on top the dash of a BMW. But, assuming it interfaces OK with the car, it'd be a cheap way of making sure the engine never overheats. I thought I might get one to try out at least if no-one here already has. I searched the archives but couldn't find a thread on them, please someone shout if they've been discussed before.
 

·
Registered
2001 325ci
Joined
·
670 Posts
they are nice to have. some of us have ultragauge. I have mine set to monitor coolant temp, battery voltage, and long range fuel trims on my main page. not sure about residual current draw, goes off when I turn car off. I never unplug.
 

·
Registered
'04 330ci 6MT
Joined
·
289 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks LL. The Ultragauge looks a much nicer device than the toy-like ebay specials I've been looking at it. It is 3-4 times the price though, at least over here. I've ordered a cheapie to play with for now, if I like the concept but not the execution I'll consider replacing it with an Ultra now when it inevitably fails :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,123 Posts
Recoding the gauge isn't hard- that's what I've done, and it works.

t
 

·
Registered
'04 330ci 6MT
Joined
·
289 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I've seen the threads on using PA Soft to do that. It removes the problem with the needle pointing straight up over such a wide range, but you still have to actively scan the gauge to check where it's at. I like the idea of an alarm going off if the temp reaches, say, 115 C to draw my attention to it. I might actually do both though.
 

·
Registered
'04 330ci 6MT
Joined
·
289 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Just to follow up, I bought one for £15 (vs £96 for an Ultragauge). I went with a clean install under the LCM rather than having it perched on top of the dash like a cheap sat nav. I ran the cable through the driver's cubby. It's not in my normal line of sight when driving but that's OK, I bought it to have an audible alarm and if that goes off I'll know to immediately check it and the OE temp gauge. Here it is, with the car warming up at idle after a cold start:

910081


I'd have liked a smaller display ideally but I can't argue with the price! The main thing is it seems to work just fine. I'll be changing the thermostat next week (it's operating fine but INPA tells me its map controlled heater element has failed) and it'll be reassuring to have an alarm if the temp rises above normal afterwards should I fail to get all the air out when bleeding.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top