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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all.
After seeing some high temps at the track last weekend, I've decided I'm going to replace all my cooling system for peace of mind. The car is a 2004 330i and sees a lot of track time in > 90 °F weather, so I was thinking about doing some upgrades. What could I do to improve cooling efficiency for track duty? Bigger radiator or fan? Stewart water pump worth the price?
Thanks guys.
 

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I'd go mishimoto aluminum radiator, good price and quite thicker, moroso aluminum expansion tank( yeah yeah we know plastic stock tank is amazing, except it's not) , water wetter, also you may wanna run bigger percentage of water, let's say 80-20 if you are on hot climate there's no risk of freezing. Also, Stewart pump not worth it. a graf pump and aluminum pump pulley will do . No need for a different fan, stock is pretty powerful. There is also a Zionsville aluminum radiator expansion tank and fan shroud kit but it's about 1000$
And a 1.2 bar radiator cap
 

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There are a number of things to consider:
Aluminum radiator and better expansion tank. Some love the Stewart pump, I don't see the cost benefit, replace ALL the hoses, this means under the intake manifold as well. For the water pump, since you're in Spain you could buy the Dolz pump. Made in Spain and they supply Rein.

The water wetter recommend above is a good one. Albeit since it lacks corrosion inhibitors, you'll have to change it seasonally.
I'd strongly recommend an external oil cooler. You'd be surprised at how much healthier and cooler the engine is with the addition of a proper (not junk) oil cooler.

Above all is that you want parts that are quality. Not just the hard parts, but hoses that connect everything are of the same quality. I used to go to the track some 35-50 days a year. The last thing I wanted was a mechanical issue. So not only did I choose things that benefited the car, I also chose aftermarket parts that are of the same quality or better.
Nothing worse than choosing a oil cooler or "better" radiator only to have a failure with a connection or hose that ruined your day.

Manual transmission I assume? Under-fill it by 1/4 of a liter. Track time sees a large rise in temperature and expansion. Having the level just a little lower does no harm and prevents fluid coming out of the breather hole.
As you get faster & better you might want to consider RTAB limiters.

If you haven't already, I would also get a set of stainless steel brake lines and replace the hose set for the calipers. Just a very quick brake flush before each event keeps you going.

A donde viven en Espana?
 

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Hi-Temp Oring Kit for the Cooling System.






 

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Russ, where would an external oil cooler connect to? OFH?

To add to what has been written I highly recommend Redline D4ATF or a 50/50 mix of D4ATF and Redline MTL for the transmission. Also, change the differential fluid and refill it with Redline 75W90 GL5. Lastly, the power steering fluid is the most neglected fluid in the car. I’d flush it and refill it with Redline D4ATF.
 

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Neither of my race cars have fans, for what it's worth.

I DO have a failed Graf water pump on the bench- the spot welds broke on the impeller.

I know it's Spain, and it's hot, but take the air conditioning condenser out. That's the single
best thing you can do for radiator cooling efficiency.

I would also fit a big light to the 'low coolant' switch at the bottom of the reservoir.
You want to know RIGHT NOW if you're low on coolant. That saved the E30 engine for me.

And DO replace the plastic hoses along the block. The extra vibration won't do them any favors.

I DON'T underfill my gearbox- I don't find gearbox temps to go much above normal, surprisingly.

The diff is a completely different story- they get hot. Especially the LSD in the E30.
So run a high- temp lube (Swepco makes some of the best) and change it regularly.
You may even need a cooler- a finned rear cover is a worthwhile investment.

(the 2002 is welded- when it starts overheating, I replace it, as the gears are done.)

And do the temperature gauge mod so it reads accurately. An aftermarket oil pressure gauge, too.

Then go play!

t
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all for your help, I've had a busy week but I've done my research following your advice.

I've considered going aluminum with the expansion tank, but I don't think I can justify to myself paying 300$ for an expansion tank. Talking of which, I've been quoted 110€ (130$)!!! for the original BMW expansion tank at my local shop... so I think I will be going with an NRF expansion tank (european Modine subsidiary, which makes the OE expansion tank AFAIK) and I'll try to mod my 2 bar cap so it releases at a lower pressure, or maybe I'll buy an E30 1.4 bar cap. I was thinking Behr or Wahler thermostat, seems from my reading that Behr thermostat tend to run a little cooler, so that will probably be my choice.

Regarding the radiator, I've not yet made my mind between getting the Mishimoto one or going with Behr or Nissens, which seem to be popular and safe choices. My mechanic also told me about an oil cooler, so my latest idea was to go with OEM radiator, and see how it goes. Since I intend to do the oil cooler in the future, I hope any downsides of going OEM instead of Mishimoto will be counterbalanced with the additional cooling the oil cooler will offer.

And of course I will replace all the hoses and o-rings and run 70-30 water-antifreeze and water wetter.

A donde viven en Espana?

If you haven't already, I would also get a set of stainless steel brake lines and replace the hose set for the calipers. Just a very quick brake flush before each event keeps you going.
I live in Avila, it's a small town near Madrid. I usually go to the Jarama Circuit, which is in Madrid and it gets blistering hot in the summer, like 100 ºF air temperature. About the brakes, I'm holding off on the stainless steel lines, I'm running Castrol SRF fluid at 50 € a litre with Ferodo DS1.11 pads and don't suffer from any fading whatsoever.

And do the temperature gauge mod so it reads accurately. An aftermarket oil pressure gauge, too.
Already done the temp gauge mod, and I've installed an audible alarm and a bright red led for the oil pressure, don't want any oil pump nut surprises!

Thank you guys.
 
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