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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I know this will be put into the DIY section, but wanted to give it some exposure..

Since my car overheated recently..what I thought was just a thermostat, became a w\pump replacement also..so I thought I'd add this DIY for the E46 M3 T-stat and W\pump replacement. My car is a 2001 with 88k miles, so preventatively I would suggest owners consider doing this DIY anywhere from 75-100k miles.

TOOLS:

VARIOUS--3/8 ratchet, 8-10-13mm sockets, T50 Torx socket, Pliers,
32mm wrench for clutch fan removal, BMW antifreeze x2, distilled water x2,

Thermostat Replacement ONLY Difficuly=4\10

BMW Parts req'd--
11531318274 x1--Thermostat
11531318402 x1--Thermostat O-ring
11537830709 x2 --O-ring for water pipe
BMW Antifreeze & distilled water, 1 bottle Redline Water Wetter (if in hot climates)



Jack the front of car up and support properly

1) Remove airbox completely and fan shroud, clutch fan removal (easier)
2) remove 3 top 10mm bolts where engine hook is located at thermostat, have catch pail cans avail as their will be coolant spillage.
3) remove both hose clamps to the thermostat housing (once shroud is removed for access)
4 Remove the 3 long 10mm bolts securing the thermostat housing and pull towards front of car to dislodge sealing O-ring in back pipe.. Remove housing along with T-stat.. I marked the location of the original T-stat being it was in a 1:35 pm "clocked" location on the housing..
4) Fit new T-stat and T-stat O-ring seal into housing, clock according to your markings.. replace rear pipe O-ring(s) lube with dish soap, re-install pushing fwd, and sequence torque 3 bolts to 11 ft\Ibs or 15Nm.

5) SLOWLY refill system through reservoir using your 50/50 mixture of BMW coolant, bleed according to this helpful link http://home.kc.rr.com/blankpages/M3/E46_M3_Coolant_Change_DIY.html and monitor temp guage RECHECK after car has cooled\warmed over several few days. (3 drive cycles of overnight cooling)


WATER PUMP Replacement Difficulty level=5\10

PARTS:

11517838159 x1 W\Pump
11517831099 x1 Gskt
11537830712 x2 O-rings at w\pump sides


1) Follow above T-stat removal that will expose the W\Pump.. Remove the 4 10mm w\pump pulley bolts, relieve the belt and tension by disconnecting the belt at the tensioner..After you remove the belt pulley, you will see 5 x10mm bolts that secure the w\pump (1 is hidden under the shaft) pull the w\pump fwd, while pulling the water pipe feed outwards (Left side) with your free hand.

2) Now is a good time to do a Coolant Flush DIY especially if like me I had leftovers from my impeller in my old coolant, also examine the condition of your idler and tensioner pulleys, and belts..NOW is a good time to replace them since you have things apart. Replace all the O-rings I noted in my pic, and lube with any dish soap to aid in re-install.

Tighten pump securing bolts to 11 Ft Ibs or 15Nm -- re-install fan, shroud , lower panel etc..and refill according to coolant flush DIY above.

3) Since I had the engine drain bolt removed doing a complete coolant flush, I also decided to rinse the RAD and Engine block (through the t=stat housing to cyl head pipe using a simple garden hose) Was surprised to see lots of crap\sediment come out that I would've missed otherwise)

4) Reinstall in reverse of removal, refill system slowly, thoroughly bleed system and recheck for a few days..

***Hope this helps those whom are DIY inclined,..I would give this a 5\10 for difficulty depending on experience, it's pretty straight fwd once everything is exposed. Takes approx 3-4 hrs --take your time and enjoy the fact that once done..you $aved yourself $$$ and can spend iyt towards other mods.
 

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The problem I have is I can't get the fan shroud off. The fan blocks it from going up out of the car, this seems to be skipped on all the DIYs I've found. My question is, how do I get the fan + fan shroud off (mechanical fan). Been on here all day searching.
 

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How to get the mechanical fan out ?

The problem I have is I can't get the fan shroud off. The fan blocks it from going up out of the car, this seems to be skipped on all the DIYs I've found. My question is, how do I get the fan + fan shroud off (mechanical fan). Been on here all day searching.

Did you ever figure out how to get the mechanical fan out ?
 

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The problem I have is I can't get the fan shroud off. The fan blocks it from going up out of the car, this seems to be skipped on all the DIYs I've found. My question is, how do I get the fan + fan shroud off (mechanical fan). Been on here all day searching.
Are you talking about the fan that attached to the end of the water pump? You have to take both shroud and fan out at the same time, you cannot get them out separately. I am going to do a DIY this weekend on flushing the coolant (hopefully) and I'll make sure to take pics of this step to help out you and others. It will be my first DIY and I'm really excited about it!
 

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I think a lot of my problems had to do with having the wrong tools. I purchased the proper holder later on.. so next time I have to do this.. I'm fully equipped. Lesson learned. This is one item that requires the special tool to get off -- the screw driver on the water pump trick is not likely to work for most.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You have to remove the fan shroud to remove fan.. 4 torx screws hold the shroud..2 on top..2 on bottom or rad..wiggle and remove shroud 7 fan assy together..careful not to damage rad fins..

The problem I have is I can't get the fan shroud off. The fan blocks it from going up out of the car, this seems to be skipped on all the DIYs I've found. My question is, how do I get the fan + fan shroud off (mechanical fan). Been on here all day searching.
 

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The Bentley manual says to use a water soluble solution to lubricate the gaskets. In the original post it says to use "dish soap." Will that create too many suds in the system or will it be fine? Is there something made for this purpose that works better? Thanks for the DIY btw, I plan to use it to overhaul the cooling in my S54 soon!
 

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Wait a second, I saw you marked your thermostat... is it supposed to be installed/re-installed in a specific fit or manner? If so, I was not aware of this. Please advise!

Also, the silver dollar plate under the thermostat in "thermo2" - I'm assuming that's part of the housing and not the tstat right?
Thanks Surk.
 

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Are you talking about the fan that attached to the end of the water pump? You have to take both shroud and fan out at the same time, you cannot get them out separately.
Sure you can. You can pull it out from the top or the bottom. Get the car on ramps, bend your knees, and look above.

I've done this work twice (on two different e46M's) and the fan shroud indeed comes out alone. This makes working on the tstat, wpump, or the fan clutch much easier.

Please don't spread mis-information. Some folks may actually believe you.

Wait a second, I saw you marked your thermostat... is it supposed to be installed/re-installed in a specific fit or manner? If so, I was not aware of this. Please advise!
.
There is only one way it goes in. Once in it's slot, you can spin it any way you want. When you pull the housing off, it will be plain and clear. And the housing will NOT fit if you put it in backwards.


Good job OP in posting this information. You are saving the nubs out there several hundred in labor costs.
 

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4) Fit new T-stat and T-stat O-ring seal into housing, clock according to your markings..
Do you have to replace the T-stat in this same orientation or just put it in the housing simply in the top/bottom orientation if you are replacing it with a new one? In other words, does it matter how the t-stat is situated rotationally or just vertically? (it obviously won't fit in the housing if it's upside down, so vetical orientation is simple)

... or does this just matter if you are placing back the same t-stat and not replacing it. Thanks for the advice in advance.
 

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that's what I thought but I wanted to make sure, since the SES light keeps going on and off randomly (more when it's really cold) throwing the P0128 code.. but it seems to be because of the connection with the lower radiator hose temp sensor. I don't worry about it, since I replaced the whole cooling system about a month ago.
 

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the sensor on the lower neck is easily damaged upon removal and re-installation. It's a finicky bastard!! It's also a cheap replacement (~$20.)

If you would like to monitor the real coolant temp, you can use one of the available iPhone or Android applications called "Torque" in conjunction with a bluetooth obd II scanner (http://www.amazon.com/BLUETOOTH-DIAGNOSTIC-SCANNER-VAG-COM-SCANTOOL/dp/B003MQ89X4).

With this setup, you can determine if the sensor is actually faulty, or if your coolant temp is truly off. This setup also allows you to read and clear fault codes in real time 0-60 times, acceleration, relative HP etc. etc. It's a neat tool.

This setup works great on my Droid and I do know the app is available for iphone users as well.
 

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I know I'm posting to a zombie thread, but this is the first google hit for "e46 m3 thermostat diy" so I thought I'd share my experience with this job (just got done).

Note: I only replaced the thermostat (trying to fix a P0128 code; engine taking too long to warm up).

* No need to jack the car up. I did the job with it on the ground.

* No need to remove airbox and fan shroud. Yes, it would be slightly easier to get the lower hose off, but it is very doable with the shroud in place.

* I did remove the fan to get some more space. I left it in the car, just pushed it forward after un-threading it. It's reverse thread (to remove, pretend you're tightening it). I used a 12" crescent wrench and held the pulley with a pry-bar. No special tools needed.

* I got a new thermostat and and o-ring for the housing (11531318402). I forgot to get the o-ring for the rear water pipe. The old one seems to be ok but I'd recommend you get the pipe o-ring as well.

* I found not very much coolant reaches the ground. Most is caught by the belly pan (splash shield). After I was done I hosed the engine down to get rid of the coolant in the pan

* I did not bleed the system. Just filled up the expansion jar. I drove it until it was up to temp and it seems fine, the needle only got a hair past straight up.

So the steps were:

1) Remove passenger side plastic shield next to radiator by removing 2 push pins.
2) Remove fan, leave in car.
3) Loosen 2 hose clamps for upper and lower rad hoses and remove hoses.
4) Remove 3 10mm bolts holding thermo housing.
5) Remove wire harness clip from engine lift plate (on top of thermo housing, held by same 3 bolts holding housing), remove plate.
6) Remove thermo housing by pulling forward and angle up to disconnect rear water pipe.

Taking my time it took a little over an hour.
 

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I know I'm posting to a zombie thread, but this is the first google hit for "e46 m3 thermostat diy" so I thought I'd share my experience with this job (just got done).

Note: I only replaced the thermostat (trying to fix a P0128 code; engine taking too long to warm up).

* No need to jack the car up. I did the job with it on the ground.

* No need to remove airbox and fan shroud. Yes, it would be slightly easier to get the lower hose off, but it is very doable with the shroud in place.

* I did remove the fan to get some more space. I left it in the car, just pushed it forward after un-threading it. It's reverse thread (to remove, pretend you're tightening it). I used a 12" crescent wrench and held the pulley with a pry-bar. No special tools needed.

* I got a new thermostat and and o-ring for the housing (11531318402). I forgot to get the o-ring for the rear water pipe. The old one seems to be ok but I'd recommend you get the pipe o-ring as well.

* I found not very much coolant reaches the ground. Most is caught by the belly pan (splash shield). After I was done I hosed the engine down to get rid of the coolant in the pan

* I did not bleed the system. Just filled up the expansion jar. I drove it until it was up to temp and it seems fine, the needle only got a hair past straight up.

So the steps were:

1) Remove passenger side plastic shield next to radiator by removing 2 push pins.
2) Remove fan, leave in car.
3) Loosen 2 hose clamps for upper and lower rad hoses and remove hoses.
4) Remove 3 10mm bolts holding thermo housing.
5) Remove wire harness clip from engine lift plate (on top of thermo housing, held by same 3 bolts holding housing), remove plate.
6) Remove thermo housing by pulling forward and angle up to disconnect rear water pipe.

Taking my time it took a little over an hour.
When removing the thermostat and hoses, does much anti freeze spill out?
 
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