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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks,

This morning my engine temperature needle was sitting just 1 mm to the right hand side of the middle mark (during 30 miles hwy drive). Is that normal?

Thanks.
 

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cxvarol, Yes this is normal. the e46 temperature gage is "buffered" to read top dead center for a fairly wide range of coolant temperatures from roughly 190 degrees F to 220 or so if i recall correctly (roughly) . so it is either warming up,,,, at operating temp,,,, or overheating . my girlfriend's is slightly to the right about 1mm all the time too. completely normal. you can read the exact coolant temp from the sensor through the cluster in the hidden menus. and i can guarantee its at about 93 degrees C (perfect). it simply is a gage position/factory/manufacturing tolerance issue. in fact if you look i will make a definite bet that yours is always and always has been this way and you just may not have noticed it. if its overheating, you will KNOW because the LED will light red on the right side and the gage will quickly creep to the right. Also, if you are having coolant temp problems too low or high consistently the ECU will throw a code and CEL. This isnt a toyota. These cars weren't designed by idiots.
 

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not true.. def not a bad thing to do. but his car is fine by his description. this is a buffered gage.
-.^

Gauge**

Our cars are designed to sit directly on dead center, not anywhere to the left or the right, if it is, you have a problem. As Jake said, bleed the cooling system, check coolant level.

After that I'd be looking at Thermostat and Temperature monitor.

TBH OP, Jake is a highly respected member of numerous BMW forums, if Jake was telling my something was wrong, I'd be HIGHLY inclined to believe him over most others on these forums.
 

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Mine never ever goes past dead center except for when my thermo was bad.. With these cars you never wanna go in that area.. What do they say? Every second in the red zone is a thousand dollars worth of damage
 

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-.^

Gauge**

Our cars are designed to sit directly on dead center, not anywhere to the left or the right, if it is, you have a problem. As Jake said, bleed the cooling system, check coolant level.

After that I'd be looking at Thermostat and Temperature monitor.

TBH OP, Jake is a highly respected member of numerous BMW forums, if Jake was telling my something was wrong, I'd be HIGHLY inclined to believe him over most others on these forums.
Thank you for the correction. As i stated in my post, go into your cluster menus and read your actual coolant temperature via the digital readout directly from the coolant temperature sensor located on the lower radiator hose. don't rely on the buffered "idiot gage" that is "about 1 or so mm off" i GUARANTEE this is normal. it just varies from car to car. as respected as jake is on this topic he is just wrong. the guage is buffered. there is another thread where somebody had the exact same concern a while back. and several members (my girlfriends car included) have guages that lean about 1mm right when at normal operating temperature as confirmed through the cluster.
 

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thank you for the correction. but as i stated in mine, go into your cluster menus and read your actual temperature. don't rely on the buffered "idiot gage" that is "about 1 or so mm off" i GUARANTEE this is normal. it just varies from car to car.
What I find, and I think what most others will find also, is that everyone who has a *normal* and *correctly operational* cooling system in our E46s, the dial will be in the exact center. I think you will find if you replace the thermostat or the Temperature sensor in your girlfriends car, it will right itself also.

Our Thermostats are designed to open and close at certain temps to keep the car at a uniform, constant operating temp. If your car is not at this temp, something is wrong.

Gotcha Ninja edit ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for all the replies. First I will try to read from the onboard computer this afternoon. What should be the normal value? 210?

If I see a problem, then I will first try to re-bleed system and put a new thermostat.


Thank you for the correction. As i stated in my post, go into your cluster menus and read your actual coolant temperature via the digital readout directly from the coolant temperature sensor located on the lower radiator hose. don't rely on the buffered "idiot gage" that is "about 1 or so mm off" i GUARANTEE this is normal. it just varies from car to car. as respected as jake is on this topic he is just wrong. the guage is buffered.
 

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What I find, and I think what most others will find also, is that everyone who has a *normal* and *correctly operational* cooling system in our E46s, the dial will be in the exact center. I think you will find if you replace the thermostat or the Temperature sensor in your girlfriends car, it will right itself also.

Our Thermostats are designed to open and close at certain temps to keep the car at a uniform, constant operating temp. If your car is not at this temp, something is wrong.

Gotcha Ninja edit ;)
wrong. I replaced the entire cooling system on her car preventatively on her car. before and after her car oscillates about the normal 93 C operating temp just like every other normally operating e46 325i through the cluster, and before and after the gage is sligghtly right. :neener:
 

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Thank you for all the replies. First I will try to read from the onboard computer this afternoon. What should be the normal value? 210?

If I see a problem, then I will first try to re-bleed system and put a new thermostat.
It will be in celsius, and it will vary between 90-96 for a healthy car. (plus or minus a few degrees) i guarantee you will be in this range. how do i know? because your gage is indicating normal operation, and you have no coolant temp related codes. remember it is buffered.


Procedure:

1. Start car
2. Hold down left daily miles reset button on cluster until "test" appears
3. Right after test appears immediately start tapping the button until you see test 19 - stop tapping when it is at 19
4. When you leave it on 19, it will start flashing on/off/, on/off
5. tap when it says "off", then it will immediately go back to 0 (now they are all unlocked). Immediately when you see 0 start clicking until you get to test 7. Stop tapping when it is at 7
6. This readout will be a digital display of your actual coolant temp, in degrees Celsius. it should be between 88-98 at operating temp.

When you go down a hill, it will decrease down to like 80 initially, (obviously) but with a healthy cooling system, it should close up the thermostat and go back up within a matter of seconds. the inverse should be true for an uphill situation. (it will heat up to ~96 or 98 but come back down) this can also help you gage the health of your fan clutch. Keep in mind operating too cool or too hot are BOTH bad. Also keep in mind i have noticed with A/C off or on i am usually closer to 95 or 96 when in the city. (after doing a cooling system overhaul and fan clutch) I think after a day of driving in various conditions i can safely say 88-98 is the healthy figure.

The obc also has many other hidden functions including battery voltage, fuel levels for both right and left side, VIN data, etc. there are lists available on the forums, but as this is a cooling system related post I have only posted the info on test 7 . if you aren't in the proper range when operating, you may want to be aware of it. You car should be oscillating as a control system about 94 or so*C

The gage on the dash has a huge threshold for top dead center readout. so these subscribers to the idea "i am one or so mm to the right" just don't get it. its a manufacturing tolerance issue.
 

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wrong. I replaced the entire cooling system on her car preventatively on her car. before and after her car oscillates about the normal 93 C operating temp just like every other normally operating e46 325i through the cluster, and before and after the gage is sligghtly right. :neener:
lmao

maybe the gauge is wrong??
 

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lmao

maybe the gauge is wrong??
yaa that is what i am trying to say. like the actual needle is just slightly off. and it is very common on e46s (it isnt anything serious like less than 1mm arc length) but it is just a manufacture tolerance deal. i am not sure but i believe bosch makes the cluster? i have seen it on a few and that thread in the past had quite a few people piping up about it as well. the guage isnt designed to tell you you are a few degrees high or low from 95 C. it is designed to tell you "i am warming up, i am normal, or i am overheating" if it weren't the damn thing would be all over the place as you drove. if you read the digital temp readout as you drive around you will see that it fluctuates quite a bit. if you drive aggressively it instantly brings the temp down as it senses aggressive driving and hills , and if you are just crusing, vice versa. perfect example of a closed loop control system.
 

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yaa that is what i am trying to say. like the actual needle is just slightly off. and it is very common on e46s (it isnt anything serious like less than 1mm arc length) but it is just a manufacture tolerance deal. i am not sure but i believe bosch makes the cluster? i have seen it on a few and that thread in the past had quite a few people piping up about it as well.
Ohhhhhhhhhhh right I get what your saying :D

My bad I thought you were saying that it's normal for the gauge to differ a bit :facepalm:

My apologies, I'll shutup now :D

PS. Gotcha Ninja Edit again :p
 

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Mine was sitting slightly East of North and then within ~20 miles or so started making its way further towards the red. This resulted from my water pump failing (happened this Monday). I was dumping coolant everywhere. Thankfully I had a 50/50 mixture in my trunk so I kept topping it off until I could limp my way to a shop.

About a year ago, same thing... but jumped quickly into the red when I had a failed thermostat. It was getting stuck shut. A quick turning off of the engine and back on reset the thermostat (temporary fix until I could get it to a shop).

I'm not saying this is what will happen to you, but it's always better feeling to know what's going on should something happen.
 

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My gauge has always been a hair to the right of center. At first, I thought it might have been a case of parallex, but it really is just a thin hair to the right if you look at it directly and not from the left side while seated and driving.
 

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Thank you for all the replies. First I will try to read from the onboard computer this afternoon. What should be the normal value? 210?

If I see a problem, then I will first try to re-bleed system and put a new thermostat.
The reason the temp gauge is buffered is because there is no one right temperature.. The thermostat is electronically controlled, and the DME will close the thermostat a bit under part load to keep the temperature higher than normal. There are probably other situations as well where the temp would vary from where the t-stat itself would open/close on its own.
 

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My gauge has always been a hair to the right of center. At first, I thought it might have been a case of parallex, but it really is just a thin hair to the right if you look at it directly and not from the left side while seated and driving.
:thanks:

and LOL at knowing what parallax error is.
 

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New to the board and I have a question: Most of the time the temperature gage on my 2001 330ci is at the normal straight up position. Other times when I start is it slightly to the right. This usually happens if I have to stop somewhere and shut the car off. Then when I come back to leave it is slightly to the right.

Thanks!
 
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