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Coolant - The Angels' Portion

Posted by Kelly 
March 07, 2011 01:24AM
Hi All,

So, perhaps there is a thirsty angel in my coolant system. (I'm on an angel kick tonight. See my post on Peter's "I thought I posted this before" thread.)

In December the coolant light appeared. the reservoir was almost empty. I bought the special blue coolant from the dealer and refilled the reservoir. Last week the light reappeared. Dang. So far as I know, the coolant level has not been an issue in the past.

Should I be worried? Or carry the coolant jug in the trunk?

In case you are wondering about the thirsty angels drinking from a contained system -
Angel's Portion

Best, Kelly
March 07, 2011 08:59AM
2 problems with your theory.

1) Angles are too drunk on whiskey to bother with your coolant
2) Coolant system is a sealed system.

smiling smiley

You have a leak somewhere. Now on the M20 (which I'm guessing is what you have) coolant likes to leak from precisely 1 million places.

A few quick things to check.

1) Throttle body heater gasket. Crappy cork gasket that eventually leaks on all E30s.
2) Hoses obviously. Lots of suspects here, especially where they join the thermostat housing. Years of improper coolant can erode the aluminium on the inlets and cause leaks.
3) Radiator, where the plastic sides are attached to the aluminium core. Also the drain plugs on these are plastic and become very brittle.
4) Headgasket.

Best way to eliminate the head gasket and a few others is to get a pressure test. You can also get your coolant expansion tank checked for exhaust gasses.

Good luck.
James
rkj
March 07, 2011 02:11PM
Quote
james
2 problems with your theory.

1) Angles are too drunk on whiskey to bother with your coolant
2) Coolant system is a sealed system.

smiling smiley

You have a leak somewhere. Now on the M20 (which I'm guessing is what you have) coolant likes to leak from precisely 1 million places.

A few quick things to check.

1) Throttle body heater gasket. Crappy cork gasket that eventually leaks on all E30s.
2) Hoses obviously. Lots of suspects here, especially where they join the thermostat housing. Years of improper coolant can erode the aluminium on the inlets and cause leaks.
3) Radiator, where the plastic sides are attached to the aluminium core. Also the drain plugs on these are plastic and become very brittle.
4) Headgasket.

Best way to eliminate the head gasket and a few others is to get a pressure test. You can also get your coolant expansion tank checked for exhaust gasses.

Good luck.
James

I agree, and if it makes you feel any better Kelly, I'm having a bit of coolant lose too. The other day, after several days in the shop; we were having a snow storm every week, I noticed some on the floor at the very front end of the car. Now this would tell me the radiator or a hose way up front, or a dribbling from somewhere running forward. But no. Nothing is wet.... I do wish I had a pressure tester, really, I do. I don't like coolant leaks...

Yes, carry a jug until we find out what's going on thumbs up

You can either put your nose in the top tank and give a good sniff or take some out and sniff the jar. When you have a headgasket leaking into the cooling system you'll probably smell it, also you'll see tiny bubbles in the top tank at times when the motor is running. You might also see more condensation (white smoke that you would normally call condensation) coming from the exhaust, it'll smell sweet too.

All things to look for my dear. Cheers

Next time lunch is on me (I have a new place too)
March 07, 2011 08:05PM
James,
You haven't changed at all. If anything you are as incorrigible as ever winking smiley

And as, always, you have some very good insights to possible areas where the real problem lies smiling smiley
March 07, 2011 08:08PM
Rick,
With no visible signs of a leak, I would suspect the water pump and the drips are coming from the hole in the housing. This should be easy to see or ascertain since the hole doesn't line up with anything else and the drips would fall directly to the ground.
rkj
March 07, 2011 10:40PM
Quote
Archeo-peteriX
Rick,
With no visible signs of a leak, I would suspect the water pump and the drips are coming from the hole in the housing. This should be easy to see or ascertain since the hole doesn't line up with anything else and the drips would fall directly to the ground.

I replaced the ump the last time I did the T belt which was about three Months ago, it held fine until I blew that stupid cork gasket we all love so much. Ever since then I've noticed a tiny drop in the coolant level every few months. A few weeks ago, while doing a dyno state inspection (I hate those dam things), it blew again! This time I didn't put any sealer on it and figured it might hold better.

All my 325's (and my one 323) never used a drop of coolant; they were all rock steady.

Everytime I'm in there doing a belt change I look at everything with a close eye, and if the pump was weeping out that by-pass hole I think the puddle on the floor would be further back under the motor. The puddle I saw was right at the extreme front of the car, under the radiator. Seeing this puddle actually made my day; I hate blown head gaskets!

Today I was changing the oil and filter and topped up the coolant after a 500 mile session with the car, it took about a cup or so to bring it up to level. It's funny, it never goes below the top tank hose... Hmmm.

I'll keep looking for this latest gremlin :eyes:
March 08, 2011 11:40AM
:biggrin: I do my best.

Quote
Archeo-peteriX
James,
You haven't changed at all. If anything you are as incorrigible as ever winking smiley

And as, always, you have some very good insights to possible areas where the real problem lies smiling smiley
March 10, 2011 11:53PM
Another possibility is the heater core. If you have smelled coolant on cold mornings as the engine warms and have fog form on the inside of the windshield, you need to change the heater core.

Bob in Everett
March 18, 2011 09:31PM
Quote
james
2 problems with your theory.

1) Angles are too drunk on whiskey to bother with your coolant
2) Coolant system is a sealed system.

smiling smiley

You have a leak somewhere. Now on the M20 (which I'm guessing is what you have) coolant likes to leak from precisely 1 million places.

A few quick things to check.

1) Throttle body heater gasket. Crappy cork gasket that eventually leaks on all E30s.
2) Hoses obviously. Lots of suspects here, especially where they join the thermostat housing. Years of improper coolant can erode the aluminium on the inlets and cause leaks.
3) Radiator, where the plastic sides are attached to the aluminium core. Also the drain plugs on these are plastic and become very brittle.
4) Headgasket.

Best way to eliminate the head gasket and a few others is to get a pressure test. You can also get your coolant expansion tank checked for exhaust gasses.

Good luck.
James

Hi All,

I have some news and updates. Well, yesterday Beemie (325i, E30, M20, convertible, overly self assured) revisited the mechs to address the lingering clunking and squealing from the new brakes. In Nov, the mechs replaced the pads and rotors. By far the most "exciting" part of the new November brakes was parallel parking on hills (between friends' and neighbors' cars) before the pads and rotors had fully meshed to one another. One could perhaps describe this activity as "sliding into home plate." I had to find larger parking spots to avoid low velocity fender benders. After about two weeks the pads and rotors became friends and all was well except for the squealing - like a garbage truck. Rrreeett.

Yesterday, I returned to the mechs finally. They decided to replace the pads again to address the clunking and noise. Yep kids - free of charge! (Thank God!) Now I have new pads again. The clunking is gone and so is the squealing. Good news.

I also told the mechs that the coolant seemed to be disappearing and ask it they could look at it. They think that my water pump has a very slow leak. (Maybe a quart lost since Sept.)

The water pump was changed with the timing belt in April 2007 which was (egad) almost 4 years ago. I think the mileage was around 116,000 in April 2007, and now it is around 139,000.

Soooo, what should I do??? New timing belt and water pump soon? Or should I wait a bit?

It's really quite easy to add coolant. I have the bottle in the trunk now. And the coolant sensor works; I replaced it about 2 years ago. Obviously, I want to avoid any catastrophic failures.

Your thoughts?

Thanks, Kelly
March 19, 2011 09:30AM
Hi Kelly,

Whether the mileage indicates timing belt changing or not; the elapsed time certainly does.
It would be a good thing to get the timing belt and pump done soon smiling smiley
March 19, 2011 09:42AM
And if brakes squeal: try some copper grease on the back plate. Just a tiny bit!
March 19, 2011 10:21AM
I solved my brake squeal problem by buying a can of brake squeal eliminator. I think Permatex makes it. Remove the pads noting which is inboard and which is outboard. Place the pads biz side down on a piece of newspaper and spray the back sides with a thin coat of the blue stuff in the spray can. Wait 10 minutes, reassemble, no more squeaks. The blue stuff acts like a rubber damper to prevent squeaking pads.

BTW, your brakes should be 100% when you leave the shop, the notion of a lengthy bed in process shouldn't be occurring here.

alan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/19/2011 10:22AM by alanrw.
March 21, 2011 08:31PM
Quote
Archeo-peteriX
Hi Kelly,

Whether the mileage indicates timing belt changing or not; the elapsed time certainly does.
It would be a good thing to get the timing belt and pump done soon smiling smiley

Hi All,

Well, in 2 months I'll need an oil change. So might as well go for the full monty and have the whole timing belt/coolant pump complex addressed at the same time.

Strangely, my car is getting newer over time. It's the "new" old look.


Thanks, Kelly
March 21, 2011 09:47PM
Beemie will love you for this :dance:

Continue treating it well and it will serve you for as long as you have the love to keep it smileys with beer
rkj
March 23, 2011 05:24PM
Quote
Archeo-peteriX
Beemie will love you for this :dance:

Continue treating it well and it will serve you for as long as you have the love to keep it smileys with beer

Just about, Peter smileys with beer
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