drtimwright

Leaky Radiator...

22 posts in this topic

 

Hi everyone,

My trusty 1998 328i E36 has developed a small radiator leak. Mechanic says "don't worry, just top up the levels every couple of weeks". Which is much better than "replace it now for $$$$".

Anyway, I was wondering what everyone thought of those radiator repair additives - do they work and are they worth trying in my engine?

Tim

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just replace the thing. once you do it it will be good for another 100,000 kms or so. 

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One cannot be seen on ones driveway by ones neighbors, lifting the bonnet of ones BMW and giving the Toyota owning smug @#$% the satisfaction of saying "BMW- see, unreliable!"

Just replace it. You can even get fancy schmancy alloy ones now for a couple hundred, and as Kyu says, you'll no longer have to worry about standing on the side of the road with steam pouring out from under the bonnet after keeping the poor thing going when it was giving you fair warning it was on it's last legs.

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That'll never happen - our neighbours own Hondas!

Fair call about replacing it. Where are the best places to order new ones? And is replacing it something I can do myself or is it a mechanic job?

Also, does anyone want some practice helping me replace a radiator ;)

Tim

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happy to give you a hand tim, would love to see your cabby again,

Although i have used those additives with success in the past, i have used them on shitty cars that i know i will be the final owner of. for your car, do it once and do it right. 

I am presuming the leak is between the plastic and the core of the radiator? if so, a brand new Behr radiator is around the $2-300 mark, coolant another 40 to 60 for genuine bmw blue coolant (available from dealer, don't be scared to walk in the door there). Labour on top of that. As far as doing it yourself, its not the replacing the radiator itself thats the hard part, its the bleeding of the coolant that can be.

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Assuming it is the 328 in your profile pic- it is an easy job. There are many high quality walk-throughs on the web (first place I'd check out is Pelican Parts) which make it all quite straightforwards.

"Best" place? The cheapest you will probably find a good quality (or even genuine) radiator is FCPEuro.com, myself and many other members here have used them and are happy with them. The BMW dealer will of course cost a bit more, but will sell you the genuine item.

The difficult part will be bleeding the system- it can catch you out if you haven't done your homework, but is by no means rocket science.

Take Andy up on his offer, I doubt it will take you both more than an hour.

 

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Does your car have a Fenix radiator? 

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Cheers everyone - Andy I will most definitely take you up on that offer.

I am currently contemplating buying the E36 cooling kit from FCP Euro and doing a cooling system replacement - given the car has been driven about 130k. Just means it costs a whole lot more - and I'll get hit with GST when it arrives in the country.

https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-cooling-system-kit-e36-e36coolingkit

Otherwise it'll be this one:

https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-radiator-e36-oem-17111469179

I think it still has its original radiator so unlikely to be Fenix. But I'll contact Fenix for a quote for a radiator as well - always nice to buy locally when possible!

Tim

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FCP kit looks good, just confirming your car has the japanese type external reservoir on the right hand side (drivers side) like in that picture, and not the New Zealand new type with the expansion tank built into the left hand side (passengers side) of the radiator?

i note that it has the aluminium type thermostat housing, this is a worth while part, and the external expansion tanks common to split. the rest of the kit like the pully, the fan temp switch, belts and hoses may be needless expenditure, but might be nice to do it for the piece of mind everything is done.

if your intention is to do the entire cooling system, that kit does miss out the hoses at the back of the head that go to the heater matrix, and the heater matrix itself. something to be aware of

As for a Fenix aftermarket one, buying the same product local is one thing, but buying an inferior product for the sake of buying local is another. Get a Behr radiator (as in the kit you linked). 

Edited by _ethrty-Andy_
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^^ what Andy said.  I tend to buy the whole kit, change it all out in one go, then you're sorted and your vehicle is in good shape for the next 100k kms.  Any parts from the kit that you don't use, stay on the shelf for when they are needed.

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13 minutes ago, _ethrty-Andy_ said:

FCP kit looks good, just confirming your car has the japanese type external reservoir on the right hand side (drivers side) like in that picture, and not the New Zealand new type with the expansion tank built into the left hand side (passengers side) of the radiator? 

 

That's an excellent pickup. The car itself was NZ New and the expansion tank is built into the left hand side (passengers side) of the radiator. I was going to take a photo however, naturally, my phone battery just expired.

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just thinking about it after i clicked off this thread, to be honest that kit probably has everything you need to swap over to the different japanese type anyway except for the fan shroud (WOF requirement, easy enough to find), so wouldn't worry too much

another thing thats missing, only necessary if doing a comprehensive overhaul, is the viscous clutch for the fan.

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Hey,

My mechanic looked at it today - it was getting a service and investigation of some vibration when driving around 100km/h (turned out to be a badly balanced front wheel). Basically the radiator is leaking all the way up the passenger side of the radiator and needs replacement. They are going to do a quote, but I'm leaning toward buying the kit and doing the full cooling replacement.

Tim

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Sometimes its better to order them in smaller batches to (hopefully) avoid the tax. Ive bought from fcp many times for around 3-400 nzd worth packages and been lucky. 

 

 

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Yes, I just did mine (328i) and as @qube says, getting things in batches will be less expensive. F* this forum editor sucks balls.

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Because I couldn't complete the last post...

I got my w/pump, thermostat, housing, gaskets, belts, pulleys, tensioners etc from Schmiedmann, my hoses (including the rear ones) from FCP and my radiator (large Japanese type) here locally. Didn't pay any unnecessary import duty/gst/whatever that way.

Now @BatMansWilly recently got a Fenix radiator I believe and wasn't too happy with the fit, might pay to avoid. There's nothing wrong with the Behr but it would pay to see if you can get one locally.

Personally I'd skip the water pump pulley and fan clutch unless you know something's wrong. I wouldn't bother doing the belts unless I did at least the pulleys and idlers. I'd do the tensioners also only if I felt they needed doing.

Might be hard to work out yourself what you need unless you've done it before so take @_ethrty-Andy_ up on his offer before you start, buy him some beers and go from there. :)

Good luck, if you need any insight I'm happy to help remotely.

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The fitment of the Fenix radiator its self wasn't to bad. It was more the electric fan and fan shroud that was a real pain in the ass to make fit. If I had my time again I would have just got a z3m radiator (Part Number:17112227281) and then made brackets to mount the fan. In your case I wouldn't worry about the electric fan just keep the clutch fan. 

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Hey,

My mechanic looked at it late last week (and I've been on holiday since - up Mahia Beach way). The car was getting a service and investigation of some vibration when driving around 100km/h (turned out to be a badly balanced front wheel). Basically the radiator is leaking all the way up the passenger side of the radiator and needs replacement. They are going to do a quote, but I'm leaning toward buying the kit and doing the full cooling replacement. There are a few radiators on trademe that should fit, but that seems a bit risky given my limited mechanical knowledge.

I'll see a few of you tomorrow at the Welly meetup anyway, so can talk some options then!

Tim

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5 hours ago, drtimwright said:

 

Although for about the same price as the BEHR (once shipping is included), I could probably get one of these:

http://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/car-parts-accessories/bmw/radiators/auction-1245207234.htm

Which looks pretty good really!

Personally I would avoid them as Fenix have a bit of a checkered history.

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Hey everyone,

Just a status update - the mechanic gave me a quote of $620 for the replacement. However, because I've got mechanical insurance, that's only $500 for me. Given the mechanical insurance, it makes sense to go with them - that way the insurance company can't say "you did it wrong" if something different breaks. They can also get it replaced this week which is nice given I start a new job in Masterton next week (and I live in the Hutt).

Anyway, many thanks for the help here - especially to @_ethrty-Andy_!

Tim

Edited by drtimwright
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On 1/21/2017 at 0:20 AM, zero said:

Personally I would avoid them as Fenix have a bit of a checkered history.

yeah, all that NZ-made quality and welded alu, and yet only a one year guarantee (!?).  

in contrast, I've just had a Nissens rad fail after 3.5 years in my Volvo, FCP are quite happy to take it back and refund my money.  I've purchased a genuine Volvo rad from them instead.

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