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Coolant

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by bobpressprich, Sep 19, 2010.

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    bobpressprich

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    My local independant BMW shop just serviced my 1989 325iX and used Shell coolant instead of "BMW" coolant because I did not specify the BMW coolant. Now, I notice that the level in the reservoir is down about an inch and a half. It is not leaking anywhere that I can see. Can I add my own BMW coolant (I have a gallon on the shelf in my garage), or should I make a trip back to the shop to get it topped off with the Shell coolant?
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    bcweir

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    You should never mix different coolant formulations together

    Different coolant brands have different operating temperatures and use different formulations of ethylene glycol.

    If you're going to top off, either use the same type of coolant it was filled with, or have the old coolant drained, disposed of responsibly (most auto shops and auto parts stores will accept old fluids for recycling). Then refill with your preferred choice of coolant.

    Also, unless your car specifically has a self-bleeding cooling system, let the coolant circulate for 30 minutes with the cap off to avoid creating air bubbles that could cause your car to overheat. When you see the coolant flowing freely with no air bubbles, the purging of air in the cooling system has completed.
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    granthr

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    I would not mix the two types. They should have bled the system prior to giving the car back to you. But you can confirm. Bring the car to operating temp and then open the bleed screw on top of the thermostat housing. On this car/motor it is at the front of the engine on top. You will see about three or four coolant hoses going into it. The bleed screw has a little hole below it to allow the coolant and air escape without having to remove the screw. Once there are no air bubbles coming out of the bleeder then it should be good to go.

    Changing your coolant is a pretty easy job for the DIY. Just turn the heat to full on, drain radiator, drain the block, flush some distilled water through, and then refill and bleed. Buy the Bentley Manual it give great description for the E30. Good Luck.
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    CRKrieger

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    Huh? Speaking as a former chemical researcher, I've gotta say they don't. Ethylene glycol is ethylene glycol. Maybe propylene glycol is propylene glycol. Maybe they're mixed together, but that wouldn't hurt a thing. Both lower the freezing point of the coolant.

    What is more critical is that there's an appropriate concentration of either or both in your cooling water to do the job. You can test that by a specific gravity tester (commonly, an 'antifreeze tester') to see. If it's good, leave it alone.
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    bcweir

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    I agree with Granthr on this one

    Between plastic radiators and plastic water pumps, BMW has already built in enough "anxiety and adventure" with their cooling systems without customers adding in "the amateur coolant chemist show" into the mix.

    Pun intended.
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    CRKrieger

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    Has it occurred to anyone to read the bottle? A brand name does not a product make. Do you have any idea where BMW buys and brands its own coolant? Is there any reason it couldn't be Shell? The BMW specification (which you forced me to look up) is G48. Here's a list of manufacturers and brands of that specification (from a BMW TIS):

    Aral Antifreeze Extra
    BP Anti-Frost X 2270-A
    BP Napgel C 2270-1
    Castrol Anti-Freeze NF (Good chance this is BMW's supplier)
    Caltex CX Engine Coolant
    DEA Kuhlerfrostschutz
    Elf Antifreeze Special
    Fina Termidor
    Glyco Star
    Glyco Shell
    Glysantin Protect Plus
    Gusofrost LV 505
    Mobil Frostschutz 600
    Havoline AFC BD04
    Total Multiprotect
    Veedol Antifreeze NF
    OMV Kuhlerfroschutz

    There are probably others.
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    dms540i

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    +1 you are so right.
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    CRKrieger

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    I guess that's the burden you people with plastic water pumps bear. I've never had a cooling system failure in any of my >200K BMWs. I also know how to read and understand the labels on jugs of antifreeze, so I am not at the mercy of the dealership selling it for twice the market price.
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    bcweir

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    I think most of us are able to find coolant in retail aisles as well.

    Autozone, Walmart, Pep Boys, Target, Bavarian Autosport, as well as nearly any gas station and auto parts store.

    BMW dealers hardly have a monopoly on the stuff.
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    dms540i

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    Maybe they ought to think about making cooling systems out of metal again.
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    CRKrieger

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    What a concept! In fairness, even the E28 has plastic radiator tanks. Apparently, they were designed heavier because they usually don't spontaneously explode like later models' do. One normally has to do something fairly ham-fisted to break the neck - like crank down the clamp too tight, lean on the hose while changing the oil filter, or hit it with the battery as you're changing it.
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    MGarrison

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    E30 cooling systems, also being of the same basic parts, design, and vintage as E28's (generally speaking) don't seem to be as prone to the types of failures of the later cars. Metal impellers, which may wear and or leak over time, but the self-destruct issue came up with the plastic impellers on the E36's and later. Radiators might tend to develop leaks over time, but radiator necks in E30's don't seem to be prone to just breaking, as in E36's - from what I've seen, anyway.
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    bobpressprich

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    Thanks for the input...I have done my own coolant change before, but it was just more convenient for my BMW shop to do it this time. I just was not expecting a different brand coolant to be used, so I was not sure what my options were. As for the level being down, I will ask my shop if they bled the system, and then have them top it off. I think I'll just do it myself again next time. Thanks again!!

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