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Water leak

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by bflamm41, Mar 11, 2010.

    bflamm41 guest

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    2001 330xi

    After I turned the car off and started walking away I heard a pop. I turned around and saw smoke/steam coming from my hood and a bunch of water was pouring out from under my car. the steam was mostly the driver side of the car near the airfilter

    I'm waiting for the car to cool down before checking the antifreeze, but I doubt its that.

    Any suggestions? maybe water pump?

    I just had the oil filter housing gasket replace by my mechanic. I wonder if he did something wrong.

    Thanks for any help/info
    Barry
    • Member

    Zeichen311

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    Why would you doubt it's antifreeze? That is by far the most likely source of a sudden cloud of steam. Distant second is your windshield washer fluid reservoir exploding onto the exhaust manifold--but that's on the other side of the car. (Plus, I'm joking.)

    Assuming the steam being mostly on the left side means the failure was on the same side (likely but not certain), possible culprits include:
    • Upper radiator hose failed/separated from radiator;
    • Expansion tank failed;
    • Expansion tank cap failed;
    • Heater inlet/outlet hose(s) failed/separated from expansion tank;
    • Radiator end tank failed (left side).
    All are fairly common failures for the E46 cars as they age. The water pump would most likely leak slowly, or fail catastrophically with the engine running. Pump failure with the engine off would be unusual.

    How many miles on it? Any idea when/if the radiator hoses, radiator, or expansion tank were replaced?

    If your mechanic removed any coolant hoses to gain access or working room, it's very likely he didn't reattach them properly--it's not hard to screw up. You should be able to check that pretty easily when things cool off. If that's all it is, make him send the flatbed if he won't come to you to correct it.:mad:

    bflamm41 guest

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    thx for the reply , the only reason i didn't think it was coolant it that it looks clear no yellow green look and i thought it would smell like antifreeze but it doesn't. even 50/50 should smell like antifreeze??

    i'll assume left side is drivers side

    I have 98k miles and never replaced the radiator hoses, radiator or expansion tank.

    I'm a BMW CCA member so the tow will be free and I will make sure its a flatbed

    They have been very good at correcting mistakes and even misc stuff I think if they had anything tod o with the problem they will take care of it but nothing is guaranteed

    bflamm41 guest

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    Update: no coolant when I checked

    I am confused why the liquid that was on the ground was clear and not yellow/green

    Is 50/50 that clear water like?
    • Member

    az3579

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    When it's on the ground, it may appear to be clearer than when it's massed up in a reservoir.


    Just be glad that it happened when you parked the car. If it would have happened while driving, then you would have been 1) stranded, and 2) would have potentially overheated the engine not knowing what was going on.
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    Zeichen311

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    I was going to explain that in my original post but opted to have dinner first...hope you don't mind. :D

    BMW coolant is blue-green, not yellow-green like most brands. At a glance or on a dark surface, the 50/50 mix does look a lot like plain water. When in doubt, rub some on your fingertips: Coolant mix feels more slippery than water and becomes slightly sticky as it dries.

    It does have that distinctive, sickly-sweet glycol odor though perhaps not as strong as other brands. The scent dissipates as it cools, maybe it just blew away with the steam before you got close to the puddle.

    You were indeed fortunate this happened after you parked the car. I hope it's nothing more than an improperly installed hose. The hoses attach with fittings and retaining clips, not band clamps, and if a fitting isn't fully seated the clip won't lock it in. Once the system pressurizes..."pop." :eek:
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    tiFreak

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    even if it looks like plain water, the cooling system is the only thing that would use water.

    where do you live? I know in some warmer climates people sometimes run plain water instead of antifreeze

    bflamm41 guest

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    thx for all the replies

    the expansion tank failed. included new radiator hose and new coolant

    $280 to fix it :( atleast it should be good to go for awhile
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    az3579

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    If that cost includes labor, that's not bad at all, if you take into consideration the cost of a new radiator for your car.

    bflamm41 guest

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    yes, that included labor and the place had me out in 2.5 hours on a frida morning without an appt

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