From digest.v5.n334 Fri Oct 4 17:14:37 1996
Date: Fri, 4 Oct 1996 17:26:49 -0400
Subject: E36 M3 coolant change DIY
Hello fellow bimmerheads,
Last weekend, was time for a coolant change to my Avus Blue beauty. I have to
finish up my yearly maintance on the car, before the North East winter
arrives. Well as you propably know, coolant must be changed annually since it
breaks down. As ethylene glycol breaks down, it becomes acidic and eats away
your head gasket, water pump etc. If you want a high millage car, you have to
start with annual coolant flushing.
The whole procedure takes a couple of hours for the first timers, or half n
hour for the old timers.
Anyway, enough with the intro. Here's what you need for a six cylinder E36
(procedure performed on a M3).
1 1/2 gallons of distilled water
1 gallon of BMW brand coolant (dont use the other stuff, BMW has done
extensive research on coolant additives for aluminum radiators). If you want
strictly 50% mix get another jug of BMW coolant.
I forgot the metric sizes of the tools needed -sorry ;( ( I think I used
A screwdriver (flathead and Phillips)
A funnel (gotta be neat)
A coolant collector (didn't really help actually).
A pair of gloves for safety.
- Warm up the car, with incar heat controls on highest temp.
- Remove the radiator cover over the kidney grill (DO NOT OPEN THE RADIATOR
SIDE TANK YET). This plastic flat cover has a few screws holding it. On
the M3 it also has a RAM air tunnel that cools the alternator.
- Let the car cool down somewhat. Touch the exposed aluminum radiator. The
temp should be lukewarm.
- Look for the BLUE plastic plug (about 8mm) at the drivers side bottom of
the radiator (note the radiator- not the refill plastic tank)
- Use a big sized flathead screwdriver to unscrew the plug.
Note: If you have trouble finding it, stick your head between (why do I
sound like a sex mannual ?) the oil filter container and the airbox. Look
down (use your flashlight) and the blue plug will shine. Worst
case scenario (you are blind) remove the airbox temporarily (2 plugs).
For ease of instalation do no take the blue plug completely out of its
socket. the old coolant will flow easily, while re-installation of the plug
at that tight
spot will require no time.
- Open the radiator refill plastic tank. A couple inches (3-4cm) away
(towards the front-middle of the car) there is the air trap valve. It has a
long German word next to it. It looks like furhfernugen to me ;) That black
plug can be opened with a flathead screwdriver.
- Look underneath the exhaust collector/headers for the engine drain plug
(19 or 20mm I think). The plug is almost invisible since it is exactly
underneath the 3-to-1 gas collector that is closer to the firewall. I could
not see it myself, since i have heat wrapped my headers, and the inslulation
obstructs my view. You can also feel your way there with your hands.
Note: Again if you cant find it, just jack up your car (I parked the front
axle on a speed bump;raised the car easily 5 inches-also put stoppers on the
Look under the headers and use your open-ended wrench.
- Put the fluid collector under the engine drain plug. It doenst really
help, since the fluid comes out gushing.
- Undo the plug and turn away just before the plug is completly removed (the
engine coolant is still kinda warm).
- Optional: stick a hose in the radiator fill tank and kinda flush it.
- Tighten blue plastic plug by hand (do NOT overtorque) and torque the
engine plug (I think the mannual says 40-50 N-m)
- With the Air trap valve (I call it the Favernugen plug) open, pour slowly
coolant mix in the plastic radiator fill tank (next to the actual radiator).
The quick way for M3 is to pour the whole BMW coolant (1 gallon) and then
pour the whole one gallon distilled water. Adjust mix to taste.
- As you pour the fluids "massage" the hoses in order to get the trapped
air , all the way to the top where the fafernugen valve is. You will notice
the air bubbles and fluid coming out of the valve.
- Close the radiator fill tank and start the car with heater on. keep
massasing the hoses for a couple of minutes.
- Tighten (by hand) the favernugen plug, only when bubble free coolant
- Let the car warm up. Once the A/C or radiator fan kicks in (you will hear
a click sound) the temp gauge inside the car should point to the middle
Note: If engine keeps heating up past the middle, (very unlikely), turn
off engine, let it cool and massage the hoses w/ valve open so more trapped
air comes out.
- Turn engine off, wait until cools off and check fluids.
The whole procedure is a lot simpler than it sounds. I tryied to be as
descriptive as possible since the M3 engine comp. is more crowded than
The whole procedure makes the trip to the dealer like an inconvinience. VOB
stealer quoted me $200 for a radiator flush and brake flush. The VOB stealer
(when asked) revealed the fact the dealerships use the cheap stuff AND NOT
THE BMW fluid (customer has to specifically request it and pay for it).
Considering I would be w/o a car (and $200) for a day (well the $200 would be
gone for ever), I highly recommend the above procedure as quick and harmless
way to save time/money and pump your blood w/ matcho-feeling
bragging-right-having hormones .
[ Help ]
///M3 (years dont really matter)