The Breakdown - Coolant System Woes - Part 2 - Ken Baker Originals

So Ken Baker Originals (Europro) went to work to get things straightened out for me. They experienced there own troubles with Helena as it would seem as well. When they pressurized the system all seemed fine. This was good news. The next day the hose blew off again. This is when they discovered that the radiator inlet was broken. One of the rings of the inlet broke off when it overheated in the drive thru. I had forgotten all about this. I was stressed. Mark who is the Parts Manager there, took it all in stride. He was a calm professional and assured me it would be taken care of.

There was no safe way to reattach that hose. It was time to put in a new radiator. This was Wednesday. Is there an option for a radiator overnight? Mark called me back around 6:30 PM that evening and said that in fact he could get a radiator. It was an all aluminum CSF radiator. A decent all aluminum replacement and, his cost for this was less than a factory plastic one. A win, win!

Now things in Myrtle Beach run differently. When I hear overnight shipping, I'm thinking 2PM drop off at the latest. Normal stuff. However due to their being no straight route in it seems that sometimes this is not the case. The radiator didn't show up until after 3PM. I had to pick up the car because we were leaving the next morning. Talk about stress. Jeez, it was almost unbearable for me.

I called the shop to see how they were looking around 3PM. Kayla is the Parts Assistant answered the call. She went to find out what was up. She told me they had just got the radiator and were putting it in now. She said to expect it withing the hour. Glory hallelujah! The clouds parted, the storm calmed. It was the home stretch now. Paul ran me up there shortly after.

Upon arriving I see many Euros outside, a clean lot, and a clean shop. The boys were playing techno in the shop and getting work done. My kind of place. I met Mark and he took my out to me the BMW guru who was taking care of Helena. He was a very nice, down to earth, and polite gentleman as well. I probably sounded like a stupid kid talking to him but, I was so excited to see the car in a more functional state.

As we were talking the guru told me that he tried to get the fan switch out of the side of the radiator and with light pressure the whole side of the radiator broke off. The fan switch was stuck in the brass insert that was molded into the plastic end tank. I now have this as a memento. As well as a good reminded to be timely about maintenance of this car.

Needless to say, Europro pulled through wonderfully for me. They had a full shop and a lot full of cars to work on but, they still made time for my car, took time to have a conversation with me, and were not judgmental. They are a good group of folks over there. I was glad to have the chance to work with them, despite the less than fantastic reason for being there.

When the beans came down to be paid, Mark done me fairly. They advertise 30% less than the dealer. This is true. Parts costs are a little higher than what I'm used but, they have to eat too. By no means were they outrageous. Would you not spend a bit more to keep your BMW going? Then, to have those parts installed by Bosch certified technicians. I appreciate their work. If I ever find myself in need in the Myrtle Beach area, they are who I would go see next time.

Issue #1 - Car was getting hot and blew off the upper radiator hose.
Issue #2 - The system was pressurized then, blew off the hose again.
Issue #3 - No radiator fan or fan clutch. See starting coolant overhaul post.
Issue #4 - The plastic was broken off the upper radiator hose inlet.


The Breakdown - Coolant System Woes - Part 1

So I have been running the fan delete for about a month now. The car has done fine. No spikes of heat or any issues at all. While tripping down to the beach on holiday (aka vacation), the system had enough while sitting in a drive thru. The temp climbed to about 230' F. The temp gauge never moved past the middle most point, however with the Torque app I was able to monitor the real temperature of the coolant.

After climbing up to 230`F the upper radiator hose blew off. Steam and coolant proceeded to spew fourth. Ruining our chance at dinner and my mood. I was able to reattach the hose, top off the overflow and, creep back to the hotel.

You can see the broken ring if you look closely at the inlet.
The stress that ensued was high for me. There was a helpful guy in a Mercedes 240D and someone walking by who helped us push the car into a parking spot. The gentleman in the Mercedes, Austin, dove right in and took a look at the car. He found that one of the nipples from the upper radiator hose neck broke off in the hose. I'm so happy he spotted that because, I did not.

So there we are. I'm stuck at the beach with an overheating car. We tried to give it a fixer but, the bleeding process I'm used to using, didn't seem to get me anywhere. It was time to call in some help. I had a convo with my buddy Jeremy. He gave me some tips and things to look at. I took a look at what I could. Still no success. A tow was inevitable.

I Googled for a shop to take her to. There was a Euro shop south of us called Europro. After a nice conversation with one of the techs named Cal, I called roadside assistance for a pickup. A tow arrived with in the hour. The driver, Gary was nice, helpful, and pleasant to deal with. He took good care of Helena whilst traveling over to Europro.

Since I was on vacation I did not transit to the shop with my car. This is where the stress came in for me. In hind sight I should have made a trip over there right then and there. It probably would have saved me some stress and money. However, I called and touched base via telephone through out the duration of them working through the issues. I'll do a write-up on their shop up and coming. Spoilers: Don't worry it is all good. This story has a good ending as well.


Starting the Coolant System Overhaul

3/17/2016 - Update on overheating

This all may be due to the initial overheating. When I used a stock 90/99 fan switch and 92C thermostat, once temps were over 80' F outside, the car was getting hot. Over 220' F again if it sat for any length of time. I do not recommend a fan delete with the stock configuration.

In my previous coolant system post I reviewed and ordered what I needed to start the coolant system overhaul. It was now go time to get them put in.

The process for installing and removing the water pump, mechanical fan, pulley, over flow tank, ect, can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/zcbu3m5

There is a fan tool to make the job easier but, I just used an adjustable wrench and another wrench on a pulley nut to hold the pulley. The problem i had with the adjustable wrench is that it was too thick. Do yourself a favor and get a 32mm wrench. Once the fan is out it is much easier to access everything.

After swapping all the necessary parts make sure you tighten up your bolts to spec.
Torque specs on thermo housing:
10mm bolts 7ft/lbs.
13mm bolt 16ft/lbs.
Don't over do it on the smaller 10mm thermostat housing bolts.

During installation I ran into a few issues. I did not have a new belt after all. I thought I had one in the bin but, I believe that one was Jeremy's. So need to put that on order. The aux fan switch is located on the side of the radiator. It screws into a brass fitting that was pressed in the side of the plastic. I tried to remove the switch but it just kept spinning. The current stock aux fan switch is stuck in the brass fitting. This is not good. It is only a matter of time before this causes issue.
The stock aux fan (90/99C) kicks in for the A/C and when the car hits 210' Fahrenheit.

I'm still unsure of whether I need a lower temp thermostat. The fan delete kits I've seen all come with 80C thermostats. The stock one for this car is 92C. The ECU and the motor like to be warm. Most other non euro vehicles come with lower temp thermos, not that, that really matters, just saying. We will see how it does.

The temp gauge is this car is not a good indicator of true temperature either. So to keep my sanity I have a Bluetooth ELM327 adapter that plugs in the OBDII port. It sends to an application called Torque on my Android phone. If you are not familiar with this app check it out here: http://torque-bhp.com/wiki/Main_Page

$100 for an adapter and $5 for the app gives you far more than any OBD scanner I've seen on the market. The best plus for me right now is that I can use Torque to data log. This has been super helpful in monitoring the temps on the car. We have a trip coming up and I'm hoping to get some good data with the current setup:

     ECS water pump pulley (8% overdrive)
     Graf water pump (metal impeller)
     Stock fan switch
     Stock 92' thermo
     Stock radiator
     Stock overflow tank
     Stock 2 bar (30psi) overflow tank cap
     1 bottle of Redline water wetter
     Pentosin NF coolant, 50/50

I do not believe this setup will cut it in the heat of summer. Since the fan switch is stuck I'm going to need another radiator as well. It might be time for a reasonable upgrade. Now just to bleed off the system.

On to the pictures.

All the tools of the trade. Most importantly the coffee.

New Stuff.

Coolant and water wetter.

ECS Water Pump Pulley

Removed the upper shroud.

Removed the drain petcock.

Removed the upper overflow tank hose.

Removing the lower overflow tank hose.

Looking down at the water pump pulley bolts. 

Removing the one 13mm bolt from the thermostat housing.

Picking out the old thermostat housing seal.

Part number on the new seal.

Shot inside the thermostat housing.

7/8 socket fits the aux fan switch.

Old water pump, fan, fan clutch, and water pump pulley.

I plastic water pump impeller on this one. It was replaced in 2012. You could see the date stamp on it.

The water pump pulley that came off was not plastic and it had a BMW stamp on it. This had to have been replaced when the water pump was replaced because, this car should have a plastic pulley on it. You can see that it was chewed up a bit. I don't know why that is like that or, how it got that way.

Old Made in China fan clutch.

New GRAF water pump with metal impeller.

Long bar and star point used for the alternator belt tensioner.

Upper overflow tank to radiator hose and some clamps that were the wrong size.

New coolant tank level sensor.

Everything back together on the motor without the fan.

O-ring size 3/8" ID...

New o-ring for the coolant petcock.

New water pump pulley and fan delete nut installed.