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Thread: Cooling System Overhaul

  1. #1
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    Cooling System Overhaul

    I am planning to install this cooling system overhaul kit and wanted to see if yíall had any advice on doing this install. I will be draining the block and plan on keeping the factory clutch fan.

    I saw this kit does not include the hose that runs under the radiator so I have also added the link to the one I will be buying to go with this kit. Are there any other houses you recommend I replace while Iím at it?

    I have watched a number of videos on doing this kind of swap but let me know if you know of some other good ones to watch.

    https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...gkit-1#reviews

    https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...e-crp-che0175r

    Update:

    After some help in this thread and reading some other post I am switching to this kit that uses an OE style radiator instead of a full aluminum one.

    https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-cooling-system-kit-e36-e36coolingkit#description
    Last edited by AtlasM3; 11-21-2021 at 06:48 AM.

  2. #2
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    1999 BMW M3 Coupe
    This kit is the one that replaces all the hoses: https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...s52-m52hosekit

    Many on here will tell you to skip the Mishimoto and go for the Zionsville unit if you want an aluminum radiator. The OE Euro M3/Z3M radiator is what I used.

  3. #3
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    I just overhauled the system on my M3 as well, after my lower radiator hose sprung a leak. The radiator, water pump, thermostat, etc is all very easy to replace. Honestly itís so easy, Iím not even sure why anyone complains about replacing this stuffÖ aside from the mech fan, basic hand tools is all you need.

    The block drain has a crush washer that should be replaced, just like an oil drain plug. Itís very close to an exhaust O2 sensor on Ď96+ cars, but I didnít have any trouble. Supposedly you can drain all the coolant from the plastic radiator plugÖ I havenít tried this, but I imagine the car would have to be level. Either way, you want a large drain pan that can fit under the car and hold three gallons at least, these cars take a lot of coolant! Plus, that block drain WILL get coolant EVERYWHERE. Just be ready for it with your big pan, unscrew the plug from as far away as possible, maybe roll up your sleeve and let it rain.

    Might be obvious, but if you take the old radiator out first, youíll have tons of room to work on everything else. The radiator clips on top of the radiator are a trick but again not hard, you push down with a narrow tool like a screwdriver in a notch right where the arrow points and lift up on the clip, I found a couple of youtube videos helpful there. I also left my expansion tank unmounted as I filled the system when I was done, being able to lift the tank up in the air every time you fill it with coolant makes the process much faster. My M3 no longer has the fan shroud though, that might not be possible with the shroud.

    It looks like your kit comes with a new coolant level sensor, which is good. Theyíre made of a brittle plastic that is probably well degraded if itís original. Iíll have to replace mine, the float is literally crumbling apart. Iím amazed it still works.

    The two links you provided will have you covered for the cooling side of things; the other half of the coolant system is the heater core side. That side is also prone to leaks as these cars age but is a much more involved a job, one that I havenít done yet either.

    Best of luck!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmbOfGlory View Post
    that block drain WILL get coolant EVERYWHERE.
    Trick is to loosen it but leave it in, so that it runs out through the threads along the plug and drips down from the plug head. Takes about 20 minutes to drain that way, comes out in a perfect small stream, no mess. You can do something else in these 20 minutes or go inside and have a coffee.
    Last edited by importbanana; 11-20-2021 at 09:41 AM.

  5. #5
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    I tried that way, but not hard enough. Plug popped out into my hand and the arm of my jacket got a coolant shower. It wasnít that bad, but I didnít clean the coolant off the exhaust when I went to start it later and boy did it smoke!


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  6. #6
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    The nut on the viscous fan clutch is 32mm.
    A long handle bicycle head wrench works well and fits the steering tie rods at the steering rack.

    You might consider a OEM Behr radiator, p/n 17111427165. Often, it can be seen that the BMW Logo has been ground off.

    Looks like Nissens has replaced Behr as the OEM/aftermarket supplier.

    The S54 radiator is p/n 17112227281.
    Look for Behr or Nissens replacements.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirhodjibob View Post
    This kit is the one that replaces all the hoses: https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...s52-m52hosekit

    Many on here will tell you to skip the Mishimoto and go for the Zionsville unit if you want an aluminum radiator. The OE Euro M3/Z3M radiator is what I used.
    Thanks for the link! My main goal is to make it as reliable as possible since I daily it. They Zionsville unit looks awesome but maybe a little too much for what I am doing. Is the OE Euro radiator all aluminum?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by AmbOfGlory View Post
    I just overhauled the system on my M3 as well, after my lower radiator hose sprung a leak. The radiator, water pump, thermostat, etc is all very easy to replace. Honestly itís so easy, Iím not even sure why anyone complains about replacing this stuffÖ aside from the mech fan, basic hand tools is all you need.

    The block drain has a crush washer that should be replaced, just like an oil drain plug. Itís very close to an exhaust O2 sensor on Ď96+ cars, but I didnít have any trouble. Supposedly you can drain all the coolant from the plastic radiator plugÖ I havenít tried this, but I imagine the car would have to be level. Either way, you want a large drain pan that can fit under the car and hold three gallons at least, these cars take a lot of coolant! Plus, that block drain WILL get coolant EVERYWHERE. Just be ready for it with your big pan, unscrew the plug from as far away as possible, maybe roll up your sleeve and let it rain.

    Might be obvious, but if you take the old radiator out first, youíll have tons of room to work on everything else. The radiator clips on top of the radiator are a trick but again not hard, you push down with a narrow tool like a screwdriver in a notch right where the arrow points and lift up on the clip, I found a couple of youtube videos helpful there. I also left my expansion tank unmounted as I filled the system when I was done, being able to lift the tank up in the air every time you fill it with coolant makes the process much faster. My M3 no longer has the fan shroud though, that might not be possible with the shroud.

    It looks like your kit comes with a new coolant level sensor, which is good. Theyíre made of a brittle plastic that is probably well degraded if itís original. Iíll have to replace mine, the float is literally crumbling apart. Iím amazed it still works.

    The two links you provided will have you covered for the cooling side of things; the other half of the coolant system is the heater core side. That side is also prone to leaks as these cars age but is a much more involved a job, one that I havenít done yet either.

    Best of luck!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks for the heads up! I will make sure to order a new crush washer for the block drain.

    I did a coolant flush last week when I got the car using the radiator plug. It only drained about a gallon so I see why people say to use the block drain if you want to do a full flush.

    Iím hoping just doing this cooling side will work for awhile. The car only has 74,000 miles on it so I hope the heater core side is still good.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by importbanana View Post
    Trick is to loosen it but leave it in, so that it runt out through the threads along the plug and drips down from the plug head. Takes about 20 minutes to drain that way, comes out in a perfect small stream, no mess. You can do something else in these 20 minutes or go inside and have a coffee.
    I will definitely try this! I havenít seen anyone use this method yet but it makes sense.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by bluptgm3 View Post
    The nut on the viscous fan clutch is 32mm.
    A long handle bicycle head wrench works well and fits the steering tie rods at the steering rack.

    You might consider a OEM Behr radiator, p/n 17111427165. Often, it can be seen that the BMW Logo has been ground off.

    Looks like Nissens has replaced Behr as the OEM/aftermarket supplier.

    The S54 radiator is p/n 17112227281.
    Look for Behr or Nissens replacements.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks for the heads up! My fan tools should be arriving in the mail today!

    I will check out the Behr units! I was planning to go all aluminum to try and get away from as much plastic as possible.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtlasM3 View Post
    Thanks for the link! My main goal is to make it as reliable as possible since I daily it. They Zionsville unit looks awesome but maybe a little too much for what I am doing. Is the OE Euro radiator all aluminum?
    It's an aluminum core with plastic end takes just like the original US m3 one, but has a thicker core and is 3 row vs 2 row for additional cooling capacity. Drops right into the stock location without modification. It should be good for at least another 10 years.

    Also, when you replace the thermostat housing make sure you get the Elring gasket. Do not use the one from the dealer or the one that comes with your t stat housing (they are too thick and will leak).
    Last edited by sirhodjibob; 11-20-2021 at 09:11 AM.

  9. #9
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    You don't really need an alum rad (plenty of stories of leaky welds), zion, or a stewart water pump (no one has mentioned it yet, but they always do) for a street driven car. I second the behr radiator for half the price. My replacement one was fine after ten years/60K miles when I replaced the cooling system again as a preventative.

    I'd replace the fan clutch and fan too since you are going to be taking them off anyway.

  10. #10
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    I got the OEM Behr for mine. The radiator it replaced was labeled as a Mahle from 2007! I had initially thought the radiator failed from the amount of fluid it left on the ground, but it turned out to be the lower rad hose. The Mahle was actually in excellent condition for the age.

    I also got the Stewart water pump. The pump it replaced had the plastic impeller, and while it also seemed in good condition, there was some play in the bearing. The Stewart felt TIGHT. No play, smooth movement, and of course the shrouded impeller is very nice.

    I wonít talk down on aluminum rads like the Mishimoto. Pinhole weld leaks can be annoying, if they happen at all, but they wonít be catastrophic like a split seam or broken neck on an end tank. That being said, a plastic radiator wonít fail like that if you take care of your coolant system and replace the rad at the end of its service life. If youíre a weight junkie like me, the OE rad is lighter, though if I were to track the car Iíd probably want aluminum.

    Just 74k miles on your M3? Jealous, Iím dailying mine at 189k.


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirhodjibob View Post
    It's an aluminum core with plastic end takes just like the original US m3 one, but has a thicker core and is 3 row vs 2 row for additional cooling capacity. Drops right into the stock location without modification. It should be good for at least another 10 years.

    Also, when you replace the thermostat housing make sure you get the Elring gasket. Do not use the one from the dealer or the one that comes with your t stat housing (they are too thick and will leak).
    I will look into that kit! Can you tell me more about the Elring gasket?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by realjones View Post
    You don't really need an alum rad (plenty of stories of leaky welds), zion, or a stewart water pump (no one has mentioned it yet, but they always do) for a street driven car. I second the behr radiator for half the price. My replacement one was fine after ten years/60K miles when I replaced the cooling system again as a preventative.

    I'd replace the fan clutch and fan too since you are going to be taking them off anyway.
    Iíll look at going there route and replacing the fan and clutch.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by AmbOfGlory View Post
    I got the OEM Behr for mine. The radiator it replaced was labeled as a Mahle from 2007! I had initially thought the radiator failed from the amount of fluid it left on the ground, but it turned out to be the lower rad hose. The Mahle was actually in excellent condition for the age.

    I also got the Stewart water pump. The pump it replaced had the plastic impeller, and while it also seemed in good condition, there was some play in the bearing. The Stewart felt TIGHT. No play, smooth movement, and of course the shrouded impeller is very nice.

    I wonít talk down on aluminum rads like the Mishimoto. Pinhole weld leaks can be annoying, if they happen at all, but they wonít be catastrophic like a split seam or broken neck on an end tank. That being said, a plastic radiator wonít fail like that if you take care of your coolant system and replace the rad at the end of its service life. If youíre a weight junkie like me, the OE rad is lighter, though if I were to track the car Iíd probably want aluminum.

    Just 74k miles on your M3? Jealous, Iím dailying mine at 189k.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The pin hole leaks would be better than a complete failed of a cracked plastic end tank. That Stewart pump looks sweet but maybe a little too much for me haha. I hope you have mine to 189k one day. I just got it last week.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluptgm3 View Post
    The nut on the viscous fan clutch is 32mm.
    A long handle bicycle head wrench works well and fits the steering tie rods at the steering rack.

    You might consider a OEM Behr radiator, p/n 17111427165. Often, it can be seen that the BMW Logo has been ground off.

    Looks like Nissens has replaced Behr as the OEM/aftermarket supplier.

    The S54 radiator is p/n 17112227281.
    Look for Behr or Nissens replacements.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Any other support for the change to Nissen? Iíve been waiting for the restock on the Mahle Behr 7281 as itís sold out everywhere.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtlasM3 View Post
    I will look into that kit! Can you tell me more about the Elring gasket?
    Lots of detailed information in this thread: https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...ghlight=elring

    Long story short other gaskets are too thick and won't seal properly. I believe BMW switched suppliers at some point for the gasket. I bought straight from the dealer a brand new OEM plastic thermostat and used the included gasket - it cracked on install despite being carefully torqued to spec due to the thicker gasket. I purchased the Elring and no leaks or issues ever since.

  14. #14
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    Iím taking the advice given and switching to this kit that uses the Behr OE radiator. I will also be replacing the fan and clutch.

    https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...it#description

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirhodjibob View Post
    Lots of detailed information in this thread: https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...ghlight=elring

    Long story short other gaskets are too thick and won't seal properly. I believe BMW switched suppliers at some point for the gasket. I bought straight from the dealer a brand new OEM plastic thermostat and used the included gasket - it cracked on install despite being carefully torqued to spec due to the thicker gasket. I purchased the Elring and no leaks or issues ever since.
    Where would you recommend I buy the Elring gasket? Also should I use the aluminum house that comes with this kit or buy an OEM plastic housing?

  16. #16
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    https://www.ecstuning.com/b-elring-p...531740437~elr/

    I ended up using the OEM plastic housing, though many on here run the aluminum ones without issue. If you get the aluminum one just make sure it sits flush...sometimes the casting needs to be cleaned up.
    Last edited by sirhodjibob; 11-20-2021 at 02:37 PM.

  17. #17
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    FWIW, Mishimoto is a made up Japanese appearing word, thus hinting at quality...it is made in China. Some like them, some don't.
    Estoril/Modena '97 M3...back home again after a 2 yr absence

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  18. #18
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    Does anyone know the part number for the coolant block drain washer? I am seeing some made from copper and some made from aluminum.

  19. #19
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    The trick when taking out the block drain is to loosen it up from the bottom until it is hand tight, then come down from above to remove it by hand. No need to take a bath of antifreeze!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by importbanana View Post
    Trick is to loosen it but leave it in, so that it runs out through the threads along the plug and drips down from the plug head. Takes about 20 minutes to drain that way, comes out in a perfect small stream, no mess. You can do something else in these 20 minutes or go inside and have a coffee.
    Do you know what the part number is for the block drain plug washer? I am seeing some made from copper and some made from aluminum.

  21. #21
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    why are you lazy

    look it up yourself. realoem.com

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtlasM3 View Post
    Do you know what the part number is for the block drain plug washer? I am seeing some made from copper and some made from aluminum.
    Both will work. I have aluminum on mine. I also replaced the drain plug as well.
    07119963200

    If youíre doing the block drain plug Iíd recommend getting an 02 sensor removing tool, and removing the 02 sensor from the exhaust that interferes with access. I removed the 02 sensor and placed a plastic bag around the exhaust pipe, then secured it with duct tape. I loosened the block drain plug just to the point of coolant drip. I then let a small drip/stream drain out over night. The next day I removed it fully and maybe 10oz remained and made a small/negligible mess that was easy to clean. Youíre on your own from here, just gotta do it.

  23. #23
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    why?

    3/8 ratchet works perfectly fine without removing o2

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by importbanana View Post
    why?

    3/8 ratchet works perfectly fine without removing o2
    Makes my life easier for $20. Just a recommendation

  25. #25
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    Anyone have specific brand recommendations for a new fan clutch and blade on my M3? Considering the price difference I'm hesitant to pay for OEM. I'm not opposed to buying the cheapest part; just wondering if there's anything I should know before I make my purchase (https://www.turnermotorsport.com/Sea...tt=11527505302).

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