View Full Version : Help with my beemer please.

Gary Kinghorn
21-08-2006, 08:09 PM
Just getting to grips with what works and what don't.

1.......The car has an overheating issue. It doesn't get to boiling point but very close to it. Leave it ticking over for 15 mins and the temp rises, the viscous coupling is working how it should. The temp rises and eventually the main fan comes on. The problem is its close to the red when it does and it goes off again soon after. The cycle repeats itself with the needle never straying far from the red.

So with the Viscous and the fan working what can it be?

Perhaps the thermostat although the 2 pipes going into and out of it are hot making me think thats working ok?
Maybe the temp switch which tells the fan to come on? It is working as I can make it come on using a paperclip trick.

I have decided to have the cooling system emptied and start again, something you are supposed to do with E30's every couple of years i'm led to believe.

Any other advice?

2...... Odd one this one. The electric windows and sunroof. They dont work when i'm sat in the car and the red illuminating light on the buttons is not on. However if I open the door the lights come on and the windows / roof can be opened. Sounds silly but they are working off the small switch in the door frame, same one which does the interior light. Does this mean they are on the same circuit for some reason? ....... WTF is that all about?
I wonder if its something to do with the stereo install, but doubt it somehow....

As always your thoughts are appreciated.


21-08-2006, 08:29 PM
Have you PM'd UB?

When he is relaxing with a glass of red wine and his missus is watching men chase a pigs bladder around a big garden (jumpers for goal posts etc etc) he loves a good conundrum like this.

Gary Kinghorn
21-08-2006, 08:33 PM
I thought he might have seen it on here, will pm it to him now though :thumb:

21-08-2006, 09:21 PM

wondering if the earth for the switches isnt working, but somehow uses the door being open to get a better earth and thus make the circuit.

I`m not an auto electrician so I dont know, just guessing....

21-08-2006, 09:41 PM
Theres a problem on 306's where the wires break inside the rubber coating from where the door is repeatedly opened and closed. Makes the elec windows work sometimes but not others. Might be worth having a look, or getting a multimeter and seeing if the power is still there with the door closed? Not sure if it affects the sunroof, depends how it's wired I suppose....

edit- when you say boiling point, do you mean 100c, or where the red is? Car cooling systems are pressurized, so the boiling point increases, meaning the red line will be over 100c. If it helps, the thermostat on a 306 opens at 83c, the fans kick in at 90c, the red line is at about 120c.

Gary Kinghorn
22-08-2006, 06:38 AM
Thanks for the comments guys.

The fan isnt kicking in till the needle is past 3/4's and nearly touching the red. It stays on till the needle moves back about 2mm (still above 3/4's then it goes and off and repeats the process. On a constant drive the needle is staying up there and not coming down.

Hope that makes sense


22-08-2006, 07:12 AM
I would say that what Nigel said sounds the most likely with the electrics. I would still think that the thermostat is to blame with the heating issue, just becasue the hoses are warm it doesn't mean that the thermostat is functioning properly!!

Gary Kinghorn
22-08-2006, 07:13 AM
I will know later today as im having a new switch and thermostat fitted.

22-08-2006, 07:19 AM
best of luck that will sort it :thumb: Cheap German clutter :whistle:

Dave G
22-08-2006, 08:25 AM
Worth posting on the E30Zone with the window one. There are a couple of electrical gurus on there, BrianMooooore and Ian332iSport to name two.

I don't know if there is the equivalent of a radiator fan switch bolted into the rad which tells the fan when to cut in. It could be faulty and telling it to turn on too late. I'm pretty sure there is at the top of the rad on the drivers side. The radiator is also deeper due to it being an air-con car, which should help.

In theory the viscous fan should keep it cool enough, so you'll know if there is a further problem after this is replaced.

Gary Kinghorn
22-08-2006, 08:30 AM
Originally posted by davetouring@Aug 22 2006, 09:25 AM
Worth posting on the E30Zone with the window one. There are a couple of electrical gurus on there, BrianMooooore and Ian332iSport to name two.

I don't know if there is the equivalent of a radiator fan switch bolted into the rad which tells the fan when to cut in. It could be faulty and telling it to turn on too late. I'm pretty sure there is at the top of the rad on the drivers side. The radiator is also deeper due to it being an air-con car, which should help.

In theory the viscous fan should keep it cool enough, so you'll know if there is a further problem after this is replaced.
We played about with that switch last night. I'm having it replaced today along with a thermostat kit and replaced of the coolant fluids. Fingers crossed.

I already have posted the link on E30 zone, but nothing too interesting has come back yet. It cant be too tricky though because the windows and roof worked fine for a while. Must be a connection thing somewhere.

22-08-2006, 08:40 AM

both problems are the same at my E30. It will overheat when the engine is running at standstill (another owner stopped at an accident scene a few weeks ago and had to be towed off because of boiled coolant). And our (still electric) windows follow the same strange logic.

If your car has central locking, you will perhaps notice that if you closed the car via the passenger door, you can open it using the locks on both sides. If you closed it on the driver side, you can only open it there. Weird. :rolleyes:


Gary Kinghorn
22-08-2006, 08:49 AM
Hi Johannes.

That is very strange that yours has the same issues as mine :lol: Perhaps they were built on the same day :thumb:

I will have plenty of questions as to the best modifications I can make to the car in a future.

I hope to catch you at the ring for a pax lap sometime?


Gary Kinghorn
22-08-2006, 01:59 PM
I was thinking .......dangerous I know :lol:

If the windows and roof are in some way related to the switch on the inside of the door (interior light switch). Could I simply take the switch out of its housing and secure it in the open position, making the windows work always.

Obviously I would need to remove the interior light bulbs as they would be on all th etime and give a flat battery.

I also need to check that the window LED's aren't illuminated with the keys out of the ignition else that will deaden the battery too.

Thats obviously a bodge and probably wont work, but might be worth a go ;)


Dave G
22-08-2006, 02:10 PM
The window switch lights will be on regardless of whether the keys are in the ignition if the door is open. From memory! :rolleyes:

22-08-2006, 02:12 PM
Hi Gary,
(RE: electric problems)

Does your (dodgy? :D :lol: :hehegay: ) Beemer have an immobiliser fitted?

My E36 had one that was linked to the door open sensors (interior light switches). If you opened the doors, it triggered the immobiliser automatically.

I don't know if the E30 cars had anything like this, but before you play with the door light switches, it may be worth checking. I planned on doing a similar bodge as you are planning, on my current Rover sh**e-mobile, but I have been told it may be more trouble than it's worth....

It sounds like a rather dodgy earth connection could be causing troubles. Make sure you check the electrics using an analog style multimeter.... digital ones sometimes give duff results when trying to trace current flow issues...

Let me know if I can help (I can make cups of tea, if nothing else :thumb: )
(the one in Salisbury)

PS- a belated congratulations to you & Emma. :wave:

Gary Kinghorn
22-08-2006, 02:13 PM
If thats the case now then it wont drain the battery more than normal.

Do you know anyone we can ask that question of and get a quick answer dave?

Dave G
22-08-2006, 02:16 PM
Don't know if this might help Gary, the main E30Zone is down as you might know for maintenence for a couple of days.

'E30 windows are fed with two power feeds. One is controlled by the door switches, which operate a relay tucked up beside the wiring connector blocks behind the glove box. This is the relay you can hear click when you open the doors, and on your car is in working order. The other feed comes from relay K5 in the fusebox, and you seem to have a problem associated with this relay or its wiring.'

Sounds like it could be this K5 relay which is faulty. :ph43r:

Gary Kinghorn
22-08-2006, 02:38 PM
Dave ............ you have PM.


22-08-2006, 04:31 PM

Does the BMW use coolant? Have you checked the oil filler cap for mayo? What about the expansion tank - any signs of rusty water leaks around it? When it begins to overheat, check the coolant hoses for "over - presurization"... I know that I am stating the obvious, but the needle of my E30 Hartge used to sit bang in the middle of the temperature gauge regardless of it being in traffic or ar at 120mph on the E40.

If you are loosing coolant - I am afraid it is bad news in the form of a headgasket. The good news is that if you are taking the head off for a rebuilt, then you should cam the engine - there is tons of genuine brand new Schrick cams with 24m warranty for comparatively little money on www.ebay.de



Gary Kinghorn
22-08-2006, 07:53 PM
Uncle benz has suggest I check that the viscous coupling is doing its job probably by putting a towel in its way when the engine is running hot :thumb:

Will give that a try tomorrow.


Dave G
22-08-2006, 09:54 PM
A rolled up newspaper may give a slightly better indication than a towel due to it being less resistance than sticking a towel in there, whatever you do, don't put your fingers in there, especially if it is working properly!

This is all after you have refilled and bled the cooling system I assume!

The fan should drive fairly strongly against the newspaper if it is working properly, you should have a nice mess on your hands if it is a goodun!

Gary Kinghorn
23-08-2006, 09:23 AM
I will let you know how I get on at lunchtime :thumb:

Dave G
23-08-2006, 10:02 AM
Any joy with the windows also? That K5 relay any help? :)

Gary Kinghorn
23-08-2006, 10:03 AM
I will have a look later to see if I can find K5 :thumb: Concetrating on the other issue first though ;)

Dave G
23-08-2006, 10:46 AM
Of course. :)

Gary Kinghorn
23-08-2006, 12:25 PM
UPDATE ......

Just had a little chat with the genius that is Uncle Benz. At lunchtime I ran the old girl up till the temp needle was passed 3/4's. Then I put a tea towel into the viscous fan and after a couple of seconds it stopped. Tried it again with a paper, same result.

He is now very much convinced that the viscous coupling has gone and not the head gasket as feared. The fan shouldnt stop and should try to wrench my arm off instead.

Cheers to both gareth and davetouring with the help so far :thumb: Lets hope it cures the issue ;)


Dave G
23-08-2006, 12:28 PM
Maybe there was a coolant block hence the gunk + lack of water. Do a flush, change the viscous, and see if it sorts it. I really hope so.

I want a pax lap now!

Gary Kinghorn
23-08-2006, 12:51 PM
I dont think the rad is brilliant to be honest, it didnt feel boiling all over at lunchtime, might need to replace that too. Will see if the temp falls with the coupling changed first though :thumb:


Darren Langeveld
23-08-2006, 03:43 PM
I had a 5 turbo once that thwarted my every move to sort a cooling issue.

After 2 headgaskets and a thermostat I did a flow test on the rad and discovered it was just blocked with shite in parts.

One 80 rad later all was good.

My opinion is - never mess about with cooling - especially with what you've got in mind for the old beast.

Change the rad, reverse flush the block while the rad is off and take the thermostat out, it's gonna be thrashed anyway .... :thumb: (PS. best leave the thermostat in if you are driving it about to and fro tracks)

Gary Kinghorn
24-08-2006, 03:07 PM
I'm led to believe that the beemer is now fixed? Coupling arrived today and my mate said he would stick it on for me.

The temp guage now sits just above the half even when given plenty of stick. The coupling roars like a lion rather than purring like a cat :thumb:

I'm going to pick the old girl up after work and take her for a run, will report back when I get home ;)

once again the wonder that is Uncle Benz strikes again. Cheers to davetouring and the others who commented too :thumb: :thumb:

I may still replace the rad if it feels like it isnt getting warm all over, time will tell but if I do decide to use it in anger I want it to be well cooled :ph43r:


24-08-2006, 03:10 PM
figures crossed Gary that it is sorted now :thumb:

Dave G
24-08-2006, 03:11 PM
Good news mate.

Properly flushed out too and ready to go?!

Next on the list.....windows!

Gary Kinghorn
24-08-2006, 03:20 PM
Yes mate she is properly flushed but as I said if the rad isnt getting warm all over its still partially clogged. I will run her and see first though :thumb:

Im really looking forward to giving her a good run out, feels like it wants to go all the time ;)

Next stop window relay, will take the old one out and photograph it for matey on E30zone. May request your help dave if he hasnt got one :thumb:

While we are on the subject do those 70 chips really give the bhp gain they claim they do? If so are they easy to fit and where do they go?


24-08-2006, 03:30 PM
I fitted one of those chips to my 964 and yes they are indeed easy to fit.

Made cock all difference though other than raising the rev limiter!

Dave G
24-08-2006, 03:38 PM
I might take a trip over to my mates, where my old breaker 325 is. I can check if that relay is still in there. From memory there is a 318 there too, probably has the same relay.

If you remember, (because I might forget!), could you text me on 07751236924 to remind me. I'll go over tonight and check. I won't charge you mate, I thought 5 was a bit steep!

I posted up re: the chips on your post in the E30Zone. I did one on mine, but it was a 320, and it was running like a bag of shit, and it carried on running like a bag of crap regardless.

From other people who have fitted them to 325s it sounds like it's worth it. Go for the wild, not the mild chip. And consider a Big Bore Throttle Body too. Won't make the world of difference but it'll liven it up a bit.

Fitting of ECU chip is ok, I wrote a vauge guide in my post! ;)

PM me for help if you get stuck. Think it even comes with instructions.