Holy cow it's cold!

I have a 2005, 6-Speed, M3 Coupe that I bought in April. So far I've put on about 5000 miles. Here in Northern Illinois was the first day it saw 0 deg. (F) temperatures.
With the three other BMW's I've owned once the engine coolant reached operating temperature the temp gauge remained straight up, never wavering even the slightest, regardless of the outside temp or the traffic conditions.
Today was something new for me. After the coolant reached operating temperature I looked back down at the temp gauge and it read about one to one and a half needle widths cooler than straight up. I kept my eye on it and it came back to straight up after about 30 seconds to one minute. It did this a couple more times during my fifteen mile drive to work. The drive home this afternoon at 16 degrees (F) was uneventful as all previous days.
Is what happened this morning at 0 deg. normal for this engine?
Thanks, R.C.
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Richard Cranium wrote:

Here in Canada, it is a common practice to put a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator during the winter to impair the heat transfer from the engine to the environment. You have a large performance engine and I bet it's got a rad with a lot of surface area.

When it's 30 below here it's not uncommon for an engine without the cardboard modification to read 1/4 warm under light loads (say, on the highway).
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Check the anti freeze strength!
PS for non US that is about getting down towards -20C.
If it freezes in the radiator it may burst, the pump may struggle to circulate the coolant and the engine may over heat. Remedy - stop briefly and allow the [hot] engine to defrost the radiator. If it does split well $$$.
If it freezes in the pump then the fan belt will slip over the pulley and you will hear squealing and perhaps smell burning rubber. Remedy - warm engine bay before starting.
If it freezes in the block then it may push up the head, split galleries or crack the block. Remedy - move to Florida and buy a new car.

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Not an acceptable solution. I don't like hot weather. :-(
I called the dealer, left a voice mail explaining the situation and asked if that was normal. Unfortunately I haven't heard back yet. I'll call tomorrow and talk to a person.
R.C.
On Mon, 5 Dec 2005 22:48:53 +0000 (UTC), "R. Mark Clayton"
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Richard Cranium wrote:

Brrrrrrr...
That, at least in part, is due to it not really being an analogue gauge; it will stay dead centre over a range of acceptable temperatures. If the engine starts to overheat the needle moves briskly to its next position.

My guess is that your thermostat is opening right at the cold end of specification and that the slug of supercooled coolant added to the circulation is just enough to move the needle off centre at 0degF but not when even slightly warmer.
It might be worth checking the thermostat but provided the car warms quickly and the coolant has sufficient frost protection I wouldn't worry.
A
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Richard Cranium wrote:

As someone who lives ~200 miles north of you, I'd say that is perfectly normal. Your coolant (unless you've done something wildly inappropriate to change it since you bought the car) is no doubt good to -25 at least; more likely to -40.
If it actually does manage to freeze, the dire consequences listed by another poster aren't likely to be the result. Usually, your car will run fine and then get hot *very quickly* because the coolant isn't moving. Don't ask me how I know this ... >:^( -- C.R. Krieger (Been there; done that)
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