Just bought a 2003 325i. I took it to the dealer for the Inspection2.
I brought it home with no problems, but when I went out to the garage
later that night I noticed a very slight anti-freeze smell. I
couldn't find any leaks under the car and nothing jumped out at me
when I opened the hood.
The next day after a 1 1/2 hour drive the Service Engine Soon light
illuminated. I opened the hood and noticed that the windshield wash
fluid was foamy and looked like it had overflowed the reservoir. That
is reservoir is not pressurized, is it?
The dealership had nothing to say about the washer fluid, but did try
to sell me a new environmental sensor.
Anyway, does anyone have any ideas on how this would happen. I've
never seen anything like it.
Methinks it is the coolant reservoir that is "foaming" and you have a head
gasket leak. Service engine light tends to confirm you actually have a
major fault, but check security of coolant cap, coolant level and oil.
The dealer SHOULD top off the windshield washer reservoir with BMW's fluid
(better than most discount auto store brands). It shouldn't foam. The tank
Another Insp 2 thing is to check all fluids and top them off (they REALLY
should drain and refill diff, trans, P/S steering). It's possible that they
didn't snug the coolant cap and it lost some fluid (the cooling system is
pressurized) or perhaps they were more thorough and bled the system and
didn't get the bleed screws tight. This link has some good pictures of the
coolant system in an E46. http://www.bmw325i.net/maint_coolant_level.shtml
The "Service Engine" light is related to emissions stuff, although other
failures can indirectly lead to it lighting up. Best follow its advice.
Take it to the dealer, have him dump the codes from OBD. And I'd have them
give the cooling system a careful exam including a pressure test.
BMW uses pretty poor quality parts in their cooling system. Water pumps are
notoriously short-lived (60-100,000 miles). The radiators will also tend to
fail (75-120,000). Your '03 has an electric thermostat ... not sure about
Is the car CPO? That would help if there really is something major going
R / John
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