Question about BMW 318

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Radiator not switching on in e36 (1996) BMW 318i. My car does not seem to overheat but the water in the radiator does and it steams out the top. It would appear that the radiator fan is not kicking in. When travelling, the air through the radiator from forward movement seems to keep things cool enough. I was told this is a problem with the viscous coupling on the radiator fan or something?

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  • webdude2000 Sep 03, 2010

    The thermostat is broken, as a temp fix I bypassed the thermostat so that the fan runs on normal speed all the time when the engine is running.

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  • BMW Master
  • 1,675 Answers

Hi, yes this happened to mine as well, i had a viscus fan and the clutch started slipping and the car overheated in traffic and blew the head gasket and buckled the head , i gather this is the straight six?, you have to be so careful with these things they are so prone to water related faults, you can test the fan buy running the engine, then if you have a piece of wood or a stick of some sort, just put it in front of the fan, if it stops with no feedback, the clutch has gone, if it try's to push the stick from your hand its ok, and it may be more than just a slipping viscus fan clutch, does it pressure up the hoses to the radiator? do they get really hard?, does the bottom hose stay cold and the top gets really hot?, if so it could be the head gasket and will need to be looked at straight away...after you have checked these get back to me ok..hope that helps

Posted on Aug 02, 2010

  • webdude2000 Aug 02, 2010

    Hi

    I checked the car properly now and the fan is not on any belts so it must just be an electric fan.

    The top and bottom radiator hoses do get hot and then go a little soft.

    The problem must be wiring, thermostat or fuses?


  • steve morris
    steve morris Sep 02, 2010

    try thermostat first, if its an electric fan, it could be the switch on the radiator itself

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I have a 1997 bmw 318i that is overheating. Steam comes from back of engine compartment and the fan is not engaging. What could the problem be?


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