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Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1
Leaking water: engine core plugs?

Hi everyone,

I have a 318i E46 year: 2000

I forgot to put coolant in the car (expensive lesson, female driver) and as a result did alot of damage.

my mechanic friend has replaced the Rad, expansion tank, thermo and housing. (water pump looks fine) all the hoses are secure and have no leakage. Upon inspection to check for leaks he noticed a leak from the top end somewhere like the heater core plugs or hoses connected to that end. Anyone shed any light?

He mentioned it could be the heater (it was blowing cold when it overheated) could it be the heating matrix as the footwells are both dry. the head gasket looks fine with no mayo going on in either water or oil.

Is there any more dreaded plastic parts that could have cracked. I cant find a diagram or any info on my problem. sorry its a bit mis match but thats all I got told.

Please help
Old 02-28-2011, 10:17 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Sacramento CA
Posts: 1,125
Don't feel to bad about not adding water. Under normal conditions, you should never need to add water to a car. The problem is that after 10 years of heating and cooling cycles, failing plastic and rubber parts are a possibility. I have replaced everything plastic or rubber in the cooling systems of my two '97s, and I have already started replacing things on my two '04s.

In a 2000, any plastic or rubber part in the cooling system is about due for replacement if it has not already been replaced.

The core plugs to which you refer are plugs pressed into the holes in the cast engine block where they shook the sand out of the water jacket after the block was cast. Those plugs can rust through if the coolant water is not replaced every two to three years, refreshing the corrosion inhibitors in the coolant. However, rusting of these plugs in an aluminum block is very rare and I would not expect it.

You mention the heater core in the cabin. That rarely fails on these cars and would not be expected to fail due to an overheating event.

You can have a water leak from the head gasket without having water in the oil or oil in the water. That is my biggest fear here. Overheating can warp a head. Worst case scenario.

I would get all new heater hoses and get them replaced. I know that replacing those hoses at the rear of the engine and under the intake manifold is a PITA job that I dread, but it is better than blowing a hose in the middle of the desert on a hot summer day. While the hoses are being replaced, the head gasket seam will be more visible so you will be able to see if perhaps the head gasket is leaking.
Old 03-03-2011, 07:30 AM
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Old 03-03-2011, 07:30 AM
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