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      05-29-2014, 04:20 PM   #1
bmwarg
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Coolant flush question

So I just got my coolant flush done at a local independent shop. They used BMW coolant, but mixed it with regular water. Do you think not using distilled water is a problem? Should I go back with distilled water and have the coolant flush done again? I plan to do a coolant flush every 4 years. The shop said they do it all the time with regular water and it cools just the same.

Thanks.
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      05-29-2014, 04:30 PM   #2
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I do it all the time too, dont stress about it. all distilled water does reduce internal corrosion...the minerals in tap water will build up on alum/iron passage ways. youll prolly sell the car before this becomes an issue. all shops and dealership ive worked at never use distilled water or even have it laying around.
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      05-29-2014, 06:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by #Tee View Post
I do it all the time too, dont stress about it. all distilled water does reduce internal corrosion...the minerals in tap water will build up on alum/iron passage ways. youll prolly sell the car before this becomes an issue. all shops and dealership ive worked at never use distilled water or even have it laying around.
thanks for the reassurance. i admit i might be a little bit obsessed and in love with the car. :-) next time i do a coolant flush i'll just bring some distilled water. do you recommend every 3-4 years for the coolant flush? and i probably won't keep the car past 150k miles or another 10 years.
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      05-29-2014, 10:35 PM   #4
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most manufacturer recommend 40-60k for coolant flush. if you do the 3-4 year time interval 3 years is a bit overkill. you can rest assure to flush it at 4 years would be ok. most of the water pumps on these cars seem to die around 60-100k miles so new coolant would be in order anyways.
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      05-30-2014, 06:50 AM   #5
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I just don't see the reason to even do a coolant flush that will actually hurt the car lol. Might as well not do it at all. Coolant is made with anticorrosion properties, regular water is 100% opposite of that. The reason cars need coolant flush is because those anticorrosion properties fade over time. Your anticorrosion "faded" the second water was mixed in

PS. Just because shop said its ok, doesn't mean its ok. How many people do you think will come back to them in 50-100k miles and say my radiator is all rotted because of your water?

Last edited by Kolyan2k; 05-30-2014 at 07:04 AM.
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      05-30-2014, 08:37 AM   #6
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When I did mine, I used distilled water because I am concerned about mineral deposits and 100k miles later.

I don't know if a flush is really needed though, provided the fluid in there is BMW coolant+distilled water. The fluid that came out of mine was clean and new looking even at 100k. I went ahead and flushed it best I could using Liqui Moly radiator cleaner + lots of distilled water. Took any gallons of distilled water before I got no foam. Not really sure cleaning was needed as I think it was clean as it was.

Most of the people at shopes, you know what? It's not their car. 5k+ miles later, no way you're coming back to them, so not their problem.
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      05-30-2014, 12:01 PM   #7
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I notice you're in SF, what shop did you use in the area out of curiosity.

Everything I've read said distilled water for good reasons.
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      05-30-2014, 02:07 PM   #8
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IMHO distilled water or don't bother. My house is on a well so it's a definite no no for my situation. It may not be as horrible as you might think....all would depend upon the mineral makeup of the water used.
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      06-02-2014, 01:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agentphish View Post
I notice you're in SF, what shop did you use in the area out of curiosity.

Everything I've read said distilled water for good reasons.
The Shop in San Bruno
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      06-03-2014, 12:46 PM   #10
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I went back with a bottle of distilled water and had them do it again. They gave me a $15 discount on labor. Apparently the shop only bleeds the coolant after refill with engine running on idle. I went ahead and did the venting procedure myself after driving it back home. This morning when the engine was bone cold I removed some coolant with a siphon because it was past the max indicator.

Do I have to bleed or vent again because I removed some coolant from the reservoir?
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Last edited by bmwarg; 06-04-2014 at 12:00 PM.
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      06-05-2014, 01:35 PM   #11
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So confused now, I saw this video:


I thought the coolant level had to be between the two spheres on the red indicator. The video shows the indicator way above the max level (bottom of the two spheres).

This video is how I did it:
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      06-05-2014, 03:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwarg View Post
I went back with a bottle of distilled water and had them do it again. They gave me a $15 discount on labor. Apparently the shop only bleeds the coolant after refill with engine running on idle. I went ahead and did the venting procedure myself after driving it back home. This morning when the engine was bone cold I removed some coolant with a siphon because it was past the max indicator.

Do I have to bleed or vent again because I removed some coolant from the reservoir?
This paragraph has a lot of things wrong with it.

1) If they did it wrong why would they charge you and give you a discount?
2) The shop does not know how to properly bleed your system. The venting procedure should have been done by the shop. You are lucky you didnt break your water pump.
3) Please never go back to this shop again. If you do, we will ban you.
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      06-05-2014, 03:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriztofor View Post
This paragraph has a lot of things wrong with it.

1) If they did it wrong why would they charge you and give you a discount?
2) The shop does not know how to properly bleed your system. The venting procedure should have been done by the shop. You are lucky you didnt break your water pump.
3) Please never go back to this shop again. If you do, we will ban you.
lol

The shop probably doesn't even know that it has an electric water pump to begin with.
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      06-05-2014, 06:13 PM   #14
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We have BM's and we skimp on DI water- sheesh. Cmon, people, buy a gallon of DI water for 69 cents, and use it for your coolant dilution. Never use tap/well water unless you know how much hardness/TDS is in that water!

No need to flush unless you know the cooling system is FULL of gunk. Flush is usually not necessary. BUT, DI water is.
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      06-06-2014, 12:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriztofor View Post
This paragraph has a lot of things wrong with it.

1) If they did it wrong why would they charge you and give you a discount?
2) The shop does not know how to properly bleed your system. The venting procedure should have been done by the shop. You are lucky you didnt break your water pump.
3) Please never go back to this shop again. If you do, we will ban you.
Trust me, I was quite upset by the whole experience. At least I went back and had it redone with distilled water. They claim tap water is fine and I bet most mechanics think the same. I wouldn't say they didn't know how to bleed the system.... It was more that they didn't use the built in convenience of auto bleeding with the electric water pump. I did the venting procedure after as an added precaution.

Besides... Look at the video (posted above) of the BMW dealership technician who seems to be overfilling way past the max level the reservoir with coolant.

Anybody know of a good Indy shop in SF that doesn't charge outrageous prices. The Indy dealerships I saw in SF charge $130 for a simple oil change (that's double the dealership).
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      06-06-2014, 06:27 AM   #16
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OP, there is no confusion to be had. Once the engine has been run, the air is bled from the system. The correct way to bleed the system is with the engine cold using the electric water pump. The method is well documented in the DIY section. Once bled, the level is topped up so that the lower ball on the level stick is even (at the same level) of the fill opening neck. The diagram that indicates the proper level is embossed into the plastic on the top of the coolant tank right about where the dude's palm is in the video.
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      06-06-2014, 10:42 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
OP, there is no confusion to be had. Once the engine has been run, the air is bled from the system. The correct way to bleed the system is with the engine cold using the electric water pump. The method is well documented in the DIY section. Once bled, the level is topped up so that the lower ball on the level stick is even (at the same level) of the fill opening neck. The diagram that indicates the proper level is embossed into the plastic on the top of the coolant tank right about where the dude's palm is in the video.
So for the first video I am correct in thinking that the mechanic overfilled the coolant? He has the lower ball on the level stick way above the fill opening neck.
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      06-07-2014, 06:07 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwarg View Post
So for the first video I am correct in thinking that the mechanic overfilled the coolant? He has the lower ball on the level stick way above the fill opening neck.
Who knows. Who cares. Just make sure your car has the proper level in it. You are make this a way too critical issue. A little under filled or a little overfilled doesn't really matter.
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      06-07-2014, 08:53 AM   #19
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non-distilled water = problems.

I would either A) take the car back with 2 gallons of distilled water and demand they buy the BMW coolant and redo it or B) buy your own coolant and redo it yourself and take it as a lesson learned.

You don't necessarily have to use BMW coolant. I use Amsoil's. Works just fine. I also put a coolant boost in mine as well.

Not a real hard jon. You just have to take the FMIC out, which is really easy and then undo one of the lines going to the pump to get the rest of the fluid out that does not come out of the blue drain plug.

Amsoil comes 100%. So, one gallon will do the trick when you cut it 50/50. You just need a clean 1 gallon jug like a milk jug or something similar.
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      10-24-2014, 02:14 AM   #20
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lots of good information regarding coolant. thanks guys!
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