Cooling system update…

Last season, I experienced water overheating. Luckily I didn’t see the oil gauge reach stratospheric numbers, but the water temperature gauge was in the red which was scary. I tried various things – removing the plastic cowl – being the least expensive and quick fix one. I also changed the thermostat and did a coolant flush. None of these really had an effect. I still overheated slightly (not in the red but past the midpoint).

I decided that I was in need of a cooling upgrade. I looked over the car service records and it was on its:

-original fan clutch
-original water pump
-original oil cooler
-original radiator

What was I to do?

VAC came out with an upgraded oil cooler. Supposedly plug and play and costs $600. Bimmerworld came out with an upgraded oil cooler as well – costing around $700. I decided to clean my oil cooler out as much as possible and replace the:

-fan clutch – autohausaz has em for slightly under $100
-water pump – tischer carries it for $347 w/out gasket! (order a gasket as well)
-radiator – bimmerworld for $289
-radiator hoses – autohausaz for around $45

I decided to go with oem on all counts. Labor was free! DIY!

Why oem vs. aftermarket?

Dependeability. Price. Those were the two most important things to me. These original parts have been on my m3 for 8 years since its first service date. They are on their last legs after 3 years of tracking and 5 years of street driving. They also WORK for a while before they die. Obviously the aftermarket parts may be more efficient, but there are other compromises – dependability and price. Who knows how strong these radiators are or hoses are? I know that these parts work. And the price is basically 60-70% cheaper than aftermarket parts.

I eventually will either get a new oil cooler or put the bimmerworld part in – but I think I have this season or maybe till August before I have a major issue w/the oil temps.


Was pretty straightforward. I was researching cooling system DIYs for atleast 2 weeks before doing this. The coolant flush is dirty, but otherwise its all plug and play. I borrowed Lightwerkz’ 32mm wrench for the clutch fan.

I kept the bolts as organized as possible and removed everything and put it all back together. Haven’t put in new coolant yet as it was getting late and I didn’t want to go to the home depot for distilled water. Thinking of a 75% / 25 % water to coolant ratio and definitely some water wetter.

Overall I am hoping that this maintenance will help the car stay cool and not overheat this summer!

In other news – the Kirk Roll Bar has arrived! This means that the car will be complete in a few weeks!

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