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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Sun, Jul-08-2018, 05:47:19 PM   #11
bigjae1976
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Default Re: 2003 M3 overheating THE WEIRDEST THING

I would find out what the real coolant temp is. You can do that in the instrument cluster. Itís hold down the left button, go to 19.0, select L_Off, then go to 7.0.


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Old Sun, Jul-08-2018, 06:42:25 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2003 M3 overheating THE WEIRDEST THING

Also I would make sure the fan clutch is actually good.

With the car running, mechanical fan running take a rolled up magazine or newspaper and carefully try to stop the fan from spinning. If it stops easily the fan clutch is bad.
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Old Sun, Jul-08-2018, 07:02:09 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2003 M3 overheating THE WEIRDEST THING



If you were revving to 3k rpm in socals triple digit temperature with a bad fan clutch your car will definitely not exchange the heat as advertised. It would also explain why the temps went down when you sped up on the highway.
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Old Sun, Jul-08-2018, 07:57:36 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2003 M3 overheating THE WEIRDEST THING

First off, the E46 M3 cluster is not buffered like non-m cars. The coolant gauge is NOT supposed to be dead center and it IS supposed to move around from 1/4 to 3/4 mark. 3/4 mark is not overheating.

That said, it is possible to not have a car creep to the 3/4 mark in normal driving, even in the summer. I was having the same 3/4 mark problem and exploded expansion tank when I ran the CSF radiator. They are garbage products. Swapped in a fresh OEM radiator and everything was perfect (and yes it was bled right with a vacuum bleeder many many times).

It is also important to remove the front auxiliary fan and radiator to clean the A/C condenser fins. With 190k miles, you're sure to have plenty of road debris build up blocking air flow.
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Old Sun, Jul-08-2018, 08:46:52 PM   #15
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Default Re: 2003 M3 overheating THE WEIRDEST THING

I didnít see that he has a CSF radiator. I think there is an issue with the inlet or outlet being partially blocked with where they welded the hose fitting on? The problems have been documented on this forum.

Iíve have good luck with mine but I think Iím the minority.


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Old Sun, Jul-08-2018, 09:02:24 PM   #16
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Default Re: 2003 M3 overheating THE WEIRDEST THING

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Originally Posted by bigjae1976 View Post
I didnít see that he has a CSF radiator. I think there is an issue with the inlet or outlet being partially blocked with where they welded the hose fitting on? The problems have been documented on this forum.

Iíve have good luck with mine but I think Iím the minority.


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As far as I'm aware, I was the first person to point out the metal walls in the CSF inlet/outlet. I haven't seen anyone else comment on this or prove it was the issue, it was just something I noted compared to Zionsville. A CSF bigwig came on here and said that was an intended design and that his products were the bestest.
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Old Sun, Jul-08-2018, 09:07:41 PM   #17
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Default Re: 2003 M3 overheating THE WEIRDEST THING

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Originally Posted by Braymond141 View Post
As far as I'm aware, I was the first person to point out the metal walls in the CSF inlet/outlet. I haven't seen anyone else comment on this or prove it was the issue, it was just something I noted compared to Zionsville. A CSF bigwig came on here and said that was an intended design and that his products were the bestest.

It was probably your post I was thinking of. Saw that about a week after I ordered mine! Lol.

Iíve deleted the AC, aux fan, and heater core. I have a SPAL fan as well. Wonder if that makes a difference.

Either way, donít see a reason to stray from OE in hind sight. Itís a better design than the non-and which mounts the expansion take with hot coolant against the radiator.


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Old Mon, Jul-09-2018, 03:39:47 PM   #18
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Default Re: 2003 M3 overheating THE WEIRDEST THING

#1 question to answer is how hot is it actually getting?
And does it continue to climb past the 3/4 mark, or does it stabilize?
They sold these in the middle east... LA street driving shouldn't pose a problem with OE stuff.
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Old Tue, Jul-10-2018, 08:11:34 AM   #19
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Default Re: 2003 M3 overheating THE WEIRDEST THING

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Originally Posted by Braymond141 View Post
First off, the E46 M3 cluster is not buffered like non-m cars. The coolant gauge is NOT supposed to be dead center and it IS supposed to move around from 1/4 to 3/4 mark. 3/4 mark is not overheating.

That said, it is possible to not have a car creep to the 3/4 mark in normal driving, even in the summer. I was having the same 3/4 mark problem and exploded expansion tank when I ran the CSF radiator. They are garbage products. Swapped in a fresh OEM radiator and everything was perfect (and yes it was bled right with a vacuum bleeder many many times).

It is also important to remove the front auxiliary fan and radiator to clean the A/C condenser fins. With 190k miles, you're sure to have plenty of road debris build up blocking air flow.

Hey..i read you're post when i was in the waiting room while mine was installed and though it was worrying, i decided to give it a try.
i had nothing wrong with my OEM that was in great shape (was replaced in the life of the car) and still, the CSF showed a better difference between the inlet/outlet of the coolant.

with everything i'm experiencing, i'm starting to think that the main issue on our cars is the fan's set-up.

the mechanical one can "move" a lot of cubics feet of air apparently (from what i could see it's 2300) but as a mechanical fan, it needs the engine to speed up high - so high revs and i and a lot of other m3 owners experiencing the problems in low speeds/sitting in traffic/idling when the mec fan cannot speed as fast and therefore cannot use it's potential to full.

i'm thinking now that an electrical fan (like the new bimmers) is the solution and the only option to fit the fan speed to the coolant temp without being depended on the speed of the engine.

what do you guys think?
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Old Tue, Jul-10-2018, 08:14:28 AM   #20
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Default Re: 2003 M3 overheating THE WEIRDEST THING

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Originally Posted by nowanker View Post
#1 question to answer is how hot is it actually getting?
And does it continue to climb past the 3/4 mark, or does it stabilize?
They sold these in the middle east... LA street driving shouldn't pose a problem with OE stuff.

my thoughts exactly!

it's going to the 3/4 and does not pass that. still doesn't fill normal and definitely doesn't give you peace of mind when spirited driving.
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Discussing 2003 M3 overheating THE WEIRDEST THING in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)