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E36 M3 (1992-1999) {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999


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Old Tue, Jul-17-2012, 01:24:38 AM   #31
RatedM3
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Default Re: Aluminum vs Plastic Thermostat Housing

Sorry to bump but looking into an OEM housing now. Warped two aluminum hosuing after 2 track weekends respectively; even with RTV sealant. So done with it....
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Old Tue, Jul-17-2012, 02:15:01 AM   #32
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Sorry to bump but looking into an OEM housing now. Warped two aluminum hosuing after 2 track weekends respectively; even with RTV sealant. So done with it....
Yup.

...tapatalk...
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Old Tue, Jul-17-2012, 02:39:01 AM   #33
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Default Re: Aluminum vs Plastic Thermostat Housing

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Originally Posted by RatedM3 View Post
Sorry to bump but looking into an OEM housing now. Warped two aluminum hosuing after 2 track weekends respectively; even with RTV sealant. So done with it....
got a aluminum one from pelican parts. it leaked immediately after install leaving about a 3in puddle of coolant on my garage floor every morning, i sealed it up with coolant specific RTV sealant and its been fine since,

i have a new oem one in my trunk, a gallon of coolant and a 1/4in drive ratchet set in my trunk for when it fails.... because i know it will, and ill be far away from home when it does.
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Old Tue, Jul-17-2012, 06:30:56 AM   #34
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Default Re: Aluminum vs Plastic Thermostat Housing

Yup. My aluminum housing has 60+K on it (PO did it) and is doing fine. However, just as a precaution, I've got a plastic one down the basement waiting to go in in a week or two with a new Stewart pump and hoses...
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Old Tue, Jul-17-2012, 06:46:39 AM   #35
m3onrails
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Default Re: Aluminum vs Plastic Thermostat Housing

I replaced my plastic thermostat housing @ 60k when I did the rest of my cooling system with an Aluminum housing, not sure of the brand though. Just rebuilt the motor @ 139k, and replaced the OEM water pump with a Stewart, and a few other things in the cooling system, but the thermostat housing still looked great. It has no cracks, it has never leaked in 7 years, and it shows no manufacturing defects inside of it. I reused it and it still isn't leaking. Maybe I just got lucky, but if it's not broken, I'm not gonna fix it!
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Old Tue, Jul-17-2012, 01:07:41 PM   #36
das borgen
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Default Re: Aluminum vs Plastic Thermostat Housing

blah..the aluminum one I bought from pelican parts on my old car never had any leaking problems and if it did, I would just send it to a machine shop to plane it down....it's got over 50k miles on it and still running with the new owner of it...multiple trackdays and all

my current car has an AL housing which doesn't leak after 60k miles on the car........and counting (including AT LEAST 4 trackdays so far from me and the 3 or so the prev owner did)
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Old Tue, Jul-17-2012, 03:32:45 PM   #37
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Default Re: Aluminum vs Plastic Thermostat Housing

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I replaced my plastic thermostat housing @ 60k when I did the rest of my cooling system with an Aluminum housing, not sure of the brand though. Just rebuilt the motor @ 139k, and replaced the OEM water pump with a Stewart, and a few other things in the cooling system, but the thermostat housing still looked great. It has no cracks, it has never leaked in 7 years, and it shows no manufacturing defects inside of it. I reused it and it still isn't leaking. Maybe I just got lucky, but if it's not broken, I'm not gonna fix it!

I think this is what it comes down to. The issues with the AL housings seem to have popped up in the last 3-5 years. People who have had them longer don't seem to exhibit problems at the same rate as the people who have been buying them new recently.

I went with plastic because I didn't like the thought of cracking the AL housing while re-installing, plus, with 150K on the motor, the plastic housing should get me to the point where either: a. I no longer own the car or b. I'm replacing the motor with something more exciting...
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Old Tue, Jul-17-2012, 10:10:11 PM   #38
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Default Re: Aluminum vs Plastic Thermostat Housing

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Originally Posted by das borgen View Post
blah..the aluminum one I bought from pelican parts on my old car never had any leaking problems and if it did, I would just send it to a machine shop to plane it down....it's got over 50k miles on it and still running with the new owner of it...multiple trackdays and all

my current car has an AL housing which doesn't leak after 60k miles on the car........and counting (including AT LEAST 4 trackdays so far from me and the 3 or so the prev owner did)
I don't know what it is. Every time I come home, I find those small drips down the belt onto the driveway. I'm not sure what brand the first one was, it was on the car when I got it. The second one came with Zionville cooling system kit (That I have yet to install; going to now though). The first housing was visually warped by placing it on a flat surface. I'm assuming the same thing again. Going Genuine BMW Parts FTW.
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Old Tue, Jul-17-2012, 11:07:19 PM   #39
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Default Re: Aluminum vs Plastic Thermostat Housing

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In principal there is no problem with the cast aluminum parts, and if done decently they would be far better than the composite parts. The problem is that since they started being made competition has been based on price alone which has driven the manufacturing to low quality/low price. Casting is a much less expensive process than machining if only because the waste is less. Unfortunately people didn't realize that by driving the price down they were driving the manufacturing to shoddy casting houses with poor quality control. This resulted in spongy castings with poorly machined sealing surfaces.

In short you can't win this game, if you tried to produce a billet part, the cost would be enormous, I doubt you could get you cost to less than $100.00 per part unless you order more than 1000 pieces, and even then it would be close. You could spec a better casting then have the mating surfaces machined properly. But still you would be competing against the lower priced competitors which will draw the eye of the vast majority of people who don't understand how things are made.

Your best bet would be to purchase the cheesy casting parts in quantity, then do your own quality inspection and true up the mating surfaces. Perhaps you could make your nut by advertising the value added you've put in.

The part I received from BW was less spectacular than I remembered the one I bought 8 years ago for my Z-3. I trued up the mating surface on a surface place with wet and dry sandpaper. It will last forever...
I did the same thing to mine took about 15 min on a pc. of granite.
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Old Fri, Aug-18-2017, 04:12:46 AM   #40
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Default Re: Aluminum vs Plastic Thermostat Housing

Hey Brandon I just want to say thank you for this post you've helped me out a hundred percent in making my decision of what type of thermostat housing I will be purchasing and it definitely will not be the aluminum or non composite made in China housing I'm definitely going to go with the OEM BMW plastic composite thermostat housing that's molded correctly and doesn't have any scars or uneven leveling to cause leaking as I have developed small leaks on the top of my thermostat housing @ 124k and this seems like the best bet to go no doubt about it👍🏆🏁✈
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Discussing Aluminum vs Plastic Thermostat Housing in the E36 M3 (1992-1999) Forum - {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999 at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)