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      03-19-2018, 08:08 PM   #1
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Upgrading expansion tank

I was watching a BMW channel and the guy had a M5 that needed a new coolant expansion tank. He upgraded to a metal tank because these are a known fail point. That got me to thinking if any of you have done this on your S54.

Would it be worth it? Is there a downside to a metal expansion tank?
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      03-28-2018, 02:20 PM   #2
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Never seen it done on a Z, but there are several E46 threads out there experimenting this.

I believe Mishimoto was making an aluminum replacement but it was of poor fit/quality and was discontinued. There is however an outfit called Zionsville Autosport selling a comp radiator and expansion tank setup for E46; you might try contacting them about a solution for the E85/6

https://www.zionsvilleautosport.com/...g-kit-1999-05/
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      03-28-2018, 08:52 PM   #3
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They can fail due to the plastic getting brittle over time. The easy solution is just to replace it with a new "fresh" tank.
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      03-28-2018, 09:01 PM   #4
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And don't forget about the plastic line.
I expect mine to shatter into a thousand pieces one of these days.

Zionsville radiator and expansion tank and braided line would be the hot setup.
Pun intended.
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      03-29-2018, 12:56 PM   #5
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This doesn't seem to be a big problem with the Z4, at least not yet. On the E46, it's almost a right of passage to replace the entire cooling system. They also replace the exp tank cap with one that vents at a lower temp/pressure, as some think that something goes wrong and causes a pressure spike, and that is what causes the exp tank to fail. I actually have an exp tank, hoses, transmission thermostat, new water pump, etc. ready to go into my son's E46.
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      04-01-2018, 07:54 AM   #6
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My tank showed no signs of leaking or loosing coolant last year, on a long drive out of state, coolant tank blew into pieces....had no choice to bring it to nearest stealership to get fixed. Preventative maintenance part.
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      04-01-2018, 10:35 AM   #7
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I went a separate route and got rid of it - went to an old-school metal water bottle where the overflow just dumps into it. Couldn't believe the extra cost involved with a oem-replacement or even an 'upgraded' replacement.

I have images of it in my 2JZ build thread if your curious. May not be for everyone...
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      04-01-2018, 10:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WickedNy View Post
My tank showed no signs of leaking or loosing coolant last year, on a long drive out of state, coolant tank blew into pieces....had no choice to bring it to nearest stealership to get fixed. Preventative maintenance part.
That sucks... how many miles at the time?
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      04-01-2018, 11:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3002 tii View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by WickedNy View Post
My tank showed no signs of leaking or loosing coolant last year, on a long drive out of state, coolant tank blew into pieces....had no choice to bring it to nearest stealership to get fixed. Preventative maintenance part.
That sucks... how many miles at the time?
Definitely did, happened somewhere between 89-93k
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      04-02-2018, 12:59 AM   #10
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Thanks. Something new for me to worry about.
I sit in stop/go traffic in 100°F+ heat and have 173k miles.
I can totally picture tank shards all over the place.
Adding tank and line to my next bulk parts order.

Can you believe I'm still on my original water pump?
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      04-02-2018, 02:31 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StickMon View Post
Thanks. Something new for me to worry about.
I sit in stop/go traffic in 100°F+ heat and have 173k miles.
I can totally picture tank shards all over the place.
Adding tank and line to my next bulk parts order.

Can you believe I'm still on my original water pump?
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      04-02-2018, 05:21 AM   #12
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tbh these have lasted so long, i think during a service just drain coolant and replace with a new stock one, replacing these one every decade is reasonable imo.
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      04-06-2018, 01:03 PM   #13
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I have gone through 2 expansion tanks in five years of ownership on my 3.0i. The first cracked and I ended up doing a cooling system overhaul a couple of years ago (thermostat was also cracked) and another just a few weeks ago.

To be fair, it is outside in the wild year round so it is subject to the crazy weather we have in the Chicago area, so I regard the expansion tank cracking as just part of the territory for me using a Z year round!
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      04-06-2018, 01:35 PM   #14
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Oh man, yall quit posting these expansion tank failures. I thought we were immune to this blight that other BMWs suffer. I'm putting my head back in the sand.
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      04-07-2018, 11:18 AM   #15
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Tank size/shape is unique to our cars. E46 S54 expansion tank won’t fit. Z3 S54 expansion tank will.

They’re not excessively expensive. I plan on doing mine this summer for peace of mind, but there are no direct bolt-on aluminum replacement units on the market so I’ll be replacing with OEM.
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