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Thread: Comparison of suppliers for coolant overhaul kits

  1. #1
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    Comparison of suppliers for coolant overhaul kits

    I'd love to know your thoughts on three suppliers I'm looking at for potential cooling system overhaul kits: ecstuning, bimmerworld, turner motorsport. They each have kits that are fairly similar to each other, and all allow me to upgrade to a Stewart high-flo pump. I'm looking at the non-BMW ecs kit because, wow, all BMW original parts are way more expensive! I am assuming that both the BW and TMS kits are non-BMW OE kits, though I'm having a hard time determining for sure.

    So... any pros/cons in comparing these 3 vendors for these parts?

    Did you guys include radiators in yours? I may just bite the bullet and upgrade to a full aluminum take like I have in my track car. But I was surprised to see the ecs II kit leave it out. Thought?

    I noticed that the kits only contain radiator hoses, not expansion tank or heater hoses (5 smaller hoses total I think). Are these smaller hoses failure risks, too?

    My car is an '05 manual with 97k miles.

  2. #2
    I replaced the cooling system on my car exactly an year ago when it had the same mileage as yours. I bought the level 2 kit from ecs tuning which does not include the radiator... I would go with original bmw parts when it comes to cooling system, except for the water pump and the radiator... I have heard only good things about Stewart high performance water pump and I think you will be fine going with behr radiator, others can correct me on this... Also posting links to the kits you are talking about would help others know exactly what you are taking about...


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    2006 Coupe | Black Sapphire Metallic | Natural Brown | Gruppe M Intake | Corsa TSE3 | Michelin PSS on Apex ARC-8 | Koni Yellows |

  3. #3
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    Good advice! I can't provide links b/c they are all custom shopping carts. Here's pics of the bimmerworld and TMS carts, and two jpegs of the ECS custom kit (spanned 2 pages). It is not original BMW parts, but I can change that. It will just bump the cost up a good bit. I'm not sure what level of parts the BM and TWS kits provide, but I've heard good things about both suppliers.

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  4. #4
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    I got the Turner Motorsport kit back in May and have had no issues when I installed it myself. I got a new radiator mainly out of fear for what I had seen happen on my father's E39 (burst plastic inlet, twice). Not sure that's an issue on the E46 or not, but better safe than sorry.

  5. #5
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    The previous owner of my car had put the ecstuning stage 2 kit that used OE bmw parts. Paid $489 plus shipping.

    I would go with a OE bmw expansion tank, thermostat and radiator. Water pump could be bmw or Stewart.

    Expansion tank cap go with g.a.s. 1.2 bar vs 2.0

    His - 2004 Imola Red / Alcantara 330i | 6MT | ZHP |

    Her's - 2005 Black Sapphire Metallic / Black Leather 330i | 6MT | ZHP |

  6. #6
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    Only advice I can give you is don't cut corners/go cheap. It'll bite you in the ass. Do it right the first time. The stewart high performance pump is a solid choice to go with. OE parts are typically the way to go unless it's a very clear decision to do something aftermarket that's an upgrade (water pump, vanos components, etc).
    2005 BMW 330i ZHP - BMWP brakes/intake/strut bar/shifter, Coby wraps interior, BBS CHs, Eagle Eye LED tails, GC coilovers, 2x2 CF MTECH2 diffuser, Sprint Booster/sport button mod, 4.5 LCM, Xtrons 9inch HU, BSW stg1, dynamat, M3 sedan dead pedal
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  7. #7
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    Like others have said, don't skimp on on the cooling system. Especially the expansion tank. I bought that same kit from ecs and the expansion tank was junk. always kept saying my coolant level was low no matter what I did. Bought a OEM expansion tank and 6 months later my low coolant light still hasn't came on
    Shawn, 801

  8. #8
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    Thanks everyone for the advice! I went with the full Turner Motorsport coolant overhaul kit (rad, pump, exp tank and cap, hoses, therm, sensors, etc) since it was all OE, and added their pulleys and belts. I upgraded to the Stewart pump and then added an aluminum pulley from Bavarian autosport. This saved some money over the ecs OE kit. It's also a bit cheaper than BW, though I didn't end up with an all-aluminum radiator. But I decided that was overkill. I'll let you all know how the install goes.

  9. #9
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    Comparison of suppliers for coolant overhaul kits

    Quote Originally Posted by AggieBlake View Post
    Thanks everyone for the advice! I went with the full Turner Motorsport coolant overhaul kit (rad, pump, exp tank and cap, hoses, therm, sensors, etc) since it was all OE, and added their pulleys and belts. I upgraded to the Stewart pump and then added an aluminum pulley from Bavarian autosport. This saved some money over the ecs OE kit. It's also a bit cheaper than BW, though I didn't end up with an all-aluminum radiator. But I decided that was overkill. I'll let you all know how the install goes.
    Good luck. Hardest part I think is getting the ET re-seated on the rad receptacle.

    And be sure not to over torque the water pump nuts...

    Tumbs, fone, TaT. ;-)

  10. #10
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    Autozone.com
    Update: Turner Coolant Overhaul kit installed. Great product!

    So it was quite a couple days of maintenance on my '05 ZHP. She's got 98k miles and it was time to replace the OFHG, which made an ideal opportunity for a full coolant rebuild. I purchased the Turner kit which included:
    - Behr OEM radiator
    - Stewart Hi-performance water pump
    - OEM Behr thermostat
    - OEM expansion tank and level sensor
    - Upper and lower radiator hoses + expansion tank hose
    - Temp sensor for lower rad hose
    - Gallon of BMW antifreeze

    I then added a new tensioner pulley, idler pulley, UUC aluminum water pump pulley, both belts, and a bottle of water wetter to add to the coolant (it gets extremely hot here in the summer and that's when I autoX the car, so I need all the cooling help I can get!).

    Here's what my workspace looks like.
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    I started by draining the coolant system. Despite a large bucket some still spilled when I drained the block. It's a messy job. Note that it's really hard to re-torque the block drain nut. An assortment of different length extensions plus a u-joint were essential.

    Next I removed the radiator hoses and the expansion tank. This took some muscle! I carefully used a long screwdriver to pry the ends of the hoses free from their fittings (didn't really have to be careful since I was replacing everything - be careful if you're not). The expansion tank was the hardest part. I ended up using a small crowbar (~18") to pull up on the lip of the tank by pivoting on the front rail (padding placed under crowbar to protect it). It worked well. The tank came out with the mounting bracket at it's base. I'm familiar with the idea of unscrewing the entire tank holder, but I could not access the top fastener without removing the driver's headlight. This method was easier.

    I then changed the OFHG following both Pelican's DIY and the e46fanatics DIY. The process was straightforward. It definitely helps being able to remove the upper radiator hose and expansion tank first, providing lots of room to work. This was an ideal time to clean the driver's side of the engine. Reassembly was easy, with the exception of the alternator which was a bear to line up! A light-weight rubber mallet proved very helpful here (nothing heavy - you don't want to do damage). Install the lower alternator bolt first but don't tighten it. Then use the handle of your mallet to pivot the alternator slowly until the top bolt lines up. Here's a pic with the OFH removed.
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    Next it was time to rebuild the cooling system. The thermostat and water pump went in without a hitch. The Stewart unit is much more robust than stock, but installation was no different (see pic below). Pulleys and belts proved easy. I replaced the radiator from below - easier than trying to finagle it from above. The expansion tank and hoses went in without difficulty. I then refilled the coolant system. Note that the system is not actually filled till it's run enough to replenish the heater hoses and block (assuming you did a full draining). So I filled it, ran the car till the thermostat opened, and then refilled. This was also an ideal time to change the oil and filter.
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    I also deleted the CDV since the car was already up. This was the messiest part of the whole job! I clamped the hose lightly because I was worried about damaging it, but it proved to be insufficient and I got an arm full of fluid. Removing the CDV was easy, but bleeding the slave cylinder was not. That nipple was hard to reach!

    All in all, this was a very enjoyable project. I was able to space it over a few days which helped remove any stress. Every step is doable if you have the correct tools. And you learn a great deal about your engine in the process. Here's a final pic. OFHG, pulleys, belts, and radiator done... just expansion tank and hoses left.
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