When to replace the Thermostat on your BMW 3 SERIES
Recommended replacement interval for the part category Engine thermostat : 50000 km
Important!
This replacement procedure can be used for:
BMW 3 Compact (E46) 320 td, BMW 3 Compact (E46) 318 td View more

The steps may slightly vary depending on the car design.

This video shows the replacement procedure of a similar car part on another vehicle

All the parts you need to replace – Thermostat for 3 Compact (E46) and other BMW models
Tools
Replacement: engine thermostat – BMW 3 Compact (E46). Tools you'll need:
All-purpose cleaning spray
Sealant
Torque wrench
Combination spanner #13
Drive socket # 7
Drive socket # 10
Drive socket # 12
Drive socket # 13
HEX bit No.H5
Ratchet wrench
Flat screwdriver
Seal scraper
Fluid container
Funnel
Crow bar
Microfibre towel
Fender cover
Wheel chock
Replacement: engine thermostat – BMW 3 Compact (E46). AUTODOC recommends:
  • Check the condition of the coolant every time you replace the thermostat. Change the coolant if necessary.
  • Please note: all work on the car – BMW 3 Compact (E46) – should be done with the engine switched off.
Carry out replacement in the following order:
  1. Step 1
    Open the bonnet.
    Step 2
    Use a fender protection cover to prevent damaging paintwork and plastic parts of the car.
    Step 3
    How to change Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2001 - free PDF and video manuals
    Unscrew the fasteners of the air distribution housing assembly. Use a drive socket #12. Use a ratchet wrench.
  2. Step 4
    How to replace BMW 3 Compact (E46) 316ti 1.8 2002 Thermostat - step-by-step manuals and video guides
    Remove the air distribution housing assembly.
  3. Step 5
    Secure the wheels with chocks.
    Step 6
    BMW 3 Compact (E46) 320td 2.0 2003 Thermostat replacement: free workshop manuals
    Lift the car using a jack or place it over an inspection pit.
  4. Step 7
    Changing Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 318ti 2.0 2004 by yourself
    Unscrew the engine cover fastener. Use HEX No.H5. Use a ratchet wrench.
  5. Step 8
    How to remove BMW 3 SERIES 318td 2.0 2005 Thermostat - online easy-to-follow instructions
    Remove the engine cover.
    AUTODOC recommends:
    Do not apply excessive force when removing the part. Otherwise you may damage it.
  6. Step 9
    How to replace Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2001: download PDF manuals and video instructions
    Prepare a container for fluids.
  7. Step 10
    How hard is it to do yourself: Thermostat replacement on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 318Ti 2.0 2002 - download illustrated guide
    Unscrew the coolant drain plug. Use a flat screwdriver.
  8. Step 11
    Need to know how to renew Thermostat on BMW 3 SERIES 2003? This free workshop manual will help you to do it yourself
    Drain the coolant from the engine.
    Replacement: engine thermostat – BMW 3 Compact (E46). Tip from AUTODOC experts:
    Caution! The coolant can be very hot.Wear gloves to prevent contact with hot liquid.All work should be done with the engine stopped.Wait until the coolant has completely flowed out of the drain hole.
  9. Step 12
    Changing of Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2004 won't be an issue if you follow this illustrated step-by-step guide
    Unscrew the coolant reservoir cap.
  10. Step 13
    BMW 3 SERIES 316ti 1.8 Thermostat replacement: online guides and video tutorials
    Disconnect the coolant pipe retaining clip. Use a crowbar.
  11. Step 14
    Replacing Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2001 316ti 1.8 by yourself
    Detach the coolant hose. Use a crowbar.
    Replacement: engine thermostat – BMW 3 Compact (E46). AUTODOC recommends:
    Be careful! The coolant may leak.
  12. Step 15
    3 Compact (E46) 318td 2.0 2002 Thermostat DIY replacement workshop manual
    Screw in the coolant drain plug. Use a flat screwdriver.
  13. Step 16
    How to change Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2003 - tips and tricks
    Remove the fastening clamps of the air filter breather pipe and the air filter inlet pipe. Use a drive socket #7. Use a ratchet wrench.
  14. Step 17
    Step-by-step recommendations for DIY replacement BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2004 318td 2.0 Thermostat
    Remove the air intake hose.
  15. Step 18
    DIY replacement of Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 325 ti 2005 is not an issue anymore with our step-by-step tutorial
    Cover the air intake hose with a microfibre towel to prevent dust and dirt from getting into the system.
  16. Step 19
    How to change Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2001 - free PDF and video manuals
    Unscrew the EGR cooler fasteners. Use HEX No.H5.
  17. Step 20
    How to replace BMW 3 Compact (E46) 316ti 1.8 2002 Thermostat - step-by-step manuals and video guides
    Disconnect the coolant pipe retaining clip. Use a crowbar.
  18. Step 21
    BMW 3 Compact (E46) 320td 2.0 2003 Thermostat replacement: free workshop manuals
    Detach the coolant hose.
    Replacement: engine thermostat – BMW 3 Compact (E46). Tip from AUTODOC experts:
    Be careful! The coolant may leak.
  19. Step 22
    Changing Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 318ti 2.0 2004 by yourself
    Loosen the coolant hose clamp. Use a drive socket #7. Use a ratchet wrench.
  20. Step 23
    How to remove BMW 3 SERIES 318td 2.0 2005 Thermostat - online easy-to-follow instructions
    Detach the coolant hose.
    Replacement: engine thermostat – BMW 3 Compact (E46). Tip:
    Be careful! The coolant may leak.
  21. Step 24
    How to replace Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2001: download PDF manuals and video instructions
    Loosen the clamp on the EGR cooler pipe. Use a drive socket #7. Use a ratchet wrench.
  22. Step 25
    How hard is it to do yourself: Thermostat replacement on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 318Ti 2.0 2002 - download illustrated guide
    Disconnect the EGR cooler pipe.
  23. Step 26
    Need to know how to renew Thermostat on BMW 3 SERIES 2003? This free workshop manual will help you to do it yourself
    Unscrew the EGR cooler fasteners. Use a combination spanner #13.
  24. Step 27
    Changing of Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2004 won't be an issue if you follow this illustrated step-by-step guide
    Remove the EGR cooler.
  25. Step 28
    BMW 3 SERIES 316ti 1.8 Thermostat replacement: online guides and video tutorials
    Cover the EGR cooler pipe with a microfibre cloth to prevent dust and dirt from entering the system.
  26. Step 29
    Replacing Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2001 316ti 1.8 by yourself
    Disconnect the coolant pipe retaining clip. Use a crowbar.
  27. Step 30
    3 Compact (E46) 318td 2.0 2002 Thermostat DIY replacement workshop manual
    Detach the coolant hose.
    Replacement: engine thermostat – BMW 3 Compact (E46). Tip from AUTODOC:
    Be careful! The coolant may leak.
  28. Step 31
    How to change Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2003 - tips and tricks
    Clean the thermostat housing fasteners. Use all-purpose cleaning spray.
  29. Step 32
    Step-by-step recommendations for DIY replacement BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2004 318td 2.0 Thermostat
    Unscrew the thermostat housing fasteners. Use a drive socket #10. Use a ratchet wrench.
  30. Step 33
    DIY replacement of Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 325 ti 2005 is not an issue anymore with our step-by-step tutorial
    Unscrew the EGR cooler bracket. Use a drive socket #13. Use a ratchet wrench.
  31. Step 34
    How to change Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2001 - free PDF and video manuals
    Unscrew the thermostat housing fasteners. Use a drive socket #10. Use a ratchet wrench.
  32. Step 35
    How to replace BMW 3 Compact (E46) 316ti 1.8 2002 Thermostat - step-by-step manuals and video guides
    Remove the thermostat housing.
  33. Step 36
    BMW 3 Compact (E46) 320td 2.0 2003 Thermostat replacement: free workshop manuals
    Cover the EGR cooler pipe with a microfibre cloth to prevent dust and dirt from entering the system.
  34. Step 37
    Changing Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 318ti 2.0 2004 by yourself
    Clean the thermostat housing mounting seat. Use a seal scraper. Use all-purpose cleaning spray.
  35. Step 38
    How to remove BMW 3 SERIES 318td 2.0 2005 Thermostat - online easy-to-follow instructions
    Remove the microfibre cloth.
  36. Step 39
    Treat the thermostat housing mounting seat. Use a sealant.
    Step 40
    How to replace Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2001: download PDF manuals and video instructions
    Install the new thermostat housing.
  37. Step 41
    How hard is it to do yourself: Thermostat replacement on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 318Ti 2.0 2002 - download illustrated guide
    Tighten the thermostat housing fasteners. Use a drive socket #10. Use a torque wrench. Tighten it to 9 Nm torque.
  38. Step 42
    Need to know how to renew Thermostat on BMW 3 SERIES 2003? This free workshop manual will help you to do it yourself
    Tighten the EGR cooler bracket. Use a drive socket #13. Use a torque wrench. Tighten it to 14 Nm torque.
  39. Step 43
    Changing of Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2004 won't be an issue if you follow this illustrated step-by-step guide
    Attach the coolant hose.
  40. Step 44
    BMW 3 SERIES 316ti 1.8 Thermostat replacement: online guides and video tutorials
    Connect the coolant pipe retaining clip.
  41. Step 45
    Replacing Thermostat on BMW 3 Compact (E46) 2001 316ti 1.8 by yourself
    Remove the microfibre cloth from the EGR cooler pipe.
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DIY BMW 3 Compact (E46) Thermostat replacement - online guide
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