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Had same problem, here's what I did (long story) (archive)

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Posted by Seb on February 08, 2000 at 17:13:57:

In Reply to: Cold Weather Engine Temp posted by jjb-buff on February 08, 2000 at 06:58:33:

I have encountered the same on my '95 318. The VDO oil temp gauge just wouldn't reach normal operating temp when it's less than about 40F outside (I live in Western MA). It doesn't seem to be the thermostat, because the engine DOES get hot when the car is sitting, and during slow sleep/high rpm drives. But not high speed/high rpm drives, and hi rpm definitely needs warm engine.

What I had observed on Euro 4-cyl E36 was an inner plastic cover behind the lower air intake, which U.S. 318's don't have. I wondered why, asked questions (twice) on the E36 board, both times no answers. On a recent trip to Toronto I got pissed so badly about the engine staying cold that I did a little experiment: I went to Canadian Tire, bought an on-sale plastic cover, cut it to the size of the lower intake, taped it to the front of the car, and voila! The engine oil from then on has consistently reached operating temp as it would during let's say 70F weather.

I don't know how much this will cut of cooling air on an M3, but on my 318 it surely works fine. If you have a VDO oil temp gauge (I guess you do), then just try it yourself. Maybe you should cut a few holes in the cover, just to make sure your engine doesn't overheat this time.

Will also post this on the E36 board if I have time...

Good luck!


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