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Rich330ci

E46 Mechanical To Electric Fan Conversion.

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right this conversion only really applies to automatic petrol cars or diesel and is very easy to do, i carried this out on my 2003 330ci and it took around a hour to do and i wasn't rushing about! its all plug and play with no messing with wiring or coding etc needed!

the purpose of this conversion is to remove the mechanical fan (engine driven) and the electric aux fan in front of the radiator, and replace them with the single electric fan used on manual cars.

the only part you need is the OEM manual fan, i got mine from a bmw breakers off a 330ci which had covered under 60k for £40!

Btw my car has been already converted from automatic to 6-spd manual gearbox just to note!

So......

firstly you need to remove the air box intake feed which is held down with 3 push-in plastic clips,

after that you need to loosen off the fan cowling which is held on with a t25 screw (located at the top near A/C pipes), and a plastic push-in clip on the opposite side near the radiator cap, there is also 2 plugs which need un-plugging, 1 larger plug powering the front aux fan and a smaller plug connected to the module mounted to the shroud.

the cowling is now ready to remove, so using the correct size spanner and locking tool you can free/remove the mechanical fan and slide the cowling out, you will noticed a huge gap now which in future will allow easy access to work on belts/water pump etc etc if needed!

the new manual spec electric fan just slides in the exact same place as old fan cowling came out of and is held in place by the same 2 fittings (1x t25 screw and 1x plastic clip), once in place you just plug the fan in, the fan is powered by the same plug which was connected to the aux fan, also remember to plug the module in (this is needed for the A/C as its a sensor).

the next step is to remove the front bumper and plastic cowling then remove the aux fan which is held down by 4x 13mm nuts, once its off refit cowling and bumper and your ready to test everything.

the electric fan is variable speed and will also run when A/C is activated exactly the same as manual spec cars, i ran my car up to temp and using the OBC function 7 (engine coolant temp) monitored everything, without the A/C running mine held at around 90'c and when it creeped past this the fan started up, on a road test in both heavy traffic and motorway runs i've had no issues at all with coolant temps with it never going past 92'c. Its very quiet now as theres no noisy mechanical fan running

as i said earlier my car has already been converted from a automatic to manual last year so i don't run the additional gearbox cooler anymore so i cannot comment on how much difference it will have on the temps, i have done a little extra research on e46fanatics and it seems its quite a popular swap on there automatics and a few run these is much higher temps then we see here in the UK.

will post pictures up later on once i've sorted them.

Edited by Rich330ci
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apparently a benefit of removing the mechanical fan is improved response/free up bhp etc, although if i'm honest i couldn't really tell when driving after swapping, (i had also reset throttle adaption at same time!)

the other benefits are much quieter operation, a lot more space to work on pump/thermostat/belts etc as the electric fan slides out dead easy!, and no risk of the viscous fan destroying itself and taking out other components (i've seen the results of a few failing for whatever reason! dented bonnets/radiators damaged etc)

my ow main reason overall was that i have already converted my car from a automatic to manual gearbox and wanted to do this as apart of the proper conversion, so thought id post this up incase anyone does need to swap either there fan or remove it to work on anything etc.

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Sounds worthwhile. Just so I'm clear, it is possible to replace the mechanical fan with the electric one when you have the automatic gearbox?

yeah it is for the automatic cars, the manual spec electric fan fits straight in once you remove the old mechanical fan + cowling

anyone running a manual spec car(from factory) won't have the mechanical fan anyway so this wouldn't apply to them.

only thing i cannot comment on is the engine temp when running the automatic box as they have a gearbox cooler which is cooled via the radiator.

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i will have to take some new pics as i accidentally deleted them off!!

unfortunately i think my thermostat housing has a tiny leak, really is small but i get a little drop of coolant every once in a while from the housing!

btw you won't need to do anything with the auto box cooler, as long as the radiator is bled up correctly then should be fine as the coolant just pass's through the cooler to take heat away from the gearbox oil.

Edited by Rich330ci
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Off topic, but...

How difficult was this to do and what costs are involved?

in terms of difficulty on a scale of 1 to 5 (5=hard) i'd say about 3

the actual job of removing the auto box/flywheel etc and changing to manual is no harder then a clutch change (essentially the same!)

the hardest part i found was getting the new clutch pipe in behind the dash and doing a neat job of the wiring (working under the dash etc), after that you just need to get the computers reprogrammed with progman etc

if you do it you just need the right tools to reach the bolts which hold the box onto engine and some patience! total time before programming i spent a full weekend on it, but i also tried to get all the wiring neatly into the original looms were possible!

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thanks for the reply, I'm good mechanically, I've changed clutches, rebuilt engines, etc...

been thinking about chopping mine in for a manual, but finding one with the right spec is difficult, this might be another option

[goes to look on eBay for 6 speed manual gearboxes]

Edited by Rich_D
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unfortantly my auto box died so it had to be fixed, so i chose to do the conversion as i didn't really wanna sell/swap the car! it took me a little while to find the right 6 speed box as the diesel ratio isn't ideal for a petrol, but you should be fine! oh and there more common to find diesel 6speed box!

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Rich, been meaning to do this for a while now but my fan has just started making some weed noise's :-/ been looking at fans on eBay and it seem like the ones from 316 -320 are diff to 330? Did you find this? I've got a 330D so guess ill have to get the 330 fan??

Cheers

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Rich, been meaning to do this for a while now but my fan has just started making some weed noise's :-/ been looking at fans on eBay and it seem like the ones from 316 -320 are diff to 330? Did you find this? I've got a 330D so guess ill have to get the 330 fan??

Cheers

according to RealOEM the fan unit from a 330ci fits quite a lot of the models from 316 to 330 but i agree i have seen many on ebay which don't look the same, if you can try getting one from a 330 or 328 etc

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I've a viscous fan on a Manuel diesel and than an aircon fan infront of the rad. I saw guys putting bigger intercoolers onto there car but losing the ac fan.

So this will delete both fans right. And the ac can cool ok even with no fan (your new fan in behind the rad which is behind the ac rad so very far away)

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I've a viscous fan on a Manuel diesel and than an aircon fan infront of the rad. I saw guys putting bigger intercoolers onto there car but losing the ac fan.

So this will delete both fans right. And the ac can cool ok even with no fan (your new fan in behind the rad which is behind the ac rad so very far away)

yes it would delete both the viscous fan and the AC fan, yes the new fan will cool the AC fine, this is standard on the 330i manual engines, they don't run the additional AC fan like the auto or diesel

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right this conversion only really applies to automatic cars

the purpose of this conversion is to remove the mechanical fan (engine driven) and the electric aux fan in front of the radiator, and replace them with the single electric fan used on manual cars.

my current 330d is a 6 speed manual (old one was an auto), but still has a viscous fan, so it's not just automatics...

Edited by Rich_D
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my current 330d is a 6 speed manual (old one was an auto), but still has a viscous fan, so it's not just automatics...

i have amended it slightly, was only really concentrating on my car at the time of writing the OP trying not to forget any bits! cheers for pointing it out! :beer:

Edited by Rich330ci
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Makes me wonder why bmw in there wisdom fitted the viscous fan on the auto.it makes more noise than the engine when you rev it,and I've never noticed the elec aux one come on yet lol.was thinking about removing it and the fact there available 2nd hand from a manual one?, possible overkill by bmw on auto.

Sent from my C6903 using Tapatalk

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Hmmm. Good write up! Looking forward to pics. I was looking at this on my 330D. Two reasons..firstly, mine has started to make a bit of a noise, secondly as Scott says, a bigger intercooler (possibility for the future) means you lose the ac fan. Any experts out there think there is a downside? BMW must have had good reason for choosing the viscous/aux fan configuration on a diesel?

Sent from my Lumia 1520 using Tapatalk

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Hmmm. Good write up! Looking forward to pics. I was looking at this on my 330D. Two reasons..firstly, mine has started to make a bit of a noise, secondly as Scott says, a bigger intercooler (possibility for the future) means you lose the ac fan. Any experts out there think there is a downside? BMW must have had good reason for choosing the viscous/aux fan configuration on a diesel?

Sent from my Lumia 1520 using Tapatalk

and also the s50 and s54 have viscous fan....
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