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Thanks guys for your ideas, there was a smaller gasket on the temp sender, that I had to sort of unscrew off the threads to put on the new one, could there have been a bigger one as well? I have just done a complete blank on where it came from...
You most probably nicked the new o-rings for the TStat housing. I went through a few before I realizes BMW were giving me the wrong size O rings! I ordered some nitrile ones in the correct size from another supplier and no more probs.
I could probably get a tstat out in 20 minutes depending on how tight it is sealed to the engine block. The most time consuming step is draining the coolant, or in my case, pumping it out from the expansion tank.
There should only be the one crush washer with the temp sensor. I just changed mine and have the old one so will have a quick look. So not sure what your left over part could be?
If you find the source of the leak it may tell you, but it does sound like a nicked o-ring, it's super easy to do. See if you can feel around the back around the three pipes if there is moisture or even a bit of o-ring that was trapped and protruding.
Also, I'd suggest using KY Jelly on the o-rings if you do need to re-insall, water based lubricant is better for their long term life from what I've heard : )
PITA that this happened just before you head of on a road trip!! It's always the way...