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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 12-03-2006, 04:15 PM
blue_uhuru blue_uhuru is offline
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Add me to the "overheat" club

My car has joined the E39 Overheat Club as of Thursday night. I took a short drive out to dinner that night and because it was raining, I had the A/C on to defog the windows. As I was returning to my hotel (I was travelling for work), I noticed the red light was on and the needle buried to the right of the dial. I quickly turned off the A/C, popped the hood and jumped out to check whether or not the fan was running - it was. The next day when the engine was cool, I checked for leaks and checked the radiator fluid level. All looked fine. I even checked for oil in the overflow tank - nada. I drove the car home (100 miles) without any hint of a problem. Had the needle even HINTED at rising, I would have pulled over and called a tow truck.

Yesterday, while running an errand, I kept a close eye on the temp gauge. At one point during my drive, the needle began to rise toward the danger zone. It kissed the red zone and then immediately returned to the normal (12 o'clock) position. My A/C was off the entire time. I never had another incident after that.

I'm going to drop my car off at the dealer tomorrow to see if they can diagnose the problem. If it's something serious, I may be parting company with my "baby".
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  #2  
Old 12-03-2006, 04:41 PM
SoCaLE39 SoCaLE39 is offline
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sounds like you just need to replace your thermostat......rather cheap repair.
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  #3  
Old 12-03-2006, 04:43 PM
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chuck92103 chuck92103 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCaLE39 View Post
sounds like you just need to replace your thermostat......rather cheap repair.
+1 If you are close to 100k miles, I recommend a full cooling system replacement. i.e. Radiator, belts, hoses, water pump, thermostat, etc. It will save you a lot of trouble.
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  #4  
Old 12-03-2006, 05:33 PM
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Brian McKinney Brian McKinney is offline
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Why is it people here always say these things about their cooling system, it is CHEAPER THAN YOU THINK, just spend $300 on parts find a buddy with tools and spend a weekend getting to know your car...if not then find a independent mechanic who will do it for a third of what the dealer charges. The fact is if you own an E39, it has cooling issues...so every 60K miles just do the whole thing much cheaper than buying a new engine or replacing a head. I am at 56K miles, full cooling replacement in March, all tranny fluids next week, fuel filter next week with new spark plugs.
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  #5  
Old 12-03-2006, 05:38 PM
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Captngeetch Captngeetch is offline
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+2

sounds like T-Stat....
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  #6  
Old 12-03-2006, 06:00 PM
blue_uhuru blue_uhuru is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck92103 View Post
+1 If you are close to 100k miles, I recommend a full cooling system replacement. i.e. Radiator, belts, hoses, water pump, thermostat, etc. It will save you a lot of trouble.
I am right at 112000 miles. I doubt Santa Claus himself could afford the list of things you've wished upon me. ;-)
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  #7  
Old 12-03-2006, 07:07 PM
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Brian McKinney Brian McKinney is offline
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Quote:
I doubt Santa Claus himself could afford the list of things you've wished upon me. ;-)
cheaper than buying new head $1500 or engine $5500, or buying a new car all together as you suggested you might do..
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  #8  
Old 12-03-2006, 07:09 PM
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chuck92103 chuck92103 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue_uhuru View Post
I am right at 112000 miles. I doubt Santa Claus himself could afford the list of things you've wished upon me. ;-)
Consider yourself VERY lucky to get that many miles on the original cooling system.
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  #9  
Old 12-03-2006, 08:05 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 103K miles
I am afraid this is classic

Quote:
Originally Posted by blue_uhuru View Post
My car has joined the E39 Overheat Club as of Thursday night. I took a short drive out to dinner that night and because it was raining, I had the A/C on to defog the windows. As I was returning to my hotel (I was travelling for work), I noticed the red light was on and the needle buried to the right of the dial. I quickly turned off the A/C, popped the hood and jumped out to check whether or not the fan was running - it was. The next day when the engine was cool, I checked for leaks and checked the radiator fluid level. All looked fine. I even checked for oil in the overflow tank - nada. I drove the car home (100 miles) without any hint of a problem. Had the needle even HINTED at rising, I would have pulled over and called a tow truck.

Yesterday, while running an errand, I kept a close eye on the temp gauge. At one point during my drive, the needle began to rise toward the danger zone. It kissed the red zone and then immediately returned to the normal (12 o'clock) position. My A/C was off the entire time. I never had another incident after that.

I'm going to drop my car off at the dealer tomorrow to see if they can diagnose the problem. If it's something serious, I may be parting company with my "baby".
symptoms of cracked cylinder head or blown head gasket, neither is cheap!

cn90
98 528i
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  #10  
Old 12-04-2006, 06:02 PM
blue_uhuru blue_uhuru is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
symptoms of cracked cylinder head or blown head gasket, neither is cheap!

cn90
98 528i
If that's the case, then why is there no oil or residue in the cooling system? Today, on the way to the dealer, the check engine light came on. I didn't get the car into the shop until 12:30 so they didn't get to it today. I anxiously await the dreaded call tomorrow.
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  #11  
Old 12-04-2006, 06:33 PM
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mvallido mvallido is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue_uhuru View Post
I am right at 112000 miles. I doubt Santa Claus himself could afford the list of things you've wished upon me. ;-)
Full cooling system overhaul and hopefully your cylinder head does not have a hairline crack yet. It only takes a few overheating incidents to crack a head.
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  #12  
Old 12-04-2006, 07:18 PM
SoCaLE39 SoCaLE39 is offline
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Im still holding to the possibility that you need a new thermostat. If you had a blown gasket you would know, smelly steam coming from exhaust, loss in power, etc.

Thermostats get old and when they do they work periodically. Sometimes they wont open other times they might. With your description this sounds like the problem.
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  #13  
Old 12-05-2006, 05:57 AM
jglover jglover is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
symptoms of cracked cylinder head or blown head gasket, neither is cheap!

cn90
98 528i
AMEN to that from exprience
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  #14  
Old 12-05-2006, 06:20 PM
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mvallido mvallido is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jglover View Post
AMEN to that from exprience
Me Too! LOL!
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  #15  
Old 12-05-2006, 06:33 PM
avibhogal avibhogal is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 528i
Well I am not sure if I am of much help. I had to get the whole system overhauled for about $1300 inclusive of parts and labor from the dealer ship.

I found the following link which gives you step by step procedures on how to replace the cooling system (entirely) if you want to do it yourself.

http://bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/199986
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  #16  
Old 12-20-2006, 06:43 PM
blue_uhuru blue_uhuru is offline
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My problem was diagnosed as EITHER a leaking head gasket OR a cracked cylinder head. Neither of which are cheap. I sold the car instead of taking the gamble.
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  #17  
Old 12-21-2006, 07:04 AM
zykac zykac is offline
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Mein Auto: 97 528i
overheating

[happened to me once!
fixed that by changing the water pump!
changed thermostat,and flushed out radiator just 4 kicks also !
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