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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 12-23-2009, 11:42 AM
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jstover jstover is offline
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DIY: Heater Core Replacement?

I'm getting the dreaded coolant smell in the car and it's usually only under hard acceleration. I can find no evidence of any leaks under the hood. No white spotting or anything under the hood. No signs of any coolant leaks of any kind. I do have to top off the system with coolant about once a month.

Is there a particular spot on the interior that I should look for coolant to collect? I first noticed it on a 1300 mile round trip to GA a few weeks ago and now only happens every once in a while. I did a search on the E39 Forum and the DIY Forum and could not find anything. Is there a DIY to replace the Heater Core and hoses? Any other pointers or things/places I should look?
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  #2  
Old 12-23-2009, 11:49 AM
edjack edjack is online now
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Have you looked in the Bentley's? I seem to remember that the procedure was in there.

The TIS shows that it is not that bad a job, with access via the footwell.
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  #3  
Old 12-23-2009, 12:39 PM
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jstover jstover is offline
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I think the Bentley manuals are under the tree right now. Guess I'll be waiting just a few days more.
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  #4  
Old 12-28-2009, 09:20 AM
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jstover jstover is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
Have you looked in the Bentley's? I seem to remember that the procedure was in there.

The TIS shows that it is not that bad a job, with access via the footwell.
Received my Bentley manuals as a Xmas present and scoured them throughly looking for a replacement procedure and found nothing. As a matter of fact, the manual doesn't address the Heat/AC system at all. There is a diagram showing the hoses coming from the cooling system into the cabin of the car and that is it. Nadda. Nothing. Zilch. The closest thing I found was a procedure how to take apart the center console and lower dash.

Is there a DIY out there that addresses replacing the heater core?
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  #5  
Old 02-18-2011, 03:16 PM
jglover jglover is offline
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Bump! Has no one come up with a diy for this project? I spent the last couple of hours at work searching, but to no avail.
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  #6  
Old 02-18-2011, 06:51 PM
rdl rdl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstover View Post
Received my Bentley manuals as a Xmas present and scoured them throughly looking for a replacement procedure and found nothing. As a matter of fact, the manual doesn't address the Heat/AC system at all. There is a diagram showing the hoses coming from the cooling system into the cabin of the car and that is it. Nadda. Nothing. Zilch. The closest thing I found was a procedure how to take apart the center console and lower dash.

Is there a DIY out there that addresses replacing the heater core?
In my Bentley Vol 2, sect 640 p 18-20 "Heater core, replacing (IHKA)"

Regards
RDL
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  #7  
Old 02-18-2011, 09:39 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Let's see if anyone posted a bestlink to a heater core DIY.

I've never worked on one (and don't even know what it is or what we call it in BMW-sepak).

What's the search keyword to use.

PS: I tried the following searches:
  1. Click on the VERY best of E39 Links (or, in the E39 wiki common issues):
  2. Press your operating system "find" hotkey (i.e., "control f" in Windows & Linux & "command f" on the Mac) (SEE NOTE 1)
    • NOTE 1: With Firefox, the slash (/) hotkey, in addition to "control f", does the same search, without the extra overhead.
  3. Type the search word, e.g., "heater core" (sans quotes) (SEE NOTE 2)
    • NOTE 2: On Windows & Linux, the "F3" hotkey will jump to the next find; "shift F3" will reverse the find; "enter" will open the current link.
Searching for "heater core" came up red; but searching for "heater":
- Heater Valve replace (Hot air only) DIY
-
Heater control valve replacement
- Heater hot water valve repair

And, searching for "IHKA":
- How to remove the IHKA air conditioning control panel to clean the circuit board (1) (2) (3)
- HVAC (IHKA) sampling fan check - a cn90 15 min DIY project! (1)
- Removing the HVAC (IHKA) panel (1)
- Hualigan installation DIY with removal of MID, HVAC/IHKA, Business CD player (1), & dashboard trim (1)
- How to remove the trim and bracket holding the MID & HVAC/IHKA panels (1) (2)

Doing a bimmerfest search for "E39 heater core" found 27 hits, including this one (but I didn't click on each and every one). However, if MY heater core needed replacement, I'd do that extra effort and then report back which, if any, were useful.

Googling for the same terms got stuff (of course), most of which is not E39:
- 540iA Heater core and blower motor
- E34 heater core replacement
-
E36 Help! Heater core replacement, RHD car. I've hit a wall (with the job, not the car).
- E36 Heater core replacement on 328i
- 91 850i Heater Core Removal Instructions Wanted
- BMW heater core description
- E34 Ah crap! Heater core bad?
- etc.

I didn't go to my garage to look in the Bentleys.

Since it's decidedly hard to find a good writeup on the E39 heater core DIY, I would ask the OP to take a look at these links (and any he digs up), and let us know which are the best for what he needs to do.

Then, with his advice, we can add them to the best links:
- How to remove and replace your BMW E39 heater core (1) (2) (3) etc.
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  #8  
Old 02-18-2011, 10:16 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Good plan, BB. Now if we can just get people to actually read the results of all this work, it will be an accomplishment.
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  #9  
Old 02-18-2011, 10:56 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdmac View Post
if we can just get people to actually read the results of all this work
I wouldn't do the work if I didn't think the OP wouldn't read them!

Since the OP has to do the job, he has incentive to read them (I read each one just a bit to skim it for being total junk and I deleted most of the junk).

I'd know a lot more if I actually did the job myself; but I know nothing except what the search comes up.

But, when I have a job to do:
a) I read everything I can on it (half of which is garbage or false or lies or wrong)
b) Then I write up the steps to perform
c) I figure out what parts to buy and from whom
d) When they arrive, I wait a long time to get my courage up
e) I tackle the job
f) I screw up midway in that process (despite the best-laid plans)
g) I frantically "call home" on bimmerfest & post my stumbling block
h) The bimmerfest team always pulls me through the stumbling block
i) I write a wholly fictional DIY where all the steps are in the right order and nothing is dropped or broken

PS: It amazes me how DIYs can be fiction; but they are!

I hope the OP lets us know which, if any, of the links listed quality for the best links for future reference.

Last edited by bluebee; 02-18-2011 at 10:59 PM.
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  #10  
Old 02-18-2011, 11:14 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I wouldn't do the work if I didn't think the OP wouldn't read them!

Since the OP has to do the job, he has incentive to read them (I read each one just a bit to skim it for being total junk and I deleted most of the junk).
I agree the OP is likely to read it now, and I think continual refinement of the DIY's is terrific. I just hope that others take advantage of what we've learned before they ask a question that may well have been already answered in awe-inspiring depth.
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  #11  
Old 02-19-2011, 03:41 AM
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gtxragtop gtxragtop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jglover View Post
Bump! Has no one come up with a diy for this project? I spent the last couple of hours at work searching, but to no avail.
Try google..... It will find you most all the links including Bimmerfest links... See what I typed in. It shows 6 different option categories.
I selected one and you can see the first page hits. The only negative with this approach is that you will get lots of useless hits to sort through and a few good ones.
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Last edited by gtxragtop; 02-19-2011 at 03:58 AM.
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  #12  
Old 01-02-2012, 09:51 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtxragtop View Post
The only negative with this approach is that you will get lots of useless hits to sort through and a few good ones.
That's the main reason the bestlinks was created by the team (so that the best of the links would be more easily found).

For the record, today someone asked about how to bypass the heater core:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > Bypass Heater Core

And, this nice BMW TIS came up in the discussion:
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdmac View Post
This link might help as well. (BMW TIS.)
- BMW TIS - 64 11 200 Removing and installing / replacing heater (heater)
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File Type: pdf BMW_E39_TIS_64-11-200_removing_and_replacing_heater_core.pdf (248.6 KB, 1118 views)
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