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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 12-31-2012, 08:14 AM
mhughett mhughett is offline
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N52 water pump and t-stat change

I have two other friends/family that have N52 motors with the electric water pumps and both of them failed once they got to about 80k miles. Since this is something that generally disables the car, I thought it might be a good idea to replace it on my wife's X3 that just turned 80k last month. I had done the replacement on my daughters E90 earlier this year and it took about 2-2.5 hours and there were great instructions on the net to do the job. However,as hard as i searched, I couldn't find any such instructions for the X3. Since the water pump and t-stat are in the same place on the engine, the instructions should apply to both cars, right? WRONG.

For those contemplating this job, better be prepared to get out every device you have to get into small places. It seems that BMW decided to put the sub-frame of the X3 directly below the pump and t-stat and there is almost no room to get at all of the hoses, clamps and screws that must be unfastened and re-fastened to do this job. I've never been so frustrated trying to do so many what sound like simple things. Everything must be done at an angle--nothing is straight on. Lots of things are done by feel as you can't really see some of the screws very well. About half way through, I went and got one of those flexible hose clamp drivers just to remove some of the hose clamps. I never knew how difficult it was to get a bolt in straight until I tackled this job. Ultimately, what should have been a 2 hour job turned into a 6+ hour job. After I got done I started wondering how a dealer would do it and I just don't see how it can be done much easier--short of pulling the engine out to do it. What a royal PITA.

The good news is I now have piece of mind that the pump won't go out for another 80k . Thanks for putting up with my rant.
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  #2  
Old 12-31-2012, 09:27 AM
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cagui1223 cagui1223 is offline
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I hear ya!
a few months back I had to change out my girlfriends 07 X3 thermostat because of the SEL (at 88,125 miles). The piece was approximately $100.00. The labor was indeed a royal PITA!
I didn't flush the coolant out, so as soon as I pulled one of the hoses I was drenched in coolant (of course I did this with the engine cold!). It didnt take that long for me since I only changed out the thermostat.
I wanted to post a DIY but it I couldn't get good pictures because of its location...
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  #3  
Old 12-31-2012, 09:36 AM
Supercourse Supercourse is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhughett View Post
The good news is I now have piece of mind that the pump won't go out for another 80k . Thanks for putting up with my rant.
Commiserations. Those of us with the M54 engine and a mechanical water pump should be happy.

I am hoping that clues or signs of impending failure will be gradual (drip, noise, etc.) unlike an electric water pump which just stops dead.
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  #4  
Old 12-31-2012, 09:38 AM
x3brian x3brian is offline
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Argh...I was hoping for 150k out of that electric water pump before I replaced it. Now you have me a bit worried (at 107k now). I am going to push it though . That's the engineer in me.

Sounds like I will have fun replacing it when the time comes in addition to the part itself costing an arm and a leg.

Last edited by x3brian; 12-31-2012 at 09:39 AM.
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  #5  
Old 12-31-2012, 11:01 AM
mhughett mhughett is offline
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It was a tough call as to whether to replace now or wait for failure. However since my wife goes out of town a lot, I just knew that it would go on one of her trips, get towed to a dealer and then I'd get soaked for about $1200 for the repair (which is what dealers charge for this). By the way, the best place to get a pump is to check on ebay as several BMW dealers sell these for about 60% of list price and usually have free shipping as well. I think I got my pump for $335 and the t-stat for about $65-$70.
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2003 530i 5-speed, SP, PP, CWP, Xenon
Bilstein Sports
UUC short shifter with DSSR and ZHP shift knob
Michelin Pilot Sport A/S
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CDV delete
Huper Optik tint

2007 X3 3.0si
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Last edited by mhughett; 12-31-2012 at 11:04 AM.
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  #6  
Old 01-18-2013, 10:06 AM
suss1173 suss1173 is offline
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Anyone know how long BMW quotes to replace the water pump, T-sat, and expansion tank on an E 83 (2006-X3-3.0) Not looking at price of parts, just amount of time/ labor.
Thanks
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  #7  
Old 01-20-2013, 08:47 PM
mekaneck mekaneck is offline
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mhughett - how difficult was the water pump replacement? I just did the thermostat, but I didn't take the time to see how the water pump was bolted in. Are the bolts difficult to get at? And for what it's worth, when I did the t-stat, I used an 8mm ratcheting wrench to remove the hose clamps, and it worked quite well. I'm not sure how it would've been possible using a screwdriver or nutdriver (even with a flex extension).

Suss1173 - you may want to ask that question in a different (or new) thread, the M54 engine is a completely different job than the N52 engine. I've replaced on all 3 on an M54 but couldn't tell you how much time a dealer would charge.
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  #8  
Old 01-20-2013, 09:37 PM
suss1173 suss1173 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekaneck View Post
mhughett -
Suss1173 - you may want to ask that question in a different (or new) thread, the M54 engine is a completely different job than the N52 engine. I've replaced on all 3 on an M54 but couldn't tell you how much time a dealer would charge.
Thank you for the note.
A friend (who is a tech) helped me do the job yesterday. It took us a bit less than 2 hours to do everything.

My X3 has 80k on clock. The expansion tank had a crack, so I did everything but the rad. We put in a new water pump, t-stat, and upper and lower hoses as furure prevention. If anyone want my old t-stat, water pump, or hoses, they are welcome to come and take them,
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  #9  
Old 02-03-2013, 06:54 PM
mhughett mhughett is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekaneck View Post
mhughett - how difficult was the water pump replacement? I just did the thermostat, but I didn't take the time to see how the water pump was bolted in. Are the bolts difficult to get at? And for what it's worth, when I did the t-stat, I used an 8mm ratcheting wrench to remove the hose clamps, and it worked quite well. I'm not sure how it would've been possible using a screwdriver or nutdriver (even with a flex extension).

Suss1173 - you may want to ask that question in a different (or new) thread, the M54 engine is a completely different job than the N52 engine. I've replaced on all 3 on an M54 but couldn't tell you how much time a dealer would charge.
Suss1173, your replacement of the M54 components is pretty typical for that engine. I've done several of these and they are very straightforward and easy to get at. However that is not anytting like the N52 engine.

Dealers charge about $1,100 to do the water pump replacement and I'm not sure if this includes the thermostat or not. This means that they have about $500 in labor for the work. Of course they have the advantage of using a lift as well as having detailed instructions and tools from BMW. I tried to use my TIS disk for instructions but for soime reason it didn't work for the X3. I had a diy for a 325i with N52 but it has much better access and I was able to do my daughter's car in about 2-3 hours. My dealer warned me that the X3 is a bear for the N52 water pump and he was right.
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2003 530i 5-speed, SP, PP, CWP, Xenon
Bilstein Sports
UUC short shifter with DSSR and ZHP shift knob
Michelin Pilot Sport A/S
BSW IQ speakers, Sirius
CDV delete
Huper Optik tint

2007 X3 3.0si
6-speed manual, CWP, Xenon, Cft. Seats, Premium Pkg, Sirius, Privacy glass
Reply With Quote
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