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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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  #101  
Old 11-18-2010, 10:15 PM
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Here is a picture of a smaller diameter E39 coolant hose that suddenly blew this week, opening a six-inch gash spewing coolant all over the place.

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  #102  
Old 11-29-2010, 02:27 AM
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DIY autopsy for BMW E30 radiator and expansion tank failure

As a cross reference, I wrote a DIY autopsy for both the radiator and the expansion tank just now.

- BMW E39 failed radiator & failed expansion tank pictorial autopsy, new questions asked

Please take a look as I posited a few novel observations that need engineering types to look at to ascertain whether or not they're valid assumptions.




Last edited by bluebee; 11-29-2010 at 02:59 AM.
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  #103  
Old 12-05-2010, 03:55 AM
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In keeping with the radiator failure mode pictorial nature of this thread, here is today's
- 540i radiator gone bad at 61,000 miles.



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  #104  
Old 12-16-2010, 06:34 PM
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Here is a very nice picture of where the valley pan gaskets leak in the V8.

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  #105  
Old 12-16-2010, 11:40 PM
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People keep asking where their leaks are, especially those in the hoses nearer the back of the engine than the front, or on the underside.

So, for the record, here are the six related realoem diagrams for the M54 engine (which is what I have) so that newbies can refer to them if they don't know about realoem themselves.

This shows the key cooling-system components that often fail:





This stuff generally does not fail:

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  #106  
Old 12-17-2010, 02:12 AM
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Here's a picture of what happened to a BMW E34 when the fan clutch seized.
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  #107  
Old 12-17-2010, 02:27 AM
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Here are some pictures of the failures to check for in the drive belts.
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  #108  
Old 12-26-2010, 06:23 PM
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This isn't a radiator failure, per se ... but it's from a thread where someone bought a car fraudulently sold to him ... notice the expansion tank hose is simply cut off ... and notice the upper radiator hose isn't anywhere near stock.

Things to look out for when looking for radiator failures in a new-to-you E39!

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  #109  
Old 01-01-2011, 10:09 PM
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For those reading this thread to get an idea why replace the ENTIRE cooling system when only one component seems bad ...

See this thread from today ...
- Noise under the hood

Where the OP says ...
"I knew I should have changed this when I did the radiator a month ago"

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  #110  
Old 01-06-2011, 10:32 PM
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This post by cn90 today clued me in to a good reason why you generally do an entire belt-drive system overhaul at the same time you perform the cooling system overhaul.

" I was going through the twisties three blocks from my barber shop and notice my steering was hard. Look down and battery light is on and check temp gauge and it's going up fast. Get to the end of the last curve and shut down and coast to my shop. Top radiator neck breaks and coolant everywhere. One of the tensioners came apart".

The guy had ALREADY done a full cooling system overhaul.

Then ...
1)The pulley seized.
2)The belt broke.
3)The waterpump was not operating due to drive belt being broken.
4)Engine temperature increased,overheat condition was reached and exceeded.
5)Lower radiator hose began to overheat due to lack of circulation,rubber can take more than German plastic due to its physical properties and expansion.
6)Your radiator neck,being the weakest connection begins deterioration from over temperature.
7)Steam rises and precipitates all over your engine compartment.

*Early signs such as noisy fan belt operation should have been evident.
*These coolant mishaps usually happens under extreme conditions influenced by operation and not environmental conditions or design flaw conditions.
*Great pictures for a great way to educate us all,something to ponder and learn from.
*Check for any further damage and double check your waterpump.
*Replace the map cooling t-stat as preventative,for efficiency and longevity not to mention functionality.
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  #111  
Old 01-11-2011, 11:02 AM
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This post today shows graphically how the radiator nipple fails in use:
- Nipple broken in half -- radiator vent hose fitting

See this extensive pictorial thread which shows how to gracefully remove the nipple intact:
- WANTED: An ingenious method of removing radiator nipple

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  #112  
Old 01-19-2011, 10:23 PM
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If you'd like to see what a water pump bearing failure looks like (at 108K miles), look here.
- Failed Water Pump. Aftermath not pretty

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  #113  
Old 01-29-2011, 09:26 AM
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Those who continue to drive their car with the cooling system leaking should take a look over here where a leaking waterpump eventually took out the #3 cylinder of a 2002 530i.

Here is all we know (assuming the spark plug move from #3 to #6 was innoculous):
  • Bad waterpump on M54 engine was known to the owner
What was not known at the time was:
  • The DISA valve variable intake vane broke off into the intake manifold and the plate shaft apparently sailed through cylinder #3 before disintegrating
  • Spark plug electrodes on cylinder #3 smashed into ceramic (ceramic intact)
  • Hundreds of little pits in the piston head
  • Both exhaust valves bent
  • One intake valve seat damaged
  • Car appears to have been run for a while on 5 cylinders
So, who knows if the water pump problem somehow affected the DISA valve or not (I'll ask the OP to clarify).

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  #114  
Old 02-02-2011, 12:22 PM
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BTW, here's what the other side of a broken expansion tank nipple looks like:


One trick to remove it is to use a 9mm socket from the inside (on a string) to push the three prongs in so that you can pull it out intact from the top of the radiator.
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  #115  
Old 02-15-2011, 11:05 PM
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Today, I was helping out someone with an expansion tank bleeder screw leak:
- Expansion Tank Bleeder Screw

So I wrote a thread just on the topic of the bleeder screws:
- How not to bleed your cooling system (i.e., how to break the bleed screw in half)

When I found, during the research, this excellent thread showing BOTH bleeder screws leaking (the one on the thermostat housing and the one on top of the expansion tank):
- E39 OVERHEAT... again!

For the edification of others, here are some pictures showing the leakage from the bleed screws (and from the radiator nipple).




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  #116  
Old 02-16-2011, 11:43 PM
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Today these pictures were posted of an E39 whose plastic bleed screw somehow fractured ...

... and at the same time, the bleed screw lost its o-ring.

The OP replaced the plastic bleed screw with a $4 brass screw.

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  #117  
Old 02-21-2011, 01:38 AM
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For the record, particularly for those who read this thread AFTER their cooling system has caused damage to the BMW E39 engine head, block, or head gasket ... you have a big decision on your hands.

For help in making that decision, see these similar threads:
- 525i BIG problems!
- Major Decision - replace head or buy "new" engine
- E39 528i Engine removal/replacement
- Overheating and water loss
- Replace head gasket or replace engine
- E39 528i Engine removal/replacement

For a DIY, you might try these:
- Journal: M54 Head Gasket Replacement & Other Stuff Too
- M62TU Head gasket/ Timing guides journal
- DIY This! One Person M54 Cam Removal
(I need more DIY links)
These kinds of threads come about once a week lately, as people unfamiliar with BMW drive are not always aware of how dangerous the E39 cooling system can be when not cared for properly.

Last edited by bluebee; 03-04-2011 at 07:57 AM.
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  #118  
Old 02-21-2011, 08:10 AM
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Bluebee I hereby dub thee "Official E39 Cooling Care & Maintenance Informer". As always, nice work!
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Last edited by Mack; 02-21-2011 at 08:50 AM.
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  #119  
Old 03-11-2011, 01:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack View Post
Bluebee I hereby dub thee "Official E39 Cooling Care & Maintenance Informer". As always, nice work!
We all pitch in.

For example, bobdmac just posted part 1 of this wonderful video explaining the BMW cooling system failure points:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdmac View Post
Here's an excellent video discussion of the cooling system components and issues
  • Here is part one from bobdmac:
  • And, here's part two from bobdmac:
Everyone should watch these videos.

Last edited by bluebee; 04-06-2011 at 07:55 AM.
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  #120  
Old 03-12-2011, 02:47 PM
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For those of you coming to this thread to see where the cooling system fails, see Rexgo's overhaul today where the white residue was all over his cooling system ... and notice the jelly at the bottom of his expansion tank!
- Rexgo's '97 528 Cooling O'haul

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  #121  
Old 03-17-2011, 01:13 AM
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Hitler discusses the E39 cooling system here:
- Hitler Rants about E39s

BTW, here is the test for the fan clutch operation (use a rolled-up newspaper please, not your hands):

Last edited by bluebee; 04-06-2011 at 07:56 AM.
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  #122  
Old 03-17-2011, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Hitler discusses the E39 cooling system here:
- Hitler Rants about E39s
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  #123  
Old 03-21-2011, 09:59 AM
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For those of you still using plastic-impeller water pumps, you might want to look at this thread:
- Catastrophic water pump faliure!

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  #124  
Old 03-21-2011, 10:30 AM
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agent15 kindly showed a picture of where even a metal impeller water pump fails, particularly the tack-welded Graf (versus the cast Geba) over here:
- Catastrophic water pump faliure!

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  #125  
Old 03-21-2011, 12:16 PM
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Keep us posted if you hear or see any bad info regarding the Stewart HP water pump with metal impeller. Mine is still running strong but then I don't expect it to do anything different.
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