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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 05-15-2010, 09:23 PM
jmhunter jmhunter is offline
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jb weld seems to have worked on my radiator...

holding the pinhole leak.
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  #2  
Old 05-15-2010, 10:28 PM
therealsuv therealsuv is offline
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You are playing with fire sir.
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  #3  
Old 05-16-2010, 12:52 AM
jmhunter jmhunter is offline
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Not really.. it's (was) a pinhole leak.. so small you couldn't see it.. only the minuscule amount of fluid.

Drove it for about 3 hours today... held fine.

If it doesn't stay I'll just pay to get the sys overhauled.
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  #4  
Old 05-16-2010, 01:43 AM
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chiefwej chiefwej is offline
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The fix is temporary, the radiator will fail......and soon, (probably without further warning).
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  #5  
Old 05-16-2010, 02:00 AM
jmhunter jmhunter is offline
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ill krrp my eye on it. Everyone else seems to think jb is just fine for pinhole
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  #6  
Old 05-16-2010, 06:47 AM
poolman poolman is offline
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If it's come to a pin hole there--there's gonna be another---don't wait for it to blow up in your face
better prepare to replace the entire cooling system--it's not a hard diy and there are many write ups on the procedure--follow one of them--there's a reason that we all do this---there are to many that didn't heed
the warnings and got caught at the wrong place at the wrong time and then paid thousands for a head gasket replacement.
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  #7  
Old 05-16-2010, 07:25 AM
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BLT BLT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhunter View Post
Not really.. it's (was) a pinhole leak.. so small you couldn't see it.. only the minuscule amount of fluid.

Drove it for about 3 hours today... held fine.

If it doesn't stay I'll just pay to get the sys overhauled.
The pinhole leak you fixed was only the first failure in the system. The pinhole allowed excess pressure to escape, by eliminating this relief pressure valve the next weakest link will soon fail. It might be the plastic tube the radiators hoses are attached to, or maybe the thermostat housing... but somewhere in the system is a weak link waiting to fail at the worst possible time. It could be days or months, plan accordingly and order all the parts necessary to do a complete cooling system overhaul while you can.
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  #8  
Old 05-16-2010, 07:47 AM
helpmyfive helpmyfive is offline
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You have the chance to choose where you repair it. My brother in law is restoring a car that has a cracked crank pulley. I gave him a new one, but he decided to just see how long it lasts. I gave him the same advice.


I love to fix things, but have been shafted by temporary too many times.


Good luck either way. It's a good tip for an on the spot repair.
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  #9  
Old 05-16-2010, 07:56 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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I'm very curious WHERE the pinhole leak is.

I've been asking anyone I can WHERE their radiator fails and it would be nice to have a picture of your particular location.

See this thread for reference ...

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  #10  
Old 05-16-2010, 08:24 AM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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I echo the above--JB Weld is an excellent temporary fix and it saved my butt on a drive from Florida to Virginia one time. But it should not be viewed as anything but temporary. The engine bay gets very hot and the JB Weld will begin to bake, crack, and then flake off. When I installed the new radiator I applied JB Weld as a precautionary measure around many of the areas that are prone to failure, such as around the base of the hose necks. After about two years (the radiator is still good) the JB Weld applications are largely cracked and probably wouldn't protect against any failure--if I had applied the stuff to an existing pinhole or other failed point I am sure that it would have been long compromised by now. Anyway, just my real-world perspective.
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  #11  
Old 05-16-2010, 09:11 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Russian Roulette at work!!!

Come back in 2 weeks and tell us your engine just blew.
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  #12  
Old 05-16-2010, 09:39 AM
poolman poolman is offline
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Yeah--what he said--but it's like playing Russian Roulette with an automatic pistol
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  #13  
Old 05-16-2010, 10:40 AM
jmhunter jmhunter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I'm very curious WHERE the pinhole leak is.
edge of the neck, on the drivers side,w here it ahppens for everyone.. i didnt see this as a permanent fix. Just a temp.
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  #14  
Old 05-16-2010, 11:02 AM
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DHoang DHoang is offline
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Peeps who've never used JB weld don't know what this product can do. I'll put my car up as a bet that jb weld will hold up far longer than the radiator will. If the surface was prepped right, OP will never see that hole leak again, EVER!

i've got JB weld covering up a 2" long crack in the engine casing of an offroad motorcycle engine for the past 5 yrs now. I've patched up cracked radiators of ATVs w/ JB weld. In all cases so far, no oil leaking out of there to date. i've used jb weld to patch up holes on water pressure tanks & potable water tanks on our RVs are made from plastics and various polyethelyne as well as patching up cracks on gas tanks of small lawn mower engines for years now w/ no problems whatsoever. Should I ever see a crack develop on my e39 radiator I would not hesitate to use jbweld if it's at my disposal. This product is a must have in your toolbox.
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  #15  
Old 05-16-2010, 11:32 AM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poolman View Post
Yeah--what he said--but it's like playing Russian Roulette with an automatic pistol
Exactly. You can trust it, fine with me. Just don't be surprised when another component goes, leaving you stranded, and then another one, and so on. It'll all need replacing soon enough.
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  #16  
Old 05-16-2010, 11:44 AM
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chiefwej chiefwej is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHoang View Post
Peeps who've never used JB weld don't know what this product can do. I'll put my car up as a bet that jb weld will hold up far longer than the radiator will. If the surface was prepped right, OP will never see that hole leak again, EVER!

i've got JB weld covering up a 2" long crack in the engine casing of an offroad motorcycle engine for the past 5 yrs now. I've patched up cracked radiators of ATVs w/ JB weld. In all cases so far, no oil leaking out of there to date. i've used jb weld to patch up holes on water pressure tanks & potable water tanks on our RVs are made from plastics and various polyethelyne as well as patching up cracks on gas tanks of small lawn mower engines for years now w/ no problems whatsoever. Should I ever see a crack develop on my e39 radiator I would not hesitate to use jbweld if it's at my disposal. This product is a must have in your toolbox.
Yea, and I used it to fix a crack near the top radiator hose on an E39 (exactly like the OP) and it lasted a whole week before the repair cracked just like the plastic underneath. Good Luck!
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  #17  
Old 05-16-2010, 01:37 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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DHoang, all the items you mentioned are not exposed to heat + pressure.
JBWeld is fine for patching potable drinking water tank etc. and if it leaks no consequence other than water on the floor.

But the radiator is like a cooking pot on the kitchen stove:
- It is constantly being boiled by coolant at 92-105C, depending on condition.
- Plus it is exposed to pressure up to 15-20 psi.
- Add to the list is the consequence, a leaking radiator leads to overheated engine, now instead of paying $150 for radiator, you pay $4000-5000 for a cylinder head job.
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  #18  
Old 05-16-2010, 01:38 PM
jmhunter jmhunter is offline
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This was seriously at the point you could hardly consider a leak. It was a a wet spot, not dripping or anythng. With my flashlight and a naked eye I couldn't even see the hole. I patched the spot. But there was no spraying, dribbling, etc. A lil blue white streak.. but I got this thing at a very immature phase.

One thing is for sure I will be replacing it... just may be a few weeks.
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  #19  
Old 05-16-2010, 01:39 PM
jmhunter jmhunter is offline
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What is the makeup of coolant? I know that alcohol is a solvent for jb.. does the coolant have a high alcohol content?
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  #20  
Old 05-16-2010, 01:40 PM
jmhunter jmhunter is offline
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what are we doing on here?? Sharks vs blackhawks baby!!
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  #21  
Old 05-16-2010, 04:40 PM
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chiefwej chiefwej is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
DHoang, all the items you mentioned are not exposed to heat + pressure.
JBWeld is fine for patching potable drinking water tank etc. and if it leaks no consequence other than water on the floor.

But the radiator is like a cooking pot on the kitchen stove:
- It is constantly being boiled by coolant at 92-105C, depending on condition.
- Plus it is exposed to pressure up to 15-20 psi.
- Add to the list is the consequence, a leaking radiator leads to overheated engine, now instead of paying $150 for radiator, you pay $4000-5000 for a cylinder head job.
Correction: The working pressure in the radiator of an E39 is limited only by the pressure cap which is 2 Bars or 29 psi.
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  #22  
Old 05-16-2010, 07:44 PM
jmhunter jmhunter is offline
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I'm goign to rename this a pore sized leak. Based on other things ive seen. I wouldn't have even noticed it, if I hadn't run my hand over it and noticed my finger was wet.

Picture of driver side of radiator, with me pointing at where the leak was.
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  #23  
Old 05-16-2010, 08:04 PM
5er2er8er 5er2er8er is offline
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+1million on what poolman said one leak means more is coming replace it now or replace your head gasket (s) later. your call.
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  #24  
Old 05-16-2010, 08:48 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Thanks chiefwej, I know the reservoir cap is rated up to 30 psi (almost like car tire pressure), but I did not want to scare these folks with 29 psi..LOL!
For the most part the cooling system runs at 15-20 psi or so under normal conditions.

jmhunter, the reason for cooling overhaul is that:
- Once an item goes (let's say radiator in your case), then other items follow almost like clockwork.
Let's say you replace the radiator, then 1 month later the thermostat goes, then the belt snaps, then the pulleys go, then 2 months later WP kisses good bye, then 3 weeks later the fan clutch goes to heaven etc. Search the forum and you will see quite a few people going through this clockwork, not to mention some had to pay $4000-5000 for cylinder head job.

By doing the cooling overhaul ($650 in parts), you live happily for the next 80K miles.

Last edited by cn90; 05-17-2010 at 12:59 PM.
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  #25  
Old 05-16-2010, 10:01 PM
jmhunter jmhunter is offline
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im pretty sure some kind of failure happened before i got the car. I lifted it up today and found some indicator that their had been fluid flowing out at some point. However based on the date on the radiator that wasn't it... the fan clutch and water pump look original.. must have been a hose.

After my inspection I believe the overhaul will now happen. Gotta get my gearhead buddy in on it with me.
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