Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-16-2010, 09:15 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,317
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 103K miles
DIY: The trick on how to fill the M52, M54 coolant

Nothing new, but the cooling system on the 6-cylinder engines has baffled me for a long time, why it is too difficult to bleed the air out etc.

So I will do a short and sweet DIY for those who wonder how to fill the coolant after performing cooling system work (such as cooling overhaul or water pump replacement etc.).

1. Take a minute to study the design of the E39 cooling system (see figure below). When the car is cold in the morning and you start the engine: during the warm-up phase, there is some hot coolant getting into the driver's side hose, "ready" to go through the radiator once the thermostat is open. Think about the thermostat as the "flood gate".

2. Now once the thermostat is open, the flow direction is:
Engine ---> driver's side hose ---> upper radiator ---> across radiator (to be cooled down)---> lower radiator hose ---> through thermostat area ---> Water Pump to cool engine.

- So in a normal engine at operating temp, the lower hose is considered the "Cold" side because the coolant has been cooled by the radiator but it is still somewhat "Hot" to the human hand anyway (maybe around 60-70 deg C, enough to burn your skin!). Here is the direction of coolant flow (from M54 but M52 flow is the same):

Study this M54 layout:




3. After some work in the cooling system is performed, re-filling the system is tricky because of the goofy design.
I just took another detailed look at my car again and here is the trick.

- Normally (if you haven't done any work on the cooling system at all) you want coolant at "KALT" level (or COLD level in the morning), but during re-filling, don't worry about it for now.

- Look at the thermostat housing, there is a small hole connecting the right and left sides of the thermostat housing. This hole allows air trapped in the lower radiator hose to travel through the hole to the driver's side to be bled out the bleeder screw.
(See GREEN arrow in pic below).

- If your car is on level ground, look carefully, you will see that the thermostat housing bleed screw (#1) is located at the same level as the reservoir neck and not at the "KALT" mark on the reservoir.

- Once you understand the above design, re-filling is easy.

a- Fiil coolant slowly. But I will add some tips...

b- Be patient and be patient, the hole connecting the (R) and (L) sides the thermostat housing is very small, maybe 1/16" or something like it. So air bubbles move through it very slowly.

c- Fill coolant up to the reservoir neck until it stops filling. Now some air is trapped in the lower radiator hose. Give it a good 5 minutes to settle there. Fill again until coolant fills to the neck, which is about 3 inches above "KALT" mark.

In the mean time, listen to some music and drink some beer...

d- Now open the thermostat housing 1 full turn (it takes 5 full turns to remove the bleed screw, so 1 full turn is all you need), air will come out slowly because the hole in the tstat housing is very small. When coolant comes out, close the bleed screw.

e- Don't start the engine yet, repeat the steps a through d a few times (another beer won't hurt...) until you are sure all air is bled out of the bleed screw.

f- For the 1st fill, if coolant is at the reservoir neck, then it is OK, air trapped in the engine will be expelled out when you run the engine. It will eventually settle down to "KALT" level anyway. If you are worried, then use a turkey baster to remove a bit coolant so it sits just below the neck prior to running the engine.

This should do it. Be patient and be patient when filling the cooling system!!!

4. The above little trick will help get rid of air outside of the engine.
Air Lock (air trapped inside the engine behind the thermostat) is another issue. Do a search.

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	E39-DrivebeltLayout.jpg
Views:	53556
Size:	76.2 KB
ID:	226402  

Last edited by cn90; 04-17-2010 at 05:50 AM.
Reply With Quote
Ads by Google
  #2  
Old 04-16-2010, 09:44 AM
moots's Avatar
moots moots is offline
wat's dat noise
Location: Malaysia
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 452
Mein Auto: '97 528i
howdy c90,i had an e34 m20b25 and currently a '97 528i m52b28.this is how i bleed my cars with ease and success all the time:

1. open both bleeder screws
2. fill up radiator with water till full
3. close radiator bleeder screw
4. blow into radiator filler neck till water comes out of engine bleeder port.ensure nil air bubbles.tighten engine bleeder screw
5. top up water.open radiator bleeder screw
6. blow again till water comes out of radiator bleeder port.ensure nil bubbles.tighten radiator bleeder screw.
7. you're done.
8.to fill coolant,drain the reservoir tilll empty and fill up with coolant.no bleeding required.
9. step 6 will require you to top up water approx twice
10.i live at the equator so coolant used more for water pump lube and antirust purposes

cheers

Last edited by moots; 04-16-2010 at 09:52 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-16-2010, 09:51 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,317
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 103K miles
Quote:
Originally Posted by moots View Post
2. fill up radiator with water till full

4. blow into radiator filler neck till water comes out of engine bleeder port.ensure nil air bubbles.tighten bleeder screw
Welcome to bimmerfest.

#2. Water maybe OK for where you live (Malaysia) but even so a 50-50 mixture is recommended for protection up to boilover temp.

#4. Blowing may sound like a nice idea but Coolant contains Methanol, even trace amount will be converted by your body Alcohol Dehydrogenase enzyme to "Formic Acid" = blindness!
So don't blow into the reservoir neck with your mouth if you care about your eyes!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-16-2010, 10:05 AM
moots's Avatar
moots moots is offline
wat's dat noise
Location: Malaysia
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 452
Mein Auto: '97 528i
yes am aware of the dangers of the coolant that's why i mentioned the coolant bit,last,where there's no more contact requirment to anywhere near the face.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-16-2010, 10:13 AM
Dmendez's Avatar
Dmendez Dmendez is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Lakeland, FL
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 202
Mein Auto: 01' 525i
....like given fron sky

I was cheking a leakage that I found on the upper radiator hose and as soon I read your thread I was able to fill again the coolant that I lost while I took out the upper hose.
I'm just amaze how easy this hoses con be change.

PS about that blue coolant....it got a sweet taste...
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-16-2010, 10:49 AM
Johnny Canada's Avatar
Johnny Canada Johnny Canada is offline
2003 530 5 speed
Location: Hamilton Ontario
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 212
Mein Auto: 2003 530 5sp 53K Miles
Thanks very much CN90. I always wondered how the factory filled them on the production line. Perhaps a vacuum is pulled on the system during the fill?
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-16-2010, 08:35 PM
Financeman Financeman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Wichita, Ks
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 254
Mein Auto: 2003 530IA
CN90 - another question...it is my understanding that the 530 (M54) has an auxillary pump and I've several instructions on this board stating that when refilling coolant that it's advisable to turn the key to the accessory position, turn the heat all the way up, and let the pump distribute the coolant through the system, then bleed. Any thoughts? I am anticipating a cooling system overhaul this summer and the only thing I fear is the bleeding process.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-16-2010, 10:08 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 19,190
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 automatic
Cn90 ... this is wonderful information. Gives the meek (like me) courage to do the job step by step by the book!
Yet another cn90 DIY for the DIY notebook on the garage shelf!
Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-16-2010, 10:25 PM
bmw_n00b13's Avatar
bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
Freude am Fahren
Location: Cambridge, ON
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 6,372
Mein Auto: 99 528iA
Another great step by step DIY

I too have heard that the aux pump (definitely there if the REST function is there) is the way to go. Otherwise, won't it have bubbles when the water moves through the heater coil?

No matter where you live, you need 50/50 coolant. The antifreeze properties are fine and all but the boiling temperature of water is considerably affected by the addition of the coolant as well.
__________________
'99 528i ('98/12 build). 174,000km BY29428/Royalrot
Breaking My Wallet since 2009
Mods: Stoptech SS brake hose, 280piece toolkit resting on trunk floor, Beisan VANOS seals
'99 540i (grandfather's)

Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-16-2010, 10:26 PM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: new york city
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 712
Mein Auto: 540i 1997
lol and forgot to add, (since its takes around an hour or more.. remember we cant be too careful with our baby now can we.. to fill up the coolant), and weve been chugging down the beers the whole time, dont drive right after the job O:-). also, any tips on filling up coolant on m62 and m62TU engines? (and s62 while were in the field for the m5ers here)
__________________


"Owning any german car is like hanukkah,
every day another light"
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 04-17-2010, 04:31 AM
gtxragtop's Avatar
gtxragtop gtxragtop is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Mass
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 877
Mein Auto: 2003 530IA
C90.... Thanks for the photos and descriptions. Well done


I bought one of these http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=65053
and use it to put pressure into the system with the bleed screws open. Works amazing.
__________________
Ever wonder why 5 series electrical issues are common and complicated.. Spend time here and you will understand why. http://www.bmw-planet.com/diagrams/r...9new/index.htm

Last edited by gtxragtop; 04-17-2010 at 04:33 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 04-17-2010, 05:48 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,317
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 103K miles
Quote:
Originally Posted by Financeman View Post
CN90 - another question...it is my understanding that the 530 (M54) has an auxillary pump and I've several instructions on this board stating that when refilling coolant that it's advisable to turn the key to the accessory position, turn the heat all the way up, and let the pump distribute the coolant through the system, then bleed. Any thoughts? I am anticipating a cooling system overhaul this summer and the only thing I fear is the bleeding process.
The Aux Pump issue is a headache. Dealer has the tool to activate the Aux Pump.

No worry, I addressed that in post #19 here: basically you fool the system into activating the Aux Pump:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1423821

PS: I forgot to attach the picture showing the Small Hole connecting the (R) and (L) sides of thermostat housing. Whether it is Aluminum or Plastic Housing, the hole is there. This is why re-filling it requires patience!!!

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	E39tstathousing.jpg
Views:	19638
Size:	42.8 KB
ID:	226523  

Last edited by cn90; 04-17-2010 at 06:01 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 04-17-2010, 06:19 AM
poolman poolman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: martinsville va
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 3,686
Mein Auto: 525i station wagon
I use the aug pump every time I fill my car and others I have helped. I raise the front of the car--open the bleed screw hole--cut the ignition on and the heat at it's highest setting . You can hear the pump come on
then you start pouring the coolent into the expansion tank--when the fluid starts coming out of the hole at the water [pump screw it down--when it starts coming out at the expansion tank--screw that one down--then fill to the proper level in the tank and your done--Gotta add--I have checked and rechecked--never have I had to add fluid--and never had any air in the system when doing the refill this way
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 04-17-2010, 06:41 AM
Johnny Canada's Avatar
Johnny Canada Johnny Canada is offline
2003 530 5 speed
Location: Hamilton Ontario
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 212
Mein Auto: 2003 530 5sp 53K Miles
CN90, do you still recommend drilling a 1/16" hole at the "tip of the arrow" on the thermostat?
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 04-17-2010, 08:40 AM
poolman poolman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: martinsville va
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 3,686
Mein Auto: 525i station wagon
I know that you have asked CN90 about this--I'm chiming in --on your model car the stat is controled electronically--on CN90's car it's just the stat--on his model the hole needs to be there--on your model
I wouldn't try to drill anything--might cause damage to the electrical unit.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 04-17-2010, 09:57 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,317
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 103K miles
1+,

1997-98 has conventional thermostat, so I drilled a small hole.

1999---> 2003: electrical thermostat. If you decide to drill, do it very carefully. If not, then you are prob OK anyway.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 04-17-2010, 09:17 PM
Financeman Financeman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Wichita, Ks
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 254
Mein Auto: 2003 530IA
Thank you all....good information.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 08-01-2010, 08:35 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 19,190
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
1999---> 2003: electrical thermostat. If you decide to drill, do it very carefully. If not, then you are prob OK anyway.
I have a 2002 I6. Am bleeding as per this DIY (confusingly because nothing is coming out of the expansion tank bleeder hole and it's only a dribble out of the thermostat hose bleeder hole (turned 1 turn open)). Kind of confused.

Will look for the "auxiliary pump" bleed method ...

Anyway, I saw this part about "drilling a hole". Why? Where?

Last edited by bluebee; 08-01-2010 at 08:42 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 08-01-2010, 09:29 PM
ganesht's Avatar
ganesht ganesht is offline
(oOO)\(lll)(lll)/(OOo)
Location: san diego
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,566
Mein Auto: 98 528i 5 speed
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I have a 2002 I6. Am bleeding as per this DIY (confusingly because nothing is coming out of the expansion tank bleeder hole and it's only a dribble out of the thermostat hose bleeder hole (turned 1 turn open)). Kind of confused.

Will look for the "auxiliary pump" bleed method ...

Anyway, I saw this part about "drilling a hole". Why? Where?
on the top of the thermostat. and so there is a little gap for air to bleed out while the engine is cold, and tstat closed
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
The problem you have is a large air pocket collects IMMEDIATELY behind the thermostat, preventing it from opening up.


__________________
Alida:
Born: Friday, 9th January 1998
Arktissilber Metallic on Schwarz 528i/5

Fs: KAC-8103D, Kicker 08ts10l52

Last edited by ganesht; 08-01-2010 at 09:31 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 08-01-2010, 10:11 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 19,190
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by ganesht View Post
on the top of the thermostat. and so there is a little gap for air to bleed out while the engine is cold, and tstat closed
But why? BMW designed the cooling system to work, didn't they? I can't imagine every mom and pop drilling holes in their thermostats just to get the cooling system to purge of air.

Anyway, this DIY says you don't need to drill the hole because you have an auxiliary pump; so one says you do; the other says you don't. So I'm confused.

Oh well, I have worse problems now that I tried to bleed it following both methods, and broke the thermostat hose bleeder screw in half!

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	broke_bleeder_screw.jpg
Views:	19157
Size:	162.5 KB
ID:	240685  
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 08-01-2010, 10:37 PM
ganesht's Avatar
ganesht ganesht is offline
(oOO)\(lll)(lll)/(OOo)
Location: san diego
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,566
Mein Auto: 98 528i 5 speed
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
But why? BMW designed the cooling system to work, didn't they? I can't imagine every mom and pop drilling holes in their thermostats just to get the cooling system to purge of air.
im sure that there are tons of people who dont drill, and yet they dont have any problems bleeding all the air out...

it seems other cars do this also: http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-...ing+thermostat
__________________
Alida:
Born: Friday, 9th January 1998
Arktissilber Metallic on Schwarz 528i/5

Fs: KAC-8103D, Kicker 08ts10l52
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 12-05-2010, 04:48 PM
hawk22 hawk22 is online now
Registered User
Location: dallas, tx
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 24
Mein Auto: '03 530i
Thanks cn90! I just finished with my cooling system overhaul and the info you have provided was great. I couldn't have done it without you.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 12-16-2010, 08:02 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,317
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 103K miles
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
...d- Now open the thermostat housing 1 full turn (it takes 5 full turns to remove the bleed screw, so 1 full turn is all you need), air will come out slowly because the hole in the tstat housing is very small. When coolant comes out, close the bleed screw.
I need to revise this step #d. I just changed my Tstat Housing seals and did this to speed things up a bit.
d. Instead of unscrewing only 1 turn, you can remove the bleeder screw (labeled #1) completely and set it aside in a safe place to avoid losing it! This makes filling coolant faster. Pour coolant into reservoir slowly (a funnel helps), it will take roughly 2 minutes to fill the engine block completely.
- Keep looking down the bleeder screw port, you will see coolant rising slowly, then it will spill out of the bleed hole. At this time, re-install the bleeder screw.
- You will notice that coolant will sit roughly 1" to 1.5" above the KALT mark. Nothing to worry about as long as you have about 2" of air space at the top of the reservoir. With driving cycles, heat/cold cycles, some air will come out and the coolant level will settle down with time.
- On the other hand, if you are worried, then suck the excess coolant out using a small syringe.

--------
I recently changed my Tstat seals and for my curiosity, decided to probe the coolant passages using electrical wire and my finger!
I confirmed the coolant flow as follows:
- The WP circulates fluid from solid orange line from engine and solid blue line from UPPER Radiator Hose ---> dotted blue line (behind the thermostat) into the WP itself. This brings cool fluid into engine.
- Then hot coolant builds up in the engine block and comes out in the dotted purple line ---> solid purple line into the upper rad hose.

- There is no direct connection between #1 (blue) and #2 (purple) areas.
- So air trap behind the tstat is a distinct possibility in the M52 engine.


Last edited by cn90; 12-16-2010 at 08:24 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 01-08-2011, 10:23 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,317
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 103K miles
I was bored.....so I played around with my old coolant reservoir and this is the design:

- Hot coolant expands and exits the radiator via the "Snake Hose" (Orange Color).

- The reservoir has an internal pipe attached to the nipple, so coolant enters the reservoir and exits at the very bottom of the reservoir (Orange Arrow).

- If there is air in the Snake Hose, it may create an "Air Lock", thus the Bleeder Screw (Green Arrow) is there to help get rid of the air trapped in the radiator.


Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	E39reservoir.jpg
Views:	18672
Size:	35.5 KB
ID:	261432  
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 01-08-2011, 11:49 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 19,190
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
this is the design
I love it. Pure and simple!

And, best of all, it makes sense.

Can someone do the same for the newer (slightly more complicated) E39 expansion tank? ( I can't. )
Note: D = distal, M=medial (the medial hose is closer to the centerline of the engine; the distal hose is closer to the fender).
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	how_does_level_work_1.JPG
Views:	464
Size:	143.9 KB
ID:	261442   Click image for larger version

Name:	expansiontank_failure_1.JPG
Views:	18614
Size:	86.7 KB
ID:	261443   Click image for larger version

Name:	bulkhead_4.JPG
Views:	394
Size:	70.1 KB
ID:	261444   Click image for larger version

Name:	bulkhead_3.jpg
Views:	567
Size:	80.3 KB
ID:	261445  
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:48 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2011 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms