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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 03-31-2014, 11:40 AM
rixter88 rixter88 is offline
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Cooling system replacement on 2000 540i

I'll be picking up a 2000 540i/6 Sport later this month to replace my Honda Civic as my daily driver. It has just under 105k on the odometer and the only cooling system components that have been replaced are the radiator at around 60k and the upper radiator hose this past summer. I've never done any car DIY besides a speaker replacement but I would like to do all the work on this myself. I've already parted out the repair using these forums and realoem.com. I've watched enough videos and read enough DIYs that I'm confident I can do this myself with the right tools (most of which I already have). Before taking the plunge on buying all the parts (I've copied in a spreadsheet I compiled at the bottom of the post), I have a few outstanding questions I wasn't able to answer using these forums:

1. Should I just be reusing the hardware (bolts/washers/etc.) that I pull out with the old parts or am I doing the right thing by getting new stuff?

2. Is there anything I've left off or anything that isn't necessary? I want to replace the belts while I have everything out but should I be replacing pulleys and tensioners as well?

3. I've read a lot of conflicting reports on the quality of aftermarket vs dealer sold expansion tanks. A lot of posts from 3-5 years ago claim the Bosch tank that the dealer sells is much better quality than the aftermarket part. Is this still true?

4. Likewise what I said above about the radiator, seems like everyone has a different opinion/experience regarding brands and their quality. Should I plan to replace any of the radiator mounts with the radiator or reuse what's in there?

5. Am I going to have to shop around for the best prices on all these parts or is there a one stop shop everyone agrees on?

Parts (all the prices were pulled from ECS Tuning):

Fan Assembly
Radiator Fan Clutch 1 11527502804 $134.3
Fan Blade 1 11521712110 $55.22
Torx Bolt With Washer 3 7146959924 $1.19
Water Pump Pulley - 112MM 1 11511742045 $23.01
Hex Bolt With Washer 4 7119904524 $0.99

Water Pump/Thermostat
Remanufactured Water Pump 1 11510393336 $186.71
Water Pump Gasket 1 11511731372 $2.65
Hex Bolt With Washer 4 7119906123 $1.05
BOLTW/WASHER 2 7119902600 $1.57
Thermostat With Housing 1 11531436386 $79.95
Hex Bolt - Pack Of 4 1 11121736603KT $3.96
Coolant Temperature Sensor 1 13621703993 $33.52

Hoses
Radiator Hose - Lower 1 11537505229 $35.12
Coolant Hose 1 11531711377 $25.16
Auxiliary Fan Switch 1 13621433077 $33.52

Radiator/Expansion Tank
Coolant Expansion Tank 1 17111741167 $85.28
Radiator - Manual 1 17111436060 $364.09
Brass Coolant Bleeder Screw 1 17111712788 $5.95

Belt Drive
Air Conditioning V-Belt 1 11281435280 $25.81
Accessory Belt 1 11281432724 $39.69

Sorry for the long winded post, I've spent a lot of time researching this recently and came up with as much information as I could on my own. Thanks in advance to anyone that takes the time to respond.
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  #2  
Old 03-31-2014, 01:21 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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You need to decide the level of your DIY expertise. Get a copy of the Bentley E39 service manual.

You also need to decide who the vendor will be. Try searching on BMW part numbers. I've dealt with a supplier for many years who always supplies me with BMW-branded and packaged parts. Even though his prices are not significantly lower than dealer, the parts are from BMW. I believe it's much more important to deal with a reliable vendor who offers good customer service, rather than always looking for the lowest price.

All fasteners are reusable, unless they are torque-to-yield bolts.

I have seen no compelling evidence of the quality of name-brand aftermarket parts versus BMW parts. Some may differ on this.

If you wish to be anal, the idlers and pulleys can be replaced. The idlers can be repacked with grease, after removing the grease seals, completely washing out the old grease, and repacking with high-temp wheel bearing grease.
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Last edited by edjack; 03-31-2014 at 01:25 PM.
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  #3  
Old 04-01-2014, 11:56 AM
rixter88 rixter88 is offline
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Bump
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  #4  
Old 04-01-2014, 01:28 PM
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Buy your parts from pelican parts. Fast shipping and cheaper prices. Brand new OEM supplier for the water pump is $111.00


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  #5  
Old 04-01-2014, 07:14 PM
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"I've never done any car DIY besides a speaker replacement I've watched enough videos and read enough DIYs that I'm confident I can do this myself with the right tools"

YIKES!!! Good Luck, Bro
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  #6  
Old 04-01-2014, 09:16 PM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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not a good car for a DD unless you got a high credit limit
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  #7  
Old 04-02-2014, 12:46 PM
rixter88 rixter88 is offline
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Hmm wasn't expecting so many comments from the peanut gallery... I've done my due diligence regarding reliability and maintenance so I'm not too worried about it, I know what I'm getting into. Thanks to those with the serious responses.
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  #8  
Old 04-02-2014, 05:21 PM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
Under the lift arms
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ63 View Post
"I've never done any car DIY besides a speaker replacement
yeah but i was the bad guy for saying its not a good DD..

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  #9  
Old 04-02-2014, 05:45 PM
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DJ63 DJ63 is offline
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WHOA Rixter! Nobody's throwing peanuts at you from up here, I'm just saying you may want to acquire the car and get a feel for it before you put in a big parts order! Besides, obviously the cooling system is in working order as is, right? What's the rush? Coolings not going to blow up on the first day! (I hope)

A Wise Man once told me:
"Boy, Staring an M62TU in the face sure is a WHOLE lot different than watching a video!!"
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  #10  
Old 04-02-2014, 06:28 PM
rixter88 rixter88 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ63 View Post
WHOA Rixter! Nobody's throwing peanuts at you from up here, I'm just saying you may want to acquire the car and get a feel for it before you put in a big parts order! Besides, obviously the cooling system is in working order as is, right? What's the rush? Coolings not going to blow up on the first day! (I hope)

A Wise Man once told me:
"Boy, Staring an M62TU in the face sure is a WHOLE lot different than watching a video!!"
Fair enough. It was my impression from scouring the boards on this topic that anything past 80k was borrowed time on these systems. Aren't the failures catastrophic? I'd rather do it as preventative maintenance than get stuck on the side of the road and have to call a tow truck. I just figured it was one of those things that was better to fix once you pass a threshold rather than wait for it to break. Part of my motivation to do this repair is to make the car a bit more reliable down the stretch. If i'm misguided in this assumption then I'm all ears to those with more experience than I (which is why I'm here ).

As for doing it myself, I'm not just interested in saving the cash. I'm an engineer by trade and I like learning about how things work, taking them apart, putting them back together, etc. I fully acknowledge that I'd be going into this with a few surprises ahead of me, but one of the reasons I'm interested in this car is that I see it as a challenge and a learning opportunity.
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  #11  
Old 04-02-2014, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rixter88 View Post
Fair enough. It was my impression from scouring the boards on this topic that anything past 80k was borrowed time on these systems. Aren't the failures catastrophic?
I've owned my 540 since 2003, and here's the cooling system tips I'll give:

1) Get a Bentley's vol. 1.
2) If you ever so much as crack the cap on the expansion tank unless the system is STONE DEAD COLD, follow BMW specs for topping off and BLEEDING the system. NO EXCUSES. Air in the system can blow hoses, in my experience.
3) The M62 abhors summertime traffic jams. Avoid them like the Black Death.
4) Evaluate your car's previous experience to evaluate your new cooling system: Did it sit in traffic a lot boiling rubber hoses and plastic parts? (bad) Was it a long-hauler on scenic interstate cruises? (good)
5) Has the coolant ever been changed? Just spend a few bucks, order BMW blue coolant online, mix 50-50 with distilled water and just stick with that product.
6) Check and clean, if necessary, the front fins of your radiator. I blew a radiator last year to find it half plugged up with leaves and a shop towel, Lol
7) If you ever, EVER smell coolant steam or see steam vapor on your windshield or emanating from the hood, slam the brakes and kill the engine. (That's common sense for any car, obviously)

There's a whole lot of cooling parts that could fail, I've never seen one be more important to replace than the others. Obviously water pumps have a limited lifespan and I just replaced mine pre-emptively, I waited a year to do it in conjunction with a valley pan replacement at 135K. What I'm saying is some people hyperventilate in bed thinking about the risk of their cooling system, I recommend avoiding those thoughts. Nothing is guaranteed.
Good Luck, It's a fantastic car!!
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  #12  
Old 04-02-2014, 07:49 PM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
Under the lift arms
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ63 View Post
"Boy, Staring an M62TU in the face sure is a WHOLE lot different than watching a video!!"
i got spanked on my first timing job on a 740 back in 19yesteryear....

car bent me over and spit me out and said next
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  #13  
Old 04-03-2014, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Burning2nd View Post
i got spanked on my first timing job on a 740 back in 19yesteryear....
Aren't you happy when you know you've finished your apprenticeship??

I should add I replaced my fan clutch with my water pump, I've never been able to get a read on why or when they might fail, so wth?
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  #14  
Old 04-03-2014, 08:45 AM
Occfreak32 Occfreak32 is offline
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I like to use http://www.furiousmethod.com/ when looking for parts, quick and easy. Sometimes, if I'm feeling really nerdy, I'll plug the prices into a spreadsheet to compare.
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:37 PM
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I started just like you, never done anything serious to a car, but always very curious. In the 5 years that I've owned my '98 540i I've turned almost every bolt in it and still enjoy working on it. My advice:

1. Forget the bulky paper service manuals and get a copy of TIS, WDS, DIS, INPA/NCS.
2. Replace coolant with Evans - you probably read about it already. Many people are running it for many years in these cars. Helps reduce the water pressure almost to zero, thus almost eliminating catastrophic failure.
3. Save the money for the parts that actually failing/failed and keep your eyes/ears out, listen/watch the car.
4. As it's been said, fasteners can be reused.
5. I'm getting all my parts from www.bmwmercedesparts.com. The cheapest one-stop OEM shop I've found, good people/service too.

Good luck!
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:40 AM
rixter88 rixter88 is offline
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Originally Posted by Flug540 View Post
1. Forget the bulky paper service manuals and get a copy of TIS, WDS, DIS, INPA/NCS.
I did a quick search on these acronyms and I understand they're diagnostics related but could someone give me a little more information?
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  #17  
Old 04-04-2014, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by rixter88 View Post
I did a quick search on these acronyms and I understand they're diagnostics related but could someone give me a little more information?
TIS is BMW OEM software where you can enter your VIN and get detailed illustrated procedures with torques and step by step for any maintenance procedure on the car.

WDS is HTML based software you open with IE for all electric diagrams in the car.

INPA/NCS are BMW OEM basic diagnostic/coding tools.

DIS is a BMW OEM advanced diagnostic system.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:19 AM
rixter88 rixter88 is offline
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Originally Posted by Flug540 View Post
TIS is BMW OEM software where you can enter your VIN and get detailed illustrated procedures with torques and step by step for any maintenance procedure on the car.

WDS is HTML based software you open with IE for all electric diagrams in the car.

INPA/NCS are BMW OEM basic diagnostic/coding tools.

DIS is a BMW OEM advanced diagnostic system.
Awesome, thanks.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:27 AM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is offline
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why

put the cart before the horse?

We all know these are throw away cooling systems.. Buy your car and enjoy it. Maybe it will last another 2 or 3 years on that system. When it does go you will know there will be warning signs then replace it...

If it ain't broke don't fix it...

Enjoy your car...
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  #20  
Old 04-04-2014, 12:39 PM
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TheFinanceGuy TheFinanceGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burning2nd View Post
not a good car for a DD unless you got a high credit limit
I DD my 540i. I find it does the job.

(runs to knock on wood)
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  #21  
Old 04-04-2014, 01:21 PM
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Flug540 Flug540 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSXRYDER View Post
If it ain't broke don't fix it... Enjoy your car...
+1

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFinanceGuy View Post
I DD my 540i. I find it does the job.
Same here.
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  #22  
Old 04-04-2014, 02:08 PM
rixter88 rixter88 is offline
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Thanks for the input everyone, perhaps I got a bit ahead of myself here. Maybe some more background would have been helpful. The car is my Dad's and I've driven it on and off for the last five years so I know it pretty well (at least from behind the wheel). The upper radiator hose was replaced this last summer when the original hose burst and blew coolant everywhere during a drive. Between that and all the horror stories I read here I figured the rest of the components would be just behind it. That said, I do subscribe to if it ain't broke don't fix it. I'm fine with driving it until it starts leaking or throws a code if that's all it's going to do; are the reports of fan blades exploding into the hood and coolant dumps on the highway overblown?
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:22 PM
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All I know is when it is raining outside i have way too much fun with my 540i/6. In dire need of a M5 rear diff though! Getting sideways is easy on most turns but the lsd would make things easier.


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  #24  
Old 04-04-2014, 03:25 PM
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Flug540 Flug540 is online now
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All I know is when it is raining outside i have way too much fun with my 540i/6. In dire need of a M5 rear diff though! Getting sideways is easy on most turns but the lsd would make things easier.
Agree! I'm debating whether I should put M3 gears in my M5 diff for even more fun. The downside of course is higher RPM at speed in the already overly thirsty beasty
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  #25  
Old 04-04-2014, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rixter88 View Post
Parts (all the prices were pulled from ECS Tuning)
This is a nice summary to leverage for others to:
- Complete cooling system overhaul recommended parts list (1)
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need, in seconds!
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