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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 11-23-2010, 05:05 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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What's the trick to get the radiator back in on the M52 engine?

What's the trick to get the radiator back into the M54 engine?

Here's my running "diary", which is showing that it's NOT easy to get the radiator in (the DiYs that say "insert radiator" seem to be missing the 'trick').

It was nearly impossible to get out for the same reason. The hoses to the steering and automatic transmission on the driver side and the air conditioning hoses on the passenger side hang it all up.

Here's my ad-hoc diary:

Re-install radiator:
Compare the old and new radiator.
The new radiator comes with attached blue drain plug
The new radiator comes with detached lower fan shroud plastic clips
The new radiator does not come with the lower rubber bumpers.

With the old radiator lying flat with the bottom facing you,
lay the new radiator on top in the same orientation.
With whiteout, write the date in the place where the oem sticker was on
the original radiator.
Notice the old radiator has two lower plastic black clips attached.
Notice they fit only one way, with a twisting action.
Insert the new radiator fan shroud plastic clips in place & twist.(NO!)
--> I broke the passenger side radiator clip on the AC compressor!
Take a look where the lower bumpers go on the radiator and on the vehicle.
Transfer rubber bumpers from the bottom third of the old radiator to the
new radiator. NO!
--> One of my bumpers fell off near the underside of the PSP and I had
to dig for it for ten minutes to find it (black on black).
Lower the new radiator into place.
drat! It was too hard to drop the radiator in from the top.
So I went underneath and tried to push it up. Double drat!
Soon I disabused myself of that notion.
Back from the top I go ...



So, ummmm... what's the trick?

Last edited by bluebee; 11-23-2010 at 05:09 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-23-2010, 05:17 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Try angling one side of the radiator down and past any piping or other obstacles, then swinging the other side into place (so the bumpers are aligned on the spots they slip into. It's a 3D maneuver I think, just can't recall exactly how....
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  #3  
Old 11-23-2010, 06:17 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
It's a 3D maneuver I think, just can't recall exactly how....
You're definitely right about that!

At least, it's fresh in my memory.

Here's my DIY diary ...

Back from the top I go ...

OK. It's in but this is gonna be hard to explain.
Put the radiator in from the top, and push toward the drivers side hoses
and wiggle, and push toward the passenger side hoses, and wiggle.
Then, when you have about 10 inches still out, drop under the car,
and, get this, PUSH UP! Then, wiggle. Finally it dropped into place.

Since I broke one of the new flimsy black plastic lower radiator clips
I decided to move the old seemingly sturdier clips to the new radiator.
They twist off with some difficulty (I was worried that these were
one-way twists,
but they came off with a clockwise 90 degree twist (facing the clip)
and went with a 90 degree counter clockwise twist. I had to push
them and tilt them from the back to disengage from the radiator.

Well, putting the passenger side rubber bumper turned out to be easy;
but the drivers side was nasty. So, I take back what I said about
not putting the driver's side bumper on first.

That was not easy, but, I had to remove the radiator about half way,
and put the drivers side bumper on. Then reposition it, and then put
the passenger side bumper on.

I can easily envision an indy who would just give up on those bumpers
and not put them in where, over time, the additional stress that might
result could break a plastic radiator component.

From below, double check the bumpers are in place and that they are
fully seated in their pans. At first, both bumpers were hanging over
the edge, so make sure that the bottom metal of the radiator links
up and overlaps the edge of the transmission cooler in front of it
at the bottom (hard to explain).
Install both topside radiator clips with one 8mm bolt and two rubber wells
each and hand tighten.
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  #4  
Old 11-23-2010, 06:44 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Ah, one thing, probably explains why the rad install didn't create as much drama for me. My car is a manual transmission, and thus unlike your automatic doesn't have the ATF cooler piping connections on the side.
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  #5  
Old 11-23-2010, 06:48 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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It's tough! Two person job, one on top, one below lining up the damned rubber bits that hold it in the bottom is how I did it. A fair bit of force was applied to the transmission and power steering lines.
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  #6  
Old 11-23-2010, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw_n00b13 View Post
A fair bit of force was applied to the transmission and power steering lines.
You're so right about that!

I was worried I'd break a hose because I had to push very hard against the almost immobile driver side set of hoses (automatic transmission? power steering?) and push hard against the more mobile (air conditioning?) hoses on the passenger side.

Basically, the 'trick' is to get an inch of space by removing the bumpers, ('cuz my driver's side bumper got knocked off anyway); keep the plastic clips off ('cuz I broke one of mine on the AC compressor); and then drop it down from the top 'till about 10 inches or so is left; then scoot below and wiggle back and forth 'till it gets close.

Note to self: The Nissens plastic clips at the bottom of the radiator are more flimsy than the Behr OEM plastic clips.

Then, at one critical point, FORCE is applied (in each direction, successively), and the thing just plops down almost into place like Archie Bunker on his favorite chair.

I had to replace the bumpers and then scoot the radiator forward by about a half inch on each side, but, after that, it settled nicely where it belongs.

Moving on, on this chilly evening where I'm warming my hands on the floodlight metal housing, I dated the lower radiator hose with whiteout, I lubed the two rubber o-rings with Leslie's Pool and Spa Lube, and I squished a dribble of di-electric grease into the electrical connector for the new FAE temperature switch, and clicked the lower radiator hose into place.

While most DIYs then say to re-install the upper radiator hose, I'm gonna skip that step 'till later so that I have more room. I still need to tackle removing the old OEM fan and putting it on the new fan clutch.

BTW, both the new fan clutch and the new expansion tank both say both Behr and Hella.
Is Behr the same as Hella?

And, the old hoses are nearly identical (almost exactly) to the new ones, even down to the writing, except the new ones seem to have all the BMW symbols scratched out. What's with that?

Last edited by bluebee; 11-23-2010 at 07:20 PM.
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  #7  
Old 11-23-2010, 07:21 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
BTW, both the new fan clutch and the new expansion tank say both Behr and Hella. Are they one and the same?
Maybe from the same Chinese source trying to cover all its bases.... [A quick google shows they've got a joint-venture....]

I'm waiting for you to get to the shroud; probably a good idea you left the upper rad hose off for now.

Last edited by pleiades; 11-23-2010 at 07:37 PM.
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  #8  
Old 11-23-2010, 07:57 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Fan clutch in and out is a 10 min job. Note orientation before installing the new clutch. PB Blaster was necessary on my salt-encrusted car. Both the fan installation and the rad installation were easier with two people working top and bottom.

I suspect the BMW logo scratched out was the old mold edited to make OEM rather than OE parts.
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  #9  
Old 11-23-2010, 10:52 PM
Rjim Rjim is offline
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Have engaged in this "Me against the Radiator" wrestling match three times now. First time, hands a bit bloody, thought I won the match only to find one of the rubber bumpers on floor when I backed my car out of the garage. Where the hell does this thing go? Match two, not as much blood loss, replaced the rubber bumper and learned the bumpers are not symmetrically placed on the sides of the radiator. Match three (patience is a virtue I don't normally possess), I jiggled and juggled, lifting one side of the radiator then the other up and down until it magically dropped into position. My hands, only skinned this time, were still able to open mutiple cans of beer, German and domestic.
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  #10  
Old 11-24-2010, 12:58 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rjim View Post
Have engaged in this "Me against the Radiator" wrestling match three times now.
This is my second time. I didn't make the same mistakes, I made DIFFERENT mistakes.

I just spent the last hour removing the last few components because the radiator just didn't settle in right, even though it looked right before I bolted everything back up.

Add to that the fact that I should have put the expansion tank hoses on BEFORE I hooked up the expansion tank; I forgot to leave an extension in my tape for the cn90 fan nut rope trick; and I crossed the two bottom hoses before I knew it, etc.

The one GREAT thing about a DIY is I was muttering to myself, as I tore it apart again, that an Indy would NEVER spend this kind of time to get it right. As long as the radiator wasn't bouncing around, I'd wager the Indy would leave it at about a half inch off kilter.

So, thank God for the DIY!
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  #11  
Old 11-24-2010, 03:50 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw_n00b13 View Post
It's tough! Two person job, one on top, one below lining up the damned rubber bits that hold it in the bottom is how I did it.
This is how I remember doing it with NeverSayNever (Chris). I was underneath lining everything up and he was lowering into place. Definitely easier to have a second pair of eyes and hands assisting.
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  #12  
Old 11-24-2010, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
I was underneath lining everything up and he was lowering into place.
While it's still fresh, here's my singlehanded cooling system 'diary'.

It's not a DIY. It's what happened.

The way I created it was I copied the text of all the appropriate DIYs into a single (rather messy & redundant) just-for-me DIY; and then, line by line, I attempted the tasks.

When I (invariably) screwed up, I didn't go back to fix it; I just mentioned it at the time of the screwup. This will help me write a DIY that is "idealized", i.e., the DIY assumes everything works perfectly because the user is warned around the mistakes.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf cooling_system.pdf (101.3 KB, 154 views)
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  #13  
Old 01-29-2012, 11:05 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
While it's still fresh, here's my singlehanded cooling system 'diary'.

It's not a DIY. It's what happened
Here's another, from today, with nice helpful hints from the OP:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > Notes from my cooling system overhaul
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwpo1 View Post
I Completed my cooling system overhaul this weekend. First off you really need to read the cooling system overhauls by bluebee and cn90 http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...23&postcount=3(I love their work. I have also attached cn90's diy w/ pictures in pdf.

I am not a mechanic, I know how to change the oil, tires, spark plugs, the basics. It took me running out of cash to attempt serious work on this car. It is not as difficult as it seems once you get the covers off. One thing to note, one month before I started this I paid around $200 with my mechanic, not the stealership, to have the expansion tank removed. I felt like an absolute idiot when I had the fan shroud off and it was right there. That was all the motivation I needed going forward.

I would recommend using ramps rather than jack stands. I got a set of plactic ones from Advance auto parts for about 30 bucks. Too many horror stories on jack stands for me! Very easy to take the cover off the bottom with these.

The problems I encountered were the following:
1. The 32mm wrench to remove the fan is non-negotiable. The 1 1/4 wrench will not work. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME!
2. When removing the fan shroud be very careful to pry upward, not forward. When I removed mine I pried it forward and it broke the vent spout on the top right hand side of the radiator. This was an issue because I initially was changing out the water pump and the belts. So I was forced to epoxy it back together until the radiator and hoses arrived. This is a very temporary fix as it could not gain a total seal and the antifreeze degrades the epoxy over time. It lasted two weeks, just long enough to get the radiatior and hoses in.
3. When removing the fan use the 32mm and a hammer. There are numerous tips and tricks with counter pulleys and such, but everybody has a hammer. Use a real hammer(not a small one) or a rubber mallet. 3 hits and its off with wd-40.
4. I used a GBM water pump 59.99 at advance auto parts, water pump came with the o-ring. It did not come with a gasket. I used the gasket maker, no problems with it.
5. Belts were simple. Mine has the mechanical tensioner and the belt diagram is on the diy.
6. I used a CSF radiator 80.00 from auto part warehouse dot com OEM replacement. The radiator was very difficult going in and out. If you have any thoughts about replacing the radiator and not the hoses, FORGET ABOUT IT! The radiator will not come out with the bottom hose attached and once you have it off... THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU WANT TO DO TWICE! To get the radiator out you have move the left side forward, then start pulling up, while slightly moving the ac hoses very carefully to the side. I pulled off my rubber stops on the way out which helped alot. Putting it back in was just as hard.
7. The top and bottom hoses were about 40.00 together from auto parts warehouse dot com. Pull the clip up with a pair of needle noses and pull loose. Putting them on I had to grease the radiator and hose coupling to get the new ones on. Same thing with the sensor in the lower radiator hose. I had grease the hole as well as the sensor, wrap with towel (so I would not break it) and squeeze it in. I did this part at the kitchen table. I could not imagine it going in while attached to the radiator.

After that put everything back together. Don't forget the plastic clips at the bottom of the radiator. The new radiator came with some but I used the original ones. Now fill up with antifreeze, start it up, turn the heater on high and top off.

This is the best I have on it. This just what I ran into. Hope it helps somebody!
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:21 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the cross-linked record, here's another OP who had a difficult time getting the radiator BACK IN the car!
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > Notes from my cooling system overhaul

Quote:
Originally Posted by cwpo1 View Post
I used a CSF radiator 80.00 from auto part warehouse dot com OEM replacement. The radiator was very difficult going in and out. If you have any thoughts about replacing the radiator and not the hoses, FORGET ABOUT IT! The radiator will not come out with the bottom hose attached and once you have it off... THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU WANT TO DO TWICE! To get the radiator out you have move the left side forward, then start pulling up, while slightly moving the ac hoses very carefully to the side. I pulled off my rubber stops on the way out which helped alot. Putting it back in was just as hard.
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:31 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the record, another person had a devil of a time getting the radiator back in on the I6 today:
-> Help..New Behr radiator from Autohausaz vs. dealer Behr from dealer
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #16  
Old 10-08-2013, 09:07 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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When asked today what's the hardest part about a cooling system overhaul, Fudman had this wise advice to advise others:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
About a 3-4 on a scale of 1-10, 10 being most difficult. The hardest part is positioning the radiator back onto the mounting brackets. They use a small rubber shim that tends to fall off during the positioning sequence. Work from below, not above. Having a second pair eyeballs from above telling you exactly when to move the radiator forward helps. Bleeding the system correctly is the other hardest part, which isn't really hard. See this:

http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/199986
See also:
- Various methods for draining & refilling (1) (pdf) & bleeding the cooling system for all E39s (1) (2) (pdf) & instructions specific for the V8 (1) & the BMW TIS for bleeding the cooling system (pdf) & for working on the cooling system (pdf).
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #17  
Old 04-26-2014, 04:56 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Looks like others have a similar issue getting the radiator back on:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > e39 Radiator installation gone wrong?


Quote:
Originally Posted by E39 Girl View Post
I recently replaced the radiator in my 1998 e39 as it had a crack in it and was over heating.

I got help installing the new one and put all the plugs, screws and clips (2 of each to fit the shroud fan in place), fan shroud and over flow bottle back in their places. I found that my radiator was not sitting right and wasn't fitted tight in place. I can move it around quite easily and seems to be sitting about an inch lower than it should.

Is there a clip or something I have over looked on installation? Is the radiator meant to sit on something?

Feeling lost and and slightly gullible right now as I couldn't find any answers or advice on the web.

Thanks
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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