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6 Series DIY
6 Series Do It Yourself (DIY) forum.

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  #1  
Old 03-31-2014, 11:10 AM
tampamark tampamark is online now
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DIY Coolant Vent Pipe, $7 repair

The BMW coolant vent pipe that runs along the top of the radiator is prone to failure. Mine has had a small post-nasal drip going for several months. So I decided to fix this myself using member All-Or-Nothing's previous posted repair (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=717815). He used a house water supply line made of copper. The OEM BMW part is $41.90 from getbmwparts.com, so a $7 repair is well worth it. This will take some basic tools that if you don't already have them may not make this worthwhile. Keep in mind that even if you buy the BMW OEM part you would still need to get those pesky clamps off and a Dremel works best in my opinion.

Parts from Lowes:

Item 43474 - 2 foot Type L Copper tube, 1/4" diameter $ 6.56
Item 92897 - 2 pack 5/8" diameter x 1 1/8" #4 clamp $ .46
  • Step 1 - cut off the old clamps using Dremel
  • Step 2 - Use a small jewelers screwdriver to jam between the old plastic pipe and the hose material to loosen it, years of heat fuse it pretty well. You will need to do this in 3 or 4 spots around the hose.
  • Step 3 - Cut your copper pipe to the same length as the old pipe, approximately 17 3/8"
  • Step 4 - put your loose clamps on the hose ends, insert the new pipe, and tighten.
Optional items that I already had and made my life easier:

Dremel with metal cutter
Copper pipe cutter
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Last edited by tampamark; 03-31-2014 at 11:20 AM.
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  #2  
Old 04-02-2014, 01:11 PM
Skarv Skarv is offline
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Hi Mark: Bravo: This is just what I thought I should have done after I replaced mine. Slow thinking cost me $45 and for the extra money, I get the worry that it is going to fail again.

My only reservation on this is the use of copper. I know it is easier to find than Al or plastic, but I would look. The reason is that the chemistry of our cooling system is pretty likely engineered around AL. Cu can make for some interesting reactions. This would be me erring on the side of caution, but almost the exact same lines exist in Al so for whoever is looking to take this on, it would be worth a look. There is also plastic water line for houses called pex. I might look into that too.

Anyway, I'm probably paranoid as the only damage would probably be to the pipe its self, but for 5minutes of your time if you find the Al stuff, I'd do the swap.
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  #3  
Old 04-02-2014, 08:07 PM
tampamark tampamark is online now
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Well, $45 is not that bad of a price to be honest. Considering how much some parts can cost. Really any piping would fit the bill just so long as the diameter is the same. I can't find any aluminum or stainless pipe/tube that would match. But in the meantime I am not so worried about the copper, it just isn't in my nature! I went that route because it was easy to do and readily accessible in Lowes at a nominal price.
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  #4  
Old 04-03-2014, 04:06 PM
kmgrady01 kmgrady01 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tampamark View Post
Well, $45 is not that bad of a price to be honest. Considering how much some parts can cost. Really any piping would fit the bill just so long as the diameter is the same. I can't find any aluminum or stainless pipe/tube that would match. But in the meantime I am not so worried about the copper, it just isn't in my nature! I went that route because it was easy to do and readily accessible in Lowes at a nominal price.
Grainger carries aluminum pipe that would fit the bill. Unfortunately, it only comes in 6ft lengths, but it's only $17.
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  #5  
Old 04-03-2014, 04:34 PM
tampamark tampamark is online now
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I am not convinced that aluminum is necessary. I am going to test my scrap copper by immersing it in bmw coolant for a period of time and see if there is a reaction. Can't start the test until next week though, will report back. The key to This one is that a small 2ft section of copper is readily available. The aluminum I saw on Grainger yesterday had some larger outer diameter measurements, I don't recall seeing anything with a .25 od. Can you link to what you found?

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  #6  
Old 04-03-2014, 08:01 PM
kmgrady01 kmgrady01 is online now
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Here you go:

http://www.grainger.com/product/Tubing-4NTC8?s_pp=false

I wasn't concerned with copper as a material for the fix. I suggested the aluminum pipe strictly for aesthetics.
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  #7  
Old 04-04-2014, 06:00 AM
tampamark tampamark is online now
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That would work...you could buy that and sell it off in pieces

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  #8  
Old 04-09-2014, 12:48 PM
Skarv Skarv is offline
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Hey Mark:

If you do that test, do it in the presence of some aluminum and some steel in the solution as well. The issue is galvanic action. If the wrong metals are combined in the wrong electrolyte, you create a low level battery. The micro 'voltage' created is not a problem, but if this is going on, you are depleting atoms of one of the metals in the mix, and transferring them to the anode... whichever it is. If you start depleting the metal somewhere else in your engine, you may accelerate leaks and other trouble. And not to be a jerk, but I doubt you will be able to see the effect I would fear unless you let the experiment run for a year, and used the temperatures the engine is likely to dish out.

As I said, I'm being very paranoid by even mentioning this, but this is the issue. This is why boats in salt water tend to have sacrificial zinc mounted somewhere close to the expensive stuff in the water like stern drives and propellers. It is to avoid those things being eaten up by galvanic action. In the case of a cooling system, adding copper 'might' cause the inverse. I say might because we don't know the electrolytic balance that was engineered into BMW coolant, nor the elements to which it exposed in the cooling system.

In Toto, we know BMW engineers expected aluminum and some steel, so we know it can't hurt. I just wouldn't want to find out the hard way for copper.
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  #9  
Old 04-09-2014, 04:27 PM
tampamark tampamark is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarv View Post
Hey Mark:

If you do that test, do it in the presence of some aluminum and some steel in the solution as well. The issue is galvanic action. If the wrong metals are combined in the wrong electrolyte, you create a low level battery. The micro 'voltage' created is not a problem, but if this is going on, you are depleting atoms of one of the metals in the mix, and transferring them to the anode... whichever it is. If you start depleting the metal somewhere else in your engine, you may accelerate leaks and other trouble. And not to be a jerk, but I doubt you will be able to see the effect I would fear unless you let the experiment run for a year, and used the temperatures the engine is likely to dish out.

As I said, I'm being very paranoid by even mentioning this, but this is the issue. This is why boats in salt water tend to have sacrificial zinc mounted somewhere close to the expensive stuff in the water like stern drives and propellers. It is to avoid those things being eaten up by galvanic action. In the case of a cooling system, adding copper 'might' cause the inverse. I say might because we don't know the electrolytic balance that was engineered into BMW coolant, nor the elements to which it exposed in the cooling system.

In Toto, we know BMW engineers expected aluminum and some steel, so we know it can't hurt. I just wouldn't want to find out the hard way for copper.
Thanks for the details, but I am in the camp that employs the KISS method. So I tend to not overthink things. But I will give it a shot and see what happens. If it takes a year then I am in the "who cares" column because I probably won't have the car. If all the metal melts so be it, or if I form a nice battery, I will patent and sell the rights!

There have been enough folks that have used this fix in other forums with no issue that I feel very comfortable. My car is at the dealer having some Mark-does-not-want-to-DIY repairs, once it is back I can extract some coolant and get it rolling.
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  #10  
Old 08-16-2014, 11:26 PM
kmgrady01 kmgrady01 is online now
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Just finished doing this today and for those that don't own a Dremel, I do but didn't feel like getting it out, you can pry the old clamps off using a thin screw driver. Here are a couple of pictures showing the steps.
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  #11  
Old 08-17-2014, 07:13 PM
tampamark tampamark is online now
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Very nice, that was easy. My Service Adviser told me after the fact that those clamps can be removed with pliers, good to see that they are not that difficult to remove even with a screwdriver.
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