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 03-20-2011, 10:53 PM
holacomoestas? holacomoestas? is offline
Registered User
Location: San Antonio, TX
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 15
Mein Auto: 2001 530i 5spd Auto
Catastrophic water pump faliure!

Sup Ya'll?
This happened a few months back, but I've decided to share my experience.
At about 159k my car began overheating. It actually went into the red zone twice, the first time I was about 5 miles from home so I just let the car cool down completely and drove it home.

Upon arriving I deduced that my fan clutch was shot. It spun freely for about 2 revolutions before coming to a stop. No bueno.

So I replaced that, let the car warm up to OT, and drove it 5 miles around my neighborhood. Everything was great and no overheating, no temp fluctuation, ect.

The next day I drove to school my temp creeped into the red zone AGAIN. So I pull over and the sweet smell of coolant hits my nostrils. By this time I'm infuriated, I called a tow truck and took it home 16 miles from downtown SA.

Once at home, I disassembled and inspected my entire cooling system. No cracks in the hoses, radiator held pressure, expansion tank was sound, thermostat was in working order, head gasket was fine. And then I pull out my water pump.

I've attached a picture of it below, just wondering if anyone here has had a similar experience with their E39's such as this one.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	196028_194752327222173_100000622211141_586622_2486860_n.jpg
Views:	3460
Size:	91.3 KB
ID:	271301  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
  #2  
Old 03-20-2011, 11:07 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is online now
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Back in Oaktown, Yay Area
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,895
Mein Auto: 2001 540i/6, '90 BMW k75s
cn90 has long been an evangelist for replacing everything in the cooling system. You should check out his threads in the "Best Links" sticky at the top of the E39 page. He also recommends a water pump with a metal, not plastic, impeller.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-21-2011, 12:09 AM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sylvainia
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,289
Mein Auto: Z4M Coupe, 540i,Silverado
That was a defective pump

Plain and simple. I ask did you do a proper coolant 'bleed', sounds like you may have had some air in your system...
__________________
99 540i-6 Sport & 07 Z4///M Coupe
Pure
Adrenalin!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-21-2011, 12:37 AM
BMC530i BMC530i is offline
Registered User
Location: Honolulu
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 74
Mein Auto: 2003 530ia 2003 X5 3.0ia
Extreme example of obsolescence at its best.
__________________



Thrust arm bushings easy DIY
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=506735

FS:17" OEM BBS Style 42 wheels, TOYO PROXES T1R tires ***HONOLULU only***
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=518241
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-21-2011, 05:13 AM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Conyers, GA
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 811
Mein Auto: 2003 530i
Wow, that's crazy. I have never seen a water pump fubar like that.
__________________
2004 BMW 330ci Silvergray Sport Package, Cold Package, Xenon Headlamps, Premium Package, 6 Speed Manual, Build Date 9/03

Sold - 2003 325i Sedan Japanrot 5 Speed 8k Xenon Headlamps Build Date 11/02
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-21-2011, 05:27 AM
16valex's Avatar
16valex 16valex is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Albany NY
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,705
Mein Auto: 530I/Stick Blown
Were you able to fish all the broken plastic pieces out? What the hell did BMW engineers thinking when they decided to use plastic impeller in their WP!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-21-2011, 05:46 AM
AnotherGeezer's Avatar
AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is offline
Hofmeister Kink
Location: ManchVegas, New Hampster
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 3,867
Mein Auto: 2003 530i/5
Quote:
Originally Posted by 16valex View Post
What the hell did BMW engineers thinking when they decided to use plastic impeller in their WP!
They were probably thinking about how much money their service departments would make replacing neglected and detonated plastic-impeller water pumps.

Just a theory of course.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-21-2011, 05:50 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,979
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
BMW uses plastic to save weight.
Here is another example:




BTW, holacomoestas? you are "late to the party" LOL.
The cooling system has been discussed here 1000 times.
There is some overlap between 1997-98 and 1999-2003, so read it up.

1997-98 Info "cn90":
http://bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/199986

1999-2003 Info by "aioros":
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho....php?p=5040366
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-21-2011, 05:51 AM
16valex's Avatar
16valex 16valex is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Albany NY
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,705
Mein Auto: 530I/Stick Blown
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherGeezer View Post
They were probably thinking about how much money their service departments would make replacing neglected and detonated plastic-impeller water pumps.

Just a theory of course.
But that contradicts the old German mentality of "over engineered"
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-21-2011, 05:53 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,979
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
BTW, The "New" WP in your first post looks like plastic impeller!
Check to be sure it is NOT plastic or some composite material.
I have been using "HEPU" brand WP now for 5 yrs, zero problems.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-21-2011, 09:02 AM
edjack edjack is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: San Jose, CA
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 9,525
Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
Quite common failure mode.
__________________


Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-21-2011, 09:15 AM
first540i's Avatar
first540i first540i is offline
my first bmw
Location: SGV, CA
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 338
Mein Auto: e39
this kind of problem happens all the time.

even the aluminum or other metal contents does the same thing
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-21-2011, 09:56 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,841
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by first540i View Post
this kind of problem happens all the time.

even the aluminum or other metal contents does the same thing
I've read a LOT (scores of articles) on the BMW water pump failures.

It is not all that common, but, common enough for the original composite (i.e., plastic) waterpump impeller to disintegrate like that. It says so right in these videos below of cooling system failures.

The metal impeller waterpump is known to fail in a different way (bearings) but I don't remember seeing a single example of the metal impeller water pump failing in the way that the plastic pump fails.

End result ... don't ever buy a plastic-impeller water pump if you can help it.

To help others, I'm going to crosslink this thread into the pictorial look at BMW cooling system failures ... to help others in the future.
- Pictorial look at typical E39 cooling system failure modes (1)
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-21-2011, 10:01 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,841
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
In one of these two sequential videos, they talk about the plastic impeller disintegrating inside the BMW engine ...

PART I:


PART II:

Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-21-2011, 10:12 AM
agent15's Avatar
agent15 agent15 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Tennessee
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 598
Mein Auto: 87 325is, 02 530i Sport
Quote:
Originally Posted by first540i View Post
this kind of problem happens all the time.

even the aluminum or other metal contents does the same thing
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
The metal impeller waterpump is known to fail in a different way (bearings) but I don't remember seeing a single example of the metal impeller water pump failing in the way that the plastic pump fails.
Here's one out of an E36, posted by one of the guys on our local Euro car forum. It's a Graf, which has a tack-welded impeller. I put a Geba in both my E30 and my E39, one of the reasons being that the entire impeller is cast.

Graf with 5000 miles on it:


Cast impeller on the Geba:


While it's true the metal impellers aren't immune to failure, the ones made of a single (cast) piece are less likely to - at least the impeller itself.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
For me, the e39 is the ... best balance of luxury ... performance ... good looks and class. Sort of the Catherine Deneuve of cars, if you get my drift.

Last edited by agent15; 03-21-2011 at 10:16 AM. Reason: typo
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 03-21-2011, 10:27 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,841
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by agent15 View Post
Here's one out of an E36, posted by one of the guys on our local Euro car forum. It's a Graf, which has a tack-welded impeller. I put a Geba in both my E30 and my E39, one of the reasons being that the entire impeller is cast
Very interesting. And ugly! And scary too!

I have whatever OEMBimmerparts sold me (it's metal, and it starts with a "G" but I don't remember if it's Graf or Geba.

I'll add THIS picture to the pictorial look at BMW cooling system failures!

Thanks for the edification!
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 03-21-2011, 09:32 PM
holacomoestas? holacomoestas? is offline
Registered User
Location: San Antonio, TX
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 15
Mein Auto: 2001 530i 5spd Auto
I did bleed the cooling system correctly,
And for the DIY I used cn90's post.
Props!
I can't believe the stock internals held up so long! Don't these things go out at around 100k?
And believe me, I would have LOVED to overhaul my entire cooling system but I am in a bit of a financial hole right now.
Ends are a little tight around here. -_- Heck, if I had money like that I'd fix all my bugs!

And yeah, it's an OEM part. Next time around I'll look into getting a WP with metal impellers. (;
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 03-22-2011, 06:26 AM
agent15's Avatar
agent15 agent15 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Tennessee
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 598
Mein Auto: 87 325is, 02 530i Sport
Quote:
Originally Posted by holacomoestas? View Post
I can't believe the stock internals held up so long! Don't these things go out at around 100k?
At 160K I'd be surprised if that was the original WP in there. I believe BMW calls for replacement every 60K, so hopefully it was at least #2. Either way, at least you now have a bit more peace of mind about your cooling system.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
For me, the e39 is the ... best balance of luxury ... performance ... good looks and class. Sort of the Catherine Deneuve of cars, if you get my drift.

Last edited by agent15; 03-22-2011 at 06:27 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 03-22-2011, 07:59 AM
NoWayJose's Avatar
NoWayJose NoWayJose is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: RI
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 779
Mein Auto: 00 528ia Sport
oh man that is crazy how bad it looked. glad you replaced it.
__________________
00 BMW 528ia Sport
M5 F+R Bumpers, M5 Mirrors with OEM setup, M5 rear sway bar, Cluster Rings, 03 Business player with AUX input, HID fogs slim, OEM 01+ Hella headlights, Euro Lens, EAC Aluminum Adjusters, FX-R low beam retrofit, Umnitza Orion halos, Hella Euro Celis Retrofit Kit, Koni yellow shocks with H&R Sport Springs, 19" M6 Reps, Full LEDs.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 03-22-2011, 08:09 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,979
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
Quote:
Originally Posted by holacomoestas? View Post
...And believe me, I would have LOVED to overhaul my entire cooling system but I am in a bit of a financial hole right now.
At least you changed the most important part: the WP.
With tight financial situation, save up money and do an overhaul later, but don't ait too long.
Overheated engine = $4K damage.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 10-17-2012, 05:04 PM
Scrubber Scrubber is offline
Registered User
Location: Manchester
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: VW
Recently fitted a new HEPU water pump. Metal impeller (looks like brass). Looked good quality to me (Made in Germany stamped on it.)

Interesting webpage discussing the plastic impeller water pumps. (Old Durethan composite, vs newer Polyphenylene) but I preferred to go with the metal impeller of the HEPU.

http://www.blauparts.com/vw_water_pu...ntroversy.html

Last edited by Scrubber; 10-17-2012 at 06:06 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 10-18-2012, 10:20 AM
Jim Rolando Jim Rolando is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Missoula, Montana
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,004
Mein Auto: 1999 528i
Mine broke at about 70K and was replaced with a metal impeller. No problems since and now at 117K. But, I replaced the entire rest of the cooling system as soon as I bought the car three or so years ago.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 10-18-2012, 11:46 AM
BentValve's Avatar
BentValve BentValve is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: VA
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 972
Mein Auto: 00 528i 3 pedals
My Graf with a metal impeller is going on 35K miles with no issues.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 10-18-2012, 06:47 PM
GreenTiger GreenTiger is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: SoCal
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 774
Mein Auto: 7/98 NonVanos 540iA
Quote:
Originally Posted by agent15 View Post
Graf with 5000 miles on it:
HOLY MOLY!!!

Does anyone know if anyone makes a metal impeller for the 540i? Last time I checked, it did not exist.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 10-18-2012, 08:58 PM
waehrik waehrik is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: MA
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 122
Mein Auto: e39 530i/5, e28 535i
I would actually prefer a failure by separated pump impeller over a siezed bearing. Of course that does not include a grenaded impeller as plastic bits would be scattered everywhere.

It's sad that we would have to make the choice.

But on my e28 the relatively new (replaced by the PO 15k miles and 20 years ago) water pump bearing suddenly sprung a leak at the shaft seal and promptly siezed, offering no cooling capacity at all, an immediately broken alternator/WP belt, and a siezed engine driven cooling fan. That's an immediately pegged gauge and roadside stop.

I can understand the cause for more of the bearing failures on metal impellered pumps since there is a greater amount of weight out of balance at the other end. I cannot believe that a simple cast pump like the Geba or -worse- tack welded Graf is well balanced. That amount of metal flinging around can could cause a problem on a bearing that is already fairly heavily loaded on one side only from the belt system. There is not much separation between the bearings to be able to counteract the significant moment arm created by the belt/pulley. That coupled with an unbalanced metal mass is not a recipe for longevity. I would think the Graf would be the worst as there is no way the tack welded fins are even at a consistent angle. That would slightly vary the load on the water pump as it spins, introducing even more stress on the bearings.

I'm sticking with the plastic "updated composite" impeller Saleri pump for the aforementioned reasons. I changed it out when I got the car a year ago at 60k and will do so again at 120k. It's cheap and extremely easy to replace. With biannual fluid changes I have not seen evidence of an early demise of a composite/plastic water pump. Most of the failures are from people who are at high mileages on the originals or from people who never changed the coolant, thus making it more caustic and circulating around coarse debris. cn90's example above is not only a different impeller material but is obviously degraded from extended exposure to a harsh environment. You can see how brittle the plastic has become. The OP's could well be original. With no timing belt to replace they can get neglected by an owner who buys into the "lifetime" advertising of BMW. It obviously lasted the lifetime that he had the car, so why should he care?
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 08:00 PM.


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