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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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Old 07-30-2011, 09:33 PM
NNY528i NNY528i is offline
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DIY: Bleeding the E39 Cooling System

THIS PROCEDURE APPEARS TO BE APPLICABLE TO ALL E39 MODELS AND ENGINE CONFIGURATIONS

Here is a complete DIY for Bleeding the E39 cooling system using the proper BMW/Bentley Procedure. This procedure is based on the following BMW TIS documents

TIS 17 00 Instructions for working on cooling system
http://tis.spaghetticoder.org/s/view.pl?1/04/35/64

TIS 17 00 005 Draining and topping up coolant
http://tis.spaghetticoder.org/s/view.pl?1/02/26/14

TIS 17 00 039 Bleeding cooling system and checking for leaks
http://tis.spaghetticoder.org/s/view.pl?1/01/34/82

The V8 bleeding procedure is essentially identical except that there is no Thermostat cover bleeder screw, all bleeding is done at the expansion tank bleeder screw. For other engines and in other countries there are differences in the system layout however, the procedure remains the same.

A number if Forum members with minimal auto repair experience have used this procedure successfully on the first try to bleed their cooling systems after multiple attempts using other procedures, hopefully they will choose to share their experiences using this very simple and straightforward procedure.

Please take a few moments to provide any comments on this procedure or to share your experiences using it, Thanks.


First a couple of general notes;

- If you have removed the Water pump then you will need about 1.0 to 1.25 gallons of mixed coolant to refill and bleed the system

- If you have removed the Water pump AND the Lower radiator hose then you will need about 1.5 to 1.75 gallons of mixed coolant to refill and bleed the system

- If you have changed the thermostat you will need about .5 to .75 gallons of mixed coolant to refill and bleed the system

- There is no need to drill a hole in your new thermostat, see video and photos below showing the bleed hole in the thermostat cover.

- Never open a bleeder screw or the expansion tank when the engine is hot, this is the same as having a crack in your radiator and does not aid in the proper bleeding of the system

- Take care when tightening the bleeder screws as the OEM screws are plastic and can be stripped or damaged easily.

- Jacking or inclining the front of the car 6 inches or more will speed up the process but is not required.

- Be sure to use a 50/50 mix of BMW coolant and distilled water(available at Walmart) All references to coolant in this procedure refer to a 50/50 mix.

- Various discussions on the efficacy of running the engine to complete the bleeding of the system have presented a lot of confusing information. Certain equipment configurations may require that the engine be run to purge air from the heater core, however there is no evidence that the engine needs to be hot or even warm to do this. Simply running the engine for a minute or two after completing the static bleed procedure presented here is all that is required and this is covered during the drive and cool portion of this procedure and should not normally need to be done as a separate step. This may be equivalent to what others have called a warm bleed procedure however I do not know if that is what they are referring to at this point. There is no reason, value or technical justification in opening the bleeder screws when the engine is at normal operating temperature while there exist a number of potential issues in doing so. There are no recommendations to do so in any BMW publication or any other reputable professional source thus I do not condone or recommend that this ever be done as this is essentially creating a controlled failure of the cooling system allowing boiling of the coolant in the engine which at best causes potential for air to be drawn back into the system and at worst could lead to damage equivalent to that which occurs from a component failure within the system. It should be noted also that this is expressly covered in BMW TIS 17 00 ;

"Important!
Open cooling system only when it has cooled down.
Opening the cooling system while hot can result in air entering the system.
This can cause overheating with permanent damage to the engine. "


- Contrary to information presented in some other procedures and in this thread the bleeder screws in the thermostat cover and in the expansion tank ARE NOT at the same elevation. The Expansion tank screw is 1 to 2 inches higher than the thermostat cover screw as can be seen clearly in the photos below.


- See end notes for information on Bleeder hole in thermostat housing bleeder screw elevations and aluminum thermostat cover.


Written Procedure;


1) With car cold turn on key to run position(do not start the car), set HVAC system to 90 degrees and fan on low.

2) Remove coolant pressure cap on expansion tank and the bleeder screws from thermostat cover and expansion tank.

3) Begin to pour coolant into expansion tank keeping level near top of tank until air free coolant flows from thermostat cover bleeder hole, install screw and close bleeder.

4) Continue to fill expansion tank until air free coolant flows from the bleeder screw on the expansion tank, you will need to keep the expansion tank filled to top to complete this step. When no more bubbles then install and close the bleeder.

5) Fill coolant in expansion tank to near top of tank then install the filler cap.

6) Now take the car for a drive and get it warmed up to temperature, at least a 10 min drive, try to get some higher RPM driving in as well(like a short section of open road)

7) Park car and let cool to ambient temperature(at least a couple of hours) then check the level of coolant in the expansion tank. If it is empty then repeat the bleeding process above, if after a repeat it is still empty then you have a bigger issue such as a leak or a damaged head gasket. If the level is low then top up to the full cold level indicated on the tank or slightly above.

8) Monitor coolant level for several drive cycles adding coolant as needed to maintain the full cold level, coolant level should stabilize in one or two drive cycles.


Video of Procedure:

Note, this was filmed following a water pump and Radiator hose installation so about 1 gallon of coolant mix had been added prior to starting the recording, the procedure is identical regardless of amount of coolant that is required to be added.







End Notes:

Thermostat design and function
(or why the system cannot become air locked even though certain people are for some reason convinced it can)

air cannot get trapped in the block as the area behind the thermostat is directly connected through an open passage to the upper radiator hose. the main exit for the coolant flow passes behind the thermostat and into the upper radiator hose passage with no restriction whatsoever. The air cant get trapped back there it will escape into the radiator(past the thermostat cover bleed screw on its way.



Additional thoughts on system design by benemorious on BF

If you guys don't mind an outsider (m50 e36) getting involved (and bumping a thread, no less) I have some things to say on the matter. Us e36 guys are also struggling with the myth of a difficult to bleed cooling system. For what it's worth, I've studied my cooling system (it looks just like yours(well, the parts relevant to air lock at least)) in great detail and after reading this thread I must say I do agree with NNY528I. Our observations and the conclusions we drew from them appear to be congruent. Never mind what any expert mechanic has to say, direct observations are always preferable.

What is disputed is whether air can become trapped inside the block/head ("behind the thermostat"). The correct response to such a inquiry is repeated many times in this thread in many different ways. Air in the block/head cannot become trapped anywhere because there is no thermostat or anything else to prevent it from flowing freely out the top radiator hose and relieving itself via the bleeder screw or expansion tank.

The key points to catch are that the cooling system features a thermostat located at the bottom radiator hose rather than the conventional top hose location, and that air inside the block is therefore allowed to flow freely out the top radiator hose, unobstructed by the thermostat as in other (air-lock prone) designs. If you don't wish to read any further, you don't have to. That information is sufficient to settle the dispute if you accept it. It has been stated over and over many times, but either overlooked or ignored outright in every case.

Quote:
*******> ********>*******>********>
Originally Posted by cnn
For those who wonder about the coolant passages of an M52 engine...

As I already mentioned in this cooling overhaul for my 1998 528i:
http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/199986

-------
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.

Just some tidbit about the M52 engine for those with curious mind...



There is an oversight here which makes all the difference. It has been stated already, but I will attempt to restate it with more verbosity.

While there is no direct connection between blue and purple, there IS a direct connection inside the head between the ORANGE hole and the PURPLE hole. They are effectively the same hole. They both contain hot water from the head ready to be either recirculated directly when the engine is cold (the closed dual-action thermostat prevents water from passing from the blue line to the dotted blue line, while permitting water to pass from orange to dotted blue) or cooled by the radiator first and then recirculated if the engine is hot (the open thermostat blocks water from going from orange to dotted blue while allowing it to go from blue to dotted blue - water from orange can then only come out purple.) There is no difference between saying "air trapped in the block/head" and "air trapped behind the thermostat" and "air trapped in the orange/purple area." The area behind the thermostat is the orange/purple area, and the orange/purple area is the top opening to the coolant passages of the head and therefore block.

Here's the significance of that:

Because of the connection between the orange hole (from head/block passages) and the purple hole (output to radiator/bleed screw) it is not possible for air to become trapped inside the block/head AKA behind the thermostat since it is not stopped by the thermostat and can come freely out the purple hole. To support the theory that the engine can become air locked, the assumption is made that air in the head/block has no escape route other than the orange hole behind the thermostat. This is not the case. Rather, the air is also free to come out the purple hole, and this is what it does.

BMW has chosen to remove the thermostat from the airlock-prone top hose position and place it in the airlock-free bottom hose position. A very wise move, for even while filling a completely dry block, all the air is guaranteed to come out the top radiator hose and be released via the expansion tank or bleeder screw.


Aluminum Thermostat Housing,

Made by URO, purchased through Pelican for about $12

Unit is decently made and includes a gasket and metal bleeder screw, however there was some casting issues including some flash and a heavy shoulder in the upper radiator hose port that needed to be dremeled out of the housing.

Installed

Bleeder hole




Bleeder Screw elevation comparison


Side of car body showing car is sitting level with ground.


Note engine is inclined in the car

Thermostat cover bleeder screw at 5 inches



Expansion tank bleeder screw at about 4 inches even though the reference level slopes upward towards the radiator thus if they were at the same level a measurement of at least 5.5 to 6 inches would be indicated however clearly the expansion tank is higher than the thermostat cover.



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Last edited by NNY528i; 07-31-2011 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:59 AM
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You are very late, but thanks for your efforts anyway.
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Old 07-31-2011, 09:47 AM
NNY528i NNY528i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCo540i View Post
You are very late, but thanks for your efforts anyway.
What do you mean "very late"? Just putting this thread over here from other forum where it has been for year and a half and has risen in prominence in that short time. Didn't know disinformation continued to be spread over here.
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by NNY528i View Post
What do you mean "very late"? Just putting this thread over here from other forum where it has been for year and a half and has risen in prominence in that short time. Didn't know disinformation continued to be spread over here.
Ignore him, his comment merely detracts from your excellent thread. kudos.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:51 PM
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Ignore him, his comment merely detracts from your excellent thread. kudos.
By your statement, you obviously are not familiar with the best links in the is forum. It's been covered so many times.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:05 PM
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I thought the problem was that air got trapped in the heater radiator - not in the engine block, hence the heater blowing cooler air and the engine coolant running hot because of it's reduced volume.
Discuss :-)
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:00 PM
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By your statement, you obviously are not familiar with the best links in the is forum. It's been covered so many times.
There is nothing in my statement indicating that I am unfamiliar with the best links. I am aware of bestlinks and use it constantly. However, I will stand by my statement which served merely to thank him for his efforts and contribution to the board. All while you attempt to invalidate his post by saying that he was "late" as if to say "It's been posted already, THANKS FOR NOTHING!" Furthermore, me having to reply again is proof enough that your post contributed nothing, merely distracted and detracted. Which By your statement, you obviously do not understand.
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Old 08-01-2011, 04:58 PM
NNY528i NNY528i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCo540i View Post
By your statement, you obviously are not familiar with the best links in the is forum. It's been covered so many times.
its been covered many times on many forums, however its been covered wrong or been covered in such a way as to confuse and intimidate people into thinking it is somehow difficult to bleed the cooling system on this car.

Numerous threads advocating at temp bleeding, drilling holes, inserting funnels blowing on tanks, repeat bleeding 4 or 5 times etc etc etc. None of those DIY that are out there present the BMW TIS method(the correct method) for bleeding the cooling system. None of the DIY out there present a clear and easy to understand video showing how truly simple it is to bleed the system.

I have had this DIY over on BF for almost a year and a half and it has become the definitive reference on bleeding the cooling system and has been referenced in numerous places on the internet and in numerous other BMW model forums, is there some reason it should not be shared here as well?
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:09 PM
NNY528i NNY528i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quackers View Post
I thought the problem was that air got trapped in the heater radiator - not in the engine block, hence the heater blowing cooler air and the engine coolant running hot because of it's reduced volume.
Discuss :-)
The volume of the heater core is really quite small and is subject to pressurized flow from the water pump on models not equipped with auxiliary heater pumps, on those with aux heat pumps it is force fed by the pump. To be honest there really is not any issue with air becoming trapped anywhere in the system. a gravity bleed will remove 99% of the air from the system, what is left is purged out automatically when the engine is running.

The single most common error in bleeding the system is doing it too quick, not waiting for the air to purge out, if you watch the video you can see that it takes a few minutes for the air to purge but it all comes out.

The second most common error I encounter is people opening the system when it is hot. this causes the coolant itself to flash to steam at the cylinder walls due to a loss of pressure in the system, this forces coolant out through the bleeder as well as bubbles of steam, not from air, but from boiling coolant, this loss of coolant leads to air being drawn in to the system when it cools and requires the process be repeated numerous times with questionable results.

An improperly bled cooling system overheats because there is too much air in the system and pressure cannot build to a sufficient level to prevent boiling of the coolant in the hottest part of the system, steam then forms, since 1ml of water expands to 2000ml of steam this process becomes self feeding and you get a boilover due to the pressure of the steam. meanwhile the cylinders are allowed to get much hotter than they should be and this leads to engine damage.

The situation you describe will occur if the system is VERY low on coolant.
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:45 AM
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Thanks for the clarification, NNY528i.
I haven't had a problem bleeding my 540i, and I've needed to do it twice so far.
The problem I mentioned was a big problem on some UK cars years ago, where the heater radiator was much higher than the rest of the cooling system and all sorts of steps were needed to fully bleed it.
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:12 PM
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For the cross-linked record, here is a post today with a V8 bleeding procedure for those interested:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > bleeding screw on thermostat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
Bleed cooling system via Jim Cash

First - coolant should never be to the "top" of the expansion tank.

I think there are 2 versions of the expansion tank but I suspect they both have the float and indicator stick. Assuming you have the stick indicator it the top of it should never be above the lip of the filler opening rim.

That "expansion" tank is supposed to be mostly air - leaving room for the coolant to expand and compress the air as the coolant heats up.

If you overfill it then it will come out the escape valve and suck air back in - air in the system can cause levels to vary and bring on the alarm.

Bleed the system with the following proceedure - and it is necessary to raise the front end of the 6 cyl cars to do this


------
Cooling system bleed procedure M62 engine (E39 97 version)


- with cold car
- top up coolant to proper level.
- leave rad cap loose

This stage bleeds air trapped in the heater system.
- turn on ignition switch to position 2 (no start)
- set temperature selectors on the climate control to max temp.
- manually set the fan speed to low (lower end of speed range)
- start engine (check that climate settings have not changed)
- after 5-10 seconds of running rev the engine 3-4 times to about 2500 RPM - hold
there for about 5 seconds each time.
- shut off engine (should not run for much longer than about 30 seconds - you just want
to shut if off before it starts to generate any heat and expand the coolant).
- inspect the coolant level and top up again if necessary.
- tighten the coolant fill cap.

This stage bleeds air from the engine, rad and fill tank.
- now warm up the engine (drive a bit if you wish)
- with engine running CAREFULLY / SLOWLY open the bleed screw. Hold a rag around the area to prevent any excess splashing. Keep the screwdriver in the slot of the bleed screw so you can close it quickly.
- you should have some air/steam escape - progressing to some bubbles of coolant.
- as soon as it progresses to the stage where you are seeing liquid coolant come out then close the bleed screw. Do not over tighten - it is all plastic threads and you can easily turn too far at which point the screw jumps back a thread and you have to re-tighten. Just make it snug with all coolant stopped.
- when the car is cold again re-check the coolant level and top up again if necessary.

You may have to repeat the bleed procedure 1 or 2 more times over the next week. Can "probably" skip the stage for the cold start bleeding of the heater system.

If the level continues to fall below the correct level then have the system fully pressure tested - explaining to your service manager what you have already done.

It is very important that all leaks be sealed so that the system can operate at full pressure. The engine computer is programmed to keep the coolant temp at about 108C at "most" times (there are exceptions) and the only way it can maintain that temp is if the pressure can be maintained - system fully sealed.
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).

Last edited by bluebee; 01-06-2012 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:13 AM
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So that others find this more readily, I repost this information posted today over here:
-> E39 (1997 - 2003) > How to bleed the air out of the cooling system??

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjbennett9 View Post
Hmmm. Apparently there are a bunch of bleeding procedures/TIS out there. I followed this one this morning, but then realized it didn't say anything about the bleeding screws (even though title is bleeding).
http://tis.spaghetticoder.org/s/view.pl?1/01/34/82

I then checked out BlueBee's 3 links and the 2nd link had below. I noticed the first link from CN90 also had similar saying to fill coolant to very top of expansion tank (neck) which contradicts the TIS. Guess I'm confused now. I followed TIS to the letter (almost). I had no idea when the thermostat opened so let car warm up half way from cold temp to just about 10 oclock on the needle temp gauge. Car is cooling now. I didn't touch either bleeding valve. Not sure if safe to open bleeding valves at this point, but will let car cool and try below. However, I'm a little concerned that once I'm done with bleeding and following below of overfilling coolant (to bleed), that once I'm done, it will still be overfilled? Do I take the extra out?


Written Procedure;

1) With car cold turn on key to run position(do not start the car), set HVAC system to 90 degrees and fan on low.

2) Remove coolant pressure cap on expansion tank and the bleeder screws from thermostat cover and expansion tank.

3) Begin to pour coolant into expansion tank keeping level near top of tank until air free coolant flows from thermostat cover bleeder hole, install screw and close bleeder.

4) Continue to fill expansion tank until air free coolant flows from the bleeder screw on the expansion tank, you will need to keep the expansion tank filled to top to complete this step. When no more bubbles then install and close the bleeder.

5) Fill coolant in expansion tank to near top of tank then install the filler cap.

6) Now take the car for a drive and get it warmed up to temperature, at least a 10 min drive, try to get some higher RPM driving in as well(like a short section of open road)

7) Park car and let cool to ambient temperature(at least a couple of hours) then check the level of coolant in the expansion tank. If it is empty then repeat the bleeding process above, if after a repeat it is still empty then you have a bigger issue such as a leak or a damaged head gasket. If the level is low then top up to the full cold level indicated on the tank or slightly above.

8) Monitor coolant level for several drive cycles adding coolant as needed to maintain the full cold level, coolant level should stabilize in one or two drive cycles.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Personally I think BMW TIS procedure made coolant bleeding too complicated.

1996-98: Engine cold: fill reservoir all the way to the brim, it will flow out the bleeder on the tstat housing. Then bleed the bleeder @ reservoir. It took me a long time to discover the trick of "filling to the brim" of the reservoir. If you fill to "KALT", it is not enough to push coolant out of the bleeder on the tstat housing.

1999-2003: models with Aux Water Pump. Same as above, except you turn the heat on to move the coolant inside the Aux WP circuit.

Then prepare some 50-50 coolant and carry it in the trunk (just in case you have to fill it), go for a test drive around your blocks, not too far from home, just drive around. Then bring the car back and check coolant level once the engine cools down.

That is it.

You will find that by filling to the brim, the level will settle down very nice at "KALT".

Also, check coolant level everyday for about 1 week.
*******>********>
BMW_TIS_17-00-005_Draining_and_topping_coolant.pdf (215.4 KB, 68 views)
BMW_TIS_17-00-039_Bleeding_cooling_system_and_checking_for_leaks .pdf (118.7 KB, 38 views)
BMW_TIS_17-00_Instructions_for_working_on_cooling_system.pdf (168.8 KB, 57 views)
Bleeding_the_bmw_cooling_system.pdf (2.78 MB, 45 views)



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Old 03-03-2013, 11:00 PM
Guam135i Guam135i is offline
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Good Video!
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:47 PM
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For the crosslinked record, the following was added today in another thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by HTK12 View Post
TIS has good instructions on how to bleed the cooling system. What I do to bleed the after working on cooling system is:

Remove expansion tank cap and the bleeding screw
Fill the expansion tank to the top
Turn on ignition, set heater to max and fan on low
Keep adding coolant as the level drops (keep it at the top)
When the coolant level stops dropping close the bleeder
Start the engine and rev it briefly three or four times (this flushes air out from the engine cooling circuit). Don't let the car run for over 30 seconds or the coolant will start to heat up and expand.
Turn car off and check the coolant level. I fill the expansion tank close to full because the heat cycle will force the remaining air into the expansion tank causing the level to drop.
Close expansion tank cap
Take it for a drive
Let it cool down (preferably overnight), check coolant level and fill to correct cold level.
You should now have completely bleeded cooling system.
Check coolant level the next day. You shouldn't need to add any coolant.

Having the front on ramps will make bleeding faster.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
Once the coolant starts circulating and the air pockets reach the expansion tank the level will drop.
If you only fill it to the recommended level then the expansion tank will empty itself and you will start pushing air thru the system. The bottom hose on the tank connects to the waterpump.
I don't need to put the front end up on ramps either.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
Why didn't the indie bleed the cooling system, you paid him to change the parts so bleeding it should be part of his job.

Do you get heat from both sides of the cabin heater? If not you have a lot of air in the system which can prevent the water pump from circulating coolant.
With no coolant coming out of the expansion tank bleed screw, you either had the cap off, the engine wasn't hot enough, or there was a lot of air in the top of the radiator.
I don't follow the Bentley bleed procedure, that takes to long and I don't want coolant all over my garage floor or driveway.
After I fill the expansion tank to the very top I disconnect the top radiator hose and pour coolant into the engine, it will generally take another quart, this displaces the air that is in the top of the engine and any that might be in the waterpump.
Stop filling the top hose when the coolant level starts to overflow the expansion tank. I then quickly connect the top hose to the radiator so I don't lose coolant out of the hose.
Put cap back on tank, yes it's still full to the top.
Start the engine, set heat at 90, fan on low speed. Let it run for a few minutes and make sure you have heat from both sides of the cabin heater.
Take the car for a short ride to make sure you don't overheat or have leaks. If all is OK then go for another short drive. The next morning after the engine has cooled you will find the tank pretty low. Fill it to the proper level and drive it. You may have to add a few ounces the next day.


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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  #15  
Old 06-13-2013, 05:17 PM
NGU NGU is offline
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Tip for re-installing the fan+clutch

This thread got me perfectly through a project to replace pump thermostat and hoses on my 2000 E39 I6. many thanks!

The most frustrating thing was re-screwing the fan and clutch assembly onto the pump threads. I tried a couple of hints that I read about without success. But I came up with a new one that got it done for me:

Basically getting the fan/clutch assembly re-threaded without cross-threading it involves holding the assembly by the fan blades trying to keep it aligned properly and turning it by small degrees to engage the threads. The loose shroud is pretty much in the way - unfortunately you can not put your hand up against the fan from the front to hold it in position and the shroud really prevents you from turning more than a few degrees at a time before shifting your hands on the blades.

So, what I did which worked right away was to remove the shroud and then thread the fan/clutch on. It's a snap with the shroud out of the way. I backed the fan/clutch off the threads, noting the exact point where it disengaged. I turned the fan clutch another couple of degrees beyond the disengagement point and then, maintaining its angular position, I placed the fan/clutch on top of the engine. Now I have it in position so the threads can engage within a few degrees of turning. I put the shroud back in position and placed the fan/clutch, careful not to turn it, in position . Holding the fan blades, as before, I turned them a few degrees and the threads engaged right away.

Boy! was I relieved. Hope this helps some Bimmerfesters.
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  #16  
Old 06-14-2013, 08:27 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Re Fan Clutch, search for "Poultry cord trick".
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  #17  
Old 08-03-2013, 03:45 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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This set of posts today may be useful here as a cross reference:
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
For reference, typing /bleed F3 in the best links nets this, among others:
- 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).*******>********>
Bleeding_the_bmw_cooling_system.pdf (2.78 MB, 451 views)
BMW_TIS_17-00-005_Draining_and_topping_coolant.pdf (215.4 KB, 351 views)
BMW_TIS_17-00-039_Bleeding_cooling_system_and_checking_for_leaks .pdf (118.7 KB, 375 views)
BMW_TIS_17-00_Instructions_for_working_on_cooling_system.pdf (168.8 KB, 312 views)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussie528iT View Post
Gstob,
When doing the cold rev bleed:
Before you start and rev the cold engine, close and keep closed the bleed valves once bubble free coolant comes out. See 2/ in my post
Heater on max temp and fan on slowest setting. Max temp opens heater valves and keeps them open continuously, no pulsing open and closed. Fan on slowest speed starts auxilliary water pump.
Just place cap loosely on expansion tank, dont tighten it fully closed. This is to stop coolant blowing out of the top of the expansion tank when you rev the engine.
Start engine and within 30 secs rev COLD engine 3-4 times to 3000-4000 RPM. This is the important bit. This is what forces the coolant flow through the heater and flushes out any air. See 3/ in my post.
Once you have done this there should be no air in the heater. DO NOT open the bleed valves again unless you want to do the bleeding process again. See 2/ above.
Check coolant level in expansion tank and add or remove coolant until its about half full - end of level float flush with top of tank.
Close cap fully and and go for a drive. DO NOT open expansion tank cap again until engine is cold. Check and adjust level if necessary when engine is cold.
The expansion tank does not have an overflow tube. Coolant is vented through the cap (cap is hollow inside) and any over flowing coolant will leave white stains around the top of the expansion tank. This is normal but leads some people to think their expansion tank is faulty and leaking.

See the TIS 17-00-039 reference in bluebee's post above. This is for a V8 but the process is exactly the same for all BMW engines and is not E39 specific. This has been the same procedure for years. There are some variations if you have independant heating or latent heat options. Some systems need dealer equipment or INPA, IIRC "Independant Heating", to bleed the system properly.
Edit Added to bluebee reference.

Hope this helps
Good Luck
Regards
RonR
99 528iT M52TU
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  #18  
Old 08-03-2013, 07:45 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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I recently replaced a leaking almost new expansion tank, and I had to look up the bleeding procedure for the cooling system.

Taking input from many posts, I wrote up this purposefully DETAILED cooling system bleeding DIY, which I hope others will kindly add value to by fixing errors and adding needed information.


For bleeding, I interpreted the badly written BMW TIS 17 00 005 "Draining and topping up coolant", as summarized below.
See also: Cooling System Bleeding & Bleeding the cooling system & the 4 rules of bleeding the cooling system

a. With the engine stone cold and the front of the vehicle still raised above the ground, I removed the expansion tank cap.

b. I loosened the upper radiator hose bleeder screw.

c. I removed the expansion tank bleeder screw.

d. Sitting in the front seat, I turned the ignition to position 2.

e. I set the driver and passenger heater control to the maximum temperature of 90 degrees (which opens the heater valves and keeps them open continuously without them pulsing open and closed).

f. I set the blower motor to the lowest speed setting, i.e., one step of the ramp (which starts the auxiliary water pump).
Note the engine is NOT running at this time but the heating valves are open and the electrical auxiliary pump is running, as evidenced by a spray of water going into the expansion tank from the neck of the expansion tank filler hole.

g. As per the TIS, I filled the expansion tank to the top and watched as the auxiliary pump pumped water out the neck of the expansion tank and water bubbled up out of the open expansion tank bleeder screw hole and out the upper radiator hose loose bleeder screw.

h. I then tightened the upper radiator hose bleeder screw until it was snug (about 1/2 turn, bearing in mind the groove on the side of the threads goes up to the last 1 or 2 threads).
Note: Once you tighten a bleed screw, never open it up again, whether the engine is hot or cold, unless you want to start the bleeding procedure over again. If you open the bleeder screw after this point, you let air back into the system (thereby undoing all that you have done up to this point).

i. When the water bubbling out of the open expansion tank bleeder hole no longer had bubbles, I replaced the expansion tank bleeder screw using a #3 Phillips screwdriver to carefully tighten snug (do not overtighten!).
Note: If you open the bleed screws after this point, you allow the water level in the engine and expansion tank to equalize and consequently air enters the system through the open bleed screws because the normal level in the expansion tank is below the level in the top hose. The only equalization that should occur is air will enter at the expansion tank cap if/when the pressure in the cooling system drops below atmospheric (which isn't all that likely).

For topping off, I interpreted the badly written BMW TIS 17 00 039 "Bleeding cooling system and checking for water leaks", as summarized below (updated with details from this post & that post by Aussie528iT). Note that this TIS is for a V8 but the process is exactly the same for all BMW engines and is not E39 specific (although there are minor variations for those with independent heating or latent heat options).

See also cn90's: DIY: The trick on how to fill the M52, M54 coolant

A. With the engine still stone cold, I loosened the expansion tank cap as per the BMW TIS.
Note: You leave the expansion tank cap on loosely in order to prevent coolant from blowing out of the top of the expansion tank when you rev the engine.

B. Sitting in the front seat, I turned the ignition to position 2.

C. I checked that the driver and passenger heater controls were to the maximum temperature of 90 degrees.

D. I checked that the the blower motor was set to the lowest setting (one step of the ramp).

E. I then started the engine, and briefly pressed the accelerator pedal three times, bringing the tachometer to 5000 RPM each time (the TIS says this is to "flush the engine cooling circuit"; Aussie528T says "this uses the water pump to force water through the heater cores before the thermostat starts to open in order to flush any air out of the heater cores. Don't drive the car to warm it up first."

F. I stopped the engine

G. I refilled the coolant until the top of the bobber was flush with the top of the filler neck. If it had been higher, I would have removed coolant.

At this point, you can lower the vehicle back to the ground, and take it for a test drive.

Drive the engine until it's warm enough (or fast enough) for the thermostat to open.

Aussie528T says "the thermostat opening is controlled by the engine ECU. The thermostat has a heater element which is there to fool the thermostat into thinking the engine is hotter than it really is. The thermostat is in the cold water return to the engine and controls the temperature of the water entering the engine (and not the water temp of the water leaving the engine as in conventional cooling systems). The heater valves pulse between fully open and fully closed for between approx 0.36 seconds and 3.6 seconds. These heater valves are not opened to a steady partly open position. They are only either fully open or fully closed. If you have INPA you can access live data and can see them opening and closing."

0. Following the procedure for unlocking the high instrument cluster (see below), I switched the OBC MID IHKA KTMP temperature from Fahrenheit to Celcius and took the car for a spin.

UNLOCKING THE HIGH CLUSTER:
  1. Hold down the right button (about 10 seconds) until "Test 01" shows in the display.
  2. Press & release the left button to get the results of test 1 (which happens to be your partial VIN).
  3. Add up the last five VIN digits, e.g., GZ12345 = 1+2+3+4+5=15, to obtain your VIN hash.
  4. Press the right button as many times as needed to show any LOCK=ON display.
  5. Press and release the left button repeatedly until it counts up to and displays the VIN hash (15 in this example).
  6. With that VIN hash displayed (e.g., 15), now press & release the right button (this should unlock the display).
  7. To see the KTMP readout from the DTS, press & release the right button until the display shows you're on test #07.
  8. Press & release the left button to view the results (e.g., 95C degrees at idle).
  9. Note that this unlocking will re-lock when you remove the key from the ignition.
Note: The M54 buffered temperature gauge will remain pointed to slightly left of the noon position within the range of 75C to 113C obtained from the dual-temperature sensor (DTS). At 103C at the thermostat (which is 110C at the point the coolant flows out of the engine and hits the DTS for the DME and for the cluster temperature gauge), the thermostat is triggered to open without intervention of the "integrated heating system". This 110C is the "operating temperature" of the engine at which the thermostat opens without electrical intervention. The thermostat may open earlier (at 80C to 103C) if the DME applies 12 volts to the thermostat heating element based on engine rpm, load, vehicle speed, intake temperature, and coolant temperature.

Note: On the M54, there is no "coolant temperature sensor" anywhere near the radiator. There is an auxiliary fan thermoswitch in a hose coming out of the bottom of the radiator, but that is a switch, not a sensor. That thermoswitch signal goes to the DME which then innervates the electrical aux fan in front of the radiator. The dual-temperature sensor (DTS) mounted on the M54 engine near the driver side bulkhead has one signal going to the DME/ECU for engine management (mostly to reduce engine temperature under higher power output) while the other signal goes to the cluster gauge and numeric display. The high cluster test #07 shows the temperature from the DTS sensor lead that goes to the DME only when the car is running or when the key is in position 2. You can apparently trick the high cluster KTMP Test #07 to display the output from the DTS sensor that goes to the buffered needle gauge by putting the key in position 1. (They should read close to the same temperature.)

- What is the temperature of the coolant & when the thermostat opens under normal conditions (1) J. Stopping the engine and allowing it to cool down for a few hours, I checked the coolant level by removing the expansion tank cap and noting the position of the bobber.
Note: Aussie528T says "DO NOT open the expansion tank cap again until the engine is cold. Only check and adjust the coolant level when the engine is cold."

Note: Note: The single most important thing you can do for your cooling system is to NEVER overfill it!. Optionally, some opt to replace the stock 2.0 bar (200 molded on the cap means 2.0 bar or 30 psi) E39 expansion tank cap with a stock 1.4 bar E30 expansion tank cap, or even the modified 1.2 bar expansion tank cap in order to prevent head gasket leaks, some of which occur because the cooling system was overfilled and the pressure rises too high, particularly when the engine has stopped. Changing the pressure cap does not change the operating pressure; it only lowers the pressure at which the cooling system overflows out the expansion tank cap. The expansion tank does not have an overflow tube. Coolant is vented through the cap (the cap is hollow inside) and any overflowing coolant will leave white stains around the top of the expansion tank.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gary@germanautosolutions View Post
  1. The system runs below 1.0 bar at all normal operating temps.
  2. A lower fill level results in lower pressure and a higher fill level results in higher pressure.
  3. Overfilling the expansion tank beyond the proper cold fill level can result in system pressures over 2.0 bar, at which point the OEM cap will start to vent excess pressure.
  4. Since the cooling system pressure, with a proper amount of coolant in the system (not overfilled), does not exceed 1.0 bar at any normal operating temperature, or even moderate overheating, the use of a 1.2 bar cap will not effect cooling system efficiency in any way.
  5. 1.2 bar equates to a system temperature of approximately 126 deg C (260 deg F), which also equates to a fully pegged temp gauge.
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Last edited by bluebee; 08-03-2013 at 08:02 PM.
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  #19  
Old 11-13-2013, 03:19 PM
Gzrhtka Gzrhtka is offline
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Need help ASAP Please

Hi
I'm trying to bleed my system, but when the cap and bleeders open and pouring water, all of the water flying out as a huge bursts every few seconds out of the thermo bleeder even though the engine off and heat on 90 and low.
What is wrong???
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  #20  
Old 02-05-2014, 05:34 PM
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JDeGraff89 JDeGraff89 is offline
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Thanks OP, I used this procedure to bleed mine today as I had some random overheating problems. This is the #1 link on google as it should be. Quick easy and informative. I had an air bubble escape from my heater core and start causing random overheats.
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  #21  
Old 02-28-2014, 04:40 PM
mokubmw mokubmw is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NNY528i View Post
Written Procedure:

1) With car cold turn on key to run position(do not start the car), set HVAC system to 90 degrees and fan on low.

2) Remove coolant pressure cap on expansion tank and the bleeder screws from thermostat cover and expansion tank.

3) Begin to pour coolant into expansion tank keeping level near top of tank until air free coolant flows from thermostat cover bleeder hole, install screw and close bleeder.

4) Continue to fill expansion tank until air free coolant flows from the bleeder screw on the expansion tank, you will need to keep the expansion tank filled to top to complete this step. When no more bubbles then install and close the bleeder.

5) Fill coolant in expansion tank to near top of tank then install the filler cap.

6) Now take the car for a drive and get it warmed up to temperature, at least a 10 min drive, try to get some higher RPM driving in as well(like a short section of open road)

7) Park car and let cool to ambient temperature(at least a couple of hours) then check the level of coolant in the expansion tank. If it is empty then repeat the bleeding process above, if after a repeat it is still empty then you have a bigger issue such as a leak or a damaged head gasket. If the level is low then top up to the full cold level indicated on the tank or slightly above.

8) Monitor coolant level for several drive cycles adding coolant as needed to maintain the full cold level, coolant level should stabilize in one or two drive cycles.


Video of Procedure:

Note, this was filmed following a water pump and Radiator hose installation so about 1 gallon of coolant mix had been added prior to starting the recording, the procedure is identical regardless of amount of coolant that is required to be added.

hi nny528i,

thanks for the great video, i followed your steps in the video but i discovered that when i opened the thermostat bleeder screw, coolant was shooting out at rhythmic intervals. this continued until the end. my engine was cool when i did this. at first, the coolant was accompanied by bubbles, i just let it do that until there were no bubbles and was just coolant shooting out. then screwed in the bleeder screw and followed the rest of the steps in your video.

questions:
1. what could be the cause of the coolant shooting out like that?
2. i did this on my driveway, which has a natural slant. the slant at one part is a lil steep. could that be the angle of the car that caused the squirting?

my car drives fine, no issues after i finished the bleeding job.

thanks!
jim

Last edited by mokubmw; 02-28-2014 at 04:49 PM.
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  #22  
Old 02-28-2014, 06:15 PM
Aussie528iT Aussie528iT is offline
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As best as I can work out the pulsing coolant coming from the bleeder screws is because the aux electric water pump is running and when any trapped air reaches the aux pump it causes the pulsing. The aux pump is the only thing operating during the BMW bleeding process. The heater valves are fully open and not pulsing open and closed.

If you turn off the ignition and thus turn off the aux pump the pulsing seems to stop. The heater valves are fully open with the ignition off and do not pulse open and closed.

Once you have successfully completed the cold bleeding process do not open the bleed screws again, irrespective of whether the engine is hot or cold. If you do you will let air back into the system and have to start all over again.

With the engine cold the correct coolant level in the expansion tank is about half full. This is way below the coolant level in the engine and radiator. If you open either of the bleed screws the coolant level in the expansion tank, engine and radiator will try to equalise and air will enter the system via the bleed screws. The water level in the engine and radiator is kept full by a vacuum/syphon effect. Basic physics at play here.

As for the sloping driveway it shouldn't be a problem unless the front of the car is pointing down rather than being level or pointing up. My driveway is very steep but I don't do the bleeding there, just on the level in the garage. I've never had a problem bleeding the cooling system. After reading all the horror stories about bleeding the system they all invariably involve not following the BMW instructions, not doing the bleeding with the engine cold and not doing the cold rev part. The lesson from this is "if all else fails follow the instructions in the BMW TIS". It works first time every time for me.

RonR
99 528iT M52TU

Last edited by Aussie528iT; 02-28-2014 at 06:21 PM.
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  #23  
Old 02-28-2014, 06:30 PM
mokubmw mokubmw is offline
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thanks, ron. very helpful....

question: why didn't nny528i's aux electric water pump cause him the coolant squiring problem in his bleeding process?
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  #24  
Old 03-01-2014, 02:26 PM
Aussie528iT Aussie528iT is offline
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nny528i has an M52 engine (single vanos) and may not have the aux water pump. But even if he has, the coolant flow through the M52 engine vs the M52TU and M54 engines is very different. The M52 engine coolant flow around the engine is the conventional way. Into the block, up to the cylinder head and out to the radiator. The M52TU and M54 engines do not work that way. In these engines the coolant flow is designed to keep the block as hot as possible by limiting coolant flow through the block. This apparently aids emissions. The coolant flow is direct from the water pump into a distribution passage in the head which allows a small coolant flow down into the block but with the majority of the coolant flowing through the head. The electrically heated thermostat and engine ECU come into play here to very precisely control the cylinder head temperature. Because of the coolant flow arrangement the aux water pump is needed under some circumstances (high engine rpm or high speed driving on the autobahn??) to ensure adequate coolant flow to the heater. It also provides the coolant flow for the REST function on cars with auto climate control (IHKA).
There is a pdf floating around which explains how the M52TU and M54 engine cooling system works which I can't locate at present. IIRC it may have come from the E46 board.

Edit: See this link for the M52TU pdf. Go to pages 16 & 17 for info on the cooling system. It also shows the difference between the M52 & M52TU engines. The M54 cooling system is basically the same.

http://www.bmwtech.ru/pdf/e46/ST034/9%20Engines.pdf

Hope this helps
RonR
99 528iT M52TU

Last edited by Aussie528iT; 03-01-2014 at 02:42 PM.
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  #25  
Old 03-01-2014, 11:17 PM
mokubmw mokubmw is offline
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Mein Auto: 1999 BMW E39 528i (M52TU)
Thanks very much, Ron. My engine is indeed M52TU like yours. Thanks for the PDF file. I'll study it carefully, and learn as much about my engine as possible.
It seems like for a M52TU engine, when bleeding the cooling system, it's best not to remove the thermo bleeder screw to prevent pulsing coolant shoot outs, but only remove the expansion tank cap and its bleeder screw.
I have much to learn....
Thank you,
Jim
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