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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 11-21-2011, 03:22 PM
cudderisback cudderisback is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 e39 528i
Unhappy BOOM! went my radiator

As i was driving to school this morning my temperature gauge went to red and i began to notice steam coming from the driver's side of my hood, quickly after i heard a small pop! and i immediately pulled over. The part of the radiator where the expansion tank hose meets the radiator (classic spot) was fractured and coolant was ejected around. I missed my 8am class and i had to call AAA and they took me and my car back home

i have a few questions: i know there's two brands of radiators; Behr and nissens. Which is considered to be best and where can i get one for a reasonable price....also, is it easy to replace the radiator by myself or should i seek professional assistance, and if so, how much does the installation usually cost? Thanks in advance
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  #2  
Old 11-21-2011, 04:11 PM
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energizedmortal energizedmortal is offline
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the zionsville radiator has leaked but may be best, behr and nissens are both good i got behr ($140) getting nissens next. autohausaz.com Try to do it yourself first , google "cn90 cooling rehaul". Parts for a cooling rehaul are about $1000 (pullies , belts, 10 hoses, thermostat, water pump, fan blade and clutch, radiator and expansion tank, 4 gallons of antifreeze and brass bleed screws . If you DIY just the radiator and two hoses are $200.
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  #3  
Old 11-21-2011, 07:14 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cudderisback View Post
Behr and nissens. Which is considered to be best and where can i get one for a reasonable price....
I got my Nissens from Oembimmerparts, along with the rest of the cooling system:
- Complete cooling system overhaul recommended parts list (1)

The question of which is better comes up all the time. I think the net is that it's a moot point. Personally, I buy Nissens if for no other reason as to not reward Behr. That isn't to say Nissens is any better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cudderisback View Post
is it easy to replace the radiator by myself or should i seek professional assistance
If I can do it, anyone can. Trust me on that.

Here are just some of the instructions (tons more are in the bestlinks):
- Removal instructions for the alternator & drive belt system of a 2002 525i
- Removal instructions for the fan shroud of a 2002 525i
- Tools necessary for a cooling system overhaul
etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cudderisback View Post
how much does the installation usually cost?
The price is very dependent on the area. Out here, it could easily top $1500 for the job (including inflated parts costs); but you're better off doing the research using links below:

For labor:
- Finding a reputable BMW indy in your area (1) (2) & the consumers' checkbook method of finding a good mechanic (1) & repairpal labor/job/shop rates by zip code (1)

For parts:
- BMWfans phantom diagrams (1) & Realoem nominal prices by part number (1) & EACTuning actual prices by part number (1) & BMW of South Atlanta actual prices by part number (1) & Maxmillian BMW prices by part number (1) & the most often recommended parts suppliers (1) & what BMW E39 parts & supplies are best to buy OEM (1)& joining BMWCCA to lower parts costs (1) (2)

Quote:
Originally Posted by energizedmortal View Post
google "cn90 cooling rehaul"
Even easier, go to the bestlinks and do a thread search for 'cooling system overhaul'. There will be everything you could possibly need.

For example:
- What to look for when your KTMP (1) or coolant temperature gauge indicates overheating (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) & what to look for in a perfectly normal E39 cooling system (1) & a picture of every failed part in the cooling system (1) & various techniques to properly bleed (1) (2) (3) & refill (1) & drain (1) (2) & flush (1) & what coolant to use (1) & what parts to replace (1) (2) & how to retrofit brass bleeder screws (1) (2) & what special tools to make or buy (1) & how to tell how old your cooling system is (1) (2) & how to test the cooling system auxiliary electrical fan (1) (2) (3) (4) & a DIY for replacing the auxilliary fan (1) (2) (3) & the infamous fuse 75 (1) & the aux fan relay (1) & how to diagnose lack of HVAC/IHKA heater core heat with cooling system (auxiliary pump) at idle (1) & a Behr radiator and Behr/Heat expansion tank autopsy (1) (2) & request for another Behr surge tank autopsy (1) & why new made-in-China Behr/Hella expansion tanks are DOA (1) & E39 Fan shroud removal DIY (Besian) (M54) & some of the better cooling system DIYs (cn90 1997-1998 M54TU) (cn90 V8) (aioros '99-03 M54) (Ågent99 '01 530i) (pelican 3-series) (bluebee M54B25) & tricks to replace the fan clutch nut (1) & lower-hose thermoswitch o-ring (1) & to non-destructively remove the heater hoses (1) or radiator nipple (1) or expansion tank nipple (1) (2) or Oetiker clamp (1) or misplaced thermostat wiring loom (1) or broken bleeder screw (1) & modifying the cooling system pressure cap (1), or using propanol-based zero-pressure fluids like NPG+ (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) or all-aluminum cooling system parts by Zionsville (1) (2) (3) aluminum radiators & what happens if you drive one mile too far with an overheated BMW cooling system (1).
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  #4  
Old 11-22-2011, 07:51 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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1st thing 1st: make sure you don't have a blown head gasket.
Do a compression tests first.

I have had my Nissens radiator now for 5.5 years, zero problems.

If you only do the radiator, then it is rather easy:
- Just undo the fan clutch (reverse thread!)
- lift the rad out and change it.

However, you are better off doing a cooling overhaul later when you have time and budget:

http://bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/199986

EDIT: For the DIY listed above ---> Fan Blade, use only BMW Fan Blade, nothing else!
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  #5  
Old 11-22-2011, 09:16 AM
96 GGM 528I 96 GGM 528I is offline
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My Nissians actually cracked there maybe 3 weeks ago. The radiator was bought new in July with a new waterpump, overflow cont, all hoses, head gasket, and fan clutch. All the coolant was replaced with zero pressure stuff for added protection. BOTH aftermarket parts have already failed in less then 6 months. The overflow and radiator. And to think neither of mine where bad but I changed them because that is the general idea on this site. Never again will I buy non OEM to save 100 bucks.
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  #6  
Old 11-22-2011, 09:54 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96 GGM 528I View Post
My Nissians actually cracked there maybe 3 weeks ago. The radiator was bought new in July with a new waterpump, overflow cont, all hoses, head gasket, and fan clutch. All the coolant was replaced with zero pressure stuff for added protection. BOTH aftermarket parts have already failed in less then 6 months. The overflow and radiator. And to think neither of mine where bad but I changed them because that is the general idea on this site. Never again will I buy non OEM to save 100 bucks.
You probably had:
- ? counterfeit Nissens radiator. The real Nissens is very good. The counterfeit: who knows.
- Behr reservoir made in China, known to crack soon.

Best bet is to get OEM parts from dealer.
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  #7  
Old 11-22-2011, 10:15 AM
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energizedmortal energizedmortal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96 GGM 528I View Post
My Nissians actually cracked there maybe 3 weeks ago. The radiator was bought new in July with a new waterpump, overflow cont, all hoses, head gasket, and fan clutch. All the coolant was replaced with zero pressure stuff for added protection. BOTH aftermarket parts have already failed in less then 6 months. The overflow and radiator. And to think neither of mine where bad but I changed them because that is the general idea on this site. Never again will I buy non OEM to save 100 bucks.

my first attempt at a new OEM behr radiator failed in three months (im not the first or last to report this!) , second try now its finally gone a year without failing. Some people have dropped $1200 on a zionsville and have also reported that it needed to be sent back to get welded.
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  #8  
Old 11-22-2011, 10:26 AM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Behr's Chinese factory is consistently shipping garbage. I'm not sure where Nissens builds most of their stuff but it's worth considering the country of manufacture.
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  #9  
Old 11-22-2011, 10:37 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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When I bought my Nissens radiator in May 2006, it was made in Denmark.

Does anyone know:
- Where Nissens rad is made now?

- Where Behr rad is made now? I understand Behr makes the reservoir in China, but the rad, where is it made?

PS: It looks like the Chinese are out to destroy the world lol (j/k).
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  #10  
Old 11-22-2011, 10:49 AM
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seemyad seemyad is offline
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Wow! I am sorry to hear about your experience. I hope your head is OK. Not an expert but I have seen coolant kits on a couple of sites that include the radiator, expansion tank, hoses, coolant and such. They have small kits with a few items and larger kits with numerous items (cost more).

I don't know what brand these kits use. I'll allow the experts here to chime in on this as they have scrutinized BMW parts far more extensively than I have.

.
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  #11  
Old 11-22-2011, 12:00 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
1st thing 1st: make sure you don't have a blown head gasket
If you suspect a blown engine, the summary paragraph for help is wholly different than the cooling system overhaul paragraph above.

- Summary advice to provide users who suspect a major engine repair due to overheating (1) (2) (3) & how to test an engine for a blown head gasket, cracked heads, a warped block, cam seizures, contaminated bearings, coolant hydrolock, or piston, ring, or valve damage (1) (2) & what are the major factors in deciding whether to rebuild the engine, replace the engine, or sell the car (1) & a DIY for replacing the I6 M54 head gasket (1) (2) & replacing the V8 M62TU head gasket (1) & why these engines are so prone to heat-related damage in the first place (1) & welding the crack between cylinder #3 and the water jacket on the exhaust side (1) & what engine swaps are most recommended (1) (2) (3) & where to obtain a new or rebuilt head (1) replacement short block or long block (1) (2) & how to lift & remove the engine (1) & real-world results from people faced with similar blown engine problems from which this advice came from (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) (23) (24) (25) (26) (27) (28) (29) (30) (31) (32) (33) (34) (35) (36) (37) (38) (39) (40) (41).

Last edited by bluebee; 11-25-2011 at 12:11 PM.
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  #12  
Old 11-22-2011, 12:53 PM
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ECSTuning ECSTuning is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cudderisback View Post
...
i have a few questions: i know there's two brands of radiators; Behr and nissens. Which is considered to be best and where can i get one for a reasonable price....also, is it easy to replace the radiator by myself or should i seek professional assistance, and if so, how much does the installation usually cost? Thanks in advance

Sorry to hear, the bad news. Have the car checked for a headgasket or and other issues, overheating is never a pleasant experience. I've ran Behrs in the past when I had to replace my radiator. The ones we carry are direct drop in units and have oem fit and finish. You'll need to pay attention to your build date when ordering a new radiator 09/1998 is the vin split month.

ECS Tuning


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  #13  
Old 11-22-2011, 01:56 PM
rdl rdl is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
When I bought my Nissens radiator in May 2006, it was made in Denmark.

Does anyone know:
- Where Nissens rad is made now?

- Where Behr rad is made now? I understand Behr makes the reservoir in China, but the rad, where is it made?

PS: It looks like the Chinese are out to destroy the world lol (j/k).
I bought a Behr radiator a couple of months ago. FWIW, a label on the bottom of the aluminum tube and fin body said "made in South Africa." But whether it applies to tube & fin only, assy &/or all component parts ... ???

I didn't find any other source of origin labels.
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  #14  
Old 11-22-2011, 06:03 PM
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Trebbia Trebbia is offline
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At least the OP pulled over and had it towed at the first sign to him of the overheating.

Heed the advice to replace the entire cooling system and other parts like the belt drive components.

Many have replaced the bad part only to have another part on those two systems fail shortly thereafter.
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  #15  
Old 11-22-2011, 11:03 PM
cudderisback cudderisback is offline
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Thank you ALL for your replies and information! Especially bluebee, your information is more than what i could have asked, thanks a lot

I plan on taking it to a trusted mechanic shop of mine very soon (within a few days) and have it checked out before i purchase anything.

but i have another very important issue, i attempted to start-up the engine today and it wouldn't even turn on anymore! :'(
when i attempt to start it up i hear a clicking noise under the hood but that's it. Does anyone know what this means?
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  #16  
Old 11-23-2011, 05:58 AM
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Trebbia Trebbia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cudderisback View Post
i attempted to start-up the engine today and it wouldn't even turn on anymore!
If you're lucky, it's just the battery or starter.

But read the post by cn90.

Coming so close to the overheating, you need to test for engine damage.
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  #17  
Old 11-23-2011, 06:27 AM
96 GGM 528I 96 GGM 528I is offline
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My Nissins was from pelican parts so I'm sure it wasnt a knock off. But all the radiators for these cars suck from what I hear.
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  #18  
Old 11-23-2011, 08:24 AM
cudderisback cudderisback is offline
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yeah i hope it's just the battery, that's what i was thinking too because the lights on the dash are dimmer than usual and the interior lighting is also flickering...and now the alarm system is malfunctioning! when i take off the alarm it begins to siren. and sometimes it doesn't even lock the doors. Everything is going downhill!!
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  #19  
Old 11-23-2011, 08:25 AM
cudderisback cudderisback is offline
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and i can't even get it checked out 'till probably Saturday (i have school and it's also going to be thanksgiving weekend)
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  #20  
Old 11-23-2011, 08:59 AM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
1st thing 1st: make sure you don't have a blown head gasket.
Do a compression tests first.



This^^^^^

How long did you drive it with the temp in the red? 97-98 heads (and probably later years) will warp if you LOOK at them funny.

$5 says you got at least minor warping going on right now. You'll know if you keep having coolant issues later.
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  #21  
Old 11-23-2011, 09:36 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cudderisback View Post
and i can't even get it checked out 'till probably Saturday (i have school and it's also going to be thanksgiving weekend)
You are in L.A. area.
My cousin owns a BMW Indy in Gardena, CA. Tow the car there and ask him to look over for you.
He is one of the few BMW mechanics that believe in cooling overhaul, i.e., doing the whole package rather than bits and pieces. He uses mostly BMW OEM parts.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/south-bay-independent-gardena-2

18020 S Vermont Ave
Gardena, CA 90248
(310) 532-3145
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  #22  
Old 11-23-2011, 10:14 AM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
You are in L.A. area.
My cousin owns a BMW Indy in Gardena, CA. Tow the car there and ask him to look over for you.
He is one of the few BMW mechanics that believe in cooling overhaul, i.e., doing the whole package rather than bits and pieces. He uses mostly BMW OEM parts.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/south-bay-independent-gardena-2

18020 S Vermont Ave
Gardena, CA 90248
(310) 532-3145
Small world!

I've been there when I lived in SoCal!
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  #23  
Old 11-23-2011, 10:55 AM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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I'm fairly certain that Mercedes uses the same manufacturer for radiators (or at least, they're extremely similar design and they probably source parts from the same German suppliers) and both BMW and Mercedes are in South Africa to enjoy some significant tax breaks. Unfortunately I heard Mercedes is livid about the build quality and is pulling out as soon as their tax break ends…. as to whether BMW will follow I'm not sure, but I hope for their sake they pull out of China AND SA, though the growing Chinese car market is a strong pull.
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  #24  
Old 11-23-2011, 12:01 PM
96 GGM 528I 96 GGM 528I is offline
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I noticed stamped on the plastic end cap "Hella". It again was from pelican parts in a original packaging. Thought it was funny
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  #25  
Old 11-23-2011, 02:10 PM
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seemyad seemyad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cudderisback View Post
As i was driving to school this morning my temperature gauge went to red and i began to notice steam coming from the driver's side of my hood, quickly after i heard a small pop! and i immediately pulled over. The part of the radiator where the expansion tank hose meets the radiator (classic spot) was fractured and coolant was ejected around. I missed my 8am class and i had to call AAA and they took me and my car back home

Out of curiosity:

How many miles were on your car when this happened? Thanks.


.
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