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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

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  #1  
Old 03-26-2017, 02:40 PM
AsymMetric5 AsymMetric5 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 528i
Coolant pours from bottom of engine

I have reviewed several of the coolant-related threads and have not read about this kind of leak! If I missed something, please point me in the right direction.

Keep in mind that this car('97 528i) was (foolishly)purchased with 165k and unknown owner/maintenance history. It soon became apparent that the car had been severely neglected in almost every area. I performed several DIYs on it and drove it for three years before a mystery leak at 195k forced me to park it in the driveway. Two years later, I'm attempting to bring it back to life. However, dormancy has caused several previously working parts to deteriorate such as the fuel pump, fuel filter and various plastic/rubber parts.

..back to that mystery leak.

As part of a budget-restricted refresh of the coolant system, I replaced the expansion tank, thermostat housing and a few hoses. Upon returning from a test drive, I noticed coolant dripping from the front of the car. It got MUCH worse when I turned the car off! It was almost pouring down. Suspecting a bad O-ring, I ordered a new water pump and 32mm wrench. In preparation for the repair I cleaned the front of the engine to pinpoint the leak while the car was running. To my horror, the antifreeze started dripping as I was pouring it into the overflow tank!

Now, Since the engine was clean and dry, I grabbed several different types of lights and spent a few hours trying to find the leak from every angle above and below(this includes a small flexible reading LED that I could poke into pretty tight areas). What I found is puzzling. The area around the WP was completely DRY. The thermostat housing and connected hoses.. DRY! The inlet hose connected to the block..DRY! Yet, the coolant continues to drip(almost pour) from between the vibration dampener and the oil pan. Where is it coming from?? Looking a the diagrams from realoem.com, I don't see any other coolant-related parts that low on the engine.

Has ANYONE come across this this kind of leak before?

Considering how many other things need to be fixed on this car, if this turns out to be serious, it will go from project to parts car.


Last edited by AsymMetric5; 03-26-2017 at 03:16 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-26-2017, 02:53 PM
777-300ER 777-300ER is online now
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Radiator.
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  #3  
Old 03-26-2017, 03:43 PM
spoddye39 spoddye39 is online now
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From the first few seconds of your video it looks like its coming out of the top of expansion tank. If you are adamant its not then I'm with 777-300R, looks like the radiator. I expect the exact location will become obvious when you remove the radiator - suggest you just do it.

Spod
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Old 03-26-2017, 03:45 PM
777-300ER 777-300ER is online now
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I bet the bleeder hose went, or the radiator bleed nipple is bad.
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  #5  
Old 03-26-2017, 03:47 PM
spoddye39 spoddye39 is online now
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Actually you said you replaced the tank - do you reconnect the small hose at the top that gores to the other side of the radiator?

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  #6  
Old 03-26-2017, 04:43 PM
AsymMetric5 AsymMetric5 is offline
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I did replace the tank and properly reconnected the hoses. Coolant started perculating from the cap once the system pressurized because the cap was not tightened 100%. That part was a minor oversight considering the cap requires much more force to tighten than on the previous tank.
Despite What u see on the video, there it's no Coolant coming from the radiator at all. The problem is somewhere just above the front if the oil pan.



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  #7  
Old 03-26-2017, 04:52 PM
chris9866 chris9866 is offline
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Why did you have to replace your coolant reservoir? Could have a water pump issue.


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  #8  
Old 03-26-2017, 06:05 PM
AsymMetric5 AsymMetric5 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris9866 View Post
Why did you have to replace your coolant reservoir?
The coolant reservoir disintegrated from the inside. couldn't have broke bits of plastic making their way into the system.

The water pump seems to be operating fine. No noises or detectable leaks but I plan to replace it anyway as I'm sure it's the original.
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Old 03-26-2017, 06:23 PM
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mattmar1 mattmar1 is online now
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might go ahead and pull the fan clutch and radiator shroud. it will give you better visibility. theres no problem starting the car for a few minutes with no fan clutch.
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  #10  
Old 03-27-2017, 08:25 AM
flyride flyride is offline
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Are you sure you got the hoses at the bottom of the expansion tank fully seated and locked?

>>>
To my horror, the antifreeze started dripping as I was pouring it into the overflow tank!

Last edited by flyride; 03-27-2017 at 08:26 AM.
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  #11  
Old 03-27-2017, 02:46 PM
AsymMetric5 AsymMetric5 is offline
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flyride, both hoses are good and tight. The tank is doing its job. The leaking begins at the block(front) a few seconds after pouring.
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  #12  
Old 03-27-2017, 03:19 PM
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TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is offline
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Double check those hoses and the actual reservoir. There are a few joins and sensors there that may cause issues.

I say this rewatching your video. About 7 seconds remaining and you can see a stream coming out of the bottom of the reservoir going onto the front of the block. This then goes onto the oil pan.


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  #13  
Old 03-27-2017, 11:59 PM
Chedley Chedley is offline
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I second TheAngryBear...Watching your video, I think the problem is in the reservoir or bleeder screw and hoses connected to the expansion tank.
I bet you may have a cracked expansion tank.
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  #14  
Old 03-28-2017, 10:46 AM
monkeyman_69 monkeyman_69 is offline
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I replaced my rad and exp tank recently. I left the bleeder screw open slightly and forgot about it. Antifreeze leaked and ran in the exact same spot in your video. It appears out of nowhere and follows the fat ridge of the exp tank around and drips down.
I'm not saying your bleeder screw is loose. I'm just saying that's the area to look in. You can rule out the opaque sides of the exp tank, liquid doesn't leak upward. Try loose bleeder screw (cracked if you have the OEM plastic one), cross threaded bleeder screw, bleeder screw o-ring missing, cracked neck of exp tank, cracked rad cap, cross threaded rad cap, return hose that runs across the rad isn't tight and/or has a hole and/or the nipple it connects to has a defect. I like mattmar1's idea. That will give you visibility you need.

Last edited by monkeyman_69; 03-28-2017 at 04:09 PM.
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  #15  
Old 03-29-2017, 09:22 AM
AsymMetric5 AsymMetric5 is offline
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Well guys, due to time constraints(and mental defeat), I have decided to let my local indy take care of this one. Turns out it was both the water pump and the thermostat housing leaking! That is extremely frustrating to me since I was unable to see anything coming from those areas despite HOURS of peering into that area.
Oh well. I'll have my machine back this afternoon with new tsat, tsat housing, wp and all new belts. I'll also be almost $600 poorer.

Thank you all for your input!
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