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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > F10 / F11 (2011 - 2016)

F10 / F11 (2011 - 2016)
The sixth generation of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) was produced from 2011 - 2016 with LCI updates arriving in 2014. In the US BMW offered a hatchback 5 Series Gran Truismo (F07) and the rest of the world also go a Station Wagon/Touring version F11.

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  #1  
Old 08-09-2015, 03:36 PM
howdy_pardner howdy_pardner is offline
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Single overheat (yellow->red) issue a week ago... no codes... water pump?

I've owned this 2011 535i for about 3 months, so this is my first summer with it. It currently has 64k miles and, within a month of owning it I installed a JB4. I don't run an aggressive map and generally do not push the car hard very often.

About two weeks ago I starting noticing the radiator fan cycling now and then while driving. The summer around here is just starting to get into the "really hot" period, so I just chalked it up to the excess heat outside.

Then, about a week ago I was about an hour into a trip driving down the highway, 75mph, 104 degrees out. I got the yellow overheat warning, followed within a minute by the red "stop now" message. I pulled over, waited 5 minutes and then got the car back on the road and got to the nearest rest-stop (5 miles). The car did not complain during this part. I opened the hood and expected a blast of hot air, but it showed no signs of being warmer than normal. I waited an additional 10 minutes and made it the 20 miles home without any warnings or other issues. Since then, the radiator fan has continues to cycle more than I am used to, but I have yet to encounter any errors since. The oil temp has never left it's normal ranges.

There are no engine codes stored - not even the "low pump speed" ones that I've read about. None. After I got home today with the fans cycling more than I am comfortable with after a 15 mile trip, I took several temperature measurements from the block, as well as inside the coolant reservior with an IR temp reader. The highest block temp was 203 and the water temp was 188. That seems normal to me. So, aside from a single incident, I have no data that says the cooling system is actually going bad and some data that says its fine.

My initial thought is that maybe the temp sensor going is bad... I know that the conventional wisdom is to change the pump and thermostat with these symptoms, but I'd rather not blow $600 and a perfectly good Saturday if it's just a $13 sensor. In fact, I'd really like to swap in a new sensor just to test my theory because it's so cheap.

So - Advice? Is there a secret menu somewhere which will show the temp that the car thinks so I can compare to what I can measure? Where in the engine is this sensor located? I can't seem to identify it and it's not showing up with the search terms I am using
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  #2  
Old 08-09-2015, 03:54 PM
Quacker Quacker is offline
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No way should your fan be running if the car is doing a reasonable speed. All I can think of is to first ask if your car is equipped with those black plastic louvers ahead of the radiator. You can see them if you look through the grille. If you have them, are they open in hot weather with the car running? If not, that's a problem that needs attention.

Regards -
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  #3  
Old 08-09-2015, 04:08 PM
howdy_pardner howdy_pardner is offline
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There are horizontal fins ahead of the radiator, but I've never seen them in any position other than open -- in fact, I don't think they pivot at all. I'd assumed that their role was simply to normalize the direction of the incoming air... but the short answer is: they're wide open. I can see the radiator just fine.

Mostly the fan will just activate for 5 to 10 seconds and then stay off for a minute or more. But, I agree, it should not be doing this since it was only 75 degrees out today and it was doing it.

Have you heard of the temp sensor failing? where is it located?
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Old 08-09-2015, 04:53 PM
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Have no idea where to find a temperature sensor for the coolant. Speaking of which, Have you checked the coolant level?
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  #5  
Old 08-09-2015, 04:58 PM
howdy_pardner howdy_pardner is offline
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Yes - when I measured the coolant temp I did from the coolant reservoir, which is full.. it has not needed any topping off at all.
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Old 08-09-2015, 05:05 PM
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Sorry that I can't offer you more. I do understand that the cooling system in the N55 motor is pretty complex (why should it be any different than any other thing in this vehicle)? Perhaps a good indy is the way to go.

Good luck -
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  #7  
Old 08-10-2015, 10:24 AM
howdy_pardner howdy_pardner is offline
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For anyone else stumbling on this thread, the part number is 13 62 7 580 635 and here is the location on the engine:

http://www.partsbase.org/bmw/5-f10-5...mw-13627580635

Also -- Not even my local dealer stocks this part, and the local indys don't seem to be able to even order them. So it's very unlikely that this part has failed or else it would be more easily obtained... food for thought
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  #8  
Old 08-10-2015, 10:42 AM
u3b3rg33k u3b3rg33k is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by howdy_pardner View Post
I've owned this 2011 535i for about 3 months, so this is my first summer with it. It currently has 64k miles and, within a month of owning it I installed a JB4. I don't run an aggressive map and generally do not push the car hard very often.

About two weeks ago I starting noticing the radiator fan cycling now and then while driving. The summer around here is just starting to get into the "really hot" period, so I just chalked it up to the excess heat outside.

Then, about a week ago I was about an hour into a trip driving down the highway, 75mph, 104 degrees out. I got the yellow overheat warning, followed within a minute by the red "stop now" message. I pulled over, waited 5 minutes and then got the car back on the road and got to the nearest rest-stop (5 miles). The car did not complain during this part. I opened the hood and expected a blast of hot air, but it showed no signs of being warmer than normal. I waited an additional 10 minutes and made it the 20 miles home without any warnings or other issues. Since then, the radiator fan has continues to cycle more than I am used to, but I have yet to encounter any errors since. The oil temp has never left it's normal ranges.

There are no engine codes stored - not even the "low pump speed" ones that I've read about. None. After I got home today with the fans cycling more than I am comfortable with after a 15 mile trip, I took several temperature measurements from the block, as well as inside the coolant reservior with an IR temp reader. The highest block temp was 203 and the water temp was 188. That seems normal to me. So, aside from a single incident, I have no data that says the cooling system is actually going bad and some data that says its fine.

My initial thought is that maybe the temp sensor going is bad... I know that the conventional wisdom is to change the pump and thermostat with these symptoms, but I'd rather not blow $600 and a perfectly good Saturday if it's just a $13 sensor. In fact, I'd really like to swap in a new sensor just to test my theory because it's so cheap.

So - Advice? Is there a secret menu somewhere which will show the temp that the car thinks so I can compare to what I can measure? Where in the engine is this sensor located? I can't seem to identify it and it's not showing up with the search terms I am using
Sounds like a water pump starting to die to me! They're known for failing in strange ways, as the failure is typically electrical/electronic (often a loose wire you can fix easily) rather than mechanical.

if the sensor is that cheap, you might as well change it.
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Old 08-10-2015, 11:15 AM
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markl53 markl53 is offline
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Besides the OP's single, and apparently false, overheat alert, you all seem to conclude the cooling fans are not working correctly. Why do you assume they shouldn't be running intermittently? In addition, the cooling fan at normal operating speed is so quiet, I'm not sure how you know it's running at highway speeds. Except when it rarely kicks in to a higher speed, like during idling on a very hot day, its operation is almost imperceptible. Why not compare the fan's operation to another sample before concluding that there is a true issue?
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Old 08-10-2015, 11:37 AM
howdy_pardner howdy_pardner is offline
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I haven't concluded anything, really. And you're right -- I don't know what the fan does on another 535 in these conditions.

The points indicating an issue of some kind are:
1 - The car forced me off the road once due to overheat after more than an hour of gliding down a flat road at 75mph
2 - The fan has - on occasion - been cycling much more than the previous 2 months of operation, even when it's relatively cold outside. Today, for instance, it did not turn on at all whereas last week it was cycling repeatedly during the almost the same conditions of my commute to work and ambient temperatures.

The points indicating that there are no real issues are:
1 - After a period of driving where the fan was coming on a lot, the IR measurements of various points show normal temp ranges
2 - No codes of any kind have been logged (according to the JB4)
3 - No recurrence of the overheat or any issues aside from the fan

Brief rant: ...at the end of the day -- major fail on BMW for not giving access to something as vital as coolant temp PARTICULARLY on a platform with decades-old issues with water pump failure. This is my 7th BMW and I find it laughable that both the belt driven and electric ones are failing around the same mileage-- while my 25 year old work truck is plugging along without having any such issues. Seriously BMW -- this is dumba$$ territory for you after this long. Figure out how to pump water reliably and not strand your customers... how hard can it be if Ford nailed this in the 90s??
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Old 08-10-2015, 11:38 AM
howdy_pardner howdy_pardner is offline
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...but I suppose they don't have to fix it if dumba$$es like me keep buying them like this
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Old 08-10-2015, 11:39 AM
u3b3rg33k u3b3rg33k is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markl53 View Post
Besides the OP's single, and apparently false, overheat alert, you all seem to conclude the cooling fans are not working correctly. Why do you assume they shouldn't be running intermittently? In addition, the cooling fan at normal operating speed is so quiet, I'm not sure how you know it's running at highway speeds. Except when it rarely kicks in to a higher speed, like during idling on a very hot day, its operation is almost imperceptible. Why not compare the fan's operation to another sample before concluding that there is a true issue?
What? how do you know it was false? from the sound of it, he was cruising on the highway when the car warned him it was overheating. doing highway speeds, the radiator has more than enough capacity to shed roughly 15kW of heat output (it should be able to handle 200kW worth of heat give or take), so given that he got an overheat alert at under 10% of design capacity, he should definitely be concerned that something is, in fact, wrong.

Where did anyone blame the cooling fan? Cooling fan control is map based - vehicle speed is factored in to avoid wasting power at speeds where the fan is not needed - hence, the fan does not run at highway speeds.

if he hears intermittent or continued high speed fan operation shortly after startup, that is a sign that the engine is too hot, and since the fan is obviously functional (if it wasn't you wouldn't be able to hear it), then that points to a cooling system problem - and given the track record for the electric cooling pumps, it is not unreasonable to assume that it's having issues.
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Last edited by u3b3rg33k; 08-10-2015 at 11:42 AM.
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  #13  
Old 08-10-2015, 12:22 PM
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markl53 markl53 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by u3b3rg33k View Post
What? how do you know it was false? from the sound of it, he was cruising on the highway when the car warned him it was overheating. doing highway speeds, the radiator has more than enough capacity to shed roughly 15kW of heat output (it should be able to handle 200kW worth of heat give or take), so given that he got an overheat alert at under 10% of design capacity, he should definitely be concerned that something is, in fact, wrong.

Where did anyone blame the cooling fan? Cooling fan control is map based - vehicle speed is factored in to avoid wasting power at speeds where the fan is not needed - hence, the fan does not run at highway speeds.

if he hears intermittent or continued high speed fan operation shortly after startup, that is a sign that the engine is too hot, and since the fan is obviously functional (if it wasn't you wouldn't be able to hear it), then that points to a cooling system problem - and given the track record for the electric cooling pumps, it is not unreasonable to assume that it's having issues.
I'll reply later --- too long for doing so at work. But quickly, he said the oil temp indicator did not go high, and I thought his own conclusion, when he pulled over, was that it wasn't really overheating. I was referring to subsequent replies making statements like "the fan shouldn't run when it's 75 outside", etc., -- I'm not sure that is true. My suggestion was that the replies then led to a conclusion that the fan was running more than it normally should (not that the fan was not operational). I'm simply suggesting a comparison so a similar model to see if the fans are responding to temp and load as his is. Well really, I guess that is my reply! -- Please check the initial post and a couple of the follow-ups, which then assume the fan is not running at a rate which would seem normal in the ambient situations. To me, that is at least partially an unfounded conclusion.
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Old 08-10-2015, 12:29 PM
u3b3rg33k u3b3rg33k is offline
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I'll reply later --- too long for doing so at work. But quickly, he said the oil temp indicator did not go high, and I thought his own conclusion, when he pulled over, was that it wasn't really overheating. I was referring to subsequent replies making statements like "the fan shouldn't run when it's 75 outside", etc., -- I'm not sure that is true. My suggestion was that the replies then led to a conclusion that the fan was running more than it normally should (not that the fan was not operational). I'm simply suggesting a comparison so a similar model to see if the fans are responding to temp and load as his is. Well really, I guess that is my reply! -- Please check the initial post and a couple of the follow-ups, which then assume the fan is not running at a rate which would seem normal in the ambient situations. To me, that is at least partially an unfounded conclusion.
Yes, and abnormal fan operation is a very common symptom of waterpump failure.

in short: not enough water supply = higher water temps = DME calls for more cooling = higher fan speed
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Quote:
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Although I have nothing scientific to say, I can confidently say that it works.
Quote:
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If you want to use the fuhrers snowmobile you gotta have das tires
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Old 08-10-2015, 12:42 PM
howdy_pardner howdy_pardner is offline
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Yeah, that's seems to be the most rational explanation of what I've experienced -- and I've also read from someone who attempted to do a failure analysis of his replaced water pump that the mechanical parts appeared ok. It looked like the electronics are what had failed. That would explain why on some days it would be ok but on others it would be flaky and need the fan... I am probably just entering the decay period of the driver circuitry before it really starts throwing codes or something.

I just have no way to "prove" which part is bad. I hate shotgunning but, despite the complex diagnostic systems, BMW has left me with no tools of any kind to really root cause this. No way to confirm temp readings. No codes. Nothing. It looks like I'll just have to bite the bullet and ruin a weekend. Thanks BMW.
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Old 08-10-2015, 12:54 PM
Alex75 Alex75 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by howdy_pardner View Post
Brief rant: ...at the end of the day -- major fail on BMW for not giving access to something as vital as coolant temp PARTICULARLY on a platform with decades-old issues with water pump failure.

I think I remember having seen the coolant temp in the secret instrument cluster menu. I am sure you can find the instructions on this forum.
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Old 08-10-2015, 03:33 PM
u3b3rg33k u3b3rg33k is offline
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Originally Posted by howdy_pardner View Post
Yeah, that's seems to be the most rational explanation of what I've experienced -- and I've also read from someone who attempted to do a failure analysis of his replaced water pump that the mechanical parts appeared ok. It looked like the electronics are what had failed. That would explain why on some days it would be ok but on others it would be flaky and need the fan... I am probably just entering the decay period of the driver circuitry before it really starts throwing codes or something.

I just have no way to "prove" which part is bad. I hate shotgunning but, despite the complex diagnostic systems, BMW has left me with no tools of any kind to really root cause this. No way to confirm temp readings. No codes. Nothing. It looks like I'll just have to bite the bullet and ruin a weekend. Thanks BMW.
you can put the menu into secret mode where it will show you water temps:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=452551
http://www.scoopz.com/m5board/E60_Hi...structions.pdf

as for confirmation, that would require redundant sensors.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeNoo View Post
Although I have nothing scientific to say, I can confidently say that it works.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burning2nd View Post
If you want to use the fuhrers snowmobile you gotta have das tires
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Old 08-10-2015, 04:54 PM
howdy_pardner howdy_pardner is offline
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Thanks!

Yes, I will confirm with my IR reader -- it has been accurate so far when used in other applications
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Old 08-14-2015, 01:48 PM
howdy_pardner howdy_pardner is offline
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The secret menu trick worked like a charm! Thanks again

I know now that my sensor is fine.

Once the coolant temp has hit ~100 C, I am seeing an occasional, rapid reduction of the coolant temp (-10 C in a few seconds) as the car decides to cycle the pump. It dosen't seem consistent about when it decides to cool the coolant from 100C to ~90C. Sometimes it will sit there for miles and then suddenly decide to cool it off -- I can't seem to find a pattern to its decision. But, once it makes the decision, it is very good at cooling itself off -- yet it always does this with the fan.

At the same time, 65MPH in 18C weather doesn't seem to remove the heat when I would expect it to.

So -- given that I still have no "low pump speed" codes -- Can anyone tell me if the thermostat is controlled as an On/Off from the computer or if it has more gradual states? For instance, if the thermostat cannot respond to "open a little" requests but is able to respond to "holy crap! open all the way!"... then it would make sense that the computer opens it all the way and then cycles the pump and fan, but otherwise it's closed when the computer thinks it should not be...

It may sound like I'm splitting hairs because the repair job is just as difficult -- but it becomes $400 cheaper.

...as an aside, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a car with an electric water pump to even need a thermostat. I can't imagine that it helps all that much with a cold engine (trapping the water in the block when its not flowing anyway) and its -yet another- very well known failure point for this platform. It should not be there...

Last edited by howdy_pardner; 08-14-2015 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 08-14-2015, 01:57 PM
Quacker Quacker is offline
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...I'm still wondering if your louvers are staying opened at speed. I have no clue about how they are actuated, but what if they are not being held opened as they should, but rather, being forced closed by the airstream,? If it were my problem, I would try to jamb them opened and then go for a ride. Just sayin...
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Old 08-14-2015, 02:05 PM
howdy_pardner howdy_pardner is offline
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They don't move -- if you're talking about the fins in front of the radiator. There are no things in front of the radiator that I can see which would ever block airflow... except for that bird I hit on the way to work. Maybe what you're seeing is a regional thing for cold climates?

If you're talking about the little flaps on the fan shroud behind the radiator, they're not actuated by anything and move freely (they are pretty clearly only there to help an engine warm up if it's just sitting in place).

..but, in any case, the computer can get a lot of air into the engine bay very rapidly when it wants to -- I don't think anything is blocking airflow.
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Old 08-14-2015, 02:10 PM
Quacker Quacker is offline
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Perhaps it is a cold climate thing I've got. There are louvers first thing inside my grille.
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Old 08-14-2015, 03:07 PM
u3b3rg33k u3b3rg33k is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by howdy_pardner View Post
The secret menu trick worked like a charm! Thanks again

I know now that my sensor is fine.

Once the coolant temp has hit ~100 C, I am seeing an occasional, rapid reduction of the coolant temp (-10 C in a few seconds) as the car decides to cycle the pump. It dosen't seem consistent about when it decides to cool the coolant from 100C to ~90C. Sometimes it will sit there for miles and then suddenly decide to cool it off -- I can't seem to find a pattern to its decision. But, once it makes the decision, it is very good at cooling itself off -- yet it always does this with the fan.

At the same time, 65MPH in 18C weather doesn't seem to remove the heat when I would expect it to.

So -- given that I still have no "low pump speed" codes -- Can anyone tell me if the thermostat is controlled as an On/Off from the computer or if it has more gradual states? For instance, if the thermostat cannot respond to "open a little" requests but is able to respond to "holy crap! open all the way!"... then it would make sense that the computer opens it all the way and then cycles the pump and fan, but otherwise it's closed when the computer thinks it should not be...

It may sound like I'm splitting hairs because the repair job is just as difficult -- but it becomes $400 cheaper.

...as an aside, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a car with an electric water pump to even need a thermostat. I can't imagine that it helps all that much with a cold engine (trapping the water in the block when its not flowing anyway) and its -yet another- very well known failure point for this platform. It should not be there...
Are you aware that the ecu can change temperatures based on load? I'm surprised it's not averaging a little higher, around 108-110c.
As for the thermostat, it is computer controllable (heater in the wax capsule). The water pump needs to be able to run even when the thermostat is closed to keep temperatures even, as well as provide heat for the cabin.
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Last edited by u3b3rg33k; 08-14-2015 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 08-14-2015, 04:54 PM
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markl53 markl53 is offline
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Perhaps it is a cold climate thing I've got. There are louvers first thing inside my grille.
He might have an MSport, and MSports don't have moveable louvers. They have a fixed fin arrangement in front of the radiator, as my 2011 non-M 535i had. When I was ordering my '14, there was another discussion on the forums and at first I didn't believe it. I have some pictures somewhere I took of an MSport '14 and the non-M, to prove to myself (and some others), they don't have the moving louvers.

EDIT: I read the original post again, and the OP has a 2011. No 2011 F10 had the louvers, M or not.
EDIT2: Added pictures of moving louvers and stationary "fin" radiator panel (not sure what this actually does)
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Last edited by markl53; 08-15-2015 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 08-15-2015, 02:08 PM
howdy_pardner howdy_pardner is offline
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Originally Posted by u3b3rg33k View Post
Are you aware that the ecu can change temperatures based on load? I'm surprised it's not averaging a little higher, around 108-110c.
As for the thermostat, it is computer controllable (heater in the wax capsule). The water pump needs to be able to run even when the thermostat is closed to keep temperatures even, as well as provide heat for the cabin.
Yes, I know. It's a complex dance of it's guess based on my driving, the pump speed, thermostat position, and current temp vs target temp. The odd thing - which may just be normal - is that it often allows the car to be at 105 for long periods, then suddenly decides to drop the temp to 85 to 90. I can't find a pattern for the reason behind this decision, but it ALWAYS uses the fan to do it.

Is there a bypass for the thermostat? If not, and if the thermostat is closed with the pump running, then the pump won't actually move any water.

My question is if the thermostat has more than 2 potential positions as controlled by the ECU... I assume so and maybe it could just be having trouble with some of the less-open positions, meaning the thermostat is the troubled component here.

Working theory: the thermostat is failing in a way that it is unable to be partly open. It only works in off and full-on positions. This would cause the coolant flow to be insufficient to let the normal highway airflow remove the heat. Then, the ECU sees that it isn't meeting its temp targets for too long, then decides to open the thermostat all the way (which works), set the pump to max, then turn the fan on. It goes from 105 to 88 in about 5 seconds. Rinse, repeat. That it can do this so quickly is an indication that the pump is fine, as are all the other components, and it explains the lack of pump codes as well.
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