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E60 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series (E60 chassis) was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E60 is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 09-04-2013, 04:07 PM
bmwagon777 bmwagon777 is offline
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Leaking coolant

Please help coolant bottle leaking sometimes and lots of pressure when I open it up even after sitting for days Someone please tell me if that's normal
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  #2  
Old 09-04-2013, 04:41 PM
banglenot banglenot is offline
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Which model and year?

Large coolant reservoir on the left fender under the hood?

Leaking from where?

Thanks
__________________

2007 530I
2003 325XI (gone)
2004 530I (gone)
2001 530I (gone)

BMW CCA Member 10+ Years
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  #3  
Old 09-04-2013, 05:10 PM
hoffmer@aol.com hoffmer@aol.com is offline
Hoffy530xi
Location: New York City
 
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Mein Auto: 2006 530XI
Low Coolant Warning

I own a 2006 530xi that had a coolant leak. I topped off the overflow/reserve tank over a dozen times before realizing the severity of the issue. These cars do not respond well to overheating, so best have the issue checked out as I was lucky. The lower section of my radiator was starting to rot and covered with leaves. I was surprised the radiators are not designed to last.

The radiator needed replacing and appears to be a common maintenance item. As well, the water pump had some intermittent error signals and was prudent to replace. Once the system is apart a few more items were added to my list, thermostat and reservoir cap.

Repair was done at independent, but still a pricey fix. Just shy of $2k. Parts were about 50% of cost as water pump is over $500.00.

Good luck.
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  #4  
Old 09-04-2013, 07:07 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Doesn't make sense for it to be leaking and for it to be holding pressure that long...
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  #5  
Old 09-05-2013, 07:10 AM
bmwagon777 bmwagon777 is offline
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2006 530xi I think the leak is from the bottom of the reserve bottle I was wandering what would cause it to hold the pressure for so long NEW WATER PUMP AND THERMOSTAT
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  #6  
Old 09-05-2013, 07:15 AM
bmwagon777 bmwagon777 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banglenot View Post
Which model and year?

Large coolant reservoir on the left fender under the hood?

Leaking from where?

Thanks
06 530xi and yes
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  #7  
Old 09-05-2013, 07:30 AM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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I'd just replace that to start out. They aren't that expensive or difficult to change
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  #8  
Old 09-05-2013, 11:19 AM
bmwagon777 bmwagon777 is offline
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I don't mind replacing the reservoir bottle but the built up pressure after the car been sitting for days is what I need to find out about if anyone knows about it please let me know
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  #9  
Old 09-05-2013, 12:35 PM
golferken55 golferken55 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2006 E60 (BMW 550i)
This is indirectly related but how long can bmw run without any or very little coolant in the reservoir? Isnt there enough in the radiator and engine to run safely? Reservoir is just that right, for escess coolant? 2006 BMW 550i
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  #10  
Old 09-05-2013, 06:32 PM
bimmerfan52 bimmerfan52 is offline
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bmwagon777 - You talk about pressure, which I would guess you attribute to a rush of air when you remove the coolant tank cap. Can you tell if the air is rushing in or out? If the system is creating a partial vacuum (pressure in one section of the coolant system that is lower than atmosphere) this would make more sense than a pressure higher than atmosphere as the engine is cold.

As schpenxel asked, normally with a leak in the coolant system, the system is unable to move pressure, either up or down from ambient. The closed system's designed higher than ambient pressure at normal operating temperature while coolant is flowing is used to raise the boiling point of the coolant above 212F, allowing higher system operating temperatures (coolant turned to steam does not do a good job of carrying away heat from engine parts).

When the engine is turned off the coolant stops flowing, the coolant in the engine block begins to superheat as the cylinders radiate heat (called heat soak). The closed system pressure builds even higher because flow has stopped and this higher pressure forces coolant from the radiator through the vent tube into the coolant reservoir. As the system cools the pressure drops in the radiator section and the partial vacuum draws coolant out of the coolant reservoir (similar to sipping on a straw) back into the radiator.

golferken55 - It depends upon why the reservoir doesn't have coolant. If it is just because you short filled the system after a drain it will not have a big effect on operation. But if you have a leak in the coolant tank first you cannot build normal system pressure and you risk coolant boiling and not doing its job. Secondly, each time the engine is turned off and coolant is forced from the radiator it will be lost through the leak in the reservoir tank. Eventually the system will run too low on coolant to effectively cool the engine.

I was caught with a split coolant tank while doing a cross-country trip. I was stranded in St Louis with all dealerships and BMW parts supply stores closed the day after a holiday. However, 100 miles away was an open BMW dealership. Because it was winter in Missouri I was getting on the highway and run at 70 mph continuously until I arrived at the dealership (which was two blocks from the highway exit) I was able to get enough air through the engine compartment that the loss of coolant system pressure was not a factor and little coolant was forced into the coolant tank. The car performed perfectly. As soon as I arrived at the dealership and was brought inside the heated garage and turned the engine off the heat soak increased the radiator pressure and forced coolant to the coolant tank, belching a gallon of coolant on their floor. $350 later (expansion tank, lower hose temperature sensor o-ring, coolant and labor) I was back on the road again.
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  #11  
Old 09-05-2013, 07:50 PM
bmwagon777 bmwagon777 is offline
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when I open the expansion tank coolant rushes out with a lot of air I was told it may be the head gasket but I want to be sure its not something else
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  #12  
Old 09-05-2013, 07:59 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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let the car cool off completely and relieve all pressure in the cooling system

First I'd start the car with the expansion tank cap off to see what happens. If you get a crazy amount of air coming out, head gasket is likely

Next I'd put cap back on with car off (ie no pressure) and find a way to squeeze a big radiator hose as the car is started. If there is nearly immediately a lot of pressure, I'd think head gasket also
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  #13  
Old 09-05-2013, 09:30 PM
bimmerfan52 bimmerfan52 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwagon777 View Post
when I open the expansion tank coolant rushes out with a lot of air I was told it may be the head gasket but I want to be sure its not something else
You had said earlier that you thought the leak was from the bottom of the coolant tank. You couldn't build that kind of pressure in the tank with a leak in the bottom of it.

+1 schnepxel - Head Gasket

You can also check it after running the engine and then letting it cool completely. If the upper radiator hose is rock hard the odds are high that you are leaking compression into the cooling system and it is head gasket replacement time.

Based on your having mentioned replacing the water pump and thermostat, the car must have overheated and you didn't shut it down in time. Keep your fingers crossed the heads aren't warped.
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  #14  
Old 09-06-2013, 05:59 AM
bmwagon777 bmwagon777 is offline
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thanks guys I will up date
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