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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 09-08-2011, 10:03 AM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Bars Leaks experiences: success or failure?

This recent posting got me thinking:
Quote:
Originally Posted by leonardke View Post
I see you recommend this quite frequently on the site. Is this really a possibility? I only have a small amount of white smoke and rough idling, along with some misfiring. Seems like it may not be a very bad problem, but then again this is my first bimmer. I've always been told those quick fixes are temporary and may lead to more issues which may be bigger. Anyone else got any input? I also read about something called steel seal.....any input? Just seems too good to be true to solve a $1200 problem with an $8 dollar bottle of this......
Given the number of cylinder head and head gasket problems posted here, and the resultant repair costs, I thought it would be interesting to hear from anyone who has tried Bars Leaks as an alternative, either temporarily or possibly as a longer-term solution.

I'm not interested in arguments pro and con, which tend to devolve into dogmatic diatribes. I just want to hear from people who've actually tried it and what the outcome has been.

Here's the most recent report I've seen:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelley71 View Post
The bars is fine. No fluid loss what so ever. I think I had a high place on the deck because the leak was fixed in less than 5 minutes once it started to circulate.

I drained that stuff out this weekend when I changed a rear heater hose. But I am satisfied with the result.
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  #2  
Old 09-08-2011, 11:48 AM
rdl rdl is offline
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I used Bar's Leak on a Cadillac Catera that developed a leak that turned out to be a crack radiator in an obscured location. It did not even slow down the leak. FWIW, after I found the leak I tried a Permatex rad repair patch kit, twice. That did not work either.

Later on, the Catera developed a head gasket or cracked head leak; exhaust gas in coolant, but oil circuit intact. Tried Bars again without even a hint of success. What did work for about 6 months & 10k km was this stuff
http://www.rxauto.com/index.htm
The leak then recurred & I scrapped the Catera; any repair was going to be more than the car was worth. In fairness to RxAuto, by the time I found their product the leak was pretty bad. I could go through a gallon of coolant in 50 to 100 miles. Results might have been different if I'd given it the treatment sooner, or if I hadn't used Bars Leak first.

What I particularly didn't like about Bars Leak was the black gummy layer that accumulated in the expansion tank and plugged the small vent hose between the tank and radiator (same design concept as the BMW M54). I always wondered if more of this grunge was plugging small passages in other locations of the cooling circuit. So bad that I replaced the tank before trying the RxAuto Thermagasket.

FWIW, after my Catera experience, I worked with an exGM engineer who told me that the brown stop leak tabs were effective on small leaks at seals and gaskets. He had been involved in testing them & vouched for their effectiveness. They are GM approved. But GM never found anything that they would approve for cracked rads, head gaskets, blocks and other large leaks. An interesting factoid: the stop leak tabs are make from ground walnut shells.

Regards
RDL
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  #3  
Old 09-08-2011, 12:07 PM
Joe@Bavarian Joe@Bavarian is offline
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It works great!!

My wife's 328i has a head gasket leak on the out side rear corner, car overheats and looses fluid. I wanted to wait for a low mileage engine to come in, so in the meantime I added the Bars gasket fix. 2-1/2 months & 400 miles later and no more overheat and no leaks. The coolant is still green with copper flakes floating around, the tank is clean with no black goo.

IMO this is a good temporary fix.

We do have a low mileage engine now so I am going to swap it out in the next few weeks.

Last edited by Joe@Bavarian; 09-08-2011 at 12:34 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-08-2011, 12:42 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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I used it in my VW; no way in hell I'd put it in my BMW.
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  #5  
Old 09-08-2011, 01:52 PM
Joe@Bavarian Joe@Bavarian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw_n00b13 View Post
I used it in my VW; no way in hell I'd put it in my BMW.
I am curious as to why one would use it in one car and not another?
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  #6  
Old 09-08-2011, 02:36 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Haven't had to use any of those products in years, but back in my high school days there was a product called Porter Seal that came is a small can, white and red I think with a pic of a seal on it.
It was a powder with silver specs in it that melted and filled in the leak. It always worked for radiator leaks, never had a head gasket leak so I can't say it would work for them.
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  #7  
Old 09-08-2011, 04:44 PM
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rexgo rexgo is offline
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Mein Auto: 97 528i
Used Bars and Porter > 25 years ago on the Fords - seemed to work temporarily - likely improved now. I would not use these on any car now. No quick fix fluids for me - fix the problem.
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  #8  
Old 09-09-2011, 07:22 AM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe@Bavarian View Post
I am curious as to why one would use it in one car and not another?
I didn't care about the VW by then; the BMW I would like to keep driving until the floorboards disappear. It also didn't work very long on my VW, because there was a hole developing the size of my thumb. Fix the problem, not the symptom.
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  #9  
Old 09-09-2011, 01:46 PM
Steve D Steve D is offline
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I had a small valley pan leak that only showed up in the winter when the temps were below 40 degrees or so. I added a very small amount of Bars Leaks when I changed my water pump and it sealed the leak up entirely. It's been 4 years with no further leaks.

I only used about 1/8 of a bottle for fear of clogging the radiator up but even that small amount was enough for such a small leak. I used the standard Bars Leaks, not the head gasket fix type.

Steve D
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  #10  
Old 09-09-2011, 02:05 PM
bimmerteck bimmerteck is offline
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I keep a bottle of Dike from Conklin and a roll of self fusing silicone tape in the trunk(along with many other things) on long road trips for mending the cooling system in all my vehicles. I hope to never have to use them with my vigorous maintenance schedule but using either and limping home/to a shop is often better than being stuck who knows where and waiting on a tow. As for why I chose Dike, I have found it's much easier to rinse out of the system later down the road than some of the stuff I've had customer's use.

Last edited by bimmerteck; 09-09-2011 at 02:08 PM.
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  #11  
Old 09-10-2011, 04:15 AM
ozibimmer ozibimmer is offline
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Hi Bob
This member had lots of luck with Bars
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...0&postcount=46
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  #12  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:44 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
I didn't know this thread existed when I opened this one today:
-> E39 (1997 - 2003) > What is Bar's or Rislone Stop Leak or Head Gasket Fix and what does it do in your E39
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Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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