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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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Old 01-12-2013, 05:08 PM
SharkD SharkD is offline
SpecE30 #59
Location: Durham, NC
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 77
Mein Auto: 2003 540i/6 1987 325is
Broken Radiator Nipple Tabs = New Radiator, or Not?

The overflow nipple on my less-than-3-year-old Behr radiator developed an O-ring leak, this week.

I obtained a replacement nipple from the dealer and though I tried to be careful (I used two jeweler's screwdrivers to wedge the tabs apart and a third to lever the nipple out), the tabs on top of the port both snapped. (The dried antifreeze acted to cement the tabs to the nipple.)

Somewhere, I read that the tabs are only there to keep the nipple from turning in the port, which appears to be the case, given that they do not have anything to 'catch' the nipple on their interior surfaces.

Does this mean that the radiator is toast? Or is the car drivable without those tabs?

(I do have a replacement Behr, sitting in the trunk, but since it was sourced so I could get it the same day I placed the order, I paid about twice the lowest price I've been able to find via the online sources.)
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:48 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sudbury, MA
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,225
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
You should be fine.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:16 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,248
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
I know the original OP has obtained advice from cn90 over here, but for others, I reference the canonical radiator nipple thread:
- How not to remove the nipple from the E39 radiator (broken radiator nipple)

Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
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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Old 01-13-2013, 05:05 PM
SharkD SharkD is offline
SpecE30 #59
Location: Durham, NC
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 77
Mein Auto: 2003 540i/6 1987 325is
The whole thing is academic.

Though it passed the drive it around the block until the temp gauge read 12 o'clock test, after a longer drive, the driver's side appears to be leaking along a seam, about 2/3 down the radiator, so it's trashed.
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broken, cooling system, nipple, radiator

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