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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 07-18-2013, 04:40 PM
Larrybird33 Larrybird33 is offline
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Water pump failure, engine shut down on ramp very dangerous

I was driving from Philly to DC two days ago, I was 1 mile from my house and got the engine overheating message, then ten seconds later the engine shut down. I had no ability to move the car and I was at a very dangerous intersection in northern VA during rush hour. I was in a horrible spot and thought for sure someone was going to slam into me from behind. I called 911 but it took them 15 minutes to find me. Luckily no one crashed into my car. I get that the BMW shut down to protect the engine, but I can't believe the car actually would not drive. It was so dangerous to be on the expressway like that and not drive able. Just wanted to make sure people are aware of it incase it happens to them. The engine shut down within ten seconds, maybe less,of the initial warning. Then the car was disabled in a very bad place. Car is an 2008 535xi with about 55,000 on it. CPO paid for the new water pump, but it was a scary situation, and I would never believe the car would shut down like that if it didn't happen to me. I love the car and don't mind dealing with a few issues like this, but I wish the car would give me maybe a 60 second warning instead of a 10 second warning.


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  #2  
Old 07-18-2013, 05:12 PM
LivinSD LivinSD is offline
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60 seconds and your car may have done $10k in damage to your engine that would not be covered by warranty. I know that happened to me on a 328 years ago when the water pump died. I thought it was safe to drive it cautiously for an extra minute or so - $5k in damage. That's probably why it's set that way.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:03 PM
atatbl atatbl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LivinSD View Post
60 seconds and your car may have done $10k in damage to your engine that would not be covered by warranty. I know that happened to me on a 328 years ago when the water pump died. I thought it was safe to drive it cautiously for an extra minute or so - $5k in damage. That's probably why it's set that way.
To the OP's point; I would rather have more damage to my car than die or have serious bodily injury. I am not sure how it's even a debate.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:06 PM
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cordoor cordoor is offline
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Water pump failure, engine shut down on ramp very dangerous

And if the water pump is such a critical component to the safe operation of the vehicle, then why not have a backup component of some kind that let's you drive 25 mph or less for some distance to get to safety?

The water pump went out on my E60 535 a few years ago and I was fortunate enough to be within rolling distance of a parking lot next to a busy intersection. It was scary stuff. You feel helpless.

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Last edited by cordoor; 07-18-2013 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:43 PM
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dwlink dwlink is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cordoor View Post
The water pump went out on my E60 535 a few years ago and I was fortunate enough to be within rolling distance of a parking lot next to a busy intersection. It was scary stuff. You feel helpless.
Wait...this is by design?!?!? If so this is by far the stupidest design ever. Just off the top of my head I can provide a very simple suggestion to the engineers over at BMW.

1. If speed is in excess of 35 mph - do not instantly shutoff the engine. Put the car in limp mode and prompt the user with dire warnings to pull off to a safe area and stop the car immediately.

2. Once the speed is below 35 mph, if the car has not been shutoff within 10 seconds give the driver a countdown to let him/her know the car is going to turn off while it is in motion.

3. On vehicles equipped with electronic steering, continue to provide power steering if the car is ever in motion and ignition has been shutoff via any method other than a user command.

This isn't rocket science
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  #6  
Old 07-18-2013, 08:50 PM
HPIA4v2 HPIA4v2 is offline
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Larry, any symptoms before the WP went kaput? That would help others to look for.
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  #7  
Old 07-19-2013, 12:03 AM
bimmerfan52 bimmerfan52 is offline
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With the all aluminum engine so quickly damaged by overheating it is difficult to determine the correct time to allow exiting the road vs how long to allow the block to continue to super heat and over-expand, damaging gaskets and eventually warping head.

Yes, if I were stuck on the ramp and had the choice I wouldn't trade my life for the engine either. But do I need 10, 30, 60 seconds, and how many hundreds of engines would be toast because people in a safe situation and not knowing better would try to limp them along to the next service station?

It looks like the electric water pumps commonly fail in the 50-60K miles range, and the old belt driven units in the 70-75K miles range.

I have owned many Japanese cars and except for the SC430 my wife now drives (interference engine with timing belt also driving water pump that can seize and take out the belt) I have never been concerned about replacing a water pump or cooling system component at any certain number of miles.

German engineers are very cutting edge in development, but seem as though they couldn't care less about component reliability.

As long as the majority of BMWs are leased and will hold together at least through the warranty period they will continue to sell a lot of cars.
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  #8  
Old 07-19-2013, 06:42 AM
Larrybird33 Larrybird33 is offline
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Water pump failure, engine shut down on ramp very dangerous

Quote:
Originally Posted by HPIA4v2 View Post
Larry, any symptoms before the WP went kaput? That would help others to look for.
No symptoms before.The car was driving great all the way from Philadelphia to DC. Great replies to this post,as usual, so thanks to everyone. I love the car, so I'm happy the computer protects the engine by shutting it down. But obviously I'm not willing to die for the engine. When I search water pump on the forum, many members mention this part is likely to fail around 50k, so I guess this is a part worth replacing at 50k before this happens. I bought the car because it is exhilarating to drive, so I'm not complaining about parts failing at 55k. But it was a very dangerous and scary event, so maybe if people are around same mileage they should have pump replaced. Thanks.


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  #9  
Old 07-19-2013, 07:00 AM
RipSnort535i RipSnort535i is offline
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Originally Posted by bimmerfan52 View Post
With the all aluminum engine so quickly damaged by overheating it is difficult to determine the correct time to allow exiting the road vs how long to allow the block to continue to super heat and over-expand, damaging gaskets and eventually warping head.

Yes, if I were stuck on the ramp and had the choice I wouldn't trade my life for the engine either. But do I need 10, 30, 60 seconds, and how many hundreds of engines would be toast because people in a safe situation and not knowing better would try to limp them along to the next service station?

It looks like the electric water pumps commonly fail in the 50-60K miles range, and the old belt driven units in the 70-75K miles range.

I have owned many Japanese cars and except for the SC430 my wife now drives (interference engine with timing belt also driving water pump that can seize and take out the belt) I have never been concerned about replacing a water pump or cooling system component at any certain number of miles.

German engineers are very cutting edge in development, but seem as though they couldn't care less about component reliability.

As long as the majority of BMWs are leased and will hold together at least through the warranty period they will continue to sell a lot of cars.
agreed! There needs to be a recall and replacement. I'm at 59,000 and wondering when this will happen to me.
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  #10  
Old 07-19-2013, 07:29 AM
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legend700 legend700 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larrybird33 View Post
No symptoms before.The car was driving great all the way from Philadelphia to DC. ...
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In what shape is (was) your battery? A weak or ailing battery shuts down users and might not have been able to put the radiator fan on its highest speed to give you a few extra seconds to respond.

On the other hand, I doubt, an important and safety related part like the fan would be affected by a reduction in power.

Would be good to know more about the actual programmed sequence of events leading to the complete engine shutdown and possible preventive steps. Maybe somebody on this board knows more about this subject.

At 35K miles I replaced the coolant and when doing the automated purge noticed a noisy, screechy pump. I had it replaced out of warranty, even though my trusted indy suggested I could wait until it actually would fail.
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  #11  
Old 07-19-2013, 07:35 AM
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legend700 legend700 is offline
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Originally Posted by RipSnort535i View Post
agreed! There needs to be a recall and replacement. I'm at 59,000 and wondering when this will happen to me.
Personally, I would wonder not much longer. Replace the pump now at your leisure before you have to under possibly bad conditions.
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  #12  
Old 07-19-2013, 07:45 AM
Larrybird33 Larrybird33 is offline
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Water pump failure, engine shut down on ramp very dangerous

Legend, battery is brand new. Two months old, so I'm assuming the battery is fine.


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  #13  
Old 07-19-2013, 07:52 AM
ArtchredTTU ArtchredTTU is offline
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I'm glad mine is belt driven geez :O
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  #14  
Old 07-19-2013, 07:53 AM
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boramkiv boramkiv is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwlink View Post
Wait...this is by design?!?!? If so this is by far the stupidest design ever. Just off the top of my head I can provide a very simple suggestion to the engineers over at BMW.

1. If speed is in excess of 35 mph - do not instantly shutoff the engine. Put the car in limp mode and prompt the user with dire warnings to pull off to a safe area and stop the car immediately.

2. Once the speed is below 35 mph, if the car has not been shutoff within 10 seconds give the driver a countdown to let him/her know the car is going to turn off while it is in motion.

3. On vehicles equipped with electronic steering, continue to provide power steering if the car is ever in motion and ignition has been shutoff via any method other than a user command.

This isn't rocket science
Or an accumulator system stored under pressure with nitrogen providing about a minute of emergency pump time to supply coolant through the engine.
There are brake systems that have this feature on some military trucks in case a brake system failure. (This would make the car heavier though)

I say bring back the old temp gauge!!!
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:00 AM
mull6 mull6 is offline
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Doesn't the 3 series with the n52 motor have the same cooling system as the 5 series with the same motor? My wife has owned a 02+06 325 that we have driven from 40k-120k before trading them in. The thermostat failed on the 06 at 115k, but that was the only overheating issue we had with both of these cars. I now own a 08 528 xi which has the same motor and I believe the same cooling system and the car has 50k miles on it now. Do I need to worry about changing the water pump and thermostat already? Even though my prior experience shows no problems with cooling system at this low mileage? Or was I just lucky with my prior cars?
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:50 AM
b5rider b5rider is offline
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I was very lucky, as my independent mechanic noticed the water pump making a noise when we changed out the lower control arms. There is a way to make just the water pump run so you can listen for any aberrant noises. My mechanic turned two or three dials on the dash and got the pump to run on diagnostic mode. We were able to convince the insurance that the pump was going to imminently fail, and it was replaced before it actually went out. Anyone going in for service with a car close to 50k miles should get their pump looked at.
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:18 PM
mull6 mull6 is offline
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Originally Posted by b5rider View Post
I was very lucky, as my independent mechanic noticed the water pump making a noise when we changed out the lower control arms. There is a way to make just the water pump run so you can listen for any aberrant noises. My mechanic turned two or three dials on the dash and got the pump to run on diagnostic mode. We were able to convince the insurance that the pump was going to imminently fail, and it was replaced before it actually went out. Anyone going in for service with a car close to 50k miles should get their pump looked at.
That is interesting would like to know how to do this water pump check.
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:24 PM
LivinSD LivinSD is offline
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Originally Posted by atatbl View Post
To the OP's point; I would rather have more damage to my car than die or have serious bodily injury. I am not sure how it's even a debate.
I should have been clearer... I wasn't entering into a debate, just merely pointing out "why" in my estimation BMW decided to set our cars up this way. I wholeheartedly agree that our lives are worth more than $5k or $10k in damage. However, I'd also like some sensible protection from needlessly doing thousands in damage.
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:18 PM
Willardtherat Willardtherat is offline
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I had the same problem just last week. I was travelling from Seattle area to the Oregon coast. After 3 1/2 hours of smooth driving, my overheated warning came on and the engine shut down. No warning, just enough engine to roll it to the side of the road. Because I was in the middle of nowhere, I had to have it towed to an independent repair shop in Astoria, Oregon. I am out of warranty (2008 535i 69,000 miles) so replace of H2O pump and thermostat cost me $1,200. Needless to say, not a good weekend!
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:27 PM
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boramkiv boramkiv is offline
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Originally Posted by mull6 View Post
That is interesting would like to know how to do this water pump check.
Engine off, but accessory mode 2 on (you can see engine light on dash).
While there make sure to turn the A/C blower on to have air coming out the vents.
Depress the gas pedal fully for 10 seconds, and the pump would run for 12 minutes.
All you should hear is fluid moving through the system quietly.

You can get under the car near the pump and listen for abnormalities.
It should run nice and quietly in roughly 5-7 second spurts for a full 12 mins.

This is the bleeding process, but can be used for this also. Because you're using it for this purpose I wouldn't go 12 minutes as on accessory 2 mode, high battery drain can occur.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:18 PM
mull6 mull6 is offline
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Originally Posted by boramkiv View Post
Engine off, but accessory mode 2 on (you can see engine light on dash).
While there make sure to turn the A/C blower on to have air coming out the vents.
Depress the gas pedal fully for 10 seconds, and the pump would run for 12 minutes.
All you should hear is fluid moving through the system quietly.

You can get under the car near the pump and listen for abnormalities.
It should run nice and quietly in roughly 5-7 second spurts for a full 12 mins.

This is the bleeding process, but can be used for this also. Because you're using it for this purpose I wouldn't go 12 minutes as on accessory 2 mode, high battery drain can occur.
Thanks for the info. You say this is the bleeding process? So this has no bad effects even though I am not bleeding anything?
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  #22  
Old 07-30-2013, 04:52 PM
bschmidt25 bschmidt25 is offline
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Seems like the shutdown is mainly a 535 issue - at least from the posts I've seen on here. I got the overheat warning few weeks ago on the freeway in the middle of a construction zone (no shoulder) and I had to drive it about 3/4 of a mile before I could safely get it off the road. It went yellow, then red about 5 seconds later, but did not shut down - I turned it off myself.

I'd encourage everyone to check for the water pump codes. I noticed one about 5-6 months ago (dry operation) and just cleared it and ignored it. Mine went out at 74k.

Last edited by bschmidt25; 07-30-2013 at 04:55 PM.
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  #23  
Old 07-30-2013, 05:15 PM
bschmidt25 bschmidt25 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mull6 View Post
Doesn't the 3 series with the n52 motor have the same cooling system as the 5 series with the same motor? My wife has owned a 02+06 325 that we have driven from 40k-120k before trading them in. The thermostat failed on the 06 at 115k, but that was the only overheating issue we had with both of these cars. I now own a 08 528 xi which has the same motor and I believe the same cooling system and the car has 50k miles on it now. Do I need to worry about changing the water pump and thermostat already? Even though my prior experience shows no problems with cooling system at this low mileage? Or was I just lucky with my prior cars?

The N52 also has an electric water pump, but the part is different than the N54. The N54 has a higher output pump. Nonetheless, the N52 is just as prone to failure. See my message above.
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  #24  
Old 07-30-2013, 05:22 PM
bschmidt25 bschmidt25 is offline
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Originally Posted by mull6 View Post
Thanks for the info. You say this is the bleeding process? So this has no bad effects even though I am not bleeding anything?
No ill effects. Just make sure you don't drain the battery. You have to make sure the climate control is set properly for it to start. I couldn't get mine going until I did the following... Ignition on, but not started. Temp up all the way, hit the auto button, turn the fan down to the minimum, then hold gas pedal to floor for about 10 seconds. The new pump was barely audible. I had to crawl underneath the car to hear it. You should hear a high pitched whirring sound that cycles on and off.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:32 PM
mull6 mull6 is offline
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Originally Posted by bschmidt25 View Post
No ill effects. Just make sure you don't drain the battery. You have to make sure the climate control is set properly for it to start. I couldn't get mine going until I did the following... Ignition on, but not started. Temp up all the way, hit the auto button, turn the fan down to the minimum, then hold gas pedal to floor for about 10 seconds. The new pump was barely audible. I had to crawl underneath the car to hear it. You should hear a high pitched whirring sound that cycles on and off.
Okay I will try this thanks for the great info.
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