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Old 11-08-2018, 08:58 AM
rpoitras rpoitras is offline
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Mein Auto: 2010 BMW X5 3.0si
2010 X5 3.0si, water pump went at 93k miles

Just sharing my story with the gang. Monday morning on my way to work my water pump failed with no prior warning. I did an oil change last month and when resetting the service in Rheingold there were zero fault codes, so no heads up for me. Electric fan was fine days before and right up until the failure. Only after the failure was the fan running at full speed.

I ordered the kit on Monday (pump, thermostat, bolts, coolant) and it arrived yesterday (Wednesday). Monday night I prepped by removing everything to have it ready when parts were delivered and I'm happy I did as it spread the work over two nights. It took hours to do even though I've done it before on my wife's old 330xi. It's just something that takes a while because there's very little room to work with, plus I took the time to flush the system with distilled water before draining again and adding the new coolant. It's not a terribly difficult job, it's just... annoying. I also dislike that we even have to worry about this crap where often there is no prior symptoms (in my case, anyway). On my 330xi I changed the pump/thermostat when it hit 100k miles because it was my wife's daily driver and I didn't want her to get stuck. I had planned to do the same on mine and was a bit surprised it failed earlier because probably 95% of my mileage is on the highway. Whatever, it's done now, and it could've been worse if it failed while out with my family, away from home, etc.

I didn't take pictures but here are the steps I took:
1. Put front end up on ramps.
2. Remove front plastic panel underneath the vehicle (4 removable screws tied to the bumper fascia and about 6 other screws that are the half/three-quarter turn release screws that stay attached to the panel).
3. Remove the reinforcement plate from underneath the vehicle (6 bolts).
4. Remove intake breather pipe to air box.
5. Remove brace above fan shroud. There are four bolts, two on either side, that need to be removed. Also there's a cable that needs to be unclipped from the brace (hood latch cable, maybe, can't remember).
6. Remove fan. There's one big electric plug on the passenger side, right on top, to disconnect. The fan shroud is held on both sides by detents/clips. Use whatever you want to press in the upper part of the clip so that the tab on the fan shroud can now be lifted upwards past the clip. You have to do both sides without letting the shroud drop back down and re-clip itself so just keep tension upwards while moving to the other side. The driver's side tab is on a hinge such that after you get it out of the clip you need to fold it towards the center of the fan which allows that side of the fan shroud to pass by the large coolant hose on the top of the radiator. It's a pain in the ass but once you do it you'll wonder why it took so long.
7. Drain the coolant. My radiator did not have a drain plug, which can usually be found on the driver's side bottom of the radiator. There's an access hole for it in the plastic surrounding but just an "X" in marker/paint was there on mine so I removed the large coolant hose about a quarter way up on the radiator. This hose goes into the front of the thermostat and is one of the spring clip type connectors. To remove the connector you need to push the spring clip up to unlock it. With very limited room I had to work from underneath and push each side of the clip upwards, almost halfway, enough that the clip sits in it's unlocked position. Be careful as there is nothing holding the clip on the connector so if you push it up/take it off too much it may spring itself off and away to the same place your socks end up while in the dryer. Both sides of the clip need to be in this unlocked position, or if you want you can carefully push it all the way up and remove the clip as it is easy to put back on later. Once done stand up and from the engine bay grab that hose and pull it off. These types of connectors have notches on both the male and female ends that ensure you can only put the hose on a certain way. It also prevents you from twisting while trying to remove so don't twist it otherwise you may break it, just pull the hose away from the thermostat until it comes off. Hopefully you put something underneath to catch the coolant when it finally lets go. Let it drain and don't forget to open the reservoir cap to allow it to drain easier/faster. Note: User deroy added a comment below that it's better to drain from the transmission cooler line on the bottom of the radiator, driver's side, so that you can get more old coolant out.
8. Remove the thermostat. I was surprised that on the X5 the thermostat comes out first because if I remember correctly on the 330 you had to remove the pump first to get to the thermostat that was tucked above the pump. Regardless, there is one electrical connector towards the front that needs to be unclipped, and there are two small bolts (10mm?) that tie the thermostat to the pump that need to be removed. With the thermostat loose-ish I removed the remaining hoses. The front main one you already removed to drain the coolant, on mine there were three (?) other hoses: one in front with the spring clip and the two others that had regular hose clamps. There's really no way to describe what to do here because I used a long flat screwdriver from different angles to loosen the clamps. I did the spring clip first and it ended up shooting on the floor where I found it right away -- again, just be careful not to lose the clip. One note, the large hose that goes from the thermostat to the pump which is found at the rear, I only disconnected the side that goes to the pump and left the hose attached to the thermostat. Later on before installing the new thermostat, on your bench, swap the hose from the old to the new thermostat making sure you keep the same angle/position. This makes it much easier to do while standing up instead of trying to do this on your back underneath the vehicle. Once all hoses are disconnected, fish out the thermostat.
9. Remove the pump. The pumps are different based on if you have the four-zone climate option or not. There is one electric connector, two hoses, and two or three torx bolts. I have the four-zone climate option so had three bolts to remove but saw in NewTIS and Rheingold that it only mentioned two, so assume that's the other pump (?). On mine the electrical connector was on the rear of the pump. One of the hoses (large diameter) was removed with the thermostat so that leaves one more at the rear-side with a regular hose clamp. This hose is rigid with very little play so I removed the bolts holding the pump beforehand so that I can wiggle it a bit to remove. The two bottom bolts are easy to spot, the one remaining is on top of the pump and cannot be seen. You have to find it by feeling around. Once everything is disconnected it's time to fish out the pump. Also, just a note, there were two clips that hold both electrical connector wires for the thermostat and pump. These are clipped onto the pump and need to be transferred to the new pump. The worst part is figuring out how to get the pump out of this tight spot. Again, I can't re-create the steps but will say that I absolutely had to get the pump to where the flat side of it was pressed up against the radiator (be careful, don't bend the fins) and finally lifted it up and out through the top of the radiator/engine bay. It's really obnoxious to say the least.

You're halfway there!

Installation is obviously pretty much a reverse of the above steps. There are warnings on the pump that it cannot be dropped or even hit (shock) with tools so be careful when getting it back into place. When I finally got the pump in place I first re-connected the rigid hose to the pump because again, you kind of need to wiggle the pump around to get that hose on. Once on I installed the three torx bolts to fasten the pump. I ended up having to fish in the top bolt first because, again, you can't see it so it's all by feel. I tightened those bolts for good (didn't torque it, no room, so just did tight but not too tight as they are aluminum so be careful). After that I installed the thermostat and all hoses, electrical connectors, and two bolts. Make sure the electrical lines are clipped in place under the clips you had to move to the new pump. At this point everything should be sealed up again. Also, for the two spring clip type hose connectors, make sure the clip is in it's closed/locked position. There is no need to leave it in the up/unlocked position. In the locked position just line up the notches on the male/female connectors and press it in. It will automatically lock into place with the springs and you should hear a definite "click". Pull on the hose to verify it's locked into place.

Refilling the system:
Since it's cheap, I bought a couple extra gallons of distilled water and what I did was fill the system back up with water only. They say to fill it up slowly so that's what I did. Once in a while I would squeeze that large hose you used to drain just to get things moving and large bubbles to release. Once you fill to the max indicator in the reservoir just wait a bit because the level may go down a few times as the water takes it place. Repeat until the level no longer drops.

Bleeding the system:
I wanted to sort of flush my system so ran the bleed cycle twice. Put a charger on your battery since the pump will be running for about 10-12 minutes per cycle. Make sure the reservoir cap is tightened all the way closed (arrows line up). With the door left open, turn on the ignition without starting. Turn your heat zones (driver/passenger/rear, if you have) all the way to max (84F for me), fan speed on lowest but not off, then press down and hold the accelerator for about 10 seconds. If successful you should hear your new pump starting to work. It will run low/high in various cycles for about 12 minutes. If you close the door it will stop the process and you will have to start over again. Once the pump stops for good the bleeding process is complete, but note that during the procedure the pump will come to a full stop for various amounts of times so make sure it's really finished before stopping. I opened the reservoir and topped it off again to max, then I ran the procedure again for good luck. Once that was done I removed that bottom hose once again and let the system drain. After draining and re-attaching the hose I filled it with the one full gallon of BMW coolant and then topped off with distilled water again. I ran the bleeding procedure again, I think twice because I heard bubbles in between, and put the remaining pieces back together (underside, brace, fan, etc.) while waiting for the procedure to finish.

Once the bleeding procedure completes you are supposed to top off the reservoir again to max because the level probably went down as air was released from the system.

Finally, check for leaks and pray you don't have any.

All in all, it's not a terribly difficult job to do, mostly just a pain. It's dirty because you will get splashed with coolant and it will make a mess and unlike trump (, yes I went there, suck it up if it offends you, snowflake), I actually do have big hands which makes getting into tight places very difficult.

Final notes:
- Make sure you get the correct pump based on whether you have the four-zone climate option.
- Replace the thermostat at the same time, it's not terribly expensive (~$70), even though you don't have to remove the pump to access it.
- Use distilled water only, no tap water.
- Use BMW coolant, again it's ~$20/gallon and you need one gallon for 50/50 mix.
- Replace the aluminum bolts holding the pump. It's only a few dollars.
- Use a charger during the bleeding process and make sure the reservoir cap is fully closed and heat zones at max temp.
- When re-installing the fan shroud, aside from the locking tabs on each side, there are two tabs on the bottom of the shroud that need to rest in the sockets. This holds the bottom part of the fan in place. Make sure you are all aligned well when putting the fan back in. Note also I put the fan back in at the end after all bleeding and didn't receive any errors about it not being there/detected/whatever with ignition on (engine not running). Maybe that's expected but it did cross my mind if it would be detected and throw a code.
- Be prepared to have various extensions, swivels, e-torx sockets, etc. to do this but nothing out of the ordinary is needed, really. I also did not need to remove the passenger wheel, or wheel well liner that I've seen mentioned in other posts. Everything was accessible from underneath although you may be qualified as a professional contortionist, if that's even a thing, when finished.

Good luck and hope this helps someone!

Last edited by rpoitras; 11-09-2018 at 08:45 AM. Reason: Additional info, step 7
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2018, 11:56 AM
boostedX5SAV boostedX5SAV is offline
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Thanks for the DIY guide. I tried to take off the electric fan once. I couldn't get the electrical connection on the passenger side to bulge so I gave up. This was for the belt tensioner pulley but I didn't really need to take the fan out.
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Old 11-08-2018, 03:03 PM
FredoinSF FredoinSF is offline
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Great write up, with a couple of chuckle moments - the lost sock analogy and whiny baby hands vs man hands thing. Thanks for taking the time to document the journey.
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  #4  
Old 11-08-2018, 11:50 PM
deroy deroy is offline
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Mein Auto: X5 e70 4.8
2010 X5 3.0si, water pump went at 93k miles

On 7; doesn’t yours have transmission oil cooler? The smaller hose all the way at the bottom of the radiator, driver side, is easier to access, smaller so coolant doesn’t gush out so fast, and lower so you drain more.

And cheaper and easier to replace if you accidentally brake it.


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Last edited by deroy; 11-08-2018 at 11:52 PM.
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Old 11-09-2018, 04:26 AM
BenF12400 BenF12400 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2006 X3; 2010 528;2013 X5
Yours failed at 93,000 miles? Consider yourself lucky - mine failed 70 miles from home last spring - 56,000 miles on a 2013.
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Old 11-09-2018, 08:36 AM
rpoitras rpoitras is offline
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Mein Auto: 2010 BMW X5 3.0si
Quote:
Originally Posted by deroy View Post
On 7; doesn’t yours have transmission oil cooler? The smaller hose all the way at the bottom of the radiator, driver side, is easier to access, smaller so coolant doesn’t gush out so fast, and lower so you drain more.

And cheaper and easier to replace if you accidentally brake it.


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Most likely you are 100% correct as I did see the lower hose but I figured the larger one was going to the thermostat in which I had to remove anyway and I didn't want to mess around with hoses more than I had to. But thinking about it now if I had to do it again I would follow your advice because it did in fact bother me that I knew I was leaving some old coolant in there.

Great addition, I'll edit my first post and mention it in there so it's concise.
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