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E60 / E61 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series E60 Sedan was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E61 wagon followed shortly there after. The E60/E61 5 series 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 08-20-2019, 11:57 AM
Underwurlde Underwurlde is offline
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Intermittant Coolant leak - N52, ZF 6HP

Hi all,

I seem to have an intermittent coolant leak from the bottom right of the radiator where the transmission oil heat exchanger sits.

I found that the leak only happens when I'm on a slightly longer journey than normal. When I use sport mode it will start leaking sooner. This would suggest that it happens when the transmission oil heats up and the thermostat opens.

Any idea what triggers this thermostat - is it transmission oil temp or coolant temp? What is the activation temp? I'd like to drive it to the point where it starts leaking then get it on a ramp to check.

I presume that the leak is with the one of the three key parts here - the mounting plate, thermostat, or heat exchanger but would like to try to pinpoint the problem before throwing parts at it.

All input appreciated.

UW
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  #2  
Old 08-22-2019, 07:14 AM
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banglenot banglenot is offline
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First, clean the area thoroughly. Brake cleaner spray works well. See if you can spot a leak after exercising the car.

If that's not enough, get some UV dye at the parts store and put some in your coolant. A little goes a very long way, so unless you want green-looking coolant, go easy.

Drive a while, then use a UV light to check for glowing residue in the area you're concerned about. If none, check for leaks elsewhere.
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Old 08-22-2019, 07:20 AM
BabyUnicornTaco BabyUnicornTaco is online now
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Auto parts stores like autozone, advance auto, etc have loaner pressure test kits that work well. You pay for the kit and receive a full refund when you bring it back to the store. Just pressure test it yourself and it should be obvious. Very easy to do and in my opinion the most effective.


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Old 09-08-2019, 02:47 PM
Underwurlde Underwurlde is offline
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Finally got time to get my car up on stands to investigate further.

Plenty of coolant dripping down but could not see any coming from the trans cooler, thermostat or mounting plate.

Removed the fan shroud and lifted the radiator up a little from the carrier.

Seems the new radiator has two leaks, one each side. Should have listened to my inner self... buy cheap, buy twice....
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  #5  
Old 09-09-2019, 06:09 AM
audiophool audiophool is online now
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My OE radiator developed a pinhole leak at about 200,000km. Replaced it with a BEHR 85151B - same manufacturer as the OE part for half the price of dealer.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:18 AM
Underwurlde Underwurlde is offline
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Yeah, I just ordered a Behr this morning. Should have just gone with Behr to begin with.

I was trying to rationalise the amount I'm spending on a 13 year old car which is of very limited value, and in this case failed miserably.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:24 AM
twh twh is online now
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Out of curiosity, what brand did you buy first?
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:35 AM
Underwurlde Underwurlde is offline
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He he...

Van Wezel. I assumed that "100 years of experience" was enough to ensure they could supply a radiator that didn't leak from the get go.....obviously not..
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:03 PM
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There's an industry based on buying older or retired business names and pasting them on new products, often sold cheap.

RCA is an example, as is Zenith. Both have "100 years of experience", but haven't existed except as orphan brand names in 20 years....
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Old Yesterday, 01:36 PM
Underwurlde Underwurlde is offline
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So my replacement Behr radiator arrived today. Unfortunately, this is what I received. I presume this will leak just as much as my leaky van wezel...
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Old Yesterday, 07:52 PM
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Damn...I hate when parts come mangled.
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Old Yesterday, 08:33 PM
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They've taken minimalist packing to a new extreme, such that the sacrificial item is the part you're buying. Hope the replacement part arrives in proper condition.
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Old Today, 01:05 AM
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Under the lift arms
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no the minimalist packing for expensive things.. and maximum packing for cheap plastic garbage
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