BimmerFest BMW Forum banner
1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,

I bought my 2nd 540i one month a go and just drove it to the alps for 1000 miles. Yesterday (the day I did 1000miles) everything was fine exept for 15 minutes there was no warm air from the vents. I checked the coolant and it was a little low (also very cold outside) but nothing serious. After restarting the car the heater started working again so i stopped paying attention. Fast forward to this morning. I started the car and heard noises (ratteling/whining) I have never heard before. After opening the hood the noise seems to come from the WP pulley, belt and or waterpump. And what scares me even more is that the pulley is moving in ways it should not! So there is play on the bearing wich i have not noticed before. Further more the heating in the car is not working anymore. And on top off all that i am missing a lot of coolant. The reservoir is completly empty. I should say that the outside temperature is -10c or 14 fahrenheit. What do you guys think? Is the waterpump gone and has all the leaking fluid destroyed the bearing of the WP pulley? But the car is not overheating and the first check coolant message came this morning when i started the car.
There was a small hose loose when i checked everything this morning but i can't identify it. I don't think it has anything to do with the cooling but still it has come loose.
I hope you guys can give me some direction of what to do. Can i for instance drive the car? I am in a small mountain ski village and if i want coolant and or a mechanic i need to drive several miles.

I attached 2 pictures where you can see the hose wich came loose and the pulley that has a lot of play.

Thanks for reading and maybe helping me?!?!



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,362 Posts
If your car is not heating the vented air and you have "play" in your WP, I would conclude that the water pump is no longer functioning. I would not drive the vehicle. Probably time for a complete cooling system overhaul--replace WP, T-stat, fan clutch, radiator, and expansion tank. All these jobs are definitely do-able to the the weekend mechanic-type. I've pretty much done all this stuff piece-meal over the last couple years. The items are not too pricey, but there are a number of hours ahead of you and a good deal of patience. Don't go to the dealer! All the work I've suggested you can do for about maybe $700 in parts, or less? Your BMW dealership will quote you about $2,000 to $3,000 in labor and parts to do this same work! Do a search for CN90's write up for a complete overhaul. I just replaced my radiator yesterday and flushed the system--about $200 for a Nissens radiator. Took me a while (5 hours, since I did a coolant flush, etc.), but I did it. Already did the fan clutch, expansion tank, upper and lower hoses, and water pump. You can do it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,410 Posts
Not 100% Sure

But our cooling systems are not the most robust. You have a perfectly good car, I do not want to read in 2 weeks that you went for a short drive and the heat stopped...now the head is warped and will take a major overhaul or rebuild. As well as I am sure you don't want to post it but, that is the reality of our cooling systems...DO NOT RISK IT. Get a Bentleys manual for your car....and refer to this site, the guys here have been there and done that 100 times, so they KNOW our cars. Make a project of it and DIY...you will save lots o cash, and have fun at the same time...this is something you can do.

GL and if you have another car to drive for a couple weeks or for a week or so while you do this repair go for it...sure it will cost you some $$$ but A LOT less if you overhaul the cooling system NOW versus waiting for it to completely fail...

Best of luck to you...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your replies but i have some questions. I understand i need to fix everything a.s.a.p. The problem is that i am on vacation and am 1000 miles from home!
If i finally find a shop with coolant so i can add it to the system and the heat start to work again. Would that mean that the waterpump is still working? And it is probably leaking but i can drive the car as long as i keep adding coolant? I am stuck at the moment since i cant do anything here without a car!!!

Thanks again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,908 Posts
Wouldn't drive the car more than a few miles. If the water pump is making noise, it means the bearing is shot and could catastrophically fail at at any time. If that happens you will be tossing belts off, possibly putting a fan blade through the hood, and possibly tearing up anything that is spinning.

Changing the water pump on the car is not that hard, you can download instructions that almost any typical mechanic could use. I've done it myself in less than 90 minutes. The hose is probably fine, they are sealed by O-rings and can normally can be twisted a bit.

A few pointers:
  • It takes a very thin 32mm wrench to get the fan off the water pump, and is reverse thread
  • While a little extra work, is probably faster if the fan shroud is removed
  • There is an aluminum pipe that is in front of the water pump in the way. It is an air injection pipe and can be loosened or removed as needed for the clearance.
  • I took off the harmonic balancer for needed clearance (the small bolts, not the one real big one), but not sure this is required.
  • When removing the water pump, be sure to hold the 2 coolant pipes on the top so they do not pull forward. IF the pull out from the back, it will be hard to get them back on.
  • Do not over tighten the water pump mounting bolts, everything is aluminum. Note there are 2 different lengths of bolts used
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,410 Posts
On vac...

Then you are going to have to get it to a shop, or get a reliable tow vehicle from UHAUL which would also add expense...best bet, find a good local shop...and do the best you can to enjoy your vaca...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Keith,

Thanks for the respone but how can i be sure it is the waterpump? I can't tell for sure the noise is coming from the pump. It could also be the pulley that is making the noise? What i'd like to know is when i fill the system with coolant again. If the car heating stars working again does that mean the pump is fine? Getting a pump here in te middle of nowhere is not an option i am afraid!! So i need to make sure there isn't any other option before i start looking in to towing to a BMW stealer in the neighbourhood.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,410 Posts
Stealer

Well a good indy could do it too and save you what they can...a Stealer would RAPE you!:cry:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,908 Posts
Given the symptoms it sure sounds like the water pump. You said the pulley has a lot of play. With the belt on there should be absolutely no play at all!! (the fan will have play in it as it's attached via a viscous clutch, but the pulley should have none). You can use a mirror so see if its leaking out of the weephole on the bottom of the pump as another verification method. If it's only the fan that has the play you really need to remove the belt (get all the tension off) to evaluate the water pump. With no belt it should have very minimal play. There is nothing in the pulley itself to make any noise.

Looked again at your pixs, not sure sure that small hose is but looks like a clamp is missing (unless it's a vacuum hose). I have a 2000 540 and the configuration is a little different.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Is there somebody who knows what hose it is? I can't find it in ETK or this forum. Could that be the coolant leak and maybe not the pump?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,410 Posts
Bram...

No one wants to hear that they have an expensive repair...but, it is what it is. I know esp since you just got the car you have the how could it be syndrome...but sir if you launch the fan through the hood, you will also have a water pump repair to do...

All the symptoms are there. You have coolant issues, you have play in the pump bearing...would you like an invitation to the problem? Sorry I did not notice sooner you are from Europe...so I will tone it down a bit. Sir, a water pump complete failure will result in overheating 'at least' and at most will result in the engine overheating and the fan breaking loose from the shaft and being propelled at several thousand RPM through your hood and perhaps tearing apart other wires and hoses inside the engine compartment. And would likely result in substantial towing charges etc...

You need to do a cost benefit analysis. What is the cost and benefit of each option. I realize you are not at home (like me) sitting on the computer. But I owe it to you as a fellow member of this forum to advise you where I see fit. Other guys can jump on me if they'd like but, I believe the general consensus is get 'at least the water pump changed...

Best of luck to you.
 

·
Learning all the time
Joined
·
545 Posts
If there is play in the water pump pulley then the bearing is failing.
I understand your circumstances and concerns. It makes things difficult for you.
In answer to your question I would say that if you fill the cooling system and run the engine and the heater remains working, then the chances are that the water pump is still working to some degree. You may be able to limp to a bigger town and get help there, but it is a RISK. A head gasket repair is a whole different story with regard to cost!!! As others have said, there are also other consequences if the pump fails completely.
Good luck to you.
 

·
Check twice, fix once...
Joined
·
733 Posts

·
Check twice, fix once...
Joined
·
733 Posts
if the WP bearing is shot, the engine cooling fan will also wobble and hit the fan shroud, resulting in more damage and a huge DIY. Since you're on vacation with no tools, get it towed to an Indy, rent a car and try to enjoy what time you have left on vacation. Either way, you have to have it fixed and since you're not in a position to do so yourself, have someone reasonable do it, head back to the resort and try to salvage a good time.

I had to do this with an earlier BMW... I knocked back a few at a resort while a local shop swapped out fuel pumps...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Haha don't worry about what you are saying guys! I am totally with you. I have had a e39 540 before and know all about there 'little' problems. I just don't understand why my car is not overheating when the pump is failing? And why a vacuum hose came loose (see picture)? I am towing the car to a shop in the morning and hope to get everything sorted.
I already planned on doing the cooling system since i am sitting at 100k miles. I got a new radiator by the looks of it but the rest hasn't be done yet. Just hoped to go on this vacation without problems...........

Am i correct to assume that a failing pump will leak coolant slowly (hence my loss of coolant), have a wobling pulley attached to it wich makes the fan move sideways slightly, makes noises you never want to hear from your car but can maintain the engine at a normal temperature? Until it completly fails and you are really fu**ed?

Again thanks for all the advice! My friend (the tech) already told me you guys were great but i didn't expected this.

I'll report back when i have been to the shop (they talk french which i don't understand so it will be interesting....)
 

·
Check twice, fix once...
Joined
·
733 Posts
I'll report back when i have been to the shop (they talk french which i don't understand so it will be interesting....)
HaHa! I used a Yahoo translator when I tried to order parts in Germany. I was really lost when I was in Belgium last as I could barely make out the differences between Flemish, French and German. To an extent the Brits were hard to follow sometimes... :)
 

·
Learning all the time
Joined
·
545 Posts
The failing bearing may well leak water, and it gets worse as the engine is run.
 

·
Learning all the time
Joined
·
545 Posts
Sounds like a nightmare BlackBMWs, lol. Not something I would like to need to do.
 

·
Check twice, fix once...
Joined
·
733 Posts
Sounds like a nightmare BlackBMWs, lol. Not something I would like to need to do.
Yes, Actually everyone I met in Belgium was quite accomidating in trying to help, so it was more of an adventure than a problem. I have similar adventures when I go to Asia, but I find pocket electronic translators a big help.

I'm on a U.K. forum to learn Touring stuff and sometimes I have to really think about the differences in terminology.

I'd hate to have to quibble with a tech in an unfamilar language. Hard to tell if it's a language barrier or you're being taken...

What's interesting is that whatever language folks speak, the E39 issues seem to be the same... :D
 

·
Learning all the time
Joined
·
545 Posts
I hear what you say. Must be a problem with parts terminology though. I know you guys in the States have different names for parts to us in the UK. God knows what happens when you factor in Belgian, French, German, Flemish and far eastern languages! Ooooh my head hurts just thinking about the possibilities.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top