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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a 130,000 mile 2006 E61 530xiT (N52) wagon that is my road trip (and grocery getter). I've done all the fluid maintenance, struts, etc., so it's running well.

My question is whether it makes sense to do a preemptive water pump / thermostat (and some hoses) replacement "just because" or would it make more sense to just wait until there was some slight indication that there was some problem. I read about these pumps flaming out every 50,000 miles, or lasting forever, and every point in between.

I do long (!) 5-7,000 mile road trips, so there's a somewhat higher chance of a problem away from home than most people might have. That said, I've looked at the process for swapping out the pump / thermostat, and it really doesn't look ALL that bad.

If it was yours, would you:
1) Swap them out ASAP and fuhgeddaboudit failing in the future
2) Just drive it until it starts to throw a code or make an odd noise
3) Buy the "kit" (pump and thermostat) and carrying them along on road trips and swap them out if/when there's a problem (maybe laying in a friend's driveway or hotel parking lot to do the job).
4) Buy a Honda and stop worrying about these things... ;-)
 

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Since it's a road trip car, #1 or #4.

You might think about the expansion tank, belts, and belt tensioner, too. With that mileage and that age, it's just a matter of time. I'm planning to do this on my F10 535i at about 75k miles.

All my road trips are "schedule-critical." I was on one of those in 2013, taking my 2007 Chevy Cobalt (70k miles) instead of my 2002 M3 (110k miles). After about 600 miles, I had a "rest stop revelation:" I needed a new BMW. When I got home, I ordered one.
 

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I have the same car as your and I went with option 1. I do a monthly 600 miles trip at night and I didn't want to sit in the middle of the road at night waiting for a tow so I replaced my water pump and thermostat preventively at 96k miles.
 

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To me, it depends on where you'll break down if it craps out. Me? It could be the middle of the desert, in the summer, with a dog in the car, so I would preemptively replace every 100k. If I lived in the midwest, and was always within 50 miles of reasonable development, that would be different. Yeah, they can go earlier, but that seems to be about the midpoint.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sounds like a consensus forming. At least now I have several other people to blame for spending all this money for parts that are currently working fine. So if you get an irate email from the missus... ;-)

$568 from FCP Euro includes the pump, thermostat, coolant, all the "normal" hoses, as well as the serpentine belt, tensioner and "other pulley". I'm guessing that would sound like a bargain if I was broken down in the middle of nowhere with a few inches of slushy snow on the ground.
 

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Not sure what the process entails on your vehicle, but on mine (2009 528xi) changing the water pump is not something that I would like to do away from home. At your mileage, you are overdue. I learned to replace my battery proactively years ago. Had one die on me while working out of state. Never again.
 

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It just occured to me, after I left this page. The tensioner. That should be replaced at regular intervals. In the event that the serpentine belt starts flying all over the place, bad things (engine failure) have been known to happen.
 

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I cross my fingers on every long drive with my 2006 530xi. 94K miles and on its second water pump. That was put in year ago. I've even toyed with buying the water pump and keeping the required tools and pump in the trunk in case I'm in BF when it happens.
 

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I would change it asap
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ordered all the parts, plus the belt and tensioner and hoses, etc. I suppose I could keep the old "still good" water pump in the car "just in case" the new one dies in the (hopefully distant) future (while on the road - otherwise, I just get a free replacement from FCP Euro).
 

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The problem with keeping the old one in the car, is you need to store it with coolant already in the pump. Once the pump is put in service, it needs to stay wet.
 

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I'd definitely opt for #1. I just had my water pump replaced at 78K miles. That thing was grinding so loud it sounded like a Diesel engine. My Indy told me that the bearing was grinding so badly, it could have seized up. I couldn't imagine that happening on a long trip in the middle of nowhere. Go for it!
 

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I put 115,000 miles on my 2009 528I in the AZ desert and never needed a water pump, thermostat or anything else that everyone says you need to replace or your car is going to explode and it was in excellent condition the day I sold it. I service A LOT of BMW's, can't honestly remember the last time I replaced a water pump on one. Have numerous customers with well over 100k on original pumps a t-stats. I think people are overly paranoid about these cars for no reason other than B.S fake info they read in forums.
 

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Not "BS Fake info" on my two N52 cars...

2006 530xi...water pump failed years ago at 60K-ish miles.
2009 X5 3.0...water pump failed years ago also at 60-ish...and then again last year at 90-ish.
 

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Not "BS Fake info" on my two N52 cars...

2006 530xi...water pump failed years ago at 60K-ish miles.
2009 X5 3.0...water pump failed years ago also at 60-ish...and then again last year at 90-ish.
No BS Fake info here as well; I'm on my third but at 235K I won't complain too loudly!

OP,
FWIW,
Read the manual ahead of time; this is not a quick two hour water pump replacement. Any hose you think you might remove, I recommend you have a replacement for it. Especially the cylinder head hose; or Mickey Mouse ears hose. Whatever folks are calling it. Someone sells an aluminum fitment if you want to go old school and have a clamp there. Don't forget the expansion tank hose from the top of the radiator; that's probably due for a change as well. I replaced all hoses to the heater valve, but maybe that's a little much. If you have an auto; the transmission coolant thermostat is also prone to fail.
Let us know how it goes!
Good luck!
Fred
 

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I put 115,000 miles on my 2009 528I in the AZ desert and never needed a water pump, thermostat or anything else that everyone says you need to replace or your car is going to explode and it was in excellent condition the day I sold it. I service A LOT of BMW's, can't honestly remember the last time I replaced a water pump on one. Have numerous customers with well over 100k on original pumps a t-stats. I think people are overly paranoid about these cars for no reason other than B.S fake info they read in forums.
I think I***8217;m in this camp. I know on the E46 people say when you buy one to replace the entire cooling system as well and then a few BMW techs have chimed in saying they***8217;ve never encountered a blown expansion tank. Then one day my friend came to pick me up in his E36 and his expansion tank blew open on his way over and that scared me into purchasing a new one for my E46.

Last year I took the turbos out on my 535xi (150,000km) and I debated the water pump for another $400 while I was in there but then opted not too. I fully acknowledge that others on here have had their pumps fail, but I think there***8217;s an awful lot of these cars running Out there owned by people who don***8217;t know anything and those pumps are still going. So I guess I***8217;m more of a replace when broken (and I don***8217;t do those long road trips). I replace mechanical pumps every 100,000 on my E46 because it***8217;s so easy and cheap. Also did water pumps when I did timing belt on my diesel Golf. Also cheap on there and came with timing belt.
 

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Not "BS Fake info" on my two N52 cars...

2006 530xi...water pump failed years ago at 60K-ish miles.
2009 X5 3.0...water pump failed years ago also at 60-ish...and then again last year at 90-ish.
No BS Fake info here as well; I'm on my third but at 235K I won't complain too loudly!
Sucks that you guys have had such bad luck with water pumps. I think the bigger question is why is the water pump on your cars failing so frequently when others are not even after the initial replacement (obviously replacement is no guarantee for longevity)

To say that the water pumps are going to fail in XXX mileage is ridiculous. Kind of like saying "well I had a flat tire at 15,000 miles and it needed to be replaced so I better replace the other tires cause they are gong to go flat soon.
 

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Sucks that you guys have had such bad luck with water pumps. I think the bigger question is why is the water pump on your cars failing so frequently when others are not even after the initial replacement (obviously replacement is no guarantee for longevity)

To say that the water pumps are going to fail in XXX mileage is ridiculous. Kind of like saying "well I had a flat tire at 15,000 miles and it needed to be replaced so I better replace the other tires cause they are gong to go flat soon.
I wouldn't say it's bad luck; since cars in general are not appreciating assets. Parts do wear out and cars are not designed to last forever. With respect to E60 water pumps, I have heard the later model pumps have been improved? The circuit board was been shown to have issues. Not that BMW would tell anyone!
 

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I sure hope they have gotten better. Now, my 2009 X5 (now sold), also had the rear A/C option, which mean the pump was a VDO/Continental pump and not the same as used in all the E60's and not the same used in X5 without rear A/C. So, that pump was used in less applications, so perhaps it didn't get as many reliability revisions as the common use versions, like the Pierburg pump.

The real problem isn't so much that the pump goes out, but that it often goes out without warning. And, it isn't a common item you're gonna find in any old auto parts store to get yourself back on the road with minimal disruption.
 
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