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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just discovered steam coming out of my radiator, but I can't see a crack in the filler neck. There is radiator fluid on the fan, however. I'll have to take a better look tomorrow.

In the meantime, my 2001 530i is 6 months out of warranty and has 42k miles on the ODO.

This seems a little early to have a radiator failure, if that's what I have. Does anyone know if BMW has any kind of "secret warranty" related to this issue?
 

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No but the radiators are priced low at the dealer. I paid $129 with a BMWCCA diacount. It is a good idea to replace the expansion tank and cap as well while the radiator is out. Also since the front of the engine is clear you can easily check the water pump and thermostst housing.

Steve D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What exactly went wrong? Was it the radiator filler neck, or something else?

markseven said:
"They all do that" Mine went at 39K.

-Mark
 

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Robert A said:
What exactly went wrong? Was it the radiator filler neck, or something else?
That's the common failure on the 540's but I thought the I-6's did not usually have premature radiator failures. Sorry to hear about it, if the filler neck did not destruct you may be able to get it repaired.:eek:
 

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Dang...so bascially I am driving a "ticking time bomb?"

My car is about 47K I was planning on doing an oil change at 50K. Should I have my service guy check my radiator? Is it something that can be seen in advance? I am thinking not. A radiator fails it fails...no way to tell its going to happen right?

At least the price is cheap...how much is labor to install? My shop is good and fair, but want to make sure I know what to expect.
 

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Robert A said:
What exactly went wrong? Was it the radiator filler neck, or something else?
Hi Robert,

In my case, the plastic unit that connects the top radiator hose to the radiator cracked and sprayed coolant all over the oil filter cannister etc.

-Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A minor update

I just pulled my car out of the garage and noticed only a small puddle under the radiator. I ran the engine for a couple minutes, and didn't notice any leaks. I then shut the motor off, and still cold, opened the raditor cap and peered inside and saw fluid.

When I pulled the car back in the garage, still cold, there was a very small trail of fluid on the right hand side.

Does this give any clues as to what is going on?
 

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Bob,

I'm shocked to hear about a radiator failure in an I6. I would suspect that the radiator is fine but that something else might be leaking.

However, owing to the classic V8, E39 radiator failures, it would be easy to believe that the I6 radiator might suffer as such.

As you might guess, the location of the leak relative to where your car is parked may not necessarily tell you much about where the leak is located. You really need to get in there with a flashlight/trouble light and and see if you can spot the culprit. Obviously, check the radiator and all the hoses it connects to. The lower, passenger side one might be difficult to see much on but the upper, driver's side one is cake to inspect.

The expansion tank might also be easy to inspect. Have you had any work done on the radiator or its fluids recently?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It's being looked at today, but it appears to be a leaky hose or some such thing. I drove the car in to my independent mechanic and the temp gauge never went above normal, although some steam was coming out when I arrived.

Ågent99 said:
Bob,

I'm shocked to hear about a radiator failure in an I6. I would suspect that the radiator is fine but that something else might be leaking.

However, owing to the classic V8, E39 radiator failures, it would be easy to believe that the I6 radiator might suffer as such.

As you might guess, the location of the leak relative to where your car is parked may not necessarily tell you much about where the leak is located. You really need to get in there with a flashlight/trouble light and and see if you can spot the culprit. Obviously, check the radiator and all the hoses it connects to. The lower, passenger side one might be difficult to see much on but the upper, driver's side one is cake to inspect.

The expansion tank might also be easy to inspect. Have you had any work done on the radiator or its fluids recently?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Final Outcome

It wasn't the radiator afterall, but a leak in one of the hoses. Total cost to fix: Just over a hundred bucks.
 

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markseven said:
Hi Robert,

In my case, the plastic unit that connects the top radiator hose to the radiator cracked and sprayed coolant all over the oil filter cannister etc.

-Mark
sounds like this is exactly what happened to me (approx 45,000 miles). rounded plastic piece near front of car has large crack in it. luckily the explosion occurred right as i parked the car.

i assume BMW says this isn't a defect even though it seems to be a common occurrence? any idea of what it will cost to have fixed? is there an alternative to replacing it with the same plastic piece (and having this happen again)?
 

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AsianImage said:
so bascially I am driving a "ticking time bomb?"
Reading this board makes me paranoid sometimes. At 38,000 miles I also sometimes feel like I'm driving a ticking time bomb, but it's also made me more aware of potential issues to look out for on these cars so that they don't become bigger, costlier problems. After seeing the oil sludge problem some people were having, I immediately went out to check my car. No problem there, but I'll keep watching . . . and now I check under the hood for radiator related leaks every time I wash my car as someone suggested. I'd have never done that otherwise and it makes me feel a little more confident every time I get behind the wheel that I'll probably make it through the next week without getting stuck somewhere. I also upgraded my AAA membership to one that allows a 200 mile tow just in case the radiator blows on the 400 mile drive to my family's place which I make at least a couple of times a year. For a few more bucks a year, I know I can either get the car towed to my preferred mechanic here or one near where they live and not be stuck taking it to the closest stealer or random mechanic in the middle of nowhere.

So while reading these boards may make me a bit more paranoid than I might be otherwise, it also gives me some peace of mind that I'm on top of things. :thumbup: When my radiator blows, I'll be sure and let everyone know. I know it's only a matter of time. :eek:
 

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calbimmer said:
sounds like this is exactly what happened to me (approx 45,000 miles). rounded plastic piece near front of car has large crack in it. luckily the explosion occurred right as i parked the car.

i assume BMW says this isn't a defect even though it seems to be a common occurrence? any idea of what it will cost to have fixed? is there an alternative to replacing it with the same plastic piece (and having this happen again)?
My car blew it's radiator on the lot just before I purchased her - I don't remember exactly what steps the dealer took to rectify the problem (it was over a year ago)... Sorry.

Search this forum, you should find a ton of info on rad problems :) :confused: :)

- Mark
 

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me thinks the radiators are set on the frame too stiff :dunno:

I believe the one on my honda gave in after 150k+ only because I placed an inappropriate amount of pressure on it, while working under the hood :doh:
 

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the radiator is made of plastic. plastic is not very friendly with temperature changes and excessive heat.

armed with this fact, it's inevitable that the radiator is going to crack. sure it's never going to rust but it'll crack.

it's like paint and the ocean; it'll prevent the steal from rusting but it's only a matter of time before it eats thru the paint and starts oxidizing the steal.

this doesn't bother me though. seriously, plastic radiators do not bother me. what bothers me is how BMWNA has just simply turned their backs on their clients and make them fork over the cost. if BMWNA would stand by their product then i wouldn't mind it so much. say if they told you that they'll cover the parts and the client covers 1 hour labor, i'd be happy with that. like the pixel problems. and if it wasn't for mr. foxx's presistance to work something out with BMWNA, we would all still be griping about the dead pixel issue.
 
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