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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
What are the dogmatic antifreeze "camps" we all fit into when it comes to our coolant

Similar to the four motor oil camps, I just realized there are probably similar (slightly different) anti-freeze camps.

In response to a frantic poster who proclaimed they needed a flush because they put the "wrong coolant" (i.e., not BMW branded) in their 2002 540i, I propose the following four antifreeze camps for discussion.

Do all of us fit into one of these camps?
1. The BMW is "different", so, use only what BMW approves (i.e., it's listed on a sheet of paper or it's not)
2. The BMW is "different", so use #1 or anything else that is equivalent (based on the spirit of the BMW recommendations)
3. Use exotic stuff (like NPG+) which changes the characteristics of your cooling system (for the better presumably)
4. The BMW is nothing special; so use whatever everyone else uses for aluminum engines with non-ferrous cylinder liners

Ignoring the undecided, does this summarize the four camps every one of us seems to belong to when it comes to advising what coolant to use in our BMW E39s?

NOTE: As with motor oil, a key point is how often the coolant is replaced; but that's not the topic of this thread. Nor is the topic what specific coolant to use (unless it creates yet another camp).
 

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:stickpoke
Put me down for 2. Use #1 or anything else that is equivalent (based on the spirit of the BMW recommendations)......and before you #1ers start yapping about how the price difference is negligible, you really need to know how much we are bent over up here in the great white north. :D
 

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Freude am Fahren
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Put me down for both #1 and #3.

I can't see any reason to use brand other than BMW Coolant (unless in can reduce the pressure in the system). The cost of a coolant refill every couple years is nothing compared to the cost of a cooling system rebuild or a blown head gasket.

BMW, $17.00 per gal. mixed 50/50 with distilled water @ $.60 per gallon = $8.80 per gallon of coolant.
NPG, no mixing allowed = $27.00 per gallon (still cheap if it prevents any problems).
 

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Chief,
I just returned home to Massachusetts tonight from a few days in Scottsdale and I must say it was just as cold yesterday in AZ as it is here now. No snow, but just as cold. So cold in fact they had to cancel the pro-am at the Phoenix open because the greens were frozen. I know you were very happy running NPG all summer, anything different to report running it in the cold weather?
 

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Freude am Fahren
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Chief,
I just returned home to Massachusetts tonight from a few days in Scottsdale and I must say it was just as cold yesterday in AZ as it is here now. No snow, but just as cold. So cold in fact they had to cancel the pro-am at the Phoenix open because the greens were frozen. I know you were very happy running NPG all summer, anything different to report running it in the cold weather?
Not really that cold here. I moved here from Hingham, MA in 2005. Also lived just north of Chicago for many years, where I can recall a temp once of -38. So even the coldest day of the winter, (and today was the coldest day in the last five years) isn't THAT cold. High of 38 today with 19 low predicted for tonight. Generally our low temps are warmer than your highs for a given day.

Anyway, no issues with the NPG. I do have a tiny leak, (just an occasional drop on the garage floor) that I haven't tracked down yet. But I'm sure the leak would be a lot worse if there were any pressure in the system.
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
There's an hour-long Prestone coolant video that you might like posted here today:
> E46 (1999 - 2006) > the end to all "can i use this coolant?" threads

We have a few long time reports on the propanol-based cooling system fluids in the E39 side of the house (same engine as you E46 guys for the most part):
- Modifying the cooling system pressure cap (1), or using propanol-based zero-pressure fluids like NPG+ (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) or all-aluminum cooling system parts by Zionsville (1) (2) (3) aluminum radiators & what happens if you drive one mile too far with an overheated BMW cooling system (1).

After much soul searching, we've found there are really three kinds of BMW owners when it comes to fluids (4 if you modify coolant choices):

The fluids each type of owner chooses (and argues about) is based more on their personality than on anything else.

They choose either:
1. Only BMW recommendations, or,
2. BMW recommendations plus anything that meets BMW standards, or,
3. BMW recommendations plus anything meeting BMW standards plus logical alternatives that meet industry standards
(4). Something else altogether (e.g., proponol) that works around a particular design problem.

Only when you (each one of us, yes, that's me and YOU too!) realize that you're only one of three types of owner - can you ACCEPT the choices of the others.

Only acceptance, and understanding of the personalities, can end the dogmatic arguments and get us back to healthy discussions.
 

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Thanks BB..... It is always nice to learn the science instead of being held captive by the marketing spin.

BMW is the queen of spin ...... And some folks are hopelessly in love with the spin.

BMW stuff is good ..... But terribly over priced for my taste. I buy some and pass on most ..... And so far my 1997 looks/ drives/ performs like new.

Thanks for all you do on this forum.... And btw on this topic I am in bucket 2.
 

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I'm in the first camp. After mixing 50/50 BMW Blue coolant cames out to be the same price as other aftermarket brands.
 

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Put me down for #4. I have been using generic Prestone green for 25 years in a variety of BMWs, Toyota, Honda, VW etc. etc., zero issues.

Food for thought: we use gasoline from local gas stations and not gasoline from Germany.

There are however a few things that I stick to BMW, no matter what:
- Coolant reservoir
- Fan Blade
- FSR
- Cam/Crank sensor
etc.
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
There are however a few things that I stick to BMW, no matter what:
- Coolant reservoir
- Fan Blade
- FSR
- Cam/Crank sensor
etc.
I'll make sure they're in the list below:
- What E39 parts are most often recommended to only buy OEM (1)
 

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Joel
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So, what coolant is required for an E39 530i - no need for antifreeze as I live in the warmer part of the world..Am planning an entire cooling system overhaul, have got all the parts, all front hoses, pipes, O rings and also a new CCV.
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So, what coolant is required for an E39 530i
This thread isn't about 'what coolant' as that's already amply covered elsewhere:
- What coolant to use, for engine, automatic transmission, power steering, and AC evaporator cooling (1) & cooling system bleeding (1) (2) (3) or refilling DIYs (1)
 

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So, what coolant is required for an E39 530i - no need for antifreeze as I live in the warmer part of the world..Am planning an entire cooling system overhaul, have got all the parts, all front hoses, pipes, O rings and also a new CCV.
Antifreeze mix won't just lower freezing point of coolant, but also raising boiling point too. It wouldn't hurt with 50/50, but you can get by with 30/70 (antifreeze/water)
 

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:stickpoke
put me down for 2. Use #1 or anything else that is equivalent (based on the spirit of the bmw recommendations)......and before you #1ers start yapping about how the price difference is negligible, you really need to know how much we are bent over up here in the great white north. :d
+1
 

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#3. Evans NPG+

I usually stay away from both dogma and exotic crap, (#4 I guess) but there is a real problem here with this cooling system's operating pressure and choice of materials that is not being addressed. This is the only working solution/workaround to the problem I've seen so I'm using it.
 
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