PDA

View Full Version : Radiator rumors



Swooz
05-07-2008, 09:53 AM
I've been reading about costly repairs to the radiator, water pump, etc. at about 100K miles. Had a neighbor spend about $1,000 on replacing this sort of equipment on his 528i. Anyone have similar horror stories?

mcoupemindy
05-07-2008, 10:46 AM
I've been reading about costly repairs to the radiator, water pump, etc. at about 100K miles. Had a neighbor spend about $1,000 on replacing this sort of equipment on his 528i. Anyone have similar horror stories?

Your friend is mostly correct. The cooling systems on the cars do typically need changed around the 100K mark (sometimes less). It's usually the best idea to change the radiator, water pump, and thermostat (and optionally an aluminum thermostat hosing and new hoses).

I've done it on each of my cars so far and it has never cost over the $350 mark. (I do most of my own work).

What's your comfort level working on the car yourself? Are you a DIY person?

jhm5
05-07-2008, 10:46 AM
Sorry, but this is not a horror story. It's normal maintenance.
On the M and S50/52/54 6 cyl engines (early '90s to 06) and probably newer N engines, too, the water pumps and thermostat housings and hoses should be replaced around 60,000 miles and radiators around 100,000 miles. Independent techs think that's the best way to avoid a cooling system failure on the road... which could lead to engine failure if you don't shut down the engine promptly.
The cooling system should be flushed every 2 to 4 years and BMW coolant renewed - also good maintenance to prevent a failure.

mcoupemindy
05-07-2008, 10:49 AM
Sorry, but this is not a horror story. It's normal maintenance.
On the M and S50/52/54 6 cyl engines (early '90s to 06) and probably newer N engines, too, the water pumps and thermostat housings and hoses should be replaced around 60,000 miles and radiators around 100,000 miles. Independent techs think that's the best way to avoid a cooling system failure on the road... which could lead to engine failure if you don't shut down the engine promptly.
The cooling system should be flushed every 2 to 4 years and BMW coolant renewed - also good maintenance to prevent a failure.

Yep! Only a horror story if you don't view it as regular maintenance and you are stranded on the side of the highway. I do believe the new N engines are culprit to the same failures.

Scany
05-07-2008, 01:20 PM
Been there done that with my 528i. It ain't that bad really. It's fairly easy to do yourself, but you'd need a few parts. I'd do as much as possible while down there: radiator, thermostat (comes with housing), water pump, expansion tank, fan clutch, fan, belt tensioner, idle roller, hoses and belts. It might add up to a lot of money on parts, but this stuff is coming out anyhow, and will break at some point if you don't change it. Often you'll see another component (like the expansion tank and tensioner in my case) fail after you replace the other parts. Doing it all once saves you doing it twice or three times. Someone told me this too but I didn't listen :(

On a five series all this can be done one evening if you have all the parts. Let me know if you need the 32mm wrench and hold-down tool for the fan clutch to the waterpump.

Swooz
05-07-2008, 02:53 PM
I appreciate all the honest replies, but I don't agree replacing a radiator at 75K to be 'regular maintenance.' Yes, I've flushed the coolant every two years (my car is a 2002) with BMW fluid.

I also appreciate the offers to loan tools, but honestly the most I've ever done is change plugs on a 1987 Prelude. That was a long time ago minus my now chronic back pain.

I'm thinking I'm in for some major repair bills.

mcoupemindy
05-07-2008, 03:04 PM
I appreciate all the honest replies, but I don't agree replacing a radiator at 75K to be 'regular maintenance.' Yes, I've flushed the coolant every two years (my car is a 2002) with BMW fluid.

That attitude will get you stranded ...

Have you looked at a BMW radiator and the plastic end tanks???

Scany
05-07-2008, 03:41 PM
I'll help you out if you'd like. If it's an E39 i know my way pretty good now :)

Bruce N
05-07-2008, 03:51 PM
Post your location, a kindly member close-by may step up to help you or you could sign-up for an upcoming DIY. There are many alternatives to just rolling over for a large repair bill.

wolfgang20878
05-08-2008, 07:05 AM
I recently did my E36 and it was surprisingly easy, compared to similar work (also around 100K miles, BTW) on my wife's '96 Jetta, which required removing most of the front body work, broken plastic screws, lots of frustration. BMWs seem to be engineered for logical and straightforward maintenance.

Check out internet sales such as Pelican Parts or BimmerWorld.com, they have complete kits for many models or will help you figure out what you need. I think mine came in around $400 including new belts and hoses and a long afternoon (I am finicky about cleaning everything...).

If you do the work yourself, your car will emotionally bond to you. :)

Swooz
05-08-2008, 07:19 AM
Some folks asked me to post my location. I live in Crofton, Md, just outside of Annapolis. I'm not giving up the ship just yet. However I do know that due to chronic neck and lower back pain (I'm in p/t currently and getting trigger point injections) I will never be able to spend long periods hunched over my engine. Those days are long gone. Any ideas?

Scany
05-08-2008, 09:12 AM
I see you drive a 3 series which I'm not too familiar with, but have done the E36 and E30 cooling systems. Got the E46 Bentley manual though. Maybe if there's another helpful hand that's done the E46 cooling system I'll provide garage and tools. Anytime, just let me know, and we'll get it done.

Nick325xiT 5spd
05-09-2008, 03:51 PM
E46 cooling systems last at least 100K.

87325is
05-09-2008, 09:02 PM
130k on the e30 radiator
100k on the e36 radiator
110k on the Explorer radiator
Original on the 72 Grandprix rusting away in WV.

Easy stuff to change if you need to. Just a little/really messy when you drain the block's fluid. If it is your first time just prepare for a full day. Only special tools would be for the mechanical fan clutch if you have one. I believe the autos for your year did. I have a fan tool if you need it.

On the e36 the pump impeller is plastic and was what left me stranded. i dont know if they fixed the issue in the e46.