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Thread: Radiator rumors

                  
   
  1. #1
    Member Swooz's Avatar
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    Unhappy Radiator rumors

    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?

  2. #2
    Senior Member mcoupemindy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swooz View Post
    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?

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    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.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mcoupemindy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhm5 View Post
    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.

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    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.

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    Member Swooz's Avatar
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    Unhappy radiator rumors

    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.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mcoupemindy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swooz View Post
    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???

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    I'll help you out if you'd like. If it's an E39 i know my way pretty good now

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    Member Bruce N's Avatar
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    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.
    RRT Racing Crew Member

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    Member wolfgang20878's Avatar
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    Coolant system replacement

    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.
    - John
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  11. #11
    Member Swooz's Avatar
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    Smile radiator fears

    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?

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    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.

  13. #13
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    E46 cooling systems last at least 100K.
    2006 GMC Sierra 2500HD 4WD Duramax LBZ/Allison 6-speed
    2002 BMW M3 - Alpinweiss III/Black
    1999 323i KP/GTS2 - Alpinweiss III (Black Hood, other stuff)
    1990 325is - Brilliantrot/Tan
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  14. #14
    Member 87325is's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by 87325is; 05-09-2008 at 09:06 PM. Reason: SP

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