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E12, E28, E34, E39, E60 General discussion and technical help for all year 5 series cars.

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Old 01-04-2009, 03:59 PM   #1
Shy Shy

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Coolant leaking E39 528i Sport

Hi

I have recently noticed my coolant level drains out every so often. I have been topping it up and the temperature gauge has always been normal (no over heating etc).....my ride has reached 99K but floats like a butterfly.....whilst i think it may just be a pipe/connection somewhere, something tells me there could be a little more to it.....

Before i visit the garage ....is there any comments/suggestions/similar experiences that anyone out there would like to share....???

Oh by the way....im new to this forum so a big holla to you all!!!!!
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Old 01-04-2009, 06:54 PM   #2
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There could be a little more to it, but let's hope it's not much. Certainly check hoses and connections (cracks, aging). I don't know if the plumbing is the same on the E39s as on the E36s (stands to reason, I think the engines are basically the same), but the problem could be with a leaking heater control valve. I too had been losing coolant rather mysteriously, or should I say imperceptibly, until I happened to notice some drippings on the undercarriage crossmember, which I then traced upwards (brilliant deduction, huh?) to a hose from what turned out to be the heater control valve, located right up next to the firewall. It's an absolute bear to get to, at least on the E36s, and I had to take it to a shop where he got at it from underneath. I don't have a full explanation as to why this was so imperceptible a leak, it could be that it only occurred with the engine running and the coolant circulating through the system, which it apparently doesn't do through the control valve with the car not running.

My next (and worse) thought is the heater box, a telltale sign of that going being the smell of coolant in the passenger compartment, but the car seems too young with comparatively little mileage on it for that to be the reason.
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Old 01-05-2009, 02:49 PM   #3
Shy Shy

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Hey, thanks! I've been round the garage to get the system pressure tested. There is a hairline crack on the plastic housing, there you have it!!! Now the question is, do i use "Insta-Seal Permanent Block & Radiator Seal" (a fluid that i can pour into the radiator with the hope that it'll fix my problem or do i change the radiator all together?? Even if i do change the whole radiator, do i go for OEM or a cheaper equivalent from euro car parts, either manufactured by Nissens or EIS Germany which are said to be just as good. Any thoughts...???
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:50 PM   #4
raybeam

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radiator leak.

I too went on a 200 mile round trip last weekend and got stuck in the M5 motorway snarlup by droitwitch.I then noticed steam coming from under the bonnet.stop /start driving for 10 miles but no response from the temp gauge---stayed on centre till i got home.Started up the car today andnoticed no heat from heater!! Checked the radiator and refilled with about 2 pints of water..Left car running until temp was normal---same problem as you---hairline crack in the plastic radiator housing. I think i will use an epoxy resin on the outer surface first, to see if it seals .Other than that,could end up changing the rad as it`s done a fair mileage--133000.

Cheers----raybeam..
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Old 01-05-2009, 05:42 PM   #5
3050rpm
 
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Personally I'm not a fan of the various additives meant to plug leaks and cracks, out of the suspicion that if they plug a leak, they can also plug up a needed coolant passageway as well, especially if the cooing system is not flushed and replaced on a regular basis. Plus I'm not sure of the chemistry of those things. BMW is rather fastidious about what things shouldn't be in the cooling system, and I imagine that applies to other manufacturers as well, the intent being to avoid untoward chemical reactions with the materials in modern engines and cooling systems that could lead to corrosion, gumming up the system, formation of sediments, etc., etc., etc.

My advice is to replace the radiator (and this would be a good time to replace some hoses as well) with a new one (obviously), but I don't think it needs to be OEM, that's unnecessarily expensive. I don't have any specific brands to recommend as replacements, but I imagine that a decent service shop would know the good and better priced ones, and perhaps some other members might chime in. Sure this would cost a few hundred for the job, but in return you'd be getting a peace of mind that "pour and pray" couldn't give you.
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:37 PM   #6
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i think im going to go for the safest option as suggested by 3050rpm.....a rad change it is then... tomorrows a big day for the beast! ..will check the hoses too!! cheers guys!
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:38 PM   #7
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3050 is bang on about the additives. They work in the short term but require proper repair and a full flush very quickly to avoid more serious damage (usually even says that if you read the fine print on most of the bottles). Mechanic in a bottle, 99% of those additives that is, is pure hocu pocus feel good nonsense (usually just atf). the best one I ever read was a auto tranny additive that promised to stop slipping and smooth out shifts, anyone with an ounce of knowledge about auto trans knows the soft shifts are a result of slippage. So just how is it supposed to stop slippage (which gives you hard shifts) and smooth out shifts? Answer, it doesn't, its all in your head. You can stop a leaking radiator by cracking a raw egg into it, something called alumiseal, or hell even a healthy dose of uncooked grits will puff up and the pressure will force them into the crack sealing it for a bit. The result however is other stuff also gets clogged and eventually the whole system is compromised leading to much more expensive problems like heavy engine repair. AutohausAz (I feeling like a broken record on them) is a good place, BAV auto or any of the other guys listed here and other places. Just shop around buy OEM replacement (in some cases there are superior after market upgrades available), if your good with your hands and some tools these cars really are easy to work on. You'll get better results by not cheaping out because with most of this stuff you do get what you pay for. 3.99 bottle of radiator fix and a boatload of engine damage, a ruined car? = new car time. Or just spend the money fix it right and drive it 300,000 miles? Seems like a no brainer. As always good luck
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:44 AM   #8
Shy Shy

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so how did it go?...well we changed the radiator, topped up with coolant and water and discovered that the top hose was leaking...just great! so now this needs changing as suggested by fellow buddies on this forum. There was however an irritating taping noise coming from the engine (somewhere down there anyway) when we started her up after the rad change. However, as the engine warmed up the noise faded away. Now im waiting for the engine to cool down before i fire her up again to check for the noise.....one thing after another....is this noise normal after a rad change or am i now looking at another problem. Oh and the hose stopped leaking too but ima still change it to be safe.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:35 PM   #9
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This is a bit of a stretch, but the knocking might be due to an air pocket introduced when the system was opened up. You might be able to get rid of it by massaging the upper coolant hoses with the engine off and the radiator cap off. This would also be a fitting time flush the entire cooling system, including the engine block, if it wasn't done with the radiator change (probably not).

When you mentioned topping off with coolant and water, two things you might wish to consider in the future: don't use tap water, which could contain certain minerals in it, and instead use distilled water; better yet, use a pre-mix, such as Prestone. These are advanced formulas now, and quite easy to use. just pour in. Generally these are the orange colored formulations nowadays.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:54 PM   #10
Shy Shy

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Noted, thanks. I've had the upper hose changed now and the fitting is much more solid i.e. no leaks....touch wood. No noise either....touch wood again!......lets see how she gets on........
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