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View Full Version : Solution for 540i Radiator Problems


Guilherme
02-14-2009, 04:42 AM
Hey guys,

I'm aware that the early 540i's are famous for their problems with plastic radiators. Since I'm seriously considering to buy one, I was wondering what you owners of those early models have done to cope with the problem.

By that I mean, did BMW come up with a redesigned radiator that you can upgrade and completely get rid of the problem or you just have to hopelessly keep replacing the damn thing every time it blows?

Cheers

MLue1
02-14-2009, 05:19 PM
Hey guys,

I'm aware that the early 540i's are famous for their problems with plastic radiators. Since I'm seriously considering to buy one, I was wondering what you owners of those early models have done to cope with the problem.

By that I mean, did BMW come up with a redesigned radiator that you can upgrade and completely get rid of the problem or you just have to hopelessly keep replacing the damn thing every time it blows?BMW hasn't done anything to fix their weak cooling systems but these guys have.
http://www.zionsvilleautosport.com/store/shop.mv?
You can get an all aluminum radiator complete with costom expansion tank or you can order the super cooling kit which has the aluminum rad plus all the parts to replace the notorious fan clutch and fan blade combination as well.

On the 540 part of the reason that the plastic rads develope cracks is because the engine mounts are shot and the engine moves around alot under acceleration which causes the rad hoses to tug at the plactic rads. If the plastic is old and brittle there is more chance of this happening.

Guilherme
02-14-2009, 07:26 PM
Thanks for the reply MLue. That seems to be a pretty resistant alloy radiator btw.

Dado 540
02-14-2009, 08:19 PM
Were any of the notorious problems fixed on the 2003 E39s? Im planing a trade in, so just wanna make sure.

MLue1
02-15-2009, 03:28 AM
Were any of the notorious problems fixed on the 2003 E39s? Im planing a trade in, so just wanna make sure.The 2003 upgrades were cosmetic, no fixes were done, BMW doesn't recognize that the market's opinion is that BMW has one od the weakest cooling system of any manufacturer. If anyone want to challenge that statement don't take my word for it contact the APA or Consumer Report Magazine for reference.

The day after I got my 540iT the upper rad hose came apart...it already had a new rad, fan blade and fan clutch,... who ever did the work only did half a job so I dropped an extra $1K including labour replacing the water pump, thermostat and hoses and got the cooling system pressure tested. Knock on wood, it is now 2 years and cooling system wise everything has worked out well.

richmak
02-17-2009, 05:24 PM
Is this problem restricted to 540 only? I have a 2003 525 with about 80,000km, everything stock. Should I be concerned and do a complete overhaul on the cooling system?

Thanks.

Oyster
03-16-2009, 11:40 PM
540 is V8 in same engine size compartment.
It's hot in there!!! That is my theory on why 540 radiator fails faster or require more servicing.

I love my 540i

Desisuperman
03-17-2009, 09:28 AM
Just make sure the rad has been replaced and ask for maintenance records. If it's been replaced then you should be ok. If not then get it checked out throughly. But you can be almost certain you will have to replace the rad especially on an earlier 540.

Trouble65
03-17-2009, 02:24 PM
Hey guys,

I'm aware that the early 540i's are famous for their problems with plastic radiators. Since I'm seriously considering to buy one, I was wondering what you owners of those early models have done to cope with the problem.

By that I mean, did BMW come up with a redesigned radiator that you can upgrade and completely get rid of the problem or you just have to hopelessly keep replacing the damn thing every time it blows?

Cheers

I know this is an older post, however carry with you 2 min appoxy. My rad busted going to Wasaga cruise a few years back. Went to Wallymart bought 2 min appoxy and 10 minutes later I was on my way home. I drove for about 140kmh without any problems.

TNation
03-17-2009, 11:53 PM
^ that's good advice, a few guys I knew in Calgary had that stuff on them too haha

MLue1
03-19-2009, 01:28 PM
I know this is an older post, however carry with you 2 min appoxy. My rad busted going to Wasaga cruise a few years back. Went to Wallymart bought 2 min appoxy and 10 minutes later I was on my way home. I drove for about 140kmh without any problems.Gee.... that may have worked but I'd flatbed it home and order a new rad, these cars aren't worth much with engine damage.

NipponM5
04-02-2009, 10:05 AM
Just had the same problem with my M5. Brought it out the garage from the winter and a small leak started on top close to where the end tank joins. I put some epoxy on it as a quick fix and it stopped the leak for now. I noticed the epoxy seems to get soft again as the engine heats up.

Looked for a new rad. Looks like a $500 version has now been discontinued from BMW and the new one is.......$1500! Please help!!

myndgone
04-02-2009, 12:18 PM
Looked for a new rad. Looks like a $500 version has now been discontinued from BMW and the new one is.......$1500! Please help!!


WHAT THE?!?! :eek:

You sure about this!?!

NipponM5
04-02-2009, 12:43 PM
Yup. RMP is doing work on my ride and they called around. I tried a contact at a BMW stealership and they confirmed the same, the old one is not in stock..and the new $1500 one is 10 days away in Germany.

myndgone
04-02-2009, 12:46 PM
Is that your black E34 M5 in front of the shop???

NipponM5
04-02-2009, 12:48 PM
Yes, probably. It's still at the shop. Waiting on some ignition wires......another sad story. lol

myndgone
04-02-2009, 12:50 PM
Saw it yesterday...Sweet looking ride, man!!! *th-up**th-up*

NipponM5
04-02-2009, 12:56 PM
Thanks Dude! Still sorting things out a bit. Just brought it in from Japan last fall. Did they already put my black kidneys in? The throwing stars were on backwards so I just asked them to take them off for a while. I like the black look anyways.

myndgone
04-02-2009, 12:58 PM
Yes, kidneys were in...looked really sharp!!

Guilherme
04-02-2009, 04:12 PM
Gee Nippon, sorry to hear about your Rad. Unless, the new BMW Rad is any stronger, for 1500 bucks I'd probably try that heavy-duty Zionsville cooling system that MLue1 posted above. They are made of alluminum alloy and seem to be pretty resistant compared to the plastic ones. I dont know if they are any good though, haven heard from anyone that'd tried them...

NipponM5
04-02-2009, 04:23 PM
Thanks. I'm still going to try and locate a cheaper version somewhere. I checked the Zionsville site....it looks to me like they didn't get enough response for the M5 rad and it's no longer available.

From what I understand, the rad is M5 specific and I can't use a 540 or any other rad. Any thoughts?

MLue1
04-02-2009, 07:41 PM
Thanks. I'm still going to try and locate a cheaper version somewhere. I checked the Zionsville site....it looks to me like they didn't get enough response for the M5 rad and it's no longer available.

From what I understand, the rad is M5 specific and I can't use a 540 or any other rad. Any thoughts?$15000 for a rad... what did that make it out of gold.Try Dinan, Bimmer World, or anyone of the after market tuners.

Zionsville didn't list one for the M5 but you should call them to see what the say. I know 2 guys with Zionsville rads and they work great, one of the guys bought a super kit with the electric fans 2 years ago and everything is still great no complains. If you've seen the radiators on a purpose built race car... thats what they look like.

DINAN 3
04-02-2009, 11:48 PM
THNX again for that muffin !
NipponM5.....saw your ride when I picked up mine at European Autobody...very nice !

NipponM5
04-03-2009, 09:43 AM
Thanks alot guys. I'll try Zionsville and keep looking.

NipponM5
04-03-2009, 05:07 PM
Ok..just an update. I tried Zionsville and they advised they have nothing for that application. However, I tried www.Willz.ca . I spoke to Will who was great and very knowledgeable. He found me a rad for around $480 or so. I also wish I had bought my ignition wires from him...it definitley would have saved me some dough.

NipponM5
04-04-2009, 09:24 AM
....I tried www.Willz.ca . I spoke to Will who was great and very knowledgeable. He found me a rad for around $480 or so.....

Correction...$380 plus tax!! It pays to shop around I guess. *rockout*

In speaking to Will, he confirmed what I have heard elsewhere. These rads have plastic end tanks which get brittle with age and are prone to cracking. He further explained that there is a seal between the metal and plastic parts of the rad which wear out over time. The best way to prevent any further more expensive damage is to change out the rad when it starts to go.

jmack
04-12-2009, 11:48 AM
This is a minor thread jack but on topic since the radiator knowledgeable people might be able to help.

Is there any way to determine when the rad was built? Not that this actually means much.. but I am trying to figure out if/when the rad was replaced in my car.

From a visual inspection, it looks almost brand new - still has some stickers on it from the factory etc. It is also a BEHR, the OEM replacement? I will try and snap some pics to show you guys.

MLue1
04-12-2009, 10:45 PM
This is a minor thread jack but on topic since the radiator knowledgeable people might be able to help.

Is there any way to determine when the rad was built? Not that this actually means much.. but I am trying to figure out if/when the rad was replaced in my car.

From a visual inspection, it looks almost brand new - still has some stickers on it from the factory etc. It is also a BEHR, the OEM replacement? I will try and snap some pics to show you guys.There is a sticker on the rad that teklls the date of manufacture... I think it is on the passenger side. If the rad is fairly new it should still be there.

mazdaRXwhat
04-19-2009, 08:48 AM
I just unfortunatly (but luckily) found a crack in my rad (not really a crack but a small hole near the top) a couple days ago on my 2003 540i. My best friend and I bought some JB Weld, used it let it cure over night and now all seems to be well. Checked at PartSource about a new rad and they have one for the car sitting at just over $300 with tax and has a lifetime warranty.

Will definetly be considering this next week or so when I have to change it out.

NipponM5
04-19-2009, 09:34 AM
That sounds like a great price. I used some epoxy to stop mine at first and it worked. It seemed to soften up a bit when the engine got hot though. I had mine changed ASAP though...I kept worrying I'd be dumping all my coolant out if I pushed it.

mazdaRXwhat
04-19-2009, 11:07 AM
Yeah I have that same worry...I dont rev it hard anymore..at least i try not too. But my buddy is a friggen genius under the hood..I trust him more with the car than I think I would BMW.

But definetly gonna give some serious thought to the PartSource rad..especially with a lifetime warranty.

Good luck!

MLue1
04-19-2009, 01:07 PM
... definetly gonna give some serious thought to the PartSource rad..especially with a lifetime warranty.Keep us up to date on this part, it would be good to get the details on the life time warranty... does it need to be installed by a shop??? Are the side tanks metal or plastic?

mazdaRXwhat
04-19-2009, 02:22 PM
Keep us up to date on this part, it would be good to get the details on the life time warranty... does it need to be installed by a shop??? Are the side tanks metal or plastic?

I will find this out, I don't know yet. I do know, however, that it is not all metal, it has plastic tanks.

MLue1
04-19-2009, 05:14 PM
I will find this out, I don't know yet. I do know, however, that it is not all metal, it has plastic tanks.I for one don't have much confidence in the radiator from BMW, so hey if it works out... . :)

daveyto
05-13-2009, 05:56 PM
The zionsville rad is $1500.00 with the exchange rate.
Don't by the BMW one...

MLue1
05-13-2009, 09:46 PM
The zionsville rad is $1500.00 with the exchange rate.
Don't by the BMW one...Thats for the full boat kit with electric fans, you don't have to go that extreme, they have a radiator and expansion tank in one for ~half that price. I don't have the price but it was something like ~$600 USD.

daveyto
05-13-2009, 10:56 PM
I was not aware of that. In that case I'll check it out

Thanks

mak1na
05-13-2009, 11:15 PM
my dads 95 540i, rad went out, it costed a lot for an oem rad just throwing that out there

x-d-x
06-26-2009, 11:47 AM
Hello everyone! I just replace my radiator on my 540. As we all know it a common problem with this vehicles. I got OEM BEHR rad from source in Ottawa. They offer life time warranty with the radiator. I confirm with the company twice “What happens if my rad start leaking?” It will be replaced with no charged as long as vehicle wasn’t involved in the accident. So for $380 it a good deal. *th-up*

myndgone
06-26-2009, 11:54 AM
what company?!

x-d-x
06-26-2009, 09:19 PM
It is a franchise.

1-800-Radiator
Contact :
(613) 749-6844
(800) 723-4286 Toll free
Address :
2100 Bantree St
Ottawa, ON , K1B5R4

*th-up*

daveyto
06-26-2009, 11:14 PM
I think you can buy the same one....at partsource

regards

344i
06-27-2009, 10:48 AM
The one at partsource is a lil over 300$ like $320 taxes in. Works flawlessly, avaiable locally, fits perfectly and lifetime warranty. win/win