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Old 10-08-2009, 05:46 PM   #1
AtDepth
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Overheating Engine... AGAIN - I need the best Bimmer brians on this one

I have a e39 '97 528i that I got 3 years ago. since I've had it, every 6-12 months the same overheating issue comes back.

Generally when city driving the car starts to overheat, usually when idling or braking towards a red light. The thermostat needle quickly moves up often to 3/4 and sometimes all the way up. Usually if I give it some throttle the needle will quickly come back to perfect center (by quickly i mean 5-10 seconds). I have taken it to several mechanics and never found the true issue but in the course of the last 24 months have changed these parts:

New Radiator
New Thermostat
New Fan Clutch
And Interestingly.... I've been through 2 water pumps in the last 24 months. The last one put in 10 months ago. And I think the last owner went through at leat one but im not certain about this.

Every time something I assume they flush the coolant and it seems to work for a period of time.... usually 6-10 months and then the problem comes back.

I checked the coolant level and it is at the full line but Iím going to get some more this evening and see if it is actually low.

Is it possible that this water pump is also going on me?

Should I just have the system flushed?

What the heck is going on???

Iím at a bit of a loss here.

As always.... your advice is great appreciated.
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:17 PM   #2
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Have you turned on the on board test mode that you can access by using the two buttons on the speedo. Test #7 will verify if the temp gage is reading correctly.

Since you are having to rev the engine to bring the temp down that should indicate a coolant flow problem. Does the water pump(s) that are being installed have the plastic or the metal impeller. The plastic impeller has been known to slip on the metal shaft.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:10 PM   #3
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I toped up the coolant but it only took about a cup or so.... interestingly it overheated on the way to the crappy-tire but not on the way home after in added this little bit of fluid.

I'll give the test mode a try tomorrow AM but am fairly certain that the gauge is working fine.

I also looked over the receipts from the services where they replaced the pumps but there is no description of pump type/model. Work was done at Tonalco in Montreal on upper Lachine and not BMW.

Iím wondering if it might be something more serious going onÖ I noticed that there seems to be some oil leaking from the top of the motorÖ. As a picture speaks 1,000 words I snapped a few shots. Could this oil be related to my periodic overheating issues? FYI.... There is no coolant in the oil. I had a good mechanic say he thought it was not related but who knows.
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Old 10-09-2009, 10:46 AM   #4
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A leaking valve cover gasket won't cause the engine to overheat.

I am thinking blown head gasket:
Does the exhaust have a slight sweet smell?
Pull the spark plugs and see if any look different, or do a pressure test.
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:20 PM   #5
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Head gasket is my worst fear...... but, what I find odd is that it seems to be fine for long periods of time after i fix something (pump, thermostat etc) it amkes me wonder . The exhaust smells normal, there is no oil in the coolant or coolant in the oil (that I can see).... no smoking etc.

I'll pull the plugs this evening and see if they look normal.
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:11 PM   #6
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Where are you purchasing your water pumps? Whats the brand? Im sure Mark is right, definitely flow issue.

When it overheats, do you smell coolant?
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Old 10-09-2009, 06:06 PM   #7
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The question that remains: Is the car "actually" overheating or is this just what the temp gauge is telling you. I would test the gauge as stated earlier. You might just be chasing your tail. I can't over heat in traffic that soon. I had a bad thermostat in my e30 and it took about 10-15min before it almost made it to red on a hot day in stop go traffic.
On the other note: did you check the viscous fan coupling to make sure it is engaging and disengaging correctly. Maybe one of your replacement parts could be faulty. Also, make sure your bled the system correctly after replacing a cooling component as there may be trapped air in the system also causing this temp problem. The air pocket could work it's way to the therm housing and if this happens and it gets to the pump the impellers won't spin. I have also heard about the plastic impeller pumps slipping on the shaft causing slow flow. I'd go OEM waterpump and stick with oem. Saving a few bucks on aftermarket may cost you aggravation and more money down the road.

good luck.
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Old 10-10-2009, 12:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceeker View Post
...Also, make sure your bled the system correctly after replacing a cooling component as there may be trapped air in the system also causing this temp problem. The air pocket could work it's way to the therm housing and if this happens and it gets to the pump the impellers won't spin. I have also heard about the plastic impeller pumps slipping on the shaft causing slow flow. I'd go OEM waterpump and stick with oem. Saving a few bucks on aftermarket may cost you aggravation and more money down the road.
If truth be told, the BMW water pump and other OEM come with the plastic impellers. If you replace the WP again try buying a Graf they come with the metal impeller. http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/cata..._pg1.htm#item1

I like the trapped air theory, my buddy who has a 745 recently told me that he was having a problem of coolant loss and air in the system some time after doing valley pan, WP, rad, thermostat and hoses. He eventually traced the leak to a corroded metal tube going into the firewall that connects to the heater core. He was able to clean up the corrosion on the metal tube and push extra hose further up onto the metal tube to get a better seal... no more leak or trapped air.
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Last edited by MLue1; 10-10-2009 at 12:15 AM. Reason: correction
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Old 10-10-2009, 12:30 AM   #9
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After everything that was replaced, and tested, i would guess its something electrical...(gauge not showing right), so could be senor, wiring, cluster...etc! If the problem was mechanical (water pump, tstat, air, fan clutch...etc) the car would have overheated LONG ago! There are many test you can do to see what is the problem, you just have to start somewhere...
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Old 10-10-2009, 01:33 PM   #10
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Air lock, did you bleed the air out? I had similiar symptoms turned out to be air in the system.
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Old 10-10-2009, 03:47 PM   #11
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and start using blue bmw anti-gel coolant
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Old 10-14-2009, 03:05 PM   #12
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thanks all..... sorry I havn't replied..... I have been occupied with the arrival of a new member of the fam. all good advise but I havn't had a chance to look ionto much yet.

BUT.... oddly, last Thursday after work I added a bit of coolant. it took about 1/2 cup to bring to full and I filled it about 1 inch past the full line in the expansion tank. strangely it has been perfect ever since.

odd...
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Old 10-14-2009, 04:44 PM   #13
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My friend had a similar issue with a 97 E38. turned out to be too much air in the system. One way to check for excessive air is to feel the pressure on the main rad pipe. If it seems to be under pressure when you squeeze it means you have a lot of air in the system. Locate your rad bleeder (mine is on top) a black plastic screw. when the car is on play with it...do not open it completely but slightly....let all the air bubbles and steam etc come out. Check level and refill with proper mixture. Good luck
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Old 10-14-2009, 04:47 PM   #14
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Oh by the way from the pictures of the leak. It is your valley pan gasket linings. They are supposed to be replaced after 1st 100k kms. I would suggest you get them replaced. They will keep sweating all over you engine and sooner or later tick of a sensor. Note not the easiest thing to do by yourself.
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dammerung View Post
Oh by the way from the pictures of the leak. It is your valley pan gasket linings. They are supposed to be replaced after 1st 100k kms. I would suggest you get them replaced. They will keep sweating all over you engine and sooner or later tick of a sensor. Note not the easiest thing to do by yourself.
The OP has an inline 6 engine... so there is no valley pan to leak.
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