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Old 03-01-2004, 04:49 PM   #1
Fern
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Lightbulb e39 540i rad failure discussion

Any members currently experience this and if so what are your thoughts, ie: cause and prevention...

Any prior warnings, ie: upper drivers side vent leaking during cold weather..., etc...

Replacement suggestions Behr (oem) or Nissens (suggested alternative).

Post your thoughts as this is an inevitable problem with the torquey v8 engine in the e39.

//Fern
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Old 03-01-2004, 06:11 PM   #2
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In response to your pm as well..

Mine just blew up as I was leaving the car wash. I though It was just water accumulated somewhere that when I got going it just spilled, but it was more than normal as I looked in the rear view mirror. There was no warning at all. The problem I believe stems from a tight bracket and soft radiator neck. Updated designs in the 01+ cars have a 2 piece neck to lower repair costs. Mine cost in and around $450 for a brand new BMW rad fluid and labour.

Is it in the design or fabrication? Who knows, but rad failure in an E39 540 is inevitable. I'm still on sotck expansion tank I believe as I have not changed it yet.
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Old 03-01-2004, 06:13 PM   #3
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I heard about the rad problem, but lucky for me the owner before had it replaced already
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Old 03-01-2004, 06:50 PM   #4
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this is a common problem on E39's. There is a discussion on it on Bimmerforums.com

does zionsville offer an all aluminum replacement? if so, it may be worth looking into!
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Old 03-02-2004, 07:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Miguel
this is a common problem on E39's. There is a discussion on it on Bimmerforums.com

does zionsville offer an all aluminum replacement? if so, it may be worth looking into!
Who is "zionsville"?

The two choices for rads are either Behr (oem) or Nissens.
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Old 03-03-2004, 03:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fern
Who is "zionsville"?

The two choices for rads are either Behr (oem) or Nissens.
THIS is Zionsville.
I dont know if they have one for E39's... but its worth the phone call.

and Behrs>Nissens from what I hear.
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Old 03-03-2004, 06:03 AM   #7
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Mine didn't fail(yet). When does it usually fail(milage)? What can I do to prevent it?
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Old 03-03-2004, 08:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rush
Mine didn't fail(yet). When does it usually fail(milage)? What can I do to prevent it?
from what I hear, they usually fail at 80,000kms (or was it miles?) and it is unpreventable.
So if you see a leak and your car starts overheating... get a rad.
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Old 03-03-2004, 09:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rush
Mine didn't fail(yet). When does it usually fail(milage)? What can I do to prevent it?
Prolonging the life of the rad can, IMO, only be done with proper maintenance. Flush every 2 years. Mine went at around 110K Kms. Others have gone as early as 60K Kms. It is only a matter of time.
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Old 03-05-2004, 10:34 AM   #10
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Rad failure prevention ?

Quote:
Originally posted by ///Greco540
Prolonging the life of the rad can, IMO, only be done with proper maintenance. Flush every 2 years. Mine went at around 110K Kms. Others have gone as early as 60K Kms. It is only a matter of time.
I'm on approx. 118,000km w/ original rad. Thats why fingers are crossed..

This is not my daily driver and everytime I take it out for a drive, I check driver's side vent for leak. Appears to only leak when its really cold (-15 celcius or colder). I have contemplated getting the valve replaced ($3-5 part) but they say that by the time the vent leaks, the rad or expansion tank is ready to go.

Vent leaks due to o-ring becoming hardened and not sealing anymore...

Here's a pic of the vent (directly left of the circled area) it connected to the expansion tank via a snake hose... This picture is of a 528i engine bay.

So Bill (Greco540), I guess you went with Behr again eh?!
Good for another 100k (fingers crossed)
LOL!

Cheers guys,
Fern
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Old 03-06-2004, 11:13 PM   #11
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its apparently not just 540 but 740i's as well..my freinds had the same thing...still under warranty though
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Old 03-07-2004, 02:25 PM   #12
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I'm at 121000km and still haven't changed it ... how much does it cost to replace? Where is a good place to get it from?
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Old 03-07-2004, 03:23 PM   #13
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I got mine done at the delear for a little over $400.
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