"97" 540 - Rad Fluid Mysteriously Disappearing - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
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#1 (permalink) Old 10-08-2004, 02:05 PM
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I seem to be losing rad fluid without an puddles under the car. I've been told that it may be leaking into the manafold, or through frost plugs. Either way it sounds expensive. Any idea how much?
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#2 (permalink) Old 10-08-2004, 03:47 PM
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I just replaced my radiator for a 1998 528i. The total was 396.00 parts and install.
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#3 (permalink) Old 10-08-2004, 03:52 PM
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go to www.radiators.com and check.
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#4 (permalink) Old 10-08-2004, 05:19 PM
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A.Rad can be checked by pressure testing.
B. look for white smoke out of the muffler. this tells you if coolant gets into the manifold or gets burned in engine also
C. look at the back of you engine many hoses/many clamps that is heater hoses and connection. if ok then
D. check around the water pump for corrosion.
This list can go on and on so check the items above then let us know. Good luck
regards
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#5 (permalink) Old 10-09-2004, 04:48 AM
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Take your oil cap off and have a look underneath - if there is a white sludge then there is water mixing with your oil (usually through the head gasket) and as Billb says if you're losing water into the cylinders she will be belting out white smoke (steam) from the exhaust, if not you're OK. I have just helped a friend with a similar problem - He was losing water by the gallon but there was never any evidence of a leak. I popped the bonnet took a look at the pipe which goes into the water pump (this was an e34 mind) and realised it had been replaced, now, the part of the water pump which the hose attatches to is plastic (other manufacturers use metal) and I figured when the hose had been replaced someone had overtightened the jubilee clip and put a slight crack in this plastic part. I asked him to start the car and get her to operating temp. Sure enough just around the end of the hose to waterpunp joint was a little wisp of steam. 3 days later he informed me that I was right (he took it to a garage and they said exactly the same), that he'd replaced the part and there was now no longer a problem.

I'd spend a little time hunting under the bonnet for steam from all the hoses and joints - you need to get her to operating temp though as when cold there is not enough pressure in the system for the leak to occur - hence no puddles - heat her up nad the pressure will soon start to force steam and bubbles from the tiniest of cracks (some which are barely visible to the human eye).

Good luck
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#6 (permalink) Old 10-10-2004, 01:30 PM
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Sounds very much like a head gasket.The oil in your sump will be the telling of this case.
I'm sorry you have this problem.Make sure you don,t get the engine overheating or you'll wind up with warped heads and the then the storey will get real interesting.
Let us know what the outcome is.......get quotes for this job.My friend in auckland New zealand had a dealer doing this job for him on a 92model 540 and it took a technician 5hours to remove one head !
Good Luck.

SILVERLEA.

PS: The forum should consider ourselves fortunate that we have people with such technical ideas and abilitities such as BILL.
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#7 (permalink) Old 10-12-2004, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by JohnnyK@Oct 8 2004, 01:05 PM
I seem to be losing rad fluid without an puddles under the car. I've been told that it may be leaking into the manafold, or through frost plugs. Either way it sounds expensive. Any idea how much?
[snapback]207690[/snapback]
Check the top radiator hose nipple for a crack. These crack off every so often. I've lost two already...
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#8 (permalink) Old 10-15-2004, 03:18 PM
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Thanks for all your helpful suggestions. Unfortunately, the story is getting uglier. As it turned out it was leaking into my heads. No problem. They fix it. The car is on the hoist running on idle. Beautiful, nice and quite than all of a sudden the engine starts to make some strange noise. They take the heads off and find that one of the pistons has broken in two. 30 years in business fixing highend cars and this guy has never seen anything like it. Apparently, there was a service recall from BMW for this engine when it first came out. I hope that they can give me a new one. If not, it’s time for a new car. I will keep you posted.
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#9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2004, 05:39 PM
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What was the recall for??? I also have a 97 540!


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#10 (permalink) Old 10-15-2004, 07:08 PM
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B. look for white smoke out of the muffler. this tells you if coolant gets into the manifold or gets burned in engine

if there is a white sludge then there is water mixing with your oil (usually through the head gasket) and as Billb says if you're losing water into the cylinders she will be belting out white smoke (steam) from the exhaust...Beel Z's point was valid!!

Wish you a quick and cheap recovery......did cost me about $2500 2 years ago!
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#11 (permalink) Old 10-17-2004, 12:22 PM
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Apparently, there was a recall for warping heads. I'm not sure if this latest issue covers that recall. I should find out on Monday. (I only had 156K on this engine)

Anyways, I had to go down to the shop to see what had happened. The piston head was sheared in two. It looks like metal fatigue. I have to get a picture of this for you guys because the explanation does not do it justice. The price of a new engine is anywhere from $5000.00 cdn. (from BMW) to $3500.00. At the end of the day it needs to get fixed because I can’t sell it in it’s present state. That being said I personally do not like the new 5 series style and the M3 is nice but a little small. I guess I’ll keep this one. What else can go wrong? It’s a new car.
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#12 (permalink) Old 10-28-2004, 02:05 PM
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[attachmentid=14434][attachmentid=14435][attachmentid=14436]

As prommised pictuers of the damaged piston. And I use that term loosely.

The engine has been replaced and it runs great. I even think I have more HP.

Thanks again for your help and suggestions.
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#13 (permalink) Old 10-28-2004, 07:15 PM
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I feel bad for this unneceessary (in terms of being avoidable) expenses but what can we do? Nevertheless I wish you the best of lucks on the new engine. Try to keep the good spirit though; cheers!
regards
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