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5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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Old 01-20-2012, 11:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Another Radiator Failure - 70K miles

The Germans are great with metal, but not so good with plastics, I guess.

1. My first radiator failed at 10 years, 92K miles. The outlet neck broke off, losing all the coolant. My wife was driving on the freeway and didn't notice the steam out the back of the car until flagged down. (No warning lights illuminated). Cost $2K to rebuild the warped head and replace the radiator.

2. The second just failed with a cracked side tank (not the expansion tank) at 155K miles and 7-1/2 years.

At least I caught it before any damage was done. Found a source for the OEM replacement @ $170. delivered.

It seems so unnecessary - if they just had made it right in the first place.

Thanks for letting me rant.
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There are aftermarket rads... Full aluminium ones (zero plastic)
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 01-23-2012, 05:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Pete Lech View Post
The Germans are great with metal, but not so good with plastics, I guess.

1. My first radiator failed at 10 years, 92K miles. The outlet neck broke off, losing all the coolant. My wife was driving on the freeway and didn't notice the steam out the back of the car until flagged down. (No warning lights illuminated). Cost $2K to rebuild the warped head and replace the radiator.

2. The second just failed with a cracked side tank (not the expansion tank) at 155K miles and 7-1/2 years.

At least I caught it before any damage was done. Found a source for the OEM replacement @ $170. delivered.

It seems so unnecessary - if they just had made it right in the first place.

Thanks for letting me rant.
This is what I used to prevent the problems that you experienced, not cheap, bit no more risk of repeating your troubles.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The Germans are great with metal, but not so good with plastics, I guess....
Well, apologies to the makers of the radiator for casting aspersions on them. While waiting for the new radiator to arrive, I decided to take apart the old one, out of curiosity and so I could recycle the aluminum core. I discovered that there is a rectangular rubber seal between the plastic end tank, which is crimped to the radiator core. The tank showed no signs of any cracking. I believe that in installing the expansion tank, which was very tight and required a bit of effort with a rubber mallet, that I disturbed the seal, leading to the leak. The expansion tank also did not show any cracks either, when I finally got it out.

My current thinking is that it was really the o-rings on the radiator cap that were the cause of the leak, and my failure to apply the simplest solution let to a lot of work and expense for myself.
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