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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 01-10-2005, 12:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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my car just pissed me off. bigtime.. i fixed the water pump last september and the thermostat because it was overheating.. now a week or so ago, it started overheating again.. this time when it overheats, the engine revvs up as if i were pressing on the accelerator, and it just stays revved up by itself, and sprays coolant out of wherever it can leak out of (little hoses,etc.)

Today its somewhat warm out, and I decided to look at the car a little, and i disconnected the hose that goes from the water pump to the thermostat, and from there i could see the impeller. There is a little bit of coolant down in there, but it doesnt seem to be pumping any. The impeller seems to be spinning too..

What could be wrong with this?? I just want to get the engine fixed and replaced this summer, but until then, I want it driveable without problems.. And this overheating thing is a bit8h.! Anyone have any idea what could be wrong??
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Old 01-10-2005, 04:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Obviously it is building pressure to cause all this coolant leaking. I am not so sure if looking at “the impeller in action” is the proper diagnostic method for a working water pump. I prefer to test overheating as follows:
A. Open the radiator cap, cold start engine and wait for warm up then ideally the thermostat must open. Also a warm feel to the upper hose is a good indicator for coolant circulation. Once you accomplish this, you will rule out a closed thermostat Problem.
B. Rev your engine and look to see if coolant circulate/flow in acceptable amounts, you will by able to see it flowing downstream endlessly. If so this will rule out your water pump.
C. Then I’ll Take a look at the pulley driven fan. Force- behind the radiator and its rotation etc. can you stop it from turning so easy i.e placing a big rag onto it?!! Yes? Fan clutch? Caution is in order here.
D. with engine running turn ON you AC; does the electrical fan kicks in? you cannot miss that distinctive sound of it- in front of radiator.
E. If all system is a go, then as much as I hate to say it; you will be compelled to look at the head itself. A compression test becomes the final judge in this context.

P.s. The above assumes the sytem is filled with coolant and AIR BUBBLES FREE using the bleading plastic screw/s-1 or 2 of them depending on the model.
My 2 cents with best luck and wishes.
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Old 01-10-2005, 05:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally posted by billB@Jan 10 2005, 06:58 PM
Obviously it is building pressure to cause all this coolant leaking. I am not so sure if looking at “the impeller in action” is the proper diagnostic method for a working water pump. I prefer to test overheating as follows:
A. Open the radiator cap, cold start engine and wait for warm up then ideally the thermostat must open. Also a warm feel to the upper hose is a good indicator for coolant circulation. Once you accomplish this, you will rule out a closed thermostat Problem.
B. Rev your engine and look to see if coolant circulate/flow in acceptable amounts, you will by able to see it flowing downstream endlessly. If so this will rule out your water pump.
C. Then I’ll Take a look at the pulley driven fan. Force- behind the radiator and its rotation etc. can you stop it from turning so easy i.e placing a big rag onto it?!! Yes? Fan clutch? Caution is in order here.
D. with engine running turn ON you AC; does the electrical fan kicks in? you cannot miss that distinctive sound of it- in front of radiator.
E. If all system is a go, then as much as I hate to say it; you will be compelled to look at the head itself. A compression test becomes the final judge in this context.

P.s. The above assumes the sytem is filled with coolant and AIR BUBBLES FREE using the bleading plastic screw/s-1 or 2 of them depending on the model.
My 2 cents with best luck and wishes.
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excelent reply bill.

i'd just like to add a few things since i had major problems with my engine overheating a while back.

with the engine off, try spinning the fan. if it spins with some resistance then it's ok... if it spins freely, then chances are you need a new fan clutch - it costs about 70, and takes about 5 minutes to replace.

if fan clutch is ok, next step is to bleed the system before you do anything else. there are 2 bleed screws: one next to the expansion tank on the radiator and one on the thermostat housing (where the upper return hoes goes from the radiator to the place where they meet).

i had the same problem a while back and it was a cracked radiator... air kept going in, and it kept loosing coolant through there... and it would just keep overheating because the water pump was pumping more air then coolant... the only remedy while i was driving it like that and it started overheating was to put it out of gear and rev it a few times which sped up the coolant circulation... again if it goes up to the 3/4 mark on the temp gauge or above, shut it off and let it cool off... don't drive it because you might mess up the head.

anything above the half way mark on the temp gauge can be overheating because the temperature gauges are sometimes slow and in reality the engine might be at like 250 degrees and you might think it's 200.
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Old 01-10-2005, 08:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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HeyTorque

Way to go pal..excellent detailed clarification. Thanks
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Old 01-10-2005, 09:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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hey thanks a lot for the input.. I will see what i can find out tomorrow and update some more then.. thanks again!
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Old 01-11-2005, 03:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think it might be my fan clutch.. i could stop the fan rather easy while it was spinning.. but would this really cause the car to overheat??
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Old 01-11-2005, 03:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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That doesn't have to mean much. Test the fan clutch with the engine off like I said above. The fan doesn't spin real fast at any given time, and I guarantee I can stop mine even tho my cooling system is in perfect working order.

If it is indeed the fan clutch, it can cause the car to overheat. The coolant runs through the radiator sideways through those tiny pipes (water pump pushes it around), and the purpose of the fan is to cool off the pipes/coolant inside them. If the fan is not working right, all your water pump is doing is pumping hot coolant back and forth.
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Old 01-11-2005, 04:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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well, with the car off, it doesnt really spin freely...
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Old 01-11-2005, 06:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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sounds like a tight clutch...look somewhere else....BTW my previous question (D above) was if your electrical fan kicks in. Does it? remember this fan forces your temp needle to stay around the 1/2 mark when idling in traffic and/or AC is on.

Numberthree: try to be systematic in your troubleshooting; that is to follow a process of elimination for one component after another. As stated above:
1. Thermos
2. fan
3. Electrical fan
4. pubbles in the system
5. Finally the head itself....i.e. coolant at the spark plug holes; white smoke with/wihtout odor; oil floating above coolant; coolant mixed with oil head gasket type of a deal etc etc. I know too much is too much but............sorry
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Old 01-13-2005, 06:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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well, I went to check out the car today, since its warm out (its ALMOST 30) woohoo!!! I hate this cold.. and we are supposed to get around a foot of snow here tonight.. great.

I thought it was a clogged radiator for a bit.. but I am pretty sure its not.. Here are some symptoms i did not notice before that I saw today..

It starts bubbling out a little around the thermostat housing area.. Then I noticed some smoke and possible previous oil leakage around the valve cover area. I turned the car off, but then I couldnt start it back up.. It said Oil Press Sens... So my oil pressure is low?? I had to let it sit there for a bit, before it could start up again.. And of course it started oveheating... WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT??!? I am starting to want to look for a newer M20 engine, because this one seems to be driving me nuts.. Let me rephrase that. It IS driving me nuts!

btw.. my buddy has a pressure tester he just bought, so I will ask him to test mine and see whats going on..
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Old 01-21-2005, 03:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Also.. I checked what some of you have asked me to check:

1. Thermostat - new
2. Fan -works fine
3. Electrical fan -fine
5. Didnt see any coolant in the spark plug holes, although where the pressure release valve is, I found some little piece of yellow crap.. almost like a little booger.. looked rubbery.. Not sure what it was but it was small and covering the little hole..

Coolant in the radiator seemed to be ok, and the cars exhaust seems usual as well..
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Old 01-21-2005, 04:05 PM   #12 (permalink)
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hmm.. ok.. i just ran out to the car to double check that there was no oil in the coolant.. funny thing.. there is no coolant in the reservoir tank.. This brings me back to the original thought of the heater valve, core, and the hoses around it leaking the coolant.. Could that cause the problem?!? Because before today the coolant level seemed fine, and I didnt spill any right now in the 15 or so minutes that i was outside.. I did spill a little but not a reservoir tanks' worth.. My buddy was driving the car (never letting anyone borrow it ever again) when it overheated and he did saythat he had to add coolant a few times..
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Old 01-21-2005, 04:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If it was leaking anywhere even close to the heater core you would smell it. Mine leaks like a drop a month, and when it does... you better open the windows for a while or you might die.
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Old 01-25-2005, 05:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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My M20 overheated once and it cost me a fortune to put a new head on. The BMW mechanic I use said that whenever the coolant system is opened, bleed, bleed, bleed, and oh yeah bleed some more. I watched him when they called me saying my car was done and he bled it like 5-6 times before letting me have it. The reason being some of the hoses are higher in the engine compartment (or same height) than the bleeder screws.

Oh, I also put a parts store thermostat instead of a Bavarian original type and my mechanic said that even though they fit in there, they may not work correctly.

Just some pointers that may help, I would hate for someone to go through the same 2300.00 I did for a new head/install.

I would be curious on the pressure test. Make sure when he/you does it, that you remove all the spark plugs. If a cylinder leaks into another cylinder, your pressure may not reflect that, with all the plugs in. By taking all the spark plugs out the pressure will leak out the spark plug holes and show you which cylinders may be leaking.
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