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  #1  
Old 11-16-2017, 02:59 PM
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*SOLVED* Soft Fail Thermostat?

With the colder temperatures here I am noticing my temp gauge on the X5 a little cooler than what I think is correct. It runs much cooler on the freeway than in normal stop and go traffic.

Below is the shot on the highway running 65 MPH (a little cool) and the one below that is sitting in traffic (spot on)

I was under the impression the temps should always remain in the normal straight up buffer zone? Thoughts?
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Last edited by Overboost; 11-17-2017 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 11-16-2017, 03:06 PM
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Verify the actual temperature with hidden menu item 7 I believe. Temp should rise quickly to 90C and stay there. By the time the "gauge" (more of an indicator light with a needle) shows less than noon you've probably been running below operational temp for months.

If temp verified below 85-90 get a new OEM t stat and change it out it's not a difficult job just plan to remove the fan/shroud. Learn the 1-1/4 " wrench and hammer method. It's so easy I remove the fan for most front of engine repair. I replaced mine two winters ago when I couldn't get cabin heat. The needle still went to noon erroneously reporting normal temp for months when I finally noticed as ambient temperature got close to freezing the needle wouldn't get to top center.


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Old 11-16-2017, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewwynn View Post
Verify the actual temperature with hidden menu item 7 I believe. Temp should rise quickly to 90C and stay there. By the time the "gauge" (more of an indicator light with a needle) shows less than noon you've probably been running below operational temp for months.

If temp verified below 85-90 get a new OEM t stat and change it out it's not a difficult job just plan to remove the fan/shroud. Learn the 1-1/4 " wrench and hammer method. It's so easy I remove the fan for most front of engine repair. I replaced mine two winters ago when I couldn't get cabin heat. The needle still went to noon erroneously reporting normal temp for months when I finally noticed as ambient temperature got close to freezing the needle wouldn't get to top center.


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I ran a couple of errands this afternoon and the temp never dropped where it was this morning on the highway but with the needle straight up noon, Torque Pro reporting 87 to 88C. I will have to wait until tomorrow morning to run it to check the readings where the needle has been running on the highway.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:13 PM
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I fought with one of these last year. New Wahler stat to replace the 3mo old Behr stat; no change.

Turned out to be a bad heater valve. Even with the heater off, I was always circulating coolant through the core. With the heat off, feel both outlet hoses, neither should be hot.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:16 PM
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Ouch on the not the t-stat but if the heater valve open, if the t-stat is functioning the coolant temp will get to temp and stay there. Are you saying the heater core kept the needle fake gauge from hitting top center?
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:25 PM
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This is great input guys thank you for responding. Scott ZHP brings up a interesting scenario. While I do not think my cabin is sending heat in on the Mrs. and I, this did seem to start after turning off the AC compressor for the winter.

From all my reading, the immediate call was a soft fail thermostat. Keep the suggestions coming.

BTW Andrew, I have modified my E46 temp gauge buffer to show actual values but the X5 is still the stock fake gauge.
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Last edited by Overboost; 11-16-2017 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overboost View Post
I ran a couple of errands this afternoon and the temp never dropped where it was this morning on the highway but with the needle straight up noon, Torque Pro reporting 87 to 88C. I will have to wait until tomorrow morning to run it to check the readings where the needle has been running on the highway.
great you have torque working that's the best way to verify; watch torque while initially heating up; the temp fake gauge will 'snap' to noon when it gets to something like 65C or so i forget what it's set to (with the right tools can be re-programed to non-stupid; sadly i don't have those tools).

When mine soft-failed I would get full temp and not overheat but when ambient was very cold the coolant temp would never get over 60C so i could tell something was wrong (in addition to that when really cold (like -10C), i would get no cabin heat; i had 2 or 3 trips to/from chicago where i had to stop for 5 minutes to let the engine warm up so i could get heat out of the dash to complete my trip.

The t-stat had a soft-fail where it wouldn't close off completely, it would open just fine to prevent overheat, but was likely never over 70C for months, i just didn't know because of the moronic non-gauge 'idiot needle' on the dash. Now i check time-to-time to make sure the temp is normal suing dash command (my version of torque). I like the interfaces in dash command and some fun things like automatic 0-60 and quarter mile times as well as instantaneous horsepower.

If you have a soft-fail open t-stat you won't achieve full operational temp when it's cold ambient, but when ambient is not that cold you will. I'm curious about the heater valve, and that's a good test anyhow to make sure it's working (that the heater hose should be cool not hot when no demand for heat).

Another low-heat situation is if coolant is low; apparently no indicator on 01 e53 even though the coolant reservoir has the sensor it's not hooked up; my reservoir recently sprung a leak and it took 'too long' to get cabin heat even though dash command reported coolant temp was fine. quick check on level and it was 2L low; topped it off and heat came back immediately i didn't figure out for a week what was the source of the low coolant.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewwynn View Post
Ouch on the not the t-stat but if the heater valve open, if the t-stat is functioning the coolant temp will get to temp and stay there. Are you saying the heater core kept the needle fake gauge from hitting top center?
Pretty much. Both stats were fine, but the needle rarely ever centered, and never in under half an hour. Normally, it takes all of 2-3 minutes. It would get there after 20 mins of highway driving, but it was obvious that something wasn't right and it wasn't a thermostat issue (no P0128 code thrown either). This was also Jan/Feb, so freezing in PA.

I yanked the heater valve; the coil in one was bad and the seals were gone in the other. Both were circulating coolant to the heater core all the time.

New heater valve and all was well.
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Old 11-16-2017, 06:01 PM
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You got cabin heat though? This is some great feedback I'd hate to go down the wrong rabbit hole when wife's x5 follows mine. I'm about 20k miles ahead of her but maybe 1000-1500 hours less (so I'm not too surrounded her fuel pump failed before mine but interesting that our CPS each failed within 2000 miles of 130,000 miles.


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Old 11-16-2017, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewwynn View Post

If you have a soft-fail open t-stat you won't achieve full operational temp when it's cold ambient, but when ambient is not that cold you will.
Exactly the conclusion I have come to from my reading. I do want to rule out all other options before diving in and throwing parts at it.
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