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Old 01-31-2018, 03:33 PM
X5monsterBMW's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: West Sussex UK
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X5 4.8is Losing Coolant - but where?

Hi all - my X5 4.8is V8 E53 (Dec 2004 110K miles) has started to lose coolant... but where from - that is the question - I just don't know!

Makes a change not to be wrestling with air suspension & yaw sensor problems... car has been trouble free for 6 months!
Started new thread as not much on here relating?

In the 4.5 years I have had the car it has never really used any coolant to speak of - only once when reservoir leaked at the bottom and was replaced.

6 weeks ago 'coolant level low' sign came on dash info... I re-filled with coolant and anti-freeze as winter. To my surprise it took a lot to fill... since then I have been checking & topping-up every week. Not gone low enough for warning info to appear again.

There is no water in the oil - clean as a whistle... there is no oil in the water - also v. clean!
The temp guage is steady as a rock half way up - no change there. Vehicle still drives like a 'bat out of hell' & no misfiring either... no warnings at all in fact!

Driving at night I have looked for signs of steam from exhaust in rear view mirror when other cars have been behind with headlights - no sign of anything weird... Slight steam/smoke from exhausts when idling outside 1st thing in morn - however it has been cold here and I think the car has always done that????? Just not sure as never really taken notice. Someone said it could be a low level head gasket failure - can't see anyone on here who has had that - just a few with milky/foamy oil deposits- but not me!

Every week uses about 33cl per week (I know this as I use an old beer bottle) which in imperial is approx 0.6 pint. I normally do a couple of hundred miles a week - last week I did 400miles or so but the usage is v slow and steady.

I have had the car up on ramps now at my local BMW independent - the mechanic & I looked under & above every area of the engine - we can see no signs of a coolant leak...

Not really sure where to go from here - any ideas folks?
It is really bugging me now!


Last edited by X5monsterBMW; 02-01-2018 at 03:40 AM.
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Old 01-31-2018, 11:37 PM
andrewwynn's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Racine, WI
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Take off the "cloak of invisibility" that hides all things troublesome (the metal sheet under the engine) then park over some clean cardboard you will find your leak.

The foam eggcrate on top of the aluminum will absorb a lot more coolant than you are losing and slowly evaporate it to the atmosphere so you will not see any drips.

You might see an obvious wet spot right away on removal.

If that fails to find the leak quickly, put the aluminum back on without the foam and with clean cardboard on top drive for a few days I will bet a six pack you located the "lat and long" of that leak. Once you know which quadrant it's located, it will be a lot easier to find.

Tips: a UV Flashlight will help as coolant has florescent dye. You can add more marker dye if not Bright enough.

There are about 6 o-rings I can think of that will have a slow leak long before they cause a puddle. Mine recently leaked from the temp sensor in the lower hose

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E53 / M54 2001 3.0i gas LHD (pair of them: his & her)
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:57 AM
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 142
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There’s lots of things it could be. The most common is an internal o ring somewhere. Get a bottle of UV dye and UV flashlight. Specifically look at the front of the engine, behind the water pump for a small weep hole. If you see a small dye stream it’s the common cross pipe front o ring leak. The back o ring leaks down the back of the engine.

There’s a kit to fix it now. It’s not too expensive.


I used this one and it worked well. Prep, prep, and more prep! And follow directions exactly.


There’s split pipe solutions as well, but they’re a little more work.
2005 X5 4.4i SterlingGrau, Sport Package, DSP
Build 3/12/2005

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Old 02-05-2018, 02:34 PM
X5monsterBMW's Avatar
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Location: West Sussex UK
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Whistle Found the leak - unfortunately!

Hi chaps - wellllllll
Apparently it is the classic coolant transfer pipe front seal (N62 V8 Engine infamous 'Valley Leak') causing water/anti-freeze to spring from the 'weep hole' adj to the water pump on the front timing cover.... ££££arrrrrghhhhh££££

I am in UK but have spoken to Jeff Reed in person at Bimmer-Fix regarding his 'Stent' product.
In fact I called there (probably a little early as I did not realise he was 7 hrs behind in Tuscon)... he then called me back personally having seen the missed call - it really does not get much better than that does it?

OK not cheap fix considering carriage to UK (& probably a bunch of import & VAT) but better than the 'collapsible (telescopic) pipe' replacement + gasket set & labour to include removal of inlet manifold.... or worse still, BMW main dealer wanting to remove timing cover too to replace pipe with original @ over £100 per hour labour! (modern day highwaymen)

Back on the leak... although could not spot it at first it is now losing a shed-load of coolant - am very pleased that it got worse & showed it's hand - LOL (well not really a 'LOL moment'... but could have been worse - like a head gasket or other) !

So the part is winging its way to me via DHL even as we speak & I will fit it (or hav it fitted) Thurs 15th Feb (2018)
Will let you know how I get on - thanks for advice on here as per usual - invaluable eh!


Last edited by X5monsterBMW; 02-05-2018 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 02-05-2018, 04:19 PM
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Great! Keep us posted on the outcome. Photos are always welcome too.

Note: I used this on my drill and glued a screw bit to the sanding rod. Made the sanding much easier.


It looked something like this.

2005 X5 4.4i SterlingGrau, Sport Package, DSP
Build 3/12/2005

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Old 02-06-2018, 01:20 PM
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Location: waterbury, ct usa
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Mine has been "losing" coolant since it was new in 02.. I don't have any drops on the garage.. I just gave up and attributed it to the thirst of the bimmerGods..
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Old 02-07-2018, 09:57 PM
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electricalserv x5 is on a distinguished road
tell me about it ... go on facebook and see what I went through to try to fix my 4.8is................ 53 xoupost
2006 4.8IS
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Old 02-08-2018, 11:36 AM
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Old 02-13-2018, 01:33 PM
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How did you get on mate? I have to replace the thermostat on mine as it's stuck open - and I came across a DIY You Tube guide to using this pipe when researching it. All go smoothly? I was worried about gunking-up the inside of the tube with excess sealant?
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