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  #1  
Old 07-23-2023, 12:21 PM
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Auxiliary cooling fan impending failure?

Recently had the opportunity to take my black 2005 X5 E53 3.0 on a little road trip from Central Texas to Charlotte, North Carolina and back (a solid 2500 miles). The car ran great, no problems at all.

A few times during the trip (and since we've been back) I've noticed that the auxiliary cooling fan is LOUD intermittently, much louder than normal. It comes and goes, and seems to be most noticeable when I first start the car, or occasionally when I'm sitting in traffic.

I'm wondering if this is a common failure mode for these fans and if I should replace pre-emptively. I replaced the one on my other X5 (2002 3.0) a couple of summers back, and when it failed it just stopped working altogether.

Any of y'all experience loudness before failure?

Best regards,
Chris
Lockhart, Texas
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2023, 01:36 PM
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It's probably the viscous fan that you are hearing. Either way maybe check that the problem isn't vibration from something out of balance more than "loud".
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Old 07-23-2023, 01:48 PM
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The OEM fan is loud at full speed. With temps @105F here, it will be running almost all the time. Plus, the mechanical fan engaging will sound louder too. It's bad. Even my A/C that can get to 42F is struggling a bit. Once it's going, it's good. The temps are crazy. I'm more worried about a cooling pipe breaking or something. Hook up a scanner and read temps as you are driving or sitting idle. Mine goes from 193-205F with current outside temps.
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Old 07-23-2023, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80stech View Post
It's probably the viscous fan that you are hearing. Either way maybe check that the problem isn't vibration from something out of balance more than "loud".
Good counsel for sure. When I first heard the noise, I went promptly into "What the hell is that??" freakout mode and pulled over and popped the hood. No noticeable vibration ... just noise! Visibly, the fan seems to be operating as usual.

Best regards,
Chris
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Old 07-23-2023, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X5chemist View Post
The OEM fan is loud at full speed. With temps @105F here, it will be running almost all the time. Plus, the mechanical fan engaging will sound louder too. It's bad. Even my A/C that can get to 42F is struggling a bit. Once it's going, it's good. The temps are crazy. I'm more worried about a cooling pipe breaking or something. Hook up a scanner and read temps as you are driving or sitting idle. Mine goes from 193-205F with current outside temps.
I hear you! We - the car and I both - are no strangers to the heat, and while this summer is hot here (and in so many other places right now, too) it doesn't seem that unusual for central TX. I've seen 113 on my car's thermometer in the past, and the highest it has registered this year is 106. Even with those kind of brutal temps, it's an unusual noise for the car. Charlotte NC barely hit mid-90s while I was there, and I still heard the fan noise at times.

I'm thinking I'm just going to live with it, see what happens, and have the replacement on the shelf for when the time comes. It's not a job that I particularly look forward to, but it helps that I've already done it once. :-)

Best regards,
Chris
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Old 07-23-2023, 03:51 PM
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Nice RT...

As mentioned, the OEM fan is LOUD at full speed. Not so much a noisy mechanism, just a LOT of wind noise as it pulls air through the grills and shoves it through the radiator.

I check mine with INPA at every oil change and without the engine running to cover the racket, it's bonkers loud.
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Old 07-23-2023, 03:54 PM
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consider getting a high cfm aftermarket (puller) electric fan

Quote:
Originally Posted by 80stech
It's probably the viscous fan that you are hearing. Either way maybe check that the problem isn't vibration from something out of balance more than "loud".
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bottomfeeder View Post
Good counsel for sure. When I first heard the noise, I went promptly into "What the hell is that??" freakout mode and pulled over and popped the hood. No noticeable vibration ... just noise! Visibly, the fan seems to be operating as usual....
I had a noisy viscous clutch fan that worried me (though the clutch felt good? & just tight enough, I didn't want blades coming loose just now), so an electric fan conversion was my first priority. But, after I compared it to the still perfect viscous fans on my two trucks ('98 GMC 1500 & '04 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, the only vehicles I had not converted to or supplemented with electric fans, since 1990), I determined that it had too much play. As well as seeing it slightly wobbling and emitting a bearing-type squeal when running, and after I removed it, finding several blades that were chipped/cracked/delaminating, I was quickly sold on the electric fan conversion https://xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-forums/...ric-fan-4.html (my fan conversion tale starts with post #40). I also tested the auxiliary fan, and saw no problem with it, so it stayed.

The fan I used is almost as loud as the OEM fan I replaced, but in a reassuring way, at least to me. I set it to come on at about 183F IIRC, and in the two years I've had it, I've not seen the coolant temperature rise above 196F (after many stops in slow traffic, in summer). Normally, it has been at 188-194F, even during a shopping trip the other day, in 109F ambient temperature.

With this fan, the sound reassures me it's working (as does the coolant temperature remaining low, displayed on my Torque Pro app, on my dash-mounted tablet). I've had many aftermarket fans in 30+ years, with only two ever stopping (none permanently):[list][*]1) a Hayden fan blew a too small rated fuse, and the other time,[*]2) a Flex-a-Lite fan stopped when the "many-times used (on other projects)" relay failed (got a replacement immediately, as I saw the temp rising as I approached an autoparts store). I carry a complete set of fuses, and a brand new replacement relay, in the X5 trunk.

I never considered staying "stock" with a replacement clutch fan, since my X5 is my driver (though not daily) and project car...I have no need to keep it looking "factory", nor pristine (too late, anyhow), so I used the cooling fan solution that I always go to, that works for me.
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Old 07-23-2023, 03:58 PM
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The bearings in the viscous clutch certainly don't last forever...



https://youtu.be/kdhRraCZorA
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Old 07-23-2023, 04:00 PM
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Yikes! I too have had the fan concern and temporary failure...(in the spring)...https://www.xoutpost.com/showthread.php?p=1219986 Replacement is easy for me and the 1st generation e83 226k. After that last scare I have now in my possession 3 (used) in waiting...however, it will do me no good if I have failure while out on the road on a trip...unless I pack the thing with me.

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Last edited by getty150; 07-23-2023 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 07-23-2023, 05:38 PM
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Loud often from the temp getting too hot. At full speed the fan is quite loud. Monitor temp using hidden menu I think option 7
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