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Old 12-05-2014, 02:27 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Vashon, WA
Posts: 72
rcasey is on a distinguished road
Water Pump DIY Sad Story

Hopefully your outcome will be happier than mine.

'08 E70 3.0SI, 80K miles, Active Steering and Active Sway Bar, preemptive change out of water pump and t-stat. Pump is VDO OEM pump, supplied in BMW OEM packaging.

I'd replaced the radiator two years ago due to a leak, so I had some familiarity with the cooling system. I read everything I could find, IT-Texan's article was a very good source. I wrongly assumed that I could pull the pump with t-stat still connected. Bad assumption, EVERY thing attached to the pump must come off. Period!

Best advice I found was remove the aluminum plate below the engine, and remove all of the plastic inside the R fender. Still, visibility will be limited.

To drain the coolant and to remove the pump, two of the three connections to the radiator must come off, pulling the radiator makes perfect sense, takes 5 minutes longer, and gives a lot more room for working, and you WILL need this room.

Biggest hurdle for me is knowing how 'fasteners' are holding things together. I do NOT break stuff while working. So trying to figure out how the connectors on the radiator work, or how to unplug electrical connectors consumes a bunch of time. But at the end, everything goes back together leak free and zero electrical problems.

The sad part: I missed the clue when the VDO pump was well wrapped in a string of those air inflated packing strips. A visual inspection revealed no problems. About 5 hours were consumed getting everything apart, and yes, lots of coolant everywhere. 3 hours getting it all back together and the filling began, and an instantaneous very big leak.

Visibility is very limited and with a very unhappy spouse pouring coolant into the expansion tank and me crawling under the car with coolant running all over me and the floor, I was able to localize the leak as somewhere on the plastic impeller casing. The pump had to come out.

My assumption is that someone had bought the pump, returned it unused, but without the original packing, some well meaning person repacked the pump, and back into the supply chain it went. Somewhere in shipping or storage, the pump got dropped on its nose, and a crack occurred. I purchased the pump, t-stat, new serpentine belts, main and AC, tensioner, and idler, from ECS Tuning. They are very easy to work with and my preferred vendor. A call to ECS had a new pump on its way and a warranty claim in progress.

Knowing how everything is connected, and already having figured out the myriad of tools required to get around the corner and thru the limited space, I was able to pull the pump and t-stat in about 1 hour.

The new pump will be in hand next week! This time, I will block the outlet with my hand and try to draw a vacuum with my mouth. This 5 second test would have saved a lot of aggrevation and time.

Dick Casey
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Last edited by rcasey; 12-05-2014 at 03:35 PM. Reason: clarification
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