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70-k5 09-30-2014 02:45 PM

Help with a coolant leak
 
So years prior my sister took our 2004 X5 4.4 to the dealership and they replaced the waterpump.

I had an issue and turned out to be the expansion tank, for $55 I ordered a new one online and installed it with three hoses and a screw, not quite the labor intensive project the dealership seemed to want to charge me for. I think the quote was $375?

So flash forward a year and I notice a spot under the X5 and the next day it is bigger, then it is really big and running down the street.... I deduce that it is not oil but the coolant collecting what grime is under there and initially presenting like an oil leak however once significant coolant leakage ensues the puddle clears up. Unfortunately the puddle is also getting bigger....

It will not leak while running. The expansion tank is dry. When the car is turned off it will start leaking from somwhere... It seems that the coolant is leaking onto the ground instead of being returned to the expansion tank.

I took the front cover off last night and thought I could see it coming from a weep hole way up on the front of the motor, it was impossible to see any source of leaking from the front. I'm an old school push rod V8 kind of guy, I know how to fix things I just don't know what things are on the 4.4 motor.

Any ideas or experience to offer?

Also, the pump at the front of the motor close to the ground on the passenger side, is this the power steering pump? OR does it have to do with the transmission?

garrett.fell 09-30-2014 04:10 PM

Look up N62 coolant pipe leak. That might be it.


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garrett.fell 09-30-2014 04:20 PM

The pump you speak of sounds like the AC compressor - location wise.


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bcredliner 09-30-2014 04:39 PM

If the weep hole is behind the pulley that turns the fan you are likely looking at the water pump. That's what they do when they start to fail.

garrett.fell 09-30-2014 05:06 PM

The fan is electric on the N62. No pulley involved. I thought the coolant pipe leak showed itself via leaking from the weep hole on the front of the motor


Thankfully not an issue with my car at this time at 111k miles.


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bcredliner 09-30-2014 06:03 PM

Can you take a picture of where the coolant is leaking?

Helihover 09-30-2014 07:25 PM

Where are you in Portland? I might be able to lend an extra set of eyes:)

70-k5 09-30-2014 08:42 PM

I'm in West Linn, I'll grab some pictures to describe the issue.
And I feel like an idiot... pump is drivers side.

Helihover 09-30-2014 08:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 70-k5 (Post 1010741)
I'm in West Linn, I'll grab some pictures to describe the issue.
And I feel like an idiot... pump is drivers side.

Well I'm in Oregon City. Let me know ...

I wouldn't mind cruzing over for a bit.

jcp240z 09-30-2014 10:58 PM

The n62 motor still has a waternpump pulley. It just does not have a mechanical fan attached.

70-k5 10-01-2014 11:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by garrett.fell (Post 1010718)
Look up N62 coolant pipe leak. That might be it.

With further internet investigation this is a leading suspect... I am less than thrilled with the potential diagnosis as the internet reports $9-$12K to repair this problem...

I see there are two fixes, one just inserts a pipe in the front of the tube and solves one end of the pipe, the other involves a little more labor (10-15 hours) and a special collapsible pipe.

Since the trade in value of this X4 is only about $7,500 I'm not about to spend more than that to keep it on the road. To make crap worse, I'm moving to a rental house today so I can start demolition on my kitchen, living, dining, entry way... not a lot of spare time to fix anything myself, or to even go new car shopping which isn't in the budget either...

bcredliner 10-01-2014 11:44 AM

There are less expensive ways to fix a coolant pipe leak. The attached is interesting and likely the least cost. I don't know if anyone has tried it and found it successful. I am not fond of additives to coolant but that is from years of history. Might want to check it out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UABuZYvI3SM There are some other methods that will come up if you search BMW coolant pipe leak.

70-k5 10-01-2014 11:56 AM

That is a good plan, but won't it only fix the problem is the front seal is leaking... What if it is the rear seal that is causing the problem, the magic leak stop won't really fix that will it?

Leading me to fix number 2 and removing the intake manifold.

How tough is it to remove the intake anyways? I've got tools and a nice shop, just never worked on newer stuff. Any specific tools that are needed? Are the gaskets reusable or do I have to replace them like on old Gen I SBC applications?

bcredliner 10-01-2014 12:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 70-k5 (Post 1010833)
That is a good plan, but won't it only fix the problem is the front seal is leaking... What if it is the rear seal that is causing the problem, the magic leak stop won't really fix that will it?

Leading me to fix number 2 and removing the intake manifold.

How tough is it to remove the intake anyways? I've got tools and a nice shop, just never worked on newer stuff. Any specific tools that are needed? Are the gaskets reusable or do I have to replace them like on old Gen I SBC applications?

The claim in the video is the additive takes care of other potential leaks. I don't consider gaskets reusable. That's the reason I would look for folks that have used this method.

I haven't searched but it is quite likely you can find a diy step by step here or perhaps on youtube. Newer stuff can be intimidating if only for the electronics removing the intake is about a 4 on scale of 1-10 with ten being most difficult.

70-k5 10-01-2014 12:19 PM

I've been doing a lot more searching and found a guy with a great writeup.

The difference between the front seal and the rear seal is what makes me start leaning towards the cheaper fix.
Totally different designs.
Another one bites the dust... (coolant transfer pipe on N62) - Page 2 - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums
http://i1117.photobucket.com/albums/...T3339Large.jpg

bcredliner 10-01-2014 12:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 70-k5 (Post 1010843)
I've been doing a lot more searching and found a guy with a great writeup.

The difference between the front seal and the rear seal is what makes me start leaning towards the cheaper fix.
Totally different designs.
Another one bites the dust... (coolant transfer pipe on N62) - Page 2 - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums
http://i1117.photobucket.com/albums/...T3339Large.jpg

Right, it is unusual the rear seal is a problem.

garrett.fell 10-01-2014 05:22 PM

Removing the intake and valley pan to expose the coolant pipe isn't all that hard. Just a bit time consuming. Probably the hardest part is disconnecting all the little damn plugs so you can get the wiring harness out of the way


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70-k5 10-02-2014 01:24 AM

Well the dealership couldn't get to it today so tomorrow morning I should know the fate. I hate spending money on diagnosis but I guess it saves me time replacing parts willie nilly.

bcredliner 10-02-2014 01:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 70-k5 (Post 1010946)
Well the dealership couldn't get to it today so tomorrow morning I should know the fate. I hate spending money on diagnosis but I guess it saves me time replacing parts willie nilly.

Good plan.

70-k5 10-03-2014 12:25 AM

Well $130 wasted to tell me that it is the coolant pipe...

Estimate was just over $13k.

Took to second shop, they're going to look into the aftermarket collapsible replacement pipe.
I just don't have time right now... to do it the recommended way they will be about $5-$7k.

If nobody does it the reasonable way we're going for a rental car and I'm ordering parts....

X5only 10-03-2014 12:46 AM

What is the coolant level in the reservoir when the engine is cold? Is the end of the red float aligned with the upper edge of the filler opening? If not, you could be experiencing exactly what I went through with my X5 2005 4.4- over-pressurized cooling system due to coolant overfill. I replaced reservoir twice due to cracks causing leaks and coolant leaking from under the car when it sat for 3 or more days. Finally discovered I was overfilling the coolant (red float all the way up). Simply correcting the level fixed the leak and no more cracking reservoir.

70-k5 10-03-2014 02:18 AM

Coolant level is empty.. wish it was that simple.

garrett.fell 10-03-2014 08:29 AM

That's a bummer. Yes - the BMW "way" is very involved and involves a *lot* disassembly. I recall reviewing information on this at one time that suggested all german auto (the guys who make one of the collapsible pipe designs) did it for $2-3k. 5-7k just seems like too much $$$.


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70-k5 10-03-2014 04:13 PM

Thanks to all you guys who helped with input on this thread.
I talked to Freeman Motors in Portland, OR.

Their impression was that the Bimmerfix stint was the best option. They feel that it is as good as it gets for the cost. They did quote me $995 for the job which included the kit, new upper and lower radiator hoses assuming that they weren't replaced when the waterpump was done two years ago, and a waterpump gasket.

While they're at it they also quoted me:

Power steering hoses (leaking) $350
Thrust Rods (worn) $585
Outer CV Boot (ripped) $400

They're also going to reset my airbag light that has been on since I removed the front seats to install a stereo.
I have a good feeling about this shop, anybody with input on these repair charges feel free to chime in.

garrett.fell 10-03-2014 04:58 PM

The power steering hoses might only be leaking from the bottom of the reservoir. This is often the case. You can just cut the old clamps off with a Dremel and install your standard hose-clamp for a couple bucks. The hose stiffens after a while and leaks but if you install new clamps it'll squeeze the stiffened rubber enough to stop the leaking. Worked for me!




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70-k5 10-10-2014 01:48 PM

Well mechanic, 'bmw master technician' was impressed with the Bimmerfix kit. He said it worked well. They did get a laugh at the tube of special sealant which turned out to be juat a paper label taped over a tube of permatex.

They test drove a few times and say it's good to go.

drgeeforce 10-14-2014 02:37 PM

I had a number of issues with cooling system on all my BMWs, if it wasn't the expansion tank leaking, it was the radiator, or the hoses. The 200 expansion tank cap is probably too high, so I bought a 180 and most of my problems have gone away.

X5only 11-01-2014 09:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 70-k5 (Post 1012038)
Well mechanic, 'bmw master technician' was impressed with the Bimmerfix kit. He said it worked well. They did get a laugh at the tube of special sealant which turned out to be juat a paper label taped over a tube of permatex.

They test drove a few times and say it's good to go.

How is this fix holding up?

Bulk 11-03-2014 06:15 AM

I haven't read all of the posts here as I don't have time but as I recently fixed my coolant leak in my N62 and did my own coolant transfer pipe replacement (The ORO pipe).

Turns out it was my radiator. I replaced pipes, the coolant transfer and all o-rings, the expansion tank as it was really starting to shit me, it kept going so I did a real thorough inspection of every inch of the system and found a very small rust spot on a metal section at the top of the radiator. The problem is because it is a pressure system you fix one spot it just pops the next. The radiator was always the main culprit but once I had everything else buttoned up it gave me the signs that I could see.

Anyway radiator replaced and it all was fixed... hope that helps

talljames 03-12-2019 05:34 AM

Hi Guys, it seems the coolent expansion tank is a common problem. Recently I had my cooling system upgraded with new water pump, radiator, hoses. I started noticing I was loosing coolent. I have been topping up for a while and now it is mostly just water circulating so my temp is now up to 105 deg c instead of 90 deg C. I have a e53 2005 4.4i v8. Anyway, I have on many occassions put more water then what they say. I can now see signs of the coolent expansion tank or the pressure cap leaking. I assume the extra pressure should release the water somewhere (through the cap?). But, perhaps I have 1) damaged the coolent expansion tank; 2) created air pockets in the heater control valve (causing the inside cabin heating not to work); 3)caused a problem with the auxillary coolent pump.

StephenVA 03-12-2019 11:01 AM

Every expansion tank will fail. Over filling is the number one cause of premature failure. The cooling systems in the E53/E39 etc uses the expansion tank as part of the water flow as opposed to other systems where it is only used to bleed off excessive pressure and then return the volume on cool downs. In the BMW engineering it is used to hold X amount with the expansion capacity built in, hence the failures due to over filling.

Pressure test your cooling system, replace the expansion tank if there are ANY leaks, replace your cap. Double check the vent tube and hose that runs on top from the filler neck, and always fill only to get the dip to come up to the neck opening. DO NOT fill up the expansion tank all the way with fluid.
Lots of articles on this process posted all over the DIY Articles and elsewhere as it is a common issue.

bcredliner 03-12-2019 05:34 PM

Was the work done on the cooling system because there was a leak and it has not been fixed or did the leaking start after the work was done?

talljames 03-13-2019 01:17 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Not sure on that last question but Found the leak. Yep, expansion tank at the back under the seam. Was hard to see. So, new one needed and cap. I understand there is a way to bleed out air pockets with the cap off. Anyone know the process? Also, need to get some coolent in the water sooner rather than later.

bcredliner 03-13-2019 04:14 PM

Shouldn't have to do anything more than fill tank to proper level, start the engine, turn on heater and fan, let it run until it gets to operating temp and then slightly open the bleed screw, leave open until fluid rather than air out. Let it cool down and then refill expansion tank to proper level. System should be bled. However, I usually go through the process a second time after I have driven for 50 miles or so.

talljames 03-14-2019 06:03 AM

Great, thanks for your comment.


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