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M54 6 Cylinder Engine Thermostat Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

M54 6 Cylinder Engine Thermostat Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

****

Tools:

Set of sockets 10, 11, 13mm, screwdrivers

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i/xi Sedan (2004-06)
BMW 530i/xi Sedan (2004-06)
BMW 530xi Wagon (2006)

Parts Required:

Thermostat, hoses, engine coolant

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Car will cool down again or restore function of heater

Complementary Modification:

Change radiator hoses

BMW E60 models utilize an electrically heated engine thermostat. Other cooling system components consist of:

  • Radiator and coolant overflow tank.
  • M54 and 8-cylinder engines: Belt driven coolant pump bolted to the front of the engine block.
  • N52 and N54 engines: Electric coolant pump bolted to the right front of the engine block.
  • Electric cooling fan attached to rear of radiator. The cooling fan is controlled by the engine control module (ECM) via an output final stage.
  • Automatic transmission cooler (heat exchanger).
  • Heater valve and heater core (for climate control).
  • Coolant level sensor inside expansion tank.
  • Coolant temperature sensor at cylinder head.
  • Radiator outlet temperature sensor
  • Coolant hose and lines.

The ECM controls and monitors operation of the thermostat. Controlling the thermostat function according to a map allows the engine management system (DME) to raise engine operating temperature quickly and precisely to the optimal range and to maintain it in the optimal temperature range for maximum efficiency and minimum emissions.

If a fault occurs in the thermostat, a fault code is stored in the ECM, usually with a description of "Map cooling circuit". A fault code can be present, yet the vehicle will lack any cooling system issues, such as overheating. This is because the thermostat has a fail-safe mechanical function as well. If you have this fault code, replace your thermostat and bleed your cooling system. Other symptoms of a faulty thermostat are engine overheating, slow to warm up and lack of heat.

In this article I will describe how to replace the thermostat in your M54 engine. Be sure to work with a cool engine and confirm the cooling system lacks pressure before opening the cooling system.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Drain the cooling system. See our tech article on cooling system draining and filling.

Remove the engine-cooling fan. See our tech article on radiator cooling fan replacing.

When replacing the thermostat (green arrow), I suggest replacing both coolant hoses (yellow arrows) that connect to it.
Figure 1

When replacing the thermostat (green arrow), I suggest replacing both coolant hoses (yellow arrows) that connect to it. Many times I have replaced a thermostat, filled and bled the cooling system, only to find an O-ring on one of the coolant hoses has failed and leaks. If you are on a tight budget, be sure to thoroughly clean the hoses and O-rings before reinstalling them to the thermostat.

Working at both radiator hoses, use a flathead screwdriver to lever out the coolant hose retaining clips (green arrows).
Figure 2

Working at both radiator hoses, use a flathead screwdriver to lever out the coolant hose retaining clips (green arrows). Be sure to pull the retaining clips out until they rest at the stop (yellow arrow).

Next, remove the coolant hoses from the thermostat housing.
Figure 3

Next, remove the coolant hoses from the thermostat housing. The green arrow indicates the left hose being pulled away from the thermostat housing. This can be tricky. The hoses have been attached to the thermostat housing for quite a while and may not come off easily. You will want to pull the hose off, while rocking it back and forth. Be careful not to damage the hose if you plan to reuse it. Once the hose moves off the thermostat housing slightly, you can use a flathead screwdriver to gently lever the hose off while pulling. Be very careful with this technique, as everything you are prying on is made of plastic and can break.

Working at the top of the thermostat housing, locate the thermostat electrical connector.
Figure 4

Working at the top of the thermostat housing, locate the thermostat electrical connector. Press the thermostat electrical connector wire-retaining clip (green arrow) and remove the electrical connector from the thermostat housing by pulling it straight off.

Then, remove the 11mm engine lifting eye nut (green arrow).
Figure 5

Then, remove the 11mm engine lifting eye nut (green arrow). This will help with removing the thermostat. Then, remove the 13mm upper thermostat mounting fasteners (yellow arrow).

The lifting eye (green arrow) will not come off.
Figure 6

The lifting eye (green arrow) will not come off. The lifting eye is blocked by the VANOS oil line (yellow arrow). Don't worry. It only has to be loose. The thermostat can sneak out from behind it.

Remove the three 10mm thermostat mounting fasteners.
Figure 7

Remove the three 10mm thermostat mounting fasteners.

Remove the thermostat and thermostat housing from the engine.
Figure 8

Remove the thermostat and thermostat housing from the engine. Be prepared to catch dripping coolant in a drain pan.

Using a plastic scraper and a Scotch-Brite pad, clean the thermostat-sealing surface.
Figure 9

Using a plastic scraper and a Scotch-Brite pad, clean the thermostat-sealing surface. It is important not to use a metal scraper or razor blade here. You could damage the sealing surface and the thermostat seal (green arrow) will not seat properly, resulting in a leak. Once clean, confirm the sealing surface isn't pitted. It if is, it may not seal correctly. You may have to add some epoxy and sand it down to get a smooth and even sealing surface. I see this happen more on older BMWs. Install the new thermostat and evenly tighten all the fasteners. Install the engine lifting eye nut and tighten it. Install the coolant hoses. Listen for an audible click to confirm the retaining clips have engaged. A small amount of new coolant can be used to lubricate the coolant hose O-rings. This will make installing the hose easier. Connect the thermostat electrical connector. Install the cooling fan and fill and bleed the cooling system. Remember to check the cooling system for leaks and top up the coolant when complete.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Shaquille Comments: Hey nick so I have a question like everyone else. So I have a 2004 530i. I was wondering what my problem could be. So when I turn on my ac it only blows at half. When I try to put it at max no go it's been doing this for a while and ibe been trying to figure out what the issue is. I've tried re charging. It takes forever for my a/c to become cold
August 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Blower speed is likely the final stage resistor. See this article:
http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/BMW-E60/66-ELEC-Blower_Motor_&_Blower_Motor_Resistor_Replacement/66-ELEC-Blower_Motor_&_Blower_Motor_Resistor_Replacement.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
CNEVES Comments: Would I need to remove the fan on a 520i e60 m54b22 motor? Thanks
August 13, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Presise Comments: Hi. When I purchased my 2005 530i last year the AC cold temperature worked but the heat was barely luke warm, especially out of the face vents. Slightly warmer from the floor and defrost vents. I got the heater control valve replaced. I don't even know if the original one was bad. But there was no change to the temperature.

Recently I got my BMW CCC radio unit replace and they actually put a 2008 radio CCC and 2008 temperature control in my car. Suddenly all of the vents blew the same luke warm temperature and not the variation like before, but still not hot.

Later that day I notice that my engine fan started blowing on high continuous for the first time as soon as i start the car. After a few days I decided to disconnect the fan because of the noise until i can figure out the issue. Then magically I started getting hot air through all of my vents. Strange! But then when I turn the AC on cold... no more cold air.

I'm confused. Can it be the thermostat or something messing with AC and the engine fan???
January 30, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would assume you have poor coolant flow to the heater core. Could be the hater valve or water pump.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mitch Comments: Nick
2004 BMW 525i E60 M54
I got a Question the other day I got a Service Engine Soon Light So I scanned it and I noticed that all my Monitors were normal READY but the scan Code error was P1447.

So I Google it and found the following that other BMW folks had issue with P1447. First replace Gas Cap and turn Service Engine Soon Light off if it comes back on with same code then replace the DMTL pump.

@ Cold Start the car does Shake it has been like that for a while.

Thanks
November 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This fault is usually the DMTL pump. I always run the test using my scan tool, it will fail. Then I check if the system is sealed, if so, I replace the pump. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mitch Comments: Nick

I got a Question on my 2004 BMW 525i m54. When its Cold out side and I do a Cold Start the Car Shakes, only when its cold out side and do a Cold start but, other wise the Car runs fine. All monitors are are ready ever since you recommended I replace the Thermostat. its been like that for about a year.
October 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be a vacuum leak or a fuel delivery issue. I would perform a fuel delivery system test. Check fuel pressure, volume and quality.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mitch Comments: Update All Monitors are currently up the 02 and the CAT are back up after replacing the Thermostat.
Nick we had to use non sterile water mixed with some BMW Coolant. But now I bought a Gallon of BMW Coolant and 4 Gallon of Sterile water because I want to remove all the old Coolant and what I added. Any recommendation on how to remove all of it out. The Car is a 2004 BMW 525I E60 m54
Thanks Nick
September 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. I am glad to help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mitch Comments: Nick then I should be safe Draining about 1/2 a gallon on the Coolant ?
September 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sure, give it a try. Clamp off the hoses like I suggested to avoid spilling. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mitch Comments: Nick Question I am going to replace the thermostat on my E60
and I am working on a tight beget, will buy one gallon of 100% Coolant, due to the fact that I will not drain the Coolant Fluent. I will obviously lose some fluent when removing the Hose and the thermostat compartment, But also will have the front end of the car Lifted. Question do I have to drain all the Coolant ?
September 17, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may be able to get away without draining it. Try clamping off the hoses to avoid spilling the coolant. Just replace whatever spills out.- Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:23:34 AM