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Pelican Technical Article:

Radiator Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$350

Talent:

***

Tools:

T20 Torx driver, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 528i xDrive Sedan (2009-10)
BMW 528i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 530i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 530xi Wagon (2006-07)
BMW 535i xDrive Sedan/Wagon (2009-10)
BMW 535i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 535xi Wagon (2008)
BMW 545i Sedan (2004-05)
BMW 550i Sedan (2006-10)
BMW M5 Sedan (2006-10)

Parts Required:

Radiator, coolant reservoir, vent hose

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Proper engine cooling

Complementary Modification:

Inspect or replace coolant hoses

Automobile radiators are made out of a core of linked narrow passages connected via two side tanks. The core is metal and made of stacked layers, pressed and soldered together to form channels. Traditionally, radiators were made of brass or copper cores and attached to brass side tanks. Radiators in today's vehicles are made of aluminum cores attached to plastic side tanks. This keeps cost down and saves weight.

In automobiles with a liquid-cooled engine, a radiator is connected to passages in the engine where liquid coolant is pumped through via a water pump. This liquid is a mixture of water and glycol (to prevent freezing).

The radiator cools the engine by transferring the heat from the fluid inside the engine to the outside air. Radiators are also used to cool transmission, engine oil and power steering fluids on many modern automobiles and on some vintage cars (in terms of engine oil).

When a radiator begins to fail, you'll notice that the car tends to overheat at high engine speed, such as driving on the highway. When you accelerate, the engine temperature will rise, when you idle the engine, it will return to normal range. Now, this is not always indicative of a failing radiator, but a good starting point. Of course, there are also leaks that occur at the side tanks of the radiator and the plastic side tanks can crack, causing major loss of engine coolant. You will have to remove the electric cooling fan to replace the radiator. These cooling fans are troublesome. I would suggest replacing it while you have it out. Inspect both radiator hoses and replace if necessary. Check for dry rot or splitting and examine to see that the sealing O-rings are in good shape.

In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with replacing the radiator on BMW E60 models. Be sure to work with a cool engine and confirm that the cooling system lacks pressure before opening the cooling system.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had parts 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. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. 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 radiator-cooling fan. See our tech article on radiator cooling fan replacing.

8-cylinder engine: Working at the intake air duct, pull the vacuum line (green arrow) off the air duct.
Figure 1

8-cylinder engine: Working at the intake air duct, pull the vacuum line (green arrow) off the air duct.

8-cylinder engine: Using a flathead screwdriver, loosen both intake air duct hose clamps (green arrows).
Figure 2

8-cylinder engine: Using a flathead screwdriver, loosen both intake air duct hose clamps (green arrows).

8-cylinder engine: Once the clamps are loose, pull the air duct off the throttle housing.
Figure 3

8-cylinder engine: Once the clamps are loose, pull the air duct off the throttle housing. Then pull it off the intake air box. Place the duct aside.

Working at the top of the radiator support, remove the ten T30 Torx fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 4

Working at the top of the radiator support, remove the ten T30 Torx fasteners (green arrows).

Lift the radiator support in the direction of the green arrow to remove it.
Figure 5

Lift the radiator support in the direction of the green arrow to remove it.

Then, flip the radiator support (green arrow) over and rest it on the top of the engine.
Figure 6

Then, flip the radiator support (green arrow) over and rest it on the top of the engine.

Working at the top of the radiator, remove the five T25 Torx fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 7

Working at the top of the radiator, remove the five T25 Torx fasteners (green arrows).

Then pull the coolant reservoir / radiator vent hose out of the plastic mounts (green arrows).
Figure 8

Then pull the coolant reservoir / radiator vent hose out of the plastic mounts (green arrows). Be careful, as these hoses become brittle over time and can break (yellow arrows). These break about 30% of the time. Have one on hand if you are not sure of the condition of yours.

Working at the top of the cooling fan, remove the AUC sensor by pulling it in the direction of the green arrow, then lifting up and removing.
Figure 9

Working at the top of the cooling fan, remove the AUC sensor by pulling it in the direction of the green arrow, then lifting up and removing. Place it out of the way, on the right side of the engine compartment.

Lift the plastic cover up and off the radiator in the direction of the green arrow.
Figure 10

Lift the plastic cover up and off the radiator in the direction of the green arrow.

Working at the left side of the radiator, remove the hose clamp (green arrow) from the radiator vent hose.
Figure 11

Working at the left side of the radiator, remove the hose clamp (green arrow) from the radiator vent hose. You can either pry it open or cut it off. You will have to replace this clamp when replacing the radiator, as it is single use. Once the clamp is loose, remove the hose from the radiator (inset).

Working at the upper radiator hose, use a flathead screwdriver to lever out the coolant hose retaining clip (green arrow).
Figure 12

Working at the upper radiator hose, use a flathead screwdriver to lever out the coolant hose retaining clip (green arrow). Be sure to pull the retaining clip out until it rests at the stop (yellow arrow).

Then disconnect the radiator outlet temperature sensor by pressing the wire release (green arrow) and pulling it straight up.
Figure 13

Then disconnect the radiator outlet temperature sensor by pressing the wire release (green arrow) and pulling it straight up. The red arrow points to the coolant leak from the sensor. I will have to replace the sensor to remedy the leak. Then, at the lower radiator hose, use a flathead screwdriver to lever out the coolant hose retaining clip (yellow arrow). Be sure to pull the retaining clip out until it rests at the stop.

Next, remove the coolant hoses from the radiator.
Figure 14

Next, remove the coolant hoses from the radiator. The green arrow indicates the left hose being pulled away from the radiator. This can be tricky. The hoses have been attached to the radiator 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 radiator slightly, you can use a flathead screwdriver to gently lever the hose off while pulling. Now be very careful with this technique, as everything you are prying on is fragile.

To remove the radiator, pull it out of the radiator support upward and out of the engine compartment.
Figure 15

To remove the radiator, pull it out of the radiator support upward and out of the engine compartment. Note the large amount of debris stuck in our subject vehicle radiator. E60 radiators seem to collect a great deal of debris. If you have poor cooling or poor A/C operation, you can check to see if your radiator is plugged like this one.

If your radiator is plugged but not leaking like this one is, you can spray water from the engine side of the radiator (low pressure) to clean the debris out.
Figure 16

If your radiator is plugged but not leaking like this one is, you can spray water from the engine side of the radiator (low pressure) to clean the debris out.

If you are replacing your radiator hoses, you will have to swap the radiator outlet temp sensor (yellow arrow) over.
Figure 17

If you are replacing your radiator hoses, you will have to swap the radiator outlet temp sensor (yellow arrow) over. Be sure to inspect the hoses for damage. The green arrow points to a broken O-ring retainer on a hose.

To replace the radiator hoses, use a flathead screwdriver to lever out the coolant hose retaining clips (green arrows).
Figure 18

To replace the 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).

Then, remove the coolant hoses from the thermostat housing.
Figure 19

Then, 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. Now be very careful with this technique, because everything you are prying on is made of plastic and can break. Lower the new radiator into the engine compartment and install it on the radiator support. You will want to check that the radiator is properly engaged to lower the radiator support. The way I do this is, once the radiator is installed without the fasteners, I pull on the bottom of the radiator. It should stay put. If it pulls out, you did not get it in correctly. You'll have to lift if up and try again. Once it is installed properly, reassemble the hoses and the radiator support covers. Then install the cooling fan and fill and bleed the cooling system. Run the engine and double check for coolant leaks. 

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Comments and Suggestions:
Peter Comments: Hi there,
Your parts page has two different radiators, and says: "Check part number of original radiator before ordering"

Do you know where this number is located, and where I would look on my car/radiator to find it?
Thanks!
May 4, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The number should be on the side tank, on a white sticker or printed in white ink. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:23:01 AM