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Radiator Outlet Temperature Sensor Replacing
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Radiator Outlet Temperature Sensor Replacing

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$60

Talent:

**

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 (2000-06)

Parts Required:

Engine coolant, radiator outlet temperature sensor

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Repair faulty sensor or remedy coolant leak

Complementary Modification:

Replace radiator hose

BMW E53 X5 models utilize a radiator outlet temperature sensor that's located in the right side radiator hose. The sensor monitors coolant temperature as it leaves the radiator. The sensor reading is used by the DME to determine when the electric cooling fan is activated. The sensor can fail electrically. A fault code will be stored and the MIL (malfunction indicator lamp) will be illuminated. The radiator outlet temperature sensor might be the cause of a hard to find coolant leak. The sensor is mounted in a plastic section of the right side radiator hose. There is a sealing O-ring that normally prevents leaks in the system. Over time, this O-ring fails and creates a coolant leak. At first, it will be a small leak and you may notice a small amount of coolant under the right side of your vehicle or the coolant reservoir coolant level slowly dropping. If you have a small, yet hard to locate coolant leak, start by inspecting this sensor. If it's in your budget, replace the lower radiator hose also as preventative maintenance. Replacing the radiator outlet temperature sensor is a snap and can be done working above the engine on the right side of the radiator.

Lift and support the front of the vehicle safely. See our tech article on lifting your BMW E53 X5.

Remove the engine splash shield. See our tech article on splash shield removing.

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

Remove the radiator cooling fan. See our tech article on radiator cooling fan replacing. This step can be optional, as I have been able to sneak sensors in and out without removing the fan. It is a tight fit, but if you have small arms, you should be able to make it happen. On models with automatic transmissions, it is even more difficult to do without removing the fan, as the cooler blocks access to the sensor.

This photo shows the sensor on an 8-cylinder E53 X5 model with an automatic transmission.
Figure 1

This photo shows the sensor on an 8-cylinder E53 X5 model with an automatic transmission. You can see just how hard it is to access.

8-cylinder engine: First we have to remove the intake air duct that runs from the throttle housing (yellow arrow) to the mass air flow sensor (green arrow).
Figure 2

8-cylinder engine: First we have to remove the intake air duct that runs from the throttle housing (yellow arrow) to the mass air flow sensor (green arrow).

8-cylinder engine: Working at the fresh air intake, remove the four plastic rivets (green arrows).
Figure 3

8-cylinder engine: Working at the fresh air intake, remove the four plastic rivets (green arrows). Use a pair of pliers (inset) to remove the center rivet. Once all center rivets have been removed, pull the duct up to detach it from the vehicle.

8-cylinder engine: Then lift the duct up on the left side while detaching it from the duct (green arrow) on right side.
Figure 4

8-cylinder engine: Then lift the duct up on the left side while detaching it from the duct (green arrow) on right side.

8-cylinder engine: Working at the mass air flow sensor, loosen the hose clamp using a flathead screwdriver (green arrow).
Figure 5

8-cylinder engine: Working at the mass air flow sensor, loosen the hose clamp using a flathead screwdriver (green arrow).

8-cylinder engine: Working at the throttle housing duct, loosen the hose clamp using a flathead screwdriver (green arrow).
Figure 6

8-cylinder engine: Working at the throttle housing duct, loosen the hose clamp using a flathead screwdriver (green arrow).

8-cylinder engine: Next you will have to rotate the throttle housing duct up toward the left side of the vehicle in the direction of the green arrow.
Figure 7

8-cylinder engine: Next you will have to rotate the throttle housing duct up toward the left side of the vehicle in the direction of the green arrow. This will detach it from the mass air flow sensor. Once it is detached from the mass air flow sensor, pull the duct off the throttle housing. There are two small hoses you have to disconnect in the following step. Be careful not to damage them during this step.

8-cylinder engine: Working at the bottom of the intake air duct, detach the plastic line by squeezing the release collar (green arrows) while pulling the line off the duct.
Figure 8

8-cylinder engine: Working at the bottom of the intake air duct, detach the plastic line by squeezing the release collar (green arrows) while pulling the line off the duct. Then pull the vacuum hose (yellow arrow) straight off the duct to remove it.

8-cylinder engine: When removing the duct, be sure not to misplace the rubber duct seal (green arrow).
Figure 9

8-cylinder engine: When removing the duct, be sure not to misplace the rubber duct seal (green arrow). The seal will either stay inside the duct or remain attached to the throttle housing.

Working at the radiator outlet temperature sensor, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the wire release tab (green arrow) and pulling the connector off.
Figure 10

Working at the radiator outlet temperature sensor, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the wire release tab (green arrow) and pulling the connector off.

To remove the sensor from the hose, squeeze the plastic locking tabs on the sensor (green arrows) and pull the sensor out of the radiator hose in the direction of the red arrows.
Figure 11

To remove the sensor from the hose, squeeze the plastic locking tabs on the sensor (green arrows) and pull the sensor out of the radiator hose in the direction of the red arrows. Be prepared to catch any excess dripping coolant in a container when you pull the sensor out of the hose. I like to keep my drain pan under the area of the hose. To install a new sensor, lubricate the sensor O-ring with clean engine coolant. Then push it into the radiator hose until both of the plastic mounting tabs engage. Then connect the electrical connector and reassemble the intake air duct and cooling fan. Fill and bleed ther cooling system.

If you suspect the sensor is good and the wiring or voltage to be faulty, disconnect the electrical sensor (green arrow) as noted above.
Figure 12

If you suspect the sensor is good and the wiring or voltage to be faulty, disconnect the electrical sensor (green arrow) as noted above. Use a DVOM check voltage to the sensor, with the Key ON and engine OFF. Pin 1 should have 5 volts. Pin 2 should have close to zero volts. If your voltage readings do not match, you may have a faulty wire or control module. Consult the most current wiring diagram for your vehicle.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Jmichel Comments: Ok
August 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: np - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:24:07 AM