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S54 Engine Coolant Pipe Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

S54 Engine Coolant Pipe Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$500

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, Socket set (10, 13)

Applicable Models:

BMW E46 M3 Coupe/Conv (2006)
BMW Z4 Coupe/Conv (2006)

Parts Required:

Coolant pipe sealing O-rings, coolant lines, coolant pipe

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Seal coolant leak from faulty pipe O-rings

Complementary Modification:

Replace water pump and thermostat

BMW Z4 models are equipped with a climate control system or HVAC (called IHKA by BMW) that automatically controls cabin temperature once a temperature is set on the HVAC control head in the center dashboard. IHKA controls air-conditioning, heating, internal blower motor operation and numerous air outlets. The electronic IHKA control module governs the operations of the following components:

  • Auxiliary coolant-pump in engine compartment - controls the flow of hot coolant to the heater core inside the IHKA housing underneath the center dashboard
  • AC compressor in the engine compartment - driven by engine accessory belt
  • Blower motor underneath the dashboard behind the glove compartment - motor speed modulated using the blower final stage
  • Air outlets - electric stepper motors attached to vent flaps control the flow of fresh or recirculated cold and warm air to windshield, face-level vents and foot wells
  • Engine cooling fan - IHKA microprocessor and engine control module (ECM) determine operation and speed of cooling fan

In the S54 6-cylinder engine two metal coolant pipes connect the water pump housing to the hoses at the rear of the engine. It runs behind the intake manifold. The pipe is sealed to the engine crankcase using rubber O-rings. These O-rings fail over time, causing a coolant leak down the left side of the engine. This coolant leak usually appears on the ground, at the rear of the engine in the transmission bell housing area, or near the left side front control arm. Before attempting this repair, read through the procedure and be sure you have the tools and the time it may take to complete the task.

Before doing any work on the cooling system, wait until the engine has cooled off.

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 for draining the cooling system for more info.

In the S54 6-cylinder engine two metal coolant pipes connect the water pump housing (green arrow) to the hoses at the rear of the engine (red arrow).
Figure 1

In the S54 6-cylinder engine two metal coolant pipes connect the water pump housing (green arrow) to the hoses at the rear of the engine (red arrow). It runs behind the intake manifold. The pipe is sealed to the engine crankcase using rubber O-rings. These O-rings fail over time, causing a coolant leak down the left side of the engine. This coolant leak usually appears on the ground, at the rear of the engine in the transmission bell housing area, or near the left side front control arm. Before attempting this repair, read through the procedure and be sure you have the tools and the time it may take to complete the task. In this tech article, I will go over how to replace the coolant pipe on an S54 6-cylinder engine. The first major step is to remove the intake manifold. See our tech article on intake manifold removing. The procedure will pick up with it removed. Next, remove the idle control valve and the throttle actuator. See the tech articles for those items.

With the intake manifold removed you now have access to the coolant pipes.
Figure 2

With the intake manifold removed you now have access to the coolant pipes. The upper coolant pipe is made of aluminum (red arrows), and the lower coolant pipe is made of steel (green arrows).

First, disconnect the coolant temp sensor electrical connector (green arrow).
Figure 3

First, disconnect the coolant temp sensor electrical connector (green arrow).

Next, using a flathead screwdriver, lever the heater hose (green arrows) clip (red arrow) away from the hose until it stops.
Figure 4

Next, using a flathead screwdriver, lever the heater hose (green arrows) clip (red arrow) away from the hose until it stops.

Pull the upper hose off the coolant pipe (red arrow).
Figure 5

Pull the upper hose off the coolant pipe (red arrow). Then remove the lower hose the same way (green arrow).

Working behind the alternator just below the oil pressure switch (red arrow), remove the coolant hose to the small coolant pipe (green arrow).
Figure 6

Working behind the alternator just below the oil pressure switch (red arrow), remove the coolant hose to the small coolant pipe (green arrow). Then remove the coolant pipe 13mm mounting fastener (yellow arrow).

Working below the starter, remove the 10mm fuel line-mounting fastener (red arrow).
Figure 7

Working below the starter, remove the 10mm fuel line-mounting fastener (red arrow).

Working between injectors 5 and 6, remove the fuel feed line (green arrow) clip (red arrow), by levering it out.
Figure 8

Working between injectors 5 and 6, remove the fuel feed line (green arrow) clip (red arrow), by levering it out.

Remove the three 10mm fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 9

Remove the three 10mm fasteners (green arrows). The throttle actuator should also be removed, if it hasn't been already (red arrow).

Use a flathead screwdriver and lever the fuel line out of the fuel rail.
Figure 10

Use a flathead screwdriver and lever the fuel line out of the fuel rail. Lever the mounting tab between the coolant pipe and tab (red arrow). Have a rag at the connection of the fuel rail to catch any leaking fuel.

Remove the six 10mm upper coolant pipe fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 11

Remove the six 10mm upper coolant pipe fasteners (red arrows).

Using a pry bar (green arrow) lever the coolant pipe out of the coolant housing (red arrow).
Figure 12

Using a pry bar (green arrow) lever the coolant pipe out of the coolant housing (red arrow).

Next, remove the upper coolant pipe as you did the small pipe.
Figure 13

Next, remove the upper coolant pipe as you did the small pipe. Using a pry bar (green arrow) lever the coolant pipe out of the coolant housing (red arrow).

Then remove the upper coolant pipe from the engine, by de-installing the front of the pipe first (red arrow).
Figure 14

Then remove the upper coolant pipe from the engine, by de-installing the front of the pipe first (red arrow).

Then remove the lower coolant pipe from the engine - front of pipe first (red arrow).
Figure 15

Then remove the lower coolant pipe from the engine - front of pipe first (red arrow).

Be sure the cylinder head sealing surfaces are free from pitting and debris (red arrow).
Figure 16

Be sure the cylinder head sealing surfaces are free from pitting and debris (red arrow). Check for smooth sealing surfaces at the coolant housing (green arrows). Replace all of the sealing O-rings. Then install the lower pipe, then the upper pipe. Secure them to the engine with the fasteners; install the coolant hoses. Before installing the intake, temporarily install the coolant components and pressure test the cooling system. Once you are sure it is leak free, reassemble the engine. Fill and bleed the cooling system.

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 02:58:40 AM