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2001 540i fan problems

Discussion in 'E39 (1997-2003)' started by tspringy, Jan 9, 2011.

    tspringy guest

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    Hi everyone

    First I am new to the club so I am going to apollogize in advance if I start asking about BMW slang terms. I just recently bought a 2001 540i and was on my way home to Kennesaw, GA and when I went to pass a car I heard a boom from at the time I thought was from the bottom of the car. After passing the car in front of me I check in my rearview mirror and noticed some what I thought was white smoke coming from my car at first I thought maybe it was something I had hit and it was some form of powder but I also noticed that it wasn't going away so I pulled over to check it out. I first went to the bsck of my car and looked under the car and noticed that I had fluids coming from the front. I popped the hood and noticed that that my radiator fan was missing thinking that the fan belt must have gave out and took the fan and a radiator hose with it.:( I had the car towed back to my house I when the tow truck set my car down popped the hood again so I could take a better look at what happened since I had better light and to my surprise my belt was still intacted and the fan put some dents in my hood when it exploded and it looks like it pulled a radiator hose from the engine. I was wondering if anybody has had this problem or a problem like it in the past?
    I personally had never even heard of a fan doing anything like this neither has my father and he has been working on cars since he was in high school.
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    MGarrison

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    dms540i

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    Welcome to the club and, yes, you have been baptized by the famed e39 cooling system. You will no doubt want to overhaul the entire cooling system including radiator, expansion tank, hoses, water pump, thermostat, belts, pulleys fan clutch and anything the fan shrapnel broke on it's way out. If you search this site and the other popular bmw enthusiast sites and even google (use keywords i.e. cooling system components) you will find all you need to know and more. Good luck and report back with progress notes.

    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1555838
    http://bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/199986
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    granthr

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    Welcome to the club!!! Ouch sorry about your induction to BMW!!! I just bought an 03 540i sport recently. I replaced most of the cooling system but not the fan. I think now I am going to do that too!!!

    +1 on dms540's advice. Replace all damaged items and at a minimum do the radiator and expansion tank. But you might as well do the thermostat and water pump while you are in there. Don't forget the various gaskets and O rings.

    I put a Zionville radiator on my my, but replaced the expansion tank with the OEM unit and kept the crank powered fan.

    MGarrison did you buy that 540i then?
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    granthr

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    Is it true that the fan fails because of the fan clutch? So is best to replace just the clutch or both the clutch and fan?
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    MGarrison

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    Nope, but I did go and look at it. Nice car, but....

    Considering the the cost for replacing and painting the hood, the comparative cost of the fan and the clutch is relatively negligible, imo. I'd say replace the fan too. If it's a matter of the fan getting so marginal but holding in there only until the fan clutch seizes - well, who wants that kind of potential bomb underhood. I guess the fan blades become a replacement-interval maintenance item.
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    granthr

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    Yea my thoughts exactly!!! It will be a new fan and clutch then.

    M3Driver guest

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    It has also been noted that a Stuart water-pump is good to add to the mix as well. Mike Miller of Tech Talk swears by them as opposed to the OEM ones that seem to hand-grenade themselves. Our '00 528i destroyed itself at ~96k miles. I would have replaced it with one if we were not getting ready to sell it and used the OEM instead. OEM was cheaper.

    Turner (and others) sell them but the TMS link is below:


    http://www.turnermotorsport.com/html/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=STE 30330
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    granthr

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    The Stuart water pump does NOT fit the V8 engined cars. I would have bought one if I could have! :(

    M3Driver guest

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    Ahhh...sure didn't know that. Thanks for the info...:)

    tspringy guest

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    Sorry for the delay on getting back to every one but I got good news. I installed the zionvilles Radiator kit on to my 540 because of the other weaknesses in the cooling system. For everyone who is going to install or is thinking about installing the kit be prepared it is not a plug and play kit at all. and make sure to take the fan off so it will be easier to put the radiator in place. Now I do not have before pics because I was mainly to heart broken about my new car I have had for only a month and was only able to drive it for a week. :( Any way I have some after pics and pics from the old water pump. As you may be able to see the water pump housing is cracked that also happened when the clutch fan decided to go. I didn't find out till after I installed everything back in the car and started her up. So word of advice would to replace the water pump at the same time. Since I have some training for the USMC on monday till that saturday in Warner Robbins I will be taking a rental because A) the car isn't register and the Temp tag is expired and B) don't want to chance a long drive yet when I haven't drove her around town first to make sure everthing is good. Oh and a big FYI the nut on the clutch fan is REVERVSE THREAD. I lost a water pump pulley because I didn't get a clue.
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    granthr

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    Whats not plug and play??? I have a Zionville radiator in my 03 540i and it was plug and play for me. Now I kept the factory expansion tank and cooling fan. Looks like you went with the alum. expansion tank, which means I am assuming you now have an elec fan. Is this true or did you get the crank fan to work some how? If so, how?

    tspringy guest

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    I went with the electric fan and I was mainly taking about the electric fan not being plug and play it was a little more involved then I thought it would be.
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    granthr

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    Ah, that is why I kept the factory fan. I talked to someone at Zionville and they told me I would have to do some wiring for the fan. So I shied away from that to keep it simple. I just replaced the fan and clutch (b/c of this thread!!).

    tspringy guest

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    Well I am glad to hear you replaced the fan and clutch and at first I was a little afraid of the wiring but I have a friend who wired it for me I don't know if it works yet because we just wired it into a constant 12 volt wire and didn't use the ignition wire because wwe didn't want to do it wrong and fry the body control computer I believe it is called.
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    granthr

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    Once you get it all working let us know how the elec fan performs. Might be something I want to do down the road.

    tspringy guest

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    Alright for an update on the radiator install the electric fan works get and it is powerful it actually shocked me on how much air it moves. I had to tie it into the stock thermostat instead of the one that came with it. Just FYI I had to take it to the dealer because when the fan blew itself up it also took some power steering lines also. I was a little frustated and really didn't want to take on that project also. I still need a new hood so if anybody knows of a good website or if you live in GA and know of a junkyard that might have a hood I would be grateful.

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