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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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BMW water pump rant.

I recently upgraded from an e36 to an e92 328i and put the e36 up for sale. Just 10 minutes before the potential buyers showed up from about 4 hours away, the e36 shed the radiator fan blades in a spectacular fashion on the way to the meet spot. I recognized the noise and killed the engine right away and coasted to a safe place. Upon opening the hood, I noticed that the fan clutch was way misaligned and whatever blades held on, were a few mm from contacting the upper radiator hose and the radiator mesh. At this point it was clear that the water pump shaft had come loose for one reason or another. Needless to say another few seconds of running the engine could have easily shredded the radiator and some hoses. Luck was on my side.

In a way I'm glad that the water pump took a sh!t on the way to the meet spot and not during a test drive or if the guys had bought it, on their way back.

Fast forward a week or so and I finally found some time to dig in, and pick apart the cooling system to see what the damage was. Sure enough, the fan clutch wobbled like a newborn's head but I didn't see any punctures or leaks from the flying blades. I sighed in relief and went to take it out.

Taking out the water pump is normally a tedious, but not a tough job. Not with my car... The infamous fan clutch nut was seized to the water pump shaft with military grade rust and no amount of penetrating oil or leverage would brake it loose. The thing is, the fan clutch is usually the first to come out and all else follows in a systematic, and simple fashion with plenty of clearance to reach bolts and nuts. With that ability gone due to a clingy fan clutch, my options became quite limited and I had to more or less figure things out on the fly.

The solution presented itself when I leaned on the radiator and nudged it a cm or so. I decided then to take out the radiator and the shroud to give myself enough space to reach about the fan clutch. The radiator, the shroud, and the air box all were extracted. This gave me enough space to take out the water pump and the fan clutch as a single unit. Some details aside but I'll tell you that it's a b!tch of a method because of the low clearance between the water pump pulley and the water pump bolts. But it all came out in the end but not before puking whatever coolant was left in the block all over the ground.

Fast forward a few hours and I managed to take off the fan clutch from the water pump shaft on a work bench using some unorthodox methods. But in the process I got a chance to pick apart the water pump and find out the cause of all of this mess.

As it turns out, like the previous owner had told me, the water pump was replaced with an upgraded unit that has a metal impeller. What I found out though, is that he likely got the cheapest possible upgraded water pump which used a plastic bearing body to hold the shaft in place. This plastic body shredded itself and loosened the shaft. So a common failure (overheating due to a degraded plastic impeller) was replaced by a less common but a more dramatic one.

I have all of the new bits aligned and mentally preparing myself to put it all back together now.

The moral here is: When you buy upgraded replacement parts, don't cheap out and do proper research. Otherwise stick to OEM...



You can see the busted fan blades and the pump the fan clutch is attached to by the mess from the coolant puking out of the water pump throat. The radiator and the shroud are along the left edge and the air box is near my tool case.

/Rant

tl;dr

Upgraded water pump was a cheap POS.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 11:15 AM
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Welcome to the wonderful world of E36 (and E46) cooling systems. My old 330xi's coolant tank exploded on the lift while they were enchasing front end issues and so we did the full cooling system replacement at that time.

One of the many "wonderful" experiences I had with my BMW, my favorite was when the CCV froze in "harsh" Minnesota winter conditions and it started spewing a quart of oil out the exhaust from the pressurized oiling system while I drove it to the shop 15 miles away. That fun took out all four o2 sensors and the cat.

Sold it right after; never owned a car that sapped money quite like that one did.

My E36 was pretty reliable, however, why I bought the "newer" one.......

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, been there before with my old R53 Cooper S. That thing chewed through two expansion tanks while I owned it.

What sucks in this scenario is that the previous owner had all the right intentions and actually upgraded/refreshed the cooling system - new radiator, thermostat, pump, and associated piping. But it was poor choice of the pump that caused this mess. Outside of replacing the standard wear items though, this thing has been solid otherwise.

I actually considered grabbing an e46 330ci before deciding on the e92. Kinda glad now that I didn't with some of the horror stories like yours.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Shameless double post, but I'm far too excited.

The job is done-ish! It took just less than an hour to put this thing back together compared to the three-plus going the other way around. It's nice to have nice shiny new bits that are rust-free. Now all that's left is a coolant flush and that's a job almost too simple to even mention.

Total list of new parts:

-Water pump
-Accessory belt
-A/C belt
-Box of M6 nuts, since I rounded one off while taking the water pump off
-Radiator fan blades

Swears and other non-PC exclamations:

-During removal: 18,785
-Reassembly: 2



As a side, does anybody have a clue what that hose is that's running on the passenger side of the engine bay by the windshield washer reservoir?
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 07:48 PM
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If memory serves me isn't that your air injection pump for the exhaust?

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Bingo! That's it. I was wondering who the hell put a vacuum cleaner in there.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-28-2016, 12:56 PM
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LOL wait until you get to replace the electric water pump on the new ride. Big moneys and they don't last.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-03-2016, 08:26 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, don't joke man. I'd like to live in blissful ignorance for a bit.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 08:56 PM
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Just had a horrible experience with my e90. A couple months ago I took it to the dealership due to it burning excessive amounts of oil and that smell making its way into the car while driving. Well there were a couple oil leaks that they took care of under the warranty. I also had some major alignment issues that were eating up the tires. That I had to pay for out of pocket though. That was about 4 months ago when I lived in San Diego. Fast forward to my cross country move to Key West Florida. About the time I hit Orlando I noticed a slight vibration in the pedals and steering wheel. I finish my move and start work not caring too much because I use the RR as my dd. Well The closest dealership is in Miami (3 hours away), so I drive it up there one Saturday morning. They proceed to tell me the same exact alignment issue is happening and that's the cause of the vibrations. I tell them that's bs and it was just repaired. There is no reason whatsoever it should be bad again since I have no been in an accident or even hit a curb or anything. These damn cars know everything you do so I know they can verify that. They also tell me I have an oil leak. I told them I would not be paying for any of it and they will bill the San Diego dealership. Two days later I get a call from them saying they have multiple leaks and only one was previously repaired so that's the only one that's covered by warranty. My actual warranty apparently ran out two months ago. I had a few other minor things I asked them to look at fixing and they quoted me over $3k to fix it all. I laughed at the lady and told her there was no way I would give them anything near that amount of money. Ended up only having the one leak fixed and plan to sale this money pit asap. Going back to a truck since I miss having one. Going to go with a new 2017 Tacoma TRD Off Road. Moral of the story, BMW's are super nice but the instant it hits 100k miles you should get rid of it and don't ever take it to a dealership.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 02:48 AM
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My old 2007 328i had the water pump go out. Cost me $600 to have it changed since I didn't have the tools to do it myself.

RIP Phatty

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyoha View Post
So a common failure (overheating due to a degraded plastic impeller) was replaced by a less common but a more dramatic one.
Ah...German Engineering. It used to be the stuff of legends but I've heard that it's not what it once was.

I was up at my cousin's shop the other day and heard him cursing and swearing up a storm. He said, "come here, I want to show you something". He had a BMW up on the hoist and the starter bolts were....that's right...ALUMINUM. It was something to see.

All starter bolts are usually pretty big items made of steel. There's a reason for that. Here some bright light at the BMW factory decided changing to aluminum bolts was a good idea. If you know anything about starter bolts you'll understand right away why this was incredibly stupid. In fact, you don't need an engineering degree (as the person that created this feature had) to understand that they are going to break....

Just look at the CBR 600. How many aluminum bolts does it have? This, in an application that is redesigned at will to reduce weight by as much as possible where Honda (like every other manufacturer) proudly makes press releases saying they saved this many ounces over here and that many over there. The caliper bolts are steel - but they are drilled out. To reduce weight. They are not aluminum. Only an idiot would do that....

And yet BMW did exactly that on.... starter bolts. I could see something like that being tested on...let's say...a plastic talilight lens that bears no weight or load. But on a starter bolt? You have to be kidding. Might as well use aluminum bolts on the connecting rods too. And hey, don't forget, another really great place to try out aluminum fasteners would be the lug nuts and studs on the wheels.....

So much for the master race!

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-29-2016, 05:32 PM
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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Can't say that it isn't a strange place to use aluminum but keep in mind that the loads from the starter cranking are pretty far below what this aluminum can take. Running a shotgun search didn't yield any complaints from folks' starters falling off. Though I did see a bunch from Corvette owner's forums where they broke off the starter mounts on the block. <Insert redneck jokes here>.

Again, it's strange, but not entirely unreasonable. There are plenty of other pesky places where the Germans did stupid though. One being that the CIC hard drive partitions are hard as hell to expand for more music storage, and the fvckwit placement of the windshield washer reservoir along with the pathetic plastic the pumps are made of...
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 06:40 PM
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Again I lol, wait until the aluminum bolts holding the front and rear sections of the transmission on your Mercedes S550 snap and put the cars in limp/2nd gear only mode. MB will quote you a new trans. Smart repairs guys will completely take the trans apart and replace the bolts. Either way its money. Lots of it. Aluminum bolts are super duper common in German cars. The only one thats actually quality is porsche, they are like the honda/toyotas of the german world. Everything else Germans make is complete and utter crap.

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