For those with paranoia panicking or on the verge of nervous breakdown over their time ticking fan clutch, no worries. No worries. This DIY is a very simple process that will help almost anyone swap out their fan clutch with absolute ease.
I too was once a paranoia beast owner thinking that the upcoming heat season would for sure kill my fan clutch. I did some research on the ways to test your fan clutch such as poking/trying to stop at the fan with the end of a 11ft broom stick while the car is running. I didn't find that method too useful for me so I said what the hell and just ordered a new fan clutch, and also because I don't know if the previous owner had it replaced or not.
Getting down to business:
Ordering the new fan clutch:
BMW E39 M5 Fan Clutch (11527502804)
This is by far the cheapest place that I've found, even my local BMW dealership was charging around $200, and that's with employee discount. Plus they don't have it in stock and you'd have to wait for it to come in.
- 1 1/4" open end wrench. This is a rather large size and you can easily find it at any local car parts/tool store.
- Allen key or hex/star key. It's actually allen but I didn't have the right size but hex/star key set worked just as well. Unfortunately I don't remember the T size, but it's one of the smaller/medium ones.
IMPORTANT: The fan clutch nut has reverse thread so you have to unbolt it spinning it to the right.
A few pictures before the swap:
Brand new fan clutch:
1 1/4" wrench:
Using the 1 1/4" wrench, fit it over the old fan clutch nut and give it a quick
hard yank to the right. The trick here is to do it fast and it will knock it loose, after that you simply unscrew it until the whole thing comes off. Carefully navigate the fan up and out of the engine bay. This is what my fan/fan clutch looked like:
As you can see it was VERY dirty, but the fan clutch seemed to be in good condition. Here are 2 up close pictures of the fan clutch:
Unbolt the 3 allen screws using one of the earlier mentioned tools. These are pretty easy to remove, shouldn't take more than 2-3 minutes. After I removed the fan clutch I decided to give the fan a good cleaning using car wash soap. I also decided to clean the dirty fan clutch as I'm keeping it simply because it looked okay and I may need it for whatever reason in the future.
After everything was cleaned, screw on the new fan clutch onto the fan.
Make sure you put the fan on the correct way as the original position:
I knew the re-bolting of the fan clutch would be a PITA because I knew there is very limited space where the fan bolts up. It's an awkward position so take your time. The trick here is to use spin the fan blades to hook the thread and when it finally grabs it's all gravy from there. Use your 1 1/4" wrench and give a quick yank to the left to tighten the nut.
*pops open beer*
Special thanks to Cal @ JLeviSW for providing assistance