BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,227 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
All,

I have seen comments that it is nearly impossible to properly change the anti-freeze yourself. Is this really true? Is so why? I can't believe a company that made changing the oil filter so convient would not make changing the anti-freeze possible for the DIY'er.

Tell me it's not so!

Mark

btw - What anti-freeze would you replace the OEM fluid with?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,515 Posts
MAH said:
All,

I have seen comments that it is nearly impossible to properly change the anti-freeze yourself. Is this really true? Is so why? I can't believe a company that made changing the oil filter so convient would not make changing the anti-freeze possible for the DIY'er.

Tell me it's not so!

Mark

btw - What anti-freeze would you replace the OEM fluid with?
You absolutely must burp and purge all air from the engine cooling system. I've heard of many E39 owners doing this wrong. I don't know if the M5 procedure is in TIS, but you darn well must follow it. Novices who try antifreeze replacement in their back yard are taking a real risk. If the engine has a trapped air pocket in it from inproper procedure, it can block circulation & cook your $18K motor in a couple miles. The temp gauge will not react or show overheat with an air pocket present. It'll all be over in a few minutes as gaskets pop and heads warp...except for the sobbing.

As for antifreeze, I chose to stick with the $14/gal blue BMW stuff. It'll cost you a whopping $8 extra every few years to stick with BMW stuff compared to aftermarket. I hear Zerex has a product out for Euro cars that has Mercedes approval....might be OK. Nobody makes an antifreeze with BMW certification. If you switch brands, you'd better flush the motor out with about 5 gallons of distilled. This is not an easy task to do properly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,227 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
So we are talking taking my car into the dealer to change the anti-freeze?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :eek: There has to be a better way. Has anyone done it themselves?


Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,353 Posts
Truly, besides the risk of cooking your motor, it's really a messy job that I'd just as soon someone else do. It is important to use only BMW certified antifreeze or else you'll run into corrosion problems. You only do this every few years so I don't feel so bad about leaving this to the dealer (or qualified independent).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,227 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Need4Spd said:
Truly, besides the risk of cooking your motor, it's really a messy job that I'd just as soon someone else do. It is important to use only BMW certified antifreeze or else you'll run into corrosion problems. You only do this every few years so I don't feel so bad about leaving this to the dealer (or qualified independent).
How often does the manual reccommend a change? I know I am lazy not reading it myself.

I am still not understanding how BMW has a corner on the market for anti-freeze protection. How is the official BMW anti-freeze better than other source?

Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
444 Posts
MAH said:
How often does the manual reccommend a change? I know I am lazy not reading it myself.

I am still not understanding how BMW has a corner on the market for anti-freeze protection. How is the official BMW anti-freeze better than other source?

Mark
I believe the current BMW spec. is to change the coolant every three years (it may have been recently increased to four years), either at the end of the free maintenance deal or just beyond it.

With respect to the BMW-brand anti-freeze, BMW is fairly tight-lipped about the composition and what makes it special. I have been told that BMW specifies a low-silica formulation similar to that used by high-performance motorcycles for the past 10-15 years, on the basis that BMW water pump seals do not require the presence of an abrasive in the coolant to keep the seals from leaking. The corrosion inhibitor additives are also said to be more biased towards protecting aluminum than some discount store brands, but BMW also has to address bi-metal (iron block/aluminum head) situations in some of its models (3 series) with the same product.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of the above, but I consider the price premium for BMW anti-freeze to be cheap insurance for an engine that is as expensive as the S62 in case this is right. I personally recommend changing the coolant at no more than 2-year intervals. This is time and not mileage-dependent. It is a lot better to prevent corrosion than deal with the consequences afterward. Also, BMWs tend to have a lot of small-diameter passages between the block deck and the head, and these are readily blocked by corrosion deposits.

The above having been said, it is for practical purposes impossible to fully change the coolant using DIY methods. The block drains are not accessible. An exchange machine is needed. The best you can do in the garage is drain and refill the radiator 3-4 times, with a few days of driving between changes. This will dilute the old coolant down to about 10%, but you will throw out quite a bit of "new" coolant in the process. If only the radiator is drained and refilled, you will avoid the trapped air pockets that Lscman warns about. I will observe that BMW engines do not like trapped air in the head cooling passages; on race cars, I drill a few 1/8 inch holes at the top of the thermostat body to facilitate full purging and install a steam bleed to the overflow tank at the highest point in the system.

Regards, Dick Roberts
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,227 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
RRoberts said:
I believe the current BMW spec. is to change the coolant every three years (it may have been recently increased to four years), either at the end of the free maintenance deal or just beyond it.

With respect to the BMW-brand anti-freeze, BMW is fairly tight-lipped about the composition and what makes it special. I have been told that BMW specifies a low-silica formulation similar to that used by high-performance motorcycles for the past 10-15 years, on the basis that BMW water pump seals do not require the presence of an abrasive in the coolant to keep the seals from leaking. The corrosion inhibitor additives are also said to be more biased towards protecting aluminum than some discount store brands, but BMW also has to address bi-metal (iron block/aluminum head) situations in some of its models (3 series) with the same product.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of the above, but I consider the price premium for BMW anti-freeze to be cheap insurance for an engine that is as expensive as the S62 in case this is right. I personally recommend changing the coolant at no more than 2-year intervals. This is time and not mileage-dependent. It is a lot better to prevent corrosion than deal with the consequences afterward. Also, BMWs tend to have a lot of small-diameter passages between the block deck and the head, and these are readily blocked by corrosion deposits.

The above having been said, it is for practical purposes impossible to fully change the coolant using DIY methods. The block drains are not accessible. An exchange machine is needed. The best you can do in the garage is drain and refill the radiator 3-4 times, with a few days of driving between changes. This will dilute the old coolant down to about 10%, but you will throw out quite a bit of "new" coolant in the process. If only the radiator is drained and refilled, you will avoid the trapped air pockets that Lscman warns about. I will observe that BMW engines do not like trapped air in the head cooling passages; on race cars, I drill a few 1/8 inch holes at the top of the thermostat body to facilitate full purging and install a steam bleed to the overflow tank at the highest point in the system.

Regards, Dick Roberts
Great information here, thanks. I am guessing from what you have mentioned that the radiator contains about 20 to 25% of the cooling fluid for the entire system. Why would you not drain the radiator, fill with water? Run the engine a minute or so. Drain the radiator again, fill with water, repeating this process four or five times until almost all of the old anti-freeze has been cycled out. It would appear that this would avoid the air pocket problem while at the same time draining most of the old fluid.

Of course the problem would now be how to get the new fluid in and just as important, how to measure the amount of good fluid in the mix once you are done.

Ok, maybe it goes to the dealer, but I hate taking my car to any dealer and for this kind of maintenace I really hate it!

Mark :grrrrr:
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
10,445 Posts
RRoberts said:
An exchange machine is needed. The best you can do in the garage is drain and refill the radiator 3-4 times, with a few days of driving between changes.
Regards, Dick Roberts

Thanks for posting this Dick. My dealer told me they had a machine to do coolant flushes, and I was a bit skeptical. They also said this is why bmw uses the quick release hose fitting on the upper hose, to plug into the car's cooling system.
Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,515 Posts
MAH said:
Why would you not drain the radiator, fill with water? Run the engine a minute or so. Drain the radiator again, fill with water, repeating this process four or five times until almost all of the old anti-freeze has been cycled out. It would appear that this would avoid the air pocket problem while at the same time draining most of the old fluid.
The dilution method does work, but unless you pinch the radiator hoses shut, draining the radiator also drains a significant portion of the coolant system from the motor. This rad drain procedure will not drain all coolant from block water jacket, but it will definitely drain water from the heads via the water pump bottom hose. I assumed two water jacket drain plugs were located in the same spot as 4.4L and 4.6L V8's -> near the motor mounts, just below the headers. Perhaps the 5L motor is different. Anyway, fluid at points above the water pump will flow out of the motor thru the lower radiator hose & there is no check-valve preventing this from happening. Again, loss of engine coolant from the cylinder heads (located well above the water pump and lower hose connection) will introduce air that needs purged using the "somewhat involved" BMW procedures. What this boils down to is if you don't want to follow the BMW TIS procedure, you should leave it to the professionals.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,610 Posts
I've always heard NEVER to mix conventional coolants with BMW long-life coolant as the result will be a gel. Here's the lowdown on coolant types - no I didn't write this but it's been widely circulated:

Anti-Freeze: What are the different types and properties?

There are currently five main types of antifreeze. In all cases the 'anti-freeze' properties last the life of the coolant - it is the various additives that deteriorate with time. These additives include anti-foaming agents, surfactants (to improve the 'wetting' of the coolant and hence give better heat transfer) and, most importantly, anti-corrosion additives.
As the range of alloys and plastics used in modern engines grows ever more complex it is important to ensure that the correct anti-freeze is used.

1. Ethylene Glycol (e.g. 'Bluecol') - this is the traditional stuff, used since the 1950's. It uses silicates to stop corrosion by passivating the metal surface. This type of anti-freeze is suitable for most European cars, but not Japanese cars. Japanese manufacturers normally recommend a low- or no-silicate formulation due to the nature of the seal materials that they use (see below).
Typical service life of 2-4 years.

2. Ethylene Glycol: Low- or no-silicate formulation. This is specified by most Japanese cars. OEM Nissan, Toyota 'red' etc. antifreezes use phosphates rather than silicates to inhibit corrosion. Silicates are abrasive and the use of high silicate antifreezes in Japanese cars may result in premature failure of seal materials.
Typical service life of 2-4 years.

3. Mono Propylene Glycol (e.g. Comma Coldstream) - this still uses silicates and is claimed to last 4 years. Mono Propylene Glycol does not conduct heat as well as Ethylene Glycol and currently carries NO recommendation from any major car manufacturer- and some actually caution against it. The main claim to fame for Mono Propylene Glycol is that its less toxic than Ethylene Glycol.
Typical service life of 2-4 years.

4. Organic Acid Technology (OAT) - e.g. GM 'DexCool'. Introduced in 1995, this is a recyclable and biodegradable anntifreeze which is based on organic acids and is silicate- and phosphate-free. However, due to the nature of the chemicals used, it can attack certain seal and gasket materials and therefore should only be used in vehicles for which it is factory specified.
OAT antifreeze MUST NOT be mixed with the types listed above - if you wish to switch to OAT type then the cooling system must first be chemically flushed.
The claimed service life of the corrosion inhibitor package is about 5 years, or 100-150,000 miles.

5. Ethylene Glycol-based 'Hybrid Organic Acid Technology' (HOAT). Uses Ethylene Glycol, but with OAT-based corrosion inhibitors and some added silicates; most usually BASF's "Glysantin" additive package is used (also known as 'G-05'). HOAT is less agressive than straight OAT anti-freeze and has better cavitation resistance. Halfords 'Advanced Antifreeze' is an HOAT formulation. Again, best to thoroughly flush your system if switching to it.
Lasts 4-5 years.

The bottom line is to refill your engine with what the factory supplied.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,023 Posts
1) Required interval for engine coolant service is every three years from your car's BUILD DATE!!!!!! --please see page 3 of your Service and Warranty Info booklet

2) Therefore the service should be covered under full maintenance!!!!--in other words, "FREE"!!!!!!

3) My '02 M5 goes in next Mon--I'll find out what the book allows for time for those having to pay out of pocket.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,023 Posts
Okay, I got a quote of approx 1 hour labor, about $5 bucks in shop supplies, and of course, tax. They put in 6 qts of anti-freeze, as per my slip--the M5 holds about 12 liters, I think, so probably that's why what they ended up with was a bit low (diluting the 6qts with water to make 12 qts instead of 12.7 qts?-that just required way too much thinking HA HA)

Anti-A
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,353 Posts
Therefore the service should be covered under full maintenance!!!!--in other words, "FREE"!!!!!!
Unfortunately, I got to 50k miles before 3 years, so.... outta luck on the "free" part. :crying2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,023 Posts
Need4Spd said:
Unfortunately, I got to 50k miles before 3 years, so.... outta luck on the "free" part. :crying2:
I'm glad you brought up the point of the mileage--duh, I completely forgot. That's right you gotta pay attention to the mileage AND the time.

Sorry to hear you missed out on a potential freebe though.

I have to watch my miles too. I (like a sucker--HA HA) bought the extra year of maintenance on my '02 and I'm gonna run outa miles before time I'm afraid.

Anita
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,004 Posts
What kind of low temp anti-freeze for the S62 is avilable?

I need -65F(or C) anitfreeze in the car. According to what my mechanic said, the anit-freeze is good to -25C, right now, and with wind chill added in while driving, the rad will freeze into a solid block. Seriously. My mechanic also has an exchange device for antifreeze, so I'm good to go on that part.

I'm taking it north for Christmas, and it could hit -40C/F, without the windchill thrown in. Everyone up north uses -65 antifreeze, strait up, and ZERO diluting. That's a recipe for disaster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,410 Posts
MAH said:
Why would you not drain the radiator, fill with water? Run the engine a minute or so. Drain the radiator again, fill with water, repeating this process four or five times until almost all of the old anti-freeze has been cycled out. It would appear that this would avoid the air pocket problem while at the same time draining most of the old fluid.
I used to do this with the Prestone flush kit for my toyota. It was nice to see the fluid flush out clear. But, with BMW, you can't hook up the flush kit. In any case, any shop with the equipment should work. I took my 528 to Precision Tune without any problems. I made sure they had the equipment and experience to do it. The problem with taking it outside of the dealer is that the people might not know the particulars of BMW. Then again, neither does the dealer in some cases.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,353 Posts
Everyone up north uses -65 antifreeze, strait up, and ZERO diluting. That's a recipe for disaster.
I thought that you HAD to dilute it in order to get the freezing point down low and that straight up, it didn't go down as low as it does with proper dilution. Is that not right?

Found this on the web, not that you can necessarily believe everything you read there:

For example, if you have too little antifreeze in your radiator it might freeze at 15 degrees F. If you have straight antifreeze it would freeze around zero. Both scenarios would spell disaster for your engine block if the temperature were five below zero. If you dilute the antifreeze 50/50 with water, it is good to -50 and, let's hope, your engine is safe. The secret to success is maintaining the proper dilution of the solution.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,004 Posts
You could be right. I dunno. All I know is that it is usually mixed or run as cold as can possibly be. I'm trying to think of any possible chemical scenario that would make that true but it isn't coming through. :)

I'v read a bit in this thread and I'll have to confer with a dealer, or BMW..uuhh...BMW..BMWCA?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,004 Posts
Talked with the BMW Canada folks. The guy from the service department (whitby offices) couldn't stop laughing when I told him what I was doing wht the car. Gonna get a picture of an M5 with some Polar Bears. (the have a disorder, you know. that's what makes them so mean)

He checked on the low temp capacity of the anti-freeze, and came up with a number of -37d C, as a handling capacity.

Then I told him of how we had to turn our cars for night parking, sometimes, so the radiator was pointing away from the wind ..this on a car with -65C rated anti-freeze!

More laughing.

It does not seem to get -that- cold up (north)there anymore, at all, so global warming is definitely a fact...a situation I've observed for the past 30 years or more.

It will likely hit -40C, though, so the -65C rated anti-freze is a must.

Who makes the most suitable antifreeze? anyone? Bueller? Bueller? :)

I used to just stick a piece of cardboard in front of the rad, otherwise, the car would never reach opearting temperature.

I'm sure you guys would like a photo of that. An M5 with cardboard in the rad! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,353 Posts
Who makes the most suitable antifreeze?
This is an item you may want to get from the dealer. There is a compatibility problem with some antifreezes that are commonly sold at the usual auto parts stores.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top