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  1. #1
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    Member No: 33342 rmedure is an unknown quantity at this point rmedure's Avatar
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    Slow Coolant Leak

    Leaks through the bottom most drain hole in the bell housing. Peering between the firewall and the intake manifold on the passenger side I can see fluid in the corner area of where the valley pan is.

    I take it this is a confirmed diagnosis of valley pan gasket leak. Is it at all possible that a heater hose leak can some manage to leak fluid to that location?

    Cheers!
    Robert


    '99 540i sport, 6 spd (prod 10/98)
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  2. #2
    ME_264
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    Re: Slow Coolant Leak

    It could be but - maybe you'll get lucky. You can tell by getting it hot and pulling the motor vanity cover, the passenger side cabin air box and tube (the thing that goes 90 degrees to remove it from the firewall. I've found that a mechanics mirror and a super bright LED flashlight lets you see back there pretty well. If you've done the job in the last 20K miles the heater hoses band clamps could have loosened up enough to let them weep.

    Good luck!


  3. #3
    mike8162
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    Just did mine yesterday

    I suppose it could be a heater hose if the hole directs a spray under the manifold. I've been told that the valley pan is good for about 100k. I did it all valley pan, intake, heater hoses and cvv. Mine was leaking pretty bad and I had the sluggish warm up which is gone now. It was pretty easy but did take six hours. There is a great step by step write up with photos. You'll have to cut and paste as I don't know how to post a link.

    http://members.cox.net/rlacm/IntakeIndex.htm

    97 540i (1/97)

  4. #4
    tvlodek
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    Re: Slow Coolant Leak

    I hope that's what it is because I have the same symptoms as you, only in my case, it's a massive leak. I have the same car as you, a 99 540i sport w/6 speed, 10/98 build with about 160k miles. I just had the thermal clutch fail and my fan grenaded. I replaced the radiator and finished up the job by putting in a gallon of antifreeze and topped it off with distilled water. I ran the car for a bit but, if you see my prior posts, my temperature gauge wasn't working correctly (pinned full scale when cold), so I didn't let it run long enough to open the thermostat because I was afraid something was wrong and I might overheat it. I have to assume there wasn't a good mix of the antifeeeze and water because that night, it went down to like 10 degrees and in the morning, the float in the fill bottle was frozen like a popsicle. I'm hoping it's one of the cooling pipes under the intake, or at worst, the valley pan gasket. I've seen some water on the intake and water is coming out of the inspection hole in the transmission. Is this normally the symptom for a bad valley pan gasket?

  5. #5
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    Got all my parts, waiting for better weather

    heres the list

    http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e39/9630729-1.html

    Andreas
    Queens NY
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    86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
    87 325 300k (project for life) aka 1BADETA/Christine
    00 540is 6spd 180k (daily driver)

  6. #6
    Curtis
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    I had something similar in my 530i

    I too had my fan clutch go south causing me to run hotter than normal in my 530i, yet due to the wonderful temp gauge being nothing more than a glorified idiot light, I lost so much coolant due to increased pressures from running hot as it seemed through all the hose connections....mostly from the back of the motor.

    Long story short, I blew my top end before i was able to spot and remedy the problem. If you get the temps back steady where they should be, the proper pressure should be achieved, and you hopefully won't have anymore leak. Good luck.

  7. #7
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    Re: Slow Coolant Leak

    Also, check the seals to the rear manifold. Those gaskets degrade and then fall out.

  8. #8
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    Well I'll be darned ...

    I haven't had a chance to look yet ... but now that the weather is warm, and the heater is not running, I am no longer leaking. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's the heater hoses. I will probably check it out in a week or two (remove the engine cover, turn on the heater, and observe).

    Question: Has anyone ever experienced a valley pan gasket that only leaks in cold weather? What is the gasket material? I suppose this is possible, but I'm thinking unlikely.

    Cheers!
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  9. #9
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    When I did mine I had coolant pooling up aroung the valley pan but it never made it to the garage floor. I would assume that the leak was slow enough that the heat of the engine evaporated it off. The gasket on the valley pan is a rubber bead that is glued to the valley pan. I don't think you can just buy the gasket, you have to buy the valley pan w/gasket. I bought the plastic cover as well. Mine was very brittle and all tabs broke when I seperated it from the valley pan. I've been told that the gasket is improved but I couldn't see any difference from the original and my car is an early e39.

    '97 540iA (1/97)
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    Can't really say if the old is different from the new or if the old just got flattend

    Here is a pic of a new valley pan up against my old one.
    I don't know if the old gasaket (MY2000) got flattend out after 100K miles or it was this shape to start with.
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