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  1. #1
    CT
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    Help - my 2000 540i radiator has no drain plug!

    2000 540i automatic, build date 02/2000.

    Read the Bentley book and thought getting to the engine block drain plugs might be a challenge. Trying to size up the job of replacing the coolant myself. Removed underbody splash shield, and was totally surpriced to find the radiator not having a drain plug! (See picture below.)

    The Bentley book says "for radiators without drain plug, remove lower hose to drain radiator", but it doesn't say how to remove the lower hose - by the look of it, it is not obvious how this is done.

    Reading this board it seems everyone's E39 radiator has a drain plug? Did BMW make a small batch of E39 without a radiator drain plug?

    I'd much prefer to change the coolant myself (I will use distilled water and a dealer will probably just use tap water), but looks like I may have to have it done at a dealer.

    CT




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    Re: Help - my 2000 540i radiator has no drain plug!

    Your 540 is 4 months newer than mine is. The radiator I replaced had no drain plug nor did its replacement. I removed most of the liquid by disconnecting the small hose that goes to the (trans cooler?). A word of caution, an older hose will not take that type of twisting (a spare on hand may be in order). When I replaced my radiator, I found almost 1/3 of the face packed w/leaves, blocking flow.

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    All 4 of the ones I have seen had drain plugs


    I just finished replacing the one in my '97 540, the one I took out had a drain plug and the one I installed had one.

    Your picture didn't show for me, and I don't have the Bently manual yet but just as an fyi the drain plug is on the bottom on the drivers side.

    The other car was a '97 also, so maybe the 2000 has the newer-style radiator with the 'hose-extentions' for lack of a better term and maybe this is the radiator without the drain plug?

  4. #4
    CT
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    Re: All 4 of the ones I have seen had drain plugs

    Thanks for the reply! The picture I took was the driver side of the radiator. Reading here looks like prior years E39 all had a radiator drain plug, that makes me wonder what was the good reason that made BMW stop doing that for the 2000 model year (at least some productions during the 2000 model year).

    CT

  5. #5
    CT
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    Re: Help - my 2000 540i radiator has no drain plug!

    Thanks for the reply. Just curious, how much did it cost to replace the radiator? Any idea if it is possible to replace a radiator without a drain plug with one that has it?

    CT

  6. #6
    CT
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    If picture doesn't show, please go here...


  7. #7
    CT
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    Geocities didn't like linking from the board...

    Perhaps the following would work.

    Go to http://geocities.com/eagles1899, then click on the image links.

    Thanks again for any help.

    CT

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    Re: Help - my 2000 540i radiator has no drain plug!

    I think I paid 175-200 for the radiator. The Internet lists them slightly lower sometimes but they are never in stock. There must have been major changes from 99-00. A lot of parts are different and the radiator may not be interchangable. Good news, there is a company making aluminum units for some models. Bad news, the 540 is not on the list yet and will not be cheap when available. That unit should have a drain.

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    Were you able to do this yet?

    If not, can you get a better picture of the hose clamp from a different angle. I just did my 97 528i yesterday and came across a few different style hose clamps. Most of them were one time use ones that we had to chop the heck out of, twist them off, do what we needed to do, then replace the clamps. Most likely, this is what you will have to do too by the looks of it.

    Yes, some radiators do not have drawin plugs which leave you to removing the hose. If i remember correctly, my 82 528e didn't have a drain plug either cuz we had to remove the hose.

    Good luck
    Steve
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  10. #10
    CT
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    Re: Were you able to do this yet?

    Thanks for your reply, Steve.

    Please go to http://geocities.com/eagles1899 and take a look at a couple of different angle pictures I have taken of the radiator/hose connection. From the look of it (especially img_0044.jpg), the hose clamp is not one that can be loosened and tightened, so it is of the one-time-use variety as you mentioned. I will have to take a look at the other end of the hose and see what kind of clamp it uses.

    So how did you put a new hose clamp on and, more importantly, tighten it since it doesn't have anything to tighten with?

    Thanks again.
    CT

  11. #11
    CT
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    Re: Help - my 2000 540i radiator has no drain plug!

    Thanks again for the helpful information.

    While I was phone ordering some parts from Chris at Crevier BMW this afternoon, I asked him about the radiator. He said so far he had not come across any E39 radiator that didn't have a drain plug; in fact, he said the parts manual he looked at showed the radiator with a drain plug, with an automatic or manual tranny.

    CT

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    No Drain Plug Here, Either

    But I did find that by giving a quarter turn to the plastic elbow fitting that the hose attaches to on the driver side bottom of the radiator, then wiggling it while I pulled down, the radiator can be drained. The fitting only turns one way, and only for a quarter turn. My car is a '03 540i, BTW.

    BMW540iRadiatorDrain.jpg

    The two engine block drain plugs are much easier to reach after the exhaust heat shields on either side are removed. With the shields out of the way you'll be able to get to them with a ratchet wrench, a long extension, and a 13mm socket.

    HTH,

    Scot
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    Quote Originally Posted by juststeve View Post
    Your 540 is 4 months newer than mine is. The radiator I replaced had no drain plug nor did its replacement. I removed most of the liquid by disconnecting the small hose that goes to the (trans cooler?). A word of caution, an older hose will not take that type of twisting (a spare on hand may be in order). When I replaced my radiator, I found almost 1/3 of the face packed w/leaves, blocking flow.
    Jim, my radiator was the same way. Kinda suprised it didn't overheat with as clogged as it was.

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