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Thread: Is your M50 overheating ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004

    Default Is your M50 overheating ?

    Under what circumstances is your car getting hot ? Most M50's used a water pump that had a plastic impeller on a steel shaft. This impeller can slip on the shaft, which will cause overheating while driving, but not when idling. In extreme cases the impeller can melt or break completely off of the shaft, causing overheat all the time.

    Replacing the water pump in an E34
    The procedure is the same as the E36, listed below, with a few exceptions.
    There is no plastic cover to remove from above the radiator, but you will need to remove the fan shroud, it is held in place by a push pin on each side of the top. Use a small screwdriver to remove the centre pin and remove the clip. Then you can lift the fan shroud up and out of the car.

    Replacing the water pump on an E36
    To replace the water pump, drain the radiator, the drain plug is located on the bottom left of the radiator. You will need to remove the plastic cover above the radiator. Remove the alternator air intake and the top radiator hose. To remove the fan, you will need a narrow 32 mm wrench, the thread on the fan is left hand, that is, opposite to normal threads. Make sure you turn it clock wise to remove it. Do not use pliers on the pulley to hold it while removing the fan, many of these engines used plastic pulleys and you will damage it. There is a BMW special tool to hold the pulley in place while breaking loose the fan , if you do not have access to this tool, you can use a hammer on the wrench. A sharp hit is usually all that is needed to shock loose the fitting on the fan. If using this method, and you have a black plastic thermostat housing, make sure the top radiator hose is removed first. If you do not do this, there is a strong chance of the wrench hitting the hose clamp and breaking the plastic housing. Remove the lower radiator hose from the thermostat housing, and move it out of the way. You do not need to remove the thermostat housing, but may wish to do so for a better view of the pump. The pump is held on by 4 10 mm nuts, remove these nuts. In order to remove the pump from the block , there are two threaded holes, check your new pump for their location. You will need to screw a bolt into each of these holes, these bolts will bottom out against the block, and extract the water pump.

    The bolts need a 5mm thread and to be at least 30 mm long. Tighten each one a little at at time, alternating between the two to pull the pump evenly.

    To install the new pump, lubricate the O-ring seal with engine oil or a similar lubricant, and push it straight into the hole. Put the nuts on the studs and tighten each one in stages to pull the new pump into the block. Replace all removed components, install new gaskets on the thermostat housing if you removed it. It would be a good time to change the thermostat also. This is essential if the car has been overheated, a thermostat is a temperature sensitive device, if it is subjected to an overheat situation, it will become unreliable.

    Remove the bleeder screw from the expansion tank mounted to the radiator, fill the system until coolant is flowing from the bleed hole. When installing the bleed screw, be very careful not to over tighten it. Once you feel the screw bottom out, turn it less than 1/4 of a turn to secure it. This screw is sealed with a rubber O-ring, it will seal with very little pressure. Too much pressure will snap the head right off of it. Once the system is bled, install the radiator cap and start the engine, let it idle for 5 minutes, keep an eye on the temp gauge , it should not go past the half way mark. Open the bleed screw slightly to let any last air pocket escape , and you are done.

    Source: tech tips

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Melbourne, Australia


    Thanks for that shogun. Funny you say that about the water pump, mine broke a month ago and I had it replaced. Stupid plastic impeller water pump!

    I'm going to be in contact with BMA sometime soon to see if they have any steel impeller water pumps and get my current new plastic one replaced.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    So. California, USA


    I read this thread a week ago and my M50 overheated today. Perfect timing.

    The water pump was replaced by the former owner in 2000 and 2004. Does water pump fails that often on BMW?
    Last edited by bigtisas; 06-13-2007 at 12:00 AM.
    (SOLD) 92 525ia M50 | NGK plug | JVC AR560 | EAT chip | California

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    North SF bay area Delta region


    I replaced mine awhile back, with a brand called "HEPU", which is made in Germany.
    It has a real nice stainless steel impeller on it.
    One of the easiest WP's I've ever done ! Took like 20-30 minutes to do....
    Edit: Mine failed with absolutely no warning, on the I80 between Sac. and Davis (in Calif.). The bearing exploded on the WP, and took out the main serpentine belt at the same time.
    Last edited by Chris'91'525i; 06-13-2007 at 01:18 AM.
    1991 525i M50 5 Sp.

    America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed. -Eleanor Roosevelt

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