BMW Cars 1999-06

Removal & Installation

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CAUTION
Ethylene glycol coolant can be dangerous to animals and small children if ingested in enough quantity. Even a small amount can kill a pet and cause sickness in a child. Keep children and pets away from coolant.

E30 Models



M42 Engine
  1. Allow the engine to cool completely. Loosen the bleeder screw on the radiator expansion tank next to the radiator cap.
  2.  
  3. Remove the splash guard from under the car. Loosen the drain plug and catch the coolant in a container.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the upper radiator hose and catch the coolant. Disconnect the temperature switch. Disconnect the lower radiator hose and catch any coolant.
  6.  
  7. Pull out the rivets and remove the fan cowl. Disconnect the lower expansion tank hose. If equipped, disconnect the automatic transmission oil cooling lines and plug.
  8.  
  9. Unlock the radiator holding clips by inserting a tool in the opening and pressing down. Remove the radiator.
  10.  

To install:

  1. Install the radiator on the mounts and press into the clips until the spline engagement stops.
  2.  
  3. Connect the electrical leads and the transmission lines. Tighten the connections to 13-15 ft. lbs. (18-21 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Connect the expansion tank hose. Install the fan cowl into the slots on the radiator. Press the rivets in to lock. Connect the radiator hoses.
  6.  
  7. Install the splash shield, fill with coolant mixture and bleed the system.
  8.  

S14 And M20 Engines
  1. Disconnect the negative battery terminal. Allow the engine to cool completely.
  2.  
  3. Remove the expansion tank cap.
  4.  
  5. Remove the fan cowl by pulling the expansion rivets out and pulling the cowl out. Remove the splash shield if necessary and drain the cooling system at the plug on the lower left side of the radiator.
  6.  
  7. Disconnect the radiator hoses, vent hose and the transmission oil cooling lines. Plug the transmission lines. Disconnect the sensor electrical leads.
  8.  
  9. Remove the upper radiator support and the radiator.
  10.  

To install:

  1. Install the radiator. Check the lower supports are in place. Install the upper support.
  2.  
  3. Connect the electrical leads and the transmission lines. Tighten the connections to 13-15 ft. lbs. (18-21 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Install the radiator hoses with new clamps. Install the radiator cowl by pushing the rivets in. Tighten the drain plug and fill with coolant mixture. Connect the negative battery terminal. Start the engine, bleed the system and check for leaks.
  6.  

E36 Models



  1. Allow the coolant temperature to 100°F (38°C) before performing cooling system repair procedures.
  2.  
  3. If installed, remove the lower engine trim panel.
  4.  
  5. Open the radiator drain plug and drain the coolant into a sealable container.
  6.  
  7. Remove the trim cover self-tapping screws, then using a trim panel tool, remove the pressed in lock pin and lock of the two piece button fasteners and lift the trim panel off.
  8.  
  9. Remove the radiator fan shroud and cooling fan as outlined in this section.
  10.  
  11. Detach the level sensor electrical connector on the lower portion of the coolant expansion tank, then if equipped, unplug the electrical connector on the side of the radiator for the electric cooling fan.
  12.  
  13. Disconnect the upper and lower radiator and expansion tank hose.
  14.  


NOTE
If necessary, use a right angle cotter key removal tool that has a blunt tip and coat with a penetrating lubricant to loosen baked on coolant hoses from the composite cooling system fittings

  1. If equipped with an automatic transmission, place a suitable drain pan under the transmission cooler lines and drain the residual fluid into the drain pan as the lines are removed. Plug the cooling lines to avoid debris from entering, and inspect the seals and replace if brittle, damaged or worn.
  2.  
  3. Insert a small, suitable flat-blade prytool into the square slot of the plastic radiator hold-down bracket, and press down while pivoting the tool back slightly to release the bracket's locking clip. Once the bracket's locking clip is released, the bracket pivots upward out of the radiator's cushioned mount
  4.  
  5. Make sure all hoses and electrical connectors are disconnected and the mounting brackets released. Carefully lift out the radiator. Make sure the lower rubber support mounts are retained for reassembly
  6.  



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Fig. Remove the radiator trim cover self-tapping screws and . . .



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Fig. . . . using a trim panel tool, remove the pressed in lock pin and lock of the two piece button fasteners



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Fig. The trim panel lifts off easily once the fasteners are removed



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Fig. Unplug the coolant level sensor connector from the coolant expansion tank



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Fig. The radiator drain plug is on the lower portion of the radiator. Use a suitable flat-blade or Phillips screwdriver to loosen



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Fig. Use a right angle cotter key removal tool with a blunt tip and coated with a penetrating lubricant to carefully loosen baked on coolant hoses from the composite fittings



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Fig. A cutaway view of the radiator hold-down bracket showing the prytool (1), Body panel (2) and retainer (3)



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Fig. Insert a small suitable flat-blade prytool into the square slot of the plastic radiator hold-down bracket, then . . .



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. . . . press down and pivot the tool back slightly to release the bracket's locking clip



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Once the bracket's locking clip is released, the hold-down bracket pivots upward out of the radiator's cushioned mount



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Fig. Once the hoses and fan switch electrical connector are disconnected and mounting brackets released, carefully lift out the radiator



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Fig. A three dimensional view of the radiator and integral coolant tank



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Fig. A top view of the expansion tank with an arrow marking the bleeder screw

To install:

  1. With the radiator removed, inspect the water pump, drive belt and related cooling system hoses for wear, deterioration or damage and replace as necessary.
  2.  
  3. Installation is in reverse order of removal noting the following.
  4.  
  5. On models equipped with automatic transmissions, connect the automatic transmission cooling lines using new seals and tighten to 13-15 ft. lbs. (18-21 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Make sure the coolant drain plug is in place and tight.
  8.  
  9. Make sure the radiator is installed with both lower rubber support mounts properly installed
  10.  
  11. Use a 50 / 50 mixture of an approved coolant and if available, distilled water. DO NOT exceed more than a 60% mixture of coolant to water.
  12.  
  13. When filling the cooling system, the climate control temperatures to full hot and bleed the cooling system as outlined in Section 1.
  14.  
  15. Upon reassembly:
    1. Check for coolant leaks and repair as necessary
    2.  
    3. Make sure all electrical terminals are properly connected and if installed, check for proper operation of the electric engine cooling fan.
    4.  
    5. Check for proper operation of the cooling system
    6.  
    7. Once the engine cools, recheck and top off the coolant as necessary.
    8.  

  16.  

 
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