My wife’s BMW grenaded a third radiator in as many years last week. The first one was replaced at 95k miles and covered under her CPO warranty. It started losing coolant soon afterwards, with BMW replacing everything other than the rad. A month after the warranty expired it became very apparent that the radiator was the source of the leaks. BMW refused to replace the defective radiator, claiming that they don’t warranty warranty repairs. I had documentation that the replacement radiator had been leaking while still under warranty, so my dealer “goodwilled” me a new radiator. Well, that radiator lasted about a year and a half, so it was now my turn to taste some coolant.
I figured I’d be in for a rough day when I saw the the screw holding the fan to the rad was stripped. With some choice words and a slightly oversized torx bit, I was able to free the bastard. You’ll notice there’s also a missing mounting bolt (upper right corner of the pic), which allows the radiator to jiggle around. I’m guessing this jossling is the source of my rad troubles. Shout out to the asshole tech for their kwalitee work.
The radiator was surprisingly easy to remove. All the quick disconnect hoses quickly disconnected, and there was plenty of room to maneuver the fan and the rad out of the engine bay. Against my better judgement, I picked up a “Duralast” radiator from Autozone. Reason being it was the only rad I could pick up this weekend. It also came with a lifetime warranty, which I’m sure I’ll be using in a year or so. Pic of the old radiator and fan:
The radiator ended up being a CSF unit, and looked to be about the same quality as the POS BMW radiator. I put everything back together and began burping the system. I was rewarded for all my hard work by a leaking upper radiator hose. I was planning on replacing the hoses anyways, so no biggie...except that nobody had a hose in stock. I decided to pull the gasket from the hose fitting and head on down to my local True Value. Wouldn’t ya know it, they had an identical gasket for $0.99. Slapped it in, sealed the leak and saved myself $59.01. Warrantied BMW for your time.
Time for beer and enchiladas.