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Do-It-Yourself information for essential wear and tear items
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Changing Your Thermostat
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This isn't a difficult job, but can get a little messy with the coolant. I chose not to drain the coolant like recommended since I needed to fix the thermostat before it went bad without spending a lot of time. This shouldn't take more than 2 hours with the coolant swap as well. If you have an automatic transmission, the removal of the fan will be different, please reference some other material for removal.
How do you know your thermostat is going bad?
If the temperature gauge in your car is no longer staying exactly half way or is taking a long time to heat up when first driving, most likely the problem is the thermostat. It isn't very hard to change, and unfortunately they just don't last. I've heard of them going anywhere from 60-100k miles. My advice is to change it out as preventative maintenance during a normal coolant change (every 4 years or so). Save yourself some money and do it yourself!
BMW OEM Thermostat (BMW P# 11-53-7-509-227) $60
T25 Torx Socket
Microtorque Wrench (Capable of going from 5-25 ft-lbs is a good)
Buckets etc. to drain and refill coolant
Note before beginning: I am not going to show any of the process for draining and filling of the coolant. This is an essential part of changing your thermostat and please use the directions here. You will most likely need to jack up your car and drain the coolant.
Remove plastic rivets
Intake tubing removed
Remove intake ducting
1. Using a screwdriver pry up on the three plastic rivets and take them out. Remove the ducting from the top of the radiator. Be careful with the rivets, because they will break.
2. Remove the neck from the air box by squeezing on the two vertical sides of the ducting.
It's a pretty simple job and you no longer have to be worried about the car overheating. Drive around knowing that you saved a few bucks and your engine is safe.