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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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Difficulty
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!

Parts Needed
BMW OEM Thermostat (BMW P# 11-53-7-509-227) $60

Tools Needed
Various Sockets
Screwdriver
T25 Torx Socket
Microtorque Wrench (Capable of going from 5-25 ft-lbs is a good)
Buckets etc. to drain and refill coolant

Instructions

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.

 


Remove the electrical connections and the torx screw


Loosen the rivet


Remove the radiator fan

Remove the radiator fan
(Note: Automatic transmission cars have a mechanical fan and the removal is different. These directions are for manual transmission cars. Please consult a manual or another source for automatic transmission fan removal.)
3. On the passenger side of the car, remove the wires and the T25 Torx screw from the radiator fan. (Pictures are shown from the direction of the engine).
4. On the drivers side remove the plastic rivet with a screwdriver.
5. Carefully remove the radiator fan by pulling it straight up. (When putting it back into the engine bay, make sure the bottom clips are holding it securely. It will make sense when you are looking at it.)

 


The thermostat


Remove the electrical connections from the thermostat


Remove the bolts on the thermostat

Remove the wire on the thermostat
6. Carefully remove the wire attached to the thermostat.
7. Remove the one 13mm bolt on the upper right part of the thermostat.
8. Carefully remove the three 10mm bolts on the top and bottom of the thermostat.

 


Loosen the radiator hose clips


The thermostat removed


The new thermostat


The old thermostat on top and the new on bottom

Remove the thermostat and install the new one
9. Unclip the upper and lower radiator hoses.
10. Carefully pull the hoses and the thermostat off of the engine block. (If you have properly drained everything, you will leak little to no coolant. I chose not to drain mine properly so I leaked quite a bit and you can see it in the coolant channel.)
11. Clean off the surface where the thermostat gasket sits.
12. Reinstall the thermostat in the reverse order as these directions indicate. Tighten the thermostat bolts to 7 ft-lbs (10 N-m).

 


Refill and bleed your coolant system with BMW coolant

Properly refill and bleed your coolant system
13. Using BMW Coolant properly refill and bleed your coolant system. Follow the directions here.

 

Conclusions

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.

 

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