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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Mechanical Maintenance: Break-in / Oil & Fluids / Servicing / Warranty > Signs water pump is ready to fail?



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      08-16-2011, 08:41 AM   #1
AllBlackBimmer
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Signs water pump is ready to fail?

seems the most common issue with BMWs - atleast e90 related - seems to be the electronic water pumps and there $500 cost of replacement.

water pumps should not be that much, oh well.

but are there any tell-tale signs that your pump is going out? i know right about the 100k mark is when they start acting up, I don't have half of that, but just want to keep an eye on it over the next year or so just in case anything starts acting up.

since there are no water temp gauges how can I keep track of this? if they scan my CPU are there any error codes there would point to the water pump?

thanks.
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      08-16-2011, 10:30 AM   #2
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ENINTY's just died on him, goes over the codes, the DIY, warnings, where/how to read them:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=561183
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      08-16-2011, 12:18 PM   #3
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Glim is correct. Read the link. But to summarize: I accidentally discovered the pump low speed fault code in the ECU during another maintenance activity several months after it occurred. The first fault code showed up around 138,000 miles. I cleared them. The second instance of codes came up at around 145K (IIRC). I cleared them. Then the pump died on a 100 degree day about a month ago now, at 149,500 miles. The detail to all this is in the thread Glim referenced. I drive about 40,000 miles a year, so this all happened in the past 5 months or so.

My advice is if you discover the codes with a scan (using a BMW-compatible scan tool) change the pump soon after because it will eventually fail. I dissected my pump and can only surmise the failure is related to over-heated electronics. My pump spun just fine and the plastic impeller looked as good as new. The electronics smelled burnt. There was a fult code once the pump failed that said "Electronics - 77 Deg. C."

There is no warning when it is about to fail. It fails, the car overheats, the idiot lights light up. It's a great idea to have an electric water pump, but a poor design implementation on BMW's part.
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      08-16-2011, 01:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ENINTY View Post
Glim is correct. Read the link. But to summarize: I accidentally discovered the pump low speed fault code in the ECU during another maintenance activity several months after it occurred. The first fault code showed up around 138,000 miles. I cleared them. The second instance of codes came up at around 145K (IIRC). I cleared them. Then the pump died on a 100 degree day about a month ago now, at 149,500 miles. The detail to all this is in the thread Glim referenced. I drive about 40,000 miles a year, so this all happened in the past 5 months or so.

My advice is if you discover the codes with a scan (using a BMW-compatible scan tool) change the pump soon after because it will eventually fail. I dissected my pump and can only surmise the failure is related to over-heated electronics. My pump spun just fine and the plastic impeller looked as good as new. The electronics smelled burnt. There was a fult code once the pump failed that said "Electronics - 77 Deg. C."

There is no warning when it is about to fail. It fails, the car overheats, the idiot lights light up. It's a great idea to have an electric water pump, but a poor design implementation on BMW's part.


Very dumb there is no type of warning. Going from a perfecting running car 1 minute, to an overheated-get the hell off the road-turn my engine off-car the next is quite scary. Just think about stop and go traffic on a major highway!


what solutions are there to the scan tool? I do not "mod" my car a lot, or track drive, or even drive that hard. I don't do a lot of work myself, but would like to keeps tabs on my car - and water pump. Is there a "cheaper" solution than buying a $200 scan tool just to read some codes? isnt there a way to hook up a laptop or something for much cheaper?

others that have had pumps fail, does the car act the same way? One minute fine, the next its overheating?
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Last edited by AllBlackBimmer; 08-16-2011 at 02:00 PM.
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      08-16-2011, 01:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ENINTY View Post
Glim is correct. Read the link. But to summarize: I accidentally discovered the pump low speed fault code in the ECU during another maintenance activity several months after it occurred. The first fault code showed up around 138,000 miles. I cleared them. The second instance of codes came up at around 145K (IIRC). I cleared them. Then the pump died on a 100 degree day about a month ago now, at 149,500 miles. The detail to all this is in the thread Glim referenced. I drive about 40,000 miles a year, so this all happened in the past 5 months or so.

My advice is if you discover the codes with a scan (using a BMW-compatible scan tool) change the pump soon after because it will eventually fail. I dissected my pump and can only surmise the failure is related to over-heated electronics. My pump spun just fine and the plastic impeller looked as good as new. The electronics smelled burnt. There was a fult code once the pump failed that said "Electronics - 77 Deg. C."

There is no warning when it is about to fail. It fails, the car overheats, the idiot lights light up. It's a great idea to have an electric water pump, but a poor design implementation on BMW's part.

Did you need to change your thermostat too?
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      08-16-2011, 02:59 PM   #6
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You would think because it is electronic they would have a smaller backup pump that would only kick in once the main one failed.

It could illuminate the yellow warning and put the car into limp mode.

But they didn't
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      08-16-2011, 09:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DimSum View Post
Did you need to change your thermostat too?
Yes, but I did it 6 months before the pump failed. The problem is the pump costs $400 just for the part. It's hard justify replacement at 100K, or whatever mileage, since there is no information from BMW as to the mean time between failure of the pump. As I said, lousy execution. Since it is not belt driven, you'd expect it not to fail for the life of the car.
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      08-18-2011, 12:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ENINTY View Post
Yes, but I did it 6 months before the pump failed. The problem is the pump costs $400 just for the part. It's hard justify replacement at 100K, or whatever mileage, since there is no information from BMW as to the mean time between failure of the pump. As I said, lousy execution. Since it is not belt driven, you'd expect it not to fail for the life of the car.
I bought parts for both pieces, total around $5xx close to $600.
The guy at the parts department, said if your going to change the pump you might as well change the thermostat too.
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      08-18-2011, 04:36 PM   #9
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Does the frequency of coolant change has anything to do with water pump and/or thermostat failure. From Eninty's thread, I understand that the coolant was changed around 75K, if I remember right. Anyone has any exprience with coolant flushes and water pump failure. I am a power electronics engineer and I work on electric motors. I can tell you that the motors are well built, but the electronics is not. Silicon electronics do not last long when driven past 70C ambient, which in most cases results in 125C at the semiconductor junction.
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      08-18-2011, 05:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queensfield View Post
Silicon electronics do not last long when driven past 70C ambient, which in most cases results in 125C at the semiconductor junction.
So you are saying an electric hot water pump's circuit board that constantly goes over 70C will have a short life unless the circuit board is thermally insulated or cooled to under 70C.

Wouldn't this produce a higher failure rate in hotter temperates?
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      08-18-2011, 05:17 PM   #11
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Without knowing their design, it is hard to predict the junction temperature. My guess is that there might be a feedback loop in the design, whereby the flow rate of the coolant is increased (up to some maximum, of course) if the ambient temperature increases. 70C is a generally accepted "case temperature" of an electronic circuit board that processes power. In the water pump case, the circuit is likely to be a DC to AC converter (DC from battery and AC to drive the motor and to control its speed).

Last edited by queensfield; 08-18-2011 at 05:18 PM. Reason: typed too fast
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      08-18-2011, 06:08 PM   #12
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Well, mine died a 5000mi and my new pump is still here at 165,000 mi. They have revised the pump at least once.
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      08-18-2011, 10:23 PM   #13
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BMW electric water pumps are a lot more reliable than the mechanically driven models in the other 6 cylinders that last around 60K before you better replace it.
The electric pump is perfect for the application given higher volume when warm or hot and lower volume when cold or cooler out.
As is true with anything else in life BMW didn't build the pump, they out sourced it.
Also if you drive an E93 like I do the water pump isn't your biggest concern, the HPFP is.

$400 for the pump every 100K miles? OK well it isn't a cheap car and BMW as well as every German car I ever owned require maintenance.

I will step up to that and just enjoy the ride.
I know that I have been running Evan plus waterless coolant in my M3 for the last 3 years and in my diesel truck unpressurized for the last 7 years and have suffered zero issues regarding water pumps...
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      08-19-2011, 02:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fun2drive View Post
Also if you drive an E93 like I do the water pump isn't your biggest concern, the HPFP is.
Why is HPFP a bigger concern than water pump for E93?
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      08-19-2011, 12:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JunkStory View Post
Why is HPFP a bigger concern than water pump for E93?
Because he drives a 335i. But the OP has a 328i which does not use an HPFP! And, of course, the E93 may have either motor.

Tom
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      08-19-2011, 06:56 PM   #16
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Let's not start another HPFP thread.

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      08-19-2011, 07:50 PM   #17
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I got about a 1 min warning when my heater started blowing cold air. It was only 41 outside. @ 81,000 miles
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      08-20-2011, 06:21 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queensfield View Post
Does the frequency of coolant change has anything to do with water pump and/or thermostat failure. From Eninty's thread, I understand that the coolant was changed around 75K, if I remember right. Anyone has any exprience with coolant flushes and water pump failure. I am a power electronics engineer and I work on electric motors. I can tell you that the motors are well built, but the electronics is not. Silicon electronics do not last long when driven past 70C ambient, which in most cases results in 125C at the semiconductor junction.
queensfield, when I pulled the rear cover off my old pump, it looked like to me the conformal coating had vaporized and then resolidified on the inside of the housing where the electronics reside. The electonics module is bolted and pinch-welded into place and you can not see the circuit board because it is underside of a plastic cover on the module. The only think visible in the electronics module is a capacitor and two wire coils. I really think that as the pump ages, the electronics become more susceptable to heat falure.
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      08-20-2011, 11:40 AM   #19
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The most common coating used in high end electronics is parylene. It is a good insulator (dielectric) to prevent local arcing- other common insulators do not go down conformally and eventually cause local arcing over time as the insulation degrades. Parylene has low vapor pressure but may evaporate over time. Also, if there is a black-colored material underneath the electronics module, where it is bolted and welded, it is most likely a thermal interface. It is normally used if the housing is plastic (a metal housing won't need it). Do you see any degradation of the interface material, if it is present?
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      08-20-2011, 01:40 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queensfield View Post
The most common coating used in high end electronics is parylene. It is a good insulator (dielectric) to prevent local arcing- other common insulators do not go down conformally and eventually cause local arcing over time as the insulation degrades. Parylene has low vapor pressure but may evaporate over time. Also, if there is a black-colored material underneath the electronics module, where it is bolted and welded, it is most likely a thermal interface. It is normally used if the housing is plastic (a metal housing won't need it). Do you see any degradation of the interface material, if it is present?
The black material seems to be just a cover over the electronics module. I guess it could be a thermal interface but I don't believe it touches anything to transfer heat. It looks good as new. I will take some pictures and post soon. The electronics housing (of the pump) is metal, I don't see much heat sinking design in it. Considering where the pump is located (the electronics housing is in the back of the pump which faces the radiator and is only about 4 inches away from it), there is not much opportunity for cooling. And to make matters worse the pump is on the exhuast side of the engine close to the exhaust/catalytic converter manifold.

Last edited by ENINTY; 08-20-2011 at 01:46 PM.
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      08-22-2011, 06:51 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhondas2 View Post
I got about a 1 min warning when my heater started blowing cold air. It was only 41 outside. @ 81,000 miles
this is a sign. I bought my parts from tisher bmw.
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      08-23-2011, 03:56 PM   #22
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BMW says the following regarding their pumps- "Original BMW Water Pumps remain absolutely reliable even under extreme temperature conditions. Tailored to the specific engine, precisely machined and intensively tested, their main distinguishing feature is a long service life. Even at 7,000 rpm and after 100 hours of continuous testing, they must lose no more than 12 grams of water. So the only time that you will see an overheated engine is when you pass one".
From this, it appears that the pump itself is quite reliable but the electronics driving it is not.
BTW, this is a standard test on water pumps and is known as ASTM Test D2809. The test is run at a temperature of about 113C (235F) and mainly tests for cavitation (formation of high pressure gas bubbles that can create pits in the pump material and lower the cooling efficiency by decreasing the contact area with the flowing liquid). Such a test may not have tested the electronics. If there is a way to change the electronics alone, then the expense of water pump replacement can be lowered.
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