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Thread: Is an electric fan worth the money?

  1. #1
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    Is an electric fan worth the money?

    how do u know when the fan clutch is on its way out?? my car just clipped 70k and i dont want the fan to explode in my engine bay out of no where lol. I can spin it freely when it is cold, and when it is hot. I hope it will be fine. So to get rid of this i saw that some of you have electric fans. I wondered how much it would cost, and how labor intensive, and it must give a decent gain to power and economy.... I hope im not posting too many threads just really interested in learning about this car.

  2. #2
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    Myself and BlackSapphire have them that I know of. He might chime in later. Probably. He likes his Zionsville as do I.

    Both of us bought the Zionsville Aluminum Radiator + Electric Fan Kit (super duty cooling kit). Costs about $1200 shipped.

    It weighs slightly more altogether than the plastic stock radator... so.. what you might be gaining freeing the engine of power-robbing, you're offsetting with some weight. But what you gain in knowing your fan won't pop through the roof is... worth a million bucks to me.

    And it brightens up the engine compartment and looks great.

    It's not the easiest install, but as with anything, it CAN be, if you have patience and take your time. Can't stress that one enough.

    Also, the Zionsville people are 100% there on the phone to back up their product and walk you though any installation issues that might occur.

    I had a problem when I was installing the temp. sensor for mine, and I called, they immediatley answered, and the guy on the phone went and got the specific part I was looking at, so he could read the #'s off it to me. (I had to wire up the sensor and didn't remember which # on the sensor was where.) - That phone call alone gave me much pride in owning Zionsville. I'm sure anyone else would've said "its in the instructions, uninstall the piece, look at the terminal #'s and figure it out yourself."

    As for the spin-test. those are never 100%. Cars can be like computers or wives. Shit happens, and you never really know how or why, even though you tested it 100 times.

    It might seem pricey... and you also need to think how long you plan on owning your car. Sure you can do the cooling system every 60k like some ppl suggest... but first its a pain in the ass, secondly if you're gonna own it a while or drive a lot, you could end up installing 3 radators in 180k miles by their advice!! That's 600x3=1800 bucks.. and im sure by the time you hit that mileage, with inflation and all, whats to say 600 now at 70, and maybe the parts are 900 when you hit 130k? now you just spent $1500.

    • 2000 BMW 540i/6 (Anthrazit Metallic 397)
    • 2001 Buick Park Avenue Ultra (Bronzemist Metallic)
    • 1964 Buick Wildcat (Sunburst Yellow / Arctic White)

    Fan Blades Can Explode.. Read My Thread

  3. #3
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    I've seen some people take a newspaper, roll it up, and use it to stop the fan blades while the engine is up to temp. Don't jam it in there but if you can stop it, the clutch is good apparently. I would be wary about this though. You've seen what happens to metal parts when that thing explodes. Hope it isn't your neck.

    I say since you are at 70K miles, you should do something, whether it is oem replacement, or an electric fan upgrade. I'm a fan of electric. :P You will free up an unnoticeable amount of hp, but you will have peace of mind knowing it won't explode like oem.
    2000 540i M-sport
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  4. #4
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    man thank you two alot... im going to see if i can get this together and properly install. are there any DIYs on this, i looked and didnt find any and what are the parts that i would need. also are u guys located near NJ and want to help with the install one day if not its cool too. this is one of the first things i really want to do to the car because i plan to keep it for a while and in about 3 years SC it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joeman892 View Post
    man thank you two alot... im going to see if i can get this together and properly install. are there any DIYs on this, i looked and didnt find any and what are the parts that i would need. also are u guys located near NJ and want to help with the install one day if not its cool too. this is one of the first things i really want to do to the car because i plan to keep it for a while and in about 3 years SC it.
    here is where you'd want to look first:
    http://www.zionsvilleautosport.com/s...ry_Code=CCSE39

    most everything comes in the kit.

    the install is pretty simple as far as what's invovled.
    basic removal and installation type thing. no modification is really invovled, except for the mounting of the relays for the fan.

    its all completely standalone, also, in meaning it doesnt require that you change any connectors or hoses, etc. that are on the car to fit. and you have nothing to worry about as far as check engine lights or connectors and the like.

    having 2 or 3 guys handy would help a lot, its a bitch to get it in place because of some of the power steering/transmission lines, but with some effort, it fits like a glove.

    I live on Long Island close enought to Joisey, but...... there's plenty of NJ bimmerheads here that would be closer and probably have more patience. Just because I told you to have patience and that I can't stress it enough, doesn't mean that I have much patience.. haha, I barely have enough working on my own car, and I sure wouldn't wanna fling a wrench through your windshield when i jam my finger between radiator and front clip.

    black sapphire did a write up.. ill look for it.
    Last edited by fragzem; 03-14-2008 at 02:08 AM.

    • 2000 BMW 540i/6 (Anthrazit Metallic 397)
    • 2001 Buick Park Avenue Ultra (Bronzemist Metallic)
    • 1964 Buick Wildcat (Sunburst Yellow / Arctic White)

    Fan Blades Can Explode.. Read My Thread

  6. #6
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    • 2000 BMW 540i/6 (Anthrazit Metallic 397)
    • 2001 Buick Park Avenue Ultra (Bronzemist Metallic)
    • 1964 Buick Wildcat (Sunburst Yellow / Arctic White)

    Fan Blades Can Explode.. Read My Thread

  7. #7
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    Anyone done this WITHOUT using the incredibly expensive Zionville kit?
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  8. #8
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    yeah i have a couple friends that will help, but as long as there is a very understandable instruction how to do it, it shouldnt be a problem. Also, will this complete kit solve all of the cooling problems that the e39s have, like the coolant expansion tank problem, and other ones? because i dont feel that it is expensive when you pay once, gain some hp, gain some piece of mind, and even gain some experience.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joeman892 View Post
    yeah i have a couple friends that will help, but as long as there is a very understandable instruction how to do it, it shouldnt be a problem. Also, will this complete kit solve all of the cooling problems that the e39s have, like the coolant expansion tank problem, and other ones? because i dont feel that it is expensive when you pay once, gain some hp, gain some piece of mind, and even gain some experience.
    if you've looked at it, its got its own expansion tank, etc. only thing that remains is the factory radiator cap.

    lifetime warrantied, also.
    only problem it cant obviously solve is the waterpump, which you should be changing while you're in there anyway.

    as for instructions, the wiring instructions are pretty good... as for removing and replacing a radiator... its pretty straightforward. BlackSapphire reccomended taking off the expansion tank to slide the radiator in first.... but i didn't have to do that..

    As a mechanic, and as with most things, different people will always take a different approach, and neither one is necessarily better than the other.

    All I did was just start getting in there. took the hoses off, whatever bolts appeared to hold it down, and just kept going. took me 3 days. Only because a) My fan exploded and I had to replace a lot more crap and b) I wasn't in any hurry.

    • 2000 BMW 540i/6 (Anthrazit Metallic 397)
    • 2001 Buick Park Avenue Ultra (Bronzemist Metallic)
    • 1964 Buick Wildcat (Sunburst Yellow / Arctic White)

    Fan Blades Can Explode.. Read My Thread

  10. #10
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    I did the electric fan conversion on my m5 and the throtle response improved either when the motor is hot or cold, also no cooling problems and temperatures are more stable than before
    I used a Spal 16" electric fan rated at 2,070 cfm with a BMW temp switch, Im very satisfied with the results

  11. #11
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    thrilos5, what did you use to control the fan turning on and off? Did you install a temp sensor and a relay?
    PeterZ
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  12. #12
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    thrilos5 hey man ure in NJ?? im located in 07109 idk if one day down the road when i get the money for this if u want to give me a hand, that is if ure not far way.

  13. #13
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    I just had my radiator replaced. The oem replacement was stretching it for me, so zionsville was out of the question. I do worry about the fan though, I may look into just a electric fan replacement like thrilos did.

  14. #14
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    so if i bought a new radiator, water pump, and an electric fan with temp switch what else would i need, and how much would that cost me? I would like to know another good place to buy stuff besides realoem.com

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joeman892 View Post
    thrilos5 hey man ure in NJ?? im located in 07109 idk if one day down the road when i get the money for this if u want to give me a hand, that is if ure not far way.
    Im in Union about 10-15min from you, anytime you want to check out the set up let me know

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterZ View Post
    thrilos5, what did you use to control the fan turning on and off? Did you install a temp sensor and a relay?
    yes I used a relay and a BMW temp switch from an e36 M3 threaded into the thermostat housing, it looks like it came from the factory that way
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 03-14-2008 at 10:27 PM.

  16. #16
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    The e36 people have a fan delete mod. They remove the fan and clutch assembly, add Water Wetter, and install a lower temperature thermostat. I don't recall what else is involved.

    Anyway, I've never read about anyone doing this on a e39. Seems a little risky to me, anyway.
    Steve
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  17. #17
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    whats so risky about it, if you do it right and with the right fan I don't see any problems

  18. #18
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    Risky cause it's a fan delete
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  19. #19
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    a "fan delete" would be a no-no on the m5, on the 540 though you could get away with only the factory aux fan and a lower degree thermostat/temp switch

  20. #20
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    yeah man, one day i actually would like to check it out, plus e39 M5 is the best looking sedan ever made.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by 540IForMe View Post
    but you will have peace of mind knowing it won't explode like oem.
    Which explodes, the fan blades OR the fan clutch?
    2001 540i 6 Speed / jade green metallic / two-tone interior / staggered m-pars / navigation / sirius / bluetooth / sport seats
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  22. #22
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    Read my post about it linked in my signature.


    or the original bf.c post here: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=781493
    Last edited by fragzem; 03-15-2008 at 12:45 AM.

    • 2000 BMW 540i/6 (Anthrazit Metallic 397)
    • 2001 Buick Park Avenue Ultra (Bronzemist Metallic)
    • 1964 Buick Wildcat (Sunburst Yellow / Arctic White)

    Fan Blades Can Explode.. Read My Thread

  23. #23
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    ok after reading fragzem's thread, at 70k miles.. not knowing if the cooling system has been done, i plan to do the fan clutch untill i have the money to make my own electric fan setup. Im also gonna take off my expansion tank bury it in a container filled with sand, vibrate it until packed, and then pour molten aluminum in it. (not really) but where's the best place to get a fan clutch, and is there anything i would be stupid not to change when im down there? ohh yeah fragzem, and all you thanks for the help!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joeman892 View Post
    ok after reading fragzem's thread, at 70k miles.. not knowing if the cooling system has been done, i plan to do the fan clutch untill i have the money to make my own electric fan setup. Im also gonna take off my expansion tank bury it in a container filled with sand, vibrate it until packed, and then pour molten aluminum in it. (not really) but where's the best place to get a fan clutch, and is there anything i would be stupid not to change when im down there? ohh yeah fragzem, and all you thanks for the help!
    It happened to be my fan clutch that exploded.. but radiators do too!! So if you're on a budget... Fan Clutch & Radiator.

    As for what else while you're there? I'd say waterpump.. and hoses.. (basically everything) - so the suggestion is go for the fan clutch and radiator and when you have the dough, buy all the other crap... coz it will need to get done.


    And.. you're welcome!

    • 2000 BMW 540i/6 (Anthrazit Metallic 397)
    • 2001 Buick Park Avenue Ultra (Bronzemist Metallic)
    • 1964 Buick Wildcat (Sunburst Yellow / Arctic White)

    Fan Blades Can Explode.. Read My Thread

  25. #25
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    so where's the best website to purchase all of these things, i know of pelican parts and realoem any others? im looking to find the best deal, so i can get the most done.

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