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It seems that I may have a radiator leak. I've been getting low coolant messages every 2-3 weeks for the last 2 months. I can't find any leak on the ground, but there were a few drops of water (coolant?) on the frame near the radiator. All hoses changed 4 or 5 months ago, and it definitely isn't the expansion tank (changed last year so I know where to look). Didn't see any drops near the alternator either. I loosened the fan shroud and looked at the radiator and didn't see any moisture, but visibility was limited, and it could have been on the front side. Anyways, looking at info on the internets leads me to believe the seams are finally failing on my now 5/6 year old '05 HSE.

Anyways, my question is how soon do I need to replace the radiator? Is it something that can all of the sudden blow, or will the cracks slowly expand to where I'm having to top it off more and more frequently, but not a catastrophic failure. Not sure how radiators ultimately go. I have a 300 mile trip this weekend and don't have time before then to swap it out, but at the same time don't want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
 

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I can't predict how your radiator will behave, but swapping the radiator is a pretty simple task, so I wouldn't wait to find out. Both the engine and transmission depend on that bad boy. If it is leaking at the seam you could temporarily patch it from the outside while you wait for your replacement part to arrive. I will add that I think it will be worth your time/money to do a more careful inspection to make sure it is indeed the radiator which is leaking. Even if you recently replaced the hoses/expansion tank, one could have been defective or somehow damaged. You might have a look at the water pump too. I would just hate to replace the radiator and then discover that you are still leaking fluid someplace.
 

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scottuf said:
It seems that I may have a radiator leak. I've been getting low coolant messages every 2-3 weeks for the last 2 months. I can't find any leak on the ground, but there were a few drops of water (coolant?) on the frame near the radiator. All hoses changed 4 or 5 months ago, and it definitely isn't the expansion tank (changed last year so I know where to look). Didn't see any drops near the alternator either. I loosened the fan shroud and looked at the radiator and didn't see any moisture, but visibility was limited, and it could have been on the front side. Anyways, looking at info on the internets leads me to believe the seams are finally failing on my now 5/6 year old '05 HSE.

Anyways, my question is how soon do I need to replace the radiator? Is it something that can all of the sudden blow, or will the cracks slowly expand to where I'm having to top it off more and more frequently, but not a catastrophic failure. Not sure how radiators ultimately go. I have a 300 mile trip this weekend and don't have time before then to swap it out, but at the same time don't want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
If this is the BMW M62 engine check the coolant gallery. Pull the transmission inspection plug off and look inside for signs of coolant.
If it's in there then the coolant gallery is leaking.

Look here for further details
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=41354
 
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