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chicaneuk

Reviving E39 530D Webasto..

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I thought I'd start a new thread for this. Inspired by this thread on another forum: 

 

http://www.bimmerforums.co.uk/forum/f15/e39-530d-webasto-aux-heater-replacement-compatibility-t374946/

 

I've decided to attempt to resurrect the Webasto on my 530D. It has worked at some point I think, not long after I bought the car back in March. I remember it being a particularly cold morning and I parked the car and noticed the hum of something coming from the front of the car, and the smell of diesel fumes coming out from what I now know is the little exhaust for the Webasto.

 

However soon after that I began to get the problems of the electronics on it failing, with numerous electronics on the car failing (radio, sls, indicators, etc). I'm ashamed to say in my haste to fix (read "bodge") it, without wanting to remove the wheel and do it properly in the cold weather, I reached my hand into the wing and simply ripped the cable out - and it snapped the loom rather than removing the plug cleanly. I bagged up what was left and forgot about it. 

 

Since then I've put an awful lot of time into trying to fix a multitude of issues with this great big nail and having got a bit more confident with the repairs I've been undertaking, and also having a bit more affection for it now 6 months down the line, I have a desire to fix the Webasto system now that winter is approaching - it's quite a novelty and I'd like it working, plus I feel guilty for butchering it last time.

 

So as a starter I've ordered a pre-owned, good condition looking unit off an E53 / X5. According to the previously linked thread they are compatible with a few small modifications. I'm hoping all the other elements (e.g. water pump) are in good working order and I won't have to spend too much more to resurrect it, but of course there will also need to be repairs to the wiring that I butchered, unless of course it's possible to just buy and replace that segment of wiring loom from BMW. 

 

My intention really is just to update the thread with my findings as I go, in the hope that it might help other folks who decide to try fix theirs. There's absolutely loads of E53 Webasto's on eBay currently too for < £80. 

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I pulled the fuse in the boot over a year ago as the pump was running all the time and draining the battery.

Will be watching this to see if there is an upside to the faults.

The engine does warm a lot quicker in freezing weather when it's all working.

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Came yesterday and looks to be in nice shape. I need to see about getting the old one out now and transferring all the bits over that I need. Got a week off in a couple of weeks house-sitting for my parents and they have a reasonable garage and some hard standing area so thinking it might be ideal for me to take all my tools and just have a week working on the car including tackling this.

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I remember hearing and smelling mine a few years back. Now I'm retired I never has to go out early, and if it's really cold, not at all!  So, if it still works or not, I really don't know. Will follow the thread with great interest though.  Post up lots of close-up pictures as you go along.

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Will try and remember! I do tend to get tunnel-vision a bit when working on a problem.. always imagine taking photo's and documenting the process, but end up just going at it and finishing the job having took no photo's at all :(

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"Note to self,  must try harder and show all working out in margin."

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Well here I am on my week off, and thoughts turned to the Webasto now. 

 

The first job really is to repair the wiring / connector which I gorilla'd - a quick bit of Googling and found that BMW list the following piece: 

 

Part number 61116923249, position number 2 on the diagram below:

 

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/showparts?id=DP72-EUR-06_1998_E39_BMW_530d&diagId=61_1263#61116923249

 

Here is a picture: 

 

61116923249.jpg

 

Seems this would be what I need to repair the damage I've done. I shall enquire with BMW of Kings Lynn on Monday morning for a price and availability. 

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That's one possibility and seems reasonably priced. CLICK That set also has the third (white/green) wiring for voltage activation if you want to install one. The plug housing and pins or wires with readily connected pins can also be bought separately from BMW dealer. You still need the power plug and wiring.

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Disappointingly, I went to order this from BMW today but was told it'd be at least a week before it'd turn up - and I'll be heading home before then. So I'm going to have to put this little project on hold until I get home. 

 

However I am going to take a look at my eBay unit and see how easy the circuit / control board on the top is to remove and see about retrofitting that onto the unit still in the car.. and just see if I can patch up the wiring to bring it to life. That might be for tomorrow or Thursday, weather depending! 

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Warm up the metal core properly before trying to remove the screws on the plastic cover where control unit is located. They are installed with thread locking and break easily when removing.

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I went out prior to reading this and removed the screws easily enough though could see how they might break - as you say, thread locked and quite thin. The board came off the top nice and easily so in the next day or so I'll attempt to swap it over with the one on the car currently. 

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Small update on this, though nothing significant. Had the wheel off and the arch liner out to take a look at the Webasto today. I must be very fortunate as I was able to remove the 3 small screws for the little exhaust cleanly, and all other bracket related bolts. But after rummaging around the shed I realised I'd not got anything suitable to join the two coolant lines together - some bodging and some spilled coolant later, I gave up and reassembled. 

 

But I will be off to pick up a suitable bit of pipe from B&Q tomorrow so that I can have another run at it, and hopefully extract it from the car. My intention is to make one good unit out of the two I have, and meantime get the cable repair kit ordered.. then hopefully be in a position to reinstall it all again in a couple of weeks or so once I have the cable in hand. I think it'd make sense to use the E53/X5 unit I have as it honestly looks fairly new. Just have to open the water pump is in working order. 

 

A few notes of interest. I found that despite removing all visible fixings I was unable to unseat the unit. I subsequently read on a few other forums about how the unit (once all unplugged / all pipes disconnected and bypassed) needs pushing towards the engine. It's because once the two bolts on the bottom of the bracket on the exhaust side are removed, the unit is secured to the car by the two pegs circled in the attached picture. You need to apparently give the unit a fairly serious shove to remove it. 

 

I was also initially confused by a length of what looked like rubber coolant hose, sitting up above the unit seemingly connected to nothing. At first I thought there was something weird going on and the system was drained of coolant and bypassed, but reading around that is the air intake pipe, and they all look like that :) 

 

s-l500.jpg

Edited by chicaneuk

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Usually those exhaust screws are so corroded that no way they can be removed intact.

 

A firm push sideways and the unit will come out of the bracket. When installing it back lubricate the rubber grommets with for example brake cylinder paste. Also remove the car side wiring from the plastic bracket so you get more play and can route them on the groove on top of the Webasto plastic top housing so the unit can be pushed close enough to wheel housing when sliding it back in. Otherwise it can be frustrating as you are working blind regarding those connecting points.

 

While you have it removed you could take it totally apart and use the original E39 middle part so there is no need to hack the exhaust connection. Clean the burner unit and glow plug as they are likely coked. You can use some carburetor cleaner on the metal mesh.

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Thanks again, Clavurion - this information is really appreciated. I didn't think about splitting the unit and using the exhaust section from the E39 - that would make sense though! 

 

Regarding testing the water pump, so I can ensure it works, can I simply just connect it up directly to a car battery to see if it runs? I don't have a bench power supply so not sure of any other way I would test it. 

 

I did find this pretty useful exploded diagram of the unit from a Marine Webasto dealer.. this page is also useful for ordering parts, though their prices seem a little on the steep side (e.g. water pump is £216!)

 

https://www.jpcdirect.co.uk/?p=spare.parts.webasto.thermotop.c.water.heater

 

It is however useful to find the Webasto part numbers for each of the components, which you can then search for elsewhere! 

Edited by chicaneuk

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Well as usual got totally stuck into this and didn't take any pictures. Apologies. 

 

Ended up being a bit of a debacle in the end. I did get the old unit out, but ended up slicing the rubber part of the fuel line right before the Webasto as it was on so tight, I just couldn't get it to budge. Of course then I realised my mistake as I had no substitute pipe. Went out to a local motor factors and got something that seemed suitable but coming back I realised it was too thick for the OEM clips and again I had no substitutes.

 

However I did end up reinstalling the X5 unit instead as it's clearly in miles better condition. I sawed the excess exhaust pipe off the bottom of the unit as I did attempt to split the unit but couldn't work out how to split the centre section out so gave up and reassembled. 

 

I did try and remove the PCB from the old unit but.. the screws started to budge then looked like they were going to chew up the heads so I'll have another go it at another time and see if I can see what state it is in. 

 

Reinstallation of the new Webasto onto those pegs was, as you say Clavurion, infuriating - but it did eventually go on. 

 

So now basically I'm waiting on the cable repair kit for the plug and also now need to order that bit of fuel line and some clips also from BMW. One confusion though - the existing plug on top of the Webasto (the K-BUS one) only has two wires into it... is that correct? I'm sure everything I'd read said there would be three.. 

Edited by chicaneuk

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