Bmw e60 5-series cooling fan replacement (2003-2010) – pelican parts technical article save electricity images for drawing


The cooling fan on BMW E60 models is electronic and controlled depending on engine temperature and A/C operation. The main job of the cooling fan is to draw ambient air across the cooling fins of the radiator to lower engine coolant temperatures. Usually the fan will only run when the vehicle is stationary or at low speeds, when airflow across the radiator needs to be increased.

BMW E60 models utilize an electronic cooling fan integrated into the cooling fan shroud. When repairing, the cooling fan and shroud are replaced as a unit. The cooling fan is responsible for maintaining proper engine coolant temperature and A/C cooling. When a BMW E60 cooling fan fails, the fan will not activate or only activate at high speed. You can check cooling fan operation by turning on your air-conditioning and listening for the fan to activate.

When replacing your electronic cooling fan, you will want to work with the engine cold and disconnect the battery’s negative cable. Disconnecting the negative battery cable will prevent the electric cooling fan from starting while being serviced. The fan could start at any time and personal injury can occur. Don’t skip this step.

For a quick test of the fan, turn on your A/C. The fan should come on. If it does not, it may be faulty. You can also try unplugging your coolant temperature sensor. The fan should run on HIGH. Keep in mind with this technique, a fault code will be set and have to be cleared. Or you will be stuck with a check engine light for a few days until it automatically clears.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had parts replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you’re working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Working in the trunk, disconnect the battery negative cable and cover the battery terminal so the cable does not accidentally come in contact with the terminal. See our tech article on battery replacing for notes on disconnecting and reconnecting the battery.

Comments: On figure 13, the wording might be more useful if it mentions that the ear is hinged and should be "folded" back; the word "flip" made me think I needed to pivot the whole shroud assembly forward. When that ear folded on its own during my wiggling it around, I initially thought I had broken it. 😀

Comments: No fan with AC on. No fan with coolant sensor disconnected. I am getting 12v at plug to fan engine off. AC compressor isn’t running either no cold air when AC is selected. I assume the compressor won’t work without properly working cooling fan, correct? Replacing the cooling fan is the next step, correct? Thanks for your help.

Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you have a fault code for the fan, the AC may not run. The DME would have to be aware of the malfunction. I would manually activate the fan using a scan tool to confirm if it works or not. – Nick at Pelican Parts

I’m yet to do work on mine, that’s planned for later in the day. When the thermo fan ‘did’ work it ran full speed from cold the entire trip. Now it doesn’t work and the engine overheats easily. Removing temp sensor plugs does nothing, I don’t even get an error code.

Comments: MY E60 550i Msport has an oil cooler attached directly to the fan shroud on drivers side. Upper oil cooler hose bracket requires 6mm allen-socket, and the lower accessible from the top is a 5mm with 2 long wobble extensions because it sits at a weird angle. my version didn’t require the removal of the lower shield either as no hose was attched or had clips to attach.

Comments: A cooling fan runs fine, when the A/C is turned on, on cool engine. Turning A/C on and off below 217 F still works, but at idle position a fan would not run when A/C is off. However, once temperate reached about 221F and if I turn off A/C and turn on again, fan would not kick in anymore. And then temperature quickly would reach to 230F and soon to 240F.

Having hot engine light for sometime now. Found a crack on coolant tank and already replaced it. No issues with Thermostat and Water pump. Temperature sensor near thermostat was replaced no so long ago. No leaks of coolant. Only coolant temperature sensor near the bottom of radiator hose was not replaced yet.

Comments: Hi there, I unplug the coolant temp sensor but the fan does not run on high. However, about 2 hours ago, before I unplug it fan run on high speed when the engine was started in the morning. When I turn A/C on fan runs fine. Still a problem with the fan or coolant sensor switch? thanks a lot.

Comments: Hi, I have 2008 550i. I disconnected the coolant temp sensor and expected the fan to rotate but got nothing. On this model is thier a relay to activate the fan motor? The fan has 12V at the connector and I cant check the PWM signal from the ECU, but the wire yel/red has continuity form the ECU to the connector. Any ideas? No error codes on the vehicle just overheats at traffic stops.

Comments: Have a 2006 530xi the AUC sensor is there on the shroud but can’t find the connector as I replaced the fan ,AC turns on and off whenever it wants figured its they the sensor is not connected but can’t find the connector don’t know if the 2006 have the sensor on the shroud or not The fan works fine as it is connected.

Comments: Thank you for the instruction. I have a 2008 535xi and I could not find the AUC sensor in step 9. Also, if we cut the wire in step 12, where would you get a new one at? It does not look like a normal tight wrap but rather a clip-on. Again, thanks.

Comments: Hi, and thank you for the great DIY…. My aux fan now only runs at low speed, and seems to be effecting my a/c performance when idle or stopped in traffic for long periods of time. Highway driving is ice cold. I remember my aux fan used to sound like it was ready for takeoff on hot days and was very audible when I was standing outside the car. The fan seems to no longer engage to high speeds and I could almost stop in with firm force of my finger…. it even stays at this same constant low speed on a 90F day with the a/c on max. Any suggestions, seeing how my fan does "work" but not properly?

Followup from the Pelican Staff: The fan may be faulty. You can try to activate it manually or use a BMW scan tool. Another trick, is to unplug the coolant temp sensor, the fan should run on high. However, that will set a fault code, it will need to be cleared using a BMW scan tool. – Nick at Pelican Parts