Lesson Learned – Do Not Overfill the Cooling System. I described my experience changing the thermostat housing on my 1997 528i, but I did not describe the problem (a result of my mistake) that followed. As background, all the cars I previously worked on were older, and used a more antiquated cooling system design. “Back in the day”, the cooling system was filled directly into the radiator, and the radiator cap has a pressure relief valve built into it.
I was experiencing a slight shimmy whenever I braked hard at speeds in excess of 40mph. It felt like brake judder, but was intermittent, not at low speed. When I jacked up the car, I could move the front left wheel toe-in/toe-out about a quarter of an inch. An inspection from underneath while my wife moved the wheel showed that the ball joint into the left knuckle was worn and moving.
Lesson Learned: at least on my 1997 528i sedan, the radiator shroud can be removed, and replaced, with the fan still installed on the fan clutch. I had to replace a leaky thermostat housing/radiator hose connector on my 1997 528i sedan. RealOEM.com indicates that two different radiator options were available on this vehicle. Mine is the one with the separate overflow tank on the passenger side of the radiator.