DIY - Starter Motor 6-Cylinder Engine (M52 Motor) - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

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Old 01-05-2009, 12:53 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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DIY - Starter Motor 6-Cylinder Engine (M52 Motor)

This is a FAQ but so far no good write-up.

So The following is from BMW T.I.S. Procedure Book for Removal of Starter Motor 6-Cylinder Engine (M52 Motor).

1. Copy your Radio FM Channels.
Then disconnect the Battery.

2. Follow the pictures to remove Starter Motor.

Manual Transmission: E39-M52-MT-Starter01.JPG -----> E39-M52-MT-Starter03.JPG
Automatic Transmission: E39-M52-AT-Starter01.JPG + E39-M52-MT-Starter03.JPG
(last step is the same for Auto and Manual).

Good Luck!
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Last edited by cn90; 01-05-2009 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:05 PM
bmerbill bmerbill is offline
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Location: Fl
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Mein Auto: 98 Bmw 528i
OK I just did this on mine , I have a 98 528i, Auto,

lets say, I was Not Going to remove the intake, NO WAY, NO HOW, Ive been doing this way to long,,

If you have the starter bolts that screw into the starter without nuts on them, then you have no reason to remove the INTAKE.
So lets start. I knew it was my starter Bendix as it just kept trying to catch and then let go and re-engage and grind at the flywheel.
So I ordered a starter for 39.99 with free shipping from ebay, it was used and from a Z3, with a 90 warranty,

to start with I jacked the car up on ramps first then used jack stands so I had room underneath it. removed the ramps and set to go, I will wait till the last thing to remove the battery grd wire, so I dont have to reprogram the radio. so lets go this is a 2-3 hour job unless you have the problems I had. Mine was 3 days. but I can another in 2 hours flat now.

first take out the air box, the whole airbox, it has 1/ 10MM head bolt on it, thats it, the rest are 2 hose clamps, I removed mine from the wheelwell and the intake itself in one unit, look at the rubber slide ons so you lube them all first with Wd before trying to slide the box back onto the stays it fits on, Now take off the top cover for the intake again, this has 2 10mm headed bolts holding it on. this is so we can get the top starter bolt and see what we are doing. the socket you will need for the starter bolts is a #12 Star Socket or an E-Tork.

Ok ,now we go and look at the starter from the fender well area, see the clips down the side of the engine for the fuel lines? unclip them from up top or from underneath. your choice. slide them out of the way.

now go down under the car with your 3/8 drive ratchet and a 4 inch extension with the 12 MM E-Tork on it, take and get the socket and extension on the star head. then lift your ratchet and slide it on the end, undo this bolt all the way and remove and clean up real good so it goes into to the new starter with your fingers all the way.
this bolt is where my problems started and ended. it was fused into the Aluminum tail of the starter and I couldnt get it out with a ratchet with a 27 inch handle on it, so I grab the air ratchet , and get it on there and the air ratchet blows up, ROFLOL> ok im stranded and have no way to get to the store for a new air ratchet, 2 days later I get a ride and come home to tackle this again. I put the air ratchet up on the bolt and tried to tighten it ,it moved a 32nd inch . lol
ok remove now another 32nd inch. ok back in and this time when we go to remove we will not stop the ratchet. Bingo out came the bolt and so did 6 full threads from the starter tail/

glad we are replacing the starter LOL
ok we have to use an Ice pick to clean the threads on the starter bolts from the aluminum thats embedded into it
after this we oil them real well and make sure they go into the new starter with fingers,
ok now for the top starter bolt, u need a 1/4 ratchet with the star on it from the top you can get right on the bolt and slide a jack handle over the 1/4 drive ratchet so you can have a little leverage to break loose the top bolt
break it loose and take it out , dont worry the start has a pin in it to hold it in place,
after you get this bolt out your are ready to open the trunk and disconnect the grd on the battery and lay it off to the side so it doesnt accidentally touch the post again till you want it to, Remeber to clean this bolt up like you did the other so it goes back in with fingers. ok from up top, look sideways and you will see the 13MM nut for the hot lead on the starter remove this first and then the other large lead behind it comes off
now you can slide the starter around and remove the 10MM nut from the one wire and the 8 MM from the other wire, and slide the starter right out the top with no problems at all. replace like this
Slide the starter down in and connect the 2 small wires, now slide the starter into the bell housing hole and it slides on that pin that holds it steady while you insert the top bolt and start it a little
now go under and put the bottom bolt in and tighten it up, slide the fuel lines back into the clips and get out ,your are done under the car. go up and tighten the top bolt and now put the hot leads back on and tighten them.
go and connect the battery and make sure nothing is touching in any wrong places, it pretty much sits back just as you took it out. Now take and slide the airbox back in with WD lubing all the rubber ends and boots for it to slide on easier. put the one 10MM bolt back in the air box and reinstall the intake cover, Now lets try the starter, PURRRRRRRRRR , Jack her up, and remove the stands,and have A HAPPY BMER experience .

I hope you enjoy and find this How2 by Bmerbill helpful in your maintenance of your wonderful BMW Im very lucky to have found this rare Bmer, it has all the 740 features on it
sliding window covers, First aide kit, rear access thru seat,individual ac controls and all
and it came from the factory with the 17inch wheels on it, we grabbed it for 4200.00 4 years ago with 129,000 on it, and now have 225,000 miles on it, yes we have a Love affair with our Bmers 4 sure. many Thx for this forum and the help it is to many

Last edited by bmerbill; 09-18-2010 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:02 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
For the record, a newbie complained he couldn't 'find' any starter motor DIYs, so, today, Takechan and I provided a few dozen links (including this one) over here:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > Starter replacement

I looked at each of those links, and updated the bestlinks with the following references:

- Where is the starter motor located (1) & an M52 starter motor DIY (1) (2) & the BMW TIS (1) and an E38 740iL starter motor DIY (1) (2) & how to remove the M52 starter motor without removing the intake manifold (1) (2) & what special tools are needed (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & where is the starter motor relay (1) (2)

Photo by cn90!

Last edited by bluebee; 08-15-2011 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 08-26-2011, 06:44 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
For the cross-linked record, especially since starter motors seem relatively reliable in the E39 ... here's a post today asking about EBAY sources:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > E39 523i Starter

Originally Posted by roboman View Post
My starter has malfunctioned in my 5 series. Apparently the plastic gear inside the starter is damaged. I am looking for a new starter and came across this one on ebay. Can you guys tell me if this would definitely fit in my e39?

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Old 11-26-2011, 09:27 PM
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acoste acoste is offline
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my starter is different

Hi All,

I was able to do this job from the top only without removing the intake manifold. Since I had issues buying the starter I show some pictures about BMW's re-manufactured starter.
It is also interesting that I own a 1997/10 E39 528i manual and my car doesn't look like the car on the images from ce90 who is the first commenter here.

When I bought the starter in a BMW dealership I was complaining about the model since my starter has threads and the re-manufactured one has a hole without threads. But I was told that BMW redesigned the starter and this will fit and also works with the old bolts. So I bought 2 x 10mm nuts with washers to be able to fix it. You can see on the pictures that the two starter look very different, and when I removed the starter I took a photo of the flywheel to see if the difference will cause any issues.
Generally I often take a picture of something I can not see because my view is blocked. It is easier to diagnose it on the photo.

Getting the idea from bmerbill I removed the airbox and it turned out that I can complete the job from the top.
I had some extra unnecessary work so getting the experience I recommend to do it by the following order:
Remove airbox; disconnect battery; disconnect 12V cable from starter; disconnect starter and move it out for easier access; disconnect other cables from starter; and do it again with the new starter in the opposite order.
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Old 12-17-2011, 12:13 PM
jcbmw jcbmw is offline
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Location: Maryland
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Posts: 6
Mein Auto: 97 bmw 528i
starter stuck

Hi, everyone
I have a 97 528i. I was going to replace the starter today and I was able to remove the two bolts following the instruction in this forum. But the starter does not come off after the two bolts removed. I did remove the right bolts so it is not I removed the wrong bolts. Any ideas what is going on? I appreciate any help. Thanks
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Old 12-25-2011, 06:44 PM
emesser emesser is offline
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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts
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Mein Auto: United States
dowel pin also holds on starter

Hey buddy,

on my 2000 528, along with the two bolts holding the starter on there is also a dowel pin about 3/8 of an inch long that comes off the tranny housing between the two bolts. the bolts are easy to take out but the dowel pin can be a real bitch. i was able to reach in from the top and wedge a flat head screwdriver in there to slowly work the two pieces apart. good luck.
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:53 PM
jellobmw jellobmw is offline
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Location: Burlington VT
Join Date: May 2012
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Mein Auto: 73 3.0cs
I Survived!

Yup, took a bit longer than planned, but it all went together, thanks mainly to this thread, and Bimrbill.
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Old 06-25-2012, 04:29 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
For the record, JimLev kindly wrote a recent V8 starter motor R&R DIY over here ...
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > Bosch starter rebuild kits? DIY write-ups?

Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
Not technically a rebuild, I just removed, cleaned, and lubed it to see if the noise it was making every 10-20 starts would go away. So far it has been fine.
The V8 starter takes about 30 minutes to remove from the bottom of the car.
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:26 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
For the record, these starter motor queries were opened up recently where I pointed them here:
Originally Posted by Raider View Post
Do you remove the starter from the top of the engine or the bottom of a 2001 525i?
Originally Posted by NinerFan View Post
I am getting ready to order a starter for my mechanic to put in. I was wondering how you all felt about getting a referbished or remanufactured part.
Oreilly will warranty it for lifetime, but I don't want to keep replacing it if it makes more sense to buy a new one if they are out there even.
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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