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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 06-12-2010, 08:27 AM
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How much volume of power steering fluid do we have in the E39?

How much, in total, power steering fluid is there in our E39s.

I scoured the Bentley and owners manual and didn't see this information.

Here is what I have so far in the E39 fluids summary.

What else do we need to say about power steering fluid?

- Power steering: Dexron III ATF (realistically, Dexron VI ATF because Dexron III certification is no longer available from GM) Bentley page 020-20. [Volume: It has been said to be just under 2 quarts; I used about a quart to flush twice just my power steering reservoir using a turkey baster to remove fluids out the top.] Note: I6=rack and pinion attached to an aluminum subframe, V8=recirculating ball and nut attached to a steel subframe. Replacement Interval: Bentley says it's "permanently filled"; but most of us would suction out and refill the reservoir with about a quart of fluid every few years because it's a hygroscopic fluid and the permanent filter on the bottom of the reservoir doesn't prevent the fluid from becoming dirty. Some even replace the reservoir in order to have a new filter. Most also replace or cut off the tip of the bottom hoses whose clamp often allows leaks.

Last edited by bluebee; 06-21-2010 at 01:12 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-12-2010, 08:39 AM
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dalekressin dalekressin is offline
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Bluebee be sure to check your hose clamps these come loose. Sorry no aNSWER TO THE PSF VOLUME.\
Like to see the solution to your oil change post (PM me if you prefer).
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  #3  
Old 06-12-2010, 11:24 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Slightly less than 2 quarts.
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  #4  
Old 06-21-2010, 01:04 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
Slightly less than 2 quarts.
OK. I put "just under 2 quarts" in the tribal knowledge fluids summary (but how did you know?).

Is there a chart somewhere?

BTW, this 4-page BMW AG TIS on the power steering is invaluable as to which fluids are certified by BMW.

Here's an interesting excerpt from this web page:
Prior to the advent of BMW Free Scheduled Maintenance, approximate BMW maintenance recommendations were: automatic transmission fluid (ATF) and filter changes every 15,000 miles, manual gearbox and differential oil changes every 30,000 miles, annual brake fluid changes, and coolant changes every two years. Spark plugs, air filter, and fuel filters were typically replaced every 30,000 miles on most BMWs (this is a tune-up) except M cars up to 1995, which got new spark plugs and a valve adjustment every 15,000. Later advances in computer engine management and spark plug technology legitimately allow 60,000-mile spark plug life if not more.
...
But once BMW began paying for scheduled maintenance, lo and behold the "schedule" was revised. Now the cars hardly need any maintenance at all. The 1,200-mile break-in service was done away with except for M cars. Engine oil suddenly lasts 15,000 miles (dealers are supposed to use BMW synthetic oil). Manual gearbox and differential oil? No worries there now BMW says they NEVER need to be changed; it's "lifetime fill." Brake fluid and coolant service intervals were doubled with no change in the original BMW brake fluid and anti-freeze dealers are supposed to use.
...
Power Steering Fluid:
Replace every 30,000 miles. This is a very neglected operating fluid. Almost all BMWs use automatic transmission fluid in the power steering system, except for some E32 7 Series cars, which use Pentosin hydraulic oil. Nothing will balls up the works faster than using one when you should be using the other. Check the sticker on the reservoir, check the owner's manual, and if you are still confused, take the car to a pro or e-mail me. It is not necessary to evacuate the entire power steering system. I just open a line down by the pump.
I have had great experience using Red Line Synthetic Power Steering Fluid 184,000 miles and counting on the original rack and pinion unit and pump on the vehicle I used to test this product. But I would not use it in place of Pentosin hydraulic oil where that product is specified.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf BMW Pwr Steering ATF Fluid Type-List.pdf (303.3 KB, 1933 views)

Last edited by bluebee; 08-05-2010 at 04:07 PM.
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  #5  
Old 01-06-2011, 09:17 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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In case you are wondering, in the owners manual, it doesn't show where the marks are on the power steering reservoir cap ... so this thread covered it just today.

Here is the description:
  1. "The fluid level should be in between the marks on the dipstick"
  2. "On a stationary engine top up the fluid reservoir to the MAX mark on dipstick"
To replace:
- Turkey baster (or syringe) to suck PS fluid out in a container.
- Do this until it the reservoir is dry and you can see the white at the bottom
- Fill with your favorite PS fluid (Dexron-III - but realistically, Dexron VI since III is no longer certified by GM)
- Start engine, turn the steering all the way R and L a few times to expel any air.
- Shut the engine.
- Repeat this cycles a few times so most of the fluid is fresh.

The Complex way is via the steering rack line disconnect but that is more labor, so keep it simple as above.
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Last edited by bluebee; 01-07-2011 at 05:21 AM.
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  #6  
Old 01-07-2011, 07:04 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
....
bluebee,

The pic I posted above was taken from the Internet and I believed was labeled reverse MIN vs MAX!
Courtesy of Bentley (or at least it looks like it is from Bentley) LOL!!!
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  #7  
Old 01-06-2011, 09:27 PM
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540indiana 540indiana is offline
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Exactly 2.275413 Litres, I would double check but Wapner is on in ten minutes. Im an excellent driver.
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  #8  
Old 01-07-2011, 07:49 AM
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This is from E36/E46, all the detail is in there:
http://www.dvatp.com/bmw/diy/power_steering_flush/
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  #9  
Old 01-08-2012, 08:05 PM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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I am going to replace my reservoir.
What hose clamps should I order for the 2 hoses underneath, after I cut/reseat them?
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  #10  
Old 01-09-2012, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EconoBox View Post
I am going to replace my reservoir.
What hose clamps should I order for the 2 hoses underneath, after I cut/reseat them?
http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...23&hg=32&fg=20

http://www.autohausaz.com/search/gro...ering%20System

http://www.autohausaz.com/search/pro...3@Hose%20Clamp
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Last edited by Jason5driver; 01-09-2012 at 10:37 AM.
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  #11  
Old 01-09-2012, 09:20 AM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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Use only auto transmission fluid. I learned the hard way about putting in an expensive power steering fluid claimed safe for European cars that was supposedly a seal conditioner, pump revitalizer and at $18 a liter it had to be good right? WRONG!!! It boiled like the witch's caldron immediately and shot all over the engine compartment. It was a major brand name product when all the car wants is dex III or IV. I don't know if I would even use redline. I question it's use in this application. Just use A/T fluid as has been said multiple times. No additives necessary and may do more damage. I have V8 so I drain, fill, drive 10 miles, drain, fill, drive 10 miles, drain, fill and keep driving knowing I have exchanged almost 100% of the fluid. Don't known what difference it makes how much it holds because you are going to buy like 5 quarts for the multiple fill/drain procedure and if you have a bottle left or you need to get another bottle, who cares? A bottle of trans fluid on the shelf will get used eventually and save another trip to the store.
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  #12  
Old 01-09-2012, 10:31 AM
terrystu terrystu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
Use only auto transmission fluid. I learned the hard way about putting in an expensive power steering fluid claimed safe for European cars that was supposedly a seal conditioner, pump revitalizer and at $18 a liter it had to be good right? WRONG!!! It boiled like the witch's caldron immediately and shot all over the engine compartment. It was a major brand name product when all the car wants is dex III or IV. I don't know if I would even use redline. I question it's use in this application. Just use A/T fluid as has been said multiple times. No additives necessary and may do more damage. I have V8 so I drain, fill, drive 10 miles, drain, fill, drive 10 miles, drain, fill and keep driving knowing I have exchanged almost 100% of the fluid. Don't known what difference it makes how much it holds because you are going to buy like 5 quarts for the multiple fill/drain procedure and if you have a bottle left or you need to get another bottle, who cares? A bottle of trans fluid on the shelf will get used eventually and save another trip to the store.
Since you have a V8, you should have a drain plug on the bottom of your P/S pump. This allows you to drain most of the fluid in one shot. You get a much more effective fluid change, and you only need to buy 2 quarts of Dex-VI.
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  #13  
Old 01-09-2012, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrystu View Post
Since you have a V8, you should have a drain plug on the bottom of your P/S pump. This allows you to drain most of the fluid in one shot. You get a much more effective fluid change, and you only need to buy 2 quarts of Dex-VI.
Word, I wish the I6's had the drain bolt at the bottom of the power-steering pump like the V8's have...
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrystu View Post
Since you have a V8, you should have a drain plug on the bottom of your P/S pump. This allows you to drain most of the fluid in one shot. You get a much more effective fluid change, and you only need to buy 2 quarts of Dex-VI.
Like my post said, "since I have a V8 I DRAIN, Refill, Drive". I did not mention a turkey baster once.
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  #15  
Old 01-09-2012, 05:43 PM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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Is there any way to "flush" the PS fluid more efficiently than repeatedly siphoning fluid from the reservoir?
There are 2 hoses going into the bottom of the reservoir? Is one of them a return hose?
Can I pop that one off and start the car, and just point the return hose into a plastic bottle until the new red fluid starts coming through?
Then, I could reattach it, and just refill the reservoir. Can this work? Seems faster and cheaper and more effective.
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  #16  
Old 01-09-2012, 05:50 PM
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Sure can. You can pull a hose at the pump and get most all out. System is self-bleeding in that all you have to do is refill, turn wheel full left then right- lock to lock and keep adding fluid as it goes down. By doing it three times at the pump with the drain plug, I am pretty confident I got 98% new in there. you will too!
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  #17  
Old 01-10-2012, 03:11 AM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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Is there a picture somewhere that can tell me which hose to pull?

Is there a specific sequence to follow, in terms of when the hose is pulled vs. when the car is running?

This sounds like a 3 person job?
One guy watching/diverting the hose, one guy turning the steering, and another guy refilling the reservoir?
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  #18  
Old 01-10-2012, 05:43 AM
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Making more of this than warranted. Loosen any connector at the pump so gravity will drain pump too. Re-connect. Go back up top and fill reservoir. It will release big bubbles as some air escapes. Re-add P/S fluid as necessary to keep full. Start car with fluid handy. see if reservoir needs more. Turn wheel lock to lock and you will hear P/S pump quiet down and take a little more fluid. turn left to right a dozen times and top off. Drive ten miles or so and then do whole thing over again. Couple times will replace darn near all of it. One man job!
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Old 01-10-2012, 03:59 PM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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Things are always easy and obvious in hindsight. Not if you've never done it.
Heck, I don't even know where the PS pump even is (yet)

Do you disconnect the PS pump and then start the motor?
Or is it just disconnected to drain the pump and then reconnected?
Is it dangerous to drain the PS pump and have it empty until the new fluid reaches it?
Should you wait to turn the steering wheel for a minute or two, so the new fluid has reached the PS pump?
When the PS pump hose is disconnected, do I run the car and turn the wheel?

Last edited by EconoBox; 01-10-2012 at 04:04 PM.
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  #20  
Old 01-11-2012, 05:53 AM
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Empty and fill with engine OFF. Don't run with pump dry! Fill slowly and it will get to pump w/o engine running. You can turn key to pos.2 and rotate steering wheel w/o power assist, but if you just fill over about 5 minutes, most air will be gone. Then start and quickly turn wheel lock to lock repeatedly.
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:47 AM
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  #22  
Old 10-05-2013, 12:29 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the record, this came up today:
Quote:
Originally Posted by david831 View Post
My steering fluid its low and I have a super tech power steering with leak stop from walmart and was wondering if its safe to add to my 00 bmw 528i? Have any od you guys used this?
See also:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWC View Post
No _ I didn't do either the filter or the o-ring -- but the steering feels much smoother. I'll wait until my next oil change and tackle -- thanks for the info!
No rush.

Most seem to clean the filter about every few oil changes.


And, if you don't replace the o-ring every couple of years, you'll need the M-sock mod:
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 06-25-2014 at 11:07 AM.
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  #23  
Old 08-10-2014, 08:02 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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The question came up again today ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > power steering fluid
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilot12 View Post
I was really confused lately on whether PS fluid same one as transmission fluid?! it says ATF only on the PS reservoir but I coudn't find any power steering fluid that says ATF, instead I found ATF Drexon/Mercon. Would someone clear that up for me? Since it says ATF only on power steering cap, then i should use the ATF thats says Drexon on it right?
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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