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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 09-25-2010, 12:29 AM
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When I spill gasoline and it flows into holes at 3 & 9 o'clock ... where does it go?

I spill a lot of gas (both at the pump and when pouring it in from a can).

I see it drains down these two little holes at 3 and 9 o'clock.

At first, I thought it was draining down into the tank ... but then someone told me it might be going into (ruining?) the charcoal cannister.

Do you know where the gas goes once it enters these two little holes?

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  #2  
Old 09-25-2010, 01:47 AM
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See step #7. Picture with the red arrow, and the picture with the red circle.
It points to an overfill drain line, that goes around the wheel well, and spill the overflow into the ground.

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BMW E39 Siren Replacement


Prepared by VietSB - 01.03.02



1. Purchase one of the following from BMW:
- P/N 65 75 8 383 153 (new-style "plain roadrunner beep" siren - $74 from PacificBMW.com)
- P/N 65 75 8 368 267 (old-style "wolf whistle" siren)

2. Remove passenger-side rear tire.
3. Remove (3) plastic body fasteners towards the rear of the fender liner. Use pliers to carefully pull out the center pin which releases the fastener. Note: Not all fasteners are shown in the picture.


4. Remove (2) 10mm plastic nuts in the middle of fender liner, next to the shock.
5. Remove (3) 8mm bolts in the front underside of the fender liner.
6. Remove the fender liner working from the back to the front. Use careful navigation and some strategic tugging.
7. Pay careful attention to the black plastic hose (Pic #1) clipped to the fender liner and leading to the fuel filler overflow. It should detach on its own from the fuel filler area above (Pic #2).


8. The original siren will be in the rear of the wheel well (Pic #1). Unplug the wiring harness and remove the (2) 10mm plastic nuts that hold the mounting bracket in place (Pic #2). This will release the siren from the car.


9. Remove the 10mm nut holding the bracket to the back of the siren.


10. Install the bracket onto the new siren. It is keyed so the bracket can only be installed one way.
11. Reverse the steps to install the new siren and reassemble the car. Don't over-torque and strip the plastic nuts.
12. Before installing the fender liner, I unclipped the black plastic hose from the side of the liner and connected it back up to the fuel filler overflow hole (Step 7-Pic #2). After I had the fender liner 80% in place, I carefully clipped the plastic hose back to the liner, and used a flashlight to be sure it was still attached to the fuel filler hole.
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Last edited by MatWiz; 09-25-2010 at 01:49 AM.
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  #3  
Old 11-30-2011, 02:07 PM
Joe@Bavarian Joe@Bavarian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
[LEFT]See step #7. Picture with the red arrow, and the picture with the red circle.
It points to an overfill drain line, that goes around the wheel well, and spill the overflow into the ground.

mw
On the ground? I think the EPA would have a problem with that...

It drains back in to the tank.
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  #4  
Old 09-25-2010, 05:26 AM
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Huhhh? Where?
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  #5  
Old 09-25-2010, 05:57 AM
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onto the ground, there is a tube that goes behind the right rear wheel. look under the car and youll see it. in this video starting @50sec

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  #6  
Old 09-25-2010, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orxan4ik View Post
onto the ground, there is a tube that goes behind the right rear wheel.
OK, the video was clear:
"What was that?" "Oh, it's the fuel drain for the fuel filler..."

But, I'm not so sure. I could see the pipe they removed but I spill a LOT of gas into those little holes (don't ask why) and I've never seen or smelled gas on the ground thereafter.

So, I hear what they said, but I'm not (yet) convinced which one of these it is:

a) Air vent for filling the fuel tank (in which case, it goes back into the tank)
b) Overflow drain into the ground (which was implied in the video)
c) Overflow into charcoal cannister (in which case fuel is burned off as vacuum sucks it out - but liquid fuel might ruin the charcoal cannister which is intended to trap vapors)

I'll post the relevant Realoem diagrams; but looking at them seems inconclusive without some further hints putting the puzzle together ...
- E39 525i Fuel tank
- E39 525i EXP.TANK/ACTIVATED CARBON CONTAINER
- E39 525i Fuel pipe and mounting parts

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  #7  
Old 05-02-2015, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orxan4ik View Post
onto the ground, there is a tube that goes behind the right rear wheel. look under the car and youll see it. in this video starting @50sec
Here is a snapshot taken at 56 seconds in that film...

I'm still confused where the drain holes drain to, as I can't fathom the concept that fuel would spill on the ground, at least not here in the republic of Kalifornia...
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  #8  
Old 09-25-2010, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dalekressin View Post
Huhhh? Where?
What do you mean "Huhhh? where?" ???

There are 2 big pictures in step 7. You don't see them?

mw
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Old 09-25-2010, 09:45 AM
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It's an outlet pipe part #22 on the fuel tank diagram and it goes outside. Now let's elaborate some more...
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:03 PM
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Um....I'm not going to bet my paycheck on this as I am not positive, but I'd like to offer another explanation. I just repainted my car for some rust spots in that area and had to remove the inner wheel liner exactly as Orkin does in his video. It was my belief at the time that the plastic hose that is referred to at the 50 second point of the video may actually go to the battery vent tube and not the fuel filler. Like I said, if I was 100% positive I would say so- I'm not sure, but just remember thinking that this was how the battery fumes actually vented to the atmosphere. I'm not convinced that the holes BB refers to really go to the ground as opposed to the tank and are just alignment holes for the flap inside the filler neck. I am not sure how the extra gas gets into the charcoal canister, but I don't believe gas going into these holes hits the pavement.
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  #11  
Old 09-25-2010, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
Um....I'm not going to bet my paycheck on this as I am not positive, but I'd like to offer another explanation. I just repainted my car for some rust spots in that area and had to remove the inner wheel liner exactly as Orkin does in his video. It was my belief at the time that the plastic hose that is referred to at the 50 second point of the video may actually go to the battery vent tube and not the fuel filler. Like I said, if I was 100% positive I would say so- I'm not sure, but just remember thinking that this was how the battery fumes actually vented to the atmosphere. I'm not convinced that the holes BB refers to really go to the ground as opposed to the tank and are just alignment holes for the flap inside the filler neck. I am not sure how the extra gas gets into the charcoal canister, but I don't believe gas going into these holes hits the pavement.
I would totally buy to this IF the part wasn't in the "fuel tank" section of the realoem, but mind you it's a very well educated guess
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  #12  
Old 09-25-2010, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
Um....I'm not going to bet my paycheck on this as I am not positive, but I'd like to offer another explanation. I just repainted my car for some rust spots in that area and had to remove the inner wheel liner exactly as Orkin does in his video. It was my belief at the time that the plastic hose that is referred to at the 50 second point of the video may actually go to the battery vent tube and not the fuel filler. Like I said, if I was 100% positive I would say so- I'm not sure, but just remember thinking that this was how the battery fumes actually vented to the atmosphere. I'm not convinced that the holes BB refers to really go to the ground as opposed to the tank and are just alignment holes for the flap inside the filler neck. I am not sure how the extra gas gets into the charcoal canister, but I don't believe gas going into these holes hits the pavement.
Did you SEE the 2 pictures in step number 7 ????

mw
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:32 PM
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Sorry. It's still not clear to me where those two "holes" connect.

The function is either:
1. Air vent (for filling the tank)
2. Fuel overflow (for spilling on the ground)
3. Fuel overflow (for spilling into the charcoal cannister)

I made an attempt at locating (blue and red colorized hoses) the two hoses in the realoem diagrams below. But I might easily be wrong as it's not obvious to me.

Can someone concur WHERE the two holes/hoses are in the diagrams below?




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  #14  
Old 05-02-2015, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
It was my belief at the time that the plastic hose that is referred to at the 50 second point of the video may actually go to the battery vent tube and not the fuel filler.
That's interesting.

Here is a picture of my battery vent tube, from the inside:
- Here is a simple battery replacement DIY (1)
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Old 05-02-2015, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
There are 2 big pictures in step 7. You don't see them?
I too am confused by that set of step #7 set of pictures because I'm not sure that's not just the air vent to the tank.

What I can't tell from these two pictures is whether that line attaches at the one end to either the 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock fuel-filler holes, and, even worse, I can't tell where the other end goes.
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  #16  
Old 09-25-2010, 06:11 AM
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Those images were very instructive. I didn't know where my alarm was nor could I visualize the rear shock removal.

Awesome thanks!
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Old 11-27-2011, 04:07 PM
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I believe they are vents to allow the pressure to escape as gas is added. Any gas that entered just drains back to the tank.
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Old 11-27-2011, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
All the overflow in the engine is re-circulated back into the charcoal canister.
Is that where the fuel that isn't squirted into the intake manifold goes? Back into the charcoal canister?

If so, isn't that a LOT of liquid fuel going back into the canister?

How does it get all the way back to the driver side rear wheel well from the engine fuel rail?

Quote:
Originally Posted by windsmith View Post
Those two 'drains' that Bluebee drew arrows to appear to be BEHIND the fuel cap, no?
Below the fuel cap, yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by windsmith View Post
If they are sealed under the cap, then I'm fairly certain that they simply 'drain' into the tank.
That's why I asked the question of where they go.

I was unsure (and still am unsure).

Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
Any gas that entered just drains back to the tank.
I understand. I've heard both:
a) They go to the charcoal canister
b) They go back into the tank

Do we have any proof of which one it is?

Last edited by bluebee; 11-28-2011 at 10:04 PM.
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  #19  
Old 11-27-2011, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Is that where the fuel that isn't squirted into the intake manifold goes? Back into the charcoal canister?

If so, isn't that a LOT of liquid fuel going back into the canister?

How does it get all the way back to the driver side rear wheel well from the engine fuel rail?
Fuel that isn't injected is returned to the fuel tank through the return fuel line (number 5 on the fuel feed diagram). I think the return fuel actually goes through the fuel tank suction jet pump. It does not go to the charcoal canister.
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Old 05-02-2015, 01:41 PM
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I am re-reading this thread, to find the answer (which I had forgotten over time)...

Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
Those 2 drains must go somwhere, and not onto the ground. I also never witnessed any wet pavement after gasoline spilled in those 2 holes.
I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
Why would the charcoal canister get ruined if gas goes in it?

Good question.
I don't know where I had gotten that idea but googling, I'm not the first... but, it's mostly forums and questions, so, we'd need a reliable source.
- Charcoal canister damaged when overfilling fuel tank
Quote:
It does terrible things to the evap system and that includes the charcoal canister. The canister in newer cars is not vented to the atmosphere like the older cars, so once saturated with raw gas, it doesn't clear after a few miles, it stays saturated for a while. This, of course, causes problems in the evap system and never ending 'check engine' codes. Other problems are raw gas mucking up evap sensors and valves, requiring them to be replaced. And some are not cheap. The evap system in newer cars is designed to sacrifice itself to prevent fuel spills from over-filling, so the constant punishment for over-topping the gas tank could lead to expensive repairs.
- Chevy Blazer Ruined Charcoal Canister Because of Gas
Quote:
The charcoal canister is not intended to filter gasoline or become saturated with fuel. It is only capable of filtering gas fumes. Even after drying the EVAP canister, HC will still remain within the charcoal pellets. Chances of passing the smog check for the next several hundred miles with a charcoal canister saturated with fuel (even after drying) will more than likely not be possible.
- What happens when topping off gas tank
Quote:
If you get raw fuel in the charcoal canister, you will destroy it, it is designed to capture fumes. Just topping off, then driving (far enough to burn off a few gallons) won't hurt anything. There is an air bubble trapped in the top of the tank, when you move it usually gets bumped to the top of the filler neck, as long as you burn fuel faster then it expands - you are good to go. If you top off, then park there is the chance the fuel can expand, and run down the line to the evap canister.
- Gas in charcoal canister
Quote:
the charcoal canister is an evap control mechnism. i.e. the charcoal absorbs harmful gasoline vapors from you filler neck and thereby prevents them from entering the atmosphere. topping off you tank overfills your filler neck and :duh: overflows your evap canister, destroying it
- Is it really bad to top off the gas tank?
Quote:
Modern canisters are located in the rear of the car underneath or behind the bumper these days, they can be a pretty complex affair with valves and solenoids and so on.
They don't like raw fuel and some are expensive so its safest to fill the tank only till the pump shuts off.

One thing that can happen if it does get filled with fuel is unmetered fuel can get sucked into the engine when the evap runs, not a good thing.
Getting soaked once or twice is not likely to damage the unit but i wouldn't make a habit of topping off the tank.

Hot summer days when the tank is topped off and parked without burning any fuel off is usually when this will happen, the expanding fuel has to go somewhere.
- How does the charcoal canister go bad?
Quote:
the canister does vent pressure in the form of accepting vapors through the vent valve in the top of the tank, but it can only take so much. If the tank has been overheated (BTDT on the road course), it'll send liquid gasoline up the vent line to the canister, and the canister is open to atmosphere through a small vent. It's normally totally capable of taking the vapors and either treating them with the charcoal or venting them to the intake depending on the actuation of the canister purge valve, but if it gets hit with liquid gas, it'll saturate, and stink, and be ruined. BTDT too.
Of course, all of that can be wrong, so, we need something reliable, not hearsay and guesses.

EDIT: After re-reading the whole thread, this appears to be the most common answer ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by windsmith View Post
Those two 'drains' that Bluebee drew arrows to appear to be BEHIND the fuel cap, no? If they are sealed under the cap, then I'm fairly certain that they simply 'drain' into the tank.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
I believe they are vents to allow the pressure to escape as gas is added. Any gas that entered just drains back to the tank.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
Since the holes are within the filler neck #9, the only place for the fuel to go is to the tank.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
+1, 2 and 3....that's exactly where it goes.
If you want to prove it to yourself look in with a flashlight, get a thin piece of wire pushed into either hole. Watch where it comes out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe@Bavarian View Post
It drains back in to the tank.
That would mean there is no harm in topping off the fuel tank, at least until it really begins to spill ...
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Last edited by bluebee; 05-02-2015 at 02:07 PM.
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  #21  
Old 05-03-2015, 08:29 AM
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Here's another reference today that implies that spilled gas goes into the charcoal canister...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > ?; Replacing charcoal canister
Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
The charcoal in the canister will remain *good* for a very long time. It will marginally change your running parameters and your gas mileage.

The purge valve is another story, but as long as you are not setting any codes, why even mess with it.

They can go bad with contaminated charcoal, but generally only if you repeatedly over-fill your tank with gas.

I would NEVER replace this canister if I were not getting an error and then I would remove the purge valve first, bring it inside the house or the garage and try to blow through it.

You should not be able to blow through it at all. Then put 12VDC to the two connectors (polarity not important if removed from car). You should hear the purge valve "click" and with power still applied, you should easily be able to blow through it. If it does not click or the solenoid shift to where you can blow straight through it, then clean the valve with gasoline or a silicone lubricant to get the plunger free to where it does shift back and forth (open and closed) with 12 VDC applied.

If you can not free up the solenoid with it soaking in gas or drenched with a spray lubricant to where you can blow through it energized, then it is time to change out PLUS you would be getting the SES coming on.

If you clean the purge valve with anything besides gasoline, then you will want to dry it out well after soaking it in mild dishwater soap and water. Dry the valve while energized and open. This may be over-kill removing all that you may have sprayed into the valve, but I don't trust many chemicals remaining in and on the guts of the valve. G/L
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:49 PM
Steve530 Steve530 is offline
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I took a few photos of my 2001 530i that may shed some light on the subject, but do not answer the question.

First I can confirm that there is a hard plastic hose that exits the fender liner, and this hose follows the fender liner as far as I can see. The first two photos show this hose.





Second, I'm in the unfortunate situation to say that the rear hole black plastic insert in the filler does not connect to anything. The plastic insert in my car is broken, and it is clear in the photo that the only thing behind it is the metal part of the filler. I can see some sort of wire behind the forward hole in the black plastic insert which is apparently the device that secures the black plastic insert in the filler.

Finally, if you look closely at the rubber part on the outside of the filler, you'll see that this is actually is folded over to seal around the raised part of the body that the filler goes through. I think this is part of the filler tube gasket that seals the filler tube to the body. This gasket is the part to which the tube that exits behind the wheel is attached according to VietSB's DIY. On the exterior, there is a small hole at the bottom of the folded gasket. I confirmed that this is connected to the hose that exits behind the wheel by blowing compressed air through the hole and feeling the air exit the tube. I assume that this is to drain water that accumulates in the filler recess when you was the car.



This doesn't answer Bluebee's question about where the gas goes when you overfill the tank.
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  #23  
Old 11-27-2011, 11:18 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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We have liquid fuel that goes thru tubes & lines.
We have vapor that goes to the canister and evap purge valve
We have VENT tubes/hoses that carry vapor and air (not liquid).

Just as your homes drain pipes have VENT pipes...the vent pipes allows air to escape up and out of your home, while the drain pipes carries away waste water to your sewer lines or septic system. The VENT pipes are only for air to escape...the same type of set-up is used in our cars. There are hoses/lines/pipes that are either for air, vapor, or liquid.

When dealing with a closed system like our fuel tanks and injection lines...we must consider that filling the tanks will require some type of venting...there must be some type of overflow drain tubes that will carry excess fuel as well as allowing air pressure to escape. And our cars also have a system of recovering unburnt fuel which is mostly in the form of vapor...the canister collects this fuel vapor, and the evap purge valve expels this vapor into the exhaust manifold to be burnt instead of wasting it away to the atmosphere.
FUEL TANK (exert from familycardotcom)

Most automobiles have a single tank located in the rear of the vehicle. Fuel tanks today have internal baffles to prevent the fuel from sloshing back and forth. All tanks have a fuel filler pipe, a fuel outlet line to the engine and a vent system. All fuel tanks must be vented. Before 1970, fuel tanks were vented to the atmosphere, emitting hydrocarbon emissions. Since 1970 all tanks are vented through a charcoal canister, into the engine to be burned before being released to the atmosphere. This is called evaporative emission control and will be discussed further in the emission control section.

If the fuel supply system is not clear as how it functions...then reading up on the topic using the online BMW TIS and finding the PDFs on e38.org & e38.org/e39 will go a long way in grasping knowledge...even googling the topic...may prove to be very illuminating.

You can see in this TIS doc, that there is a VENT hose (air). The 2 holes seen when refueling...are probably 99% assuredly spillage/drain holes that allow excess fuel that leaks from refueling or fuel that may get spit back up while refueling to drain back down into the fuel filler neck...and back down into the tank: http://tis.spaghetticoder.org/s/view.pl?1/01/37/30

We must also remember that there IS a hose that sticks out from that side of the vehicle that is #12 (the battery vent tube)...again "VENT" tubes carry air/gaseous vapors. I don't have the sedan...so are you 100% sure that the tip of the hose encircled in red is NOT the battery vent tube (#12 in the diagram)?:



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2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
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99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
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Last edited by QSilver7; 11-28-2011 at 12:01 AM.
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  #24  
Old 11-28-2011, 04:32 AM
Steve530 Steve530 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QSilver7 View Post
...so are you 100% sure that the tip of the hose encircled in red is NOT the battery vent tube (#12 in the diagram)?...
Yes, I am certain that the hose is connected to the small hole at the bottom of the filler tube gasket. I blew compressed air through the hole and it came out the tube below the fender well.

The gasket is outside of the fuel and vapor recovery system. The hole is at the bottom (6 o'clock) position in the gasket. It's very small and likely to be covered with dirt. Take a good light and inspect the gasket at this position. I used a can of compressed air with a small straw attached (computer duster) because I didn't want to put a lot of pressurized air through the system if I was mistaken.

Check the diagrams, you'll see this hose is attached to the back of the filler gasket.
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:00 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve530 View Post
Yes, I am certain that the hose is connected to the small hole at the bottom of the filler tube gasket.... The hole is at the bottom (6 o'clock) position in the gasket. ... Check the diagrams, you'll see this hose is attached to the back of the filler gasket.
Then that would probably be the #2 vent hose which is identified by you & the TIS (see the link I inserted in reply #22 to the TIS...which is identified in the 2nd image) You can see it running from the bottom of the filler neck, then into a hole in the fender, then down & out of the bottom like in the pic you posted.
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2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
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http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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