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5 Series DIY
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  #1  
Old 08-22-2007, 04:06 PM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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Mein Auto: '07 335xi 6MT 4door
Cowl & lower windshield strip replaced (E39)

If you've replaced the windshield cover already, you've done about 1/2 the job; check out your lower flashing and you'll likely see some major cracking issues too.

Also, remove your engine cover and see what's left of your cowl--the burning rubber you smell when you turn on your air is likely caused by the deterioaration of this rubber cover which encapsulates the air ducts from your engine compartment leading too your cabin.

For e39 540i:

cowl part #: 51 718 157 446 ($32)
cowl flashing/lower windshield strip part #: 51 718 159 292 ($72)

tools needed: screwdriver (for prying); 13mm socket; 15mm socket; phillips head; rubber mallet and some tool (for removal of the driver's side wiper control arm).

The tools are for the flashing and wiper arm removal; no tools are necessary for the cowl replacement.

Here are some pics of the compartment where the cowl should be, but in serious disrepair and mostly missing. Compare this pic to the "after" pic of the engine compartment below! Also, I'm pointing to the remaining portion of the cowl in one pic. And in another pic are the new cowl and the stuff I pulled out of the compartment that WAS the old cowl:
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'07 335xi 6-spd 4dr, Montego blue
'98 540i 6-spd Sport, Jet Black II(sold)
'92 325i 5-spd 4dr, burgundy(sold)

Last edited by Waveho; 08-22-2007 at 04:22 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-22-2007, 04:13 PM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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Mein Auto: '07 335xi 6MT 4door
Here is a pic of the engine compartment after the new cowl and lower flashing have been replaced. Note that there was a defect in my flashing as one mounting hole was misplaced; I attached a "dummy" washer and plug with black silicone to seal the hole. Plainly a defect since there was an impression, but no hole, where the hole should have been. No matter, since there are several places where the flashing is secured.

Driver's side wiper arm was a bear to remove--the pressure nut needed to be banged with a tool and rubber mallet and then pried off. It was also difficult to realign the wiper arms properly upon re-installation.

Anyway, here are some "after" pics, and a pic comparing the old cowl flashing to the new one:
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'07 335xi 6-spd 4dr, Montego blue
'98 540i 6-spd Sport, Jet Black II(sold)
'92 325i 5-spd 4dr, burgundy(sold)
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  #3  
Old 08-22-2007, 04:19 PM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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I can already tell a difference in the a/c--no more burning rubber smell in the cabin! This job took me about 2 hours due to mostly the wiper arm removal and old lower flashing removal and installation. Installation of the cowl itself involved removing two clips and connecting the hose bracket to the cowl, which merely slides up (the black square thing in the cowl pic).

Anyway, I highly recommend you check out your cowl and flashing situation, especially if you've already gone through the trouble of replacing your upper windshield flashing and you have an older model e39.

Hope I inspired some of you to do this as well; you'll love yourself for it!

Well, here are some pics of my satelite antennas (SIRIUS and Magellan navigation, respectively) and a corresponding pic of my busy but friendly cockpit, which I merely took since I had my camera handy!
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'07 335xi 6-spd 4dr, Montego blue
'98 540i 6-spd Sport, Jet Black II(sold)
'92 325i 5-spd 4dr, burgundy(sold)

Last edited by Waveho; 08-22-2007 at 04:21 PM.
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  #4  
Old 08-27-2007, 10:57 AM
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  #5  
Old 08-27-2007, 09:51 PM
branndon_b branndon_b is offline
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waveho, i just tackled my lower windshield strip myself just the other day, and noticed that my cowl is in pretty poor order too. so, i ordered the new cowl, and it should be in here in the next few days. anyhow, long story short, to help align my windshield wipers when i reassembled my wipers and such, i had put a couple of sticky notes on the windshield where the wipers should sit when all the way down. (did that make sense?) let me try that again. while the wipers were still all the way down, (off position) i put a couple of sticky notes, like post-it notes, on the windshield to mark where they should align to. i know it's not gonna benefit either me or you now, since we've both already tackled it, but maybe if someone else attempts it perhaps it will help them. you are dead on about that driver side arm removal being a b***h. i lost my religion a couple times on that one. lol. anyhow, good job. thanks to everyone posting those diy's, it's making it possible for fat a$$es like me to save a few bucks.
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  #6  
Old 08-28-2007, 06:38 AM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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Glad to help! I think using markers like sticky notes is a good idea. I noticed that the first time I reinstalled the driver's wiper, it looked to be in the proper position, but when I ran the wipers, the arm settled still much too high on the windshield when I cut them off. I had to reposition it by adjusting that damnable pressure nut two more times to get it about right. I don't think there is any other way than trial and error to get it just right, though. Mine still sits just about a 1/2 inch higher than it did previously, but I haven't had the energy to mess with it again yet!
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'98 540i 6-spd Sport, Jet Black II(sold)
'92 325i 5-spd 4dr, burgundy(sold)
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  #7  
Old 08-29-2007, 04:54 PM
Solo1 Solo1 is offline
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where did you buy these cowl parts? Pelican has them as special order only.

Also, I can't tell the difference between the cowl and the lower flashing you discuss.

Are the part numbers different for the 1998 528i? I can't find th4 parts on Real OEM.

Thanks for the help.
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Last edited by Solo1; 08-29-2007 at 05:14 PM.
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  #8  
Old 08-29-2007, 05:37 PM
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SoonerE39 SoonerE39 is offline
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I wish I could find my parts receipt for the part number fr you. I took the 540i part number, called the local dealer and told them I needed the same thing for a 528i. Seems like it was under $20
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  #9  
Old 08-29-2007, 05:46 PM
Solo1 Solo1 is offline
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thanks - did you understand what the differences were between the cowl and the flashing? been trying to figure it out for over an hour.
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  #10  
Old 08-29-2007, 06:10 PM
Solo1 Solo1 is offline
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For 528i pre 9-98
- Center Engine Compartment Closing Panel 51718174739
- Left Engine Compartment Closing Panel 51718174737

real oem page
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...92&hg=51&fg=80
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  #11  
Old 08-29-2007, 07:43 PM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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The cowl part is the smaller piece that covers the area behind the engine between the air manifolds (3rd pic in my first post). The part referred to as cowl flashing is the entire lower plastic and rubber strip that runs along the bottom of the windshield--the longer piece (1st pic in my second post). I only photographed about 1/3 the length of it in order to get a closeup of the condition of the part. Th part numbers for the 528 will differ. I had to special order both parts from the BMW dealership, and got them in about three days.

I ended up dragging the tech out to the car and pointed to the pieces I needed, and he told me what they were called and ordered the parts. I copied the part numbers from the stickers on the packaging.
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'07 335xi 6-spd 4dr, Montego blue
'98 540i 6-spd Sport, Jet Black II(sold)
'92 325i 5-spd 4dr, burgundy(sold)

Last edited by Waveho; 08-29-2007 at 07:46 PM.
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  #12  
Old 08-29-2007, 11:35 PM
Solo1 Solo1 is offline
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referring to real oem part #'s in post before yours would make this understandable. thx.
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  #13  
Old 09-02-2007, 09:18 AM
Solo1 Solo1 is offline
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OK, further updates of the last several posts so the 528 owners can do the repairs mentioned in this thread...

I did the research and got the answers to the "what are these parts again?". Using the real parts name used by BMW facilitates determining what the parts actually are....

The so-called "cowling flashing", words not to be found in BMW parts lingo, is actually called the "windshield frame cover" (now that is descriptive!).

The part number is 51718159292. For some reason they hid it in the "grill diagram" in the real oem site.) The Real OEM link:

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...51&fg=20&hl=19


The part number is the same for both 528i and 540i (unlike the above mentioned "center compartment closing panel" - or the so- called "cowl" which have different parts numbers for these vehicles).

These are available at great prices from Pelican Parts although they are special order and take several days longer to ship.Now I can get on with ordering these parts and getting the thing fixed!

LAter!
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Last edited by Solo1; 09-02-2007 at 09:24 AM.
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  #14  
Old 09-02-2007, 04:33 PM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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I posted the part #s for the 540 in my original post, and used the terms that BMW told me when I pointed them out. Thanks for the clarification.

Note: I was able to get these parts in 3 days on order from the BMW dealer.
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'98 540i 6-spd Sport, Jet Black II(sold)
'92 325i 5-spd 4dr, burgundy(sold)
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  #15  
Old 09-02-2007, 04:48 PM
Solo1 Solo1 is offline
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Thanks for the post with pics....

you wouldn't even know there was a center engine component closing panel....cause the whole thing just disintegrates as you suggested!

And the windshield frame cover (alias cowling flashing ) is actually the bottom seal or cover that the Windshield Moulding Trim Seal for Front Windshield (the subject of another DIY) attaches to. I noticed this piece was chipping away there at the bottom of the wondshield just like it was at the top!

Good catch on your part.

I haven't really experienced any problems as a result of this deterioration / disintegration (that I am aware of) but still want it to be fixed. BMW really screwed up their materials selection for this stuff.

This topic should be a sticky because this will happen to every e39 I bet.
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  #16  
Old 09-02-2007, 05:05 PM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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Thanks. I also don't know of any damage that may have occurred, but the parts are more than likely there for a pretty good reason. I suspect that water has been getting into areas that it aught not!

One signficant upgrade by doing this, at least for me, has been the great reduction in that ever-present "burning" smell from the blower. The cowl/cover in my case, and in yours, was baked to oblivion, and was probably a good suspect in this odor problem, since that particular part is up against the air piping to the cabin. I don't burn oil or any other fluid, but the smell had persisted, and I think I've found the main culprit in this.
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'98 540i 6-spd Sport, Jet Black II(sold)
'92 325i 5-spd 4dr, burgundy(sold)
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  #17  
Old 09-06-2007, 01:34 PM
branndon_b branndon_b is offline
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just pulled the trigger on the engine cover/cowl cover, whatever they call it. the one on the firewall that the harness clips through, that one. it wasn't really too bad of a job, but the one i took out came out in 2 big pieces and a bunch of little ones. it's a shame that these cars came with such crappy rubber. oh well. i didn't post any pictures (i know that's a pet peeve of everyone's) as i haven't yet bought a digital camera. but it looked very similar to the pictures above. keep those diy's coming! Branndon.
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  #18  
Old 09-07-2007, 08:19 AM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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The replacement parts for both the cover and the lower window flashing I got from the dealer seemed to be of very good quality, and of different material (hard to tell what material it was, though, based on what little was left of the cowl cover!) than the original pieces. I wonder what year BMW began using upgraded material for this? This problem seems to be largely with older e39s.
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  #19  
Old 09-14-2007, 04:18 AM
allanbmw530i allanbmw530i is offline
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It appears not to be confined to older BMW's my 01 530i has had both panels replaced. The larger one, closing engine compartment panel 51-71-8-174-737 and the smaller closing panel 51-71-8-174-737, hidden behind the micro air filter housing. The centre panel was in numerous pieces and when touched crumbled to dust the other panel was slightly better off. These I purchased from Pelican Parts at $28.20 and $27.45 on the 25th July.They took about six days to reach me here in New Zealand.
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  #20  
Old 10-02-2007, 01:11 AM
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  #21  
Old 01-11-2008, 12:49 AM
THE BOSS THE BOSS is offline
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WAVEHO! PLEASE HELP ME OUT!

how'd u get that damn bushing/bolt thingee off thats below the driver's side wiper arm?? is that the piece u had to bang with a mallet??

that this is a pain in the a$$ do i pry twist or what????
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  #22  
Old 01-12-2008, 07:26 AM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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I already PM'd The BOSS with further explanation (and he has successfully replaced the lower window moulding as well! Good going--another cleaner e39 on the road!).

But I should add an addendum to this write-up based on a few additional emails I've received. I should have expounded more on removing the main wiper arm. Once you remove the cover of the driver's side arm, remove the top bold. Underneath that is a gold "pressure" bolt that holds the mechanics to the whole shebang together. I don't know of any specialized tool that can assist in removing this bolt. You need a set of heavy duty grips, like large quality pliers, and a rubber mallet. Careful using a metal hammer, but that can be used as well. The bolt is VERY sturdy and can take a lot of punishment. Basically, you need to beat the crap out of the bolt (but carefully, if that makes sense) to loosen it up. Alternate between whacking it with the mallet and jiggling with the pliers. Anti-seize solvent may help. Have patience--it WILL loosen and come off.

Also, a tricky part is replacing the wiper arms in a proper "rest" position after you've installed the new cover. It's a little tricky, and may take between one and three tries to get it right. Put the wipers in the "rest" position and reinstall the wiper bolt including the pressure bolt, but not TOO tight since it is likely you will need to remove and reinstall again. Don't replace the plastic covering quite yet. Once in place, run the wipers and turn off. The wipers will likely rest a bit too high. Remove the bolts, tighten up and try again. After two or three times, they will be back in position. Have some patience and you'll be happy. Enjoy your nicer looking window mouldings!
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'92 325i 5-spd 4dr, burgundy(sold)
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  #23  
Old 02-09-2008, 06:06 PM
JKRIT JKRIT is offline
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A universal puller works to pull off the center arm and driver's side mount from the splined shafts. Just leave the loosened nut partly threaded on the shaft to use as a center for the tapered point of the puller screw; hook the arms under the sides and tighten the center screw. It will pop free, then you can remove the nut the rest of the way.
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  #24  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:14 PM
LTDUTCH LTDUTCH is offline
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Thumbs up Windshield Cowling & L/H wiper nut removal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waveho View Post
If you've replaced the windshield cover already, you've done about 1/2 the job; check out your lower flashing and you'll likely see some major cracking issues too.

Also, remove your engine cover and see what's left of your cowl--the burning rubber you smell when you turn on your air is likely caused by the deterioaration of this rubber cover which encapsulates the air ducts from your engine compartment leading too your cabin.

For e39 540i:

cowl part #: 51 718 157 446 ($32)
cowl flashing/lower windshield strip part #: 51 718 159 292 ($72)

tools needed: screwdriver (for prying); 13mm socket; 15mm socket; phillips head; rubber mallet and some tool (for removal of the driver's side wiper control arm).

The tools are for the flashing and wiper arm removal; no tools are necessary for the cowl replacement.

Here are some pics of the compartment where the cowl should be, but in serious disrepair and mostly missing. Compare this pic to the "after" pic of the engine compartment below! Also, I'm pointing to the remaining portion of the cowl in one pic. And in another pic are the new cowl and the stuff I pulled out of the compartment that WAS the old cowl:
That natsy windshield wiper arm nut on the drivers side is very easy to remove. NAPA is probably the ONLY tool store that carries the right size puller. Photo shows a 4 pc gear puller set, but only the smallest puller is needed. I used a 3" gear puller due to working space restrictions with hood installed. A rubber mallet was not used... only the gear puller to remove the nut and then cleaned off the spline nut post prior to reinstalling the nut.
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  #25  
Old 02-14-2010, 12:59 PM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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Good post on the puller--that would definitely come in handy for that nut!
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'92 325i 5-spd 4dr, burgundy(sold)
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