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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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 02-16-2010, 12:18 AM
BBMW528i BBMW528i is offline
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Power Steering

In the past 2 weeks a rubbing/moaning sound has started to worsen when I turn my car on to drive it for the day. The sound goes on for a little while, but then when the car warms up it stops making the noise. The same exact thing happened one year ago and I got the bearings replaced and some other things.

So what the hell is it this time? I am going to check the power steering fluid, but in the owner's manual it doesn't say where that goes. Where is it on my 2000 528i and what kind of ATF do I put in it?

Any other cheap suggestions to try out before I take it to the dealer and spend another grand?
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  #2  
Old 02-16-2010, 05:11 AM
stinkpalmd stinkpalmd is offline
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If you're worried about it being the power steering, I would go ahead and drain the ATF fluid and refill. I don't want to say which type it is 100%, but I believe it is DEXRON III or higher. It could also be your power steering pump showing you signs that it's on its way out.

However, it could also be your pulleys & tensioners that are part of your drive belt system. When the bearings on those go, it can make a range of noise - anything from a moan to a chipmunk to a squeal. If you're able to take your drive belt off, try spinning your pulleys... there should be some resistance. If the pulleys spin freely and wobble a bit, then you need to replace them.
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  #3  
Old 02-16-2010, 05:38 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Of course your owners manual says where to add ATF to the PS reservoir.
Maybe you are not reading the correct pages LOL.
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  #4  
Old 02-16-2010, 10:34 AM
ProfessorHM ProfessorHM is offline
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Sounds like a pulley noise. Those things are crap, and generally don't last very long, but make a high pitched noise usually. A squealing sound in the morning. If you can get a automotive stethoscope(very cheap) and put it on the pulley and take a listen. If its bad it should be REALLY loud if you do this while its making the noise.

If you don't want to spend the money you can use a long screwdriver. Just be careful and don't let the screwdriver slip! It might bounce off the belt and hit or poke something.
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  #5  
Old 02-16-2010, 10:39 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Likely tensioner.

If you have more than 90-100K, look at the entire cooling system!
See the DIY section.
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  #6  
Old 02-16-2010, 04:09 PM
BBMW528i BBMW528i is offline
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Replaced the power steering pump, wheel bearings and entire cooling system within the last year and a half. I am going to drain the ATF, refill and see what happens.
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  #7  
Old 02-16-2010, 04:18 PM
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TeaRex714 TeaRex714 is offline
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It'll start making that kind of noise when the level gets low in the reservoir. Check it out. Take a close look at the hose connections to the bottom of the reservoir too; the clamps are known to leak over time and should be replaced when they do. Pretty cheap and easy.
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  #8  
Old 02-16-2010, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaRex714 View Post
It'll start making that kind of noise when the level gets low in the reservoir.
As he said, low fluid level it could be; anyway, seems to have been my problem ... which went away after putting the wrong fluid in (Dexron II instead of Dexron III).

I haven't gotten around to replacing the entire fluid ... but when I do, I'll do a DIY for ya!




Last edited by bluebee; 02-16-2010 at 09:31 PM.
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  #9  
Old 02-16-2010, 05:30 PM
resharp001 resharp001 is offline
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[/QUOTE]

Man, my reservoir looks like that (dirty) almost all the time. I always think I must be loosing fluid somewhere around the top but I never seem to see a change in the level. How do they get so dirty?
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  #10  
Old 02-16-2010, 05:41 PM
nike001 nike001 is offline
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Just add more power steering fluid (BMWs use ATF, i use the dexron stuff and it works fine). If you look in your manual for the pages with the engine bay...it will have the power steering resoivor noted.
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  #11  
Old 02-16-2010, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by resharp001 View Post
How do they get so dirty?
This thread explains how it gets dirty and gives a way to prevent it in the future.

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  #12  
Old 02-16-2010, 10:58 PM
BBMW528i BBMW528i is offline
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Thanks for all the input, I plan on taking care of this tomorrow and I will update with the results.
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  #13  
Old 02-17-2010, 08:58 PM
resharp001 resharp001 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
This thread explains how it gets dirty and gives a way to prevent it in the future.

Oddly enough I had ordered one of those o-rings with my last order of random parts. I had thought it seemed like an o-ring issue, and upon looking at realoem I noticed there was indeed an o-ring there. The night before I saw this post I had actually tried to install it and couldn't find a place for it to go. I had been working on the car all day and was tired along with not having the best light, so I didn't mess with it too long. Went back out tonight to take another look at it. Even with your post, I had to look at it for a solid couple minutes as I just couldn't see where it should set. Not until I got a pick and just started picking around at it did I notice that yes, there was indeed an old o-ring on there, and it was so crushed and deformed that it looked just like part of the plastic cap! New o-ring installed. Hopefully that is the end of that mess!

Bluebee - now you just need to solve my engine knocking noise in my timing chain tensioner thread! Your posts are always so helpful....thanks for taking the time with the great pictures.
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  #14  
Old 02-18-2010, 08:16 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Originally Posted by resharp001 View Post
I got a pick and just started picking around at it did I notice that yes, there was indeed an old o-ring on there
Thank you.

I haven't replaced the o-ring myself yet, so it's very nice to see your helpful post for all of us to benefit from.

Looks like this is one of the maintenance items that is kind'a hidden from view that we all should do whenever we see our power steering reservoir leaky.

Let us know, longer term, how it works out for you.

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Last edited by bluebee; 02-18-2010 at 08:20 PM.
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  #15  
Old 02-19-2010, 04:28 PM
BBMW528i BBMW528i is offline
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So I added a good amount of ATF to the car and guess what?

Problem completely fixed.
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  #16  
Old 02-19-2010, 06:52 PM
resharp001 resharp001 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBMW528i View Post
So I added a good amount of ATF to the car and guess what?

Problem completely fixed.
Keep an eye on that ATF level. If it was low before there was probably a reason for it. I'd check it every day or every other day and if you notice it starting to go down again then start looking for a leak. I had a leak in the hose from the reservoir to the pump where the rubber transitioned to metal, but there are many other common leaky areas in this system. At the time of my leak I was having to top off about every 10 days or so. Good luck.
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  #17  
Old 02-19-2010, 08:38 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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1+,

You likely has a leak at the bottom of reservoir.
Step #19 here shows you how to fix it for free, cut 1/2"off, then install new clamp:
http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/199986

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  #18  
Old 05-11-2010, 08:38 PM
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ztom ztom is offline
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I didn't have a turkey baster so I put a plastic hose on a water bottle and did a siphon. The tube was small enough to slip inside next to the PS reservoir wall and down. I squeezed the bottle a little to get some suction, then lowered the bottle and let gravity take over. I could then unscrew the cap of the water bottle and put on another bottle. I'm doing multiple emptying, in between I refill, close cap, turn car on, move wheel to left all the way, then right, like said above.
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  #19  
Old 05-12-2010, 06:33 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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My morning squeal came back. Especially when it's cold outside. I need to debug further ...
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  #20  
Old 05-12-2010, 12:42 PM
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ztom ztom is offline
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Are you sure it's not the deflection pulley? (near the alternator)
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  #21  
Old 05-25-2010, 04:23 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ztom View Post
Are you sure it's not the deflection pulley? (near the alternator)
The cold-start squeal could be caused by a bunch of things!

I bought this mechanic's stethoscope to try to pinpoint it.

BTW, I also finally replaced my power-steering reservoir cap o ring as detailed by magnum and others.

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  #22  
Old 08-20-2010, 05:55 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
My morning squeal came back. Especially when it's cold outside. I need to debug further ...
Just to close the loop on the cold-start five-minute squeal that started in March and was finally solved in July.

In July, my alternator suddenly gave out, car died going up a hill, TRANS FAILSAFE PROGRAM, red battery light, SES light, radio cutting in and out, etc. ... rolled backward for a while until I could pull over. Got a tow. Charged the battery. Debugged to the alternator. Replaced the alternator. Replaced both tensioners. Replaced the idler roller. And replaced both belts.

The problem was one of those! (which one I don't know)

Morning squeal went away (along with my bank account).

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  #23  
Old 04-15-2011, 12:22 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Doru made a suggestion today which I'd like to propose culturally gets added to our typical oil change schedule.

Doru suggests we change the reservoir power steering fluid with every oil change ...


I suctioned out about 8 ounces (about 250ml) of fluid out of my M54 reservoir:


And, I propose that we change the power steering reservoir cap o-ring whenever we change the oil filter lower o-rings (every few years):



It may also be a good idea every few years to remove the T20 Torx bolt holding the filter down and removing the reservoir and flushing with gasoline as shown by JimLev in this thread:
- How to clean the power steering fluid reservoir internal filter (1)

Here, for example, is a picture of my filter, after I magnetized a T20 Torx driver and removed the bolt holding the circular filter in place:

Last edited by bluebee; 04-15-2011 at 08:03 PM.
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  #24  
Old 05-12-2011, 08:47 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the record, today it was asked again how to stop the weeping of the power steering:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > ATF oil gunking my engine

Rather than employ the color-coordinated nomex M-badged sock solution:
- E46 (1999 - 2006) > ATF reservoir overflow



Most of us simply replace the o-ring as shown in the bestlinks reference on this topic:

- How to clean the power steering fluid reservoir internal filter (1) & how to replace the cap o-ring (1) (2) & why you want to fix the power steering hose drip onto the alternator (1) (2) (3) & how to debug PSP power steering pump noises (1) (2) (3) or steering rack noises (1) & a nice power steering pump autopsy photo (1) & how to flush cloudy ATF fluid (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & what PS fluid to use (1) (2-pdf) (3-volume) & what volume is needed to buy (1) & DIYs to replace the power steering hoses (1) (2) (3) (4) (5).
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  #25  
Old 05-12-2011, 11:21 PM
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