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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 06-20-2010, 08:26 AM
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Removing and cleaning the MAF sensor housing on the I6 E39 (Bentley notwithstanding)

As the first step of an intermittent high-altitude P0174 too-lean OBD-II DTC error with fuel cutoff, I followed the Bentleys to remove & clean the "Siemens MS 43.0" MAF sensor housing on a 2002 525i and, in hindsight, I wish I hadn't because a few simple but critical steps are missing from the Bentleys.

This is what the Bentleys, page 130-29, say to do:
- Loosen intake boot clamp
- Disconnect harness connector
- Release clip from air-filter housing
- Remove MAF sensor housing
- Installation is the reverse of removal

In a perfect DIY world, this is what I needed to do on the 2002 I6 E39 (in hindsight):
- Remove 10mm bolt holding air filter housing rigidly in place
- Loosen intake boot hose clamp with a flathead screwdriver
- Press down on spring-loaded wire on harness connector to pull harness connector off the MAF sensor housing
- Release two clips from the air-filter housing with a screwdriver
- With force, compress intake boot rubber and push away from the MAF sensor housing to disconnect MAF sensor housing from the intake boot
- Lift up on the now loose air-filter housing and wiggle as you pull the MAF sensor housing out of the air-filter housing
- NOTE: Some people recommend pulling the engine air-filter housing away from the headlight assembly (see DIY in later threads below).
- Remove the MAF sensor housing and clean with hexane spray (15 good wet spurts of CRC MAF Sensor Cleaner)
- Allow the MAF sensor to dry thoroughly (it won't take long because the hexane evaporates in a minute or two)
- Installation is the reverse of removal

Following Bently, this is what I actually did on the 2002 I6 E39 (in error):
- Loosened intake boot hose clamp with a flathead screwdriver
- Used a screwdriver to pull up on the spring-loaded wire on the harness connector
- In a split second, that wire disengaged and ricocheted across the cluttered garage
- Immediately I wished the Bentley had said HOW to remove that spring-loaded harness clamp!
- Spent at least a half hour looking for that missing airborne spring clip, almost giving up on the task
- Released two clips from the air-filter housing with a screwdriver
- With force, tried to compress the strong intake boot rubber to push away from the MAF sensor housing to disconnect MAF sensor housing from the intake boot but succeeded only in distorting the soft hose-clamp steel
- Doublechecked that I was on the Siemens 43.0 MAF section (which is what a 2002 BMW 525i would be according to the chart on page 130-2).
- Read the Bentleys over and over, wondering what was missing (finally realizing they're discussing & picturing a slightly DIFFERENT setup!)
- On my own now, I loosened both spring clamps further downstream on the intake boot intending to remove intake boot, but also failed as it's wedged in there tightly
- Finally decided to remove the 10mm bolt holding air filter housing rigidly in place (so that I could wiggle the air cleaner housing a bit)
- Lifted up on the now loose air-filter housing and wiggled and pulled the MAF sensor housing out of the air-filter housing
- Held the MAF sensor housing in one hand and sprayed 15 times with hexane spray (good wet 5-second spurts of CRC MAF Sensor Cleaner) making sure to clean both protection screens and the all-important sensor in the center of the MAF housing.
- Allowed the MAF sensor housing to dry (it only took a minute and I let it sit for 10 minutes just in case while I fuddled with the harness clip trying to put it back together after it went airborne.
- Installation is the reverse of removal

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Last edited by bluebee; 06-21-2010 at 01:29 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-20-2010, 10:10 AM
sidneyj sidneyj is offline
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I got the Bentley manual awhile back and lets just say I've done several projects where I ended not even using the Bentley as it is just not accurate.
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  #3  
Old 06-20-2010, 10:41 AM
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Did this solve your problem?
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  #4  
Old 06-20-2010, 06:23 PM
repcapale repcapale is offline
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Theres no need to acctualy remove that clip on the sensor. Just push down on it and pull the sensor off.
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  #5  
Old 06-20-2010, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidneyj View Post
I ended not even using the Bentley as it is just not accurate.
I'd still recommend the Bentleys; but lately it hasn't been helping me as much as Bimmerfest DIYs have.

Unfortunately, all the DIYs I found on bimmerfest for the MAF were for other models, and, IIRC, none bothered with the particular detail of 'how' to remove the MAF harness connector nor the fact you really have to remove the 10mm bolt from the air-filter housing (NOTE: DIYs on other forums pointed out to me confirmed the Bentleys are wrong for the I6 and that you should remove not only the top 10mm bolt but also another bolt under the engine-air-filter housing and remove the housing instead of crushing the air-intake hose aft of the MAF sensor housing. Lesson learned!).

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Last edited by bluebee; 06-21-2010 at 10:51 AM.
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  #6  
Old 06-20-2010, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
Did this solve your problem?
Time will tell because the P0174 too-lean condition, with fuel shutoff (cured by restarting the car) and SES light only occur at altitude. The last time this happened, the code cleared back at sea level before I had a chance to borrow the Actron scanner. This time I borrowed it right away back at sea level to find the DTC P0174 (rear bank too lean condition).

Googling, this DTC P0174 appears to be a maladjusted 14:1 air:fuel ratio in the rear half of the engine.

The main culprits for too-lean conditions appear to be:
- maladjusted MAF (air ratio)
- clogged fuel filters or injectors (fuel ratio)
- leaky vacuum hoses (I'm not sure how they affect the air:fuel ratio)
- oxygen sensors (I guess they measure the amount wrongly)

I'm not for miracles in a can, but, I figured I should clean the MAF anyway so I bought the CRC hexane spray (hoping for a miracle!).

This is the second (or third?) time the light lit on a long trip almost always at about 3,500 or 4,500 feet of altitude (not at 2,000 which I often travel over with the Santa Cruz mountains between San Jose & Santa Cruz.

So, whatever is causing the too-lean condition is happening at altitude; and it's happening on only bank #2.

Two questions:
Q1: How often do YOU guys clean your MAF sensors?
Q2: Are there TWO sensors in that housing (one for each bank)?

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Last edited by bluebee; 06-21-2010 at 10:55 AM.
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  #7  
Old 06-20-2010, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by repcapale View Post
Just push down on it and pull the sensor off.
I know that now. I put in the DIY up in post 1 how to remove the MAF connector by pushing down on the metal spring and pulling on the connector.

But I didn't know that then ... and no DIY (IIRC) told me ... and the Bentleys weren't even close to being right on the steps needed.

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  #8  
Old 06-20-2010, 07:34 PM
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http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=895713

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1228236
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Old 06-20-2010, 07:56 PM
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Donna, check this here.

Good luck.
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  #10  
Old 06-21-2010, 01:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason5driver View Post
Oh my! Where were you when I needed you!

That V8 and I6 MAF writeup is BETTER than mine (and better than the Bentleys, which show the wrong pictures for the I6).

They went even further than I did, by removing the engine air-filter housing from the headlight assembly.

And, to do so, they MUST have removed the 10mm bolt holding down the air-filter housing (but they don't mention that in their writeup for the 2001 I6).


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  #11  
Old 06-21-2010, 01:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
Nice post for an I6 E39 after 2001 (like mine).

Unfortunately, I tried to view the pictures but you must log in and they don't allow a yahoo email address so I wasn't able to view the pictures.

You recognized that the V8 is different than the I6 and for the I6 I see you not only take off the 10mm bolt, but, you even remove another bolt and lift out the engine air-filter housing.

That's good to know. I didn't remove the engine-air-filter housing but I did wiggle it a LOT to get the MAF out. I also basically crushed the hose after the MAF housing.

I think your method of more completely removing the air-cleaner housing is better than mine of crushing the hose aft of the MAF housing.
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Last edited by bluebee; 06-21-2010 at 01:53 AM.
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  #12  
Old 06-21-2010, 07:10 AM
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so how's your fuel economy. I think after getting 31.5 on the highway from Tucson to Phoenix, my MAF seems okay huh?
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  #13  
Old 06-21-2010, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyffer View Post
so how's your fuel economy. I think after getting 31.5 on the highway from Tucson to Phoenix, my MAF seems okay huh?
You have nothing to worry my friend (MAF OK, no vac leaks etc)
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:06 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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The Air Mass Meter in any modern cars works the same way. Basically a hot wire's temp difference (delta T) is calculated and converted into electrical signals that the ECU can understand:

* More air flow ---> hot wire cooling down ---> ECU injects more fuel to match the ratio.

This is a good reading on Mass air flow, how it works:
http://s4wiki.com/wiki/Mass_air_flow

By the time the MAF going bad, this is usually from either:
a- dirty hot wire: in this case cleaning with CRC cleaner may buy you some time....or
b- bad wire: solution is a new MAF.

The only problem is the E39 air mass is expensive.
In contrast, I just changed my 1998 Volvo V70 Bosch Air Mass, it only cost me $150 (shipped to my door)!
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyffer View Post
so how's your fuel economy. I think after getting 31.5 on the highway from Tucson to Phoenix, my MAF seems okay huh?
I thought you were banned sucka.

Hey Bluebee I've cleaned my MAF probably 4 or 5 times. This is a very simple procedure and has worked well for me. I honestly think a lot of folks mistakenly replace their MAF when the code hits the CEL but cleaning it has ALWAYS cleared my codes P0174 etc.. Here are my DIY instructions.

1. Remove MAF
2. Spray MAF generously with CRC MAF cleaner ONLY!!
3. Let dry 5 to 10min
4. Spray MAF generiously again with MAF cleaner
5. Let dry 10min
6. Thoroughly inspect MAF for dryness and cleanliness
7. Reinstall MAF
8. Enjoy!
9.
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  #16  
Old 06-21-2010, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Oh my! Where were you when I needed you!

That V8 and I6 MAF writeup is BETTER than mine (and better than the Bentleys, which show the wrong pictures for the I6).

They went even further than I did, by removing the engine air-filter housing from the headlight assembly.

And, to do so, they MUST have removed the 10mm bolt holding down the air-filter housing (but they don't mention that in their writeup for the 2001 I6).
I have always been here.
Remember....
BimmerFest is not the only forum that has info./ knowledge.
It is usually more active on BimmerForums, hence the reason I am there more often.

Yes, I thought it was obvious to remove the 10mm bolt that holds the air intake housing.
I edited my original post, however, the merged post that James made needs to be updated.

Thanks.
Jason
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Old 06-21-2010, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyffer View Post
I think after getting 31.5 on the highway from Tucson to Phoenix
Oh my! I get nothing near that, I assume.

I never checked my gas mileage.

Besides, the only real way to test gas mileage is to weigh the fuel (because it expands and contracts greatly on temperature changes and we can't see how much we filled up the tank ... I'll bet we're off by more than a half gallon each time).

The only other "good" way to test gas mileage is to average our results over long periods of time ... maybe I'll start since I doubt I get anywhere near 25 mpg, let alone 31!

I "think" I get about 400 miles out of an 18-gallon tankful ... which works out ten mpg less than what you appear to get!
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Old 06-21-2010, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
* More air flow ---> hot wire cooling down ---> ECU injects more fuel to match the ratio.
So is this the logic at altitude?
a. Piston goes down on the "pull" part of pull-push-pow-puey.
b. A piston-full volume of air is sucked past the MAF sensor hot wire.
c. Since we're at 4500 feet, LESS air is actually going by that hot wire.
d. So (the argument goes), the wire isn't cooled down as much as it should.
e. The ECU, in effect, is tricked into thinking the air is moving slower than it is.
f. So, less fuel is injected into the 2nd bank of cylinders (not sure how??)
g. Hence, a too-lean condition is sensed by the oxygen sensors

This is my best-guess hypothesis ... but step e is really where I lose the logic of what is happening at altitude.

BTW, if the MAF were bad, would/could it affect only the second bank of cylinders?
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Old 06-21-2010, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack View Post
2. Spray MAF generously with CRC MAF cleaner ONLY!!
Two questions:

Q1: Do you spray just the sensors in the middle of the MAF or the entire plastic and metal screens on each side?

Interestingly, the Material Data Sheet (MDS) I posted for the CRC MAF cleaner I purchased show it's almost entirely hexane.

Q2: I wonder if we can find a cheaper hexane spray for other purposes (like office cleaner or whatever).

BTW, after reading this safety warning about the normal straight-chain hexane (aka n-hexane) spray, next time I clean my MAF, I'm wearing gloves! Also, stock up 'cuz these guys are trying to get hexane banned!


-
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  #20  
Old 06-21-2010, 12:15 PM
andyffer andyffer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Oh my! I get nothing near that, I assume.

I never checked my gas mileage.

Besides, the only real way to test gas mileage is to weigh the fuel (because it expands and contracts greatly on temperature changes and we can't see how much we filled up the tank ... I'll bet we're off by more than a half gallon each time).

The only other "good" way to test gas mileage is to average our results over long periods of time ... maybe I'll start since I doubt I get anywhere near 25 mpg, let alone 31!

I "think" I get about 400 miles out of an 18-gallon tankful ... which works out ten mpg less than what you appear to get!
I did test 6 and took the last value before leaving and after arriving and divided by the miles on the odometer

I get much less than 400 but I do all city driving.

Mack, yes I am unbanned. Whenever PropellerHead tempbans me he doesnt type it in right or something and the site permabans me..
The owners are great and very helpful though.
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Last edited by andyffer; 06-21-2010 at 12:44 PM.
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  #21  
Old 01-31-2011, 03:07 PM
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For cross reference, here's another material data sheet for MAF cleaner, specifically posted in a thread where a guy from Sweden was having trouble locating it (it's hexane spray, pure and simple).

- o2 sensor fault code, and missfire without setting code for missfire?! 532i 97

www.crcindustries.com/faxdocs/msds/5110.pdf
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  #22  
Old 03-15-2011, 07:50 PM
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This E46 thread today made me feel better than I'm not the only one who accidentally pulled off the spring clip off both the MAF and the large cooling system radiator hoses!

- Need PUSH-CLIPS for Upper Radiator Hose Bmw 323i

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  #23  
Old 11-20-2011, 11:11 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the record, there is a discussion of whether cleaning the MAF will hurt it over here today:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > e39 mass air flow sensor

Quote:
Yes it can be cleaned. I'm considering doing this myself but I've heard it only shortens the life of the MAF.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
Where did you hear that? I've been using CRC every year, since my original MAF died, that was back in ~2006, I now have 134K on the car and probably 70K on this MAF.
Spray it and then let it dry before you put it back in the car.
EDIT: See also:
- DIY for replacing (1) (2) (3) & cleaning your mass air flow (MAF) sensor (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) and how 'not' to clean your MAF (1) & buying a replacement MAF cheaper than the BMW MAF (RangeRover MAF) (VW MAF) (Hyundai MAF) & MAF resistance testing (1)

Last edited by bluebee; 11-20-2011 at 11:14 PM.
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  #24  
Old 02-22-2012, 04:37 PM
mjbennett9 mjbennett9 is offline
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I'd like to add my first time use of this, as a new DIY. This was a GREAT start, but long story short, I broke my MAF following this.

I would suggest that either completely remove the air filter, or just separate the air filter from the MAF (what I did too late), vs. going right to the "with force" part. The problem is that I that force meant separating. but what worked better, although too late, was lliteray crushing the hose behind the MAF (towards the firewall). While not crushing enough, it sprung back and broke 2 of the 4 spokes inside the MAF. I'll use plastic superglue later; was too devasted and running out o light to do on the spot.

I found that separating the air filter from the MAF by a single 8mm screw worked best. It gave me plenty of room to easily work with the MAF removing and re-installing. Ironically, my MAF looked brand new. It was a siemens so it might be OEM, but was not dirty at all. couldn't even see dust. The previous owner could have done it I don't know. All I remember him saying was he did Vanos and a water pump.

Also, I noticed that one of my two spring clips is busted; rather, the plastic on the air filter side is broken. Hard to see in the pics, but either leave as is? or replace air filter housing. without that clip, there's about a 1/16" gap on one side. But with rubber seal of MAF and hose, I doubt there's a air leak.

I did the MAF test of disconnecting the electrical connector first. It was at lunch. It must have been a total coincidence with almost 60 degree weather, but after unplugging it, and starting car, I was OMG, a brand new engine (with regard to zero ticking). Don't know if lifter or valves, but been like that since I bought it. Runs very good with few quirks I'm trying to figure out. But point is, I had to strain to hear valve/lifter ticking. It thought, wow, just doing that fixed a problem I wasn't expecting to be fixed. But then I went for a drive and pulled over to plug it back in and there was the ticking again. Must have been a total coincidence. But since I've had car for almost 3 months, and ALWAYS ticks, this was first time I didn't hear it. Odd. At first I thought cold weather related, but even when car is warm, and on the few warm days we've had this winter, it's always ticked. Anyway, somewhat off the subject.

I did use MAF cleaner for the hec of it, but there really was nothing to clean. it was super clean. I tried to take decent photos but my finger to press button was sore from a deep gas using hobby knife to cut open e39 key fob and repair it. at least I fixed something (key fob). :-)
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  #25  
Old 09-14-2012, 02:53 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,229
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
For reference, this MAF thread was opened today:

Quote:
Originally Posted by aspensilver540 View Post
OK, I am new to engine work so forgive me if I am making some simple or obvious mistake.
My car: 3/97 540i 116K miles

I looked at James' 2000 540i MAF cleaning DIY but obviously it is different:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1228236
There aren't 2 T-20 screws on mine so I don't see how to pull the sensor out of the housing as he shows. I am confused how then I should do the cleaning!
My MAF, what screws do I have:
New bare MAF part:
http://treperformance.com/i-2769234-...ow-sensor.html
The inside looks like this:
Bentley MAF removal procedure:
I can do this easily, and I have CRC MAF cleaner ready. Should I try cleaning by spraying into the housing with the part out, or is that a bad idea and I just need to figure out what screwdriver to use?
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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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