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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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  #26  
Old 01-14-2010, 12:33 PM
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AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weasel like View Post
SYMPTOM: Sluggish acceleration.

SOLUTION: You may have an inline 6.

Symptom: Poor/Unacceptable gas mileage

Solution: You may need an inline six
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  #27  
Old 01-14-2010, 12:34 PM
scott0357 scott0357 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 530i
ignition switch

SYMPTON: Cruise control doesn't work. The radio volume and channel buttons don't seem to work on the steering wheel. Basically most functions don't seem to work on the steering wheel.
Solution: Replace the ignition switch in the steering column.
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  #28  
Old 01-14-2010, 07:22 PM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
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Mein Auto: 540i 1997
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherGeezer View Post
Symptom: Poor/Unacceptable gas mileage

Solution: You may need an inline six
Symptom: Inline 6

Solution: V8
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  #29  
Old 01-14-2010, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3sons66 View Post
I don't get it? What do you mean "reposition itself upon starting the car"?
Lowered back down to the "memory" position.
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  #30  
Old 01-14-2010, 09:59 PM
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doru doru is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 530iA
Symptom: she runs like a dream, but she has over 100 k miles
Solution: they say preventative maintenance. Start changing everything............ keep the seats
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  #31  
Old 04-04-2010, 10:10 AM
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ztom ztom is offline
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Location: Thousand Oaks CA
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 843
Mein Auto: 1997 528i
Symptom: Car alarm goes off at night or when it rains
Solution: Spray contact cleaner on door switch and replace rubber seal, probably on driver's door.

Symptom: Car cranks but won't light up and you hear a buzz under the rear right seat.
Solution: Replace fuel pump

Symptom: Lower back ache when driving. Older BMW
Solution: Pull off seat back and use zip ties to pull back lower part of the spring backing

Symptom: shimmy at 80mph
Solution: lower control arms

Symptom: shimmy at 45mph
Solution: thrust arm bushings. Replace the whole arm rather than trying to press in new bushings. Also get new front tires.

Symptom: sun roof rattle when closing the door
Solution: fix broken plastic piece that the arm pivots on, or put a self-adhesive chair leg felt pad on the arm that rattles.

Symptom: yellowed headlight cover
Solution: wet sand paper, increasing grit like 200 500 1000 2000, then plastic lens polish

Symptom: broken rear cupholder
Solution: replace with oem pocket

Symptom: broken front cupholder
Solution: replace and cut off the 3 inner tabs to keep the stress off the arms

Symptom: worn wiper blades
Solution: replace just the blades for a few bucks each

Symptom: snow tire sound on rear wheel, once per revolution
Solution: replace wheel bearing. If you hear it more when road curves to the right, it's the left bearing

Symptom: hand brake doesn't hold
Solution: not much

Symptom: windshield wiper fluid flow poor
Solution: siphon out the old fluid, it's gummed up over time.

Symptom: Worn out seat bottom
Solution: Stuff some yoga pad foam into a zip lock bag and stuff it into the seat from the bottom

Symptom: Black rubber on arm rest flaking
Solution: Nicely cut a piece of black electrical tape to cover it

Symptom: MID pixels failing
Solution: Not a DIY, must be replaced

Symptom: flaking windshield trim
Solution: replace, easy DIY
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  #32  
Old 04-04-2010, 10:17 AM
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ztom ztom is offline
I gotta have more cowbell
Location: Thousand Oaks CA
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 843
Mein Auto: 1997 528i
Symptom: V8, spending too much on gas, no rack and pinion steering, heavy feeling in front, expensive maintenance
Solution: Inline 6
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  #33  
Old 04-04-2010, 11:17 AM
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POof540i POof540i is offline
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Mein Auto: '01 540iA
Quote:
Originally Posted by ztom View Post
Symptom: V8, spending too much on gas, no rack and pinion steering, heavy feeling in front, expensive maintenance
Solution: Inline 6
Jealousy, is unbecoming of you my fellow bimmerino.
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  #34  
Old 04-04-2010, 11:23 AM
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I gotta have more cowbell
Location: Thousand Oaks CA
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 528i
Yes, I'm sure that's it.
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  #35  
Old 04-04-2010, 10:24 PM
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SYMPTOM: The bounce test fails. It bounces up/down more than once, when pushed on the front bumper.

SOLUTION: Your front struts failed. Replace them.
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  #36  
Old 04-05-2010, 01:05 AM
97528iE39 97528iE39 is offline
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Posts: 4
Mein Auto: 97/528i
Quote:
Originally Posted by smmr View Post
SYMPTOM:
Screeching/grinding noise upon ignition

TYPICAL SOLUTION:
Replace the starter
i had the same problem too. Screeching/grinding noise upon ignition , now no body,notice when i leave, rigth after l replaced my started.
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  #37  
Old 04-29-2010, 01:25 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
SYMPTOM:
Power Steering Reservoir always wet

TYPICAL SOLUTION:
Replace the power steering cap rubber O-ring
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  #38  
Old 04-29-2010, 01:32 AM
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
SYMPTOM:
Air conditioning system smells like last week's gym socks

TYPICAL SOLUTION:
Unclog the hoses in the cabin microfilter and under-car drainage


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  #39  
Old 04-29-2010, 02:42 AM
rashid rashid is offline
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Mein Auto: X5 E70, 4.8 - 2010 White
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
SYMPTOM:
Your interior fan has a mind of its own or your battery goes dead overnight.

TYPICAL SOLUTION:
Replace the FSU.
What is the FSU?
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  #40  
Old 04-29-2010, 03:43 AM
E39er09 E39er09 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rashid View Post
What is the FSU?
Final stage unit
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http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=382143
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  #41  
Old 04-29-2010, 04:04 AM
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Piston_broke Piston_broke is offline
What was that noise??
Location: Gold Coast, Australia
 
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Mein Auto: E28 M535i, E30 323i
This has the potential to being a very worthy thread. I feel though it needs to be better organised/managed into catagories as folks won't like the idea of trolling through pages looking for their 'Symton'.
Maybe if this was offered into sections such as Interior, Exterior, Electrical, Lighting, etc then it would be of high value to those seeking an answer. No doubt you would need the assistance of mods to collate and present this idea correctly. Maybe it could go in the 'E39 Faq' forum. Great idea none the less.

Just my 2 cents
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  #42  
Old 04-29-2010, 08:59 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piston_broke View Post
This has the potential to being a very worthy thread.
Agreed. The problem, as you noted, was it will take effort.

I'll try, for my part, to put links in the solutions.

It would seem, to me, that for every classic problem, there's a classic solution thread ... (witness many of cn90's, matWiz, fudman's, doru, etc., threads).

For example, the guy who asked "what's the FSU/FSR" might be referenced to cn90's test sequence here ...
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  #43  
Old 05-18-2010, 10:55 AM
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
SYMPTOM:
Vibration upon braking that also causes the brake pedal to move up and down

TYPICAL SOLUTION:
Replace the warped rotors (although rotors almost never warp)

SYMPTOM:
Vibration upon braking

TYPICAL SOLUTION:
Remove pad deposits (rebed or scrape with Hawke or turn or replace rotors)

OTHER TYPICAL SOLUTIONS:

Improper wheel balance and/or mounting
Worn suspension components (e.g., thrust bushings)
Brake issues (including sticky caliper pistons)
Improper inflated tires.
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  #44  
Old 05-25-2010, 03:44 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Posts: 20,113
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
SYMPTOM:
You can't find Axxis Deluxe Advanced, Axxis Deluxe Plus, Axxis Ultimates, or any Axxis pads at your local brake pad supplier?

TYPICAL SOLUTION:
Axxis is no longer sold in the USA (according to Zeckhausen) as of this date.

Use PBR or Akebono instead.
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  #45  
Old 08-20-2010, 09:49 AM
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
UPDATE TO THE COMMON PROBLEMS POST:
Common problems you can expect with your E39 might be:
- plastic expansion tank, radiator, & thermostat housings that blow up due to faulty plastic mostly at the upper hose neck but also in the expansion tank and thermostat housing
- steel resistance-welded ABS control module power wires that break off their gold contact because of being too close to the engine
- Vanos seals made out of the wrong materials so that they harden and leak causing degrading performance
- headlight adjusters that simply crumble over time causing the lights to point downward
- fan-control (FSU/FSR) modules that are practically sure to go schizo due to poor heat-sink design
- rear vapor barrier seals that allow rain water to fill the rear footwell
- windshield & back window molding that crumbles in three years due to poor choice of materials
- jack pads that fall off the underside of the frame due to poor latch design
- cabin-filter housing design that allows small drain hoses to clog with leaves causing gym-sock smells
- roundels that wash away in the car wash over time
- a trunk loom wiring harness designed to chafe causing all sorts of light and fuse blowing and locking problems
- violent shudder upon front-wheel braking on bumps because the front suspension dies prematurely unbeknownst to the driver
- rear-window regulators that stop the windows from closing
- low mounted ambient temperature sensors practically designed to be ripped off on a parking curb
- annoying automatic door-lock mechanism that cost $100 to undo
- pixels practically guaranteed to go out on your instrument cluster and radio midi
- useless cupholders and painful front armrest consoles
- constantly wet power steering reservoirs due to poor O-ring design
- wood trim whose varnish cracks and whose cd cover doors rattle
- power steering hose clamps practically guaranteed to leak (along with an o-ring in the cap that will allow leaks)
- seat covers that don't protect the control box for the tilting steering and moving seat (and cables that fall out causing seat twist)
- windshield reservoirs prone to leaking due to
- Crankcase ventilation valve (CCV) clogs, raising pressures, blowing the head gasket and/or valve cover gasket (VCG) and oil filter housing (OFH) gasket & causing vacuum leaks
- ignition switch that fails causing electrical problems
- the secondary air pump (SAP) valve (aka diverter valve) clogs, taking out the SAS
- the mass air flow sensor (MAF) and idle control valve (ICV) require periodic cleaning
- loss of oil in 3000 miles but no leaking - replace the CCV valve and the four hoses


WHAT ELSE?
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  #46  
Old 08-20-2010, 11:25 AM
sealbeach740 sealbeach740 is online now
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Mein Auto: 2000 740iS, 2003 540iS
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
UPDATE TO THE COMMON PROBLEMS POST:
Common problems you can expect with your E39 might be:

WHAT ELSE?
- bad design for V8 valley pan gaskets that allow coolant to "disappear" - need to correct by using the newer designed valley pan gasket.
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2003 540iS. MKIV, 16x9, PDC, CWP, TV tuner, backup camera with 'on demand' switch, paddle shifters, windows/sunroof close via remote, iPod video & audio.
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  #47  
Old 08-20-2010, 06:20 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by sealbeach740 View Post
V8 valley pan gaskets
Thanks. I added it to the bestlinks post ...

Please keep them coming so whenever someone asks "what generally goes wrong" and "what's the fix", we have a nice short paragraph of the key items that fail on our beloved E39s.

(Not that I know what a "valley pan" gasket is ... )
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  #48  
Old 08-21-2010, 05:19 PM
ladagosta ladagosta is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott0357 View Post
SYMPTON: When the key is turned, the engine does not crank but you can hear the clicking sound from the starter. And the battery is checked out ok.
Solution: Replace the starter.
if you dont hear the clicking sound then you not only need a starter but you need new plugs as welll>> GOOD luck with that..
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  #49  
Old 09-29-2012, 09:55 PM
silvercoota silvercoota is offline
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Posts: 7
Mein Auto: 2003 BMW 525i E39
Good Threads, love the occasional humor. Last night i was driving along and Ding!.... Check Coolant Level, oh great!!! I just had water pump replaced 2 months ago!! So why is the coolant low.
Inspect it this morning and sure enough the Expansion Tank is pretty empty but even more strange there is a clear very thin layer of oil around the top of the expansion tank!!! Its not engine oil, it is clear like water......but its not water it is oil!!??? I have a 2003 E39 525i 160K on the clock, very good condition etc etc, never had any problems ( other than all the usual little things )
I am presuming this means that my Expansion Tank is stuffed and i need a new one, which is fine, but what is the clear oily stuff? Do the expansion tanks have this inside them that then leaks when they fail?? Any feed back would be great!! Thank you all!! :-)
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  #50  
Old 09-29-2012, 10:24 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by silvercoota View Post
Do the expansion tanks have this inside them that then leaks when they fail?
Nothing other than coolant:
- Behr radiator and Behr expansion (aka surge) tank autopsy (1)
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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