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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 02-04-2008, 05:29 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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3d Secondary Air Pump failure in 4 years!

My secondary air pump saga continues.

Valve works and hoses are fine. I have checked the circuit and there is electricity at the pump connector. Consequently, I have a bad air pump (again!). I did a check of my repair records and the air pump and valve has been replaced previously under warranty. That means this is the third secondary air pump failure in four years! Seems like a trend. I have reordered a new pump but wonder if I am doomed to replace my pump on an annual basis.

Inspection of the defective air pump reveals no water inside. Hence, the valve is not the culprit. I suspect the cause may be electrically related. Are there any other potential causes of an air pump failure? Could a bad relay be the problem? What causes the air pump to shut off? If it fails to shut off, could I be getting a pump burnout?

Just wondering if any other people with repeated air pump failures have any insight into the cause.
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  #2  
Old 02-04-2008, 06:42 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Usually air pump fails because of bad valve.

Air pump typically lasts 80-120K.

Check the valve again. Or consider a new valve.
Did you check the vacuum line going to the Valve?
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  #3  
Old 02-04-2008, 12:18 PM
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Yep. There is a sucking at the valve (where the air pump hose attaches) on cold startup and I replaced the vacuum line last month.
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  #4  
Old 02-04-2008, 07:26 PM
oembimmerparts oembimmerparts is offline
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We do sell alot of them but 3 in 4 years is high, I do not know where it is but I had a tech sheet that stated some were failing due to moisture freezing inside; I would have thought that this issue would have been thought of in the design though.
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  #5  
Old 02-04-2008, 07:49 PM
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Brian McKinney Brian McKinney is offline
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what is a secondary air pump, is it the same was a Fuel Tank Breather Valve?? I have replaced one of those before...
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  #6  
Old 02-04-2008, 10:10 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian McKinney View Post
what is a secondary air pump, is it the same was a Fuel Tank Breather Valve?? I have replaced one of those before...
Emission control, it is in the engine compartment.

Mine was replaced under warranty at around 35k miles in 2004. Bad check valve caused the pump failure.
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  #7  
Old 02-04-2008, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
My secondary air pump saga continues.

Valve works and hoses are fine. I have checked the circuit and there is electricity at the pump connector. Consequently, I have a bad air pump (again!). I did a check of my repair records and the air pump and valve has been replaced previously under warranty. That means this is the third secondary air pump failure in four years! Seems like a trend. I have reordered a new pump but wonder if I am doomed to replace my pump on an annual basis.

Inspection of the defective air pump reveals no water inside. Hence, the valve is not the culprit. I suspect the cause may be electrically related. Are there any other potential causes of an air pump failure? Could a bad relay be the problem? What causes the air pump to shut off? If it fails to shut off, could I be getting a pump burnout?

Just wondering if any other people with repeated air pump failures have any insight into the cause.
Here is what you should have done first :

1)Activate the pump by applying power and ground to it.
2)If it operates,check the air output and determine wether it is strong enough to open a valve (non-return valves are sprung closed). Another option is to use a paper clip and locate the small pinhole on the (surface/top) non-return valve.With the pump activated and the supply hose is attached to the valve,insert the paperclip and feel for any change in depth.When activated and the non-return valve opens you should feel a difference.If nothing changes when the paperclip is inserted,the air output is weak and you would need a new pump.
3)Inspect the non-return valve for any carbon deposits by inserting a rag (preferrably clean so you can tell the difference). If deposits are found,there is a good chance thse deposits causes the valve to bind.This valve is succeptible to moisture and all the other elements therefore would stick like and idle valve.
4)If the pump and the non-return valve operates properly by performing the tests and the pump is still INOP when cold causing the Service Engine Soon lamp to come on,replace the relay P/N 12 63 1 742 690 (salmon in color which I believe happens to be located in the E-Box where the DME resides). This is usually the cause of failure in operation of the system.

These vehicles are a little easier to diagnose and does not have the problems other series and engine variants has.For example the M62TU and the S62 has been known to have clogged secondary air delivery passages within the cylinder heads.BMW states one of the causes :

Excessive combustion chamber/exhaust manifold deposits may be attributed to usage of fuels with inadequate level of detergents. BMW recommends exclusive use TOP TIER Gasoline to prevent an excessive deposit build-up.

If clogged,cylinder heads require removal and disassembly in order to clean the passages.Covered under the terms of the BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty but can be costly when out of warranty.
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  #8  
Old 02-05-2008, 04:59 AM
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does anyone have a picture of this valve??
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  #9  
Old 02-05-2008, 05:07 AM
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Secondary air pump:

Click image for larger version

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ID:	134655


Valve:

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ID:	134656

Both / all of these components are VERY easy to change. Just did the air hose and SAP in about 30 minutes... and I am slow
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  #10  
Old 02-05-2008, 05:11 AM
juanchi29 juanchi29 is offline
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Maybe when it was changed under warranty they were suppose to change the valve and the pump and they never did causing it to go bad again.
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  #11  
Old 02-05-2008, 06:16 AM
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Brian McKinney Brian McKinney is offline
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when CEL goes off, does it specifically recognize this failure through the OBD II scanner
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  #12  
Old 02-05-2008, 09:27 AM
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[QUOTE=BMW_tech;2985041]Here is what you should have done first :


4)If the pump and the non-return valve operates properly by performing the tests and the pump is still INOP when cold causing the Service Engine Soon lamp to come on,replace the relay P/N 12 63 1 742 690 (salmon in color which I believe happens to be located in the E-Box where the DME resides). This is usually the cause of failure in operation of the system.

These vehicles are a little easier to diagnose and does not have the problems other series and engine variants has.For example the M62TU and the S62 has been known to have clogged secondary air delivery passages within the cylinder heads.BMW states one of the causes :


I have checked the voltage at the air pump and it's fine. The valve has been replaced with the two previous pump replacements. It is operating correctly at startup. I think you may be right abouyt the relay. Is there a test for proper relay function?

I have the Service Tech Memo. It talks about the Top Tier Gas but there is no significant carbon buildup at the valve.

The memo (& Bentley's) states that the air pump should turn off after two minutes max. I intend to verify this when I get my replacement pump (or I can watch the voltage). My only remaining hypothesis is that the relay is not shutting the air pump off after two minutes causing it to burn out prematurely. Has this ever occurred to anyone?

Thanx for all the feedback.
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  #13  
Old 10-28-2010, 06:51 AM
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[QUOTE=Fudman;2985788]
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW_tech View Post
Here is what you should have done first :


4)If the pump and the non-return valve operates properly by performing the tests and the pump is still INOP when cold causing the Service Engine Soon lamp to come on,replace the relay P/N 12 63 1 742 690 (salmon in color which I believe happens to be located in the E-Box where the DME resides). This is usually the cause of failure in operation of the system.

These vehicles are a little easier to diagnose and does not have the problems other series and engine variants has.For example the M62TU and the S62 has been known to have clogged secondary air delivery passages within the cylinder heads.BMW states one of the causes :


I have checked the voltage at the air pump and it's fine. The valve has been replaced with the two previous pump replacements. It is operating correctly at startup. I think you may be right abouyt the relay. Is there a test for proper relay function?

I have the Service Tech Memo. It talks about the Top Tier Gas but there is no significant carbon buildup at the valve.

The memo (& Bentley's) states that the air pump should turn off after two minutes max. I intend to verify this when I get my replacement pump (or I can watch the voltage). My only remaining hypothesis is that the relay is not shutting the air pump off after two minutes causing it to burn out prematurely. Has this ever occurred to anyone?

Thanx for all the feedback.

Fudman were you able to fix this and learn why it failed so frequently?
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  #14  
Old 10-28-2010, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Jase007 View Post
realoem.com is your firend.

Secondary air pump:

Attachment 134655
I just replaced hose # 5 because I got a code that said low secondary air. CEL is back on. The pump works but it's loud. I hope I don't have to replace it.
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  #15  
Old 10-28-2010, 07:30 AM
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weasel like weasel like is offline
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Replace the ENTIRE system... everything, including relays and fuses. That is the only way I got mine to finally behave after 3 or 4 dead parts in 2 years. Good luck.
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  #16  
Old 10-28-2010, 08:41 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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#1 culprit: cracked vacuum hose
#2 culprit: bad Air Valve
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  #17  
Old 10-28-2010, 08:43 AM
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[QUOTE=energizedmortal;5580578]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post


Fudman were you able to fix this and learn why it failed so frequently?
I was able to implement a very simple and effective permanent fix but never got to fully understand why I had repeated SAP failures. I TOTALED the car! Fortunately, they hit me so this "fix" did not cost me anything. This is not recommend corrective action for people with SAP issues but it worked for me. I have had my "new" e39 for almost two years and 18K miles and have nary a problem with the SAP.

BTW:
On the previous car, the dealership gave me a new SAP under the parts warranty (it was less than 1 year old when it failed). I simply replaced the SAP and was waiting for it to fail again when the car was totaled 9 mos later.

Last edited by Fudman; 10-28-2010 at 08:48 AM.
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  #18  
Old 10-28-2010, 08:48 AM
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[QUOTE=Fudman;5580832]
Quote:
Originally Posted by energizedmortal View Post

I was able to implement a very simple and effective permanent fix but never got to fully understand why I had repeated SAP failures. I TOTALED the car! Fortunately, they hit me so this "fix" did not cost me anything. This is not recommend corrective action for people with SAP issues but it worked for me. I have had my "new" e39 for almost two years and 18K miles and have nary a problem with the SAP.
wow good to hear that the "new" is doing well
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  #19  
Old 10-28-2010, 12:08 PM
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Found my issue. #4 in the diagram was rotted. I pulled on it and it just disintegrated. I see in the diagram that it connects to # 5. Where exactly is that located? Nevermind, followed the hose and it looks like its all under the left side engine cover.

Last edited by BentValve; 10-28-2010 at 01:18 PM.
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  #20  
Old 10-28-2010, 01:17 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Found my issue. #4 in the diagram was rotted. I pulled on it and it just disintegrated. I see in the diagram that it connects to # 5. Where exactly is that located?
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=402816

#5 is the Electric Air Valve, located UNDER the Intake Manifold:

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Last edited by cn90; 10-28-2010 at 01:20 PM.
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  #21  
Old 10-28-2010, 01:48 PM
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Thanks! Looks like its going to be a PITA to replace.
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  #22  
Old 10-28-2010, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BentValve View Post
Found my issue. #4 in the diagram was rotted. I pulled on it and it just disintegrated. I see in the diagram that it connects to # 5. Where exactly is that located? Nevermind, followed the hose and it looks like its all under the left side engine cover.
This is a common problem between the plastic hose and the check valve. That is because the heat from the exhaust manifold bakes the rubber vacuum tube into a crispy critter. Any movement, like when moving all the O2 sensor and vacuum lines during a Vanos job, causes it to crack and crumble. Usually the back end to the electric air valve stays in better shape due to less heat.
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  #23  
Old 10-28-2010, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
That is because the heat from the exhaust manifold bakes the rubber vacuum tube into a crispy critter.
For the record, here is what I previously compiled for the cause and solution of the E39 SAP/SAS "problem":
- SAP CLOGS: the secondary air pump (SAP) valve (aka diverter valve) clogs, taking out the SAS (1) (2) (3) (4)
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  #24  
Old 09-18-2013, 02:13 PM
MJW13 MJW13 is offline
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I likewise was experiencing the airplane take-off noise. I have a 1997 e39, and it seems the only way to access these areas is by removing the front bumper. So for now I just unplugged the SAP to avoid the potential of damaging other things or drawing excess power, and of course to stop that absurd 1,000x hair-dryer sound. I had to reach under the right front bumper near the wheel, it looks nothing under there like the images on this thread, was the 1997 unique? I just replaced the SAP probably 2 weeks ago, or rather my mechanic did (I'm steadily progressing from trunk mechanisms and window regulators to under the hood, but for now it is a sort of collaboration with my indie), so I'm assuming the new SAP has in turn exposed weaknesses in either the valve or hose. Getting something else done w/i a few weeks and will go through the testing on this and replace the valve or hose or whatever needs it. There is no potential danger of causing any damage with the SAP unplugged for a few weeks is there?
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  #25  
Old 09-18-2013, 02:29 PM
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champaign777 champaign777 is offline
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what is Secondary Air Pump ?
never had this issue
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