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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 06-12-2010, 08:27 AM
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How much volume of power steering fluid do we have in the E39?

How much, in total, power steering fluid is there in our E39s.

I scoured the Bentley and owners manual and didn't see this information.

Here is what I have so far in the E39 fluids summary.

What else do we need to say about power steering fluid?

- Power steering: Dexron III ATF (realistically, Dexron VI ATF because Dexron III certification is no longer available from GM) Bentley page 020-20. [Volume: It has been said to be just under 2 quarts; I used about a quart to flush twice just my power steering reservoir using a turkey baster to remove fluids out the top.] Note: I6=rack and pinion attached to an aluminum subframe, V8=recirculating ball and nut attached to a steel subframe. Replacement Interval: Bentley says it's "permanently filled"; but most of us would suction out and refill the reservoir with about a quart of fluid every few years because it's a hygroscopic fluid and the permanent filter on the bottom of the reservoir doesn't prevent the fluid from becoming dirty. Some even replace the reservoir in order to have a new filter. Most also replace or cut off the tip of the bottom hoses whose clamp often allows leaks.

Last edited by bluebee; 06-21-2010 at 01:12 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-12-2010, 08:39 AM
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dalekressin dalekressin is offline
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Bluebee be sure to check your hose clamps these come loose. Sorry no aNSWER TO THE PSF VOLUME.\
Like to see the solution to your oil change post (PM me if you prefer).
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  #3  
Old 06-12-2010, 11:24 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Slightly less than 2 quarts.
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  #4  
Old 06-21-2010, 01:04 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
Slightly less than 2 quarts.
OK. I put "just under 2 quarts" in the tribal knowledge fluids summary (but how did you know?).

Is there a chart somewhere?

BTW, this 4-page BMW AG TIS on the power steering is invaluable as to which fluids are certified by BMW.

Here's an interesting excerpt from this web page:
Prior to the advent of BMW Free Scheduled Maintenance, approximate BMW maintenance recommendations were: automatic transmission fluid (ATF) and filter changes every 15,000 miles, manual gearbox and differential oil changes every 30,000 miles, annual brake fluid changes, and coolant changes every two years. Spark plugs, air filter, and fuel filters were typically replaced every 30,000 miles on most BMWs (this is a tune-up) except M cars up to 1995, which got new spark plugs and a valve adjustment every 15,000. Later advances in computer engine management and spark plug technology legitimately allow 60,000-mile spark plug life if not more.
...
But once BMW began paying for scheduled maintenance, lo and behold the "schedule" was revised. Now the cars hardly need any maintenance at all. The 1,200-mile break-in service was done away with except for M cars. Engine oil suddenly lasts 15,000 miles (dealers are supposed to use BMW synthetic oil). Manual gearbox and differential oil? No worries there now BMW says they NEVER need to be changed; it's "lifetime fill." Brake fluid and coolant service intervals were doubled with no change in the original BMW brake fluid and anti-freeze dealers are supposed to use.
...
Power Steering Fluid:
Replace every 30,000 miles. This is a very neglected operating fluid. Almost all BMWs use automatic transmission fluid in the power steering system, except for some E32 7 Series cars, which use Pentosin hydraulic oil. Nothing will balls up the works faster than using one when you should be using the other. Check the sticker on the reservoir, check the owner's manual, and if you are still confused, take the car to a pro or e-mail me. It is not necessary to evacuate the entire power steering system. I just open a line down by the pump.
I have had great experience using Red Line Synthetic Power Steering Fluid 184,000 miles and counting on the original rack and pinion unit and pump on the vehicle I used to test this product. But I would not use it in place of Pentosin hydraulic oil where that product is specified.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf BMW Pwr Steering ATF Fluid Type-List.pdf (303.3 KB, 1889 views)

Last edited by bluebee; 08-05-2010 at 04:07 PM.
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  #5  
Old 01-06-2011, 09:17 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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In case you are wondering, in the owners manual, it doesn't show where the marks are on the power steering reservoir cap ... so this thread covered it just today.

Here is the description:
  1. "The fluid level should be in between the marks on the dipstick"
  2. "On a stationary engine top up the fluid reservoir to the MAX mark on dipstick"
To replace:
- Turkey baster (or syringe) to suck PS fluid out in a container.
- Do this until it the reservoir is dry and you can see the white at the bottom
- Fill with your favorite PS fluid (Dexron-III - but realistically, Dexron VI since III is no longer certified by GM)
- Start engine, turn the steering all the way R and L a few times to expel any air.
- Shut the engine.
- Repeat this cycles a few times so most of the fluid is fresh.

The Complex way is via the steering rack line disconnect but that is more labor, so keep it simple as above.
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Last edited by bluebee; 01-07-2011 at 05:21 AM.
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  #6  
Old 01-06-2011, 09:27 PM
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540indiana 540indiana is offline
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Exactly 2.275413 Litres, I would double check but Wapner is on in ten minutes. Im an excellent driver.
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  #7  
Old 01-07-2011, 07:04 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
....
bluebee,

The pic I posted above was taken from the Internet and I believed was labeled reverse MIN vs MAX!
Courtesy of Bentley (or at least it looks like it is from Bentley) LOL!!!
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  #8  
Old 01-07-2011, 07:49 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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This is from E36/E46, all the detail is in there:
http://www.dvatp.com/bmw/diy/power_steering_flush/
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  #9  
Old 01-11-2011, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
The pic I posted above was taken from the Internet and I believed was labeled reverse MIN vs MAX!
Here's another pic ... just in case:
- Did I use the wrong PSF (Dexron II not Dexron III)???


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  #10  
Old 01-31-2011, 03:17 PM
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As an xref, QSilver7 references the BMW TIS for acceptable power steering fluids here.

BMW Pwr Steering ATF Fluid Type-List.pdf
http://www.bimmerboard.org/members/q...0Type-List.pdf
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  #11  
Old 04-15-2011, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
As an xref, QSilver7 references the BMW TIS for acceptable power steering fluids here
For the record, THIS is not an acceptable power steering fluid (my mistake early on in my BMW life)!


While I'm at it, Doru suggested today we modify our habits to include a power steering fluid reservoir replacement with every oil change, and I concur (here is my more recent attempt at replacing my power steering fluid, which was about half a quart of Dexron VI as Dexron III is no longer legally certified by GM).


Also, if you're leaking fluid on the oil cap, I suggest you replace the o-ring whenever you replace your two lower oil filter housing o-rings (every few years) as I show below:


And, every few years, check and repair your leaking under reservoir hose as cn90 shows below:


And, check the power steering pump hose for leaks as I show below:
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  #12  
Old 04-15-2011, 01:51 AM
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Here are what appears to be our latest set of recommendations:
  • Every oil change, suction out about 8 ounces (250 ml) of the power steering fluid and replace with Dexron VI ATF
  • Every five years (or so), when you replace the two lower oil-filter stem o-rings, also remove the T20 Torx bolt holding down the circular screen filter in the bottom of the power steering fluid reservoir and flush with gasoline (off the vehicle!) to clean the screen
  • Likewise, also replace the o-ring in the power steering fluid reservoir cap at the time you replace the two lower o-rings in the oil filter stem
BTW, I thought the power steering fluid reservoir held about half a quart at any one time, according to my initial tests ...



So, today, I decided to measure the results to confirm:


I suctioned out of my M54 about 8 ounces (250 ml) of Dexron VI:


Then, I removed the T20 Torx bolt with a magnetized driver:


Which enabled me to tilt the screen to see how it looked in situ:


For the record, here are the relevant threads in the VERY best of E39 Links.

- 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 fix cloudy ATF fluid (1) (2) and what PS fluid to use (1) (2) & DIYs to replace the power steering hoses (1) (2) (3) (4) (5).

Last edited by bluebee; 04-15-2011 at 08:41 PM.
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  #13  
Old 04-25-2011, 11:05 PM
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For the cross-link record, recently it was asked how to 'drain' the power steering (rather than just suction out the fluid in the reservoir):
- HELP!!! Power steering pump drain plug locatation for bleeding

In that thread, JimLev kindly clarified that the I6 does 'not' have a drain bolt on the power steering pump itself, but the V8 does.
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  #14  
Old 04-28-2011, 08:35 PM
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For the record, Jimmys 530i kindly confirmed the 2-quart volume for the power steering fluid:
- HELP!!! Power steering pump drain plug locatation for bleeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmys 530i View Post
If you drain everything completely, including the cooler, you will need 2 quarts.
And, Vetaid replaced 'all' his powersteering fluid using the following method:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > HELP!!! Power steering pump drain plug locatation for bleeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by vetaldj View Post
- Extracted all fluids from reservoir
- Removed reservoir from bracket
- Disconnected return hose from coil over to reservoir (this is the one that was replaced) from reservoir. Here I've got some fluid from reservoir but I was ready with towels and empty container.
- Disconnected 13mm bolt that holds two hoses at coil over BUT didn't removed them, while holding top one I just removed bottom one (that goes to reservoir and need to be replaced), got some fluid out but not much.
- Put new ring and attached new hose to its place
- Cleaned reservoir all hoses from mess
- Re-installed reservoir and added new fluid
- made about 10 turns, almost all fluids gone so I added some more to the almost MAX and made same 10 turns but this time level was the same.
- Cleaned everything and hurray - my first serious DIY done with success!!

Last edited by bluebee; 05-01-2011 at 08:09 AM.
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  #15  
Old 08-04-2011, 04:39 PM
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For the cross linked record, I just updated the power steering fluid section of the E39 one-page glovebox fluids printout:
- DIY Glovebox & Bentley supplement: 1-page summary of the dozen recommended E39 fluids

Quote:
- Power steering: Dexron III ATF Bentley page 020-20. (realistically, that means Dexron VI ATF because all GM Dexron III licenses expired at the end of 2006 & were not renewed by GM). Note: The E39 I6 (i.e., rack and pinion steering attached to an aluminum subframe) does NOT have a power steering drain bolt on the bottom of the steering pump; the E39 V8 (i.e., recirculating ball and nut attached to a steel subframe) power steering DOES have a drain bolt on the bottom of the power steering pump. Replacement Interval: Bentley says it's "permanently filled"; but most of us would replace the hygroscopic power steering fluid at 30,000 miles; some recommend removing the 8 ounces (250 ml) in the reservoir at every oil change - and removing the T20 Torx bolt on the permanent reservoir screen every 5 years to clean the circular filter more thoroughly to prevent cavitation - and to replace the power steering cap o-ring every five years to prevent misting. [Volume: about 2 quarts to replace; otherwise about 1 quart to flush the reservoir twice & clean the filter screen; the fluid level should be between the MIN/MAX marks on the dipstick].

Last edited by bluebee; 08-06-2011 at 01:57 PM.
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  #16  
Old 08-06-2011, 01:47 PM
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A very important thread opened today discussing why it's so important to CLEAN the power steering reservoir filter periodically!
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > 2002 E39 525i - Power steering whine solved in detail

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  #17  
Old 12-01-2011, 01:35 AM
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For the cross-linked record, according to Edgy36-39 today ...
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > How to check power steering fluid

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edgy36-39 View Post
FWIW, Mike Miller recommends Red Line Syn Power Steering fluid.
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  #18  
Old 01-08-2012, 08:05 PM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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I am going to replace my reservoir.
What hose clamps should I order for the 2 hoses underneath, after I cut/reseat them?
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EconoBox View Post
I am going to replace my reservoir.
What hose clamps should I order for the 2 hoses underneath, after I cut/reseat them?
http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...23&hg=32&fg=20

http://www.autohausaz.com/search/gro...ering%20System

http://www.autohausaz.com/search/pro...3@Hose%20Clamp
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Last edited by Jason5driver; 01-09-2012 at 10:37 AM.
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  #20  
Old 01-09-2012, 09:20 AM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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Use only auto transmission fluid. I learned the hard way about putting in an expensive power steering fluid claimed safe for European cars that was supposedly a seal conditioner, pump revitalizer and at $18 a liter it had to be good right? WRONG!!! It boiled like the witch's caldron immediately and shot all over the engine compartment. It was a major brand name product when all the car wants is dex III or IV. I don't know if I would even use redline. I question it's use in this application. Just use A/T fluid as has been said multiple times. No additives necessary and may do more damage. I have V8 so I drain, fill, drive 10 miles, drain, fill, drive 10 miles, drain, fill and keep driving knowing I have exchanged almost 100% of the fluid. Don't known what difference it makes how much it holds because you are going to buy like 5 quarts for the multiple fill/drain procedure and if you have a bottle left or you need to get another bottle, who cares? A bottle of trans fluid on the shelf will get used eventually and save another trip to the store.
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  #21  
Old 01-09-2012, 10:31 AM
terrystu terrystu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
Use only auto transmission fluid. I learned the hard way about putting in an expensive power steering fluid claimed safe for European cars that was supposedly a seal conditioner, pump revitalizer and at $18 a liter it had to be good right? WRONG!!! It boiled like the witch's caldron immediately and shot all over the engine compartment. It was a major brand name product when all the car wants is dex III or IV. I don't know if I would even use redline. I question it's use in this application. Just use A/T fluid as has been said multiple times. No additives necessary and may do more damage. I have V8 so I drain, fill, drive 10 miles, drain, fill, drive 10 miles, drain, fill and keep driving knowing I have exchanged almost 100% of the fluid. Don't known what difference it makes how much it holds because you are going to buy like 5 quarts for the multiple fill/drain procedure and if you have a bottle left or you need to get another bottle, who cares? A bottle of trans fluid on the shelf will get used eventually and save another trip to the store.
Since you have a V8, you should have a drain plug on the bottom of your P/S pump. This allows you to drain most of the fluid in one shot. You get a much more effective fluid change, and you only need to buy 2 quarts of Dex-VI.
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  #22  
Old 01-09-2012, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrystu View Post
Since you have a V8, you should have a drain plug on the bottom of your P/S pump. This allows you to drain most of the fluid in one shot. You get a much more effective fluid change, and you only need to buy 2 quarts of Dex-VI.
Word, I wish the I6's had the drain bolt at the bottom of the power-steering pump like the V8's have...
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrystu View Post
Since you have a V8, you should have a drain plug on the bottom of your P/S pump. This allows you to drain most of the fluid in one shot. You get a much more effective fluid change, and you only need to buy 2 quarts of Dex-VI.
Like my post said, "since I have a V8 I DRAIN, Refill, Drive". I did not mention a turkey baster once.
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:43 PM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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Is there any way to "flush" the PS fluid more efficiently than repeatedly siphoning fluid from the reservoir?
There are 2 hoses going into the bottom of the reservoir? Is one of them a return hose?
Can I pop that one off and start the car, and just point the return hose into a plastic bottle until the new red fluid starts coming through?
Then, I could reattach it, and just refill the reservoir. Can this work? Seems faster and cheaper and more effective.
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:50 PM
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Sure can. You can pull a hose at the pump and get most all out. System is self-bleeding in that all you have to do is refill, turn wheel full left then right- lock to lock and keep adding fluid as it goes down. By doing it three times at the pump with the drain plug, I am pretty confident I got 98% new in there. you will too!
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