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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 02-20-2011, 11:03 PM
muaythaibangkok muaythaibangkok is offline
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Mein Auto: 525i
525i BIG problems!

My son ran my 2003 525i without coolant. He then ran the car into the curb.

A "friend of a friend of a friend" who works part time as a mechanic for the local BMW dealership looked at the car.

His opinions:

- Blown cylinder head gasket -
- Possible warped cylinder head -
- Ruptured radiator overflow tank -
- Bent lower control arm -
- (Also, broken rear tail light assembly) -

He estimated the cost of private repair to be at least $3500 ... possibly much more.

He then offered to buy my car for $500.

Does this sound on target to you?

Would REALLY appreciate any thoughts / suggestions.

Thanks!!
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  #2  
Old 02-21-2011, 12:40 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muaythaibangkok View Post
My son ran my 2003 525i without coolant.
Happens all the time. Not good.

Let me dig up some details for you.

Keep us informed, if we're going to do this work to help you, it's a courtesy to us to let us know what you end up doing so we can then help the next person with the same problem.

Last edited by bluebee; 03-10-2011 at 11:03 PM.
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  #3  
Old 02-21-2011, 12:51 AM
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Here are the details I dug up for you ...

Overheating a BMW E39 engine is the most common cause of blown head gaskets, cracked heads, warped blocks, cam seizures, contaminated main bearings, coolant-caused hydrolock, & piston, ring, & valve damage in the BMW E39, particularly those with the aluminum block (1) (2) (3) (4).

If you think you might have a blown head gasket, you don't have many options (the solution would have been to not to let it happen in the first place), especially since, by some reports, only 1 out of 20 aluminum engines are rebuildable after exhibiting symptoms of a 'blown head gasket' (which may be a misnomer of sorts given that the problem is usually a warped block and/or a cracked cylinder head, in which case, it's time to replace the engine (1) (2)).

But, if it is 'just' a head gasket you need, these are your options:
  • Replace just the head gasket (not likely this, alone, will work on E39s with aluminum engine blocks)
  • Repair the engine, machine the valves, grind the head, repair the pistons, fix bolt holes, etc. (as needed)
  • Replace the engine (often the lowest-cost solution overall)
  • Sell the car (and cut your losses)
Now ... maybe ... just maybe ... your head gasket is not blown ... (if you're lucky) ... and your head isn't cracked ... (doubly lucky) ... and your block isn't warped (triply lucky) ... but, nobody here at the other end of a keyboard can actually tell you that.

You need to run some basic tests:
  • Cooling system pressure test
  • Cooling system exhaust-gas "geyser test" (1)
  • Cooling system exhaust-gas "analyzer test" (1)
  • Cylinder compression tests, wet & dry (1)
  • Cylinder leak down test (1)
Here are references for pricing out parts and labor & for finding a mechanic:
- BMW phantom diagrams (1) & nominal prices by part number (1) labor rates by zip code (1) (2) (3) where to find a good mechanic (1) (2) & finding a specialty BMW indy in your area (1)

Bear in mind, the entire BMW cooling system is a time bomb to overhaul the cooling system in any case.
- Complete cooling system overhaul recommended parts list (1)

Don't believe me. Believe these pictures:
- Pictorial look at typical E39 cooling system failure modes (1)

When this time bomb goes off, if you don't immediately STOP driving the vehicle, the engine can easily become toast. Again, don't believe me. Believe these people from these representative threads:
- 525i BIG problems!
- Major Decision - replace head or buy "new" engine
- E39 528i Engine removal/replacement
- Overheating and water loss
- Replace head gasket or replace engine
- E39 528i Engine removal/replacement
- E39 540i low compression
- Possible blown head gastket, but no mix of oil/water yet
- Blown 528i update.....New motor advice & subsequent Engine swap advice....528i
- Advice on getting new cylinder head assembly.
- 2001 528i engine
- Engine is apart
- Anyone have info/advice for DIY head gasket repair on 2003 525i E39?
- Breaking BMW E39 528i
- 1989 535i help please
- Head gasket done but still overheating ahhhh
- bad bleeding or blown head gasket
- Overheating and water loss
- SH!* blown head gasket!! question..
- Very confused about this over heating thing
- Add me to the "overheat" club
- 2.8 L e39 528i engine for sale
- Choc milk coolant
etc.

For a head gasket DIY, you might try these:
- BMW Head Gasket Replacement, Pelican Technical Article, by Wayne R. Dempsey
- Journal: M54 Head Gasket Replacement & Other Stuff Too
- M62TU Head gasket/ Timing guides journal
- DIY This! One Person M54 Cam Removal
- Replacing the M54 head gasket (1)
- Replacing the 540i cylinder head (1)
- (Note: I need more and better DIY links.)

The basic cylinder head gasket DIY procedure is outlined below:
  • Raise the front of the car to gain access to drain plugs
    • Drain engine oil (probably contaminated with coolant)
    • Drain coolant (probably contaminated with exhaust gases)
  • Remove radiator viscous fan clutch & fan assembly
    • This job is easier if you purchase two recommended tools
  • Remove the radiator & the attached expansion tank assembly
    • Optional: Flush (or replace) the radiator & replace all hoses
  • Remove both drive belts
    • Optional: Replace with new
  • Remove the water pump & thermostat unit
    • Optional: Replace OEM plastic impeller waterpump with an aftermarket metal impeller design
  • Remove the ignition coils from the head & remove the spark plugs
    • Optional: Replace with new
  • Remove the valve cover to access the head bolts
    • Check for head bolts yanked out of their threaded holes by force!
  • After using the special camshaft alignment tool, remove the camshaft
    • You 'can' replace the head gasket without removing camshafts
    • But, head resurfacing requires camshaft removal
  • Remove the intake manifold (to access the cylinder head)
    • Optional: Consider replacing your knock sensors after removing the intake manifold
  • Remove the VANOS unit (to access the cylinder head)
    • Optional: Replace the VANOS seals while you're there
  • Remove the camshaft position sensor (CMP) from the cylinder head
    • Optional: Replace the crankshaft position sensor (CKP) while you're there
  • Remove the lower timing chain tensioner to loosen the chain on the camshafts
  • Disconnect the VANOS oil line (to access the cylinder head)
  • With a special tool inserted into a hole in the engine block & flywheel, lock the engine at top dead center (TDC) for cylinder number 1
    • This is to accurately time the camshafts when you reassemble the engine
  • Remove the cylinder head bolts hidden under the camshaft with a special Torx socket tool
  • Enervate all electrical connections and heater core hoses innervating with the cylinder head
  • Disconnect and loosen the exhaust manifold
  • Remove the cylinder head
    • Tie off the timing chain so it doesn't fall into the block
    • Remove the camshafts prior to sending the head for reconditioning
  • Send the cylinder head to a machine shop for resurfacing
    • Don't forget to save the oil pressure check valve on the bottom of the cylinder head
  • Have the machine shop check for cracks in the cylinder head
    • A crack will cause any new head gasket to fail!
    • Cracks 'can' be repaired by the machine shop
  • Have the machine shop measure, lap, and grind the valves
  • Optional: Have your fuel injectors cleaned & 'matched' (1)
Note: While the parts are off the car, you may as well:
  • Do a complete cooling system & belt-drive system overhaul
  • Replace your VANOS seals
  • Replace your camshaft position sensor (CMP) and your crankshaft (CKP) position sensor
  • Replace the valve cover gasket (VCG)
  • Replace your spark plugs
  • Replace the oil filter housing (OFH) gasket
  • Send your fuel injectors out for cleaning (1)
  • Consider replacing your knock sensors (once the intake manifold is off)
  • Consider replacing your oil pressure check valve (on the bottom of the cylinder head)
As a final resort, you can replace the engine using one from the sponsors, e.g.,
See also:

- Summary advice to provide users who suspect a major engine repair due to overheating (1) & how to test an engine for blown head gasket, cracked heads, a warped block, cam seizures, contaminated bearings, coolant hydrolock, or piston, ring, or valve damage (1) (2) & a well researched reusable response to a particular user with a blown engine (1) & what questions to ask when severe heating-related damage is initially suspected (1) & what E39 engine swaps are most recommended (1) (2) (3) & how to lift & remove the engine (1) & where to obtain a new or rebuilt replacement short block or long block (1) (2) & why the E39 engines are so prone to heat-related damage in the first place (1) & real-world results from people faced with similar blown engine problems from which this advice came from (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) (23) (24) (25).

Good luck. Keep us informed.

Last edited by bluebee; 04-15-2011 at 01:12 AM.
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  #4  
Old 02-21-2011, 09:18 AM
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A "walkby diagnosis" will not suffice....you need a competent shop to perform a compression/leakdown test for further analysis.
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  #5  
Old 02-21-2011, 12:36 PM
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Wow. Just wow....
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  #6  
Old 02-21-2011, 01:21 PM
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Josh P. Josh P. is offline
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How did he manage to drive the car with no coolant in it? i.e. was there a leak and it ALL leaked out and THEN he decided to drive it, ignoring the warning lights on the dash?

No offense but your kid sounds like he's in line for a beat down.

You don't state your mileage but even if the head is blown the car is worth more than $500. Hell you could sell the seats for $200!

and +1 to getting is checked by a solid independent BMW mechanic.
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  #7  
Old 02-21-2011, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh P. View Post
No offense but your kid sounds like he's in line for a beat down.
LMAO! I was thinking the same...
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  #8  
Old 02-21-2011, 01:46 PM
qwksilver97 qwksilver97 is offline
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I would not trust that mechanic. He is already trying to rob you by offering $500.00 for a 2003 BMW. Its worth alot more than that with no motor at all.
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  #9  
Old 02-21-2011, 01:55 PM
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Hell, I'll give you $750 for the car.


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  #10  
Old 02-21-2011, 02:38 PM
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800$
i want to see SOLD in the end of this thread

Last edited by champaign777; 02-21-2011 at 02:40 PM.
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  #11  
Old 02-27-2011, 12:39 AM
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It's not nice to leave us hanging like this ...

What did the OP end up doing?

And, by the way, what brought me back here is I was looking for advice for others posting today about swapping engines:
- E39 528i Engine removal/replacement

See reference link:
- Engine swap advice....528i
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  #12  
Old 03-11-2011, 11:03 AM
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Update from the OP?
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  #13  
Old 03-11-2011, 12:05 PM
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850$ seriously. But also seriously You should take it to another mechanic, yours I think is trying to get a good deal. If you do decide to sell, maybe eBay?
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  #14  
Old 03-11-2011, 12:17 PM
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sold
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  #15  
Old 03-11-2011, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by champaign777 View Post
sold
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  #16  
Old 03-12-2011, 02:52 PM
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you should have it take to another Mechanic where you can get the diagnostic correctly. The car can be sold more then the price that was offered. You can replace the used engine and it should only cost less then two thousand. Goodluck.
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  #17  
Old 03-25-2011, 01:36 AM
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Today, we received an almost exact duplicate of this thread:
- 2001 528i engine

Where the OP stated:
Quote:
Originally Posted by mazzellaak View Post
My son ran his 2001 528i with a cracked radiator and ended up with a blown head gasket and bad water pump. The shop that looked at it said two of the head bolts tightened, but a third just spun so the engine is shot.

Is there a market to sell a beemer with a bad engine? It is very clean. Or, is there a reliable place to try to buy a rebuilt engine? Perhaps a BMW enthusiasts would like a project to work on...

The car is currently in the Seattle area.
So, again, I ask the OP of 'this' thread ... (so that we can better help others) ...

To the OP:
What was your outcome and what advice can we provide that would have helped?
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  #18  
Old 07-16-2011, 08:29 AM
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I guess the OP died (along with his engine).

Anyway, this problem (overheating killing the engine) keeps coming up.

For example, see this thread today for advice:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > Engine head

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbonly21 View Post
Is it worth trying to rebuild your crack engine head , or should I just pay $800 for a another one?
So far, starting with this thread, I compiled the following references to help others:
- Summary advice to provide users who suspect a major engine repair due to overheating (1) & how to test an engine for blown head gasket, cracked heads, a warped block, cam seizures, contaminated bearings, coolant hydrolock, or piston, ring, or valve damage (1) (2) & a well researched reusable response to a particular user with a blown engine (1) & what questions to ask when severe heating-related damage is initially suspected (1) & welding the crack between cylinder #3 and the water jacket on the exhaust side (1) & what E39 engine swaps are most recommended (1) (2) (3) & how to lift & remove the engine (1) & where to obtain a new or rebuilt replacement short block or long block (1) (2) & why the E39 engines are so prone to heat-related damage in the first place (1) & real-world results from people faced with similar blown engine problems from which this advice came from (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) (23) (24) (25) (26) (27) (28).

Last edited by bluebee; 07-16-2011 at 08:30 AM.
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  #19  
Old 11-25-2011, 12:21 PM
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For the record, this thread has a lot of good advice on how to handle an overheated engine repair:
- E46 (1999 - 2006) > Lost Cause? I need blunt honesty here...

Here is the summary of the current advice:
- Summary advice to provide users who suspect a major engine repair due to overheating (1) (2) (3) (4) & how to test an engine for a blown head gasket, cracked heads, a warped block, stripped head bolt threads, cam seizures, contaminated bearings, coolant hydrolock, or piston, ring, or valve damage (1) (2) & what are the major factors in deciding whether to rebuild the engine, replace the engine, or sell the car (1) & a DIY for replacing the I6 M54 head gasket (1) (2) & replacing the V8 M62TU head gasket (1) & why these engines are so prone to heat-related damage in the first place (1) & welding the crack between cylinder #3 and the water jacket on the exhaust side (1) & what engine swaps are most recommended (1) (2) (3) & where to obtain a new or rebuilt head (1) replacement short block or long block (1) (2) & how to lift & remove the engine (1) & real-world results from people faced with similar blown engine problems from which this advice came from (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) (23) (24) (25) (26) (27) (28) (29) (30) (31) (32) (33) (34) (35) (36) (37) (38) (39) (40) (41).

Last edited by bluebee; 11-25-2011 at 12:39 PM.
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  #20  
Old 11-25-2011, 01:17 PM
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doru doru is offline
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Actually Champaign is right on the money.
The kid not only super overheated the car, he damaged the front axle so bad, the control arm is bent.
So you have 2 major issues:
1.) The engine - repairable, but it will be expensive
2.) Drive train issue - once you bent the suspension components, no matter how you try to fix it, the car will be NEVER the same (unlike a rebuild engine), it will not drive the same. I can go as far and predict an almost uncurable shimmy, which you will correct, only to have it come back after a while.

I would have NEVER entrusted the youngster with this car. A 10-15 year old Kia or Hyundai would have sufficed until he learns how to drive and how to take care of a car.
Another e39 down.
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