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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 03-13-2011, 08:39 PM
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What engine combinations are known to work in the E39 when the need arises to replace

I'm trying to collect, for future users with a suspected blown 'engine', what options they have ...

One option, is to replace the entire engine, as eloquently stated by cn90 here:
- Anyone have info/advice for DIY head gasket repair on 2003 525i E39?

Once they decide to 'replace' the engine (as opposed to fixing it as stated here) ...
- My E39 overheated & I need a new head gasket (1)

They then have the option of 'upgrading' to a different engine.

So the question arises, which upgrades are practical?
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Old 03-13-2011, 08:40 PM
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This response to that question is a great start in providing details as to what engine upgrades are feasible in a typical E39 'blown-engine' scenario:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmys 530i View Post
I have installed a 3.0 into a 525i. I used the existing intake manifold, exhaust manifold, etc and it worked just fine. If you want to use the 3.0 accessories, you will have to buy a lot of extra parts like airbox, maf, engine computer, and align the DME to the key so it will start.
Here is a list of what can be done without a problem to the e39

1999-2000 323i e46 to 2001-2003 525i
2001-2005 325i e46 to 2001-2003 525i
1998-2001 Z3 2.3i e36/7 to 2001-2003 525i
2004-2005 525i to 2001-2003 525i

1999-2000 328i e46 to 1999-2000 528i

1996-1998 328i e36 to 1997-1998 528i

2001-2005 330i e46 to 2001-2003 530i
1999-2006 X5 e53 3.0i to 2001-2003 530i
2001-2002 Z3 e36/7 3.0i to 2001-2003 530i
2004-2005 530i e60 to 2001-2003 530i

2000-2003 X5 e53 4.4i to 1999-2003 540i
1999-2001 740i e38 to 1999-2003 540i

You can upgrade your engine, but you cannot easily go from single VANOS to dual VANOS, you have to stay with what you have. If you have a 2001 525i, you can upgrade to a 3.0, but you have to use all of your existing 2.5 accessories if you do not want to go with the hassle of getting your DME aligned to your key.

If you have a 528i, you cannot really upgrade unless you swap over the wiring, engine computer, transmission, transmission computer, and get the electronics aligned to your car. It is doable, but not really worth it.
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Old 03-13-2011, 08:57 PM
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Over here, is some engine swap information (M52B20->M52B25) ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Takechan View Post
I'm in the middle of preparing for an engine swap (M52B20->M52B25).

As i'm going to replace the VCG (it's kinda leaky) i'm not sure if I should do this before or after i've swapped the engine. While it's easier before installing the new engine, i'm afraid the hoist if lifted from engine hook (near vanos) will stress the gasket/seal?

Oh and another thing, the rear diff is 3,46 now but the engine came from a 523 that supposed has 3,23 or in special cases (3,46) - what would it mean if I drove around with a 3,43 ratio (higher) than normal spec? I assume revs / speed will be unchanged?
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Old 03-13-2011, 09:22 PM
franka franka is offline
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www.bavengine.com is another alternative.
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:32 PM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franka View Post
www.bavengine.com is another alternative.
That's weird, they do not have any of the newer style engines like the 3.0 or the 2.5, they only have the 2.8.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:47 PM
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Interesting thread. I was wondering the other day if my engine blew how hard it would be to have a shop toss in a 3.0? Probably better just to stay with a 2.5 though.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:55 PM
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Does the transmission type of the donor/recipient car matter at all? Do they need to be identical?
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  #8  
Old 03-14-2011, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmys 530i View Post
That's weird, they do not have any of the newer style engines like the 3.0 or the 2.5, they only have the 2.8.
I have spoke with them in the past about other issues. I can't comment on what you call newer style. How new could it be in an E39? Maybe you meant size?

Call them and ask, they are friendly and can answer all your questions. Mack's and Pleiade's questions too.
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Last edited by franka; 03-14-2011 at 04:53 PM.
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  #9  
Old 03-14-2011, 06:23 PM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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Oh, I should have been more clear. I did not see any engines for the 2001+ used or rebuilt. I will call them soon, I have another customer with a 330i that overheated the heck out of his engine. He drove until the engine hydro locked from water getting inside the cylinders.
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  #10  
Old 03-14-2011, 10:09 PM
franka franka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmys 530i View Post
Oh, I should have been more clear. I did not see any engines for the 2001+ used or rebuilt. I will call them soon, I have another customer with a 330i that overheated the heck out of his engine. He drove until the engine hydro locked from water getting inside the cylinders.
Hydrolock happens almost instantaneously when water gets into the intake system and then into a cylinder. Since water is not compressible the engine stops immediately. If the revs were very slow at the time, and the water was from an external source, the engine may not be damaged. If it happend at speed then there is probably a bent rod or more like a bent crank and a broken piston head.

If the coolant broke into the cylinder, by any path, and at higher rpms, then the engine is toast. But this is very unusual for hdro lock

Are you sure it was hydrolocked? Maybe what happened was that the cooling system lost water and the engine got so hot that it seized. That means that the piston and cylider walls welded themselves together. It you are driving the car it will slow before is seizes. If that is what happened the engine is also probably toast. But it can be rebuilt.

Seizing and hydrolocking are two different failure models. Both invole water (or coolant with 50% water)
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Last edited by franka; 03-14-2011 at 10:23 PM.
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  #11  
Old 03-15-2011, 02:40 AM
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When speaking to garages when i thought my head gasket had definately failed, the reccomended replacement for my 528 engine was a 525 engine. I was told that it would bolt straight to my current auto box and not require a change in ECU - apparently that only needed to be changed if you increase capacity of the engine. I've no idea if this is accurate, just what i was told by a BMW indy on the phone.
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:03 AM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franka View Post
Hydrolock happens almost instantaneously when water gets into the intake system and then into a cylinder. Since water is not compressible the engine stops immediately. If the revs were very slow at the time, and the water was from an external source, the engine may not be damaged. If it happend at speed then there is probably a bent rod or more like a bent crank and a broken piston head.

If the coolant broke into the cylinder, by any path, and at higher rpms, then the engine is toast. But this is very unusual for hdro lock

Are you sure it was hydrolocked? Maybe what happened was that the cooling system lost water and the engine got so hot that it seized. That means that the piston and cylider walls welded themselves together. It you are driving the car it will slow before is seizes. If that is what happened the engine is also probably toast. But it can be rebuilt.

Seizing and hydrolocking are two different failure models. Both invole water (or coolant with 50% water)
The head gasket blew, and a lot of water got inside the cylinder, and bent the rods like pretzels. Not only that, there are visible cracks on the cylinder head and the block is also warped with the threads pulled out. I tore down the engine about 3 weeks ago, and the customer decided to go with a new engine since his will take a lot of work to repair.

reb78, what year is your car? If it is a 1999-2000, it may be possible. I have never done or heard of anybody doing that swap.
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  #13  
Old 03-15-2011, 04:13 AM
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Yep. Mine is a 1999. I was dubious about the swap TBH as i think it will make the insurance more difficult and the car harder to sell at a later date. Much better to replace with a good 2.8 (i.e. one with a warranty) and ensure that the cooling system is good so the problems dont recurr!
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:18 AM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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Interesting, why take out a 2.8 and put in a 2.5 which is a smaller engine and has less power. I would stick with the 2.8 since that would be downgrading your car. If anything, why not a 3.0? If a 2.5 will fit, a 3.0 will too, the two engines are very similar.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmys 530i View Post
Interesting, why take out a 2.8 and put in a 2.5 which is a smaller engine and has less power. I would stick with the 2.8 since that would be downgrading your car. If anything, why not a 3.0? If a 2.5 will fit, a 3.0 will too, the two engines are very similar.
They were probably trying to flog me whatever they had in stock! I agree though - at least upgrade!

The reason they gave me was that the 2.5 was 'bulletproof' - their words....i dont know if thats true. They gave me the impression that the 2.5 rarely went wrong.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:15 AM
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:16 AM
franka franka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reb78 View Post
The reason they gave me was that the 2.5 was 'bulletproof' - their words....i dont know if thats true. They gave me the impression that the 2.5 rarely went wrong.
I'm not a six guy but maybe its is true that there are less problems with the 2.5. 'Bullet proof' maybe be a bit too strong a word for any BMW six with the head gasket problems and all. Then again many engines that are well taken care of have no problems. That statements may bring the house down on me. Fire suit on.

Maybe some that can speak with authority will comment and give us all the straight dope. Where's Mr Bluebee?
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franka View Post
I'm not a six guy but maybe its is true than there are less problems with the 2.5.

Maybe some that can speak with authority will comment.
I have heard the same from a few BMW indy's here in town. I'm at almost 160k now and it feels as strong or stronger than it did when I bought it with 80k on it. Stronger because of the upgrades I guess. Not as strong as a v8 though
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:13 AM
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franka,

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Old 03-31-2011, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franka View Post
www.bavengine.com is another alternative.
Hello Frank.
Those guys claim you need to adjust the valves every 15 k miles and replace the timing belt every 50 k miles.
Our cars have chains, how serious are these guys? If they mean the chain - I am not sure about that.
Also, maybe the valves need adjustment every so often, but I never heard anyone doing it except when they rebuild an engine.
What's your take on this?
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:03 AM
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They are probably referring to the M20 engine of 80's vintage.
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack View Post
Interesting thread. I was wondering the other day if my engine blew how hard it would be to have a shop toss in a 3.0? Probably better just to stay with a 2.5 though.
If it has a manual transmission you'd also need a gearbox, ancillaries (shift linkage, airbox, MAF etc) and driveshaft.

On the other hand a 2.2 engine would drop straight into a 525i and vice versa.
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Old 03-31-2011, 12:37 PM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shires View Post
If it has a manual transmission you'd also need a gearbox, ancillaries (shift linkage, airbox, MAF etc) and driveshaft.

On the other hand a 2.2 engine would drop straight into a 525i and vice versa.
I have done a 2.5 to 3.0 swap before. I have actually used the existing accessories, and it works great, no codes. However, it is best to go ahead and get the bigger maf, intake, airbox, and computer. Everything else is the same. The manual gearbox is the same from a Z3 2.3i to a 530i, as long as it is a 6 cylinder, it will work. You can even put a 6 speed transmission from a e46 330i ZHP in as long as you can get the driveshaft to work.
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
Hello Frank.
Those guys claim you need to adjust the valves every 15 k miles and replace the timing belt every 50 k miles.
Our cars have chains, how serious are these guys? If they mean the chain - I am not sure about that.
Also, maybe the valves need adjustment every so often, but I never heard anyone doing it except when they rebuild an engine.
What's your take on this?
Someones got their wires crossed up. Bav has done a lot of engines and knows whats up and whats down.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:04 PM
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For the cross-link record, this thread today has some interesting information:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > --Engine swap--
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