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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 04-15-2011, 04:04 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Looks like PS systems are the hot topic today

Edjack had mentioned in a post below about draining the pump and cleaning the reservoir with gasoline. You'd be surprised at the crap that the screen collects. No need to replace the reservoir, a cleaning is all that's needed.
On the V8 the drain plug on the PS pump will empty almost all of the fluid.
(Pulling the hose off the cooling loop on the radiator is pretty messy, and it's not easy to catch the fluid).
You can then remove the reservoir, unscrew the filter and flush with gas.
While your at it stick the head of a Q-tip in the vent hole to keep most of the mist from coming out. I haven't found the cap o-ring to be a problem.
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  #2  
Old 04-15-2011, 04:35 AM
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DominguesE30 DominguesE30 is offline
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Every thread is literally about power steering!!'


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  #3  
Old 04-15-2011, 04:45 AM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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Replace your cooling system
.p

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  #4  
Old 04-15-2011, 05:32 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burning2nd View Post
Replace your cooling system
.p

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Already done about 4 years ago, Zionsville!
No clutch fan or mechanical fan either.

Last edited by JimLev; 04-15-2011 at 07:54 AM. Reason: added text
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  #5  
Old 04-15-2011, 10:32 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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  #6  
Old 04-15-2011, 03:36 PM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
Under the lift arms
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that was a sarcastic joke... but you took it literally ...
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"Burning 2nd is a lot like vitamin tonic. Overly harsh, tastes like crap, but somewhere in all that there's good intent......just have to learn to read between the lines, actually you have to squint really hard to see the good, but its there somewhere"

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  #7  
Old 04-15-2011, 04:12 PM
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Just bought some Dexron VI ....will takle this R&R on Sunday. After I mow the lawn... ;-)
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  #8  
Old 04-15-2011, 04:17 PM
jordan16j jordan16j is offline
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Thanks for the post, the photos are really helpful. I think Bluebee was searching for a picture of the filter itself, too.
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  #9  
Old 04-15-2011, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordan16j View Post
Bluebee was searching for a picture of the filter itself, too.
Yes I was.

Here is what I added to the canonical power steering fluid replacement DIY:
- DIY - E39 525i Fluid Triple Play (PS, diff & tranny fluid change)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I added a link to this thread in the bestlinks for future reference.

In addition, I linked to it in the summary fluid printout:
- BMW E39 fluid summary printout for your glovebox (1)

Doru suggests we replace the fluid in the power steering reservoir at every oil change:


It only takes about half a quart to suction out and then refill:


Most say you can't remove the filter but some (JimLev) say you can, so see his DIY on cleaning the filter.

Just make sure you use the right fluid. Do not use PSF; use DexronIII/Dexron VI ATF!
(This was my rookie mistake a few years ago when I first bought my bimmer & changed the fluids.)


Tying the PSF with the oil change makes sense, especially since the o-ring in the cap deteriorates at about the same rate as the two little o-rings in the lower half of the oil filter housing; so replace all three o-rings at the same time (every few years):


At about the same time, check the lower reservoir hose for leaks & fix it the cn90 way:


And, climb underneath to fix the power steering pump hose leaks also:


Otherwise, you face a power steering pump autopsy like this:


As for the power steering fluid pump filter, here is JimLev's procedure:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > Looks like PS systems are the hot topic today



There is apparently a screw or bolt holding the filter in place:


Apparently the circular screen will simply lift off at this point:


JimLev suggests you flush it all out with gasoline or other suitable solvent.


He also suggests you plug the filler cap with a Q-tib cotton swab:


But most of us recommend simply replacing the filler cap o-ring every few years.
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  #10  
Old 04-15-2011, 08:43 PM
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Since JimLev didn't state the year of his 540, and since I read in the previously mentioned threads that only the 'older' E39s had a removable filter, I went out just now to my garage to see if my 2002 540i M54 filter could be removed in situ.

Sure enough, after suctioning about 8 ounces (about 250 ml) of Dexron VI out ...


I could easily disengage the circular screen filter with a magnetized T20 Torx screwdriver.


You can't remove the screen, but, you can tilt it 90 degrees to see how clean it is.

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  #11  
Old 04-15-2011, 08:48 PM
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Looks like this effort is morphing into the following 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
  • And, of course, check/fix leaks in the hose below the power steering reservoir & at the bottom of the power steering pump.

Since I would want someone to find this information in the future, I would like to append it to the one 'canonical' thread on how to flush your power steering fluid.

Unfortunately, I find LOTS of threads on how to flush your power steering fluid, so, it's a pain to update them all.

Here's what we currently have in the bestlinks for a /power steering(F3):

- 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 cloudy ATF fluid (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & what PS fluid to use (1) (2-pdf) (3-volume) & what volume is needed to buy (1) & DIYs to replace the power steering hoses (1) (2) (3) (4) (5).


I'll at least try to update those threads (rather than try to update them all).

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  #12  
Old 04-15-2011, 09:55 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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JimLev and Bluebee, thanks for the great photos. Now we have yet another maintenance issue to obsess about. In the immortal words of Kurt Vonnegut, "So it goes..."
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  #13  
Old 05-13-2011, 11:03 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdmac View Post
Now we have yet another maintenance issue to obsess about"
Yup.

As I said in the E46 forums today, it's part of our recommended maintenance schedule:
- E46 (1999 - 2006) > ATF reservoir overflow

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcourcoul View Post
Is this an E39 thing only or does it apply to E46 as well?
It's the same engine (M54).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcourcoul View Post
I don't recall seeing anything like a Torx screw head at the bottom my E46 power steering fluid reservoir
It's there on my 2002 M54 engine (see pic below of my magnetized torx in action):
- How to clean the power steering fluid reservoir internal filter (1)

Note we generally replace the power steering fluid in the reservoir at every oil change; and at every fifth (or so) oil change, we recommend replacing the oil-filter o-rings, the power-steering reservoir o-ring, and we clean out the power steering reservoir mesh filter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcourcoul View Post
The Standard Knowledge is
The guys here (at least on the E39 side of the house) make new tribal knowledge all the time!

  • We/they don't have weeping power steering fluid reservoirs
  • We/they fix ABS control modules ourselves (for free)
  • We/they replace M54 I6 oil pan gaskets without remove the sub frame
  • We/they replace our PBT plastic headlight adjusters with Delrin for five dollars
  • We/they have a good source for M54 DISA o-rings
  • We/they have a BMW source for M54 lower-radiator-hose thermoswitch o-rings
  • We/they replace our mechanical tensioner pulleys with aftermarket pulleys
  • We/they rebuild our own alternators with better quality bearings
  • We/they get wiper blade refills for just a few bucks, often from the stealer
  • We/they do brake jobs that are almost completely dry
  • We/they resolved the gym-sock AC smell problem
  • We/they make our own viscous fan clutch nut counterhold tools for five bucks
  • We/they know that brakes (almost) never warp (contrary to 'common knowledge')
  • etc. [/quote]
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  #14  
Old 05-13-2011, 10:59 PM
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540indiana 540indiana is offline
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We have power steering on these cars?
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  #15  
Old 08-06-2011, 03:02 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540indiana View Post
We have power steering on these cars?
See what happened today when power steering filter clogged from the rubber components of the system caused cavitation in the power steering pump:
> 2002 E39 525i - Power steering whine solved in detail

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  #16  
Old 10-05-2011, 10:35 AM
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For the record, I updated the 'what parts to buy' thread today with concurrent power steering & oil change parts lists:
- Recommended parts kits for overhauling cooling, drive belts, CCV/ICV, VANOS, OFH, PSP

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  #17  
Old 10-10-2011, 11:39 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the crosslinked record, Bavauto has a nice blog video on replacing the power steering fluid reservoir:
-
Changing Power Steering Filter and Fluid


Last edited by bluebee; 10-10-2011 at 11:41 PM.
  #18  
Old 11-04-2011, 06:57 PM
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Today a related post was asked:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > Changing Powere Steering Filter

See also:
Power steering fluid (1) (2) & power steering fluid flush DIYs (1) (2) (3) (4) & volumes (1) & how to clean the power steering fluid reservoir internal filter (1) (2) & 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 cloudy ATF fluid (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & what PS fluid to use (1) (2-pdf) (3-volume) & what volume is needed to buy (1) & DIYs to replace the power steering hoses (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & how to debug common BMW power steering issues (1) and noises (1) (2) (3) or steering rack noises (1)


Last edited by bluebee; 11-04-2011 at 06:59 PM.
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  #19  
Old 12-31-2011, 12:30 PM
ztitans1 ztitans1 is offline
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Does the power steering housing come apart so you can replace the filter in there?
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  #20  
Old 12-31-2011, 12:52 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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No it doesn't come apart, that info is in the posts above.
All you can do is clean the filter or replace the whole reservoir.
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  #21  
Old 12-31-2011, 07:15 PM
ztitans1 ztitans1 is offline
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I did the clean with gasoline and cut the ends of the hoses and reattached. Hopefully this will fix the leak. I noticed my steering sounds quieter. Great writeups guys. This was a free repair as I had some PS fluid already in the garage. Nothing like free.
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  #22  
Old 08-31-2014, 11:22 AM
Solo12 Solo12 is offline
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For those of us who don't have a ton of DIY experience I have some newbie questions about flushing the filter with gasoline or other solvent.
  1. I plan on using gas as I have no idea what other type of solvent to use. I am assuming regular 87 that I use for the lawnmower is fine to use, correct?
  2. Once I have the reservoir removed (& filter loosened inside) and flush it all out with gasoline do I need to make sure every drop of gasoline is out of the reservoir/ does the gasoline need to be rinsed out? Or if a couple drops of gas are left behind it that okay?
  3. If every last drop of gas needs to be removed what is the best method?
  • Turn reservoir upside down and let gas drain out of the big hole (top of reservoir) and leave overnight or for a couple of hours?
  • Dry out reservoir with rag as best I can?
  • Flush reservoir with ATF while it is off the car and that will get rid of the gas?
  • Some combination of those?
  • Other method?
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  #23  
Old 08-31-2014, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo12 View Post
I am assuming regular 87 that I use for the lawnmower is fine to use, correct?
Wow. It wouldn't matter at all what solvent you use, whether it's gasoline or alcohol or acetone, etc., so, certainly don't worry about the knock-resistance rating.

Just make sure you air dry the filter outdoors, before putting it back together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo12 View Post
do I need to make sure every drop of gasoline is out of the reservoir
Out here, in California, it's about 75°F, so, the gas will evaporate in an hour in the sun, so, there's really no reason for any gasoline to be left in liquid form.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo12 View Post
If every last drop of gas needs to be removed what is the best method?
Have you taken Organic Chemistry yet?
If you have, you'll note that ether is used all the time to "wash" out less volatile solvents, so, if you are really paranoid, just wash it out with any solvent with a greater volatility than gasoline. But I wouldn't bother. Just let it sit in the sun for an hour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo12 View Post
Flush reservoir with ATF while it is off the car and that will get rid of the gas?
Flushing is also a good idea, especially since you'll likely have far more Dexron VI than that which you need to fill the system back up.
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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