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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 11-19-2011, 03:06 PM
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Fuel filter replacement and filter breakdown

As a result of trying to solve another problem with rough running, I have changed the fuel filter. I did search about for other threads, but none had all the information to do the job and were inconsistent. This is how I changed my fuel filter and includes what I gleaned from researching here, there may be other preferred methods. I am also including some profile information so you can see for yourself what the filter might look like.

About the car the filter was on:
The date of the filter was: 31.12.02 (Original)
Car: 2003 530
KMs when changed: 195,000km


About the fuel I've used:
1) Most of when I have owned the car the fuel has been premium with occasional mid grade when the price is through the roof.
2) I have used some additives like fuel injector cleaner, but not often enough that it would make a difference.

About when to replace the filter:
1) Some people say lifetime doesn't need to be replaced. However, nowhere could I find or is it clearly defined what 'lifetime'means. I don't buy into the lifetime story personally. When you look at my filter, lifetime should require at a minimum, a replacement when you have reached 200,000km or earlier.

2) Some others say 60,000km. I am inclinced to think this is reasonable given what my filter looks like.

About the hose clamps:
1) Some people noted high pressure clamps are the factory ones, I think it was one misinformed Autozone employee. Anyways the members here cleared that up. I used fuel injection clamps. My car came with both the pressed in and screw type.


About jacking up the car:
1) I used chock block or equivalent, the front jack point and the rear diff to lift the car.

About getting ready:
1) Get the fuel hose if you think you will need it and hose clamps before you begin your work. Likely you will need one, the other, or both.
2) It took about 1.5hrs for me, take your time do your work at your own pace.


About Safety
1) Alway be safe and take safe measures before, during and after you do this job. Make sure you do it on a level floor, well ventilated room, have lots of collectors on hand and within easy reach as well as shop rags to soak up spills.
2) Disconnect the battery and keep any electrical stuff well away from the spot you are working.
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Last edited by morrisroad; 11-20-2011 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:11 PM
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Tools I used included:

1) Couple of straight screw drivers

2) Two vice grips one with tape to even out the grooves and not damage hose. Other one had limited grooves.

3) Razor to cut hose

4) Small 1/4 ratchet with 8mm and 10mm sockets

5) Clip tool (you don't need it, I had one, you can use a screwdriver)

6) 2 or 3 Axle stands & chock blocks (I used brick chocks, not shown in the picture)
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Last edited by morrisroad; 11-19-2011 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:14 PM
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Fuel filter - Ordered this one online came with Regulator $85. Ordered it from http://www.autopartsonlinecanada.com/ these guys are super fast and shipping was free. I have ordered a boat load of parts from autopartsonlinecanada. I also ordered from bimmerspecialist. Autopartsonlinecanada is better than bimmerspecialist in my opinion for shipping and customer services.
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Last edited by morrisroad; 11-19-2011 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:18 PM
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To start the process I removed the fuel pump fuses 22 and 31. These are found in your glove box. Turn the two white tabs to drop the fuse block. Take the red fuse remover from the left side. Remove the fuses and put in a safe place.

Start your car. It will run and stall. I started it again for good measure. Remove the negative terminal. Battery located in the trunk, right side.
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Last edited by morrisroad; 11-19-2011 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:19 PM
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Get your axle stands - Block the front tires and lift the back. I researched here where to lift and the consensus was the diff. So that's where I did it.
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:27 PM
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Once you have your car up on its side. Begin to remove the plastic cover panel located on the drivers side of the car.

I counted:
5 screws
2 washer/nut fastners
6 plug pin fastners

1) Remove the three screws up front by the fender
2) Remove the screws that run along the edge closest to the exhaust
3) Remove the two washer/nut fastners
4) Remove the pins

The panel should come away now. You might have to push out it of the jack puck, as there are two lips that are tucked in there.
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Last edited by morrisroad; 11-20-2011 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:29 PM
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I decided to clamp the hoses with vise grips. Now, I wasn't quite sure how much of a grip was required. I didn't over force it. I found these vise grips to be good because they are thin and the space between the nipples is narrow. At any rate you don't need a lot of pressure to close the gap so you minimize fuel spillage.
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:31 PM
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Now, I've read here how some folks have cut themselves and had a difficult time removing the factory pressed clamps. They are really not difficult to remove. What you need to do, is simply begin on the edge of the clamp with the screw driver and lift it up over the pins. There is no need to cut these. I found that putting the screw driver in the top slot and moving prying didn't work.

Also pictured here is the factory screw type clamp and the one I purchased.
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Last edited by morrisroad; 11-19-2011 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:36 PM
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To get the filter off, I removed the factory pressed clamp first (blue circle right), then lossened off and removed the clamps closet to the filter (red circles).

I then removed, the vacumm hose, followed by the other hoses with a screw driver. I tried long needlenose pliers but they were not working.

I removed the filter clamp bolt (red arrow).

The hose on the front did not fair well on removal so, it was replaced with a brand new piece of hose. The other two came off without issue.
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Last edited by morrisroad; 11-19-2011 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:39 PM
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I was careful to remove the filter level as one poster suggested. Then placed it into the container. Take a look at the fuel. Not so pretty.
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:46 PM
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Replacement requires following this procedure in reverse. Move any gas to a safe location outside your garage, in my case.

1) Replace any hose you think are looking not so good. Replace them all if you need to. Mine looked surprisingly good. So I only replaced the hose I messed up removing.

2) Plug in the hoses to the fuel filter keeping the same connections as in removal and tighten the clamps.

3) Bolt in the filter.

4) Lower your car

5) Replace fuses, negative.

6) Start car, check for leaks

7) Raise car again, replace plastic cover.
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:50 PM
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Nice DIY! Thanx!
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:50 PM
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This section now covers the fuel filter disection. Once the filter was entirely drained I cut it open. This outside of the filter core was pretty black.
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:54 PM
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The inside of the filter core was pretty staturated as can be seen here. It would not be much more time before getting dirty fuel, at the very least likely to be impacting the fuel pump.
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Old 11-19-2011, 04:00 PM
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Some additonal pictures. You can see the saturation in the cross section tear.
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Old 11-19-2011, 04:02 PM
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Final pic with filter installed and marked with replacement date written on it.
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Old 11-19-2011, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morrisroad View Post
This section now covers the fuel filter dissection.
Thank you for the DIY & especially for going the extra mile and doing the fuel filter dissection!

This is useful to me because I'm battling a persistent lean condition misfire, which, if it doesn't turn out to be vacuum or CCV, it will be fuel related.

So that others benefit from this information, I updated the bestlinks as follows:

- How does the E39 fuel injection work (1) & what are the most often recommended fuel pump & fuel filter brands (1) (2) & a DIY for replacing the fuel filter (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & a quick test for fuel pump operation (1) (2) and replacing the fuel pump (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & how to replace and service your BMW E39 fuel injectors (1) & replacing the 7.52X3.52mm and 9.2X2.8mm fuel injector o-rings (1) & the location of the K96 fuel pump relay (1) & where is the fuel system pressure test Schrader valve for the I6 (1) & where is the fuel pressure test point for the V8 (1) (2) (3) & where is the location of the fuel pump relay K96 (1) & cleaning (1) (2) & replacing the fuel sensor (1) & resolving blown fuses due to a stuck fuel filler door solenoid (1) & engine fuel & octane (1) & The Gasoline FAQ & top-tier gas stations (1) & how large is the fuel tank and reserve in the E39 (1) & what gasoline to use (1) & how much gas should be left to cool the fuel pump (1) & how to siphon the fuel out of the tank (1) & what is the cost differential between 87 & 91 octane AKI (1) & what gasoline mileage should an E39 get (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) & the truth about mpg calculation accuracy (1) (2) & E39 great mpg stories (1) (2) (3) & E39 awful fuel mileage issues (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).
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Old 11-19-2011, 10:31 PM
aspensilver540 aspensilver540 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Thank you for the DIY & especially for going the extra mile and doing the fuel filter dissection!

This is useful to me because I'm battling a persistent lean condition misfire, which, if it doesn't turn out to be vacuum or CCV, it will be fuel related.

So that others benefit from this information, I updated the bestlinks as follows:

- How does the E39 fuel injection work (1) & what are the most often recommended fuel pump & fuel filter brands (1) (2) & a DIY for replacing the fuel filter (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & a quick test for fuel pump operation (1) (2) and replacing the fuel pump (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & how to replace and service your BMW E39 fuel injectors (1) & replacing the 7.52X3.52mm and 9.2X2.8mm fuel injector o-rings (1) & the location of the K96 fuel pump relay (1) & where is the fuel system pressure test Schrader valve for the I6 (1) & where is the fuel pressure test point for the V8 (1) (2) (3) & where is the location of the fuel pump relay K96 (1) & cleaning (1) (2) & replacing the fuel sensor (1) & resolving blown fuses due to a stuck fuel filler door solenoid (1) & engine fuel & octane (1) & The Gasoline FAQ & top-tier gas stations (1) & how large is the fuel tank and reserve in the E39 (1) & what gasoline to use (1) & how much gas should be left to cool the fuel pump (1) & how to siphon the fuel out of the tank (1) & what is the cost differential between 87 & 91 octane AKI (1) & what gasoline mileage should an E39 get (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) & the truth about mpg calculation accuracy (1) (2) & E39 great mpg stories (1) (2) (3) & E39 awful fuel mileage issues (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).
I have trouble reading paragraphs with multiple ideas/links in them, so I broke up your post, if you don't mind. Much easier to read (at least for me). And thanks for the links & effort, of course! Found some good/interesting threads just now.



- How does the E39 fuel injection work (1)
- What are the most often recommended fuel pump & fuel filter brands (1) (2)
- DIY for replacing the fuel filter (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
- A quick test for fuel pump operation (1) (2)
- Replacing the fuel pump (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
How to replace and service your BMW E39 fuel injectors (1) & replacing the 7.52X3.52mm and 9.2X2.8mm fuel injector o-rings (1)
- The location of the K96 fuel pump relay (1) & where is the fuel system pressure test Schrader valve for the I6 (1)
- where is the fuel pressure test point for the V8 (1) (2) (3)
- where is the location of the fuel pump relay K96 (1)
- Cleaning (1) (2)
- Replacing the fuel sensor (1)
- Resolving blown fuses due to a stuck fuel filler door solenoid (1)
- Engine fuel & octane (1) & The Gasoline FAQ
- Top-tier gas stations (1)
- How large is the fuel tank and reserve in the E39 (1)
- What gasoline to use (1)
- How much gas should be left to cool the fuel pump (1)
- How to siphon the fuel out of the tank (1)
- What is the cost differential between 87 & 91 octane AKI (1)
- What gasoline mileage should an E39 get (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)
- The truth about mpg calculation accuracy (1) (2)
- E39 great mpg stories (1) (2) (3)
- E39 awful fuel mileage issues (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).
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:10 AM
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Wanted to report that I do feel a very noticable improvement in acceleration.

Prior to this, and after replacing the DISA which was suggested (and it was broken after inspecting it, that's also why I replaced it), I was also experiencing a 'bogging down, with burst of acceleration' when trying to accelerate from a stop. It didn't improve after the DISA. However, I don't have that issue now. The accelartion is pretty smooth. Unfortunately, the issue I have with miss is definitely less noticable, but its warmer today @10 degrees C and this is not when I have normally had the issue, its more pronounced when the weather starts to get colder.

In any event, I am pleased with the fuel filter replacement results.

The additional links are great!
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Last edited by morrisroad; 11-20-2011 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 11-20-2011, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aspensilver540 View Post
I have trouble reading paragraphs with multiple ideas/links in them, so I broke up your post, if you don't mind
Heh heh. Ironically, we think alike.

You probably don't realize this so I'll let you know that I had just prior to posting, manually 'assembled' that long list from a disparately separated list of almost exactly what you disassembled above!

Specifically, if you look in the bestlinks, you'll see that my all-encompassing 'paragraph' is assembled from a bunch of specific-topic 'sentences' such as what you disassembled.

It's basically two ways to show the same information - both of which are exhibited in the bestlinks thread.

Thanks for writing the DIY and for expending the effort to improve the references so that others benefit, long after we're gone!
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:11 AM
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Nice write-up morrisroad. I'd like to make a few suggestions:

1. No need to jack anything up, just drive BOTH driver side tires on wood ramps to raise the (L) side up enough to do the job.

2. At 10y/100K miles, one may as well change:

- new fuel hose. I believe it is 8x13mm type.
Available at dealer. They usually sell by the meter.
Alternate is Contitech hose, which is OEM.

- new clamps
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:42 AM
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just drive BOTH driver side tires on wood ramps to raise the (L) side up enough to do the job.
Wood ramps like these ...
- How to make your own BMW car ramps (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
new fuel hose. I believe it is 8x13mm type.
Hmmm... offhand ... I wonder if we should add fuel (pressure) lines to the list of hoses/tubes/pipes/endcaps/o-rings/gaskets to buy for vacuum purposes.

Just offhand (I haven't looked in Realoem for any pressure hoses) ... are there a LOT or very FEW fuel lines to replace?
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:52 AM
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A recent post of a ZF document suggests that "lifetime" fluid s/b changed at 100k miles. Perhaps this is a good working definition of the term.

However, I changed my filter at 80k, due to the engine stumbling, and a CEL and stored code (can't remember, but must have been signaling a lean condition).
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:52 AM
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I started looking, just out of curiosity, at how many fuel lines there are (whether they're hoses or tubes, or pipes, I don't know yet).

Starting just with the fuel filter diagram, is this the recommended set of hoses, clamps, and o-rings to consider replacing?

QUESTION: What does "L12-15" mean for a hose clamp?

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Old 12-13-2011, 12:36 PM
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awesome writeup...gonna try to tackle mine this weekend
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