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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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 11-22-2011, 03:09 PM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is offline
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Eeeewww!



Getting the head cleaned/cut. Some warpage going on there and some coolant leaks. Waiting to hear if he found any cracks. Damn thing was a bear to pull off with all the crap attached to it.

Anyway, look at the scale and crap on top of these pistons. Shop guy does engines for the BMW Stealer in Charlotte and told me to stop burning 87 octane because it puts huge thick carbon deposits all over the place.
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  #2  
Old 11-22-2011, 03:16 PM
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Wow..
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  #3  
Old 11-22-2011, 03:19 PM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is offline
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Originally Posted by Dking078 View Post
Wow..
That was my reaction when I took the head off. Unbelievably disgusting. Don't think I've seen that since the carb days. No more crap gasoline for me. That avg $1.40 savings at the pump for an 8-10 gallon fillup costs more down the road.
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  #4  
Old 11-22-2011, 03:21 PM
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how many miles were on your car? what made you take this job on? were there any noticeable issues?
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  #5  
Old 11-22-2011, 03:26 PM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is offline
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Originally Posted by CoreyMNK View Post
how many miles were on your car? what made you take this job on? were there any noticeable issues?
166,500 and some change. Had to pull the head cause I couldn't find the source of a coolant leak after replacing the reservoir. Glad I did because the head was warped. Tech put the straight edge on there and pulled out his feeler gauge.... it slipped under there with ZERO resistance at the highest tolerable thickness gauge.

Getting it pressure tested and cut. Hopefully, he won't find any cracks, if he does and can fix it, fine. If he can't fix it, guess I'm saving up for a new head.

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  #6  
Old 11-22-2011, 04:55 PM
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Trebbia Trebbia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarhed1964 View Post
told me to stop burning 87 octane because it puts huge thick carbon deposits all over the place.
Octane in and of itself doesn't do that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jarhed1964 View Post
Had to pull the head cause I couldn't find the source of a coolant leak after replacing the reservoir.
Happens all too frequently.

Do you think there is a possibility those heavy combustion chamber deposits happened during the overheating episode?
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  #7  
Old 11-22-2011, 05:00 PM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is offline
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Originally Posted by Trebbia View Post
Octane in and of itself doesn't do that.
No, but I believe it's a lower quality gasoline and the crap that is in it that may be responsible, that and the fact that my CCV had peanut butter pouring out of it when I removed it.



Quote:
Happens all too frequently.

Do you think there is a possibility those heavy combustion chamber deposits happened during the overheating episode?
Possibly added to it, but I remember seeing some filth in at least one of the cylinders last fall when I changed the plugs.
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  #8  
Old 11-22-2011, 06:51 PM
Steve530 Steve530 is offline
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Maybe the clogged CCV sucked oil into the combustion chamber.

How you going to clean those pistons?
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  #9  
Old 11-22-2011, 07:19 PM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is offline
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Originally Posted by Steve530 View Post
Maybe the clogged CCV sucked oil into the combustion chamber.

How you going to clean those pistons?
Went and got a wire brush attachment for my drill. Pretty fine wires, and if I don't put too much pressure on it, it shouldn't take off any appreciable metal. I'll put each cylinder at TDC before I do it and use a vacuum to suck out the mess.
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  #10  
Old 11-22-2011, 08:30 PM
Steve530 Steve530 is offline
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Maybe you should set up the vacuum to pull the debris away as you use the wire brush.
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  #11  
Old 11-22-2011, 08:39 PM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is offline
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Originally Posted by Steve530 View Post
Maybe you should set up the vacuum to pull the debris away as you use the wire brush.
Actually, that is the plan. Mask off the cylinders with the pistons not at TDC, scrub and vacuum at the same time. I've done something similar on other engines I've rebuilt, mostly chevy's.
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  #12  
Old 11-23-2011, 08:49 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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FYI,

Costco (also amazon dot com) sells a fiberoptic camera for $130 (similar to colonoscope that doctors use to look at bowel).
This camera has multiple purposes. it allows to inspect engine pistons etc. etc.

- Octane 87 does not do this.
- The common causes of carbon build-up on top of the pistons:
a. Mixture too rich
b. bad spark plugs create incomplete combustion
c. Oil consumption, in your case it could be a blocked CCV.

Last edited by cn90; 11-23-2011 at 08:52 AM.
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  #13  
Old 11-23-2011, 09:12 AM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
FYI,

Costco (also amazon dot com) sells a fiberoptic camera for $130 (similar to colonoscope that doctors use to look at bowel).
This camera has multiple purposes. it allows to inspect engine pistons etc. etc.

- Octane 87 does not do this.
- The common causes of carbon build-up on top of the pistons:
a. Mixture too rich
b. bad spark plugs create incomplete combustion
c. Oil consumption, in your case it could be a blocked CCV.
Yeah, I figured the CCV had something to do with it, even though no usual CCV symptoms show. I don't know, this guy rebuilds engines and heads for Hendrick BMW in Charlotte. I'm going to heed his rant and never use 87 again in either E39.
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  #14  
Old 11-23-2011, 09:41 AM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Actually, despite my appreciation for people who use the recommended fuel in their cars, higher octane burns at a *lower* temperature than lower octane. Additionally, "proper" high-octane gas (i.e. gas that isn't ethanol blended to achieve the octane rating) gets there with higher levels of aromatic compounds that will increase carbon build-up if the car isn't built for it.and whether or not our cars are is up for debate, but they're not super-high compression engines.
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  #15  
Old 11-23-2011, 11:07 AM
96 GGM 528I 96 GGM 528I is offline
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Mine looked exactly the same when I pulled the head for a HG job. I suspected a coolant to cylinder 6 passage way leaking very small. The car never really overheated but would warm up with sprinted driving. I used roll-loc disc and sea foam, I then followed that with carb cleaner to get in the piston skirts with compressed air to blow it out. The compressed air helps a lot. Also after you will want to change your oil to get out any cleaner that seeped past the piston. 10k later and my car is great.
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  #16  
Old 11-23-2011, 11:08 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Costco (also amazon dot com) sells a fiberoptic camera for $130
In this thread, the Costco variant we found was more expensive than that:
- How to siphon the fuel out of the tank (1)

But, we did find it at Walmart for $50 less than at Costco.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Octane 87 does not do this.
I agree.

This may help explain what an octane rating indicates:
- Engine fuel octane (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
it could be a blocked CCV.
If so, the OP may wish to test his CCV:
- How to test the crankcase ventilation (aka CCV, CVV, PCV, CPV, & OSV) pressure regulating valve system (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jarhed1964 View Post
I figured the CCV had something to do with it, even though no usual CCV symptoms show.
In addition, these may help the OP solve the problem:
- CCV system overhaul (M54,M54,M54,M54, & M54 observations) (M52,M52) (M52TU) (M62,M62) ('99 528i) ('98 528i); usually replaced with the insulated CCV upgrade (1).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jarhed1964 View Post
I'm going to heed his rant and never use 87 again in either E39.
It's great you're thinking about this.

Here is more information to help you make good decisions:
- "The Gasoline FAQ" & top-tier gas stations (1)

Last edited by bluebee; 11-24-2011 at 10:43 AM.
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  #17  
Old 11-23-2011, 11:43 AM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw_n00b13 View Post
Actually, despite my appreciation for people who use the recommended fuel in their cars, higher octane burns at a *lower* temperature than lower octane. Additionally, "proper" high-octane gas (i.e. gas that isn't ethanol blended to achieve the octane rating) gets there with higher levels of aromatic compounds that will increase carbon build-up if the car isn't built for it.and whether or not our cars are is up for debate, but they're not super-high compression engines.
Just got back from dropping off my camshaft raceways and caps at the shop, and this is almost exactly what the owner told me word for word. He said that regardless of the octane ratings, the lower octane fuels produce more carbon which coats everything and.... this is important.... clogs the tiny passageways and sensors in the emissions sensors. Said that BMW engines were not built to withstand long time use of low octane "cheaper" fuel.

Either way, I'm gonna stop being cheap and start using higher grades of gasoline. For a 10 gal fillup, what am I saving by using 87? Maybe $2.50? $3.00? About $12-15.00/month? Is it worth it?


BTW, this old guy who does work for the dealer is a BMW schooled tech. Now, I know how we all feel about them, but either way..... I'm sure that using a better cleaner fuel will not hurt me.

Gotta find a Mobile station around here.

Last edited by jarhed1964; 11-23-2011 at 11:47 AM.
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  #18  
Old 11-23-2011, 11:44 AM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
In this thread, the Costco variant we found was more expensive than that:
- How to siphon the fuel out of the tank (1)

But, we did find it at Walmart for less than at Costco:



I agree.

From the OP's comments, it's hard to tell if the OP actually understands what an octane rating indicates. Maybe this may help:
- Engine fuel octane (1)



The OP may wish to test his CCV:
- How to test the crankcase ventilation (aka CCV, CVV, PCV, CPV, & OSV) pressure regulating valve system (1)



These may help:
- CCV system overhaul (M54,M54,M54,M54, & M54 observations) (M52,M52) (M52TU) (M62,M62) ('99 528i) ('98 528i); usually replaced with the insulated CCV upgrade (1).



The guy you're listening to appears to be badly misinformed about what an octane rating indicates.

However, you're welcome to put any fuel in your tank you want (it won't matter all that much either way, as it turns out) - so everyone is right (in a way).
- "The Gasoline FAQ" & top-tier gas stations (1)


See above. It's not the octane he's ranting about. And the CCV is getting replaced. Not going to bother testing it. I got the intake off, everything under there is getting replaced.
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:27 PM
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seemyad seemyad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarhed1964 View Post


Getting the head cleaned/cut. Some warpage going on there and some coolant leaks. Waiting to hear if he found any cracks. Damn thing was a bear to pull off with all the crap attached to it.

Anyway, look at the scale and crap on top of these pistons. Shop guy does engines for the BMW Stealer in Charlotte and told me to stop burning 87 octane because it puts huge thick carbon deposits all over the place.
Yeeesh!!!

This post goes toward validating the argument AGAINST using low octane fuel vs recommended high octane. I always use 9X grade and some tried to argue in favor of 8X. Lower octane gas is less stable than high octane (under pressure). Pressure exerted on 8X by the pistons may prematurely ignite the 8X crap-gas (aka knocking). Our engines correct for the premature ignitions by changing the timing (prevents knocking). yet people STILL try to argue in favor of using crap-gas based on science that has ZERO to do with the reason BMWs require high octane fuel. BMWs have a high compression ratio as with most "performance" cars. Higher the compression the more likely 8X will ignite prematurely which is then corrected by throwing off the engine timing to compensate.

Crap-gas misfired timing WILL impact your fuel-air mixture. Which, in turn, CAN lead to more carbon buildup over time. As for the rest of the unrelated information, nothing promotes using 8X octane beyond people trying to drive an executive level car on a shoe string budget.

THANK YOU for this post as a picture says 1000 words. Not just because it validates my stand, more so because it is very educational for us all.

.

Last edited by seemyad; 11-23-2011 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:38 PM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seemyad View Post
yeeesh!!!

This post goes toward validating the areguement against using low octane fuel vs recommended high octane. I always use 9x grade and some tried to argue in favor of 8x. Lower octane gas is less stable than high octane (under pressure). Pressure exerted on 8x by the pistons may prematurely ignite the 8x crap-gas (aka knocking). Our engines correct for the premature ignitions by changing the timing (prevents knocking). Yet people still try to argue in favor of using crap-gas based on science that has zero to do with the reason bmws require high octane fuel. Bmws have a high compression ratio as with most "preformance" cars. Higher the compression the more likely 8x will ignite prematurely which is then corrected by throwing off the engine timing to compensate.

crap-gas misfired timing will impact your fuel-air mixture. which, in turn, can lead to more carbon buildup over time.

thank you for this post as a picture says 1000 words. Not just because it validates my stand, moreso because it is very educational for us all.

.

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  #21  
Old 11-23-2011, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jarhed1964 View Post
what am I saving by using 87? Maybe $2.50? $3.00? About $12-15.00/month? Is it worth it?
There's an entire thread devoted to that question over here:
- What are you actually saving/losing by using 87 vs 91 octane AKI (1)

The net cost savings that can easily be calculated is somewhere around a thousand dollars per hundred thousand miles - but it's way more complicated than that so see the thread for details.

Last edited by bluebee; 11-24-2011 at 10:44 AM.
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  #22  
Old 11-24-2011, 05:22 AM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is offline
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Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Over the years, I've read the entire canonical gasoline FAQ perhaps only a half-dozen times... and, well, I don't remember anything of the sort being said about that being any part of the difference between two fuels of differing octane ratings.

Still, your advisor is welcome to preach what he wants to whomever will believe - just as a religious mechanic is welcome to proselytize any particular religion to whomever will listen.

I'm not going to argue any further the point in this thread as you could read the gasoline FAQ yourself if you wanted to.



There's an entire thread devoted to that question over here:
- What are you actually saving/losing by using 87 vs 91 octane AKI (1)

The net cost savings is somewhere around a thousand dollars per hundred thousand miles - which is or isn't a lot depending on your perspective - but - it gets complicated because there are plenty of unknown factors - but that's all in the thread ... so there's no need to hash it out further here.


Tell ya what... my "advisor" has been pulling apart BMW engines for over 30 years, I would imagine he would have a pretty good idea what the results of different types of gasoline are on BMW engines. This thread was NOT started to rehash the ridiculous argument about 87 vs higher octane gas. If you would like to have that discussion, please take it to your octane thread. I have no intention of putting 87 octane in my BMW's anymore. If you choose to do so, that is your problem. I am not going to allow this thread to be hijacked like all the rest.

Tell ya what.... if you feel you know more about the effects of gasoline on BMW Engines, please give this man a call at his shop. I'm sure he'd be glad to discuss it with you.

Raymond Sharpe
President
Raymonds Auto Machine Service, Inc.
2923 Washburn, Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28205
704-376-1912

Or, maybe you want to call the BMW Dealer and tell them about the things Raymond has been saying about BMW engines, since he does their engine work:

Hendrick BMW
6950 E. Independence Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28227
(866) 455-2752

Good to go? Are we done with this? Thanks.

Last edited by jarhed1964; 11-24-2011 at 05:29 AM.
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  #23  
Old 11-24-2011, 07:03 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Carbon Buildup in combustion chamber has many many causes. The bottom line is:

- Gasoline leaves behind a tiny of carbon when burned. Do this experiment outside on your driveway: burn a small amount of gasoline, maybe 10-20cc in a small metal can, and see what is left behind.

- Oil leaves behind a lot of carbon when burned. Do the same experiment using 10-20cc oil.
Don't tell the enviromentalists you are doing this (j/k)!

-------------

Common causes:

1. Cheap Gas, This is a Must-Read written by Larry Carley, "Watch Out for Bad Gasoline":
http://www.aa1car.com/library/bad_gas2.htm

2. Engine Oil somehow gets into the combustion chamber:
- Loose piston rings (unusual before 200K for M52/M54 engines)
- Loose valve guides (unusual before 200K for M52/M54 engines)
- Clogged CCV ---> #1 cause in M52/M54 engines
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  #24  
Old 11-24-2011, 07:05 AM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is offline
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Wow, I'm surprised Mobile is not on the list of top-tier gasolines.
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  #25  
Old 11-24-2011, 09:20 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarhed1964 View Post
I'm surprised Mobile is not on the list of top-tier gasolines.
Try as I might, I could not get cn90's link to load so I don't know what it says.

But, assuming by "Mobile" the OP meant "Mobil", the links provided the OP earlier clearly state that Mobil is Tier-1 gasoline.

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