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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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Old 05-15-2012, 12:50 PM
eartha65 eartha65 is offline
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Location: mississippi
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 540i
Question Help Me Understand!!!!!!!

Hello Bimmer Family, I have a 540i 1997. I am a first time owner and wanted to know if there is anyway to check the transsmission fluid w/o going to the dealership. I need help from an experience owner, Please!!!! I am unable to read the dashboard reading when it flashes. The car was a gift and i really want to show God how much i appreciate it by taking the best care of it i can. Will someone please assist me!!!!
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:30 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Location: San Jose, CA
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 13,444
Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
I assume this is an automatic trans. Update your car info to reflect that. Also, provide the build date. This sometimes changes the diagnosis. In future, mention the miles on the car.

The car must be elevated, and level. The trans s/b warm to the touch, but not hot. With the engine running, remove the fill plug on the side of the trans. If the fluid just barley dribbles out, the level is okay.

If you plan to maintain this car, get the Bentley E39 service manual, and a scan tool.

God probably doesn't much care what you think of the car, but rather what you think of the person who gave it to you.

Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.
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Old 05-15-2012, 03:53 PM
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alex5er alex5er is offline
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Location: Los Angeles, CA.
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 419
Mein Auto: e39 1997 528i
It would be a good idea to change the ATF and filter, Pelican Parts has very good prices and a DIY... I just done this DIY on my 1997 528i what a differance it makes.. my e39 had over 158k miles on it and was starting to ack up minor slipping and jerking... now runs smoooooth as silk.. good luck!!!
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Old 05-15-2012, 04:09 PM
MurrayP MurrayP is offline
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Location: Kingston Ontario
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 78
Mein Auto: 98 540i
Erthat65, unless you are planning to do all the work that will be coming your way, I say look this gift horse in the mouth and run! In the last 8 years, my 98 540i cost the po over $22K!! I've had it for a year, put on less than 1,500 miles (rare Sunday driving) and I am approaching $2K and I have done all the work. Now I have to take care of the violent steering wheel judder that is getting worse and worse.

I am having fun tinkering with the car but if I had to rely on it as my daily driver I would be going crazy about now! Other than that, I love it!
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