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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 09-11-2012, 10:16 AM
SeanPhang SeanPhang is offline
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Location: Livermore, CA
 
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Mein Auto: 02' 530iA@143k
Talking VANOS done without much difference

Well, I did my VANOS this past Saturday. My alternator needed to be replaced, and I took out the fan and fan shroud for easier access. So I decided to do the VANOS, because the beisan kit has been sitting on the shelf for half a year now!

The alternator job was very easy. For the VANOS, the hardest part for me was to open up the valve cover, because the gasket was so plasticized . But I kept at it for about 10 minutes and it finally gave way. And the sight of the camshaft and the timing chain was truly beautiful. Also, when taking out the mounting bolts for the valve cover, be very careful not to drop the washer into sparkwells!!! I dropped one, and wasted like an hour getting it out because it fell to the very bottom.

After doing the job, no SES light or anything, didn't even encounter the initial startup hiccups mentioned in the procedure. But I also didn't feel much improvements, definitely not the 'wow' I was hoping for. I've driven it about 40 miles after the job now. The only thing I can think of which I am not 100% sure I did right is that when putting back the vanos unit, the procedure mentioned to 'push the intake piston to mate with splined shaft', which I did try, but the intake piston would not move at all, so I assumed it's already mated and moved along.

I researched on the site about this and Raj mentioned a bunch of issues like vacuum leaks which will mask the improvements. So I guess I have some issues to hunt down before feeling 'mental erection'. The bad (kind of) thing is I don't have SES light to guide me to any apparent issues.

All in all, I am still glad I did it, because the original seals are definitely bad, and I changed the valve cover gasket, which has been leaking oil. If anyone has insights and suggestions, please comment. Much appreciated!
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06/10: rear shocks
08/11: cooling overhaul, O2 sensors
09/11: auto transmission drain & refill
09/12: alternator, VANOS seals, differential oil change
04/13: 2nd auto transmission drain & refill, changed fuel filter
12/13: OFH gasket
05/14: Aux. fan
09/14: CCV

Last edited by SeanPhang; 09-12-2012 at 08:25 AM. Reason: change title icon to reflect mood
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  #2  
Old 09-11-2012, 10:21 AM
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doru doru is offline
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Because there was a "patch" to cover up the vanos issue. Every car that went in to the dealership after 2002 or 2003 for any reason (free checkup etc, under warranty) got that treatment. For the M54B30 engine the difference is very subtle, and you might feel it in a week or two. try to disable the traction control, put it in steptronic, and give it some gas at a stoplight. I can bet you will spin tires, which before you couldn't. I know, I can.
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Stable: e39, e53, e46 & Tribby
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  #3  
Old 09-11-2012, 10:35 AM
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Topaz540i Topaz540i is offline
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Maybe your vanos wasnt bad yet or the previous owner already installed them. Were the old seals the same color as the new ones?
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  #4  
Old 09-11-2012, 10:37 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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See before and after VANOS tests here:
- How to objectively test VANOS seals in operation (1)
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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #5  
Old 09-11-2012, 10:38 AM
SeanPhang SeanPhang is offline
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Mein Auto: 02' 530iA@143k
The seals are never replaced before. And the pistons could freely move in the cylinder when I took them out, which was definitely not good, I think.
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06/10: rear shocks
08/11: cooling overhaul, O2 sensors
09/11: auto transmission drain & refill
09/12: alternator, VANOS seals, differential oil change
04/13: 2nd auto transmission drain & refill, changed fuel filter
12/13: OFH gasket
05/14: Aux. fan
09/14: CCV
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  #6  
Old 09-11-2012, 11:08 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
If the old O-ring seals were rock hard, they were the original seals. The new Viton seals feel like rubber and will stay that way. The outer teflon seal feels hard and stiff always. Give it a few hundred miles. The seals need to break in. Then report back.
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  #7  
Old 09-11-2012, 11:32 AM
SeanPhang SeanPhang is offline
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Mein Auto: 02' 530iA@143k
Fudman, I am paying close attention to the car's performance during this break-in period. Will report back after several hundred miles. Will also try doru's suggestions.

BTW, I also added a small metal mesh to the alternator air duct near the fog light. Because the old alternator has a bunch of trash trapped in through there.
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06/10: rear shocks
08/11: cooling overhaul, O2 sensors
09/11: auto transmission drain & refill
09/12: alternator, VANOS seals, differential oil change
04/13: 2nd auto transmission drain & refill, changed fuel filter
12/13: OFH gasket
05/14: Aux. fan
09/14: CCV
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  #8  
Old 09-11-2012, 12:50 PM
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gchand gchand is offline
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Mein Auto: 03 530i sport
Sean,

Sounds like you did the right things - VANOS seal upgrade certainly can't hurt, taking care of the need to replace the VCG, and the screening of the alternator air duct is a great idea.

I have the Besian upgrade kit too waiting for time to install, but do not have any of the negative performance effects listed for the OE seals so don't really expect any noticeable difference if I get them replaced soon.

Last edited by gchand; 09-11-2012 at 12:55 PM.
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  #9  
Old 09-12-2012, 06:22 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanPhang View Post
the old alternator has a bunch of trash trapped
__________________
Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #10  
Old 09-12-2012, 07:45 AM
Ed Cheung Ed Cheung is offline
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that is gross....
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96 528i AT w/steptronic. => 97 540i w/ steptronic. =>steptronic deleted, 6MT installed.
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  #11  
Old 09-12-2012, 08:02 AM
SeanPhang SeanPhang is offline
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Well. I drove the car yesterday. And as doru pointed out and I paid attention, I felt something new when a red light just turned green and I applied the pedal. It was definitely much snappier than before, especially in the 1500-2500rpm range! It feels great (again)!
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06/10: rear shocks
08/11: cooling overhaul, O2 sensors
09/11: auto transmission drain & refill
09/12: alternator, VANOS seals, differential oil change
04/13: 2nd auto transmission drain & refill, changed fuel filter
12/13: OFH gasket
05/14: Aux. fan
09/14: CCV
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  #12  
Old 09-12-2012, 08:10 AM
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bkgreene39 bkgreene39 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanPhang View Post
Well. I drove the car yesterday. And as doru pointed out and I paid attention, I felt something new when a red light just turned green and I applied the pedal. It was definitely much snappier than before, especially in the 1500-2500rpm range! It feels great (again)!

how did it feel in first gear before vanos upgrade?
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  #13  
Old 09-12-2012, 08:14 AM
SeanPhang SeanPhang is offline
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Location: Livermore, CA
 
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Mein Auto: 02' 530iA@143k
I have an auto and I think it starts at 2nd gear by default to save gas.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkgreene39 View Post
how did it feel in first gear before vanos upgrade?
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06/10: rear shocks
08/11: cooling overhaul, O2 sensors
09/11: auto transmission drain & refill
09/12: alternator, VANOS seals, differential oil change
04/13: 2nd auto transmission drain & refill, changed fuel filter
12/13: OFH gasket
05/14: Aux. fan
09/14: CCV
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  #14  
Old 09-12-2012, 08:17 AM
Ed Cheung Ed Cheung is offline
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And you will find it more willing to be on 5th gear. When I still have the 528, it will stay on 5th only on or above 100km, after the vanos seal done, it will stay in 5th at 80km.
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96 528i AT w/steptronic. => 97 540i w/ steptronic. =>steptronic deleted, 6MT installed.
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  #15  
Old 09-12-2012, 08:21 AM
SeanPhang SeanPhang is offline
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That will be good for my wallet, I guess. How do you know you are in which gear though, by feel?
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06/10: rear shocks
08/11: cooling overhaul, O2 sensors
09/11: auto transmission drain & refill
09/12: alternator, VANOS seals, differential oil change
04/13: 2nd auto transmission drain & refill, changed fuel filter
12/13: OFH gasket
05/14: Aux. fan
09/14: CCV
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  #16  
Old 09-12-2012, 08:27 AM
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doru doru is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanPhang View Post
I have an auto and I think it starts at 2nd gear by default to save gas.
If you put in "sport" - which is the shift lever to the left, then it will start in 1st gear, and will hold gears longer. the next step up is "steptronic". If you want to take full advantage of steptronic, you need to re-flash the auto-tranny with the ESS tuning or Dinan software.
__________________
Looking for a DIY? Parts? Check this out, it might be your ticket
TMS underdrive pullies - Stewart WP - PSS9 - Beisan Vanos seals - Zimmerman cross-drilled & Akebono Euro - Deka 649 MF - 55w HID headlights - 35w HID foglights - Hualigan double din - ACS (rep) alu pedals - Euro central storage console - Breyton Magic Racing staggered wheels - M5 bumper - M5 steering wheel - Tint
Stable: e39, e53, e46 & Tribby
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  #17  
Old 09-12-2012, 08:37 AM
SeanPhang SeanPhang is offline
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Location: Livermore, CA
 
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Mein Auto: 02' 530iA@143k
I bet you'll notice something different! I noticed it only 50 miles after installation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gchand View Post
Sean,

Sounds like you did the right things - VANOS seal upgrade certainly can't hurt, taking care of the need to replace the VCG, and the screening of the alternator air duct is a great idea.

I have the Besian upgrade kit too waiting for time to install, but do not have any of the negative performance effects listed for the OE seals so don't really expect any noticeable difference if I get them replaced soon.
__________________
06/10: rear shocks
08/11: cooling overhaul, O2 sensors
09/11: auto transmission drain & refill
09/12: alternator, VANOS seals, differential oil change
04/13: 2nd auto transmission drain & refill, changed fuel filter
12/13: OFH gasket
05/14: Aux. fan
09/14: CCV
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  #18  
Old 09-12-2012, 08:39 AM
SeanPhang SeanPhang is offline
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Location: Livermore, CA
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 106
Mein Auto: 02' 530iA@143k
Being a poor grad student, I seldom put the knob to the left. But I guess I will indulge myself for a while and fully enjoy the car with the new seals!
Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
If you put in "sport" - which is the shift lever to the left, then it will start in 1st gear, and will hold gears longer. the next step up is "steptronic". If you want to take full advantage of steptronic, you need to re-flash the auto-tranny with the ESS tuning or Dinan software.
__________________
06/10: rear shocks
08/11: cooling overhaul, O2 sensors
09/11: auto transmission drain & refill
09/12: alternator, VANOS seals, differential oil change
04/13: 2nd auto transmission drain & refill, changed fuel filter
12/13: OFH gasket
05/14: Aux. fan
09/14: CCV
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  #19  
Old 09-12-2012, 08:54 AM
bkgreene39's Avatar
bkgreene39 bkgreene39 is offline
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Location: Brooklyn
 
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Mein Auto: 1998 BMW 528i
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanPhang View Post
Being a poor grad student, I seldom put the knob to the left. But I guess I will indulge myself for a while and fully enjoy the car with the new seals!
Do it here and there, you will def enjoy it! have fun with the vehicle thats why you own it and put work into it. My vehicle came before steptronic, i have the 4 speed gm tranny with the s1, s2, s3, options. When i want to launch in first i put it into s1, yea fuel economy sucks for sure but thats to be expected.
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  #20  
Old 09-12-2012, 09:38 AM
crazy4trains crazy4trains is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanPhang View Post
I researched on the site about this and Raj mentioned a bunch of issues like vacuum leaks which will mask the improvements. So I guess I have some issues to hunt down before feeling 'mental erection'. The bad (kind of) thing is I don't have SES light to guide me to any apparent issues.
Maybe your vanos needs some Viagra or Cialis!
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