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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 11-16-2012, 08:29 AM
AsymMetric5 AsymMetric5 is offline
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Location: Austin
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 8
Mein Auto: 1997 528i
Changed that oil pan! Now this...

So I successfully swapped my old, cracked oil pan for a $70 junkyard find that was in great shape. The fix took me about a week if you include research time, hours of head-scratching, and more hours of cursing, teeth-gritting and inner sobbing.

I had most of the tools required for the job. Even though I spent a year in trade school(autobody) many years ago, I am NOT a mechanic. I'm just not intimidated by a challenging repair. This is one repair, however, that I should have let a pro handle.

Backstory:
My ex-wife bought the car over a year ago for an ok price. We know it had some issues that needed to be addressed. I took it to two different specialty shops for diagnostics and estimates of the more obvious problems. Soon, I replaced a bad wheel bearing, parking brake pads just to name a few. My first oil change revealed a sheared oil pan bolt that had been gasket-sealed back in place. That's right... someone was too much of a cheap ass(or coward) to buy another $4 bolt. Instead, they attempted to hide their blunder by screwing what was left of the bolt(about a thread and a half) back onto the pan with some type of gasket sealer. I didn't learn until after I got the old pan off that they even left the threaded end of the bolt INSIDE the pan! I replaced the bolt, but the OTHER damage was already done.

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Disgusting!

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These metals pieces were just dying to get sucked into the engine.

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junkyard replacement after cleaning.

What “other” damage you ask? Well, the stress to the oil pan itself! I was only able to perform one other oil change(with torque wrench) before a hairline stress crack appeared at the rear of the inner threading. Saddest thing about it was that, over the next few days, I couldn't really tell where the leak was coming from so, I periodically kept tightening...

The next issue:
After my initial research on the repair, I was sick – wishing I had a 540 instead. But, I simply didn't have the $$$ to hand to a shop. Now, that it's all done and the leak had been irradicated, I have another – more pressing issue that I know is a direct result of this recent repair. The car made some strange noises on the first and second start-ups and it idled kinda rough, then smoothed out. I was able to drive it about 10 miles before the Check Engine light came on and it REALLY started to sputter and hesitate. I got within 2 miles of home when I knew it was serious. It sputtered to a stop at an intersection. I restarted it and limped the last mile at about 5mph back to the garage.


The first thing I did was check the battery voltage. It was down to 3V. I did this because I had a similar problem with my integra when the alternator went out. I doubt the alternator is the prolem in this case, but I'm thinking the belt isn't tight enough. Yea, I had some trouble getting it back on. The tension pulley it still not seated perfectly. I mean, the little ball/tab is not set right. I also left the airbox out to expedite post-repair testing. I doubt a missing air box/filter would cause this bad a reaction either.

Remember.. I am not a mechanic. But, I can take on an older “project” car. A check engine light never scared me so much though. I'm looking at buying a diagnostic tool right now. I already missed 2 days of class. Gotta get my machine running right again even if I need to submit take it to a shop. I'd appreciate any input from you guys on what you think the problem might be. -and I know I'm leaving myself open, but..
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