Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #76  
Old 07-16-2012, 08:10 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Luckily, I think 'this' thread has all that anyone would need to answer that question!
That's the good news.

The bad news is that people aren't 'finding' this thread when they order parts. Sigh.

For example, just now I saw this thread from today:
-> E39 (1997 - 2003) > 2003 530i - A/C Tensioner Pulley part number help

The user clearly did his homework - but - sadly - he ended up with the wrong parts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcatank View Post
Hey everyone, need some help finding the actual part # for a A/C Belt Tensioner Pulley on 2003 530i.


According to this forum: http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/199986


The part # should be 11281748131

But when I bought this part, its actually wrong. No way can it fit sungly as the original.


My full A/C Belt Tensioner Assembly looks like this:

http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E39-530...ner/ES2528731/


Can anyone tell me,
Thanks.
Even in 'that' thread, people erroneously suggested that RealOEM will provide the part number (it won't).

To help out, I suggested the following, which I hope people find in the future (which is why I post this here and now).

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Go to the bestlinks and do a /tensioner F3.

You'll find the canonical threads for the tensioner.

As you found out, many people will suggest RealOEM or your VIN to look up the part number, but if you actually try (I was also a victim of that advice), you'll find out that RealOEM can NOT help you.

You'll find out that you first have to VISUALLY look to see if you have hydraulic or mechanical tensioners.

In addition, you clearly have the 2003 E39 because, AFAIK, no other E39 has the mechanical tensioner adjustment fulcrum point as a recessed T60 Torx. All other E39s have the mechanical tensioner adjustment fulcrom point as a raised hex 'nut'.

But all this is a repeat of what you'll find in the bestlinks.

For example:
Common questions which need to be answered BEFORE you do an alternator and/or drive belt system overhaul:
- 1st: Physically, determine what type of tensioners you have (1)
- 2nd: Physically, determine exactly what alternator you have (1)
- 3rd: Determine which parts you need to buy for a complete drive belt system overhaul (1)
- 4th: Do the alternator and drive belt system DIY (belts, tensioners, pulleys, rollers, alternator) (1)

Alternator and Belt Drive DIYs:
- Removal instructions for the alternator & drive belt system of a 2002 525i
- Removal instructions for the fan shroud of a 2002 525i
- Alternator and Belt Drive DIY (1) (2)
- How to tell if you have spring-drive or hydraulic belt tensioners or both (1)
- How to diagnose noises coming from the drive belt system (1)
- One users' example of total electrical failure (AAA towed away) alternator repair (1) (2)
- Video of cold idle engine squeal (1)
- Recommended parts list for a complete belt drive system overhaul (1)
- How to make your own BMW special cooling & belt drive system counterhold tools (1)
etc.
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 07-16-2012 at 08:14 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #77  
Old 07-17-2012, 04:29 AM
Fudman's Avatar
Fudman Fudman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sudbury, MA
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,542
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
If anyone is seeking a hydraulic tensioner assembly for their M54, see this:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...ulic+tensioner
Reply With Quote
  #78  
Old 09-10-2012, 12:54 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 13,437
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
For those who want to convert from mechanical ---> hydraulic, see the attached pdf published by "INA".
Attached Files
File Type: pdf E39conversionkit.pdf (691.2 KB, 192 views)
Reply With Quote
  #79  
Old 09-10-2012, 01:13 PM
Fudman's Avatar
Fudman Fudman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sudbury, MA
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,542
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
Aha! So that's why I couldn't get it to fit. It used a different mounting hole!
Reply With Quote
  #80  
Old 09-10-2012, 02:05 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
It used a different mounting hole!
If the value difference between so-called hydraulic and mechanical tensioners were greater - and - if the replacement were plug and play, I could see us switching to hydraulic by default.

But, seems to me, the cost is greater, the utility is marginally better, and the effort is greater.

Given that, I don't see overall value in the switcheroo.
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
Reply With Quote
  #81  
Old 09-10-2012, 03:05 PM
Fudman's Avatar
Fudman Fudman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sudbury, MA
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,542
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
If the value difference between so-called hydraulic and mechanical tensioners were greater - and - if the replacement were plug and play, I could see us switching to hydraulic by default.

But, seems to me, the cost is greater, the utility is marginally better, and the effort is greater.

Given that, I don't see overall value in the switcheroo.
NOW you tell me! Anyone wanna buy a new hydraulic tensioner?
Reply With Quote
  #82  
Old 01-18-2013, 04:58 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
For cross reference on switching from mechanical to hydraulic tensioners, this thread today has some good information from Fudman and cn90 about the autohauz conversion kit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
I bought the Ina hydraulic tensioner and the assorted longer bolts and pulley as an upgrade for my cooling system overhaul last spring. But after taking everything apart, I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to install the hydraulic tensioner. It does NOT fit into the existing mechanical tensioner mounting holes. I ended up reinstalling my mechanical tensioner. After some research, it appears that you must mount the hydraulic into different mounting holes on the block (which I did not find). Bottom line, this is not a simple one for one replacement. Do some research before attempting this. I, for one, will simply replace my mechanical tensioner with another one this spring.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Also,

The BMW TSB is attached.
See also:
- How to tell if you have mechanical or hydraulic belt tensioners (1) & how to switch from mechanical to hydraulic (1) and what is the difference between the two types (1) (2) & how to rebuild your hydraulic tensioners (1) & how to re-grease your pulleys and rollers (1) & the answer to the question of adjusting the 540i hydraulic tensioners' belt tension (1) (2)
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
Reply With Quote
  #83  
Old 02-05-2013, 07:11 PM
mhobryan mhobryan is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Metro Detroit
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 205
Mein Auto: 1997 528i 5 speed
Bluebee - Thanks for the pics! Thought for sure I had mechanical tensioners as I have a first year e39, but after studying the pics and studying underneath the hood I have hydraulic. saved me from ordering the wrong parts.
Reply With Quote
  #84  
Old 07-10-2013, 05:57 PM
ztom's Avatar
ztom ztom is offline
I gotta have more cowbell
Location: Thousand Oaks CA
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 890
Mein Auto: 1997 528i
This is a really good thread. Thanks. I'm getting a flickering battery light at idle and I think it's a worn out tensioner rather than a failing alternator, not sure however. I'll look for any indication of a loose belt. Maybe the belt ribs will look worn or glazed from slipping. Tensioners are original and have 260K miles on engine!
Reply With Quote
  #85  
Old 07-11-2013, 01:04 PM
ztom's Avatar
ztom ztom is offline
I gotta have more cowbell
Location: Thousand Oaks CA
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 890
Mein Auto: 1997 528i
I hit my alternator with a metal rod & the light went off. Looks like worn brushes some debris got in. Belt & tension ok.
Reply With Quote
  #86  
Old 07-11-2013, 01:32 PM
AnotherGeezer's Avatar
AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is offline
Entwicklung 39
Location: ManchVegas, New Hampster
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 3,987
Mein Auto: 2003 530i/5
Some of BB's questions make me feel like we need a higher authority in here to help her out.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #87  
Old 07-04-2014, 11:26 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
A few more pictures of the belts of the 528i showed up today:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Anyone have a diagram ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by twis121 View Post
I need help , long story short , my alternator belt slipped off and is completely gone I was wondering does anyone had a diagram on how to put it on and also where could I go about getting one
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	belt_pulley10.jpg
Views:	2538
Size:	122.9 KB
ID:	449742   Click image for larger version

Name:	E39-drivebelt.jpg
Views:	65
Size:	70.8 KB
ID:	449743  
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
Reply With Quote
  #88  
Old 07-06-2014, 02:54 PM
Rundonrun Rundonrun is offline
Registered User
Location: Crystal Lake IL USA
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 1997 528i
My serpentine belt shredded on this past Monday. Only the center metal part of idler pulley was left - no sign of any of the plastic pulley. I used the great info on this site and some great videos and am proud to state that I am back on the road today. I replaced both the main belt and AC belt as well as main tensioner pulley and other pulley on main belt. I want to thank those of you who have worked so hard to make this such a great resource.

The videos on this page were helpful also - http://www.bmpdesign.com/technical/e...acement_p1.php
Reply With Quote
  #89  
Old 12-18-2014, 04:29 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
BTW, for the 2003 (which uses different tensioners than the rest of the E39s), this thread today may be useful on Torx sizes...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Alternator Removal: Tension Pulley star slot
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deathstroke View Post
Hi Guys,
I need to replace my alternator but I discovered that my tension pulley doesn't have a standard socket fit hex but an 8? pointed star (I cant find a damn image).
I looked in the forums and didn't see anything in regards to the size or what type of socket bit I should be using to release the tension and finally replace this alternator.
Thanks guys.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deathstroke View Post
Hey guys for a straight forward answer i found it to be a " 5/16th hex screw" .. plug it in if your e39 requires it and loosen that belt up! (Clockwise). Set your wrench to tighten ,"R" , and push it down (assuming your start position is with the handle pointed towards the alternator, horizontal to the ground, push down towards the fan). Just breaking it down for the noobies
EDIT: Based on my alternator removal thread, I think it's a T50 Torx; but it doesn't matter as that's not the way to loosen tension anyway ...
- One users' example of total electrical failure (AAA towed away) alternator repair (1)
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 12-18-2014 at 10:12 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #90  
Old 12-19-2014, 02:27 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Another vote today not for the hydraulic tensioner switch...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Alternator Removal: Tension Pulley star slot
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurnzSr View Post
Back in 2006 before I started doing all of my own work, the dealer wanted an extra $150 for the hydraulic tensioner over and above the $236.00 that he charged me to replace the belt tensioner with a mechanical unit. I passed on the hydraulic unit. A month later the new tensioner was squealing like a pig. He again tried upgrading me to the hydraulic (as suggested in the service bulletin above). I went with the mechanical. That was at 86,600 miles. Recently I replaced both tensioners, the idler and both belts at 147,000 miles when I replaced the alternator - not because they were noisy but because it made sense for $155.00 (BavAuto) while I had he front of the engine open. The old tensioners were still quiet and good for many many more miles. I for one don't see a reason to upgrade to the hydraulic tensioner.

Deathstroke - you do not need the torx socket for a 525i. The cast-in hex lug on the tensioner is used to relieve the tension on the belt. The whole project will be a lot easier if you remove the fan.

See also:
- One users' example of total electrical failure (AAA towed away) alternator repair (1) [Read post #66 & post #107 & especially post #146]
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 12-19-2014 at 02:50 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #91  
Old 01-01-2015, 03:51 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
The e46 team seems to also need to differentiate between hydraulic and mechanical tensioners ...
> E46 (1999 - 2006) > Confirm this is the hydraulic tensioner
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimvideopro View Post
My 06 330 is noisy on startup now that it's cold, and when it's really chilly I'm getting a whistling sound that varies with RPM. 96k and the pulleys and tensioners have never been changed. I need to order parts and want to ensure I'm getting the correct main drive belt tensioner.

After copious searching and poking around under the hood, I'm pretty sure I have the hydraulic, but would like someone with more knowledge to help me confirm. Attached are two images -- the wider shot is to help you orient your view, the second a closeup. This looks to me to be the rounded end of the hydraulic piston. It's pretty much right underneath the oil filter housing.

Also -- just to make sure I understand, with hydraulic, I can just replace the pulley, but with the bottom mechanical AC tensioner I need to replace the entire assembly. Correct? Planning on doing tensioners, idler pulley and belts.

Thanks and Happy New Year.
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
Reply With Quote
  #92  
Old 04-17-2015, 05:32 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
There is good description regarding the difference between so-called "hydraulic" tensioners and mechanical, over here today ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Some thoughts while doing a cooling system overhaul
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmak2012 View Post
This is on a 1998 528i. Both tensioners are hydraulic. I've been doing a bit of the work each night for an hour or so with the Water pump / Thermostat to come this Friday (April 17, 2015). Thanks to CN90, Bluebee, and others who have posted DIYs from which I pinched the pictures.

1. I put the front end up on the wooden "CN90" ramps and removed the splash guard. It's easy to tell that the AC tensioner is hydraulic because the shock portion is right there in the open. Also, on the topic of how to tell hydraulic versus mechanical with minimum effort: Look down from the top and if you see an aluminum metal cylinder of about 1.5 inches diameter, with a black plastic dust cap on the front, near the tensioner wheel - then it's a hydraulic tensioner. You can see the cylinder in this picture just above the wrench.
Attachment 504039

2. This, by contrast is a mechanical tensioner.
Attachment 504040


3. There is no Torx bolt in the hydraulic tensioner wheel. It is an 8 mm Allen key. I used an 8 mm Allen socket on a breaker bar (for comfort) to release tension. One cannot jerk or yank on the socket wrench to move the wheel and relieve tension. It is a slow steady clockwise move - hydraulics mean that oil has to be compressed.

4. The AC belt hydraulic tensioner looks like this. Note the aluminum cylinder to the left and below of the tensioner wheel - which is the black one on the right of the picture. I found that the tension mechanism itself can be removed and replaced by taking out the two bolts circled in red. There is no need to take off the tensioner frame (unlike for the serpentine belt tensioner. The belt is removed by i) Taking the black cap off of the tensioner wheel; ii) Using an 8 mm allen key on a socket wrench; iii) Inserting it securely into the bolt head inside the tensioner wheel; and, iv) Pushing the socket wrench gently in a clockwise direction. Then the tension on the belt is relieved and it can be slipped off of the AC pulley.
Attachment 504041


5. The AC and Serpentine belt tensioner wheels are identical.

6. The Serpentine belt tensioner unit needs to be completely removed to replace the tensioner itself since there is bolt that holds it to its frame that is screwed in from the back of the unit.

More to come later.
Quote:
Originally Posted by djmjd View Post
Just to add a bit of useless information, neither style of tensioner is truly hydraulic, both have springs in them. The 'mechanical' one is a torsion spring. The 'hydraulic' one is a compression spring. The hydraulic one does have oil in it so maybe it is a combination spring and damper?
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmak2012 View Post
Just using the terms that everyone knows from the hundreds of posts on the subject over the years, and BMW.

It seems the term hydraulic (belt) tensioner is also the one used by REALOEM and therefore the BMW parts system. By contrats, hère is the mechanical tensioner for completeness as our favourite B would say.

Since both are on the serpentine belt, it's pretty hard to make a case for the use of the word 'hydraulic' because it's on the same belt as the water pump. Perhaps they are wrong in focusing on the properties and actions of the viscuous oil in the cylindre (It must be doing something there, right?)

As well, it is very common to refer to parts that owe their fonction in part to the proprettes of flow pressure as 'hydraulic'.

Finally, sometimes, torque just isn't enough.. This is just to show you that English is a precise but slippery language where words can have multiple meanings even in the same combination. It's all about contexte.

Thanks for your input.
See also:
- How to tell if you have mechanical or hydraulic belt tensioners (1) & how to switch from mechanical to hydraulic (1) and what is the difference between the two types (1) (2) & how to rebuild your hydraulic tensioners (1) & how to re-grease your pulleys and rollers (1) & the answer to the question of adjusting the 540i hydraulic tensioners' belt tension (1) (2)
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 04-17-2015 at 05:35 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #93  
Old 06-14-2015, 05:51 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
A related question of the difference between the mechanical and hydraulic tensioners was updated here today...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Hydraulic pulley removal question.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
To de-tension the main belt, pop the plastic cap on the tensioner pulley, insert the correct type/size tool bit into the pulley spindle bolt (might be allen, or might be torx), and turn CW.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Use 8-mm Hex (Allen) socket.
Make sure the socket is all the way inside the bolt to prevent stripping.
CCW to undo the bolt.
Do NOT forget the washer on the backside of the pulley during install!!!
See also:
- How to tell if you have mechanical or hydraulic belt tensioners (1) & how to switch from mechanical to hydraulic (1) and what is the difference between the two types (1) (2) & how to rebuild your hydraulic tensioners (1)
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
Reply With Quote
  #94  
Old 07-21-2015, 05:12 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
For the record, this issue came up today...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Which belt tensioner do I have?
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinmanchris View Post

I can't seem to figure it out from all the forums. I ordered a mechanical one but I think this could be a hydraulic one.

This thread was the closest thing I could find that was useful:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...belt+tensioner

__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 07-21-2015 at 05:14 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:58 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2015 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms