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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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  #26  
Old 12-25-2012, 05:10 AM
kmorgan_260 kmorgan_260 is offline
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Wow, thanks for the informative reply. I will read through and attempt to sort out fact from urban legend!
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  #27  
Old 12-26-2012, 12:00 PM
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This test will find a cylinder #3 crack:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlic53 View Post
ok i called the tech and he explained, he pressured up the 3rd cylinder and water sprayed out the radiator cap. all other cylinders were fine
And this thread has pictures of a typical cylinder #3 crack:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > 2002 525i Cracked head
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  #28  
Old 12-29-2012, 09:18 PM
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Another similarly blown engine posted today:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ironman27 View Post
I just had my second diagnosis on my car and it has a blown engine. Looking to sell as i dont have the money to pay for a used one. Excepting reasonable offers. The car is located in New Jersey.
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  #29  
Old 01-05-2013, 10:21 AM
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Here is the saga of a recently hydrolocked M54 that is in the process of being rebuilt:
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  #30  
Old 01-18-2013, 05:36 AM
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Here is another cracked head, with a successfully welded crack:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Another cracked head

Quote:
Originally Posted by H2odiesel View Post
I got the Head off on 12/21, and I was relieved to see no sign of Valve butter as I like to refer to the oil and water emulsion that is formed after running for a time with oil contaminated with coolant. Upon close inspection the typical cylinder three crack from exhaust valve seat to coolant passage is present. I've decided to have a local company do the repair. They said they do them frequently and warranty the repair for two years. There were also two sets of heads on the counter waiting for the local BMW dealer to pick up, which I felt was a good sign. I dropped the head off with cams still installed along with all of the studs still in place. The counter man reassured me they understood the proper cam removal procedure. I'll get it back repaired with a valve job and new valve stem seals, fully assembled for $550. I think that price includes a $50 off locals discount.

There is a steel washer under each head bolt, and after removing the head bolt you can fish the washer out on edge through the Bearing ledge that supports the cam shaft and lifters. Does anyone have a tip on how to best get these washers back in place when reinstalling the head? I was considering running the washers up to the machine shop and have them stick them down with some assembly lube in there recesses.
Quote:
Originally Posted by H2odiesel View Post
Update: I've had the repaired head on for about three weeks now, and once I tracked down a slight coolant leak from an inadequately tightened hose clamp, the engine has preformed well. I also did the vanos repair while I had things apart and I can feel a distinct difference when accelerating. Here is a pic of the repaired area. If you look closely you can make out a little of the welded material in the coolant passage.




See also:
- Summary advice to provide users who suspect a major engine repair due to overheating (1) (2) (3) (4) & how to test an engine for a blown head gasket, cracked heads, a warped block, stripped head bolt threads, cam seizures, contaminated bearings, coolant hydrolock, or piston, ring, or valve damage (1) (2) & what are the major factors in deciding whether to rebuild the engine, replace the engine, or sell the car (1) & a DIY for replacing the I6 M54 head gasket (1) (2) & replacing the V8 M62TU head gasket (1) & why these engines are so prone to heat-related damage in the first place (1) & welding the crack between cylinder #3 and the water jacket on the exhaust side (1) & what engine swaps are most recommended (1) (2) (3) & where to obtain a new or rebuilt head (1) replacement short block or long block (1) (2) & how to lift & remove the engine (1) & the most recent real-world results from the last 50 people faced with similar blown engine problems from which this advice came from (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) (23) (24) (25) (26) (27) (28) (29) (30) (31) (32) (33) (34) (35) (36) (37) (38) (39) (40) (41) (42) (43) (44) (45) (46) (47) (48) (49) (50)
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  #31  
Old 01-27-2013, 11:37 AM
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Here's a new thread today with the classic dilemma posed right at the start.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theola_Henry214 View Post
Good afternoon all,

Last week my 1997 BMW 540i may have finally quit on me. After 2-3 weeks of a fluctuating thermostat. The radiator simply "popped", emitting a steam cloud and some coolant/water.

Now, hours before the 'pop' (at least 2 hrs prior) I put water into the reservoir which I noticed was bubbling unusually and excessively. I have owned this vehicle for 6 months now and NEVER experienced such a problem.

I am afraid I may have an underlying head gasket issue (cracked or blown), something I cannot afford to fix in this or the next lifetime.

The car still turns on as normal, also driving as such. Now, I am aware NOT to drive it, for the risk of burning it out completely.

However, my question is: Should I replace the radiator for now and work my way up to the gaskets? Or am I wasting my time buying the radiator? OR is it possible to solder the cracked area?

I must add, I questioned why the thermostat went up and down, even while driving; my car showed no signs of overheating. Therefore, many told me that the thermostat may be broken and I would simply need to replace it. All in all Ididn't think much of this.


What do I do!??!?!? I'm nervous that if I buy a new radiator that I might be wasting my money
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  #32  
Old 04-07-2013, 02:27 PM
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For the record, another one bites the dust today (maybe):
Quote:
Originally Posted by davondenhuevel View Post
My wife over heated the 2000 323i, no mods. And now, water is leaking out of the front end of the car from where it apperes to have 2 metal lines connecting to the back of the thermostat housing or the water pump. Can anyone tell me what to open up so I can see better or give me an idea of what is going on. I need this car pronto for work.
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  #33  
Old 09-18-2013, 11:38 AM
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Another dead engine due to overheating reported today ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by dareabiodun View Post
My mechanic did not fix my radiator hose very well after change of water pump for my E39 (530i) 2002 model, I was not aware of this fact when I drove the car about 40miles before the cars stopped because of serious engine overheating, and the engine oil was forced out under the car due to the hotness of the engine. On taking the car to another mechanic he changed the gasket and some components of the radiator, after finishing and the car was started, it was bringing out smoke, he later said my engine has gone due to serious overheating experienced...my questiong is, can this completely knocked down my engine or the problem could be changing of TOP CYLINDER? Please I need help. When I had similar problem with my E36, I only changed the top cylinder and other few components and I used the car after for 4 years.....PLEASE I ADVICE ON WHAT TO DO...NEW ENGINE IS NOT EASY TO COME BY
EDIT
See also:
- Summary advice to provide users who suspect a major engine repair due to overheating (1) (2) (3) (4) & how to test an engine for a blown head gasket, cracked heads, a warped block, stripped head bolt threads, cam seizures, contaminated bearings, coolant hydrolock, or piston, ring, or valve damage (1) (2) & what are the major factors in deciding whether to rebuild the engine, replace the engine, or sell the car (1) & a DIY for replacing the I6 M54 head gasket (1) (2) & replacing the V8 M62TU head gasket (1) & why these engines are so prone to heat-related damage in the first place (1) & welding the crack between cylinder #3 and the water jacket on the exhaust side (1) & what engine swaps are most recommended (1) (2) (3) & where to obtain a new or rebuilt head (1) replacement short block or long block (1) (2) & how to lift & remove the engine (1) & the most recent real-world results from the last 50 people faced with similar blown engine problems from which this advice came from (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) (23) (24) (25) (26) (27) (28) (29) (30) (31) (32) (33) (34) (35) (36) (37) (38) (39) (40) (41) (42) (43) (44) (45) (46) (47) (48) (49) (50)

Note: I stopped at 50.
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Last edited by bluebee; 09-18-2013 at 11:39 AM.
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  #34  
Old 09-19-2013, 08:38 AM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is offline
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Mein Auto: Z4M Coupe, 540i,Silverado
I would...

Swap with an LS1 chevy engine. Most Cheap HP per $. Plentiful you can most likely find one for $1500 with a tranny...and robust...IMHO I would not try to reinvent the wheel. Once that engine is rebuilt with a few miles on it the value isn't gone but it is no longer original so at this point your going to be miles ahead if you put a cheap reliable engine under the hood...Good Luck
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  #35  
Old 09-19-2013, 09:02 AM
John@SAtlBMW John@SAtlBMW is offline
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Mein Auto: e39/e38/austin healey/jag
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Another dead engine due to overheating reported today ...


EDIT
See also:
- Summary advice to provide users who suspect a major engine repair due to overheating (1) (2) (3) (4) & how to test an engine for a blown head gasket, cracked heads, a warped block, stripped head bolt threads, cam seizures, contaminated bearings, coolant hydrolock, or piston, ring, or valve damage (1) (2) & what are the major factors in deciding whether to rebuild the engine, replace the engine, or sell the car (1) & a DIY for replacing the I6 M54 head gasket (1) (2) & replacing the V8 M62TU head gasket (1) & why these engines are so prone to heat-related damage in the first place (1) & welding the crack between cylinder #3 and the water jacket on the exhaust side (1) & what engine swaps are most recommended (1) (2) (3) & where to obtain a new or rebuilt head (1) replacement short block or long block (1) (2) & how to lift & remove the engine (1) & the most recent real-world results from the last 50 people faced with similar blown engine problems from which this advice came from (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) (23) (24) (25) (26) (27) (28) (29) (30) (31) (32) (33) (34) (35) (36) (37) (38) (39) (40) (41) (42) (43) (44) (45) (46) (47) (48) (49) (50)

Note: I stopped at 50.
Bluebee. You are a scholar and a gentleman. Thank you for compiling all this research. I've seen this issue pop up quite a bit.
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  #36  
Old 09-22-2013, 09:43 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Thanks.

BTW, this popped up today, which is a nice test of whether there is a crack in the cylinder walls, from someone who bought a 528i for $1600 and then sank a lot of money into repairs - only to find ... this ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxeah View Post
Hi all,
Sooooooo, finally gave in and had a great BMW Tech, Autobahn, Natick Ma
Diagnose. Very cool he inserted a fiber-optic cable into spark plug hole, pressurized the colland system, low and behold drip,drip,drip cylinder #3.
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  #37  
Old 09-22-2013, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
What should we tell these people that will help them make the major decision they're facing?

Hopefully, we can provide:
  • Test procedures (heads, block, valves, cooling, gaskets, etc.)
  • etc.
This popped up today, which is a nice test of whether there is a crack in the cylinder walls, from someone who bought a 528i for $1600 and then sank a lot of money into repairs - only to find ... this ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxeah View Post
Hi all,
Sooooooo, finally gave in and had a great BMW Tech, Autobahn, Natick Ma
Diagnose. Very cool he inserted a fiber-optic cable into spark plug hole, pressurized the colland system, low and behold drip,drip,drip cylinder #3.
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  #38  
Old 10-22-2013, 10:17 AM
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This was an unusual blown engine which was posted today ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecreator88 View Post
hello
last night when i was driving at around 4-5k revs the engine died and a piston or rod went through the engine block. the car is a 525i m54 double vanos engine with 150k miles on it.
my question is what caused this , i know i had a compression problem on cyl 6 it was 9 and the other cylinder where 11.5 , could this be the cause
and what do you think i should buy another m54b25 engine or a m54b30
is the swap easy , on realoem it says that the clutch is different and the gearbox also
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  #39  
Old 11-15-2013, 10:22 PM
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Here's a potentially blown engine posted today:
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpx View Post
After many other hours spent reading this forum, I found the numerous posts about engine diagnosis. I want to thank you for the patience you had to answer my questions, even when similar threads were already available.

I purchased a new battery and checked that I have spark. I have fuel, I can hear the fuel pump running when I short the pins on the relay ( and the relay is good) and I always have gas squirting whenever I release the Schrader valve on the fuel rail after I crank the engine. But the engine wouldn't start even with starting fluid.

I only have compression in cylinder 6. I measured: 1(30),2(20),3&4 almost zero,5(30) and 6(120)psi. I figured the cylinders must have been flooded on several occasions while cranked so I added some transmission oil in each cylinder. That increased compression by at least 20 psi in all except for the middle ones. #6 increased to 200psi.

Given that the engine most likely overheated when the serpentine belt broke, should I start shopping around for a new engine after what I found out? But I should still take the heads off and see what I find, right? The engine should have the iron block, what is the best scenario I can hope for and what special tools would I need?
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  #40  
Old 02-01-2014, 05:29 PM
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The question came up again today:
Quote:
Originally Posted by deepcranger View Post
2003 540i m-sport
Does any one have any recommendations for replacement motor, my timing chain blew and of course have bent valves vanos is questionable ect is it better to just replace the engine or repair? if so who is a reputable seller of these engines. any help would be greatly appreciated
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  #41  
Old 03-30-2014, 11:50 AM
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Another blown engine ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Buy used engine or a whole 528i car?


Quote:
Originally Posted by stKKd View Post
I need to swap my toasted engine for another one.

My car is a 1997 528 single vanos.

I have 2 options:

- Buying a used engine (single vanos) for 650 euros (900 $)
- Buying a used 528i car (double vanos) for 1000 euros (1400$)

The problem is if I buy the double vanos car I have to switch electronic parts (EWS etc..) from the donor car to mine. Is it really a hassle?

The good point about buying the spare car is that I will have plenty of spare parts for me and/or selling later


Which option would you chose?
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  #42  
Old 04-01-2014, 05:15 AM
kmorgan_260 kmorgan_260 is offline
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It may be easier to find a donor 328 than the e39. My e39 is currently equipped with an M52 from my last e36 project. The swap was plug and play. Only thing I had to do was drill and tap a couple new holes for the e39 motor mounts. They were already cast in the right place but just not threaded.
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