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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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  #1  
Old 07-16-2014, 09:10 AM
bem-ster bem-ster is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 525i E39 M54 Engine
Fuel Pump issue

I want to thank all those who have responded to my situation with my 2001 525i fuel pump problem, especially Bluebee and his exhaustive knowledge base and those who have posted from the M5 board. However, my Fuel Pump Assembly remains inside the tank... and no matter how hard I squeeze the TWO tabs the assembly will not budge. It moves around but it acts as if it's snagged on something. it will not release! I'm afraid if I use brute force that I'll be sorry. Has anybody in the group experienced this situation (the float assembly is out of the tank)? Please reply if you've experienced this same issue regarding the PUMP ASSEMBLY, as I can't even tow the car at this point because its not safe with an open fuel tank. Very frustrating. And to further complicate things I can't even put the float assembly back in the tank!
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  #2  
Old 07-16-2014, 10:12 AM
bem-ster bem-ster is offline
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Finally the pump assembly came loose and I was able to remove it. Caution: it appears to be that when you squeeze the tabs, squeeze them from the TOP while slightly PUSHING down on the assembly (this appears to release the tabs by first pushing downward... then raise it straight up. It comes out with virtually no difficulty.

New Issue: the original pump (Peirburg) WORKS, which tells me relay or worse. The fuses appear to be ok in the glove box and the fuse above the battery in the trunk, unfortunately my relay is behind the glove box. so my next step is remove the Glove box to access the suspect relay. If it's not the relay, I'm reduced to the Indy at best or Stealer at worst.

Come on guys help me out of the woods here, I can't believe that a NO START is coming down to the ECU? Other than a faulty Relay, I've read the Crankshaft Sensor code P0339 may be the entire problem. This is very frustrating to say the least. Any help would be much appreciated, thank you all again for your support.
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  #3  
Old 07-16-2014, 11:16 AM
edjack edjack is online now
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P0339 Crankshaft Position Sensor A Circuit Intermittent

A faulty sensor will inhibit fuel pump and spark.
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Last edited by edjack; 07-16-2014 at 11:19 AM.
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  #4  
Old 07-16-2014, 11:20 AM
E-clipse E-clipse is offline
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When I changed my pump, I had problems with the tab near the passenger door. I was able to get one tab free but not the other, all I did was re-seat the pump and got a better lower grip on the tabs. I was then able to pull the pump. The float assembly does not always go back that easily. There is a really good video on YouTube that shows how to do it. Make sure you get the float and leveling arm in there right. I think mine is not positioned right as I ran out of gas with the gauge reading 1/4 tank. Don't give up and good luck
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  #5  
Old 07-16-2014, 12:59 PM
bem-ster bem-ster is offline
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Yes Ed you are absolutely correct the black tab closest to the door is the one that hangs up. You are also right about "reseating" the pump before proceeding. I found by squeezing the tabs more toward the top and then firmly pressing downward while still squeezing those same tabs is what worked for me and then lifting straight up.

After removing the pump I discovered the PUMP MOTOR worked. WHAT? Yeah, but what I found out later was the PUMP DID NOT PUMP even though the motor worked. So don't think because the motor runs the pump is working folks. Whether this is new information or not it is always worth removing the pump to make a hands on evaluation.

Actually now that I've done this stinky job and KNOW what to expect I could do it again in about 20 minutes. So don't assume that if the pump motor works that it's PUMPING FUEL. The one thing that kept dogging me around was that I had NO FUEL at the Injector Schroeder valve. Had I checked the rail from the get go I could have saved myself a lot of head aches. That should have been the first thing to rule out instead of reading the codes which can lead you down a lot of rabbit holes. Another thing that I read off of one of Bluebee's posts. A lean condition is not always a vacuum leak. A lean condition can be as simple as fuel restriction because of a saturated fuel filter and or failing fuel pump. The PO171 and P0174 together are a sign of lean fuel conditions and when the engine light comes on because of those codes doesn't always mean Vac leak, CCV, leaking VCG failing VANOS or both bank 02 sensors or an expensive MAF, as we automatically assume. Lean condition on BOTH BANKS can be a sign of a PLUGGED FUEL FILTER and or FAILED PUMP. As I understand it, there are NO CODES for a failing pump or filter, only a lean condition disguised as a SENSOR. But failure at the schraeder valve should be a pretty good reason to suspect the pump and filter, right? In my case I'm hoping a failed pump, but I WILL BE CHANGING THAT FILTER REAL SOON ANYWAY. I DO HAVE a leaking VCG and no reason to NOT rebuild the VANOS in the process. So at this point I'm hoping when the rain stops that I fire the ole bimmer up and she purs like a kitten. If not you'll all hear me whining about it NOT STARTING real soon! So keep an ear up. I'm not out of the woods yet but I KNOW MY PUMP WORKS NOW.
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  #6  
Old 07-16-2014, 04:45 PM
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Make sure to not pinch the seal between the pump and tank. The Kuni BMW dealer in Oregon did that on mine, so every time filled up it leaked gas.
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  #7  
Old 07-16-2014, 08:42 PM
bem-ster bem-ster is offline
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Yes that seal was difficult to work with and if you don't get it right it will LEAK. What I did was put the Seal Ring on the float housing base first, then put the Pump Assembly in the tank, it snaps right in place, I had taken a picture of the Pump Assembly in the tank before pulling it, so I would know the alignment when I came to this reassembly step.

This is really a Two Step process. You have a Pump Assembly section and a Float Assembly Section, it doesn't seem to go together as one unit like most in tank fuel pumps.

If you fail to get the orientation of the Pump Assembly back in proper alignment the Float Assembly will never alignment and sit in the tank right. That float position in your tank is determined by the physical orientation of the pump assembly. The Pump Assembly must be oriented exactly as it came out in reverse order upon installation or the Float Assembly will be off and the seal will fail. You must get the orientation of that pump RIGHT FIRST, followed by the Float Assembly. The Float Assembly can only line up one way, the Pump Assembly can snap in 180 degrees out of whack. So get that pump assembly oriented or you'll be sorry.

Once I had everything basically lined up I gingerly slid the rubber gasket off the float assembly and lined it up on the tank opening being careful to NOT pinch it as it self seals around the tank rim as you use your finger to smooth it out, after which you lower the float assembly on to the seal, align it with the tab on the plastic ring of the tank opening then gently press it in place. Next comes the metal flange ring and you want that in place before you hook up your fuel hose followed by your final electrical hook up. I would advise you really look the electrical connector over and understand how it snaps together YOU DO NOT WANT TO BREAK THIS BAD BOY by forcing it. Think... "Snap-in and Slide-sideways". It's really a pretty cool connector. better than most I've seen. A little over the top in design but very simple to work, like I said you DON'T WANT TO BREAK THIS BAD BOY!

This was the easiest In Tank Pump I've ever done, just be patient and pray a lot before you go crazy with foreboding feelings, of "what have I gotten myself into!

You guys hear at the fest are what makes this happen. I think placing the seal on the float housing first is the best way to assemble the parts and transfer that seal to the rim of the tank in your final steps of assembly, I'm sure there are other ways. This way seemed to work great for my application. Now you are ready to snug the lock down ring and the final hook ups. And remember to set the lock ring in place before you hook up the fuel line hose. But yes if you are not careful when putting that seal back on the rim you will pinch it and it will leak.

These job appeared to be more difficult than it actually was. It was frustrating at times but be patient. I bet I could go back and R&R this job inside of 30 minutes including seat cushion back in place and no stinky gas smell. Of coarse I would prefer an empty fuel tank not 3/4 full like I had to deal with. My hands are still soar from the gas, and yes I tried thin gloves but they seemed to tear so I just reached in and followed "fest member" suggestions and the Pump Assembly released and it came out. If you have any questions, post it here or simply do a search as bluebee suggests and you'll find the FEST is a much less expensive solution than the INDY or the dreaded STEALER. This is a pretty cool site. I hope this helps somebody. Bimmerfest has certainly helped me on the side of the road.

The Bem-ster
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  #8  
Old 07-16-2014, 09:45 PM
E-clipse E-clipse is offline
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Mine went in easy but I think I got the float wrong, gas gauge registered 1/2 tank before and after the job, but I ran out of gas with the gauge registering 1/4 tank. Any suggestions before I open the tank again
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  #9  
Old 07-16-2014, 10:07 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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- You should fix the gauge issue, remove the gauge, re-install the fuel pump assembly properly and put everything back.

- The 1/4 tank issue, search forum for "siphon pump". A simple fix is to place a sticker on the dash as a reminder "Keep gas above 1/4", and always always keep gas above 1/4 tank. In other words, you "write off the bottom 1/4 tank".
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  #10  
Old 07-16-2014, 10:21 PM
bem-ster bem-ster is offline
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Were you confident about putting in the Fuel Pump Assembly, I'm not talking about the Float Assembly JUST THE PUMP ASSEMBLY? You realize you can put that pump assembly in backwards and still put the Float Assembly in and button her up, right? Ok... I think you will have to go back and disassemble and get that Pump Assembly situated like it's suppose to be.

a sign that something isn't right is any binding in the assemblage of the unit. Mine simply all went together with NO BINDING. You can't have any binding while putting both sections in the tank!

Did you change out your Pump? or... did you replace the entire float and pump assembly as a unit? The reason I ask is because even if you replaced the entire Assembly you can still get it wrong.

I replaced my pump ONLY, using my original assembly. But I took a picture of my pump assembly prior to removal, that way I wouldn't get it in backwards causing the Float assembly to NOT LINE UP RIGHT! You do realize the Float Assembly can ONLY go in one way, so the only reason I can see a malfunctioning float is you got that Fuel Pump Assembly in backwards.

I would remove the entire unit, check to see if you've bent the float arm, your gauge will never be right if you don't do a re-due. I could be wrong but I don't think so.

bem-ster
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  #11  
Old 07-16-2014, 10:23 PM
josemedeiros007 josemedeiros007 is offline
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When I replaced the fuel pump earlier this year on my 1998 E39 528i, I had the same problem with the Float, and must have installed the sending unit incorrectly, some times it registers, other times it sits on Empty, with the low warning light, even after I added 10 gallons of gas. I now carry an extra gallon of gas in the trunk for an emergency. One of these days I'll get around to removing it again, and trying to reposition the sending unit.

This FCP Euro video on a E39 Fuel Pump Replacement DIY was a big help, however I must have followed the instruction incorrectly regarding the sending unit position.

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  #12  
Old 07-16-2014, 11:24 PM
E-clipse E-clipse is offline
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Thanks but I don't want to carry an extra gallon of gas around nor do I want to write off the last 1/4 tank, my car deserves to be fixed correctly. I should have taken a picture of the assembly for reference, I wondered if there was a way to put it in backwards. There are no markings on the pumps so I just made sure the clips were seated. Everything seemed to just slide into place. Thanks for the suggestions
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Old 07-16-2014, 11:28 PM
bem-ster bem-ster is offline
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After watching the video which is exactly the same unit and procedure that I have in my 2001 525i. He left out something that could easily be over looked during re-reassembly.

What he didn't explain was that the The Fuel Pump Assembly must go back in the way it came out. (orientation) Why? Because the Fuel Float travels by the Pump Assembly down to the bottom of the tank, and it must be free floating to work. If you notice on the Pump Assembly there is a half moon cutaway that the float arm travels by, I believe that "half moon" cutaway on the fuel assembly gives clearance for the float to move unobstructed in the tank. I could be wrong but if the Pump Assembly is put in backwards and snaps in place that "half moon" clearance will not be there! I don't think you can have any binding what so ever for the float to register an accurate reading. I'm sure there are others in the group who can verify this issue and maybe explain it better and more accurate than me. But if the Float Assembly can go in ONLY one way and the Pump Assembly can go in backwards and if there is no half moon clearance for the float arm to float freely because the fuel pump assembly is in backwards, wouldn't it stand to reason the Pump Assembly is the problem and NOT THE FLOAT necessarily? Unless the float is bent because you forced it in. I didn't experience any forced re-assembly, but I also put everything back the same way I took it out with pictures to MAKE SURE.


Before I removed my Fuel Pump Assembly out of the tank I took pictures to make sure when I put it back in I put it in the same way I took it out. You can put the pump assembly in backwards and it will snap in, however if the Pump Assembly snaps in backwards then when you install the Float Assembly there will not be enough clearance for the float arm to give an accurate reading on the gauge because it will bind for lack of clearance! Makes since to me even if it is a bimmer.
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Old 07-16-2014, 11:52 PM
josemedeiros007 josemedeiros007 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bem-ster View Post
After watching the video which is exactly the same unit and procedure that I have in my 2001 525i. He left out something that could easily be over looked during re-reassembly.

What he didn't explain was that the The Fuel Pump Assembly must go back in the way it came out. (orientation) Why? Because the Fuel Float travels by the Pump Assembly down to the bottom of the tank, and it must be free floating to work. If you notice on the Pump Assembly there is a half moon cutaway that the float arm travels by, I believe that "half moon" cutaway on the fuel assembly gives clearance for the float to move unobstructed in the tank. I could be wrong but if the Pump Assembly is put in backwards and snaps in place that "half moon" clearance will not be there! I don't think you can have any binding what so ever for the float to register an accurate reading. I'm sure there are others in the group who can verify this issue and maybe explain it better and more accurate than me. But if the Float Assembly can go in ONLY one way and the Pump Assembly can go in backwards and if there is no half moon clearance for the float arm to float freely because the fuel pump assembly is in backwards, wouldn't it stand to reason the Pump Assembly is the problem and NOT THE FLOAT necessarily? Unless the float is bent because you forced it in. I didn't experience any forced re-assembly, but I also put everything back the same way I took it out with pictures to MAKE SURE.


Before I removed my Fuel Pump Assembly out of the tank I took pictures to make sure when I put it back in I put it in the same way I took it out. You can put the pump assembly in backwards and it will snap in, however if the Pump Assembly snaps in backwards then when you install the Float Assembly there will not be enough clearance for the float arm to give an accurate reading on the gauge because it will bind for lack of clearance! Makes since to me even if it is a bimmer.
Can you post the pictures? Should the float be pointing towards the passenger side of the car after it's installed?
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:36 AM
E-clipse E-clipse is offline
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The first time I did it I had some binding, but thanks to a small leak I took everything apart and this time everything seemed to slide in and drop into place. Lesson learned , I normally take pictures or place parts in sequence as they come out. Since I have a 1/4 tank I will be able to see everything .
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Old 07-17-2014, 07:11 AM
bem-ster bem-ster is offline
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YES E-clipse
To all bimmer lovers out there. If you begin this job with a low fuel supply you can see everything clearly within the tank, but when you begin this job with a SUB MERGED Pump assembly because you have more than a half tank of fuel you are flying blind because the Pump Assembly is submerged and it's difficult to picture in your mind the orientation of the submerged pump assembly.

The simple solution would have been to design the pump ASSEMBLY so that it CAN NOT be reinstalled out of alignment! I can see by the design of the two clip system on the pump housing that it can go together backwards which would obviously cause binding with the float assembly. I don't know, maybe I'm thinking to deep on a complex design. What I do know is if you have BINDING while reinstalling the assembly at any stage of the reassembly then you need to go back and begin again.

Final thoughts. There is NO ROOM for any binding in the Re-Install stage of this JOB. If you are experiencing any binding and it goes back together, you are doing this job over again
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:29 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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This goes back to the very basic principles of car repair:

- Before taking anything apart, spend a few minutes observing the setup.
The power is in observation, not repairing things.
Sure you can take photos with your digital camera or smart phone, but very often your hands are dirty and it is a pain to take photos with dirty hands b/c you will mess up the camera/smart phones etc.

- What I find help me is a piece of cardboard and some sharpie pens to make notes.

- All you need is to make simple note, for example "Black connectors go to the Front etc.", "Long bolts go here, short bolts go there etc."
Just make a little sketch of orientation of components. You will be surprised that a simple sketch goes a long way! Because the sketch has that important components clearly drawn by yourself.
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:01 AM
bem-ster bem-ster is offline
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I couldn't agree more. You really don't need pictures per see while performing a diagnostic. Yes it helps whit reassembly, but I couldn't agree more. For example, I will be replacing a few Coils, I will be particularly careful in making sure that the older good coils go back where they came from by taking NOTES not PICTURES. Yes take notes, observe how everything works then proceed. Great Advise
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Old 07-17-2014, 03:37 PM
E-clipse E-clipse is offline
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You guys are right and normally I'm really anal about these things. I know exactly where I went wrong, my pump died with a 1/2 tank (should have siphoned off some gas). I hope the new people read this thread because this is a very simple job that can be a very big headache. Thanks for all the help guys, and good luck on your future projects
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Old 07-17-2014, 03:52 PM
bem-ster bem-ster is offline
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This is so true. In my example there was power going to the PUMP you could hear the pump so there was no reason to believe the pump was NOT WORKING. However, upon a fuel line pressure test there was NO PRESSURE present. That leaves Filter or a bad pump, if you rule out the pump because it tests power and you can hear it leaves you with FILTER but if the filter is not PLUGGED then it has to be PUMP. When I got the pump out and bench tested it WORKED (motor ran) but IT WAS NOT PUMPING it was plugged from 150k+ miles of abuse. Simple Replace the pump and the FILTER!!! lesson learned just because the pump motor runs doesn't mean the PUMP IS GOOD. You got to take it out to confirm!
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