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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 04-29-2014, 09:09 AM
Gotcha640 Gotcha640 is offline
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Location: Houston TX
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 20
Mein Auto: 2000 540
2000 540 refresh

Hello Bimmerfest

I picked up a 2000 540 two weeks ago, 120k on it, looks like it's been in Houston Texas all its life. I had a prebuy inspection, and was advised to do rear shocks, rear brakes, motor and tranny mounts, and valve cover gaskets.

I've done it all but the gaskets, hoping to learn more about Vanos first. I can feel the benefits of the work I've done so far. Also had to do the alternator, so did belts at the same time.

I'm not sure what to approach next. There's a little bit of a clunk from the front, which I understand is likely the control arm bushings or tie rod ends (I need to feel for whether it is more noticeable through the steering wheel or the body to diagnose, I believe?). There's a faint rubbing sound from the front passenger side, which could be brakes or bearings. The tires are about 4 years old and two are starting to crack. The front suspension feels decent, and passes the "push down and watch the rebound" test.

I'm happy to do most of the bushings over the next year or so, but I'm thinking I should do an alignment as soon as I get new tires. Is this good standard practice, or overkill if the current tires are wearing evenly? I'm trying to avoid wearing out new tires, and avoid having to pay for another alignment after every suspension part I replace. On that note, has anyone got a list of what (suspension) parts require an alignment?

I'm also doing engine oil, oil filter, tranny fluid, fuel filter, this weekend. I flushed a little brake fluid from the back right and front left and it looked good, not sure if there's a way of knowing if it needs a full flush. Haven't looked into steering fluid.

Any other immediate preventive stuff I'm missing?

So, as a TLDR, and an easy list, my plan, for your consideration:

Check and replace fluids this weekend
At least two tires next week
Tie rod ends or lower control arms next week
Drive it for a couple months
More suspension if needed
Other two tires

Vanos education and inspection in the meantime


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Old 04-29-2014, 09:57 AM
edjack edjack is online now
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: San Jose, CA
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 13,365
Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
VANOS - visit www.beisansystems.com and poke around. There is also a forum on the site.

Mike Miller has published a comprehensive maintenance schedule for BMWs. Buy a copy of Bimmer magazine, and request a copy.

Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.

Last edited by edjack; 04-29-2014 at 09:59 AM.
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