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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 11-06-2008, 11:44 AM
shodo shodo is offline
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gas tank capacity

I have a 2003 530i. According to the owner's manual, the gas tank is 18.5 gallons with a 1 or 2 gallon reserve for back up. Is this reserve in addition to the 18.5 gallons? I just filled up my car with 18.6 gallons which got me wondering. I know it's only 1/10th of a gallon but i had expected it to overflow from the tank.
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  #2  
Old 11-06-2008, 02:01 PM
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I think the total capacity (includnig reserve) is 18.5. The .1 you got might have come from the filler line which, if so, would mean you were either riding on fumes or got screwed by an out-of-calibration pump.
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  #3  
Old 11-06-2008, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shodo View Post
I have a 2003 530i. According to the owner's manual, the gas tank is 18.5 gallons with a 1 or 2 gallon reserve for back up. Is this reserve in addition to the 18.5 gallons? I just filled up my car with 18.6 gallons which got me wondering. I know it's only 1/10th of a gallon but i had expected it to overflow from the tank.
My opinion is that the tank holds 18.5 gallons of gas (70 liters) and the reserve is in addition to what the gas tank can hold.
1. I base this on...the owners manual includes a seperate line for the "reserve" amount.
2. the reserve amount is different based on V8 or I6
3. all e39 sedans share the same gas tank part nbr...which coincides with the 18.5 gal (70 liters) listed in the owners manual...click this link to verify the same tank for all sedans: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/partxref....ur=&series=E39
4. you put 18.6 gallons of gas in a tank that only holds 18.5 and it didn't overflow (probably because you can put almost 2 more gallons of gas in as the "reserve fill"


Or I leave room for me to be TOTALLY wrong since this is based on an "opinion" and not fact.
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Last edited by QSilver7; 11-06-2008 at 03:38 PM.
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  #4  
Old 11-06-2008, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by map View Post
I think the total capacity (includnig reserve) is 18.5. The .1 you got might have come from the filler line which, if so, would mean you were either riding on fumes or got screwed by an out-of-calibration pump.
+1 My manual shows,

Fuel Tank US/Gallons Approx. 18.5

Of that reserve US/Gallons Approx. 2.1

That's for my 535i.

dj
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  #5  
Old 11-06-2008, 04:28 PM
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If the fuel tank is the same part number for all models then the reserve must be included in the gas tank 18.5L. (I don't think there is a separate reserve fuel tank). The reserve level for different models is then simply set in software.
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  #6  
Old 11-06-2008, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by -Matt- View Post
If the fuel tank is the same part number for all models then the reserve must be included in the gas tank 18.5L. (I don't think there is a separate reserve fuel tank). The reserve level for different models is then simply set in software.
+1 That's the way I see it.

dj
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  #7  
Old 11-06-2008, 04:43 PM
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If the tanks are all the same (which we know is true from the part number)...how can the reserve be INCLUDED in the tank when the reserve amount is different based on the V8 or I6?

If there is no actual "reserve fuel" tank...the reserve fuel (2.1 gal or 2.6 gal) must reside somewhere within the fuel supply line...it can't be in the tank because the tank holds the same amount of fuel regardless of which e39 sedan it is in.

In other words...how does the I6 engine know to register empty after consuming 16.4 gallons of gas (18.5 - 2.1 reserve fuel) compared to the V8s registering empty after consuming 15.9 gallons of gas (18.5 - 2.6 reserve fuel) when all engines are consuming gas from a 18.5 gallon fuel tank?

Perhaps I'm over-thinking it...but no one has offered up a viable scenario yet?
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2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
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91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

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Last edited by QSilver7; 11-06-2008 at 04:52 PM.
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  #8  
Old 11-06-2008, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QSilver7 View Post
If the tanks are all the same (which we know is true from the part number)...how can the reserve be INCLUDED in the tank when the reserve amount is different based on the V8 or I6?

Then if there is no actual "reserve fuel" tank...the reserve fuel (2.1 gal or 2.6 gal) must reside somewhere within the fuel supply line...it can't be in the tank because the tank holds the same amount of fuel regardless of which e39 sedan it is in.
reread posts 4 and 5

My manual says the reserve is part of the total. It's a software thing like Matt said.

dj
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  #9  
Old 11-06-2008, 04:57 PM
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Hmmm, okay I guess...I will concede for now...
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2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
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99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #10  
Old 11-06-2008, 07:12 PM
PropellerHead PropellerHead is offline
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This ought to blow everyone's mind. As far as I know, this is the most gasoline put into an E39 tank that was fully documented:


The capacity is supposed to be 18.5 gallons including reserve. My tank was bone dry. Its in New Mexico from the 2004 trip to Bimmerfest. Here's what the OBC read:
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  #11  
Old 11-06-2008, 07:38 PM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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Ahhh. $1.99 for premium gas..... How long ago that seems. Still, prices are coming down pretty fast these days; maybe we'll see such prices again??
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  #12  
Old 11-06-2008, 07:52 PM
PropellerHead PropellerHead is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waveho View Post
Ahhh. $1.99 for premium gas..... How long ago that seems. Still, prices are coming down pretty fast these days; maybe we'll see such prices again??
We can get it for that, now. Most places are $2.15. But this was in the desert on an Indian reservation. Only gas for 120 miles each way. In these parts, most premium was about $1.35-$1.50, then.

I miss having 39K on the car. Now it's 56K.
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  #13  
Old 11-06-2008, 09:10 PM
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I once put 19.something in mine. I can't remember exactly how much and had no camera, but it was definitely in the low 19's. I was in a panic trying to find a gas station on a Sunday in the sticks of southern Virginia that could take a credit card.
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  #14  
Old 11-06-2008, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PropellerHead View Post
This ought to blow everyone's mind. As far as I know, this is the most gasoline put into an E39 tank that was fully documented:


The capacity is supposed to be 18.5 gallons including reserve. My tank was bone dry. Its in New Mexico from the 2004 trip to Bimmerfest. Here's what the OBC read:
so you only drove 17k miles in about 5 years (since 09 is a month away)
that must mean you work a mile away..
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  #15  
Old 11-06-2008, 09:47 PM
BillP BillP is offline
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One gallon of gas does not mean it is one gallon - no, I don't mean US vs. Imperial.

In many countries (Canada, I think is one) and US States, fuel is adjusted for temperature so in winter months you will be able to fit more adjusted gallons into your tank than you would in the summer. Thus the pump will say they gave you 19 gallons, but if you were to measure it, you may find it to be 18.5 or less.

This topic comes up every year.

Oh, and yes, 18.5 is the total.


Bill
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  #16  
Old 11-06-2008, 09:49 PM
dboy11 dboy11 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PropellerHead View Post
This ought to blow everyone's mind. As far as I know, this is the most gasoline put into an E39 tank that was fully documented:


The capacity is supposed to be 18.5 gallons including reserve. My tank was bone dry. Its in New Mexico from the 2004 trip to Bimmerfest. Here's what the OBC read:
Prepare to be slapped!

Those are 1992 prices here in CA
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  #17  
Old 11-07-2008, 07:18 PM
PropellerHead PropellerHead is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillP View Post
In many countries (Canada, I think is one) and US States, fuel is adjusted for temperature so in winter months you will be able to fit more adjusted gallons into your tank than you would in the summer. Thus the pump will say they gave you 19 gallons, but if you were to measure it, you may find it to be 18.5 or less.
All of that may be true, but this was New Mexico and it was 72 degrees out. I bet you can get 1/2 gallon in the filler neck.
Quote:
Originally Posted by msaleem View Post
so you only drove 17k miles in about 5 years (since 09 is a month away)
that must mean you work a mile away..
When I was done with the Bimmerfest trip, it read just a hair over 40K. Funny thing. When I took that picture, I *did* live a mile from work. The 540 had been my daily for 4 years. The X5 became my daily beater about two months after this pic when I got a different job 15 miles away. It's snuggling up on 72K. Since I started a new gig a couple months back, my commute is about 20 feet from the bedroom to my home office.

Last edited by PropellerHead; 11-07-2008 at 07:25 PM.
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  #18  
Old 11-07-2008, 07:35 PM
ProRail ProRail is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shodo View Post
I have a 2003 530i. According to the owner's manual, the gas tank is 18.5 gallons with a 1 or 2 gallon reserve for back up. Is this reserve in addition to the 18.5 gallons? I just filled up my car with 18.6 gallons which got me wondering. I know it's only 1/10th of a gallon but i had expected it to overflow from the tank.
I dunno. In fact, I prefer not to know. It gives me peace of mind. Basically, i rely on my estimated range to alert me when to fill my tank. Hasn't failed me yet.

Last edited by ProRail; 11-07-2008 at 07:44 PM. Reason: Thought of more stuff to add.
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  #19  
Old 11-07-2008, 07:46 PM
ProRail ProRail is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QSilver7 View Post
If the tanks are all the same (which we know is true from the part number)...how can the reserve be INCLUDED in the tank when the reserve amount is different based on the V8 or I6?

If there is no actual "reserve fuel" tank...the reserve fuel (2.1 gal or 2.6 gal) must reside somewhere within the fuel supply line...it can't be in the tank because the tank holds the same amount of fuel regardless of which e39 sedan it is in.

In other words...how does the I6 engine know to register empty after consuming 16.4 gallons of gas (18.5 - 2.1 reserve fuel) compared to the V8s registering empty after consuming 15.9 gallons of gas (18.5 - 2.6 reserve fuel) when all engines are consuming gas from a 18.5 gallon fuel tank?

Perhaps I'm over-thinking it...but no one has offered up a viable scenario yet?
Seems likely.
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  #20  
Old 01-06-2013, 09:54 PM
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Stone Roots Stone Roots is offline
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$38 to fill up....damn I miss those days!!!
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  #21  
Old 01-07-2013, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stone Roots View Post
$38 to fill up....damn I miss those days!!!
Yeah. The last time I filled up at Costco, the bill was over $275!

- How large is the fuel tank and reserve in the E39 (1) & what gasoline to use (1) & how much gas should be left to cool the fuel pump (1) & how to siphon the fuel out of the tank (1) & what is the cost differential between 87 & 91 octane AKI (1)
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #22  
Old 01-07-2013, 09:11 PM
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Stone Roots Stone Roots is offline
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Brother your going to have DHS investigating you driving around with 40+ gallons of fuel in your trunk! Watch out Obama passed the NDAA i.e. indefinate detention of americans without trial. Be Careful!
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