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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

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  #1  
Old 05-08-2009, 05:11 PM
PrestonB PrestonB is offline
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Exclamation Worrying noise from left valve cover on startup

Recently my '00 540iA started making a sort of whirring/whining noise on startup. The noise follows engine RPMs. I can actually 'feel' the noise when I place my hand on the front part of the left valve cover. The noise is quite loud at first (you can hear it from inside the car with doors and windows closed), and seems to quiet down after the engine warms up. The noise is present whether the A/C compresssor is on or off. I drove the car to my mechanic, but by the time I got it there the noise was inaudible. The next day though with a completely cooled engine, there it was again. I live in a warm climate, so by cool I mean an outside ambient temp of somewhere in the 70-75F range.

I'm concerned about driving the car because of this noise, fearing that it will cause internal damage to the engine. Is there something at the front of the left valve cover that would cause this noise? Some sort of bearing maybe? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by PrestonB; 05-11-2009 at 02:17 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-08-2009, 05:44 PM
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xpcgamer xpcgamer is offline
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Vanos? What is your oil level? Maybe its low.
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  #3  
Old 05-08-2009, 05:58 PM
PrestonB PrestonB is offline
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Oil level looks to be normal. I'm not sure about the Vanos. The car was serviced about 6 months ago and they didn't mention anything about that.
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  #4  
Old 05-08-2009, 06:59 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Is your mechanic a BMW specialist?

Leave the car with him overnight so he can hear the sound himself.
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  #5  
Old 05-08-2009, 07:58 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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VANOS sounds familiarů.DrVanos has a kit that's supposed to remove the "classic marbles in a coffee can" soundů.which I've never heard
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  #6  
Old 05-08-2009, 07:59 PM
PrestonB PrestonB is offline
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Yes, he is a highly respected BMW and Mercedes independent mechanic. I was thinking I should take the car to him and leave it for a while, but was concerned about driving it there. Maybe a tow is in order, just in case?
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  #7  
Old 05-08-2009, 08:22 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrestonB View Post
Yes, he is a highly respected BMW and Mercedes independent mechanic. I was thinking I should take the car to him and leave it for a while, but was concerned about driving it there. Maybe a tow is in order, just in case?
Not unless you're really, really, really paranoid and also don't mind the cost. I'd rather risk it and then get towed part way than spend the money on a tow for no reason.
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Mods: Stoptech SS brake hose, 280piece toolkit resting on trunk floor, Beisan VANOS seals
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  #8  
Old 05-11-2009, 02:25 PM
PrestonB PrestonB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw_n00b13 View Post
VANOS sounds familiarů.DrVanos has a kit that's supposed to remove the "classic marbles in a coffee can" soundů.which I've never heard
I checked out their site, and apparently their kits don't apply to my car. I have the 4.4 liter V8, and unless I'm missing something it looks like all their kits are for the 6-cyl.
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  #9  
Old 05-11-2009, 04:25 PM
TheStig TheStig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrestonB View Post
I checked out their site, and apparently their kits don't apply to my car. I have the 4.4 liter V8, and unless I'm missing something it looks like all their kits are for the 6-cyl.

This is from their website. .

The M62 engine found on the 540i, 740i and others, does not use a typical vanos unit and is not a part that is easily removed or replaced. It is also not a common failure item, so it would be unusual to have a vanos related problem on this engine.
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  #10  
Old 05-11-2009, 05:01 PM
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xpcgamer xpcgamer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheStig View Post
This is from their website. .

The M62 engine found on the 540i, 740i and others, does not use a typical vanos unit and is not a part that is easily removed or replaced. It is also not a common failure item, so it would be unusual to have a vanos related problem on this engine.
Thats good new I guess to the OP.
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  #11  
Old 05-11-2009, 06:04 PM
TheStig TheStig is offline
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Does it sound like this?

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=873820
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  #12  
Old 05-12-2009, 11:00 AM
PrestonB PrestonB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheStig View Post
No, it's nothing like that, thank goodness. It's more even, like a whirr or 'grrrrrrrr' sound. It kind of reminds me of a dried out wheel bearing noise. It is definitely coming from the driver side valve cover at the front. Is there a cam bearing or something in that area?
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  #13  
Old 09-25-2009, 06:50 AM
ascott ascott is offline
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Did you ever get this fixed? Mine has started doing the same thing. I'm suspecting chain tensioner. You're describing the exact same sound I have, so I'd like to know if you fixed it and what you did.
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  #14  
Old 09-25-2009, 07:10 AM
PrestonB PrestonB is offline
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The noise went away all on its own after driving the car several times. I took it out on the open road and gave it some good throttle... I'm thinking maybe there was a blocked oil passage or something that cleared. Anyway it's gone and hasn't been back. I have new noises now that sound like maybe a belt tensioner going bad, so it's back to the mechanic again. These cars definitely do NOT like to sit without being driven!
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  #15  
Old 09-25-2009, 03:19 PM
ascott ascott is offline
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Pulled the valve cover and the noise was a piece of the plastic chain guide jammed between the head and the intake cam sprocket. I'm going to pull the pieces out I can see, put it back together, and hope it sounds OK. I put a new tensioner in it and its only the top inch or so of the U-shaped guide that snapped off, so I'm hoping it'll be OK. I really do not want to pull the front of the motor apart to change all the guides.
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  #16  
Old 12-31-2009, 04:11 PM
nanda007 nanda007 is offline
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Finally I decided to become a member of this community, and take time to share my experience in terms of repairs regarding the 'Ultimate Driving Machine'. Please, bare with me cause English is my 3rd language.

2 days ago my '00 540i is started doing the same. I would expect to see a broken piece of the plastic chain guide. Note: they tend to fail anywhere from 120K and up. My car has 162K.

What a coincidence, for the sake of preventative maintenance, 1 week ago I planned to go ahead and order parts and tools required to replace all timing-chains (main and both camshaft chains) including the guides/rails and of course re-adjust the VANOS. The special tools are ordered and I'm still waiting for them. As soon as I find out exactly what caused the whining noise on my engine I'll let you know.

P.S. I almost forgot to mention. I'm a technician and have experience with these cars especially M62TU engine. In the past 'due to a check engine light' I did replace 'successfully' the Guides and Rails without ANY special tools on a 7-series that had 92K. Special tools were not required because we new for sure that nobody touched the VANOS prior to my repair. Due to the fact that my car was purchased with 152K it is hard to believe that nobody touched the VANOS therefore I decided to order the special tools as well to walk an extra step and replace other 'unnecessary' parts such as chains and camshaft guides.

My suggestion to all owners of M62TU (with 90K or more) is to replace the chain-guides and rails ASAP before the disaster happens. There are quite few reports of dead engines due to failure of these parts. In Germany, replacement of these parts is performed at 100K miles as a preventative maintenance. In case of check engine, you should never have to adjust the VANOS even if you are instructed 'by the check engine code" to do so. Instead, you should go ahead and replace the guides which will bring back the VANOS to its factory settings!

FYI - the U-Shaped chain-guide (that I replaced on 7-series at 92K miles) was 50% thinner then the new chain-guide. It is scary to even think about my car with 162K miles! I consider myself lucky that it did not snap completely.
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  #17  
Old 01-01-2010, 07:02 PM
nanda007 nanda007 is offline
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Problem Diagnosed and Solution Posted!

Same problem as 'ascott' found on his car. As Ascott mentioned on 02-25-09: "noise came from a piece of plastic Chain-Guide jammed between head and the intake cam sprocket." It is a piece of the U-Shaped guide. I'll personally go ahead and replace all guides and rails including the camshaft guides. Pictures will be taken a posted.

Advice to PrestoneB would be to do the same if the engine is still a live. The reason why the noise went away is because the piece on PresoneB's engine was jammed and eventually got loose and fall back to where it came from (it unjammed itself from the head and cam sprocket). Due to the fact that the guide hugs the timing chain, it can not become entirely loose right away or until the thin side walls snap or become shaved off by the chain. Once that happens, you can say bye bye to your engine. Good luck PrestoneB!
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  #18  
Old 01-02-2010, 02:39 PM
vanceBMW vanceBMW is offline
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nanda007, Glad to have ya! I'm sure lots of guys will lean on you from time to time with your experience. I'm new here at this site and already I have found it's the best one out there. Lots of guys & gals with lots of different experiences and willing to share. I've had a great experience so far and hope to help anyone I can.

Well again, and hopefully I speak for a lot here, Glad you're here!
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  #19  
Old 01-02-2010, 04:41 PM
QuoteWarz Insurance QuoteWarz Insurance is offline
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I think it is really weird how the sound went away on it's own. I wonder how that happened and what was the cause of the noise anyway. Hopefully it doesn't come back and haunt you later on down the line.
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  #20  
Old 01-07-2010, 06:26 AM
nanda007 nanda007 is offline
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I thought it would be interesting to show what the noise exactly came from. Pay attention to the timing chain guide of the cyl head 5-8. It got picked up by the timing chain and jammed between the VANOS unit and the Upper Timing Case Cover of the cyl 5-8. Also, pay close attention to the image 4. In the image 4 you can see the remaining piece lying on the right-hand side between the upper and lower timing chain covers. I suppose that's where the remaining or broken pieces are if the noise goes away.

Also, the last image shows additional shattered pieces that did not get loose yet! How lucky I was, right?

Note: for those that had the whining noise and mysteriously went away, it is just a matter of time until broken pieces will be picked up by the chain.
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