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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 09-13-2009, 12:15 AM
BUCK! BUCK! is offline
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Replacing Rear Suspension on 540 Wagon...what do I need?

I need a grocery list of what I will need in replacing my air suspension with a standard one. Can anyone help me with what I will need to purchase?
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  #2  
Old 09-13-2009, 06:55 PM
Jase007 Jase007 is offline
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Location: nova
 
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Mein Auto: e39 528it
Sorry, can't help on the replace except to point you to realoem.com and start printing pages for parts.

What is wrong with your air suspension? New rear carrier bushings, shocks, control arms, ball joints and you are good to go. That is what I and several other metro dc owners have done ... car rides like a dream. Mine is a 528iT and the other guys locally have a 525it, a 528it and a 540iT ... with konis, lowering links, etc...
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2000 528iT Sport 5M (mfg. 5/1999) ~ 1990 325iX 5M
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  #3  
Old 09-14-2009, 01:35 AM
BUCK! BUCK! is offline
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Car won't raise up. Initially Arlington BMW told me there was a leak that they couldn't find but would be happy to replace the whole system. $1500 for one side, but I would need to replace both. Repairs are adding up on me right now, so the car is sitting. DC streets are horrible on the car!
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  #4  
Old 09-14-2009, 06:29 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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This DIY (Rear Suspension) is from a 02 525i, you can use some ideas from there:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...php?p=16800035
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  #5  
Old 09-14-2009, 08:38 AM
KeithS KeithS is offline
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Mein Auto: '11 335d, '00 540iT
Quote:
Originally Posted by BUCK! View Post
I need a grocery list of what I will need in replacing my air suspension with a standard one. Can anyone help me with what I will need to purchase?
Just remember no 540iT was ever sold in the us without the air suspension so the proper parts/springs may not be available. Think you need to bring the car somewhere else for another opinion. And what do you mean $1500 for one side? There are only a few side specific parts (air Spring, accumulator and a few hoses).
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  #6  
Old 09-14-2009, 09:31 AM
Jase007 Jase007 is offline
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Quote:
Car won't raise up. Initially Arlington BMW told me there was a leak that they couldn't find but would be happy to replace the whole system. $1500 for one side, but I would need to replace both. Repairs are adding up on me right now, so the car is sitting. DC streets are horrible on the car!
Buck ... don't take this to a dealer.

There are several VERY good indy shops in greater metro DC area that have the $10K diagnostic computers, etc ... and much more reasonable rates than the dealers around here.

Do you have a fault light (self leveling - Electronic Height Control - EHC) showing on your dash?

The air supply system isn't that complicated. The EHC electronic control unit is next to the battery (between battery and spare tire well) and the solenoid control valves for the pump are under that air pump cover, attached to the pump in the spare tire well. The air reservoir tanks are under the rear floor and the air pipe connections are at the top of the air springs and the junction box next to the controller. The dealer should be able to locate / isolate without a problem if they have a clue.

If the pump is operating and there is air leaking (per what you say from what dealer told you) then it is either:

1. air pipe connection at junction block (next to battery / spare tire well)
2. air pipe connection at top of air spring (brass connection with orange or blue hose)
3. air spring itself (note there are two different models - one for sport and one for non-sport)

I doubt that the air pump itself is defective or the solenoids / valves because you are (were) getting / hearing the pump working.

The air springs are about $200 each and an easy DIY. If $1500 was a guote to replace one side ... bring it over and I'll only charge your half that to replace both ... (kidding - sort of).
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2000 528iT Sport 5M (mfg. 5/1999) ~ 1990 325iX 5M
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  #7  
Old 09-17-2009, 08:32 AM
BUCK! BUCK! is offline
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That sounds like a plan

I am leaning toward replacing the whole system and putting in regular shocks. At some point I would like to catch up with you and your cronies (joke) to discuss wagons. I'm not much for mechanics and could always use a hand in this area.
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  #8  
Old 09-25-2009, 09:07 AM
RCAICEDO RCAICEDO is offline
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hi guys, I am also a first time poster, I have a similar issue, about a month ago I took the car to the dealer because the passenger side rear was lower than the drivers side. I was told that they could see the difference but no repair was recommended because everything was working properly. This morning I noticed both sides low and a warning on the dash that says self leveling system innactive. Any ideas on what may be going on? I own a 2003 525 sport wagon.

Thanks
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  #9  
Old 09-25-2009, 09:19 AM
KeithS KeithS is offline
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RCAICEDO, Most likely there is a leak in the system. Most common failure is cracks that are leaking in the air springs. How many miles? Believe turning the car off then on again may reset the system but if there is a leak, you will just go into failure mode again. Can you hear the pump running when you first turn on the car?

Being a little lower on one side is not a major issue. You just need to reposition the level sensor(s) a tad to even things out (right side will be a little lower with an empty car as the heavy battery is on that side. With a driver in the seat should balance out somewhat.

Being lower because of a leak is a different problem and of course must be addressed.

I have 115K miles on a nearly 10 year old 540iT with original air springs. By reading, sounds like I'm on borrowed time with the air springs, but when I check them, they look perfectly good.
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  #10  
Old 09-25-2009, 09:43 AM
RCAICEDO RCAICEDO is offline
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Thanks for the feedback, I am taking the car in tomorrow to have it looked at, we only have 84,000 miles and it has been garage kept since day one. Both side are now low, so there must be something wrong. I checked with the local dealer and I was told that they would not have the parts until next week. Tomorrow hopefully I'll find out what it is.
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  #11  
Old 09-25-2009, 10:29 AM
Jase007 Jase007 is offline
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Location: nova
 
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Mein Auto: e39 528it
RC:

Quote:
Both side are now low, so there must be something wrong.
Don't drive it if the air springs are shot and the back of the wagon (inner fender well) are sitting on the tires. Have it flat-bedded to the shop.

FWIW, there are LOTS of BMW specialist independent shops in the area that will probably be cheaper $$$.

Go to this website and check out the shops:

http://www.bimrs.org/

Also, the National Capital Chapter of the BMW CCA has a forum where you can get feedback / experience on local shops and vendors.

http://www.nccbmwcca.org/

Good luck.
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Jason

2000 528iT Sport 5M (mfg. 5/1999) ~ 1990 325iX 5M
BMW CCA member #130075
JScottRacing
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  #12  
Old 09-28-2009, 10:15 PM
BUCK! BUCK! is offline
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At this point the system will become inactive and then reset it self after a day or two. I'm pretty much dead in the water until I can afford to get this puppy flat-bedded to some place. Jase007 can you email me a phone number where I can reach you?
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  #13  
Old 09-29-2009, 07:27 AM
Jase007 Jase007 is offline
Wrenchin' fool ...
Location: nova
 
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Sent you a PM.
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Jason

2000 528iT Sport 5M (mfg. 5/1999) ~ 1990 325iX 5M
BMW CCA member #130075
JScottRacing
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