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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 07-29-2014, 07:18 PM
Holly123 Holly123 is offline
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02 540i idle stumble not like others?

Before everyone hammers me, please know that I have spent days reading and searching all the "misfire" threads - and none of them (that I have found) are like what my car is doing. So please, I am asking for a link if you know one that relates to my problem, or help if this is unique.

I have a 2002 540i with 155k, all stock. 5k miles ago it started to have a "stumble" on low rpm (idle to about 1800 rpm's) acceleration, felt very much like a misfire or fuel problem. Not all the way through the rev range, just sort of cuts it when it wants in this low rpm range, stutters the car for a few moments, and then the rpm's get high enough and all is fine. Accelerating in "S" mode virtually eliminates the problem, as the rpm's are kept higher.

Virtually exactly like this stumble, when at idle there is a "hiccup" that occurs. Almost always a quick "two count", sometimes many in a row, sometimes not. Completely random, no pattern at all to the misfires.

So far no killing of the motor, but you can feel a brief "shake" when it happens. I would guess a loss of maybe 50 rpm's, not much more, and my Actron shows about the same drop in rpm's when it happens. I lost a coil last year, and that was obviously much worse, no question of the problem. This is nothing like that.

It does appear to be getting more frequent, and a bit harder in the shake, but that might just be my watching for it?

Once the engine is over 1800 rpm's, it runs beautifully, no misses, no loss of power, feels perfect.

Local shop says the transmission is bad and wants $5k minimum. Don't think the car is worth the repair. But as this happens at idle, in gear or not, I don't think this is the problem at all.

Here is what is making this so difficult: I have the Actron CP9580A code reader and it comes up with NO codes at all. Even when attached with the engine running, nothing. It sees the drop in rpm's, but reads nothing for a fault code.

So I took the car to Advanced Auto, used their reader (same brand) and they see no codes either.

So:

1) Do I need a different code reader to get the right codes out?
2) Anybody have any idea what this could be?
3) Anybody have a link (if one is here) that I can go to and get to sorting this?

Any help is appreciated before I turn it over to a dealer and decide if it is worth fixing or not...

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 07-29-2014, 07:33 PM
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matt540 matt540 is offline
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Welcome to the Fest! Does it do this when doing a rolling stop? It might be a vacuum leak, get a smoke test done and you could find the culprit. Also clean your idle control valve, and MAF. Most of all post your findings so others can use this as a reference.

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  #3  
Old 07-29-2014, 07:56 PM
Holly123 Holly123 is offline
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Thanks! I have been "lurking" on the site for years, always been able to search and find any problems I had... That is what makes this one so frustrating!

Nothing unusual on a rolling stop. In fact, as I pull to a light, everything is fine. 10-20 seconds of sitting there and the engine starts the hiccups.

Yes, cleaned the MAF, no effect at all. I have not tried to dig into the ICV, too deep in there for my skills I think... My Volvo has the ICV right on top and 3 minutes to get to, it seems the BMW has it buried pretty deep in there.

But it is so random, happens and then does not, no codes, and I don't think (but I have been wrong before!) from what I have read of other people's threads that it is either of these. These two seem to cause much bigger problems, larger rev range, dying motor, etc...

Vacuum leak seems more plausible...
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  #4  
Old 07-29-2014, 07:59 PM
Holly123 Holly123 is offline
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...and if it helps at all, if I accelerate slowly from low rpm's, there is no stumble. Hit the gas, and it is very noticeable until after 1800 rpm's...
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  #5  
Old 07-29-2014, 09:47 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Check in with Beisan Systems. You may have VANOS seal problems. They have a description of symptoms, as well as a forum, on their site.
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  #6  
Old 07-30-2014, 03:03 AM
Peter T Peter T is offline
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Had exactly these symptoms on my 540i.

The computer said MAF Fault.

Replaced MAF.

Problem solved!
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  #7  
Old 07-30-2014, 05:38 AM
Holly123 Holly123 is offline
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I was thinking about the VANOS as well from all the reading, but I don't have any issues above 1800rpm's, and reading their site it would appear that the VANOS effects all the way to 3000.

But now there are two people who suggest the MAF, which I tried to clean but never have trusted the "spray and pray" method of anything. Since it does seem to be a culprit on many of these threads, and it is easy to change out, I am going to take the "parts swap" guess here and change it out.

Does it have to be OEM, or can anyone attest to an aftermarket that is just as good?

I will report back as soon as the swap is done!
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  #8  
Old 07-30-2014, 03:55 PM
Peter T Peter T is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holly123 View Post
I was thinking about the VANOS as well from all the reading, but I don't have any issues above 1800rpm's, and reading their site it would appear that the VANOS effects all the way to 3000.

But now there are two people who suggest the MAF, which I tried to clean but never have trusted the "spray and pray" method of anything. Since it does seem to be a culprit on many of these threads, and it is easy to change out, I am going to take the "parts swap" guess here and change it out.

Does it have to be OEM, or can anyone attest to an aftermarket that is just as good?

I will report back as soon as the swap is done!
Aftermarket ones are notoriously unreliable, cheap but unreliable.

Always better to go for OEM.
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  #9  
Old 08-08-2014, 10:41 AM
Holly123 Holly123 is offline
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OK, did the MAF swap to a new one from FCP, Bosch unit. (the $145 version, is this OK? Did not want to spend $500 for the OEM version Bosch)

The stumble at low rpm acceleration has gone away, great news!

But the idle "hiccup" is still there.

I am going to live with it for a bit and see what happens, I am believing the VANOS system is probably at fault here as I seem to have a lot of the symptoms from the site link above.

Thanks to everyone, great to have you all around!
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  #10  
Old 08-08-2014, 10:59 AM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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For some reason the VANOS in the V-8 rarely seems to cause idle problems. My car has 182,00+ miles on it, with the original VANOS, and is asymptomatic.
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  #11  
Old 08-08-2014, 02:00 PM
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jermiester1 jermiester1 is offline
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Have you pulled your plugs and checked to see if there is oil in the cavities? Oil around the spark plugs from a leaky valve cover gasket can sometime cause a misfire or stumble. Just a thougt and doesn't cost anything to check.
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  #12  
Old 08-08-2014, 04:36 PM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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I have gone online and tried to figure out if your San tool reads live data. I know that it reads air flow from your MAF so you could have diagnosed if you needed a MAF or not but I guess that is academic now since you replaced the MAF.

Would still be interested in that air flow now vs what it was with the old MAF. Can the scan tool read what your long and short term fuel trims are by O2 sensor? These fuel trims will indicate if you have a potential vacuum leak. Plus value fuel trims indicate that the ECU is trying to add fuel because the O2 sensor in question is reading a lean condition. If the fuel trim values are minus, a rich condition exists. You will always have fuel trims but if the values are 10 or above, there is a problem. I would be interested in the fuel trims for your 540.

On another topic, I don't believe your car has a ICV. BMW did not used ICVs in the 2002 540 AFAIK.

Scan tools should read and clear fault codes but they should also provide engine running data that allows the owner to diagnose and fix the car.

Last edited by johnstern; 08-08-2014 at 05:54 PM.
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  #13  
Old 08-09-2014, 03:08 PM
damisco damisco is offline
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Sounds like a vacuum leak if you changed the AKA MAF Sensor and still experience the rpm issue the air is getting in the system without passing through the MAF sensor as u know these cars are notorious for vacuum leak with age and mileage the vacuum line hose get dried and start breaking I would check all the hoses related to the air intake also all the gaskets related too bad intake manifold gaskets killed all the cats 2 years ago is the bimmer burning a lot of gas
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  #14  
Old 08-12-2014, 07:44 PM
Holly123 Holly123 is offline
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Thanks everyone, I will look into these issues.

Yes, there is a bit of oil getting thru the gasket last time I changed plugs, I will have to check again.

The car also has the "cold idle" problem, wants to stall when it is below operating temp, really bad in the winter but have not seen much of it now that it is summer here. Is that the manifold gasket issue I think I read about?

Thanks again everyone, very helpful...!
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  #15  
Old 08-12-2014, 07:56 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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It could be the manifold gasket. Vacuum leaks, whether at the intake manifold gasket or at any of the various hoses, probably account for more cold idle problems than any other cause. Because the leak can also come from so many sources, you're probably better off getting a smoke test rather than trying to chase down each individual component, looking for the leak.
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