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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 01-11-2010, 02:40 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Typical SYMPTOMS that point to a classic E39 problem?

What typical SYMPTOMS point to a classic SOLUTION for your E39?

BACKGROUND:
People keep asking "what should I fix"; or "what goes wrong"; and I wonder if it would be useful to have a general SYMPTOM:SOLUTION thread.

For example, people keep talking about the weak links in the E39 such as 'vanos' and 'cooling' or the sach's 'shocks', etc., but I generally wouldn't even know the problem if I didn't know what syptoms to look for.

Some are obvious (e.g., ABS indicators); yet some are subtle (e.g., violent shudder upon braking).

Would it be useful to have a thread of common symptoms and their typical solution?
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  #2  
Old 01-11-2010, 02:41 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Here's one for starters (taken from MatWiz's crusade to edify the unwashed):

SYMPTOM:
Your E39 shudders violently upon braking on rough roads ...

TYPICAL SOLUTION:
Replace your front shocks.
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  #3  
Old 01-11-2010, 02:43 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Here's another, taken from my own experience:

SYMPTOM:
One license plate light is out and it's not the bulb or your trunk lock is erratic.

TYPICAL SOLUTION:
Check your trunk loom & splice in new wires.
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  #4  
Old 01-11-2010, 02:54 PM
poolman poolman is offline
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Mein Auto: 525i station wagon
Symptom--car shakes and doen't idle well on cold mornings
Fix---Repalce the Vanos seals--if you have a inlne six with single or double Vanos
replace the seals--you'll love what that one mod will do for your car.
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  #5  
Old 01-11-2010, 02:55 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Posts: 20,480
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
SYMPTOM:
You can't adjust your headlights.

TYPICAL SOLUTION:
Replace the plastic adjusters with aluminum or plastic (preferably aluminum)

Last edited by bluebee; 01-11-2010 at 02:57 PM.
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  #6  
Old 01-11-2010, 02:55 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,480
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
SYMPTOM:
Your interior fan has a mind of its own or your battery goes dead overnight.

TYPICAL SOLUTION:
Replace the FSU.
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  #7  
Old 01-11-2010, 02:58 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,480
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
SYMPTOM:
You hear inexplicable wind noise at speed or you can't jack up your car.

TYPICAL SOLUTION:
Replace missing jack pads.
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  #8  
Old 01-11-2010, 03:00 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,480
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
SYMPTOM:
ABS, DSC, and Brake lights lit.

TYPICAL SOLUTION:
Check wheel speed sensors (& replace if needed); & rebuild ABS control unit
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  #9  
Old 01-11-2010, 03:20 PM
smmr smmr is offline
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Location: Toronto, Canada
 
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Posts: 110
Mein Auto: 02 540i M-Sport Auto
SYMPTOM:
Screeching/grinding noise upon ignition

TYPICAL SOLUTION:
Replace the starter
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  #10  
Old 01-11-2010, 04:47 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Location: Sudbury, MA
 
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Posts: 6,160
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
SYMPTOM: Check engine light on a cold start with no other symptoms
POSSIBLE CAUSE: Check secondary air pump (SAP) or valve function, check vacuum line for leaks

SYMPTOM: Excess oil consumption, occasional black smoke in exhaust
POSSIBLE CAUSE: Check CCV and related hoses for "mayo" (oil vapor condensation) buildup.

+1 on what Poolman says, no symptoms need be present. If your car has more than 30K-50K, you definitely need them.
DEFINITE FIX: Replace VANOS seals

SYMPTOM: Empty bank account
PROBABLE CAUSE: Stop spending money on that car!
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  #11  
Old 01-11-2010, 05:54 PM
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POof540i POof540i is offline
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Location: Earth
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,381
Mein Auto: '01 540iA
SYMPTOM: Steering wheel shakes between 45 and 55 mph, especially when decreasing (braking) from speeds in excess of 60 mph.

TYPICAL SOLUTION: Worn Thrust arm bushings. Replace bushings with HD (heavy duty) bushings or replace entire thrust arm with HD bushings.


P.S. This thread has potential to become a sticky. I hope it does.
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  #12  
Old 01-11-2010, 07:53 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Location: Cambridge, ON
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 6,372
Mein Auto: 99 528iA
Symptom: Your don't fit on your E39
Solution: The hub sizes aren't compatible. You will need hubcentric rings or a few mm bored out

Symptom: Odd squeaks and rattles from the doors
Possible Solution: The door seals *may* be causing this. Try using Gummi-pflege (rubber restorative and lubricant) to repair this

Symptom: Check Engine Light (CEL, MIL) is illuminated
Solution: There's literally thousands of reasons this light can go on. Check the gas cap for tightness, and visit Autozone or a local mechanic to have the codes read. If a charge is involved, you can purchase a Peake Research scanner for a comparatively reasonable price (http://www.peakeresearch.com/products.htm)

Symptom: Your car overheated
Solution: Around 100,000 miles, the cooling system gives out. You can replace the part that is at fault, and replace the rest in the next few days, or you can replace the entire thing for a reasonable price (DIY) all at once, and rest easy for another 90,000mi. (General information here http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/199986)
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  #13  
Old 01-12-2010, 06:23 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
SYMPTOM:
Instrument cluster outside temperature reads -40

TYPICAL SOLUTION:
Replace ambient temperature sensor
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  #14  
Old 01-12-2010, 07:38 AM
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paferri paferri is offline
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Location: Long Island, NY
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
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Mein Auto: '98 Alpine White E39 528i
Symptom: You just installed a third party vendor HID lighting package and your bulb out warning lights up on your display.

Solution: Purchase bulb out warning cancellers from DDMtuning.com or any other site sponsor.


Symptom: On startup, you hear what sounds like a jet engine sound coming from the passenger front of the car for 1 minute or so, then it stops.

Solution; Replace secondary air pump, air pump valve, and hose.


Symptom: Power Steering fluid leak directly under PS reservoir and on to 2 hoses coming from reservoir.

Solution: Cut 1/2 inch of each hose under PS reservoir and re-attach with screw clamps, or replace hoses altogether and use screw clamps. (CN90 has a great wite up on this)
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Last edited by paferri; 01-12-2010 at 08:02 AM.
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  #15  
Old 01-12-2010, 10:57 AM
andyffer andyffer is offline
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Mein Auto: 02 530i, 09 335d
SYMPTOM: park on incline, pull hand brake, put car in neutral, car starts rolling back down the hill

SOLUTION: new handbrake
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  #16  
Old 01-12-2010, 01:00 PM
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weasel like weasel like is offline
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Location: Arlington, VA
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 446
Mein Auto: E39 528i 5-speed
SYMPTOM: Sluggish acceleration.

SOLUTION: You may have an inline 6.

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  #17  
Old 01-12-2010, 04:43 PM
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davenotize davenotize is offline
03 530 S/P for sale!!
Location: Miami FL
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 178
Mein Auto: 03 bmw 530s/p 02 bmw 525
Quote:
Originally Posted by poolman View Post
Symptom--car shakes and doen't idle well on cold mornings
Fix---Repalce the Vanos seals--if you have a inlne six with single or double Vanos
replace the seals--you'll love what that one mod will do for your car.
i get this in the mornings... im thinking about changing them, how long can i wait or not wait on this?
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  #18  
Old 01-13-2010, 08:15 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,480
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
SYMPTOM: Steering wheel shimmy upon braking at any speed, linearly shaking the faster the speed

TYPICAL SOLUTION: Re-bed the brakes to wear off high-spot deposits
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  #19  
Old 01-13-2010, 08:58 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Location: Sudbury, MA
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,160
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
SYMPTOM: Brakes squeal when engaged
POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Rebed the pads.
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  #20  
Old 01-13-2010, 08:58 PM
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IndiansFan IndiansFan is online now
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Location: Rocky River, OH
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 988
Mein Auto: '99 528iT
SYMPTOM: Steering wheel will not automatically reposition itself upon starting the car.
POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Replace your battery within two weeks. It will fail! I found out this the hard way, after everyone else left the house for the day!
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2001 530iA STEEL BLUE/Sand - Sport/Premium/Cold Package
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  #21  
Old 01-13-2010, 11:16 PM
BMC530i BMC530i is offline
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Location: Honolulu
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 74
Mein Auto: 2003 530ia 2003 X5 3.0ia
SYMPTOM: Squealing sound upon start up
SOLUTION: Use some WD-40 to lubricate roller right next to alternator pulley

This is very good thread !!! keep 'em coming!!!
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http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=506735

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  #22  
Old 01-14-2010, 08:38 AM
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3sons66 3sons66 is offline
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Location: Finger Lakes Region, Upstate NY
 
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Posts: 144
Mein Auto: $PIT-POS 540iT Sport
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiansFan View Post
SYMPTOM: Steering wheel will not automatically reposition itself upon starting the car.
POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Replace your battery within two weeks. It will fail! I found out this the hard way, after everyone else left the house for the day!
I don't get it? What do you mean "reposition itself upon starting the car"?
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  #23  
Old 01-14-2010, 12:25 PM
scott0357 scott0357 is offline
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Location: SF Bay Area, CA
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 332
Mein Auto: 2003 530i
windows

SYMPTON: Window does not go up or down, but you can hear the clicking sound when the switch is pressed.
Solution: Replace the window regulator.
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  #24  
Old 01-14-2010, 12:27 PM
scott0357 scott0357 is offline
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Location: SF Bay Area, CA
 
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Posts: 332
Mein Auto: 2003 530i
starter

SYMPTON: When the key is turned, the engine does not crank but you can hear the clicking sound from the starter. And the battery is checked out ok.
Solution: Replace the starter.
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  #25  
Old 01-14-2010, 12:32 PM
scott0357 scott0357 is offline
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Location: SF Bay Area, CA
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 332
Mein Auto: 2003 530i
ignition lock cylinder

SYMPTON: When the key is inserted, you can't easily turn the key to the start position. You have to wiggle the key back and forth a few times to get the key into the start position.
Solution: Replace the igition lock cyclinder. You'll need to bring the car registration or title to the dealer to buy this part.
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