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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 02-20-2010, 09:15 AM
yknotsail yknotsail is offline
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Cloudy ATF in PS resevoir

Have a whine from the steering, particularly when parking. Read up on relevant threads here, checked that ATF Fluid level is accurate and it is; so I've drained the resevoir of fairly cloudy and darkish fluid and replaced with clean Dexron III
Drove a bit, checked the fluid and it is again somewhat cloudy and still whines at low speed.
Do I need to keep draining and refilling with clean ATF until the fluid remains clear? OR is it normal to be cloudy after running through the PS pump....OR....is this the beginning of the end of the pump...only
62K miles???
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  #2  
Old 02-20-2010, 11:10 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Keep replacing the fluid until you've run 2 qts through it.

Or, if you're impatient, try this:

Method 1

Get two quarts of the best synthetic ATF from your auto parts store. I used Mobil 1.

Extract as much of the fluid from the reservoir as you can, using a turkey baster.

Optional: remove the reservoir and flush it out with gasoline. I did this, since the filter inside is not removable.

Remove the return hose from the reservoir. Itís the forward hose, coming from the radiator, and into the bottom center of the reservoir. Have something ready to plug the reservoir pipe, and catch any residual fluid in the reservoir. I used a rubber cap, designed to cap off vacuum lines, and a couple of shop rags. Youíll need a new hose clamp.

BTW, this center clamp allows a leak to develop. Best to replace it anyway.

Fit a length of rubber hose onto, or into, the return hose so that you can route it into a catch can of at least two quart capacity. I used a cut-off bleach bottle, since, being white, it is easier to do the next step, as well being an easy target for the stream of fluid.

Fill the reservoir with new fluid. Have both bottles of ATF open and handy. With one hand on the hose, aiming into the bucket, and the other on the bottle of ATF, have a helper start the engine. Keep pouring ATF into the reservoir until fresh fluid comes out into the bucket. Then shut off the engine, reattach the hose, and top up the reservoir.

DO NOT move the steering wheel with the return hose disconnected, and the engine running! It will pump lots more fluid, and, if the hose is not restrained, it will blow fluid all over!

Method 2

The power steering pump has a drain plug on it that you can unscrew instead of pulling off one of the hoses. You'll want to remove the filler cap for quicker drainage.

The plug has an o-ring for sealing so you don't really need to replace it if you don't have one (and it isn't leaking).

This will drain the PS pump, the reservoir, and most of the PS cooling line in front of the radiator, without having to have the engine running. You can refill, start the engine, crank the wheel both ways a few times, then do another drain/fill and you will have got ~80% of the old fluid out.
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  #3  
Old 02-20-2010, 12:44 PM
yknotsail yknotsail is offline
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ATF whine

Thanks for the comprehensive reply and will follow up. After all the ATF is clear, if the whine continues, I guess its time to move to the pulley and/or pump....Just finished coil springs and fuel pump and could use a break...$$$$
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  #4  
Old 05-25-2010, 04:35 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yknotsail View Post
After all the ATF is clear, if the whine continues, I guess its time to move to the pulley and/or pump....
And belts.

My cold-start whine seems to be vastly diminished after replacing the power steering fluid with about a quart (two refills) of Dexron VI ATF.

But, it's still there, so I bought a mechanics' stethoscope to see if I can pinpoint it further.

I also bought new belts ... just in case ... and while I was at it, a new power steering fluid reservoir cap o-ring (to replace the M-badged gym sock).

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  #5  
Old 04-15-2011, 12:19 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
My cold-start whine seems to be vastly diminished after replacing the power steering fluid with about a quart (two refills) of Dexron VI ATF. But, it's still there
I just ran into this thread again doing power steering research for someone.

I apologize for not updating this thread with my followup to the loud noise, which, at first, I suspected the power steering ... but which turned out to be alternator bearings (ironically, perhaps due to power steering fluid leaking onto them!).

- One users' example of total electrical failure (AAA towed away) alternator repair (1) (2)

One good thing that did come of this is that I now propose to "replace" the reservoir power steering fluid with every oil change as a matter of habit.



And, I propose we replace the power steering cap o-ring whenever we do the lower oil filter o-rings (every few years):

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  #6  
Old 04-15-2011, 01:48 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yknotsail View Post
checked that ATF Fluid level is accurate
BTW, the two places to check for leaks are the underside of the reservoir as shown by cn90 here:


And, the underside of the power steering pump as I show here:

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  #7  
Old 04-15-2011, 01:49 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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But, whatever you do, please do not make the rookie mistake I made a few years ago when I first went to the auto parts store to ask them to look up what power steering fluid I should use!



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  #8  
Old 04-15-2011, 06:46 AM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Bluebee, why did you opt to use a Dexron VI ATF, and what was the problem with the Redline product shown in the pic above?
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  #9  
Old 04-15-2011, 07:30 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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At that age (1997 528i), I'd suggest:
- Flush with ATF a few times (search for procedure)
- Then install a new PS Reservoir (to avoid filter mesh clog at that age).
About $25 for reservoir.
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  #10  
Old 04-15-2011, 05:26 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
Bluebee, why did you opt to use a Dexron VI ATF, and what was the problem with the Redline product shown in the pic above?
Long ago, when I first filled my power steering fluid reservoir, I stopped at the auto parts store and asked them what I should use (yes, I know. Rookie mistake #1).

They told me to use the Redline PSF (which said "BMW" in the marketing blurbs on the back, btw); and, at about $15 a quart (IIRC), it was pricey, but I thought I was giving my bimmer the 'good stuff' (yup, price is meaningless when it comes to quality ... rookie mistake #2).

As you know, our bimmers take ATF, not PSF, and I called Redline tech support who told me that it 'should be ok' in the short term; but that was when I decided to write the one-page description of one paragraph for the dozen fluids to keep in our glovebox:
- BMW E39 fluid summary printout for your glovebox (1)

As for Dexron VI (introduced in 2005) versus Dexron III, the only difference, according to the Redline technical support, was in longer-term situations (I forget all the details, sorry, it was a long time ago) but, Dexron VI, he said, was fully compatible with Dexron III and, in fact, he told me that GM no longer licenses Dexron III.

Anyway, I confirmed the fact that GM no longer licenses Dexron III on the Internet (yea, you 'could' call that rookie mistake #3, trusting the Internet, but in this case, I believe it). Here's what Wikipedia says:
Quote:
All DEXRON-III licenses expired at the end of 2006, and will not be renewed.
So, I'm not sure the legalities, but it could be that nobody can print Dexron III on their label anymore ... even if they are Dexron III compatible.

This article about the roll out of Dexron VI says ...
Quote:
perform more consistently in extreme conditions; and that would degrade less over time. They achieved these improvements, officials said, by raising requirements for oxidative and shear stability, foam performance and protection against pitting.

GM claims that Dexron-VI delivers more than twice the durability and stability in friction tests than do existing fluids.
BTW, here are the references in the bestlinks, to date, for users looking to learn more about their power steering:
- How to clean the power steering fluid reservoir internal filter (1) & how to replace the cap o-ring (1) (2) & why you want to fix the power steering hose drip onto the alternator (1) (2) (3) & how to debug PSP power steering pump noises (1) (2) (3) or steering rack noises (1) & a nice power steering pump autopsy photo (1) & how to flush fix cloudy ATF fluid (1) (2) and what PS fluid to use (1) (2) & DIYs to replace the power steering hoses (1) (2) (3) (4) (5).

So this seems to be a good recommendation for E39 owners:
  • Every oil change, suction out about 8 ounces (250 ml) of the power steering fluid and replace with Dexron VI ATF
  • Every five years (or so), when you replace the two lower oil-filter stem o-rings, also remove the T20 Torx bolt holding down the circular screen filter in the bottom of the power steering fluid reservoir and flush with gasoline (off the vehicle!) to clean the screen
  • Likewise, also replace the o-ring in the power steering fluid reservoir cap at the time you replace the two lower o-rings in the oil filter stem



Last edited by bluebee; 04-15-2011 at 08:30 PM.
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  #11  
Old 04-15-2011, 06:13 PM
jordan16j jordan16j is offline
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When I went to NAPA to buy my ATF I saw a bunch of different ones with Dexron III-compatible labelling. So while it may not be certified apparently companies can still label their fluids as such. The obvious risk here is that there's nobody to confirm that these fluids meet that spec since it doesn't exist anymore. Legitimate certified Dexron VI fluids are fully backward compatible with Dexron II and III, are allegedly higher quality, and run about $1 more per quart. I'd much rather pay an extra buck for Dexron VI certified ATF and not have to worry about it. No point in saving a small amount of money and end up with lower quality fluid.
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  #12  
Old 04-15-2011, 09:43 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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My eyes... getting worse.... Nix that question, B. Can't believe I didn't notice the "power steering fluid" on the Red Line bottle.
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  #13  
Old 05-01-2011, 08:08 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
Can't believe I didn't notice the "power steering fluid" on the Red Line bottle.
No problem.

BTW, today Vetaid replaced power steering hoses using the following method:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > HELP!!! Power steering pump drain plug locatation for bleeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by vetaldj View Post
- Extracted all fluids from reservoir
- Removed reservoir from bracket
- Disconnected return hose from coil over to reservoir (this is the one that was replaced) from reservoir. Here I've got some fluid from reservoir but I was ready with towels and empty container.
- Disconnected 13mm bolt that holds two hoses at coil over BUT didn't removed them, while holding top one I just removed bottom one (that goes to reservoir and need to be replaced), got some fluid out but not much.
- Put new ring and attached new hose to its place
- Cleaned reservoir all hoses from mess
- Re-installed reservoir and added new fluid
- made about 10 turns, almost all fluids gone so I added some more to the almost MAX and made same 10 turns but this time level was the same.
- Cleaned everything and hurray - my first serious DIY done with success!!

Last edited by bluebee; 05-01-2011 at 04:26 PM.
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  #14  
Old 05-01-2011, 09:17 AM
vetaldj vetaldj is offline
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Bluebee, I don't think I did ALL fluid, I did it just enough to change the hose, but that was definitely was not all fluid.

My old fluid was exectly as new one so I decided just fix the hose and don't make more mess to parking lot I will do several more extraction during week or so anyway.
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  #15  
Old 05-01-2011, 04:25 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vetaldj View Post
I did it just enough to change the hose
Ooops. I'll fix that by editing my earlier post. Thanks.
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  #16  
Old 05-12-2011, 11:21 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I propose we replace the power steering cap o-ring whenever we do the lower oil filter o-rings (every few years)

Or, we can do the M-sock mod (see video below):
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  #17  
Old 08-27-2012, 06:41 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Not sure where to xref this wonderful find by the team (cn90, pleiades, & doru):
-> E39 (1997 - 2003) > PS hose assembly bracket mount, rubber cracked ....

But, if you crack that particular part, there's a way (the cn90 way).

Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
Wow, cn90 you did it, that does look like an exact fit. I was trying to think of something similar I had seen on the car but couldn't remember where.

Many thanks. The genuine BMW part is about $15-20 but the URO branded one is under $3. I think I'll order a couple of the UROs. I guess my hackjob with zipties will hold up long enough.

.... Incidentally....

Until now I was thinking of repairing the split mount with an adhesive of some kind, so I tried an assortment of bonding agents on pieces of test rubber (square chunks cut out from and re-cemented into an old front sway-bar bushing) and let them cure overnight. The only one that created a bond tough enough that I can't pull apart is Permatex Ultra Black! I'm impressed.
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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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  #18  
Old 06-25-2014, 11:10 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For cloudy fluid, I just want to recommend a periodic flush with internal filter cleaning, and while you're at it, a new o-ring to replace the M-sock mod.

Most seem to clean the filter about every few oil changes.


And, if you don't replace the o-ring every couple of years, you'll need the M-sock mod:
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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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