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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 03-26-2010, 03:38 AM
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aca84 aca84 is offline
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What's this noise?

Hi all,

The last few days I've had the car running a little rough - especially noticable at idle - I can feel vibrations through the car seat. When outside the car, it really does sound ordinary.

So, is this sound/vibration simply a drive belt?

Also please fast forward to around the 1:30 mark to hear induction noise at very light throttle applications. Is this also normal?

Thanks in advance!

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  #2  
Old 03-26-2010, 09:16 AM
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Try to use like a 3 foot piece of hose as a stethoscope to find where the sound is coming from. Carefull with the fan.
Not sure about the induction noise.
Good Luck
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  #3  
Old 03-26-2010, 09:33 AM
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Tough one. I would say not normal. At first I thought it was definitely the fan blades scraping, but on throttle it sounds louder which would not happen if it was just the fan. Can you do a daylight video?

Is it just the sound that's bugging you, or do you have other symptoms?
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:40 PM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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i actually have the same sounds. i heard from my mechanic that its the CCVV... but after replacing the whole CCV system the sound still comes on cold morning starts (30 degrees and lower)
the induction sounds are normal
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  #5  
Old 03-27-2010, 01:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh P. View Post
Tough one. I would say not normal. At first I thought it was definitely the fan blades scraping, but on throttle it sounds louder which would not happen if it was just the fan. Can you do a daylight video?

Is it just the sound that's bugging you, or do you have other symptoms?
I think the induction noise is a separate issue to the other noise. I only noticed the induction noise after opening up the hood to inspect the initial noise.

In fact, whilst in the car, it's not so much the noise that's most prevalent, it's the vibrations you feel in the car.... even at highway speeds. The vibrations are related to the noise that you hear in the video above. There is a very small but frequent fluctuations in RPM's when idle. I will post a daylight video tomorrow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mujjuman
i actually have the same sounds. i heard from my mechanic that its the CCVV... but after replacing the whole CCV system the sound still comes on cold morning starts (30 degrees and lower)
the induction sounds are normal
With regards to the "same sounds" - are you referring to the induction howl or the noise present throughout the video? I had the CCV replaced around a month ago.
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Old 03-27-2010, 04:17 AM
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Did you check the fan for play? Could be bad bearing in fan clutch. Also check belt tensioner (idler pulley) if the bearing is bad that could cause some sound, though to my ear it really sounds like metal scraping. You could try removing the fan belt to help isolate the problem? The scraping sounds very regular to me. Is it all the time or only on cold starts?

"In fact, whilst in the car, it's not so much the noise that's most prevalent, it's the vibrations you feel in the car.... even at highway speeds. The vibrations are related to the noise that you hear in the video above. There is a very small but frequent fluctuations in RPM's when at idle. I will post a daylight video tomorrow."

That could be lots of things though CCV is a likely culprit though you had that replaced, you said. Did the problem start right after that? Perhaps it was not done correctly. If you're not losing power then you can probably rule out a vacuum leak though a very small one could/might cause the RPMs to drop. The vibration is odd. You feel it in the steering wheel?

Hopefully poolman/fudman/CN will chime in, they have more knowledge than I do!
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  #7  
Old 03-27-2010, 04:36 AM
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a mechanics stethescope, be it a proper unit from your local auto store or a home made jobber like the hose suggestion (a wooden dowel would also work, as would a really long screwdriver) will help in isolating the culprit.

it sounds low to me, so you may wish to get the front end up on ramps if you have them and remove the underpanel to get a better shot at locating the concern.

just be careful of the moving parts and all. we don't to hear of any injuries sustained during this investigation.


df
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  #8  
Old 03-27-2010, 06:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh P. View Post
Did you check the fan for play? Could be bad bearing in fan clutch. Also check belt tensioner (idler pulley) if the bearing is bad that could cause some sound, though to my ear it really sounds like metal scraping. You could try removing the fan belt to help isolate the problem? The scraping sounds very regular to me. Is it all the time or only on cold starts?

"In fact, whilst in the car, it's not so much the noise that's most prevalent, it's the vibrations you feel in the car.... even at highway speeds. The vibrations are related to the noise that you hear in the video above. There is a very small but frequent fluctuations in RPM's when at idle. I will post a daylight video tomorrow."

That could be lots of things though CCV is a likely culprit though you had that replaced, you said. Did the problem start right after that? Perhaps it was not done correctly. If you're not losing power then you can probably rule out a vacuum leak though a very small one could/might cause the RPMs to drop. The vibration is odd. You feel it in the steering wheel?

Hopefully poolman/fudman/CN will chime in, they have more knowledge than I do!
I checked the fan initially. Due to the tapered fins of the fan blades, it did give the impression that the fan was loose. However inspecting it when off, it seem very solid, without play.

On the 15th of February 2010, I had the following items replaced:

- radiator
- thermostat housing and gasket
- CCVV and hose
- Fan clutch
- Engine drive belt tensioner and roller

So yes, it's only been the last few days I've had this rough running engine - so perhaps the repair last month wasn't completed properly.........

I suspect the sound is there all the time - I know the engine is running rough whenever I'm driving due to the vibrations (easy to tell when Revs are constant - ie when cruising on the highway). The engine runs rough from the time you start the car. The vibrations are such that I can feel it in the seat , the steering wheel and anywhere else you care to mention. There is dash trim that actually rattle as well. In fact, I should say it's more car shake than vibrations.

With regards to the car RPM's, as the video shows, there is really no discernible change in RPM's. The fluctuations I have noticed may in fact be completely normal, but due to this problem, I had scrutinised it unfairly. But you can hear the continuous drone.

Hahah CN is probably sick of hearing my problems on these forums! Thanks so much for you inputs though and I'll have a day time video posted tomorrow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by drivinfaster
a mechanics stethescope, be it a proper unit from your local auto store or a home made jobber like the hose suggestion (a wooden dowel would also work, as would a really long screwdriver) will help in isolating the culprit.

it sounds low to me, so you may wish to get the front end up on ramps if you have them and remove the underpanel to get a better shot at locating the concern.

just be careful of the moving parts and all. we don't to hear of any injuries sustained during this investigation.


df
df, I shall try to isolate the noise tomorrow. Yesterday's inspections seemed to indicate that the noise was most prevalent when directly over the centre of the engine (near the fan).


Last edited by aca84; 03-27-2010 at 06:07 AM.
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  #9  
Old 03-27-2010, 07:35 AM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aca84 View Post
I think the induction noise is a separate issue to the other noise. I only noticed the induction noise after opening up the hood to inspect the initial noise.

In fact, whilst in the car, it's not so much the noise that's most prevalent, it's the vibrations you feel in the car.... even at highway speeds. The vibrations are related to the noise that you hear in the video above. There is a very small but frequent fluctuations in RPM's when idle. I will post a daylight video tomorrow.



With regards to the "same sounds" - are you referring to the induction howl or the noise present throughout the video? I had the CCV replaced around a month ago.
actually at first i meant the groaning sounds thats there all throughout the video..
but to be accurate i have BOTH the induction sound and the groaning noise
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Old 03-27-2010, 10:58 AM
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How about the engine mounts or motor mounts for the vibration problem. Did you check them?
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Old 03-27-2010, 12:59 PM
Tyrone Tyrone is offline
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Originally Posted by Dmendez View Post
How about the engine mounts or motor mounts for the vibration problem. Did you check them?
Exactly. Bad mounts will cause exactly his description (though I did not view the video). Replacing engine and transmission mounts does wonders for the smoothness.
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  #12  
Old 03-27-2010, 10:49 PM
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Exactly. Bad mounts will cause exactly his description (though I did not view the video). Replacing engine and transmission mounts does wonders for the smoothness.
I checked 2 mounts on the side of the engine (not sure there are any more?), and they seem fine. Although probably not a conclusive test, then engine seems quite stable when revving (and when starting the car). The vibrations are related to the noise that I'm getting, hence it's probably something other than the mounts?

Anyhow, here's a daytime video. If you listen closely, there also appears to be a rattling metallic noise. Perhaps it is a issue with the fan clutch?

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Old 03-27-2010, 11:05 PM
maher528 maher528 is offline
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I had a similar noise a while back. It turned out to be the water pump. The whole car was actually vibrating whenever the noise was heard. I thought it was the mounts too.
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Old 03-28-2010, 12:43 AM
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I had a similar noise a while back. It turned out to be the water pump. The whole car was actually vibrating whenever the noise was heard. I thought it was the mounts too.
The waterpump was replaced around 25,000Km ago (preventative), but it seems there are certain brands of water pumps that fail early. I think I'll take it to the mechanic tomorrow as assuming it's the waterpump, that it'll be on borrowed time.

Last edited by aca84; 03-28-2010 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 03-28-2010, 05:04 AM
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The fan clutch and the water pump should, the theory, be replaced at the same time anyway...

After listening to the new video:

a bad bearing in the water pump could make that sound (as I noted above), though I don't know about causing a vibration that you could feel in the driver's seat. That seems a stretch but I'll defer to maher if he said it did. You might try removing the fan shroud (takes a few minutes) and doing the fan test will a rolled up newspaper to see if the clutch is bad. Either way you'll be able to get closer to the sound and isolate it better.
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Old 03-28-2010, 09:03 AM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maher528 View Post
I had a similar noise a while back. It turned out to be the water pump. The whole car was actually vibrating whenever the noise was heard. I thought it was the mounts too.
if this is indeed the case, then this thread should be archived and placed in the FAQ or the Wiki.... i remember last year, sooo many people on E46Fanatics were asking how to tell the WP is about to fail, and no one had an answer.
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Old 03-28-2010, 07:30 PM
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I 'm still new with my E39 so I don't know if the car has it, but I used to have a Buick with a similar sound and the problem was the harmonic balancer.
The center of the harmonic balancer is made of rubber and it can brake in half , if it brakes completely the car stops running.
It' s a easy DIY but you really need to have a air gun to take out the big nut.
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Old 03-28-2010, 07:40 PM
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whats a harmonic balancer?
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Old 03-28-2010, 07:48 PM
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whats a harmonic balancer?
the Crankshaft Pulley or Vibration Damper
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:02 PM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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ohhh ok. yeah its a possibility
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Old 03-28-2010, 09:43 PM
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Use a mechanics stethoscope (~$10 from a local auto store) to locate the noise, if the noise is from a mechanical part. But it does sound like an exhaust leak.
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:14 AM
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Guys, it was indeed the waterpump with a noisy bearing. In fact, apparently it was also leaking a little coolant which hopefully explains the small loss of coolant I've been experiencing (detailed in another thread).

The dealer warranty has come to the party on this one, which I'm relieved about. Should have the car back tomorrow.

I have to say, that I wasn't exagerating on the vibrations felt...I too find it amazing how a relatively small component could unsettle the car to that degree.

With regards to others quering how tell if a waterpump is about to fail - I'm guessing not all waterpumps will give forward notice of impending faliure. For those lucky though - heed these weird noises and vibrations!

Shall update further once car is back with me

Thanks all for you advice/inputs!
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Old 03-29-2010, 04:11 AM
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Glad you figured it out. You should have mentioned in your OP that you were losing coolant: that would have led me to suggest the waterpump right away. Since you mentioned that you only have 25k on the existing one, you might consider buying one of the better-quality ones w/ a metal impeller (BAVAUTO among other places carry them). They should certainly last longer than 25k. Even if the dealer won't cover it, they are actually less than the OEM ones.
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Old 03-29-2010, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh P. View Post
Glad you figured it out. You should have mentioned in your OP that you were losing coolant: that would have led me to suggest the waterpump right away. Since you mentioned that you only have 25k on the existing one, you might consider buying one of the better-quality ones w/ a metal impeller (BAVAUTO among other places carry them). They should certainly last longer than 25k. Even if the dealer won't cover it, they are actually less than the OEM ones.
Unfortunately, I just didn't see the connection! Furthermore, the mechanic failed to identify any external leaks last month when I took it back regarding this coolant loss (small leakage - around 1" every 2000 miles).

Your suggestion on acquiring the items myself is what I should have done 12months ago when carrying out preventative maintenance. Since the car was actually running fine, I could've afforded to look around and wait for the parts to come in from overseas. Instead, I relied on a mechanic to source the parts (not the mechanic I visit now) and out of the 3 items I had him replace (thermostat, wp and expansion tank), the first 2 have been replaced less than 12 months on.

Anyhow, should I keep the car till the next preventative cycle is due, I'll definitely be sourcing the parts myself.

As much as I'd like to blame the mechanic, it's really shocking to see how many shoddy aftermarket parts are doing the rounds these days.

I'm somewhat jealous about my parents 2 jap cars still soldering on with all the original components.

I'll still take the Bimmer though.
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Old 03-29-2010, 05:42 AM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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those damn japanese cars lol
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