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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 03-31-2010, 08:39 PM
Rjim Rjim is offline
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Vapor Lock or What?

So I'm on day two of a three day trip, driving today from Albuquerque to Wichita, 710 miles. Car is running great: 33 mpg with cruise control set at 80 to 85, strong winds helping from the south and west, temperature 90F for the last six hours. (This was today 3/31/10.) I gas up in Okla City with Shell premium. About an hour later, 60 miles from Wichita, my engine begins to die. First I thought the cruise had kicked off, so I put my foot on the pedal and the engine sprung back to life only to surge and sputter and eventually stall. Cut to the chase: This happened twice and I was able each time to stagger up an exit ramp and coast to a stop. After five or so minutes and two or three restart attempts my engine started and idled normally. I opened my window, turned off the A/C and completed my drive to Wichita without further problems.

I searched the forum for vapor lock and fuel starvation problems and came up with little, but this is sure what it felt like to me, having had similar problems with an old Z-car years ago. So I'm thinking my under-the-hood temps were maybe high enough to vaporize fuel somewhere in the fuel line, although the engine itself was not overheated. Each time I coasted to a stalled stop my aux electric fan ran for a few minutes which is what would expect, given 90 temps while using A/C. Mine is an M54, 530i...have several other ideas on this but will wait for replies to see if I'm on the right track.
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  #2  
Old 03-31-2010, 09:51 PM
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Quackers Quackers is offline
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You could maybe check that the fuel tank breather pipe isn't blocked. That may cause similar problems.
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  #3  
Old 03-31-2010, 10:55 PM
anton-sa anton-sa is offline
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Mein Auto: Bmw e39 525i 2001
believe it or not, i once had a REALLY odd missfire after filling up... this was when i still had my e30 325i

it ended up being a oil fill cap that wasnt put back. the engine was sucking up masses of air
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:07 PM
Rjim Rjim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quackers View Post
You could maybe check that the fuel tank breather pipe isn't blocked. That may cause similar problems.
Thanks, I'll check the breather pipe and also get my indy to check for codes. Today, Wichita to Minneapolis: no problem and 32 mpg, although never experienced temps above 81F.
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:45 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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There's no such thing as vapor lock these days, with a high-pressure pump in the fuel tank. Read the Pending code; you may have a failing cam position sensor.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:48 PM
Rjim Rjim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
There's no such thing as vapor lock these days, with a high-pressure pump in the fuel tank. Read the Pending code; you may have a failing cam position sensor.
Are you saying with a full tank of fuel and no leaks, fuel starvation is not possible?
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Old 04-02-2010, 09:50 PM
Rjim Rjim is offline
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Had my indy check for fault codes...showed only O2 sensor faults which, he said, were most likely a result, not a cause, of the engine running out of fuel and stalling. No SES light before, during or after, so maybe bad gas, clogged filter? Indy says filter problems are almost unheard of, but filter/regulator unit can replaced for $110 plus labor. Bentley manual does not even address removing and replacing fuel filter/regulator which on M54 engines is combined in one unit. Car ran fine today around town, but my confidence has been shaken.
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