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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 04-04-2010, 07:30 AM
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How to siphon gasoline out of the E39 into a gas can

I wonder how to siphon gasoline out of the E39 into a gas can?

Curiously, I searched and it doesn't seem like anyone siphons gasoline out of their E39; the only related hit was this E46 gas-thief thread other than numerous internal siphon threads (between the gas-tank chambers).

So, may I ask ... How can one siphon gas OUT of the E39?

I tried (see pic below) but the 5/16 inch OD hose only went in about a foot and then stopped.

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  #2  
Old 04-04-2010, 07:33 AM
jbrovage jbrovage is offline
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Fuel theif!
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  #3  
Old 04-04-2010, 07:57 AM
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I think this is an exceptionally bad idea.

I would only do this in extreme (i.e. life threatening) circumstances myself, but YMMV.
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  #4  
Old 04-04-2010, 08:08 AM
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Go in thru the fuel pump hatch which I believe is under the rear seat or in the trunk.

(can't remember which is which for the e38/e39...Easter candy sugar rush is affecting my brain)
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Last edited by QSilver7; 04-04-2010 at 08:12 AM.
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  #5  
Old 04-04-2010, 08:39 AM
Jase007 Jase007 is offline
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Why do you need to do this?

If you want to drain the tank ... loosen a hose underneath the car towards the front left (under the driver in U.S.) by the fuel filter and let it drain (open fill cap to let air in).

Gravity is your friend.
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  #6  
Old 04-04-2010, 10:08 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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bluebee,

The basic principle of siphoning is the donor tank has to be higher than the recipient container. The higher the better.

So park the car somewhere higher (like a driveway with about 1-2 ft elevation on one side, this way you can drop the container lower than the wheel).

For those who wonder why the need to siphon, the BMW engineers got rid of the drain plug in the fuel tank. I used to have a 1983 735i, the fuel tank had a drain plug.
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  #7  
Old 04-04-2010, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
bluebee,

The basic principle of siphoning is the donor tank has to be higher than the recipient container. The higher the better.

So park the car somewhere higher (like a driveway with about 1-2 ft elevation on one side, this way you can drop the container lower than the wheel).

For those who wonder why the need to siphon, the BMW engineers got rid of the drain plug in the fuel tank. I used to have a 1983 735i, the fuel tank had a drain plug.
I don't think it matters how high you put the car above the container if you can't get the end of the hose down into the gas as she said from the get go...
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  #8  
Old 04-04-2010, 07:44 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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540iman,

Sorry I misread bluebee's thread, my bad!

Then the easiest is:
1. Open the Gas Filler Cap.

2. Do this away from your house.
3. Have a fire extinguisher ready.
4. Have a plug in case you want to stop the fuel flow (or you can simply plug the hose back into the fuel filter if you need to stop the fuel flow).
5. Disconnect the Fuel Hose feeding the Fuel Filter (not the hose from Fuel Filter to engine).
This is the hose that runs from the fuel tank to the fuel pump (which is located right under driver's L butt area under the car, remove the plastic cover under the chassis and you will see the fuel filter).
Then fuel flows out by gravity, no need to run the fuel pump relay.
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...28&hg=16&fg=15

Disconnect at #11:


Last edited by cn90; 04-04-2010 at 07:48 PM.
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  #9  
Old 04-20-2010, 12:18 PM
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Based on your responses, I've concluded that there must be an anti-siphon restriction in the fuel line above the tank.

So I returned the $16 siphon pump to the auto-parts store, basically unused (packing it back up was just about as hard as getting the FSU unclipped!).

My main goal was just to have a way to easily transfer gas from one car to another in the garage should I ever need to, or into a gas can.

For 16 bucks, the siphon seemed a worthwhile emergency tool ... but the fuel line restriction negated that. Disconnecting fuel lines is also too troublesome for what I wish to accomplish so I guess I must conclude there's no easy way to get the fuel out of the E39 into a gas can.
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  #10  
Old 04-20-2010, 12:47 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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I think the BMW E39 has a tortuous filler neck (like a snake) to prevent gas theft???
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  #11  
Old 04-20-2010, 01:45 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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bluebee,

I have never had to do that, as I always fill up when the gauge reaches 1/4.

BTW, cn90, the fuel flows by siphon action, not gravity. Note that the tank outlet is higher than the filter; the fuel line is full, so siphon action takes over.
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  #12  
Old 04-20-2010, 02:14 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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edjack,

Read bluebee post again, what bluebee encountered was in the filler neck, the hose could not pass the filler neck area.
I know all about siphon principle, did alot of that as a kid...
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  #13  
Old 04-20-2010, 02:56 PM
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No, I was referring to the case where one disconnects the fuel line at the filter, and allows the fuel to flow from there. I wasn't making myself clear.
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  #14  
Old 04-20-2010, 07:24 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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While we are on the same topic, does anyone know why E39 fuel tank has no drain bolt at the bottom?
It does not make any sense at all. All fuel tanks should have drain bolt for servicing (such as replacing fuel tank, draining out contaminated fuel mixed with water etc.)

I know for fact that my previous E23 (1983 735i) fuel tank has a drain bolt to drain fuel.
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  #15  
Old 04-20-2010, 09:24 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Might be an antitheft measure. Also, since the tank is plastic, it's problematic to put a steel flange in the bottom to accept a drain plug, and keep it from leaking.

But I suspect the theft thing is the real reason.
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  #16  
Old 04-21-2010, 05:57 AM
jbrovage jbrovage is offline
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it's cheaper to make fuel tanks with no drain bolts.
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  #17  
Old 04-21-2010, 08:03 AM
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I would add that it's A LOT safer (not to mention easier) to keep a jerry can with fuel in it than to even bother with a siphon. I mean, c'mon.
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  #18  
Old 04-21-2010, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
I think the BMW E39 has a tortuous filler neck (like a snake) to prevent gas theft???
I had looked at REALOEM before posting and I didn't see a snake-like line nor do I see any specific anti-siphon valve.

So now my curiosity is piqued.

I do see a second tube at the gas cap side - I wonder if I was going into the wrong tube by mistake with the siphon hose? (What's the purpose of the second tube anyway?).

Do you see any anti-siphon feature in this realoem diagram?

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  #19  
Old 06-27-2010, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QSilver7 View Post
Go in thru the fuel pump hatch which I believe is under the rear seat or in the trunk.
I gave up on trying to siphon gas OUT of the E39 (due to the restriction about 1 foot inside the gas cap) ...

But, I am curious about this fuel-pump hatch.

Does anyone have a picture of what this fuel-pump hatch looks like?

If we were to unbolt this fuel-pump hatch, are we then looking INSIDE the tank?

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  #20  
Old 05-14-2011, 07:35 PM
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Amazingly, some 'dumb' thief did better than I could (apparently) at siphoning out an entire tank of gas at "midnight gas shopping'.
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > Locking gas cap

Quote:
Originally Posted by soledoc View Post
Does [a locking gas cap] exist for my car? '02 525iT. Some jerk just siphoned gas from my tank last night as my car was parked in the driveway.
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  #21  
Old 05-14-2011, 08:04 PM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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I would also like to find out how to siphon the gas out. I have 6 parts cars, and I suspect at least two of them have full tanks of gas.
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Old 05-14-2011, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Jimmys 530i View Post
I would also like to find out how to siphon the gas out.
I tried a variety of hoses, both hard and soft.

None got past the restriction.

Yet, the enigma is that I don't 'see' any restriction in the Realoem diagrams.

So, I too would really like to know WHAT it is that is preventing me from getting a hose down more than a few inches into the tube.
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  #23  
Old 05-14-2011, 10:33 PM
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What is this "gas" you speak of? Is it similar to the liquid gold we must put in our tanks just so we can support "Global Relations"?
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  #24  
Old 05-15-2011, 03:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
... But, I am curious about this fuel-pump hatch.

Does anyone have a picture of what this fuel-pump hatch looks like?

If we were to unbolt this fuel-pump hatch, are we then looking INSIDE the tank?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmys 530i View Post
I would also like to find out how to siphon the gas out. I have 6 parts cars, and I suspect at least two of them have full tanks of gas.
Yes, you would be looking inside the tank...

When you lift off the rear bottom seat cushion...you can see the 2 round covers that allow you to access the fuel level senders/fuel pump...remove either of these covers and you can then siphon out any fuel left in the tank.

And here's the instructions from the BMW TIS on how to siphon fuel from the tank (from either the fuel filler neck or through the fuel level senders/fuel pump openings): http://tis.spaghetticoder.org/s/view.pl?1/01/36/58

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  #25  
Old 05-15-2011, 07:27 AM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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Blue, hoping to make you feel better, I have tried to siphon gas out of the Bimmer a bunch of times and whether the screen is shown or not, it is there. I believe it is a screen with about 1/4" holes all across it. She does not want to have to pull the back seat or disconnect the fuel filter or to get gas out of the tank to do a repair so all these suggestions are not what she is looking for. Blue, like myself, sometimes gets caught I imagine, with the gas can empty for the lawn mower or whatever and rather than a trip to the store which in my case is about 10 miles away, just wants to "steal" a gallon from herself for another purpose to save time. As I found out, you can't get there.

I laughingly recall that shortly after I finished modding my '99 Vette with cam, heads, TB, headers, and much, much more (enough to make 533 RWHP) my wife took it and filled it with 87 octane. I about **** and immediately set about to siphon and found the same thing. I ended up adding about 8 cans of some very expensive octane booster to try and be safe and added 93 octane every time I went even a few gallons down. Silly thing is the knock sensors really take care of any issue just as they do on the BMW. Your BMW will run just fine on an occasional diet of regular, but you will lose gas mileage and performance and I'm not recommending it- just saying it's not the end of the world!
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