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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 06-07-2010, 11:14 PM
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Are all E39s 18 gallons of fuel?

I can't find my owners manual (all I have is the euro pdf), and it's not in the Bentleys.

My E39 (2002 525i) takes about 18 gallons of fuel when on empty.

Q: Do all the E39s take 18 gallons or what?
Q: And, are all gasoline E39s supposed to take 91 AKI rated non-leaded fuel?

The reason I ask is to flesh out this one-page printout as a Bentley supplement.

Here's the fuel section (which needs improvement):
- Engine fuel (gas): The fuel octane rating should be listed in the Bentleys; but if it is, I can't find it. The sticker on the inside of the fuel filler door tells us which octane rating to use. I think most E39s specify unleaded 91 AKI (the AKI is the average of the RON & the MON). Need others to confirm the octane rating specified for the various E39s. [Mine is about 18 gallons but we need to know if all E39s are 18 gallons or not.) Replacement Interval: Monthly, as fuel reputedly goes "stale" after 30 days; also it's reputed you should fill at 1/2 tank intervals in order to better cool the fuel pump. Fuel can't be siphoned out due to siphon restrictions 4 inches in.
- Engine fuel (diesel): On page 23 of the Owners Manual, it lists "Diesel oil DIN EN 590", whatever that is. It specifically says not to use rapeseed oil methyl ester (aka RME), or bio diesel oil. Replacement Interval: As needed. ???

Last edited by bluebee; 06-07-2010 at 11:15 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-07-2010, 11:33 PM
PropellerHead PropellerHead is offline
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On the way to Bimmerfest, 2004. And the gas tank is the same across all sedans.



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  #3  
Old 06-07-2010, 11:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PropellerHead View Post
On the way to Bimmerfest, 2004. And the gas tank is the same across all sedans.



you sure it was 2004 and not 1984 @ $1.99 a gallon?
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Old 06-07-2010, 11:46 PM
pangolin pangolin is offline
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I filled up at 18 gallons a bunch of times, the system gets more insistent when the range is 30 miles. The yellow light seems to turn on at 60 remaining miles.

1/2 tank intervals in order to better cool the fuel pump?? Is that from Bentleys? If your cornering really hard, the fuel pump can go dry if your low on fuel. That can be detrimental for the fuel pump. I hope (it better be) the fuel tank is well baffled to prevent this.

The V8 has the pressure regulator in the fuel filter assembly (my car anyway), which is under the car. This actually prevents significant fuel heating issues, and hence vaporization issues.
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  #5  
Old 06-08-2010, 12:02 AM
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i think the car fills up at 65 liters or something... it's like 32.5 and 32.5 i thinks...
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Old 06-08-2010, 12:27 AM
PropellerHead PropellerHead is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chivas View Post
you sure it was 2004 and not 1984 @ $1.99 a gallon?
The fact that my current mileage in that car is less than 55K would be sad if I wasn't near 92K in the X5. At least it's Bimmer time. Right? RIGHT?
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  #7  
Old 06-08-2010, 04:56 AM
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I believe the capacity of the tank is 18.5 gallons. And the yellow "get gas dummy" light comes on when the OBC sees the range as 40 miles or less under current driving conditions. It will go on and off as speed changes and range increases/decreases.

And Blue, the bottom of this page has most manuals--not all the earliest years but mostly the info is the same.
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Last edited by Josh P.; 06-08-2010 at 05:02 AM.
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  #8  
Old 06-08-2010, 05:15 AM
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My low fuel light comes on at 62 miles remaining and I get a dash warning with a chime when I hit 31 miles.
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:51 AM
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70 liters

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Old 06-08-2010, 07:53 AM
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Pending on the year of manufacturing, e39 had different fuel octane specifications. The earlier models had lower AKI needs than the later models. Like 89 vs 91 or similar. There were threads where lots of earlier v8 guys chimed in confirming lower (regular) gasoline marked on the fuel filler door.
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  #11  
Old 06-08-2010, 09:19 AM
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Hmm, so with this "reserve", that means the actual capacity of my 530 is 20.5 gallons? Where is this reserve? Is it actually a physically separated area of the tank? Interesting that all the cars have the same size tank but the 540 a larger reserve...which perhaps explains why the light would come one at the higher mileage-left indicator than the 6 cyl engines.
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  #12  
Old 06-08-2010, 09:35 AM
edjack edjack is online now
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In any event, it's just plain dumb to chronically run the tank dry. You're inviting pump failure, as the fuel cools the motor.

Fill up at 1/4. Gas cap or filler door has min octane posted.
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  #13  
Old 06-08-2010, 01:56 PM
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Thanks to you guys, I improved the gasoline section of the E39 fluids.
I kind'a averaged your conflicting yellow-light and "ding" mileage numbers to 60 and 30 ... so please correct if that's grossly off.
Here's what I have in that fluids thread ...

- Engine fuel (gas): The sticker on the inside of the fuel filler specifies the octane rating to use; most E39s specify unleaded 91 AKI (the AKI is the average of the RON & the MON). Lower octane ratings can be used as the knock sensors will retard timing which may adversely affect performance but which won't damage the car under normal circumstances. [Volume: 70 liters (18.5 gallons) with a reserve capacity of 8 liters (2 gallons) in the 525i & 530i and a reserve of 10 liters (2.5 gallons) for the 540i]. Yellow warning light goes on approximately at 60 remaining miles; chime sounds at approximately 30 remaining miles. Replacement Interval: Monthly, as fuel reputedly goes "stale" after 30 days; also it's reputed you should fill at 1/2 tank intervals in order to better cool the fuel pump. Fuel can't be siphoned out due to siphon restrictions 4 inches in.
- Engine fuel (diesel): On page 23 of the Owners Manual, it lists "Diesel oil DIN EN 590", whatever that is. It specifically says not to use rapeseed oil methyl ester (aka RME), or bio diesel oil. Replacement Interval: As needed. ???



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  #14  
Old 06-08-2010, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh P. View Post
1. Hmm, so with this "reserve", that means the actual capacity of my 530 is 20.5 gallons?
2. Where is this reserve? Is it actually a physically separated area of the tank?
3. ...all the cars have the same size tank but the 540 a larger reserve...which perhaps explains why the light would come one at the higher mileage-left indicator than the 6 cyl engines.
1. No, the fuel capacity of your tank is as it's explained in the owners manual...approx 18.5 gallons/70 liters..the "reserve" is included in the approx 18.5G/70L (see #2 below for more explanation:

2. The reserve is included in the total capacity of the fuel tank. There is no separate reserve tank. In fact, the tank has 2 sections...each with a fuel level sensor + a suction pump that brings fuel over from the other half of the tank...the calculation for the reserve is model/engine dependent (which kinda answers your 3rd question) and is signaled by the "level sensors" as to when the FUEL WARNING light illuminates...which is the system alerting you that you have now tapped into your "reserve" fuel.

(low instrument cluster/OBC)



(high instrument cluster/OBC)



TNK: (left side/right side/approx total amount of fuel in tank)
OBC TEST 6 will show you the amount of fuel on each side of the tank...in pic below, there's only about 1/2 tank of fuel left...and TEST 6 represents this accordingly by only display approx 2.8 liters of fuel on the left side of the tank while the right side of the tank is almost full:

3. Kind of answered already in the 2nd answer above.
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Last edited by QSilver7; 06-08-2010 at 03:15 PM.
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  #15  
Old 06-08-2010, 09:07 PM
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Excellent post, QSilver!
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  #16  
Old 06-09-2010, 05:06 AM
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This is helpful. I find it odd that the fuel levels would be so different in each side of the saddle tank (cluster photo): 2.8 liters on one side and 35.2 in the other?? Can that be right? Why would that occur? Or does it just slosh over to one side on cornering?
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  #17  
Old 06-09-2010, 07:35 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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I think QSilver7 had it right on: 18.5G filling from dry.

One thing everyone driving a modern Fuel Injection car needs to know is that: the fuel pump is lubricated by the gasoline, so dry tank = damaged fuel pump = expensive fix.

When you run a car dry:

- Carburetor Engine: getting stranded and that is all.

- F.I. Engine: getting stranded + damaged fuel pump!

Personally, I think the bottom 15% (18.5G x 0.15 = 2.8G) is unusable because it is getting dangerously low. For practical and safety purpose, I refill as soon as the needle shows 1/4!
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:52 AM
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I updated the fluids section to indicate 1/4 instead of 1/2 in order to cool the pump.

I'm still a little confused when the light goes on in the various models ... does it go on by MILES LEFT or by VOLUME LEFT?

I suspect it's volume. But what volume? There's the "reserve" volume (which is different by model) but how does it distinguish when to put the light on and when to ring the chime?

Here is the latest:
- Engine fuel (gas): The sticker on the inside of the fuel filler specifies the octane rating to use; most E39s in the USA specify unleaded 91 AKI (the AKI is the average of the RON & the MON). Lower octane ratings can be used as the two piezoelectric knock sensors will retard timing if they sense detonation vibrations which may adversely affect performance but which won't damage the car under normal circumstances. [Volume: 70 liters (18.5 gallons) with a reserve capacity of 8 liters (2 gallons) in the 525i & 530i and a reserve of 10 liters (2.5 gallons) for the 540i]. Small round yellow fuel-warning light goes on approximately at these reserve volumes; chime sounds at approximately the half-reserve mark. Replacement Interval: Monthly, as fuel reputedly goes "stale" after 30 days; also it's reputed you should fill by the 1/4 to 1/8 mark in order to better cool the fuel pump. Fuel can't be siphoned out due to siphon restrictions 4 inches in but can be bled using other methods.
- Engine fuel (diesel): On page 23 of the Owners Manual, it lists "Diesel oil DIN EN 590", whatever that is. It specifically says not to use rapeseed oil methyl ester (aka RME), or bio diesel oil. Replacement Interval: As needed. ???
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  #19  
Old 06-09-2010, 09:05 AM
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I'm looking at it now. All the manual states (that I could find anyway) is that the yellow light stays on when the remaining fuel hits those threshold points. From experience, I can tell you that the light in my car goes on when the OBC reports range as 40 mi or less. If I take the car up to highway speed and the range thus increases, the light will go out (the manual alludes to this behavior). I have never gotten the warning chime...which I consider a good sign.
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"Mods": driveshaft, cooling system, Vanos, CCV, PSR, VCG, FSU, spark plugs, buncha belts-n-hoses, & other things I'd just as soon forget

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  #20  
Old 06-09-2010, 09:20 AM
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oh, if you're running really low on fuel, you don't want to make a lot of right turns either.
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  #21  
Old 07-11-2010, 11:07 PM
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This post implies the low fuel light goes on at 62 miles remaining and the chime at 31 miles remaining.

Did we ever resolve the algorithm used for the low fuel and chime on the various E39s?
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  #22  
Old 07-12-2010, 04:44 AM
geiristudio geiristudio is offline
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Here in Iceland I fill my e39 540 for about 14.000kr (when empty) which, at the current exchange rate, would be about 112$ .. If I could fill mine up for 40 bucks, I'd be in heaven!
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  #23  
Old 07-12-2010, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geiristudio View Post
If I could fill mine up for 40 bucks, I'd be in heaven!
I don't know where Chivas lives where he can get premium for 1.99/gallon but here in California we can only buy California mixes, which, at today's rates, even at Rotton Robbies, on http://www.gasbuddy.com are 50% higher

See San Jose gas prices below (http://www.sanjosegasprices.com) ... note Costco only sells two grades, 87AKI & 92AKI (no 89 AKI).

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  #24  
Old 07-12-2010, 12:02 PM
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Ouch! I saw 93 RON here for $2.88 this weekend and 87 RON for just $2.63.
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:08 PM
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Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt and the hat.

I used to live in the SF Bay Area and HATED paying so much for gas.

New Hampster is WAAY cheaper than Cali.
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