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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 08-10-2014, 07:22 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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What specific tools are needed for a home DIY BMW E39 brake job

Today, the topic came up about the extender bar needed for the 7mm hex for the lower rear caliper bolts on the I6 E39:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Removing the Rear Brake Caliper Guide bolt

And, in the bestlinks, there are no threads listed; there are just posts:
- What tools are needed for a BMW E39 brake job (1) (2)

So, I figured I'd start a thread so that we can add to it, over time, and so that we can refer others to it, for discussions on what tools are needed for a typical E39 brake job.

See also:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Tools for replacing disk rotors and pads
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 08-10-2014 at 08:43 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-10-2014, 07:24 PM
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Here is the disc brake spreader that I used for my four wheel brake job:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > How to check & replace your BMW front disc brakes and rotors
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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

Last edited by bluebee; 08-10-2014 at 07:38 PM.
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  #3  
Old 08-10-2014, 07:26 PM
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Here's a suggestion for specific thin 7mm hex-head sockets:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Removing the Rear Brake Caliper Guide bolt
Quote:
Originally Posted by damisco View Post
I mentioned the socket from bava auto if u go on their site look for brakes tools parts# 33890 6mm 3/8 drive for $4.95 it fits straight in with no assle it can also be used for other work on your bimmer
I don't buy bimmer tools from auto zone and others shops they only standard tools for American cars so using them bimmer is a as sling job
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
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Last edited by bluebee; 08-10-2014 at 07:34 PM.
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  #4  
Old 08-10-2014, 07:28 PM
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Here's the long extension that I had to buy for my rear brake lower 7mm hex caliper pin:
- One user's example of a complete brake job with all torque figures, specs, measurements, fluids, decisions, tools, tricks, mistakes, suppliers, costs, etc., that it entails (1)
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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

Last edited by bluebee; 08-10-2014 at 07:35 PM.
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  #5  
Old 08-10-2014, 07:30 PM
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Here's a trick for the 7mm rear lower caliper pin ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Removing the Rear Brake Caliper Guide bolt
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustad View Post
I decided to change my rear brake pads today (2003 530i, 44000 Miles)

I read all the DIY's out there thinking this would be an easy one...Well, since the morning I am struggling to remove the 7mm Hex Head caliper guide bolt, specifically the bottom one.

The problem is that the lower control arm is right in front of the dust boot that hides the 7mm bolt. And that prevents the hex bit from going straight into the dust boot into the head of the bolt. The hex bit is always at an angle and thus I cannot spin the bolt as the bit is spinning a little in the head of the bolt and will not catch. I dont want to strip out the 7mm hex bolt head.

I even tried Bluebees's method of using a 6" and a 10" extension bar for my 3/8" socket which is outlined in pictures in post 216 of this thread: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...=266819&page=3

I tried swivel/universal joints, I even tried to lift the lower control arm by using a scissor jack. That at least allowed the bit to go in straight and catch the head of the bolt. But as soon as I attach an extension bar, the control arm comes in the middle and the bar goes in at an angle.

Anybody have any suggestions as to what else I can try?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustad View Post
Ok I have given up for tonight. I definitely did not see this coming. Even though the small 90 degree small wrench fits in perfectly, I was not able to hit the other end hard enough to loosen the bolt. I even tried a longer 7mm 3/8" Hex bit which I got from Napa. The shorter one is from Autozone.

Lifting up the control arm did make enough space for the bit to go in straight into the bolt. I did not raise it too high because I was afraid of breaking/straining some other suspension component. Maybe I should try to raise it a little bit higher next time to see if that works.

Oh yeah, I did put PB blaster inside the rubber boot to see if that would loosen the bolt. No luck.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustad View Post
I finally got the bolt loose.... All I had to do was find a way for the spring to be compressed so that there would be enough space for me to put in a normal wrench.

It turns out that with the car sitting on all the wheels, there is more than enough space to get a wrench in there to loosen the bolts.

You can see clearly from the photos how much space there is once the springs are in the compressed state. The 7mm Hex Bit goes in straight and there is more than enough space for a 3/8 drive to turn easily. A normal 3/8 wrench did not have enough leverage so I used my Harbor Freight 3/8" Torque wrench with a long handle and easily broke the bolt seize. After that I easily used a normal wrench and loosened the bolt. I did not take the bolt out as I dont have the time now to complete the work so this will have to wait till next Saturday.

The bolt was really stuck in there. I think even if I did get a long arm angled 7mm wrench, I would had to hit it quite hard and quite a few times for the bolt to loosen. I am glad I figured out this way to loosen the bolt. The other advantage of this method is that I can easily use the Torque wrench again to tighten the bolt to the correct torque after I complete the pad replacement.

I hope this helps the other person who tries to tackle this bolt.
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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

Last edited by bluebee; 08-10-2014 at 07:34 PM.
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  #6  
Old 08-10-2014, 07:33 PM
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For the rear brake shoes ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > REAR Brake Shoes (Parking Brake), ATE vs Pagid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Does anyone know what this tool is (the tool used to remove the brake shoes)?

http://www.zeckhausen.com/E39_BMW_Rear_Install.htm
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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.
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  #7  
Old 08-10-2014, 07:40 PM
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You're going to need something strong to hold up the heavy calipers so that there is no strain on the rubber brake lines:
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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

Last edited by bluebee; 08-10-2014 at 07:56 PM.
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  #8  
Old 08-10-2014, 07:41 PM
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Some way of prying off the spring clip will be needed because you're not going to get it off easily with bare hands:
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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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  #9  
Old 08-10-2014, 07:43 PM
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A mic is de rigueur for determining whether you can keep the rotors or whether you need to replace them:

The mic is also required for checking rear parking brake shoe thickness:


See also:
- Where to by the cheapest least expensive precision measuring tools such as digital calipers, digital micrometer, and dial indicators (1)
__________________
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

Last edited by bluebee; 08-10-2014 at 08:31 PM.
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  #10  
Old 08-10-2014, 07:43 PM
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I don't know how anyone measures runout without a dial gauge:
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #11  
Old 08-10-2014, 07:45 PM
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Of course, a torque wrench that goes to 89 foot pounds plus an extension to get over the wheel and tire is de rigueur ...

See also:
- How to calibrate your torque wrench tools (1)
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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

Last edited by bluebee; 08-10-2014 at 08:34 PM.
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  #12  
Old 08-10-2014, 07:47 PM
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Mechanics probably have a special tool for measuring wear, with the wheels on the vehicle:
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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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  #13  
Old 08-10-2014, 07:50 PM
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A long screwdriver will be needed to adjust the parking brake shoes:
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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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  #14  
Old 08-10-2014, 07:50 PM
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A 1/8th inch flathead screwdriver will be needed to open the brake wear sensor connection housing:
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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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  #15  
Old 08-10-2014, 07:54 PM
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Of course, chocks are required when you're jacking up one end:

And, a floor jack is required to get the end off the ground:

And, at least two jack stands are required (preferably 6-ton, for height) and preferably four of them for a four-wheel brake job:


See also:
- How and where to jack up the BMW E39 with pictures of jack pads & jacking points (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & what jack stands to buy or make (1) & how to make or buy car ramps for your BMW E39 (1) (2) (3) & what floor jack requirements does the E39 need (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
__________________
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

Last edited by bluebee; 08-10-2014 at 08:44 PM.
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