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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 08-17-2010, 06:05 AM
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energizedmortal energizedmortal is offline
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E39 maintanence advise for 2003 530i with 135,000 miles

I bought this 2003 530i with 97,000 miles in 2007. Now has 135,000 miles and I have replaced the following:

oil housing
ccv
all belts twice,
water pump,
spark plugs
pisa valve failed in engine clicked gave CEL and was replaced
thermostat,
alternator,
battery,
brakes twice,
power steering hoses,
thrust arm bushings,
control arms,
tie rods
pullies,
radiator, reservoir and cap, hoses
faulty alarm,
tires,
sealed vapor barrier,
cluster from ebay (matched vin in ike),
recently welded exhaust console hanger above front sway bar
windshield
windshield washer jet
sway bar link
upper radiator hose
metal bleed screws

Car is currently running fine check control is ok (oil changes every 3500 miles, close eye on cooling and car temperature) but will do the following in the next couple of weeks...will replace both front o2 sensors and fuel filter. Will i eventually need to do a vanos overhaul or just reseal it properly?

Does anyone with experience have any advice for what else I should maintain to keep the car going? I plan to keep it
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Last edited by energizedmortal; 08-23-2010 at 05:37 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-17-2010, 06:26 AM
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BigCo540i BigCo540i is offline
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Sounds like you dumped enough money into the car. I would just drive it and save some dough for the unexpected.
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  #3  
Old 08-17-2010, 06:36 AM
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YOur mileage does indicate that you're due for the Vanos seal change. I'd look into that in the near future,
Also, I'd replace the p/s reservoir canister just so you'll have a new filter in there.
I didnt' see that you've changed the CCV, if not that's also prime time to R&R and related hoses, especially the return hose going to the dipstick tube.
At that time, I'd also change the MAF boots, and related hoses, as well as spray clean the throttle body.
Motor mounts in good shape? They're fluid filled, dont hold up well if you like to hammer the pedal.

Why do brakes twice in 30k miles?
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  #4  
Old 08-17-2010, 06:59 AM
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oh yea- i did change the ccv when i replaced oil housing...the first brakes i got an indy must have ripped me with cheap after markets...second time i did oem from BMW and they have lasted way longer and are still going now. Thanks for the other suggestions I will look into that...when i first got the car i was heavy on the pedal but have evolved into a slow elderly kind of driver (even though things will still fail hopefully not as soon) if i want to beat up a car im going to have climb the social latter one day to just keep rebuilding a Porsche on a track...note i should go with besian seal for the vanos correct? i hear the bmw seal is only lasting 9 k

bigCO- thanks for the reply, saving for the unexpected has worked but has also been a little more costly, some things on these cars cost less if done before a disaster...some time ago a simple coolant leak in my upper radiator hose spit coolant at the fan blade that then flung around to the belts...my belts popped...somehow avoided tow (i was a block away from a indy) but still had to replace relatively new belts and pullies because I didn't prevent the cooling problem. i've also heard of the clutch fan breaking and denting the hood- 100 dollar preventive replacement can save thousands ...which reminds me i also have to keep an eye on my FSU, and fan clutch, then theres only another 3000 pounds of possible failure i haven't got to lol maybe i should just stick to maintaining my ferrari for free in grand turismo on ps3 and just take the subway with a bunch of strangers...sike

Last edited by energizedmortal; 08-17-2010 at 07:28 AM.
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  #5  
Old 08-17-2010, 07:40 AM
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Valve cover gasket and Vanos seals from Besian's and you should be ready to go--I would add that you need to remove and clean the throttlebody and idle control valve and clean both of those parts and also replace the valve on the left side of the engine that controls the secondary air at start up--now you should also replace the vacuum hose's on the back side of the engine on the driverside of the intake--there are two of them and there are a couple of vacuum caps back there also. You will need to remove the cabin duct work to get back there and will also need a flashlight and a small mirror so as to see where everything is.
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Old 08-18-2010, 06:02 AM
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thanks poolman i added MAF, and fan clutch to the list...what do you think about transmission fluid change on these things? i hear it should be done without pressure (drain and refill) and done a couple of times after to clean up any leftover debris in there . do you flush your brake fluid every two years like bmw says?
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:35 AM
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I flush my brake system every two years and concerning the tranny--yes change the fluid twice and on the third drain--drop the pan and replace the filter--that will get rid of most of the bad fluid-tranny will love it
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Old 08-19-2010, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by energizedmortal View Post
.what do you think about transmission fluid change on these things?... do you flush your brake fluid every two years like bmw says?
The most recommended fluid change intervals is (supposed to be) in this thread ...

The dozen fluids in your bimmer (steering, brakes, oil, coolant, transmission, differential, washer, intensive washer, battery, ac, fuel, tires).
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  #9  
Old 10-20-2010, 08:37 AM
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im replacing motor and transmission mounts next week but do not have the tools, how much should this job go for at an Indy in new york city area...anyone have suggestions?
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  #10  
Old 10-21-2010, 02:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by energizedmortal View Post
how much should this job go for at an Indy in new york city area...anyone have suggestions?
From the bestlinks:
- Repair hours, price, cost, and labor rates at a local indy or stealer (1) (2) (3) & how to find a good mechanic (1) (2)
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  #11  
Old 10-21-2010, 04:15 AM
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Fudman Fudman is online now
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+1 on the Vanos seal change.

Are you still on original struts & shocks? They're not on your list. Those should be replaced too.
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  #12  
Old 10-21-2010, 09:06 AM
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energizedmortal energizedmortal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
+1 on the Vanos seal change.

Are you still on original struts & shocks? They're not on your list. Those should be replaced too.
i have not replaced struts and shocks thanks to the current economic state of affairs...will the car eventually drop and spark through the highway? or can i live with the boat feel for now? I also read that theres nothing better than the original shocks but that struts do go and should be replaced with koni's , which struts and shocks did you go with? any links?


update my recent maintenance...

besian vanos seals 140k
valve cover gasket 140k
fuel filter 140k
right thrust arm with HD bushing 140k
radiator 140k
lower & upper radiator hose 140k
fan clutch and blade 140k

spare parts:
fsu
hd bushing
Brake pad set
O2 sensors
H7 auto illumination
Expansion tank, cap
Gatorback Belts

Last edited by energizedmortal; 10-21-2010 at 11:17 AM.
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  #13  
Old 10-21-2010, 09:30 AM
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Fudman Fudman is online now
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No, you should not be dragging like a low rider. However, you will not get the full benefits of the original e39 ride and handling, which are probably its' most endearing characteristics. Since you already changed your thrust arms, control arms, sway bar links and tie rods, you almost have a completely restored front end.

When I restored my front end at 75K, I went with the OEM Sachs sport replacements. I did not want to compromise the blend of ride and handling as most high end aftermarket shocks (Koni, Bilstein, etc.) offer improved handling with reduced ride comfort. The cost was also less. However, I understand that the new Bilstein HD shocks have been re-valved and offer much improved ride quality to go with excellent performance. The bonus is much better durability than Sachs. In retrospect, I should have gone with Bilstein HDs.

BTW, it looks like you only changed one of your thrust arms and its' bushing (with the HD) and the other is original. Usually suspension components are replaced in pairs to preserve symmetry and balance.
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:41 AM
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thanks for the info when im ready i'll look into bilstein hd's they're $184 a piece on autohausaz and yea i went the knucklehead way about the thrust arms since the other one was still intact with no play seeing how much more money i can get out of it and kept my other spare hd bushing hope to put the other new thrust arm in there before year's end to even it out better ...next time around i'll throw in the pair of arms with hd's pressed in from eactuning

Last edited by energizedmortal; 10-21-2010 at 11:19 AM.
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  #15  
Old 10-21-2010, 10:39 AM
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Jason5driver Jason5driver is offline
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Impressive maintenance!
Pictures of the car?

I would also look HARD at the Koni Sports.

What brakes do you have now?
OEM?

Thanks!
Jason
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Old 10-21-2010, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason5driver View Post
Impressive maintenance!
Pictures of the car?

I would also look HARD at the Koni Sports.

What brakes do you have now?
OEM?

Thanks!
Jason

Right now i have ATE brakes (no special shoes or rims) which are a year and a half and going...recently got spare MINTEX set from autohausaz...only picture i have is in post #1 ...i've done more mechanical maintenance than anything else , wax her twice a year, not really any M tech stuff on her or new M5 seats but its pretty mint all around other than minor city dings and the driver's seat which is worn. paranoia from reading horror stories on the board of cars stranding people made me look up most of what goes wrong with this model since many members said that preventative diy maintenance will cost less in the long run.
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:28 PM
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You can't put a pricetag on peace of mind!
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  #18  
Old 11-03-2010, 01:23 PM
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energizedmortal energizedmortal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
No, you should not be dragging like a low rider. However, you will not get the full benefits of the original e39 ride and handling, which are probably its' most endearing characteristics. Since you already changed your thrust arms, control arms, sway bar links and tie rods, you almost have a completely restored front end.

When I restored my front end at 75K, I went with the OEM Sachs sport replacements. I did not want to compromise the blend of ride and handling as most high end aftermarket shocks (Koni, Bilstein, etc.) offer improved handling with reduced ride comfort. The cost was also less. However, I understand that the new Bilstein HD shocks have been re-valved and offer much improved ride quality to go with excellent performance. The bonus is much better durability than Sachs. In retrospect, I should have gone with Bilstein HDs.

BTW, it looks like you only changed one of your thrust arms and its' bushing (with the HD) and the other is original. Usually suspension components are replaced in pairs to preserve symmetry and balance.
installed motor and transmission mounts (7 year old motor mount broke into two pieces and tranny mounts were bent to hell) ...other thrust arm and hd bushing, bilstein hd struts , mounts, upper/lower spring pads ordered...finally money can go somewhere else for a change since my girl found some of my car parts receipts and accused me of treating the car better than her
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Old 11-03-2010, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by energizedmortal View Post
accused me of treating the car better than her
Some other things to look out for ...

Common problems you can expect with your E39 might be:
- RADIATOR LEAKS: brittle plastic expansion tank, radiator, & thermostat housings that blow up due to faulty plastic mostly at the upper hose neck but also in the expansion tank and thermostat housing (1)
- MID PIXELS: press-fit pink connection tape lifts up over time on MID causing dead pixels (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) [MID removal instructions (1) (2) (3) (4)]
- CLUSTER PIXELS: press-fit pink connection tape lifts up over time on the instrument cluster causing dead pixels (1) [cluster removal instructions (1) (2)]
- HEADLIGHT ADJUSTERS: brittle plastic headlight adjusters that simply crumble over time causing the lights to point downward (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) & options available (1)
- FAN CONTROL: poorly ventilated fan-control (FSU/FSR) modules that are practically sure to go haywire due to poor heat-sink design (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) ... Autopsy (1) (2)
- ABS BRAKING: tack-welded steel resistance-welded ABS control module power wires that break off their gold contact because of being too close to engine heat and vibration (1) (2) (3) ... Abs control module autopsy (1) (2) ... why the diagnostic tools fail (1)
- ENGINE STUMBLING: I6 vanos seals made out of the wrong materials so that they harden and leak over time causing degraded performance (1)
- LEAKY GASKETS: poorly designed V8 valley pan gaskets that leak coolant (1) (2)
- LEAKY DOORS: improper adhesive used on rear door vapor barrier seals that allow rain water to fill the rear footwell (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
- CRUMBLING MOLDING: heat labile rubber windshield & back window molding that crumbles in three years due to poor choice of recycled materials (1) (2)
- JACK PADS: plastic jack pads that fall off the underside of the frame due to poor latch design causing jack failures & wind noise (1) (2) (3)
- AC ODORS: poorly designed cabin-filter housing drain hoses to clog which leaves causing gym-sock smells from the AC (1) (2) (3)
- EMBLEM CHIPS: cheaply painted BMW emblem roundels that wash away in the car wash over time (1)
- FRAYED WIRING: a badly designed trunk loom wiring harness certain to chafe causing all sorts of light and fuse blowing and locking problems (1) (2)
- VIOLENT SHUDDER: violent shudder upon front-wheel braking on bumps because the front suspension dies prematurely unbeknown to the driver (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
- INOPERATIVE WINDOWS: low-quality rear-window regulators that stop the windows from closing (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12)
- BROKEN SENSORS: low mounted ambient temperature sensors practically designed to be ripped off on a parking curb (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
- DOOR LOCKS: annoying automatic door-lock mechanism that cost $100 to undo (1) (2)
- CUPHOLDERS useless cupholders and painful front armrest consoles (1)
- LEAKY RESERVOIRS: constantly wet power steering reservoirs due to poor O-ring design (1) (2)
- LEAKY HOSES: power steering hose clamps practically guaranteed to leak (1) (2)
- CRACKED TRIM: wood trim whose varnish cracks and whose cd cover doors rattle (1) (2) (3)
- BROKEN TRIM: plastic trim around the air vents which invariably crack at the corners (1)
- SEAT CONTROLS: seat covers that don't protect switches for both the steering wheel tilt & driver's seat control (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)
- SEAT CABLES: seat cables that fall out causing seat twist (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) & accidental airbag light fix (1)
- LEAKY RESERVOIRS: windshield reservoirs prone to leaking due to an ill-fitting pump o-ring gasket (1)
- CCV CLOGS: crankcase ventilation valve (CCV) diaphragm tears &/or clogs, raising pressures, blowing the head gasket and/or valve cover gasket (VCG) and oil filter housing (OFH) gasket & causing vacuum leaks (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & testing the CCV (1)
- SAP CLOGS: the secondary air pump (SAP) valve (aka diverter valve) clogs, taking out the SAS (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
- SWITCH FAILS: ignition switch that fails causing electrical problems (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)
- MAF CLOGS: the mass air flow sensor (MAF) and idle control valve (ICV) require periodic cleaning (1) (2)
- BUSHINGS TEAR: fluid-filled thrust arm bushings that crack and tear causing vibrations at speed (1) (2) (3) (4)
- ALTERNATOR FAILS: before your alternator goes bad on you, buy the rebuild parts AHEAD of time so you get QUALITY components (1) (2)
- DISA BREAKS: the DISA valve flap breaks, sometimes with parts sucked into the intake manifold (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:50 PM
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energizedmortal energizedmortal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Some other things to look out for ...

Common problems you can expect with your E39 might be:
- RADIATOR LEAKS: brittle plastic expansion tank, radiator, & thermostat housings that blow up due to faulty plastic mostly at the upper hose neck but also in the expansion tank and thermostat housing (1)
- MID PIXELS: press-fit pink connection tape lifts up over time on MID causing dead pixels (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) [MID removal instructions (1) (2) (3) (4)]
- CLUSTER PIXELS: press-fit pink connection tape lifts up over time on the instrument cluster causing dead pixels (1) [cluster removal instructions (1) (2)]
- HEADLIGHT ADJUSTERS: brittle plastic headlight adjusters that simply crumble over time causing the lights to point downward (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) & options available (1)
- FAN CONTROL: poorly ventilated fan-control (FSU/FSR) modules that are practically sure to go haywire due to poor heat-sink design (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) ... Autopsy (1) (2)
- ABS BRAKING: tack-welded steel resistance-welded ABS control module power wires that break off their gold contact because of being too close to engine heat and vibration (1) (2) (3) ... Abs control module autopsy (1) (2) ... why the diagnostic tools fail (1)
- ENGINE STUMBLING: I6 vanos seals made out of the wrong materials so that they harden and leak over time causing degraded performance (1)
- LEAKY GASKETS: poorly designed V8 valley pan gaskets that leak coolant (1) (2)
- LEAKY DOORS: improper adhesive used on rear door vapor barrier seals that allow rain water to fill the rear footwell (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
- CRUMBLING MOLDING: heat labile rubber windshield & back window molding that crumbles in three years due to poor choice of recycled materials (1) (2)
- JACK PADS: plastic jack pads that fall off the underside of the frame due to poor latch design causing jack failures & wind noise (1) (2) (3)
- AC ODORS: poorly designed cabin-filter housing drain hoses to clog which leaves causing gym-sock smells from the AC (1) (2) (3)
- EMBLEM CHIPS: cheaply painted BMW emblem roundels that wash away in the car wash over time (1)
- FRAYED WIRING: a badly designed trunk loom wiring harness certain to chafe causing all sorts of light and fuse blowing and locking problems (1) (2)
- VIOLENT SHUDDER: violent shudder upon front-wheel braking on bumps because the front suspension dies prematurely unbeknown to the driver (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
- INOPERATIVE WINDOWS: low-quality rear-window regulators that stop the windows from closing (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12)
- BROKEN SENSORS: low mounted ambient temperature sensors practically designed to be ripped off on a parking curb (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
- DOOR LOCKS: annoying automatic door-lock mechanism that cost $100 to undo (1) (2)
- CUPHOLDERS useless cupholders and painful front armrest consoles (1)
- LEAKY RESERVOIRS: constantly wet power steering reservoirs due to poor O-ring design (1) (2)
- LEAKY HOSES: power steering hose clamps practically guaranteed to leak (1) (2)
- CRACKED TRIM: wood trim whose varnish cracks and whose cd cover doors rattle (1) (2) (3)
- BROKEN TRIM: plastic trim around the air vents which invariably crack at the corners (1)
- SEAT CONTROLS: seat covers that don't protect switches for both the steering wheel tilt & driver's seat control (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)
- SEAT CABLES: seat cables that fall out causing seat twist (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) & accidental airbag light fix (1)
- LEAKY RESERVOIRS: windshield reservoirs prone to leaking due to an ill-fitting pump o-ring gasket (1)
- CCV CLOGS: crankcase ventilation valve (CCV) diaphragm tears &/or clogs, raising pressures, blowing the head gasket and/or valve cover gasket (VCG) and oil filter housing (OFH) gasket & causing vacuum leaks (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & testing the CCV (1)
- SAP CLOGS: the secondary air pump (SAP) valve (aka diverter valve) clogs, taking out the SAS (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
- SWITCH FAILS: ignition switch that fails causing electrical problems (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)
- MAF CLOGS: the mass air flow sensor (MAF) and idle control valve (ICV) require periodic cleaning (1) (2)
- BUSHINGS TEAR: fluid-filled thrust arm bushings that crack and tear causing vibrations at speed (1) (2) (3) (4)
- ALTERNATOR FAILS: before your alternator goes bad on you, buy the rebuild parts AHEAD of time so you get QUALITY components (1) (2)
- DISA BREAKS: the DISA valve flap breaks, sometimes with parts sucked into the intake manifold (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)
i've had all of these problems except clogs, SAP, and inoperable windows only a matter of time

Last edited by energizedmortal; 11-08-2010 at 06:53 PM.
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  #21  
Old 11-08-2010, 04:41 PM
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Since you did the end links, I would go ahead and replace the sway bar bushes. They are inexpensive and easy to swap out. If you are using a high quality synthetic oil, you can safely extend your oil changes to 7500 miles with no negative effects. That will lower your maintenance costs a bit. Remember LL01 oils are presumed good to 15k miles, so you are still halving the oil change interval.
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
Since you did the end links, I would go ahead and replace the sway bar bushes. They are inexpensive and easy to swap out. If you are using a high quality synthetic oil, you can safely extend your oil changes to 7500 miles with no negative effects. That will lower your maintenance costs a bit. Remember LL01 oils are presumed good to 15k miles, so you are still halving the oil change interval.
half off on oil nice. sway bar & bushings, wheel bearings, rotors, tires, struts & mounts/pads, alignment, brake fluid flush, and like 20 other things then be lucky if i can repeat it all one or two more times

Last edited by energizedmortal; 11-08-2010 at 06:47 PM.
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  #23  
Old 11-08-2010, 07:21 PM
BMW318i_E36 BMW318i_E36 is offline
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Location: Oakville, Ontario
 
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Mein Auto: 2006 BMW 330XI, 11 X5 35d
Keep the car, seems like you have taken care most of the expensive parts, doesn't make sense financially if you sell it. Keep it for atleast 2 years, than think about another car.
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  #24  
Old 11-09-2010, 07:40 AM
energizedmortal's Avatar
energizedmortal energizedmortal is offline
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Location: Manhattan, New York
 
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Posts: 639
Mein Auto: 2003 530i
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW318i_E36 View Post
Keep the car, seems like you have taken care most of the expensive parts, doesn't make sense financially if you sell it. Keep it for at least 2 years, than think about another car.
i was hoping to keep it for more like 15 years unless i miraculously climb into the high income class hitting a million miles on the odometer wouldn't hurt so the germans can swap me a brand new m5 of that year which i probably wouldn't even be able to maintain anyway (yes i can be a little idealistic at times with all the curve balls in this economy i'll be lucky to get another 50k out of her)
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  #25  
Old 11-09-2010, 07:50 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
Quote:
Originally Posted by energizedmortal View Post
I bought this 2003 530i with 97,000 miles in 2007. Now has 135,000 miles and I have replaced the following:

oil housing
ccv
all belts twice,
water pump,
spark plugs
pisa valve failed in engine clicked gave CEL and was replaced
thermostat,
alternator,
battery,
brakes twice,
power steering hoses,
thrust arm bushings,
control arms,
tie rods
pullies,
radiator, reservoir and cap, hoses
faulty alarm,
tires,
sealed vapor barrier,
cluster from ebay (matched vin in ike),
recently welded exhaust console hanger above front sway bar
windshield
windshield washer jet
sway bar link
upper radiator hose
metal bleed screws
energizedmortal,

LMAO reading your list. I love the list of this love-hate relationship with the E39.
New potential E39 buyers look at this list would probably say: "Holy Smoke, I'd better buy a Toyota Camry"...LOL.
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