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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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 01-22-2011, 09:34 AM
YOST YOST is offline
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Loud knocking when idling

My 540i has a knock when idling but goes away when revved up.
It has 240000km on it but runs well.
Anybody know what is going on there?
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  #2  
Old 01-22-2011, 09:45 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Check out the videos of sounds to see if it sounds like any of these in the VERY best of E39 Links sound library.

- VANOS rattling noise video (1)
- Water pump impeller noise video (1)
- Water pump bearing bearing noise video (1)
- Alternator bearing or pulley cold-idle noise video (1)
- Unknown noise video (oil pump bolts?) (1)
- DISA valve o-ring failure symptoms video (1)

If you find better videos in your searches, update the bestlinks thread so we all benefit from the added value.
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  #3  
Old 01-22-2011, 09:52 AM
YOST YOST is offline
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it goes away when revved to 4000 so anything loose would keep making the noise I think.
I don't have any experience with VANOS so that is what I thought it might be.
In any case I work in Africa so the fix will have to wait!
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  #4  
Old 01-22-2011, 11:14 AM
YOST YOST is offline
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Like the Vanos video says it does sound like marbles in a can.
But only in a couple of cylinders. I guess they will all go sooner or later.
If it is Vanos then what is the best fix?
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  #5  
Old 01-22-2011, 03:00 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Many V8s were troubled with rod bearing wear. BMW did replace the bearings upon complaint. BMW said that the noise was not a problem, and would not compromise engine longevity - difficult for me to believe.

The noise would be a deeper knock, inside the engine, rather than marbles in a tin can.

Try running a heavier oil, like 20W50 ( or Mobil 1 0W40).
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Last edited by edjack; 01-22-2011 at 03:02 PM.
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  #6  
Old 01-22-2011, 07:52 PM
YOST YOST is offline
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Thumbs down

Edjack

That was my first thoughts. had that trouble years ago in another car.
Did they replace the bearings at any time? Mine is a 2000 with 240k km on it.

Also, the noise goes away when I rev it up and I would not expect bearing end play to do that. Think it would get worse.

When I bought the car this past summer I did notice some noise from the engine that sounded like the old tappets of days gone by.

It is in need of an oil change and I have castrol synthetic 10w30 on hand. Since it is winter where I live 20w50 is not an option. For summer maybe.
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  #7  
Old 01-22-2011, 08:13 PM
98540iA 98540iA is offline
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Check your spark plugs to make sure they are all snug. I had a loud knock/tick that drove me nuts. I found 2 spark plugs that were loose, tightened them up and it's nice and quiet since. This has been known to happen on these engines and many posts about this can be found (when I searched I was very suprised how many people fixed the ticking/knocking by finding a loose plug or two and then tightening them). Folks seem to say the OEM Bosch plugs are notorious for "backing out" and they recommend another brand (can't remember). I have fairly new Bosch plugs but I just check them every once in a while ever since I had this issue.
Good luck!
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  #8  
Old 01-23-2011, 02:21 PM
JackNCokeGus JackNCokeGus is offline
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SUBJECT:
Water Pump Impeller Shaft Binding
MODEL:
E31 with M62 engine up to 8/97,
E38 and E39 with M62 engines up to 8/98
Situation:
A customer complaint of an intermittent rough idle may be received with the following operating conditions:
- Engine at operating temperature
- Air conditioning switched on
- Transmission in drive
Cause:
The intermittent rough engine idle under the above conditions may be caused by a binding water pump impeller shaft.
Due to the excessive engine load at idle and / or an internal water pump noise (chatter) detected by the knock sensors the DME causes the ignition timing to retard in some cases dipping as much as -18°KW (crankshaft angle) at idle to compensate for this problem thus resulting in a rough idle condition.

The injection and air mass signals are also higher than normal at idle when the rough idle occurs.

The table below indicates the nominal values for a normal running engine versus the values on a rough running engine with a binding water pump impeller shaft at idle:

Description Normal Running Engine Rough Running Engine
Ignition Timing 8 to 15°KW 0 to -18°KW
Injection Signal 3 to 4.5 ms 5 to 7 ms
Mass Air Flow Sensor 20 to 30 kg/h 35 to 55 kg/h
Signal
Correction:
If a customer complaint of an intermittent rough idle is received as described above and the water pump impeller shaft is found to be binding, the water pump should be replaced as outlined in the repair manual group 11, section 11 51.
Procedure:
When troubleshooting for a binding water pump impeller shaft:
- Remove the water pump / generator drive belt (see repair manual group 11, section 11 28).
- Rotate the water pump pulley by hand.
Note: The impeller shaft should rotate without applying excessive force. A slight resistance will be felt and is acceptable (as felt on a new water pump).
- To qualify a binding impeller shaft - remove the water pump pulley and check the impeller shaft bearing assembly located in the pump housing behind the pulley flange.
The impeller shaft bearing when properly seated is recessed in the pump housing approximately 1-2 mm. The impeller shaft bearing on a binding water pump protrudes out of the water pump housing approximately 2-3 mm.

Last edited by JackNCokeGus; 01-23-2011 at 02:22 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-23-2011, 03:33 PM
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BickUW89 BickUW89 is offline
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Here's another possibility: the u-joints on the drive line.

This happened on my E39 a couple of years ago. At first, the sound disappeared around 3000 RPM, but as it got worse the sound happened at all speeds.

BTW - you can't replace the u-joints w/o replacing the drive line on that car. Set me back $800!
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  #10  
Old 01-23-2011, 04:25 PM
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540indiana 540indiana is offline
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This is just a thought from a newbie here. I had the same issue. I replaced the water pump and tstat thinking it may have been the problem. After starting the car back up, same noise. But after successfully bleeeding the air out of the system, the noise went away. Did you happen to replace any cooling system related sensors on the hoses ? I am just wondering if any air in the cooling system could be a possible issue. If im wrong, oh well, I am sure I will hear about it But if it turns out to be a legitimate diagnosis, I am a happy camper. Of course there may already be a theory on this but I am too lazy to search for it right now. Back is killing me from the wp replacement last night!!!
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  #11  
Old 01-28-2011, 03:45 PM
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POof540i POof540i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
Many V8s were troubled with rod bearing wear. BMW did replace the bearings upon complaint. BMW said that the noise was not a problem, and would not compromise engine longevity - difficult for me to believe.

The noise would be a deeper knock, inside the engine, rather than marbles in a tin can.

Try running a heavier oil, like 20W50 ( or Mobil 1 0W40).
After a spirited day of driving, my engine has developed a knocking sound. Like the OP, it goes away when I accelerate. It sounds deep inside the engine. What can it be? Can bad gas make it knock?
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  #12  
Old 02-25-2011, 12:10 AM
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first540i first540i is offline
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i am also having the same problem, loud knocking noise especially at 1000 rpm and disappears after 1500rpm.

@edjack, rod bearing meaning the crankshaft bearings right?

here is a video of my terrible knock.



please help! can it be the hydraulic lifters? or the valve stem covers are worn out?

Last edited by first540i; 02-25-2011 at 12:32 PM.
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  #13  
Old 02-25-2011, 06:28 AM
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menhir menhir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 98540iA View Post
Check your spark plugs to make sure they are all snug. I had a loud knock/tick that drove me nuts. I found 2 spark plugs that were loose, tightened them up and it's nice and quiet since. This has been known to happen on these engines and many posts about this can be found (when I searched I was very suprised how many people fixed the ticking/knocking by finding a loose plug or two and then tightening them). Folks seem to say the OEM Bosch plugs are notorious for "backing out" and they recommend another brand (can't remember). I have fairly new Bosch plugs but I just check them every once in a while ever since I had this issue.
Good luck!
This is a long shot but adding to this thought: a friend of mine has a 97 Outback which developed a loud knocking sound last spring, the cause of which we could not identify. After he began removing parts from the engine, he discovered a cracked insulator on a spark plug. They were installed new ~9K miles prior. He installed four new plugs and the car has been running perfectly.
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  #14  
Old 02-25-2011, 09:11 AM
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first540i first540i is offline
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I want to add that the sound is a lot. Less when cold.

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  #15  
Old 02-25-2011, 12:23 PM
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first540i first540i is offline
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anyone? i am really frustrated about this! i really dont want it to be a rod bearing...
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  #16  
Old 02-25-2011, 01:25 PM
98540iA 98540iA is offline
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I think it's fairly normal for our M62's to have some knocking noise..... mine has a little, not like yours but I've heard some that are much louder than yours. These engines are known to be noisy so I wouldn't worry too much about it. Make sure your spark plugs are all tight and oil level is correct..... other than that you will drive yourself crazy trying to fix it. Possibly replace the timing chain tensioner and try thicker oil come spring/summer.
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  #17  
Old 02-25-2011, 02:07 PM
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first540i first540i is offline
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I used 15w50 mobil 1 from wal mart before using the 10w40 and I had the sound before but its a lot a lot less than now. Maybe its the oil?

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  #18  
Old 02-25-2011, 04:05 PM
DavidPorter DavidPorter is offline
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I am familiar with rod knocks. Anyone else ever have a Triumph Stag? A distinguishing feature of worn rod bearings is a knock that is almost inaudible when accelerating but much louder when you get off the gas and the motor is slowing down. There's no load on the rod bearings then and they're free to rattle around. May or may not be too noisy at idle. This pattern could apply to other problems too, but if it's not doing this it probably isn't a rod knock.
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  #19  
Old 02-25-2011, 05:58 PM
fauchpj fauchpj is offline
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I would check the spark plugs. I had a similar sound on my E46 and the spark plugs turned out to be loose.

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  #20  
Old 02-25-2011, 06:28 PM
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lild lild is offline
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switch to a heavier oil.
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  #21  
Old 02-26-2011, 12:27 AM
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first540i first540i is offline
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but are the rod bearings damaged?
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  #22  
Old 07-06-2011, 12:03 PM
YOST YOST is offline
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noise at idle

Well I found out what it was making the noise.
Just about all the plastic on the chain guides was gone. chain was rubbing on cover.
I have it all apart now and just got the parts so with any luck I will be back on the toad soon.

Only trouble is that I still can't get inside the dam thing!
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  #23  
Old 07-19-2011, 05:55 AM
YOST YOST is offline
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Everything back together. Connected charger to posts and voila! doors opened! it was like magic!
Started to fill overflow reservoir with coolant and it was leaking out bottom some where. Have to go back underneath to see what the hell that is all about!
hope the oil system works better than that!
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  #24  
Old 07-19-2011, 07:15 AM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lild View Post
switch to a heavier oil.
No. Switch to non-Wal-Mart oil.
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  #25  
Old 07-19-2011, 04:24 PM
YOST YOST is offline
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have never used walmart oil. My favorite is Valvoline. But Castrol will do in a pinch!
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