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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 11-01-2014, 07:46 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is online now
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Mein Auto: 2001 540i/6, '90 BMW k75s
Around the M62TU in 80 Hours More or Less

I'm finally taking that leap that I'd been avoiding for so long and am replacing the timing chain guides, valley pan, and VANOS seals in one (I hope) fell swoop, a different sort of trifecta, if you will.

Here is the timing chain guide kit I ordered from FCP Euro:



And here are the valley pan parts I ordered from ECS Tuning, along with some bits that weren't included in FCPEuro's kit.:



Here are the O-rings from Beisan Systems:



And here are the tools I ordered from Bimmertools.


(Note: The Post Office delivered those U-shaped brackets with bolts and hinged arms to me by mistake. They're not from Bimmertools. The package was mangled in the mail, got diverted to the "San Francisco Loose Mail Unit," and apparently picked up the extra parts as hitchhikers there.)

I've organized the garage, with plastic storage bins to keep parts organized, and I've bought a few specialized tools, like a 40" long 3/4" drive breaker bar, for instance, that seem necessary.

So here's the garage tonight, before I dig into the car. I'll roll the motorcycle out of the way and park it in the driveway while I'm working, then roll it back in at night.



Rather than make this a classic DIY, I'm going to post about it in a kind of photo illustrated narrative, sort of like I did with my road trip (Around the Country in 80 Days, More or Less), but in the much more tightly focused venue of my garage. This will be far and away the most ambitious repair I've ever undertaken, and so I expect plenty of missteps, frustrations, and bloody knuckles. So it should make for some diverting, if not enlightening, reading, and I hope others will find it helpful.

I'll try to post something every night, recounting whatever progress or regression I experienced that day.
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  #2  
Old 11-01-2014, 08:04 PM
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JDeGraff89 JDeGraff89 is offline
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Mmmmmmm all those new parts and tools... I love all my random christmases. Shiney new parts give me a warm fuzzy feeling man, oh man and I get so excited about new tools!! I love tools now.. I've got some sort of sickness now I'm sure, my dream has become getting that big red snap on box with the little plaque that reads "This box was constructed especially for Jared DeGraff.". Its going to be awesome.. Good luck on your journey I'm sure this will end up being one of the most in depth DIYs posted on the site,
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Old 11-01-2014, 08:50 PM
rac421 rac421 is offline
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Bob, what do you suppose this little adventure would cost a person. I would like to do the same thing, just to know where I'm at in my car. I'm at a 100k miles and know it's just a matter of time before this is all needed... and maybe be ahead of the game.
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Old 11-01-2014, 08:59 PM
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  #5  
Old 11-01-2014, 09:35 PM
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Doorman Doorman is online now
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After this thread is over I may purchase a E38/E39 v8.......


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  #6  
Old 11-01-2014, 09:43 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is online now
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Rac421, so far I've spent $460 for the timing chain guides "kit," including $25 loyalty rebate; $365 for the valley pan kit plus "Jesus bolt" and miscellaneous parts and tools (like fuel door spring, extra plastic pop up rivet fasteners, jack pad inserts to replace the missing rear ones on my undercarriage, CCV, among others); $85 for the VANOS seals ($20 of which is refundable if I don't need the extra teflon seal); and $90 (including $15 postage) for the VANOS timing and installation tool rental. Then I've spent about $300 more for various tools, like a double-flex 3/8" drive ratchet, various sockets, extra jack stands, the 3/4" drive, 40" long breaker bar, 1/2" drive torque wrench, a digital torque gauge, and miscellaneous other crap. I already had a 3 ton floor jack and lots of wrenches and 3/8" and 1/4" drive sockets.

So for all three projects, I've probably spent about $1,000 in parts and special tool rental. My other expenses are for unrelated parts and tools that I may need again.
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  #7  
Old 11-01-2014, 09:45 PM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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Hi Bob, I like the thread title.
Let me know if you need an info, I've done a few of these

Last edited by JimLev; 11-01-2014 at 09:47 PM. Reason: Typo
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  #8  
Old 11-01-2014, 09:57 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is online now
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Thanks, JimLev. If you see an opportunity to offer helpful advice at any point, feel free to jump in with a comment. I've read through five or six timing chain DIY's on Bimmerboard, Bimmerforums, and Bimmerfest; 3-4 valley pan gasket DIY's; and a couple of the VANOS DIY's, including Beisan Systems' detailed procedure. Because I'm doing all three at once, I've put together my own procedure (or the first 30-plus steps of one so far) to try to make things as efficient as possible and take advantage of overlapping tasks.
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Old 11-02-2014, 01:26 AM
pudl pudl is offline
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Looking forward to this thread!
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  #10  
Old 11-02-2014, 03:39 AM
clark49660 clark49660 is offline
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I'm gonna watch this thread close. I will be doing this whole process to my 540i, which has 153268 miles on it. Good luck Bobdmac
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:01 AM
rac421 rac421 is offline
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Thanks Bob, I'll be watching the thread as you progress - appreciate your posting the project.
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:23 AM
MuscleWagon MuscleWagon is online now
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Good luck. Look forward to the results of the new vanos seals on the 62.

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Old 11-02-2014, 09:23 AM
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Any plans on powder coating? Since your in there now would be the time
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Old 11-02-2014, 09:37 AM
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I just know this is going to be educational...and entertaining!
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  #15  
Old 11-02-2014, 12:09 PM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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Bob, you might as well powder coat the upper timing covers. I also did my lower cover, all 3 looked great, however when it all went back together you can't see much of the lower cover.
Link to follow....

update,
Here is the link when I did the power coating and changing my guides, pretty long, 7 pages, lots of BS'ing back and forth.

http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh...ng-covers-leak

Last edited by JimLev; 11-02-2014 at 01:03 PM. Reason: added link
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  #16  
Old 11-02-2014, 12:57 PM
DeckMan DeckMan is offline
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Looks like you got a fun project! Do not see any problem getting it done in under 80 hours.
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  #17  
Old 11-02-2014, 11:34 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is online now
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Thanks for all the encouragement, guys. Yes, Bartelbe, I have thought about powder coating the valve covers--proabably in black crinkle like Flug 540's.



And yeah, Jim, I get your point about doing the upper timing covers too, but even though the job on the valve covers will barely be noticeable, I'm only doing it because the finish on the valve covers now looks so crummy, as we all can imagine. So I'm limiting the powder coating to the valve covers only. Still, it shouldn't look too bad because it'll blend in with the ribbed plastic covers.



Today wasn't a bad day--only a couple of missteps. I thought I'd do a quick video so you could hear what the engine sounded like before I started. I tried to get just the startup, but the video started too late. So here's an example of the idle, still a little on the quiet side, compared to when the engine's been running for a while.



I was really looking forward to putting the hood up in the "service position," opened at a 90 degree angle so that I'd have plenty of clearance. It was a little bit of a fuss to slide out the retaining clips for the telescopic struts, partly because I wasn't confident that they just slid straight back, at 90 degrees to the strut, but after prying this way and that, I figured it out, and with the help of a friend, pulled off the struts and...oops. The hood was so tall that it wouldn't clear the garage ceiling. Disappointed but undaunted, I reattached the struts and slid the clips home.

I knew I was going to be disconnecting the battery, and so I raised the trunk lid, waiting for the electronics to go to sleep. In the meantime, I was mindful of a tip I found onlline to depressurize the fuel line before disconnecting it. So I pulled fuses 21 and 33 (listed on the glove compartment fuse reference card as "fuel pump) and started the car. It only took a second or two for the engine to die.

After removing the engine cover, I took some photos of the various tubes and wires that I'd be disconnecting so that I could eventually put them back where they belonged.



I decided to drain the oil before I got the car jacked up, and the Mityvac did a nice, neat job of emptying the crankcase. Unfortunately, I forgot that a check valve in the oil filter housing keeps the oil from draining into the crankcase, and when I opened it up, I instantly canceled out the Mityvac's tidy efficiency. To my dismay, as soon as I took off the cover, a disturbing amount of oil oozed and dripped over the side of the housing. Does anybody have a good tip for avoiding this?



Oh well, at least I was able to suck the remaining oil out of the housing before I took out the filter.

Here's a photo of the Mityvac in use. I didn't think to photo it myself. This is from the site The Truth About Cars.



After cleaning up the mess, I took off the cover support; the entire air intake system up to the throttle body; the ribbed valve cover panels; and the ducting from the cabin filters to the firewall. This gave me clearance to undo the ignition coil nuts and remove the coils. I also disconnected some of the hoses and sensors, covering the female ends with tape.



For some reason, superstition I guess, I felt I should number the coils to put them back on their original cylinders.



It was then I went off the rails. I had watched this cool video where the guy pulled up the entire electrical box with the injector connections, avoiding picking out each individual retaining clip, but I got overanxious to try it, instead of going back to double check exactly it's done. Here's the video. He pulls out the junction box at about 1:56:



[Sorry, I'l have to finish this post tomorrow, but I'm sleepy, having stayed up an extra hour because of the time change.]
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Last edited by bobdmac; 11-03-2014 at 10:10 AM. Reason: corrected to "instead of" from "instead"
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  #18  
Old 11-03-2014, 04:58 AM
clark49660 clark49660 is offline
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Looks good so far
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Old 11-03-2014, 06:33 AM
DeckMan DeckMan is offline
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FYI, if the coils are in good condition it does not matter where they go back in.
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Old 11-03-2014, 08:06 AM
MKJS MKJS is offline
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WoW that's a GREAT vid!!! Thanks for posting it bobdmac.
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Old 11-03-2014, 08:07 AM
nsogiba nsogiba is offline
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love this style of threads - thanks for taking the time to document everything. I know it's a lot of extra work on top of the already tedious stuff.

Jump right in, you will be fine. In addition to taking pictures of things before you take them apart, I would also highly recommend labeling wiring connectors and hoses with tape.

Good luck!
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Old 11-03-2014, 12:19 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is online now
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Clark--Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeckMan View Post


FYI, if the coils are in good condition it does not matter where they go back in.
Yeah, I know. The more I think about it, the real reason was probably to see what it's like to do things in a more orderly fashion than usual.

MKJS, you're welcome for posting the vid. A disclaimer, however--I've seen reports of mixed results with the actual pan gasket re-seal that he advocated. Also, a little further into my narrative, I'll post of photo of what may be an adverse consequence of pulling the junction boxes off the injectors the way he did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nsogiba View Post
love this style of threads - thanks for taking the time to document everything. I know it's a lot of extra work on top of the already tedious stuff.

Jump right in, you will be fine. In addition to taking pictures of things before you take them apart, I would also highly recommend labeling wiring connectors and hoses with tape.

Good luck!
Thanks, nsogiba. Your epic build thread actually inspired me to do this one. As for the labeling, I should've thought that through better. I just figured "Oh well, I don't want to take the time to look up each connection and identify it," but I later realized I should've just stuck pairs of tape labels on the connection, with matching numbers for each set.

Okay, so I thought I'd try to bring this a little closer to up to date while I'm having my morning coffee. I mentioned yesterday that I, went off the rails. In my eagerness, I didn't realize that it was a mistake to remove the metal supports at this point for the acoustical cover, the bolts for which also anchor the fuel rail to the intake manifold. So when I pulled on the junction box, I also pulled up the fuel rail, with the injectors still attached, when they should've stayed attached to the intake manifold.

For some reason, I ignored the little voice in my head (it was pretty faint, after all) telling me to stop and look at the DIY's again, and I went a little further down the wrong track. When I re-inserted the injectors into the manifold and tried again, in vain, I couldn't figure out why the electrical clips at the junction box weren't releasing from the injectors. Trying to figure this out then led me to taking the top off one of the junction boxes (a really time-consuming process with lots of little tabs to be pried up). Here's what the inside of the passenger's side junction box looks like, in case you need any more reason not to take the cover off. The connectors you see here are for the ignition coils.



At this point I finally admitted to myself that I needed to stop and figure out where I had gone wrong, and so I broke for lunch, ending a 3-hour morning session.

In reviewing the video, I realized that in order for the fuel rail to stay attached to the manifold, it needed to be secured by the nuts that had held on the supports for the cover. So I screwed them back on to the posts, just snug. To my mild surprise, when I again pulled on the junction boxes, they actually came off, disconnected from the injectors. Well, for the most part, anyway. I discovered that two of the tabs on the driver's side junction box that secure the injector connections to it had been broken off. At first, I though I might have done it, but there were no plastic bits in the valley area, and so I concluded that it probably happened when the previous owner replaced the valley pan about 80,000 miles ago.



There's still more to the day one activity, but my coffee's now cold, and I've got to get my day started.
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Old 11-03-2014, 12:59 PM
nsogiba nsogiba is offline
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Just remember to go SLOW. Since I am assuming you have another car to use while the 540 is down, you have no reason to rush! If there's anything I have learned, it's to constantly question the quality of your own work and to ask yourself "is this the right way to be doing it?" A little bit of care and attention goes a massive way in making sure the end result is what you're looking for. Nothing worse than finishing all this work only to find that you have leaks, damaged parts, or something isn't running right.
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Old 11-03-2014, 03:08 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nsogiba View Post
Just remember to go SLOW. Since I am assuming you have another car to use while the 540 is down, you have no reason to rush! If there's anything I have learned, it's to constantly question the quality of your own work and to ask yourself "is this the right way to be doing it?" A little bit of care and attention goes a massive way in making sure the end result is what you're looking for...
Yeah, you're right. Although I know this intellectually, I evidently still haven't learned it. You'd think by my age I'd have gotten this into my head, but for some reason, certain lessons (or habits) seem harder to establish than others. I'm hoping this served as a cheap dope slap for me before I get into the critical stuff.

I do have my motorcycle for transportation while the car is down, and so I see no reason why I'd have trouble controlling my impulsiveness . At the very least, I hope others on the forum can benefit from seeing how easily things can go amiss.
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Old 11-03-2014, 06:47 PM
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JDeGraff89 JDeGraff89 is offline
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Things appear to be going well Bob, Are you enjoying it? Some how I always enjoy it, being elbows deep into something in my engine. Though this usually means there is a problem which initially annoys me, solving the problem brings a great deal of satisfaction, and working on the problem is always oddly enjoyable I get a real kick out of it even though most of the time I end up with bloody hands that sting with coolant or oil. But hey like Jeremy Clarkson once said. "I MENDED SOMETHING!!!"
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