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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 03-31-2011, 08:54 PM
Jeff3344 Jeff3344 is offline
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Mein Auto: 97 528i
Cool I Need Immeadiate Help

Guys, Heeeeeeeelp!! I have inherited my sons 97 528i w/190k on it! He did a great disservice to this old beauty so I repoed it! Anyway, I started with window regulators, then the rack and pinion, then, front end, thermostat, radiator and so on. The car overheated, for a short time and I thought I linked it to the thermostat and thermostat housing, replace all. No noise from the water pump or leaks from any hoses etc. Replaced the radiator and then...drove for three hours w/no problems!! Ran great and didn't miss a beat. Got home and after car sat a couple of minutes I noticed that it dumped a ton of ant-freeze and rad water on the ground. Inspected hoses and found the hose from bottom of reservoir tank on rad had come loose and ground against the smog pump and sprung a leak. Replaced hose, cleaned all areas and refilled coolant system. Car started and ran fine. Drove down over 5o miles, stop and start, over two days, no problems. Had oil changed, ran like a kitten. Drove another 30 miles and stopped and it dumped coolant again? Let car sit, started and it showed hot on the temp gauge?? Drove two blocks to a station and let sit and put water in (very little). Car was "burping" water out of the reservoir cap? Let sit and started and ran a mile and then...went hot and started "smoking" out the back (from under the car) pulled over and oil was sprayed over the top of injector covers and was leaking out the back of the motor? Can't tell where but there was a ton on the ground under the car and on the undercarriage of the car. Engine would start, but did not run it more than 3 seconds. What is up? Oil is not milky (mixed with water) oil is coming from the rear of the motor, oil plug on pan and filter are intact, Why would it run fine then heat up? Did I blow the head gasket? I was going to sell this car after I finished, its almost done and looks great w/ many new parts, tires etc. Am i way over my head at this point?I really need some sound advice here on how to determine what is wrong, or even if I should try to fix it. Thanks
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  #2  
Old 03-31-2011, 09:08 PM
Whorse Whorse is offline
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Omg Sorry to inform you that you just cracked the cylinder head when you drove it in the red and added cool water to it. Ive seen it happen before. pray its just the head and not the block too. Im 80% sure this is what just happened. The other 19.9% is maybe the head gasket really blew out. Please keep this updated.
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Queens NY
BMWCCA# 186796
86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
87 325 300k (project for life) aka 1BADETA/Christine
00 540is 6spd 214k (daily driver) Timing chain guides just failed. In the middle of a full rebuild instead of repair. I wonder how much longer it would of gone if i just repaired it.

Last edited by Whorse; 03-31-2011 at 09:10 PM.
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  #3  
Old 03-31-2011, 09:12 PM
Jeff3344 Jeff3344 is offline
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OMG, I hope not? What would cause it to blow oil?
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  #4  
Old 03-31-2011, 09:30 PM
Whorse Whorse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff3344 View Post
OMG, I hope not? What would cause it to blow oil?
If there's a crack in a water passage of the cylinder head then pressure from the cooling system will get into the oiling system and vice-versa. Even compression from the cylinder can get into those passages and cause this.

On the other hand the head-gasket material might of just blown out the sides.

and i might just be totally wrong, cant be 100% without seeing it. Where is the car now? I would get it to a shop, they shouldnt charge anything to evaluate it.

Can you upload video or pictures? That would be very helpful.

I hope I'm wrong and its something very stupid and cheap to fix.
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Andreas
Queens NY
BMWCCA# 186796
86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
87 325 300k (project for life) aka 1BADETA/Christine
00 540is 6spd 214k (daily driver) Timing chain guides just failed. In the middle of a full rebuild instead of repair. I wonder how much longer it would of gone if i just repaired it.
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  #5  
Old 03-31-2011, 09:56 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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It sounds like you might not have properly bled the cooling system. Air pockets can cause the car to overheat. Run the engine overheated and you can blow your head gasket.

https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=449008
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  #6  
Old 04-01-2011, 02:27 AM
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first540i first540i is offline
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Seems like you blew your head gasket....

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  #7  
Old 04-01-2011, 02:53 AM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
It sounds like you might not have properly bled the cooling system. Air pockets can cause the car to overheat. Run the engine overheated and you can blow your head gasket.
That was my first thought as well. He didn't mention bleeding the system after putting coolant in.
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  #8  
Old 04-01-2011, 06:13 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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If it's bleeding, a /bleeding(F3) in the bestlinks nets me:
- Coolant, for engine, automatic transmission, power steering, and AC evaporator cooling (1) & bleeding (1) (2) (3) or refilling DIYs (1)

And, if it's a head gasket, a /head gasket(F3) nets me the following (where I've highlighted, in red, the most important reference, as a courtesy to the OP):

- What to look for when your KTMP (1) or coolant temperature gauge indicates overheating (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) & what to look for in a perfectly normal E39 cooling system (1) & a picture of every failed part in the cooling system (1) & various techniques to properly bleed (1) (2) (3) & refill (1) & what coolant to use (1) & what parts to replace (1) & what special tools to make or buy (1) & how to tell how old your cooling system is (1) (2) & how to test the cooling system auxiliary electrical fan (1) (2) & the infamous fuse 75 (1) & the aux fan relay (1) & how to diagnose lack of HVAC/IHKA heater core heat with cooling system (auxiliary pump) at idle (1) & a Behr radiator and Behr/Heat expansion tank autopsy (1) (2) & request for another Behr surge tank autopsy (1) & why new made-in-China Behr/Hella expansion tanks are DOA (1) & E39 Fan shroud removal DIY (Besian) (M54) & some of the better cooling system DIYs (cn90 1997-1998 M54TU) (cn90 V8) (aioros '99-03 M54) (Ågent99 '01 530i) (pelican 3-series) (bluebee M54B25) & tricks to replace the fan clutch nut (1) & lower-hose thermoswitch o-ring (1) & to non-destructively remove the heater hoses (1) or radiator nipple (1) or expansion tank nipple (1) (2) or Oetiker clamp (1) or misplaced thermostat wiring loom (1) or broken bleeder screw (1) & modifying the cooling system (pressure cap) (zero psi fluids) or Zionsville (BlackBMWs) (William) (ohmess) aluminum radiators & what happens if you drive one mile too far with an overheated BMW cooling system (1).
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  #9  
Old 04-01-2011, 02:49 PM
Whorse Whorse is offline
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Please update this when you find out. Oil everywhere leads me to believe the head cracked or head gasket had catastrophic failure.
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Andreas
Queens NY
BMWCCA# 186796
86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
87 325 300k (project for life) aka 1BADETA/Christine
00 540is 6spd 214k (daily driver) Timing chain guides just failed. In the middle of a full rebuild instead of repair. I wonder how much longer it would of gone if i just repaired it.
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  #10  
Old 04-03-2011, 04:15 PM
Jeff3344 Jeff3344 is offline
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I need help

Ok guys, here is what I've done so far... I refilled with oil and checked the fluid, added per directions and bled per directions from your help (thanks) car starts and runs.....fine?? No misses, no oil blowing out... allowed car to reach temp, did not get hot... Have not yet driven it, should I?? Secondly, the day previous to this car getting hot and spewing oil, I had the oil changed at a shop. Could it be a bad filter? Could the oil be blowing out the bottom of the filter (around)?? How about the rear main seal? Any help here would be immense. I have followed your help to where I am now. Thanks
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  #11  
Old 04-03-2011, 06:27 PM
Whorse Whorse is offline
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I thought you said oil was spraying out the top and rear of the motor. all this could be something so little and stupid. Sounds like you just need expert eyes to look at whats going on. Now thats its drivable go straight to a mechanic and get a free diagnosis
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Andreas
Queens NY
BMWCCA# 186796
86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
87 325 300k (project for life) aka 1BADETA/Christine
00 540is 6spd 214k (daily driver) Timing chain guides just failed. In the middle of a full rebuild instead of repair. I wonder how much longer it would of gone if i just repaired it.
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  #12  
Old 04-03-2011, 06:51 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
As I already said ...

Quote:
You need to run some basic tests:
  • Cooling system pressure test
  • Cooling system exhaust-gas "geyser test" (1)
  • Cooling system exhaust-gas "analyzer test" (1)
  • Cylinder compression tests, wet & dry (1)
  • Cylinder leak down test (1)
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  #13  
Old 04-03-2011, 07:49 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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  • How long did you let the car run?
  • Did you wipe everything down before you ran the car again? You must do this.
  • What do you see now when you open the hood? Is there any oil around? How about white, chalky residue?

If you don't see any further signs of leakage (be sure to look under the car as well), and everything is wiped down, start it up again. After allowing it to reach operating temperature, check it out again for signs of any fluid leakage. If you find none, take it out for a short spin and see how it behaves. If at any point it starts to overheat (and by that I mean if the temp gauge edges past 12:00) or to run rough, cut the drive short and get it home immediately. If it runs rough or overheats, then you need to do the tests that Bluebee mentions above.

If all goes well on the test drive, when it cools back down, check your fluids again and look for any signs of leakage. If there are no warning lights on the dash and everything looks good, you can take it out for a longer test drive.

However, if it runs okay but you see fluid leakage, then you need to trace the source of the leak as best you can. Let us know what you find.
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  #14  
Old 04-07-2011, 05:15 PM
Jeff3344 Jeff3344 is offline
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Question

Ok Guys...you were all right!! Blown head gasket!! I had a reliable BMW Tech go thru the cooling system, etc. and it was confirmed So now I really need your help!? This car was my sons and I took it away due to his inability to take care of it(no kidding) I have put a new front end, new rack and pinion, new radiator, new tires (4), seats, door panels,4 window regulators and about $1500 worth now. It has 190K on it. Tranny is solid. Interior is OK, needs detailing and the exterior paint (black) is OK, not great, just OK. Hood needs repainting though. There are no dents or major door dings. Here is the question; Do I pull the motor and put another in? I found one off a parts car (a total) that i purchased parts from previously. I checked all service records and cars history and it has 110k with matching numbers per the vehicle registration information. This was a very nice car and was involved in a major accident, hit on the rear quarter panel and bent beyond repair. He wants $1,800 for the motor. I can put it in (no labor charge). Is that too much? Is it worth it? Do I part the car out, sell it as is? If so, how much do I ask? Should I bite the bullet and pay for the motor?? I recently saw a 97 with 130k miles on it with the front and rear kits and nice paint. Interior was better than mine and he purchased it for $6,500.00. Or do I go full Monte and do the motor, paint and keep it?? Lots of hard questions with little or no information, but you guys have been right on so far, so I value your input

Thanks Again,

Jeff
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  #15  
Old 04-07-2011, 05:27 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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If the engine is in good shape, $1,500 is cheap, compared to replacing the head or head gasket. With the same model year engine, the swap should be as painless as an engine swap gets. From your description of the car, I'd guess it was worth somewhere south of $5,000 before the head/head gasket went.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:36 PM
Whorse Whorse is offline
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My 2 cents; Price how much it will cost you for a head gasket job. I would rather spend a little more, do the headgasket, send the head to a machine shop to check for warping and freshen it up (seals, porting + polishing, 3 angle valve grinding etc) change all the seals and gaskets. In the end you will have a better motor and more reliable than a used motor. but thats all according to the price being decent. Ive never done an m50 motor but an old m20 i could rebuild in one day if the machine shop cooperated. and cheap!
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Queens NY
BMWCCA# 186796
86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
87 325 300k (project for life) aka 1BADETA/Christine
00 540is 6spd 214k (daily driver) Timing chain guides just failed. In the middle of a full rebuild instead of repair. I wonder how much longer it would of gone if i just repaired it.
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  #17  
Old 04-07-2011, 05:42 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whorse View Post
My 2 cents; Price how much it will cost you for a head gasket job. I would rather spend a little more, do the headgasket, send the head to a machine shop to check for warping and freshen it up (seals, porting + polishing, 3 angle valve grinding etc) change all the seals and gaskets. In the end you will have a better motor and more reliable than a used motor. but thats all according to the price being decent. Ive never done an m50 motor but an old m20 i could rebuild in one day if the machine shop cooperated. and cheap!
Whorse, earlier you said you thought the head was cracked. Have you changed your mind?
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:17 PM
therealsuv therealsuv is offline
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Its a 97 5series with nearly 200k on the clock and sounds like it still needs a boat load of love. I would sell it as is and try to get as much of the 1500.00 out of it as possible.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:10 PM
Whorse Whorse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdmac View Post
Whorse, earlier you said you thought the head was cracked. Have you changed your mind?
Of course, a real tech got to see it. I was going by the info he gave in the first post, and assuming he bleed the system like most BMW owners know.
From what he said about putting water in the car after he drove it for a couple of blocks and it started burping it out sounds like water got to hot metal and steamed up causing the bubbling. I still wouldn't be surprised if the head warped or cracked on top of the head gasket blowing. From re-reading the whole thread i think he blew the head gasket when he didn't bleed the air out the system. Then might of done more damage when he drove it with no coolant and added water while the engine was still hot.
Sucks cause we wont find out unless he sends the head out to a machine shop.
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Andreas
Queens NY
BMWCCA# 186796
86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
87 325 300k (project for life) aka 1BADETA/Christine
00 540is 6spd 214k (daily driver) Timing chain guides just failed. In the middle of a full rebuild instead of repair. I wonder how much longer it would of gone if i just repaired it.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:32 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Jeff3344, I just re-read your most recent post and noticed that the replacement engine was $1800, rather than the $1500 I thought. If you can take the head off and get it to a machine shop, it'd probably be worthwhile to see if it was usable and how much it would cost to rehab it. If the head is shot, I'd say see how cheap you can get the replacement engine. The $1800 price is probably negotiable.
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  #21  
Old 04-08-2011, 03:52 PM
Jeff3344 Jeff3344 is offline
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Hey guys, thanks for all of your advice. The engine guy has reduced his price to $1200 and I am still debating. My BMW Techi felt that I would be better off scrapping the car on ebay or Craigslist piece by piece, rather than suffering the additional cost to repair the current motor. He felt that the value would still be upside down. I guess I am stubborn (or stupid) but I am still undecided. I guess I could offer the car for $1500 as is and go from there, or I could spend the money and put the other motor. Am i going back to square one!? Well, I have some decisions, I rambled through Craigs List last night and found some nice examples for $3-4K, but I don't need another headache, just a headgasket. How hard is it to pull the head anyway? I rebuilt my 66 289 and it purrs like a kitten, but I know this is a different cat altogether. Would it be worth a shot on my part to try to repair the head? Is there any How To manuals or sites out there? I am reaching but if I can do the head cheaper it might be worth keeping it. If the head is cracked, what does a new head run? If the head is good, what should I expect in machining, gaskets and other parts to do this? (cost wise) Dumb questions, but I must ask to make a valued decision..Let me know. Thanks again

Jeff
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:00 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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From an economic point of view, it might make sense to part the car out, but who knows how long that process could drag on? (Bear in mind, the guy with used engine apparently reduced his price to $1200 at the drop of a hat. I'd guess he's been waiting a little while for a buyer.) Then you'd have to invest more time to find a replacement that you have confidence in.

As for the manual, there's a link to a PDF of the Bentley Manual available somewhere (don't have the link handy, maybe on Bimmerforums.com). The double overhead cams with VANOS, and all the associated plumbing, definitely make head R&R more complicated than on the 289. Nonetheless, folks here have done it. Search the "very best links" for a DIY. Even if you removed and replaced the head yourself, you'd still have to take it to a machine shops to check for cracks and warpage, at the very least.

If it were me, providing the transmissions in the two cars were the same, I'd be tempted to see if I could negotiate a good price on the combo of engine and transmission, since they only have 110 K miles on them. I guess ultimately the decision depends on what comparable cars are going for in your area, but probably the least attractive option is having the head repaired or replaced if it's no longer serviceable. That would cost you more than the used engine.
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  #23  
Old 04-08-2011, 07:16 PM
franka franka is offline
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Before you spend a ton of money check out the Bars Leak site below. And read the testimonials.

http://www.barsproducts.com/barsleaks_products.htm

They have 4 different blown head gasket products alone. Check out the various products and read the tech sheets of each before you choose one. I have read and heard good things about their new product line up. One guy on here used it to completely fix a gasket leak that was bad enuff to be fouling out one of his spark plugs.

Its worth a look and a try before spending the time and money taking the head off.
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Last edited by franka; 04-08-2011 at 07:37 PM.
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  #24  
Old 04-08-2011, 07:24 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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You know, Frank has a point. Another forum member here has used Bars HG1 with apparent success. Here's his report. You really don't have anything to lose.
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  #25  
Old 04-08-2011, 07:47 PM
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TemporarySanity TemporarySanity is offline
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I have used Bars Leak Liquid Copper with great results on my sons car. It had a major head gasket leak that caused a quart of coolant loss a day. I put it in over a year ago and it's still holding!
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