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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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Old 10-23-2011, 10:43 AM
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nyclad nyclad is offline
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Location: Orange County, CA
Join Date: Dec 2007
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Mein Auto: 2002 530i Sport
Originally Posted by Ratbones2002 View Post
Where did you all purchase the spring and crush washer from?

Originally Posted by blz456 View Post
I would just for the heck of it. The spring cost me all of 3 bucks and the washer was 25 cents all from eac and only 5 minutes of your time.
See above, as well as lots of other places. Autohausaz, ECSTuning, etc...
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Old 10-24-2011, 07:30 AM
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menhir menhir is offline
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Location: Macungie, PA
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 460
Mein Auto: 1981 320i
I did mine yesterday as well although I had no noise emanating from that area. Once I closed it up and started the car the noise then became evident at idle (engine was cold). However, the noise seems to have disappeared after 70 miles of combined driving. I guess it has to set itself; the Bentley manual suggests the spring be "pre-set" to 6 in/lbs before installing the complete unit, which, of course, requires a special BMW tool. Maybe the lack of pre-set is what caused the initial noise on start up. No big deal.

That said, it couldn't be easier to do and for the simple cost it's a must.
"The wise speak of only what they know."
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Old 10-27-2011, 05:17 PM
JimJai@HK JimJai@HK is offline
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Location: Hong Kong, Shenzhen, China
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 64
Mein Auto: see sig.
Ordered parts and doing it on my next oil change. I can't believe how cheap the part is, cost me 45RMB....

Thank you Bimmerfest!
2001 530iA-current
2006 750Li-current
2008 320iA-Gone with the Ex....
2009 Mazda3-current
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Old 10-29-2011, 12:13 PM
riro424 riro424 is offline
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Location: Chicagoland
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Mein Auto: 2003 525i
Thanks Doru. Just done mine while changing my OFH gasket.
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:39 AM
Realpinkfloyd Realpinkfloyd is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 528i
Can this only be done when changing your oil?
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Old 03-13-2012, 12:11 PM
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doru doru is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 530iA
Originally Posted by Realpinkfloyd View Post
Can this only be done when changing your oil?
I think you can do it any-time. The oil should pool back in the oil pan once the engine is stopped. You will still have oil in the housing though. Just cover the place with rugs so the oil won't spill everywhere. It can land on the exhaust manifold, and then it will burn and the smoke might get into the cabin.

Looking for a DIY? Parts? Check this out, it might be your ticket
TMS underdrive pullies - Stewart WP - PSS9 - Beisan Vanos seals - Zimmerman cross-drilled & Akebono Euro - Deka 649 MF - 55w HID headlights - 35w HID foglights - Hualigan double din - ACS (rep) alu pedals - Euro central storage console - Breyton Magic Racing staggered wheels - M5 bumper - M5 steering wheel - Tint
Stable: e39, e53, e46 & Tribby
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Old 03-13-2012, 01:14 PM
black528i black528i is offline
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Location: Lincoln, NE
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Mein Auto: 97 528i
Thanks for the DIY Doru!!
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:34 AM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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Location: LA
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Posts: 923
Mein Auto: 2001 530i (E39) 120k
Oh, so the TENSIONER is much easier to replace than the GUIDES, correct?
What happens when the TENSIONER starts to fail? Spring loses tension and the chain insider the valve cover starts to flap around?
Can you just replace the spring? Seems unnecessary to replace the metal parts.

The timing chain GUIDES are on the inside of the valve covers ....you know, where you're looking at the "oily orange" gears and chains. (Like in the VANOS job).
When the guides fail, the chains just can flap around and eventually break?
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:39 AM
George16 George16 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 530iA
Yes, yes, and yes. I replaced the spring and gasket on mine a couple of months ago.

See my reply on your post on the other forum.
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:59 AM
poolman poolman is offline
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Mein Auto: 525i station wagon
Just replaced my spring , have driven around for about 10 miles and noticing a little better rumble of the engine taking off and when driving on flat land around where I live the vac gauge says it's taking less gass pedal to travel --hmmm might be a placebo or might be real--anyway it's good prevetative medicine
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:33 PM
lucky408 lucky408 is offline
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Location: california
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Mein Auto: bmw 530i 2001

Whats up guys?

I am doing this on my 2001 BMW 530i E39 almost 120000 miles this weekend. I am posting a link to my video if you guys can please help me out and let me know if that is the tensioner noise or the Vannos Rattle. Also should I drain all the oil first and install the tensioner with new spring and washer and put new oil? Do i need to fill the tensioner which seems like hard to do because it will keep falling out while putting it back? Is it ok to reinstall it without oil filled in the tensioner and just do the regular filter and oil after installing the tensioner?

Heres the link to the video

Thank you
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:40 AM
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champaign777 champaign777 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 530 Sport Twins
sound like a Vanos Rattle from beginning
E39 4 ever

BMW E38/E39 Rear Axle/Differential Bush Tool
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:54 AM
lucky408 lucky408 is offline
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Mein Auto: bmw 530i 2001
Glad i ordered the rattle repair kit.

Thank you
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:35 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 automatic
I realize this thread is for the I6, but, if you've done your timing chains, then Gary needs you to review this DIY:
Originally Posted by gary@germanautosolutions View Post
I have a favor to ask those of you that have performed the timing chain and guide replacement on their M62-tu 540. Would you be willing to review our M62tu Cam Tool Kit instruction page and let me know if I missed anything, or got anything wrong. The instruction page also has links to BMW PDF's that cover preliminary dis-assembly procedures.


Any additional suggestions or tips would be also be welcome.

Thanks in advance,

Note: Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to 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, in seconds!
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:56 AM
Blight67 Blight67 is offline
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Location: Cupertino, CA
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 91
Mein Auto: 2002 530i Sport Pkg
I just replaced the tensioner spring on my 2002 e39 M54 at 116k during a routine oil change. The procedure is simple as long as you have the proper tools. I used a 32mm socket purchased for about $4 from my local Harbor Freight and some extenders I had laying around

A couple of additional notes.
  1. The only tricky part of the entire procedure is applying sufficient pressure to the plunger against your new higher tension spring as you try to get the threads to match up.
  2. Per the TIS, the torque specs should be:
    Cylinder for chain tensioner plunger M50/M52/S52/S50 US M26 x 1.5: 70 Nm
    All others M26 x 1.5: 50 Nm <-- this is what I used for my M54
  3. The car had not shown any prior unusual sounds, but after the replacement, the car exhibited a rattle sound at idle. The sound was very similar to online samples of the Vanos rattle that I've heard. Although quite alarming (to the point that I had even considered reverting the change), the rattle disappeared after about 5 miles of driving.
  4. My new spring was about 5 mm longer than the original. This appears similar to what others have posted.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:02 PM
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diggyd357 diggyd357 is online now
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Mein Auto: 97 528I
Re: Timing chain tensioner replace for i6 (DIY)

My turn lol.... just did mine after hearing the clattery rattle for about 2 weeks or so. I did it without draining the oil as I had just done a royal prlurple oil change 3 wks ago. I lost no more oil than than that on the paper towels in the op's pics. It took me about 7 minutes in the dark and the total cost was $5.88 for the spring and washer fron Pelican shipped. My rattle is gone and car seems to pull better. Maybe im imagining it like poolman said....but can anyone vouch for or against this theory of slight yet noticeable return of performance ? I did do my vanos seals a few months ago and noticed absolutely NO difference so maybe the 2 being done together...like a fuel pump and fpr ???? Just tthinking out loud here....

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Last edited by diggyd357; 10-23-2013 at 06:03 PM.
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