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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 04-21-2016, 06:36 PM
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TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is offline
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Mein Auto: 540iA Sport 03/03 GS56111
TAB explores auto transmission; learns skills, lessons, humility, & pride

Vehicle: 2003 540iA Sport (insert your favorite descriptor here)
Mileage: 159,969
Action: Maintenance
On: Transmission fluid and filter
Transmission type: A5S-440Z
Symptoms: None, according to records original fluid and filter

First, apologies as my computer went kerplunk and I am posting on the cell. Hopefully it works but might be several postings vice one.

Second, BlueBee is my hero. Not just because she did such great work with the forum in cross referencing everything but also because she dove head first into wrenching and OWNED her mistakes and ended up all the better for it. Yes, both homage and teaser.

Third, props to the many DIYs here, Bentleys, and all the sponsors with videos (FCPEURO, ECSTUNING, et al). Without these: unthinkable. With these enough confidence to do it. Of course I did opt to use a lift (thank you AutoHobby!) as lying under the car doing this... Not gonna happen. So instead used the AutoHobby on Ft Belvoir and was rather appreciative. Both of the facility and the people. The staff were all helpful and the other patrons were both encouraging and disbelieving that I was tackling this... Oh and the e30 and e46 M3's, e38 740iL, and f10 535i were good company. The best part? They all came to me to talk about the e39.

For background, the limit of my wrenching to date has been: fog light replacement, summer/winter wheel exchanges, trim replacement, and exploring (but not wrenching) the engine with the scanner and visuals. Yes, not even an oil change. So you might ask "why the heck would you pick this as a first?" According to the forums, Mike Millers guide, and discussions with my Indy, the AT needs servicing NOW as it was all original. Besides, I needed to start somewhere and with something (oil change "scheduled" for May/June), and how else am I to get wrenching experience?

Drained, dropped, and put new filter in just like in the DIY/videos/Bentleys. Although the oil was black it didn't smell bad and the pan wasn't covered in the gunk that the videos/pics show. I will be adding those pics later. I also took a Blackstone Labs sampling and will share those results.

So if I only get one picture per post on my cell, I want to add value so this is it:

No one talks about the cables routed on or the "lip" of the tranny pan. The cables are attached to the pan vice the housing so make sure you unclip them. The "lip" requires either an extended torx bit or a 1/4" drive on some of them. Otherwise, not going to happen. Luckily I did have the 1/4" (and that should have been my first warning).

Putting everything back together I encountered difficulty 2: I had the wrong gasket! Oh wait, there are two in the kit for the two transmissions this filter fits. So put that on and start assembling.

Note and lesson learned: if something calls for 7 ftlbs, don't bother with a torque wrench. Tighten snug and call it a day.

Being a "first timer" though, the specs are there! Use a torque wrench!!! But... 7 ftlbs is at the bottom of the scale where most torque wrench errors occur... Second clue should have been the lack of click...

Everything back together, started TAB, shifted the gears, checked the fill, GOLDEN! Then I did something "stupid" which ended up a really good thing. I cycled the gears twice more and found I was low so topped off. Let it run for a bit and checked the shifting: Golden. Turned off TAB and cleaned up while still on the lift.

Came back to everyone saying "what's dripping?" AC condensation. Turned in carts and whatnot and found a staffer looking at my tranny. Dreaded words "Think you are leaking ATF"...

Looked, gave it a wipe, and one of the bolt heads came off.

Yep, sheared and a nice leak there... The leak is all of a 0.25 ml drop per 3 mins so not a huge one but definitely not something desirable... So what to do? No time or materials to address it properly then and there so RTV it is... Temp fix? Yep, but gives me enough time to get another gasket and figure out if I should attempt the pull and housing rethread or go to a pro. I will follow up with whatever happens.

So final tallies?
ATF filter kit with RedLine ATF: $214.99
4.5 hrs on lift: $35.75
Quoted price from Indy: $519.00 (so arguably $250 savings)
Potential damage caused? $1.5k+ and labor
Newfound respect for mechanics? Check!
Feeling after having done all this? Priceless.

So I messed up, but I did it myself. I am glad I did this as I learned new things, met new people, appreciate mechanics and TAB all the more, and have determined I am willing to do more. Maybe a little more reasonably considered but still willing.

So who thinks I should do chain guides next?
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  #2  
Old 04-21-2016, 06:49 PM
StPike75 StPike75 is offline
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Hurrah!

Definitely timing chain guides! Every thing else is Nancy.

Yup, the bs ing w all the other guys at the autohobby facilities is terrific.

Btw, there is no way to back the broken bolt out? Which position on the pan? I'll be under my car tomorrow and will take a look around for options.
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1999 540iT black and tan
2004 RX8
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Last edited by StPike75; 04-21-2016 at 06:54 PM.
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  #3  
Old 04-21-2016, 06:49 PM
ca2014mp2 ca2014mp2 is offline
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Mein Auto: E39 2000 528ITA
RTV ranks right in there with duct tape... you gotta hit that up somewhat soon as that wont hold forever.. good write up... nice 250 savings...
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Series E39 Vehicle code DP63 Model 528ITA Engine M52TU
Body type OTHER Catalog model USA Production date 1999 / 06
Transmission Automatic Steering Left Catalyzer YES

Production FROM : 1998/09/01 TO : 1999/08/31
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  #4  
Old 04-21-2016, 06:54 PM
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TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is offline
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Mein Auto: 540iA Sport 03/03 GS56111
Here are some additional pictures:

My "dirty" pan:


My clean pan:


My oil for testing in a white container:


Sheared bolt:


RTV "fix":


Another lesson learned: should have done original post in tapatalk...



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  #5  
Old 04-21-2016, 06:59 PM
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TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StPike75 View Post
Hurrah!

Definitely timing chain guides! Every thing else is Nancy.

Yup, the bs ing w all the other guys at the autohobby facilities is terrific.

Btw, there is no way to back the broken bolt out? Which position on the pan? I'll be under my car tomorrow and will take a look around for options.
Lol! It definitely was great times.

I think I should be able to give it out once I drop the pan again. But didn't have the time nor the backup gasket nor the replacement bolt. Should t have needed the gasket but at this point safe. I figure I will drop the pan and do another fill in about a week or so... Once I get the bolt and gasket.
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  #6  
Old 04-21-2016, 07:01 PM
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TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ca2014mp2 View Post
RTV ranks right in there with duct tape... you gotta hit that up somewhat soon as that wont hold forever.. good write up... nice 250 savings...
Have to learn at some point... And yes, the RTV is temp... Although I guess I could cycle between the two...
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  #7  
Old 04-21-2016, 07:01 PM
clark49660 clark49660 is offline
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Nice job. Pull that pan off one more time and remove what's left of that bolt, You might be able to just turn it out by hand if their is enough sticking out.
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  #8  
Old 04-21-2016, 07:04 PM
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TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is offline
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Originally Posted by clark49660 View Post
Nice job. Pull that pan off one more time and remove what's left of that bolt, You might be able to just turn it out by hand if their is enough sticking out.
Hopefully, although if not yet more skills added... Lol!
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  #9  
Old 04-21-2016, 07:09 PM
StPike75 StPike75 is offline
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TAB the bolt is broken fairly far in, so there may not be any nub to grab. However, you may be able to back it out with an "ez out" or some other screw extractor with out dropping the pan.
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  #10  
Old 04-21-2016, 07:17 PM
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TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StPike75 View Post
TAB the bolt is broken fairly far in, so there may not be any nub to grab. However, you may be able to back it out with an "ez out" or some other screw extractor with out dropping the pan.
Possibly, the hesitancy of NOT dropping the pan is that this goes into the tranny housing. So can royally mess things up. But will likely be doing just that. Besides, gives me more time at the AutoHobby if I do it my way.. Lol!
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Old 04-22-2016, 09:38 AM
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mattmar1 mattmar1 is offline
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way to go tab....did all your prep work and research beforehand, acquired materials needed, the took it on. feels good getting your hands dirty on your own bimmer doesnt it?
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99 528i 5sp sport, vanos rebuild,coolingoverhaul,stripped/repainted/polished/recoated OEM BBS style 5 wheels, new paint , all int/ext LED's clear corners, all vac leaks fixed, eonon 5166, ECS short shifter, LED ae's and fog lights (clear), all brakes, fixed trifecta, rear control arm camber repair, new throttle body, ccv delete, but it ended up as a huge vac leak, returned to new stock ccv, new injectors, cloned and replaced dme.
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  #12  
Old 04-22-2016, 09:49 AM
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TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is offline
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Originally Posted by mattmar1 View Post
way to go tab....did all your prep work and research beforehand, acquired materials needed, the took it on. feels good getting your hands dirty on your own bimmer doesnt it?
Thanks and Definitely!!! Love it and want more!
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  #13  
Old 04-22-2016, 10:03 AM
eissmann eissmann is offline
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Great story TAB! Thanks for sharing your trials and tribulations!
Years ago, I twisted off a valve cover bolt on a friend's 66 Buick while trying to help. It was humbling, but I learned from it.
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  #14  
Old 04-22-2016, 11:02 AM
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crazy4trains crazy4trains is online now
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+1000 on the lift. I did this with the car on ramps/jack stands and that wasn't fun. Having a lift would make the job much easier.
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Old Yesterday, 06:45 AM
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TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is offline
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It has been about 1200 miles and all is shifting well. Received the report and I am rather surprised. Seems to me like "normal" wear and tear and probably could have gone further... Glad I changed it though.
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  #16  
Old Yesterday, 09:21 AM
MKJS MKJS is offline
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AB, by the look of the pan and the residual in it, I don't think that is the original fluid. I'll post what mine looked like with 145K on it. Now, my car may have been run a lot harder before I got it, but I have a very hard time believing there is that much difference.

Looks to me like I'm going to have to change my fluid 4 times to get it clean. I plan on putting in a new filter on the last change. Going to change it today for the 3rd time, I'll try and send some pics from the beginning to now.

Jim
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Old Yesterday, 10:19 AM
Bob Michaels Bob Michaels is offline
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On a related note, I discovered a small ATF leak from my fill plug a couple of days ago. I had done a second drain/fill last weekend and I had to reuse the fill plug washer (wasn't in stock at the dealer). Lesson learned - always use a new washers. At least this will be a quick fix once the new part is secured....
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Old Yesterday, 10:46 AM
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TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKJS View Post
AB, by the look of the pan and the residual in it, I don't think that is the original fluid. I'll post what mine looked like with 145K on it. Now, my car may have been run a lot harder before I got it, but I have a very hard time believing there is that much difference.

Looks to me like I'm going to have to change my fluid 4 times to get it clean. I plan on putting in a new filter on the last change. Going to change it today for the 3rd time, I'll try and send some pics from the beginning to now.

Jim
Jim,
Visually I agree with you. This looks like it has been changed before as there wasn't much sludge etc. in there. However, I have the records back to 60k miles and the is no history of a change or any transmission work. So unless that is the one record that was not included (or recorded on the spreadsheet summary) I am thinking original.

Last edited by TheAngryBear; Yesterday at 11:25 AM.
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Old Yesterday, 12:33 PM
MKJS MKJS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAngryBear View Post
Jim,
Visually I agree with you. This looks like it has been changed before as there wasn't much sludge etc. in there. However, I have the records back to 60k miles and the is no history of a change or any transmission work. So unless that is the one record that was not included (or recorded on the spreadsheet summary) I am thinking original.
Very hard to compare 2, too small a subset. Like to see some other people's first change. Just finished my 3 change and it didn't look much different from the 1st or 2nd, BLACK!! Pics to follow

Jim
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Old Yesterday, 06:02 PM
rbail1 rbail1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAngryBear View Post
Jim,
Visually I agree with you. This looks like it has been changed before as there wasn't much sludge etc. in there. However, I have the records back to 60k miles and the is no history of a change or any transmission work. So unless that is the one record that was not included (or recorded on the spreadsheet summary) I am thinking original.
On my 2000 540i the filter actually had the date on it. I can't remember exactly what month but it was stamped 1999. I want to say it was NOV 1999. If there was no date stamp then possibly it wasn't the original.
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Old Yesterday, 06:11 PM
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TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is offline
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Originally Posted by rbail1 View Post
On my 2000 540i the filter actually had the date on it. I can't remember exactly what month but it was stamped 1999. I want to say it was NOV 1999. If there was no date stamp then possibly it wasn't the original.
I believe there was a date stamp on it but don't recall off the top of my head what it was. I am the 4th owner and TAB came with two owners records. The original purchaser appears to have done the dealership route if I recall the CarFax correctly so doubt it was done there. maybe I am just one of the lucky ones.
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Old Yesterday, 08:51 PM
MKJS MKJS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAngryBear View Post
I believe there was a date stamp on it but don't recall off the top of my head what it was. I am the 4th owner and TAB came with two owners records. The original purchaser appears to have done the dealership route if I recall the CarFax correctly so doubt it was done there. maybe I am just one of the lucky ones.
I could easily be wrong but I just don't see how it was that clean after 190k.

Changing my fluid today lowered my trans running temp from 94c to 84c. Big change!!! Wish would have been able to see what it was before the first change. Going to chance it at least one more time.

Jim
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