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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 09-19-2008, 02:43 PM
lsfeder lsfeder is offline
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Location: Panama City, Panama
 
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Gas Gauge stuck... FIX (W/ Pics)

Hey everyone.
First I want to thank everyone for their input so far with this problem I have been having. I resolved it today, and figured I may as well post a DIY for others to have in case.

This morning I woke up and an idea popped into me head that I should have thought of earlier, access the OBC from the gauge cluster (Test N 06). This test gives you immediate readouts on both floater levels and the total level of fuel. So I entered the test mode after unlocking the computer and walla... floater #2 on the right hand side was reading out a constant 0 even when driving aggressively. (I floored it and braked hard a few times to really get the fuel to slosh around the tank). I knew then that the used floater we had transplanted was also dead.
So off to the stealership I went to buy part # 16 14 6 752 370 (150 dollars )
For those of you who dont know, this floater attaches to the fuel pump of the vehicle (so in effect the power to the fuel pump comes from this floater). So without further ado, I present to you all my first DIY to BimmerFest.

1. Make sure you have protective gloves!! Your hands will be submerged in fuel!! Also, make sure surrounding area has no contamination as it could wind up in your fuel tank and reek havoc on your fuel system!!
2. Unhook rear seat (it pops out if you yank it hard and up)
3. Identify the 2 floater units covered by the plastic protective sheild.
4. I unhooked the right hand side as this was the faulted unit
5. Unplug wiring harness
6. With a flat head screw driver, tap the metal shield in a counter clock wise position to loosen cap.
7. Have a hose plug ready as you will be unplugging a main fuel line from the top of the floater and it WILL SPRAY FUEL!!
8. Loosen mounting screw holding rubber fuel line in place, and squeeze line tightly
9. Remove line and quickly plug it (I used a metal rod)
10. Twist head of the floater counter clockwise till the unit comes loose, then pull up. The rubber gasket needs to be removed as well as the new part comes with a new one.
11. Carefully pull floater out of tank, you may have to yank it a bit to release it (the fuel pump will come off with the unit)
12. Let the fuel from the pump drain back into the tank before moving it out of the car
13. Disconnect the fuel pump from the floater (there are 2 electric wires supplying power to the pump) My floater had so much gunk on it, no wonder it failed.
14. Clip new floater to the fuel pump
15. Install new rubber gasket into the floater gap
16. Install new floater and pump back into the fuel tank (make sure it clicks before proceeding!!)
17. Re attach metal holder and with flat head screw driver and hammer tap clockwise to tighten.
18. Attach wiring harness
19. Wash surrounding area with water and cloth. There will be fuel spilled, so make sure you water it down and clean it off well!
20. Cover unit with plastic shield.
21. Attach seat (plugs back in with a nice thump)
22. I used this opportunity to clean my leather seat with some armor all leather cleaner
23. Enjoy your functioning fuel gauge!

Sticky? I think so









Last edited by lsfeder; 09-19-2008 at 04:21 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-19-2008, 02:47 PM
lsfeder lsfeder is offline
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Location: Panama City, Panama
 
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Mein Auto: 540i M , 560SEL
pics should be working now

Last edited by lsfeder; 09-19-2008 at 05:31 PM.
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  #3  
Old 09-19-2008, 04:09 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Location: Omaha NE
 
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Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
Wow, In Panama city it is $150 for you!!!

Up here in the US, it is $50:
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...09&hg=16&fg=15

Or drive WITHOUT a functioning fuel gauge, like my 1981 Honda Accord I used to own that had a broken fuel gauge... Just remember to add gasoline every 250-300 miles...haha!

Last edited by cn90; 09-19-2008 at 04:18 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-19-2008, 04:24 PM
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doru doru is offline
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Nice writeup. Thanks for sharing
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  #5  
Old 09-19-2008, 04:27 PM
lsfeder lsfeder is offline
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Location: Panama City, Panama
 
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Mein Auto: 540i M , 560SEL
I know... I check that site and noticed the price. I was like WTF?!
But what can you do? Like you said deal with a broken gauge or eat the price.
Tastes good ;-)
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  #6  
Old 09-19-2008, 07:07 PM
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TemporarySanity TemporarySanity is offline
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It looks like there is a puddle of gas on the insulation in the last pic!! Won't the car reek of gas now?
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  #7  
Old 09-19-2008, 10:43 PM
lsfeder lsfeder is offline
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Location: Panama City, Panama
 
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Posts: 420
Mein Auto: 540i M , 560SEL
You have no idea how bad it was working on the car... high octane fumes.
Thank god I have a garage to park in, so I am leaving the car totally open to air out.
But yea, its a messy job with lots of fuel stank.
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  #8  
Old 07-01-2014, 07:42 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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I was researching how to clean the fuel gauge sending unit for someone when I realized the bestlinks reference went stale, so, I'm going to declare this the canonical thread to update moving forward.

Since the ImageShack pictures are hard to get, I'll also append them here, so that it's easier for others (and they also won't go stale over time).

- DIY to clean your fuel gauge sending unit (1) & a detailed Techron "soap for gasoline" thread (1)

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Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #9  
Old 04-18-2015, 11:23 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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I came here to help out on this thread today ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Fuel tank level is a "slow learner"!
Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
After putting car on charger after draining my battery, I started the car before the battery was fully charged. I just needed it to crank and start and then I knew alternator would take over. I reported in another thread that when car started, fuel gauge was dead, DIC was blank, and various other displays were dead all because I started my car prematurely and battery voltage was pulled low..

I removed battery cables, shorted them together and put battery on trickle charge. Re-connected everything and all was well again. I had about a 1/3rd of a tank of gas when this all happened and I drive the car little and did not need to add any gas. Low fuel light came on and so I filled it with 16 gallons. Fuel gauge went to 1/2 way and stopped there even though I knew I had a full tank. I drove home and started contemplating how to determine what happened as gauge read properly before all this. I needed to drive about 30 miles so took off with gas gauge just below 1/2 way. I just happened to look down at gas gauge and it was now reading slightly ABOVE 1/2 way. I was happy and as I drove further and further, I could see that the gauge reading was going toward "FULL" but so very, very slowly. By the end of my 30 mile trip, the gauge had finally risen to "Full". Just wanted to share this as I guess when a gauge on instrument cluster goes wacky, it can take a few drives for it to "believe" that gauge is suddenly reading full! It will not just go to full, but must re-learn what fuel level actually is and the car won't just *believe* a full tank quickly. It is heavily dampened and corrects or re-learns as slowly as the adaptation values. Before jumping into replacing anything, if you had cluster problem, it can take few drives for gauges read "plausible" by BMW standards. I could have easily read test 06, saw which sender was bad and bought one before allowing this slow learner process to occur. Just in case anyone might have a similar issue, all may not be lost. Give it time to re-learn!
Quote:
Originally Posted by JKRIT View Post
The fuel gauge will do the same thing (sluggish to read full) if you leave the ignition key in the "on" position when refueling. Could that be what happened in your case?
Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
Interesting- I never knew that.***8203; I always take my keys out of the car while I fuel as I am afraid that somehow I could accidentally get "locked-out" so in this case, your thoughts are probably right on for others, just not in this case. I made a couple stops during my approx. 30 mile drive, but it was a 90 minute trip all together and mostly city traffic so the gauge moved every so *painfully slow*. I was delighted though once I realize it would probably get there eventually so a repair was not at all necessary.
Quote:
Originally Posted by E39Hoon View Post
Fuel level sender. It's pretty common that these go out on our cars. Here's a helpful thread http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...l+level+sender
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I think we don't really have a canonical thread in the bestlinks for a Bimmerfest thread on how the fuel level sensor system works from the gas tank to the gas gauge.

Typing /fuel level sensor only finds this hit, which has some nice diagnostic pictures, but, which is on a different forum (so we can't add any value to it):
- Fuel Level Sensor Replacment/Fuel Pump Access (99 528i)

Typing /fuel gauge f3, I find this:
- DIY to clean your fuel gauge sending unit (1) & a detailed Techron "soap for gasoline" thread (1)

The implication is that the sending unit gets dirty, and that mechanical cleaning is best (although people opt for miracles in a can).
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Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #10  
Old 04-23-2015, 11:34 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
I was trying to help out someone in this thread today, when I realized the old canonical thread was a dead-link outside thread, so, I'm adding tis thread as the new canonical thread for troubleshooting the gas gauge sending unit...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > -40 F on Display Panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
- How to troubleshoot your gas gauge sending unit (1)
Drat.

I used to add outside links to the bestlinks, but, this one is dead, so, that's why I stopped linking to the outside directly (the link can be in the thread).

Now it's time to look for a new canonical troubleshooting the gas-gauge thread.

Running the obligatory e39-only title-only search (of course, assuming that any op who used a bad title probably has a bad thread, so we only look for good titles as a pragmatic matter), using the keywords 'gas gauge', we get 16 hits, none with greater than 31 hits, and only two with pictures.
Of those two, the first was easily the better thread, but the pictures were on a foreign site, which said "this content is not available for your location" (whatever that means). Luckily, I had re-posted the pictures (as I am wont to do) so that they'd be on Bimmerfest (they must hate me for the bandwidth I use in just the thousands of pictures alone) for as long as the thread is available.

I'll add a new bestlink to bimmerfest pointing to that thread (I can't edit the old links so I am forced to ADD links, which is why I generally search the bestlinks backwards, i.e., I use slash+keyword+shift+f3 instead of slash+keyword+f3.

In addition, in that newly linked-to thread, I'll add the 16 threads which were found, so that the next person looking to troubleshoot this problem can start where I left off and improve the newly canonical thread from there...
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Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #11  
Old 04-23-2015, 11:48 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Here, to help others, are the 16 threads with "gas gauge" in the title:
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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