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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 11-25-2012, 02:00 PM
kenr88 kenr88 is offline
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Location: Turlock, CA
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 35
Mein Auto: 2000 528i Sedan
2000 528i e39. The old brake booster water issue. Need advice.

Last rain caused water build up in the brake booster area. I thought I took care of this a few years ago but haven't checked the clogging since and found it clogged again. My bad for not checking regularly. When this happened in the past it would clear itself after a few minutes and I didn't worry about it.

Anyway, this time it wasn't clearing up. I put my actron on it and got p0306 and p0417. I replaced the plugs (needed it anyway) cleared the codes but still had a problem. After searching threads found that water probably remained in the brake booster so I removed the vacuum line from the booster and plugged it. Pulled spark plugs #5 & #6 and turned the engine over in case there was any excess water in the cylinder. Reinstalled plugs and swapped 5&6 ignition coils. Restarted but same issue. I have a few questions.

1. In the threads I read, there was a mention of hydro lock and I may as well trash the car if this was the case. The engine runs smoothly above about 1500 rpm but won't idle. Could this be a case of hydrolock?

2. If not, it was only indicating misfire on #6 cylinder. Since I cleared the codes, I can't yet tell if the misfire moved to cylinder 5 with the coil swap. How long does it take for the codes to reappear?

I plan on replacing the brake booster since it has been wet more than once but not sure what to do about the misfire. Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:47 PM
kenr88 kenr88 is offline
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Location: Turlock, CA
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 35
Mein Auto: 2000 528i Sedan
Issue resolved

Since I hadn't had the engine to operating temperature in a few days, I decided to run it until warmed up. Had to keep the rpm's up to about 1500 or it would die. Let it sit warm for about 30 min. Restarted it but still would not idle. Kept it running for about another 5 min and then it slowly began to idle normally. Shut it off and restarted a few more times and everything was fine.

Before reconnecting the brake booster vacuum hose, I decided to try to empty out the booster housing of water by snaking a 1/4" vinyl hose through the vacuum hose hole (as suggested in a post I read) just in case. I removed almost a quart of water! See picture!

Test drove for several miles. Brakes good and engine running better than before. Plan to replace that booster anyway.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:56 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Location: San Jose, CA
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 10,139
Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
There may have been a buildup of water in the intake manifold, and running the engine ultimately cleared it out.

BTW, some say that injecting a small amount of water into the engine will clear away the carbon deposits.

A hydrolocked engine will have at least one bent connecting rod, as a result of trying to compress water, and would make a terrible noise. Sounds like you dodged a bullet.

Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:58 AM
tehran tehran is offline
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Location: madison/wi
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: bmw 528i
hi ,

i have a problem with brake when out side very cold , and the brake is frozen when the engine run for at list 35 min the brake works , some the dealer say your booster has hole and water in you booster you need to replace booster , how can remove water ?

thanks if help me
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