E39 540i multiple fuel pump failures. - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums



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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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  #1  
Old 05-11-2017, 01:31 PM
thorsteinarg thorsteinarg is offline
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E39 540i multiple fuel pump failures.

Hello, I have a very annoying problem on my hands. I have got a 99 E39 540i. M62b44TU.
My car seems to like killing fuel pumps for some reason, this time last year I bought the car with a barely running motor after chain and guides replacement. Timed the car in again and it ran good.
Then after a 5 minute test drive it died on me, towed it back to the garage, did the basic stuff and it had no fuel pressure.
Pulled the pump and replaced it with a pump from my local bmw parts store.
That pump lasted me 3 months. Took it back as my thought was that it was faulty.
Got another pump due to warranty, installed it. 2 weeks later it died, AGAIN. At this point I changed the fuel filter. And cursed at my total of 550$ tow car bills.
Got another fuel pump, used OEM this time. Lasted a month....
Replaced it again with a used OEM unit, and ordered a 255lph pump.
Now last saturday I installed the 255lph unit.
And that pump died on me on Tuesday! Drove it 50km.
I have changed the fuel filter, the one with the built in regulator, fuel pump relay is working properly, tried at one point switching them around to rule it out. The gas tank has no contaminats at all. No debree, no water.
Pump gets steady voltage to my knowledge.
I never run the pump dry, I have once gotten to the 50Km range left.

Now I dont trust this car to go anywhere. And its really pissing me off. I cant think of anything that could be wrong, I have tried multiple times to surf the web for answers, cant find anyone who has had this problem.
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  #2  
Old 05-11-2017, 01:49 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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- Low fuel level such as < 1/4 with bad siphon pump will kill a fuel pump.
- Make sure you keep fuel above > 1/4 until you figure out the issue of fuel siphon pump.
- Stick to Pierburg.
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  #3  
Old 05-11-2017, 01:52 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Is your battery voltage at speed no more than 14 V?
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  #4  
Old 05-11-2017, 02:02 PM
thorsteinarg thorsteinarg is offline
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Siphon pump is working properly, fuel level in both tanks are somewhat the same at all times.

Battery and alternator is around 8 months old. Charging system is working well, I have found no problems there after I changed battery and alternator.
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  #5  
Old 05-11-2017, 03:01 PM
528iAut 528iAut is offline
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When fuel is filled it goes into the right tank, where the fuel pump is located, it then spills over into the left tank. As you use fuel it is being pumped from the left tank over to the right tank, so if your gauge shows half a tank left, then check the cluster test 7 with sub data, it should show that the left tank is empty and the right tank is full. This is at least how I understand the system should work, maybe I am wrong.
My right fuel level sensor seems to get stuck when the tank is half full, gauge showing 1/4 tank and doesnt drop any lower, but anyway, the cluster test says Phase 1 which means both sensors are working.
Only when my tank is full do I have the same amount of fuel in both tanks.
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  #6  
Old 05-11-2017, 03:14 PM
thorsteinarg thorsteinarg is offline
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Yes sir I check it regurarly, I believe its test number 6. Mine shows the amount in liters. For example : 30 15 15
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  #7  
Old 05-11-2017, 03:33 PM
pshovest pshovest is offline
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Are pumps drawing too much current do to high resistance in one of the connections or high fuel pressure?
What is fuel pressure at the rail?
Put an ammeter on the pump and measure current. Alternatively measure the voltage at the pump while running.
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  #8  
Old 05-11-2017, 03:54 PM
MKJS MKJS is offline
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Too many pumps to be coincidence I think. Seems 2 choices I can think of, electric or fuel flow. Wondering if there is a blockage somewhere in the system causing the pump to work overtime. Pressure at the rail perhaps not enough of a check. Are you getting any signs of low fuel flow driving with a new pump? Does the motor run up to to red line with no issues when the pump is new? Wondering about a gallons/min test.

Jim
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  #9  
Old 05-11-2017, 04:52 PM
thorsteinarg thorsteinarg is offline
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Car pulls very well and performs flawlessly. No stuttering or anything like that. My next step will be measuring how much power the pump is really getting.
Also, might this maybe be an evap issue?
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  #10  
Old 05-11-2017, 05:01 PM
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Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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have you acutally tested voltage @ the pumps connection?

Good earth good voltage? NOT Over voltage?
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  #11  
Old 05-11-2017, 05:05 PM
thorsteinarg thorsteinarg is offline
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I have tested the voltage. It was good. Just where it should be. But have not measured the voltage with the pump running and at diffirent rpm's.
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Old 05-11-2017, 05:29 PM
spoddye39 spoddye39 is offline
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Agree with others I think there's a partial blockage somewhere causing the pump to work harder than normal. It may be a blockage in the return line.

As I understand it the E39 has a fairly complex fuel system that endeavours to keep fuel from circulating through the engine bay and heating up, causing evaporation in the tank. According to Bentley's P160-24 "The running losses 3/2 way valve is located beneath the drivers seat just ahead of the fuel filter." It seems to divert a large quantity of fuel back to the tank most of the time. Perhaps a problem here.

Spod
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  #13  
Old 05-11-2017, 05:32 PM
thorsteinarg thorsteinarg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spoddye39 View Post
Agree with others I think there's a partial blockage somewhere causing the pump to work harder than normal. It may be a blockage in the return line.

As I understand it the E39 has a fairly complex fuel system that endeavours to keep fuel from circulating through the engine bay and heating up, causing evaporation in the tank. According to Bentley's P160-24 "The running losses 3/2 way valve is located beneath the drivers seat just ahead of the fuel filter." It seems to divert a large quantity of fuel back to the tank most of the time. Perhaps a problem here.

Spod
Sounds like a good possibility. Will take a look at that also. Thanks guys for all the ideas, appreciate it. Keep them flowing if you have some ideas
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  #14  
Old 06-27-2017, 01:53 AM
Indee Indee is offline
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I have the same problem with my 97 528I.
So far 4 fuel pumps including a Pierburg.
Very frustrating. Can't drive it.
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  #15  
Old 06-27-2017, 08:30 AM
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Any updates to this issue?
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  #16  
Old 06-27-2017, 09:02 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pshovest View Post
Are pumps drawing too much current do to high resistance in one of the connections or high fuel pressure?
What is fuel pressure at the rail?
Put an ammeter on the pump and measure current. Alternatively measure the voltage at the pump while running.
Resistance in the circuit will cause less current flow, not more.
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  #17  
Old 06-27-2017, 05:40 PM
pshovest pshovest is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
Resistance in the circuit will cause less current flow, not more.
For a resistance load like a lighting circuit yes, for an inductive load like a motor no. A 120watt motor will draw about 120/12 = 10 amps at 12VDC. It will draw 15 amps at 8VDC.
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  #18  
Old 06-27-2017, 08:25 PM
berkeleydojah berkeleydojah is offline
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Make sure you didn't put your fuel filter on backwards


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  #19  
Old 06-28-2017, 02:38 AM
thorsteinarg thorsteinarg is offline
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Hello, I have indeed solved the problem! The problem was in the fuel sender unit. The wire that runs from the pump to, and through the fuel sender "lid" was damaged INSIDE the wire insulation. I did not see it until I cracked the insulation around the wire at the very top, where it goes through the tank.
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Old 06-28-2017, 02:45 AM
thorsteinarg thorsteinarg is offline
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  #21  
Old 06-28-2017, 02:47 AM
thorsteinarg thorsteinarg is offline
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On the picture I posted the wire is in good shape, had a spare one with a faulty fuel gauge sender wire, so I broke the insulation on this one to show you guys where my problem was.
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  #22  
Old 06-28-2017, 08:18 AM
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Thanks for the follow up!
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  #23  
Old 06-28-2017, 08:38 AM
thorsteinarg thorsteinarg is offline
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Originally Posted by amancuso View Post
Thanks for the follow up!
No problem. Sucks that 1 wire has cost me around 100.000 Icelandic kronars. Around 1k usd, tow trucks, spare parts etc
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  #24  
Old 06-28-2017, 08:45 AM
dmoney $3694 dmoney $3694 is offline
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530i transmission draggs

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