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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 03-15-2012, 08:47 PM
mitek mitek is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540I 6spd
just bought 2002 540i 6spd 100k miles

Hello all,
I would like to introduce myself to this forum. I am originally Russian but have lived in Canada for the last 16 years out of mine 36. Today I bought the 2002 540i 6spd with 100k miles. It was mostly out of the despair with a good common sense type of a deal. Despair because I have been crazy lately (more than 1 year) searching for a cheap high performance car that meets all of my demands. I always liked the e39 540 ever since my friend had one back in 2000 and one day he put that speedometer needle down while we were in a hurry, I guess, to get a good fishing spot that morning. Right then I decided to get one of these sometime down the road. That has actually happened today... My other car is 08 Jeep GC turbo diesel with all sorts of upgrades but none of them can match the stock performance of the 540. So I got this bimmer for fun and driving pleasure. It sits in the underground parking right now taking the spot of my Jeep (keeping it) and the truth is I have not even driven it myself yet. Doing insurance tomorrow. I got the bimmer cheap - $7400 so budgeting around $5k for repairs or what not. There is one thing that concerns me right now - I am thinking I am hearing an excessive valve train noise from the engine. Please take a "hear" and let me know what kind of a problem I am looking at here ($). The sound I am concerned about is vividly heard in the beginning of the video and @ 46-50sec of the video. Does it sound wrong?
Thanks

Last edited by mitek; 03-15-2012 at 09:24 PM. Reason: clarification
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  #2  
Old 03-15-2012, 09:30 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
Search this site for videos - common noise for the V8.
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  #3  
Old 03-15-2012, 09:49 PM
mitek mitek is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540I 6spd
Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
Search this site for videos - common noise for the V8.
Thank you.
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  #4  
Old 03-15-2012, 10:08 PM
65fastback 65fastback is offline
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Mein Auto: '02 540i/6, '08 E93 N54
Sounds like the Vanos to me. Very common noise.
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  #5  
Old 03-16-2012, 09:02 AM
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champaign777 champaign777 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 530 Sport Twins
2002 540i 6spd 100k miles in Russia for $7500k
normally it costs double there
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Last edited by champaign777; 03-16-2012 at 09:09 AM.
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  #6  
Old 03-16-2012, 09:08 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
You're off by three orders of magnitude, and he lives in Calgary.
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  #7  
Old 03-18-2012, 12:29 AM
mitek mitek is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540I 6spd
edjack is correct, I live in Calgary. I assume these cars are more expensive to buy in Russia... So I showed the bimmer to my mechanic and happy to say that it doesn’t have any major problems. The brakes are new, the front end is tight, the engine sounds ok to him and after changing the oil (Lubro Moly 5W40) the engine noise I described in my original post has become much quieter. He will run the vacuum check on the engine on Monday so I guess that will tell if the VANOS has to be worked on at this point (I am kind of inclined to service it anyways). Couple of problems - the fan clutch is not working, the steering fluid reservoir is leaking (I guess it is a common problem, even my wife's 95 BMW 318i, my first introduction to BMWs, had the same issue). I am curios now to find out all the options that my car has. I am not sure if that requires the visit to the dealer. Need your advice. I think I have the sport suspension - sport seats, 6spd and the shadow line trim. Does that mean that my car is already lowered from the factory (15mm or so)? The reason I am asking is that I am looking to upgrade the wheels and by doing some research it looks like 18" wheels are the biggest OD that people recommend. 19" wheels would require a suspension drop so it looks right but now that if I have a sport suspension, will the 19" still look too big? I have the cold weather package, folding rear seats, DSC... I don't have the PDC and the NAV. Am I missing a lot of other factory options? The wheels I have on the car are 16" and 225/? all around. I wonder if it came with the 17" originally but the previous owner kept them.. he also had the 03 540i 6spd with the M package that he chose to keep) I know for sure that my 540 came with one option that it is impossible to start moving from the traffic light without chirping the rear tires - that is a good start)) stalled the engine twice today... never had a car with a manual transmission before so really excited to master it)
Thanks
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  #8  
Old 03-18-2012, 12:40 PM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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16's on a 2002 540i-6? You should have sport suspension by default, and it should have come with 17" wheels. My understanding was that if you had the sport suspension, you needed at least 17" wheels to account for the bigger brakes. I wouldn't go more than 18"--after that it's a matter of taste I guess, as there is no performance benefit beyond 18, and your quality of ride will suffer due to less and less rubber between the metal and the road with bigger wheels. Fan clutch is an easy DIY and power steering hoses going bad is very common. I had a mechanic replace my PS hoses, but just about everything on the e39 can be DIY with the proper tools and patience and asking advice or searching this site....
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  #9  
Old 03-18-2012, 02:51 PM
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golferjohnm golferjohnm is offline
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Mein Auto: '01 540i 6sp '01 X5 4.4
sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me
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  #10  
Old 03-18-2012, 04:56 PM
mitek mitek is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540I 6spd
Thanks guys! After driving this car for a couple of days, I think my Jeep GC will be for sale pretty soon) My bimmer bug has come back. Just detailing this car makes me happy) Also, checked the spare tire and it is a brand new 17" wheel so I guess the rest 4 disappeared somewhere some time ago. 16" wheels clear the callipers though no problem.

Last edited by mitek; 03-18-2012 at 05:16 PM.
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  #11  
Old 03-18-2012, 05:55 PM
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IndiansFan IndiansFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitek View Post
........I am curios now to find out all the options that my car has. I am not sure if that requires the visit to the dealer. Need your advice. I think I have the sport suspension - sport seats, 6spd and the shadow line trim. Does that mean that my car is already lowered from the factory (15mm or so)? ..........I have the cold weather package, folding rear seats, DSC... I don't have the PDC and the NAV. Am I missing a lot of other factory options? The wheels I have on the car are 16" and 225/? all around. I wonder if it came with the 17" originally but the previous owner kept them.. he also had the 03 540i 6spd with the M package that he chose to keep) I know for sure that my 540 came with one option that it is impossible to start moving from the traffic light without chirping the rear tires - that is a good start)) stalled the engine twice today... never had a car with a manual transmission before so really excited to master it)
Thanks
I am not sure of the differences between a USA delivered cars and one delivered in Canada.

For USA spec 2002 540i 6 speed cars the Premium Package and Sport Package were standard.

Premium Package included Montana leather, vavona redwood trim, glass moonroof, upgraded on board computer auto diming inside rear view mirror, rain sensing wipers, automatic headlight control, and universal garage door opener.

Sport package included 17" style 32 wheels, M-Tech sport suspension and sport steering wheel, 12 way sport seats w/ thigh support, and high gloss shadowline trim.

The cold weather package including the heated front seats and headlight cleaning system was optional.

Individual line item options were:
17" style 66 wheels
park distance control
rear window and rear door window shades
ski bag
on board navigation
DSP audio system
split folding rear seats
16 way comfort front seats
rear side airbags

Your previous owner probably kept the 17" wheels. My '99 528 was delivered from the factory with 17" style 5 wheels, but when I bought it they had been swapped with 16" style 82 wheels. It still has the style 5 full size spare.
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2001 530iA STEEL BLUE/Sand - Sport/Premium/Cold Package
1999 528iA JET BLACK/Black - Sport/Premium/Heated Seats
1999 528iT CASHMERE BEIGE/Sand - Sport/Premium Package - 5 speed
1982 Fiat 2000 Spider - BLUE METALLIC/Blue

Last edited by IndiansFan; 03-18-2012 at 05:56 PM. Reason: adding information
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  #12  
Old 03-18-2012, 06:00 PM
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IndiansFan IndiansFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitek View Post
Thanks guys! After driving this car for a couple of days, I think my Jeep GC will be for sale pretty soon) My bimmer bug has come back. Just detailing this car makes me happy) Also, checked the spare tire and it is a brand new 17" wheel so I guess the rest 4 disappeared somewhere some time ago. 16" wheels clear the callipers though no problem.
like this?
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Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
Benjamin Franklin

2001 530iA STEEL BLUE/Sand - Sport/Premium/Cold Package
1999 528iA JET BLACK/Black - Sport/Premium/Heated Seats
1999 528iT CASHMERE BEIGE/Sand - Sport/Premium Package - 5 speed
1982 Fiat 2000 Spider - BLUE METALLIC/Blue
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  #13  
Old 03-19-2012, 04:28 PM
mitek mitek is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540I 6spd
Yep, that is the same style wheel I have for the spare. Thanks for listing all the options for 2002 model. Looks like I have the premium and sport package but I don't have the universal garage door opener for some reason...
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  #14  
Old 03-24-2012, 03:00 AM
mitek mitek is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540I 6spd
To summ things up,
Fixing:
Valve cover seal - 2 (leaking)
VANOS seals - no good
Inner & Outer tie rod - left needed, installing both
Rear stabilization links - right needed, installing both
Engine mounts - 2 front
A couple of pulleys
Fan Clutch
Steering fluid reservoir hoses
One fog light
Wheel Alignment

After that:
Need new door seals, any good place to get it from?
New 18" rims and tires
M5 front and rear bumpers and the exhaust to match it. May be CAI.
For the interior upgrades - I need Bluetooth hands free than may be navigation and I am really missing my 16Gb hard drive that I have in my Jeep...
Is there an aftermarket unit out there to make it happen?
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  #15  
Old 03-25-2012, 01:03 PM
mitek mitek is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540I 6spd
Picked up these m5 18" original wheels today:
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The wheels have quite a bit of curb rash but hopefully it is all fixable. Paid $850 for all but the tires are pretty much bold.
Also, my car has the interior trim wrapped in "carbon fiber" cloth. The previous owner did not do a very good job with it so I am planning to remove it. Does anyone know if it is glued to the original trim and if it is easily removable? Sorry for the bad quality pic. Thanks.
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Last edited by mitek; 03-26-2012 at 07:16 PM.
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  #16  
Old 03-26-2012, 07:13 PM
mitek mitek is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540I 6spd
Good thing I budgeted for "some" repairs... It is going to cost me $2800 to get everything fixed by my mechanic. Now it makes sense to me that this forum has so many DIYs threads) Next time I will certainly try to do most of repairs myself. I am sure this bimmer will pay me back eventually one way or another)

Last edited by mitek; 03-26-2012 at 07:26 PM.
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  #17  
Old 12-17-2012, 03:29 AM
pockomoth pockomoth is offline
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I could be wrong, but doesn't the Sport Package come with the M steering wheel? And the Premium Package comes the with universal garage door opener? I just bought a 2003 540i for $13,000, I studied hard to understand the Packages, hate to think I had it all wrong... I didn't get a great deal, but if you got the Premium and Sport at only $7500 I got hosed!
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  #18  
Old 12-17-2012, 11:12 AM
Nervous Nervous is offline
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Mein Auto: 01' 330CI 6MT / 00' 540i
Congrats OP with you purchase, but.... At this mileage, be ready for this:


Keywords: timing chain guides failure, VANOS "diesel" sound. My on going progress topic:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=636775
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  #19  
Old 12-17-2012, 11:34 AM
theWalkinator theWalkinator is online now
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540iA
I bought 100k miles 2002 540i auto with sport package for $6300. I saw few 2002, 2003 540i manual with around 100k miles around $11k.
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  #20  
Old 12-17-2012, 11:36 AM
Nervous Nervous is offline
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Mein Auto: 01' 330CI 6MT / 00' 540i
Hmmm.... 5K premium for manual tranny.... Nah, screw it.
I bought mine 2000 540iA for $1600
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  #21  
Old 12-17-2012, 11:41 AM
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AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pockomoth View Post
I could be wrong, but doesn't the Sport Package come with the M steering wheel? And the Premium Package comes the with universal garage door opener? I just bought a 2003 540i for $13,000, I studied hard to understand the Packages, hate to think I had it all wrong... I didn't get a great deal, but if you got the Premium and Sport at only $7500 I got hosed!
Dude. Relax. You got a nice car.
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  #22  
Old 03-20-2013, 04:21 AM
mitek mitek is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540I 6spd
Quote:
Originally Posted by pockomoth View Post
I could be wrong, but doesn't the Sport Package come with the M steering wheel? And the Premium Package comes the with universal garage door opener? I just bought a 2003 540i for $13,000, I studied hard to understand the Packages, hate to think I had it all wrong... I didn't get a great deal, but if you got the Premium and Sport at only $7500 I got hosed!
Looked up my old thread and didn't realize that there were some unread posts in it
M steering wheel came only with the M-tech package, mine doesn't have it. I like the M steering wheel though and plan to get one in the future. It is also weird that my car didn't come with the garage door opener as the part of the premium package, but may be in Canada it was a separate option... I think you still got an ok deal for the 2003 540. That is what they go for in Canada, depends on the condition of the car and options though.

"Congrats OP with you purchase, but.... At this mileage, be ready for this:"
Thank you!
That doesn't look good... Are they all fail around 110k miles? Comes summer, I will be fixing the front cover leak and replacing VANOS seals with Beisan kit that I purchased. Would that be a good time to change the timing chain guides as well?
I also have a problem with sticking front brakes. I am thinking about servicing the callipers and may be changing all of the brake houses.


Bimmer is parked for the winter... The other day I drove out to just 1. look at it) 2. wash it 3. take a pic) 4. park it again to collect dust in the underground parking. Can't wait till the winter is over) A also bought M5 bumpers + side mouldings from Umnitza. Those will go on a bit later together with Magnaflow muffler. Need to polish the headlights...
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I also changed my Jeep for GL550 so I can still have fun in the winter months)) Bought my wife a 13 XC70 T6 with Polestar upgrade So I am finnally happy with all of my cars for now. That is a good feeling)
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  #23  
Old 03-20-2013, 04:39 AM
Reuvers Reuvers is offline
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Mein Auto: BMW e39 540i '97
awesome color for the e39!
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  #24  
Old 03-20-2013, 05:40 AM
mitek mitek is offline
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Originally Posted by Reuvers View Post
awesome color for the e39!
I like it myself It is Sterling Grey.
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  #25  
Old 03-20-2013, 06:04 AM
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Andreas540i Andreas540i is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW 540i
If you want a universal door opener, most I believe are prewired for them. My 97 had a badge in the trunk saying what it was prewired for. You should also be able to remove the gray square by the front cabin light in the roof and find the plug for if just sitting there. You can then get a opener from ebay and a new gray square and swap it in.
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