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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 02-19-2015, 03:54 PM
billdo billdo is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 540i & 2003 X5 3.0i
Regret My Purchase

I am having some buyers remorse over my recent 540 purchase. The car needs the timing chain kit, valley pan, and Vanos all done. Basically everything Bob did in his post "Around the M62tu in 80 hours"

I don't have a enough confidence in myself to do the job. Probably would screw the timing up and have to take it all apart again. The indy want over $3000 to do everything but the Valley Pan, I can pull that one off. My question:

Is it really worth putting $3000 into a motor that has 142,000 miles on it? How good are these things. If I do all this work, is there anything else that is known to go wrong. I would hate to do all this and then blow a head gasket.
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  #2  
Old 02-19-2015, 04:34 PM
BavarianE31 BavarianE31 is offline
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Sell it if you can. I hate working on cars I hate. I'm sure you feel the same.
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  #3  
Old 02-19-2015, 04:37 PM
billdo billdo is offline
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I don't hate the car,actually it is a great car and I can't believe it is 13 .5 years old. Nor do I hate working on cars. In fact I enjoy it. I just am not confident I can do these fixes, but more importantly is it worth it.
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  #4  
Old 02-19-2015, 04:42 PM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Mein Auto: E39 540i
Quote:
Originally Posted by billdo View Post
I am having some buyers remorse over my recent 540 purchase. The car needs the timing chain kit, valley pan, and Vanos all done. Basically everything Bob did in his post "Around the M62tu in 80 hours"

I don't have a enough confidence in myself to do the job. Probably would screw the timing up and have to take it all apart again. The indy want over $3000 to do everything but the Valley Pan, I can pull that one off. My question:

Is it really worth putting $3000 into a motor that has 142,000 miles on it? How good are these things. If I do all this work, is there anything else that is known to go wrong. I would hate to do all this and then blow a head gasket.
M62tu is quite realiable engine apart from the timing chain guides. Blown headgaskets are usually due to overheating the engine. These engines are good for 300k+. Only real issue is the timing chains, but if those are done with quality parts the engine should be good for another 150k miles. While the timing chains are replaced replace the OSV (it's located behind the timing covers). If you like to DIY there is no reason why you couldn't do the timing job yourself. Just follow the instructions carefully and get the special tools needed.
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  #5  
Old 02-19-2015, 04:55 PM
billdo billdo is offline
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What is an OSV?

I would like to do it myself, but I have read the Besian Vanos procedure and the timing process scares me. However if it is a 300k motor that is encouraging. Is there another timing procedure, or does the Besian DIY cover that?
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  #6  
Old 02-19-2015, 05:04 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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You need the timing kit for both VANOS and timing chain guides. It locks the engine in position before disassembly. Best get a copy of the Bentley E39 service manual, and review the procedure.

If you don't feel confident, farm it out. You can still do the jobs with which you're comfortable. Make sure you vet the shop.

Is it worth it? Only you can decide. If it has an auto trans, that will be the next failure point, depending on how well the trans was used and maintained.

How do you know you need all this work?
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  #7  
Old 02-19-2015, 05:06 PM
billdo billdo is offline
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No, I specifically bought a 6 speed because I know Automatics are the week point on most high mile cars. As for the shop, it gets great reviews and even mentioned the Besian procedure in our conversations.
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  #8  
Old 02-19-2015, 05:08 PM
billdo billdo is offline
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I need the work. All the symptoms are there. Diesel sound and a little rattle. But most telling is the P0011 and P0021 codes as well as the indy mechanics diagnosis.
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  #9  
Old 02-19-2015, 05:08 PM
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DennisCooper! DennisCooper! is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billdo View Post
but more importantly is it worth it.
Some will say an emphatic 'Yes'

Some will say 'perhaps'

Some will say 'no'


ONLY you can decide if it's 'worth it'.

Good luck whichever way you decide to take!

Cheers, Dennis!
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  #10  
Old 02-19-2015, 05:10 PM
billdo billdo is offline
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Dennis, an opinion or experience would be nice. lol
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  #11  
Old 02-19-2015, 05:17 PM
SSJRICH 540i SSJRICH 540i is offline
00 E39 540i/6 M Sport
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I have this discussion with a lot of people all the time. For me its "What is your end game?" Some people will say, well I like switching it up. Well then they answered there own question. Others will say, this is the car I want to drive. And again they answered their own question.

Personally this is the car I want to drive until I can upgrade into an E39 M5. But right now this is my end game. I will spend whatever is cost to run this car. And whatever money I have left over on personal mods. And like everybody else said, YOU have to decided on what your end game is. Is this the car you want to be driving now and for the near future?? YES = throw down the cash. NO = get what you can and find your end game.

Every morning I get up and look forward to my commute cause I have the car I want to drive. Every weekend we go out I am happy to drive any distance. You just have to find your end game and that's what you want to put your endless dollars into.

GOOD LUCK!
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  #12  
Old 02-19-2015, 05:20 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Amen, Brother.
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  #13  
Old 02-19-2015, 05:22 PM
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golferjohnm golferjohnm is offline
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I'm currently at 161,xxx and am going to be facing this very same dilemma in the near future. I have zero symptoms and this baby runs like a freight train, but it's coming...

Been toying with the idea of finding a low/lower mileage engine, doing all the gaskets/OSV/etc. while it's on a stand and putting it in my garage until that fateful day comes.

When that day comes, I'll have a freshened M62tu ready to be plugged-in...I'll throw-in a new clutch while I'm at it. Should be good for another 200,000 miles
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  #14  
Old 02-19-2015, 05:28 PM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
Under the lift arms
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Mein Auto: E39 540, E36 328is, E83x3
find somebody else to work on the car.. 3k should include the chain's (and all that includes)

the valley pan is under the intake which comes off to do the job... what this says (and this is how dealers make money)

is we are going to bill you 18 hours for the timing job (that you cant get away from)
but then even though everything is already taken apart and only 30-40 min of extra time is required (+ gaskets n pan) we are still going to charge you a extra 6 hours worth of labor..
because by the book thats a seperate job

This is how being a flat rate mechanic works...

pass on this person find someone else to do the job..

same consept for the Osv, (which comes off for the timeing job.. only extra money for the part should be reuired) and you can pass on the vano chain's and vanos units.... the 62 doesnt need it


your mileage is about normal for when a chain job gets done on the 62.. I think i was right around there as well
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"Burning 2nd is a lot like vitamin tonic. Overly harsh, tastes like crap, but somewhere in all that there's good intent......just have to learn to read between the lines, actually you have to squint really hard to see the good, but its there somewhere"

15486372<-----

Last edited by Burning2nd; 02-19-2015 at 05:30 PM.
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  #15  
Old 02-19-2015, 05:29 PM
billdo billdo is offline
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Rich,

I am of the same opinion. I really wanted a E39 M5. Almost bought a 2002 M5, probably should have, but the owner didn't have any maintenance records. In the end I ended up with this do to cost, and I was scared of the carbon build up issues on the M5.

I originally wanted to get a 530i because I have an X5 with an M54 engine already and do all the maintenance on that. Then I got to reading on here and got a torque high again, I had a 92 5.0 Mustang years ago, so I went for it. No I have it, like it, but am struggling with the cost benefit equation. I would have gotten an M3 with the inline 6, but I have two kids and wanted a car that can do double duty. The reality is that I really don't even need the car, just want it as a fun weekend driver, I have a company car for work and the X5 for family. However now I seem to have gotten the bug and bought into the "E39 is the best sedan ever built" meme. And I wanted a fixer, I just over estimated my abilities.

Tough situation.
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  #16  
Old 02-19-2015, 05:31 PM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
Under the lift arms
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Mein Auto: E39 540, E36 328is, E83x3
Quote:
Originally Posted by golferjohnm View Post
I'm currently at 161,xxx and am going to be facing this very same dilemma in the near future. I have zero symptoms and this baby runs like a freight train, but it's coming...

Been toying with the idea of finding a low/lower mileage engine, doing all the gaskets/OSV/etc. while it's on a stand and putting it in my garage until that fateful day comes.

When that day comes, I'll have a freshened M62tu ready to be plugged-in...I'll throw-in a new clutch while I'm at it. Should be good for another 200,000 miles

This is how a Boss does it...

very nice man very nice
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"Burning 2nd is a lot like vitamin tonic. Overly harsh, tastes like crap, but somewhere in all that there's good intent......just have to learn to read between the lines, actually you have to squint really hard to see the good, but its there somewhere"

15486372<-----
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  #17  
Old 02-19-2015, 05:37 PM
SSJRICH 540i SSJRICH 540i is offline
00 E39 540i/6 M Sport
Location: Vancouver, BC
 
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Again, decide what your end game is. What do you want to drive? Ask your self that question and be honest with yourself.

It seems like it is a secondary family car that you want to have some fun with. I am in the same boat. I now have a jeep which is going to be the family car. But I can still take the whole family in the e39 if needed. Personally if I was single I would probably be rocking something smaller like a Euro e36 M3. But that is not what my life will accommodate.
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  #18  
Old 02-19-2015, 05:49 PM
billdo billdo is offline
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End game is a car that lasts awhile, is fun to drive, and can haul the family.
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  #19  
Old 02-19-2015, 06:06 PM
Wgosma Wgosma is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billdo View Post
I am having some buyers remorse over my recent 540 purchase. The car needs the timing chain kit, valley pan, and Vanos all done. Basically everything Bob did in his post "Around the M62tu in 80 hours"

I don't have a enough confidence in myself to do the job. Probably would screw the timing up and have to take it all apart again. The indy want over $3000 to do everything but the Valley Pan, I can pull that one off. My question:

Is it really worth putting $3000 into a motor that has 142,000 miles on it? How good are these things. If I do all this work, is there anything else that is known to go wrong. I would hate to do all this and then blow a head gasket.
Read the attached, the part about the 'weak points' of the car. Not an easy decision here, I'd be wondering a bit about putting $3K into a car that is probably worth about 2X that amount. Bet you could take on the timing stuff....I pulled the head (for valve work) on an older model BMW I-6 motor and it took a lot of time but was not really all that difficult if you're reasonably proficient with a wrench and well-organized type of person.

Best of Luck/Bill
Attached Files
File Type: pdf BMW E39 Apr 08 Buyers Guide001.pdf (2.74 MB, 45 views)
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  #20  
Old 02-19-2015, 06:42 PM
billdo billdo is offline
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It looks like I got a good car outside of a few cosmetic flaws consistent with age. It tracks straight, rebuilt suspension with Koni adjustable shocks, and rides great. I am leaning towards pulling a bobdmac and doing an as I go post. I imagine it will take me several months. I may end up having to sell it someone incomplete at a big loss, but it probably is worth the risk.
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  #21  
Old 02-19-2015, 06:58 PM
billdo billdo is offline
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Here is pic of the offender. If it looks dirty I have already detailed the beast and removed the offending M badge on the back of it. By the way, how do you post big pics. If I am gonna do a bobdmac style thread I need to know.
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  #22  
Old 02-19-2015, 07:22 PM
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JDeGraff89 JDeGraff89 is offline
Otto Zwei-Punkt-Null
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You can do it yourself for cheap Mr. Baggins, I know you don't want top leave the shire. But once you do you wont regret it. honestly.. you have the potential to tackle any problem.. sure you havent done it before.. but with enough time effort and focus you can learn how to do it effectively. point is be willing to leave your comfort zone to keep the things you love in working order. or be willing to spend big bucks and have someone do it for you. just saying ya know?
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  #23  
Old 02-19-2015, 07:35 PM
billdo billdo is offline
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Well after a few beers, some thought and encouragement from you all. I am gonna do it. It may be in the garage for three months, but I am gonna give it a try. If anything I will own a few more tools. It comes apart after I do the coolant project on the X5 3.0 this weekend. Let me see if I have it right. The order of repair should be?

1. Timing chain guide rails.
2. VANOS ( I am going with Dr, Vanos)
3. Timing Chain,
4. Valley Pan
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  #24  
Old 02-19-2015, 07:41 PM
billdo billdo is offline
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If I am successful in this, then it's is M5 time.

Of course I am probably to cheap to pull the trigger.
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  #25  
Old 02-19-2015, 08:58 PM
BavarianE31 BavarianE31 is offline
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I don't know. Guess I'm in the minority here, but I still say sell the car while you can. OP stated that he regrets getting the car. You do realize that there will always be problems owning an older BMW right? Gonna have to do suspension after this huge engine job... Then new tires.... Then cooling system again.... The list goes on.

And then there's the issue of time and money. I see this car being dismantled and left to gather dust.
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