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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 10-04-2012, 04:02 PM
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BM109R BM109R is offline
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New owner- 2003 530i, suggestions please

Greetings,
I am a new owner of a good condition 2003 e39. I am looking for suggestions on what routine checks and maintenance I should do for it being at 93k miles. Seller says he serviced it with oil change done and put a new valve cover gasket. Car drives great and everything seems as good as he described it. I want to learn and do DIY maintenance on basic stuff. I have had good learning experience with my camry so hopefully that will help alongside all the good DIY threads here. I plan to go HID for the lights and would like to know what's the best option. Should I change all fluids at this time? If not which ones? What about water pump and timing belt? Wow...lots of questions and lot to learn. I hope to enjoy it all.
Thanks,
BM109R
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  #2  
Old 10-04-2012, 05:38 PM
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MikesE39 MikesE39 is offline
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Congrats on the car. Post Pics.
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  #3  
Old 10-04-2012, 06:32 PM
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At 93K, I would recommend a complete coling system overhaul around 100K. This is the weak link to the car (@ 100K+) and will restore original reliability. The cost is about $700 in parts + your 6-8 hrs of your labor. The DIYs are on this site.

The second thing I would recommend is to replace your Vanos seals. This is the single best value performance maintenance you can do. Go to the Beisan website for details on the problem and the fix. Search this site for testimonials. About $100 for parts plus 5-6 hrs of labor. And replace your O2 sensors at 100K. I got improved gas mileage and performance from that change.

Lastly, if you really want to restore the original ride and handling, do a complete overhaul of the front suspension. That would be struts, tie rods, control arms, thrust arms and sway bar links. The cost is about $1200 in parts but will transform the car to near new ride and handling.
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  #4  
Old 10-04-2012, 07:34 PM
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BM109R BM109R is offline
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Gee, thanks for the tips. Thats a lot to DIY and I've never undertaken such time consuming projects but I'm willing to learn and take it one at a time. I can't even tell that the ride quality needs improvement yet because it feels and rides great as it is. I'm sure I would tell the difference as you say with the suspension overhaul and other performance fixes.

Pics to follow....
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  #5  
Old 10-04-2012, 09:38 PM
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Pics attached. Purchased from VIP Auto in Fredericksburg, VA.
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  #6  
Old 10-04-2012, 11:06 PM
aspensilver540 aspensilver540 is offline
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Wow, cool Individual interior... stone green?

I wouldn't neglect the cooling system, it should be #1 on your list.
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  #7  
Old 10-05-2012, 03:37 AM
Tuskfish Tuskfish is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BM109R View Post
I plan to go HID for the lights and would like to know what's the best option.
Your car has factory HID LO beam lights. The HI beams are not, they look a bit yellowish by comparison, and they serve as the daytime running lights also. These lamps can be changed to give a better color match to the HID's but you'll never get it quite as white as the HID's.

The angel eye lamp can be changed to a LED unit and it will look much better, this is an easy and popular mod. Do a search and ponder your choices.
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  #8  
Old 10-05-2012, 05:07 AM
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gtxragtop gtxragtop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BM109R View Post
Gee, thanks for the tips. Thats a lot to DIY and I've never undertaken such time consuming projects but I'm willing to learn and take it one at a time. I can't even tell that the ride quality needs improvement yet because it feels and rides great as it is. I'm sure I would tell the difference as you say with the suspension overhaul and other performance fixes.

Pics to follow....
Cooling system replacements at this age is critical. Why? Because often when they fail, they don't just start leaking, they fail catastrophically which can result in a damaged engine. (head gasket, warped head) This should be first priority.

Vanos.... Well I did mine around the 90K 2 years ago. The seals were definitely loose/worn. However unlike others, I never saw much if any improvement in performance nor fuel mileage. Perhaps in my case, they were sealing well enough.

Front suspension.... The weakest suspension part are the thrust arms. The oil filled rubber bushing connecting the arm to the chassis lasts if your lucky to 60K. Mine were shot when I bought mine at 52K as a CPO 4.5 years old. I kept getting front wheel vibrations that would go away when the dealer balanced the tires, then it was back again 1K miles later. From this forum I looked for the tell-tale stains on the bottom of the thrust arm which were the result of the bushing leaking oil. Brought this up with the dealer who told me they were fine. At 60K after being ticked off with constant steering wheel vibration I replaced the bushings with Myle heavy duty bushings. I'm at 142K now with no issues. IF you do this, buy the arm with the HD bushing installed from 1 of the sponsors (can't remember which vendor) replacing the bushing in the arm was the worst job I've done in 30+ years of working on my own cars. The rest of my front suspension parts are still fine at 142K. Ball joints are tight and the control arm with the rubber bushing (that gets far less flex than the thrust arm bushing) is still fine. My front struts were replaced at 85K. They were very weak and I did not know this until I replaced them.

Unless you have lots of $$$. You need to learn how to work on your car. I STILL love driving this car after owning it for more than 5 years. However I look at all the NEEDED dollars in maintenance I had to put into this and compare it to other vehicles I've owned and would be broke if a dealer or Indy did all the work. My latest problem is the dreaded seat twist. Both front seats have this issue due to the seat cables. Yet another problem to fix.

Did I mention that I LOVE driving my 03 530 IA with sport suspension.
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Last edited by gtxragtop; 10-05-2012 at 05:09 AM.
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  #9  
Old 10-05-2012, 06:14 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtxragtop View Post
IF you do this, buy the arm with the HD bushing installed from 1 of the sponsors (can't remember which vendor) replacing the bushing in the arm was the worst job I've done in 30+ years of working on my own cars.
Dave:
The vendor of the Lemforder arms with Meyle bushings is EACEuroparts! i have had mine for 3 years and 30K and still going strong.
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  #10  
Old 10-05-2012, 07:13 AM
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Thanks Gentlemen, I will be doing a search on the recommendations. I kinda started already and I just have to filter through when I have time for the beat thread on cooling system overhaul. A link ot two on the most thorough ones would be much appreciated.

So I will set priority list in this order:
1. Cooling system overhaul
2. Vanos seal replacement
3. Front suspension overhaul

On oil and filter change which I will do this weekend or next, is 5w30 ok for this model? I have had great results with Valvoline Synthetic 5w30 on my camry. Only $26 for a 5quart just at Walmart. Also, which is the best online shop for oem parts?

Thanks all!
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  #11  
Old 10-05-2012, 10:08 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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In addition to the advice above, check for these:
Behr cooling system leaking
Plastic DISA valve breaking & destroying the engine
Cluster pixel tape lifting
MID pixel tape lifting
Hella PBT headlight adjusters breaking
Power steering cap & hose leaking
Trunk wiring loom fraying
CCV clogging
Bosch ABS control module frying
Cupholders breaking
I6 VANOS seals deteriorating
V8 valley pan gaskets leaking
GKR/BMW/Valeo FSU/FSR dying
Thrust arm bushings leaking
Ambient temperature sensor breaking
Window regulators breaking
Vapor barrier adhesive leaking
Jack pads falling off
Windshield cover molding crumbling
Driver's seat control switch breaking
Rear center brakelight socket melting
Seat cables fall out causing seat twist
Windshield washer tanks & pumps leaking
BMW roundel paint chipping
Vent trim corner cracking & wood trim varnish cracking
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #12  
Old 10-05-2012, 10:29 AM
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BM109R BM109R is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aspensilver540 View Post
Wow, cool Individual interior... stone green?

I wouldn't neglect the cooling system, it should be #1 on your list.
Interior is light gray/black leather.
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  #13  
Old 10-05-2012, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuskfish View Post
Your car has factory HID LO beam lights. The HI beams are not, they look a bit yellowish by comparison, and they serve as the daytime running lights also. These lamps can be changed to give a better color match to the HID's but you'll never get it quite as white as the HID's.

The angel eye lamp can be changed to a LED unit and it will look much better, this is an easy and popular mod. Do a search and ponder your choices.
Ok so if i want 6000k color do I just replace the bulb only for low beam. If so, I think I would only do the low beam bulb replacement then do led angel eyes.

What about fog lights, are those HID as well?
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  #14  
Old 10-05-2012, 11:43 AM
jmanyoyoyo jmanyoyoyo is offline
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Fog lights are also hologen just as the highs. Look at the color (yellows hallogen vs whites/blues = xeon) easiest way to find out. unless someone is using fake HID a hallogen bulb that is painted blue to fake the xeon gas effect

Sent from my SPH-M820-BST using Bimmer App
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  #15  
Old 10-05-2012, 03:33 PM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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Potential work to do on a new E39 at 100k
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...3&postcount=12
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...29&postcount=6
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...5&postcount=14
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  #16  
Old 10-05-2012, 03:41 PM
aspensilver540 aspensilver540 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BM109R View Post
Thanks Gentlemen, I will be doing a search on the recommendations. I kinda started already and I just have to filter through when I have time for the beat thread on cooling system overhaul. A link ot two on the most thorough ones would be much appreciated.

So I will set priority list in this order:
1. Cooling system overhaul
2. Vanos seal replacement
3. Front suspension overhaul

On oil and filter change which I will do this weekend or next, is 5w30 ok for this model? I have had great results with Valvoline Synthetic 5w30 on my camry. Only $26 for a 5quart just at Walmart. Also, which is the best online shop for oem parts?

Thanks all!

Sounds like a proper priority list, I'm sure you'll notice some other things as well. There are a billion oil threads, read up

OEM parts -
ebmwparts.com is great, bmwmercedesparts.com, I'm sure others will chime in with their favorite. furiousmethod.com can be useful for finding the lowest price but usually the OEM parts stores have the lowest price.
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  #17  
Old 10-05-2012, 04:51 PM
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BM109R BM109R is offline
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Thanks again everyone. Is it safe to change the low beam bulb to 6000k? I'm not sure if hid bulb temps work with corresponding ballasts or not.
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  #18  
Old 10-05-2012, 06:35 PM
aspensilver540 aspensilver540 is offline
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you can change to 6000K with no problems. BTW, you lucked out on the grey/black interior!
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  #19  
Old 10-05-2012, 06:44 PM
Tuskfish Tuskfish is offline
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Let me rephrase......you don't need to change your LO beam lamps since they are Xenon HID lamps which produce a nice white color probably around the 6000K mark. These lamps require a warm up period which is why they take about 5 or more seconds to reach full brightness.

The yellowish color you're seeing is coming from the HI beam Halogen H7 lamps which are "dimmed" to operate as a daytime running light, this produces a color temp of appx 3500K. When you turn on the LO beams your DRL's should go out and then they light up at max output when you activate the HI beams. These can be changed to a lamp with a blue coating to render a more whitish color (looks better with LED angel eyes) but you loose some brightness in the process.

The angel eye lamp is also a Halogen and, unless already changed, looks yellowish too. It's simple to swap these for LED lamps and get a nice white color to match your LO beam HID's.

Your fogs, if factory, should be Halogen also.
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:50 PM
aspensilver540 aspensilver540 is offline
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whoops, turk to the rescue on bad reading comprehension
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  #21  
Old 10-05-2012, 07:13 PM
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Jason5driver Jason5driver is offline
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Welcome...!
Yes, I would replace all of the fluids.
1. Engine oil
2. Transmission oil
3. Differential fluid
4. Coolant
5. Power steering fluid

I would also check out this thread:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=895713

Thanks!
Jason
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  #22  
Old 10-05-2012, 07:15 PM
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BM109R BM109R is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuskfish View Post
Let me rephrase......you don't need to change your LO beam lamps since they are Xenon HID lamps which produce a nice white color probably around the 6000K mark. These lamps require a warm up period which is why they take about 5 or more seconds to reach full brightness.

The yellowish color you're seeing is coming from the HI beam Halogen H7 lamps which are "dimmed" to operate as a daytime running light, this produces a color temp of appx 3500K. When you turn on the LO beams your DRL's should go out and then they light up at max output when you activate the HI beams. These can be changed to a lamp with a blue coating to render a more whitish color (looks better with LED angel eyes) but you loose some brightness in the process.

The angel eye lamp is also a Halogen and, unless already changed, looks yellowish too. It's simple to swap these for LED lamps and get a nice white color to match your LO beam HID's.

Your fogs, if factory, should be Halogen also.
Thanks Tuskfish, I guess they were not blue enough for me when I checked so I may go 8000k. It was daytime when i checked and I was in a hurry. Angel eyes are indeed yellow so I will change to led. I will get time to look over the car really well this weekend. It is still at the dealer and I pick up tomorrow morning. Will post more pics. I do love the interior! I guess it is rare...what do I know. It's my first Bimmer! Who hoo
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  #23  
Old 10-05-2012, 08:39 PM
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BM109R BM109R is offline
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I've never had the mod bug bite on a car before. I'm excited about this car and its calling for mods already I have a suzuki m109r that has a list too.
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  #24  
Old 10-05-2012, 09:12 PM
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Good read. Thanks
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  #25  
Old 10-05-2012, 09:18 PM
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BM109R BM109R is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason5driver View Post
Welcome...!
Yes, I would replace all of the fluids.
1. Engine oil
2. Transmission oil
3. Differential fluid
4. Coolant
5. Power steering fluid

I would also check out this thread:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=895713

Thanks!
Jason
Thank you Jason. Link should answer most of my questions
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