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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 09-17-2015, 11:37 AM
TX530i TX530i is offline
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PROJECT CLARENCE - 2003 E39 530i Sport /Premium

This is my first BMW and now I am a HUGE fan. They really are the ultimate driving machine, especially the E/39s. This forum has been helpful and the project has been fun. Any help, suggestions, or known gotchas would be greatly appreciated.


My son is almost 16, so we recently bought a 2003 530i silver on black, premium package, sport package, xenon headlights, premium hi-fi sound system, 100k miles. It is in pretty good condition.


Clarence you ask?? We read about Angry White Bear (awesome name / awesome car), my buddies Suburban is "Beast," and for some unknown reason my son named his car "Clarence," so Clarence it is.


We bought it from the original owner / friend. He had all of the maintenance records and he took good care of it.


My neighbor and I reviewed the records and went thru the car with a fine toothed comb. We came up with an initial list of things to do. The three of us are doing 95% of the work DIY with a goal is to get it as close to "like new" condition as possible. We think we can do it for about $1500.


Fixed thus far:

($25 / 10 hours) Fairly major interior mold issue (it was unknowingly parked in the garage with a damp left rear floor for about two or three months. The mold was even on the windows! We had to disassemble the majority of the interior and clean EVERYTHING. Once cleaned we opened all doors and ran air thru it with a large commercial fan for two days.

($5 / 3 hours) Smelly A/C (Probably from same mold issue. We ran about a quart of vaporized Lysol through system then let it sit with the heater running full blast for 2 hours)

($15 / 15 minutes) Fog lamp bulb

($0 / 4 hours) Removed all window tint (it was scratched and in pretty bad shape)

($30 / 1 hour) Vacuum leaks (fixed, but ordered a new intake boot)

($0 / 1 hour) DISA vane hinge (huge difference in performance!)

($15 / 2 hours) Headliner partially coming off front pillars and sunroof shade (We used fabric glue for the pillars. We slipped a sheet of fabric adhesive between the foam and the fabric on the sun roof shade and ironed it back up.

Waiting on parts:
$100 Bad ribbon on DSP (sent in DSP for new ribbon)
$50 Two cracked buttons on climate control (ordered a new Climate Control Cap)

Next weekend's project (most of these items require the same work):
$40 New CVV (We assume that is it bad b/c the car is burning about 1/2 quart of oil every 1k miles and it has never been replaced)
$15 Oil filter housing seal (small leak under filter housing)
$40 Spark plugs
$5 Clean throttle body

Remaining projects:
$40? Small leak in one or both back doors (membrane?)
$35 Front window seal
$175? Bad regulator or motor in RR window
$20? Needs various plastic fasteners in the wheel wells, etc...
$300 Paint touch up
$15 Leather re-dyed
$60 bead blast, sand, wet sand, clay, polish and wax rims

I will post some pics when I have time.
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  #2  
Old 09-17-2015, 12:00 PM
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boostmaster boostmaster is offline
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Sounds like you guys are on your way. If you had water on the floors that long I would recommend pulling the seats and the carpet. Or pulling up the carpet as much as possible.

This car has an inch+ of padding and the water WILL sit under there while the carpet feels dry to the touch. Ask me how I know!!!

I just purchased my first bmw in June and I'm still piddling away with it. I've found ebay and FCP Euro to be my go to places. (FCP has a 100% lifetime warranty on everything!- Yes, everything. So sometimes I'll pay a few extra bucks to have the coverage.- Just a heads up as these cars can nickel and dime you.) BTW, for small odds and ends you should try and visit a local salvage yard. I've saved a TON of cash doing so.

Can't wait to see the pics.
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  #3  
Old 09-17-2015, 01:50 PM
TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is online now
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Excellent and I am sure the both of you will have fun with Clarence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TX530i View Post
Clarence you ask?? ... for some unknown reason my son named his car "Clarence," so Clarence it is.
Clarence is an AWESOME name. Personification is for the owner, everyone else is just gravy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TX530i View Post
($5 / 3 hours) Smelly A/C (Probably from same mold issue. We ran about a quart of vaporized Lysol through system then let it sit with the heater running full blast for 2 hours)
Check out this thread for everything you probably didn't want to know about the AC system and various methods of fixes. My recommendation: ensure the filters & housings are clean and there is drainage... hopefully what you did killed any active, the rest should be trapped in the filters.

As for everything else, it will be a great journey. Make sure to use the the VERY best links sticky, just do an F3 and enter your search terms. I have found almost everything is there, you just need to find it... but of course everyone on the forum is great and will assist.

And definitely some pics!
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  #4  
Old 09-17-2015, 08:40 PM
TX530i TX530i is offline
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Thanks for the replies.

I have attached a pic.

Regarding the carpet - mold in the carpet and padding was our primary concern, so we removed the interior and the carpet. The padding was a little damp, but thankfully didn't have any signs of mold. We still treated it with the antibacterial solution.

Regarding the A/C - unfortunately we found this site after we did the work on the A/C system, but have since read that thread. The cabin filters are both new, but I don't know if the system is draining correctly, or not.
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  #5  
Old 09-17-2015, 09:07 PM
TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is online now
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Clarence looks great!

For the leaks (membranes?), trying to isolate your leak is going to be the fun part. Not only could it be from the rears, but also apparently the fronts (water then runs to the back and pools) but also the sunroof drains (comes down A column and repeats). The "good part" of the sunroof test is 2 teaspoons of water into the drains and corresponding water at the front wheel wells means no issues. The bad is the water may find the power distribution under the front passenger floor (everyone says seat but I liken that to saying the front disc brakes are under the hood). And potentially the same with the front door leaks... And speaking of odd leaks, check behind your fuel door for a drain or depression on the right side. If there is a hole then that water will work to your trunk under the spare and start a rustathon. If not there then make sure that area is clean and dry or the rustathon can start there.
All just part of what I have read in the best links...
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  #6  
Old 09-17-2015, 09:25 PM
TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TX530i View Post
The cabin filters are both new, but I don't know if the system is draining correctly, or not.
Two "easy checks": with the cabin filters, was there any junk in the housing? If yes, clear it out and see if the drains are clogged. With the system, run the AC with nose "down" for 5 mins, then drive level or slightly uphill. There should be two lines of drainage water coming out by the transmission housing (almost dead center on the bottom). Just make sure it is humid enough to create condensate, otherwise not a valid test...

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=458513

Last edited by TheAngryBear; 09-17-2015 at 09:38 PM. Reason: Added BlueBee's thread for microfilters and drains
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  #7  
Old 09-18-2015, 06:35 AM
TX530i TX530i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAngryBear View Post
Two "easy checks": with the cabin filters, was there any junk in the housing? If yes, clear it out and see if the drains are clogged. With the system, run the AC with nose "down" for 5 mins, then drive level or slightly uphill. There should be two lines of drainage water coming out by the transmission housing (almost dead center on the bottom). Just make sure it is humid enough to create condensate, otherwise not a valid test...

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=458513
There were a few leaves in the housings, but we vacuumed them out.

I will do the nose down trick. It will be definitely be humid enough.
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  #8  
Old 09-18-2015, 08:37 AM
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Dking078 Dking078 is offline
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Nice project. Maybe add some trim
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2003 BMW 540i [Sterling Gray / Gray]
[Msport] [Mods from A-Z] [Two-Tone Interior]


For Sale! PM for info
Stuff For Sale :
1 Set of E39 OEM Birch Black Trim $425 Shipped [Click]
3 Sets of E39 OEM Maplewood Trim $210-$275 Shipped
1 Set of E39 OEM High Polished Gray Trim $200 Shipped
2 E39 OEM Repaired RR Quarter Window Sun Shades $70-75 Shipped EACH
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  #9  
Old 09-18-2015, 08:45 AM
TX530i TX530i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAngryBear View Post
Clarence looks great!

For the leaks (membranes?), trying to isolate your leak is going to be the fun part. Not only could it be from the rears, but also apparently the fronts (water then runs to the back and pools) but also the sunroof drains (comes down A column and repeats). The "good part" of the sunroof test is 2 teaspoons of water into the drains and corresponding water at the front wheel wells means no issues. The bad is the water may find the power distribution under the front passenger floor (everyone says seat but I liken that to saying the front disc brakes are under the hood). And potentially the same with the front door leaks... And speaking of odd leaks, check behind your fuel door for a drain or depression on the right side. If there is a hole then that water will work to your trunk under the spare and start a rustathon. If not there then make sure that area is clean and dry or the rustathon can start there.
All just part of what I have read in the best links...
No rust thus far. In looking for the water intrusion, which item should we inspect first?
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  #10  
Old 09-18-2015, 08:54 AM
TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TX530i View Post
No rust thus far. In looking for the water intrusion, which item should we inspect first?
I always like to do the easy tests/checks first so I would start with the sunroof drains then probably rear then front membranes. I assume the door seals are all good, right? And the rear window with the bad regulator is all the way up for a good seal?

If I get time I will also check the best links for any leak test protocols.
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  #11  
Old 09-18-2015, 01:53 PM
TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is online now
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So...
Here is a picture of the potential "filler door leak" into the trunk". If you have this hole, do more research on this to find solutions. If you don't, don't worry too much.
Here are the location of the sunroof drains that you would want to check. Two tea/tablespoons each should do it.
Here are the Door edge/entry trim items you will want to check (but if needed, ensure the correct vehicle is entered in RealOEM. Apparently if the clips in items 5 & 6 break, then you can get water into the rocker which doesn't have a drain... so just check to ensure the "BMW sills" in the doors are secure and you should be good.
Here is a good photo of the door "membranes" that will leak. The closest I can come to finding a "test" for these is to either 1) wash the car, or 2) run a whole bunch of water over the specific door... seems like there should be a better test... but so far haven't found it.

And apparently replacing the window regulators is a standard cause of the vapour barrier failing... so wait to do the barrier on the RR until you do the regulator...

Hope these help and please think about benefiting the forum by taking pictures of what you are doing (and maybe adding how?). Build knowledge and increase value (to borrow from a great member).
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  #12  
Old 09-18-2015, 05:04 PM
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boostmaster boostmaster is offline
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Pull the door panels off so you can see the vapor barrier. Tug on it gently and you'll find where it's loose. Close the door and hit it with the hose. Open the door and see the leaks.
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Old 09-18-2015, 05:13 PM
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aa240sx aa240sx is offline
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TX530i - glad to see you so exhuberantly diving into these repairs. I'm specifically curious about running lysol through the system to clean out the musty smell of the AC. How did you run it through system?
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  #14  
Old 09-19-2015, 08:40 PM
TX530i TX530i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aa240sx View Post
TX530i - glad to see you so exhuberantly diving into these repairs. I'm specifically curious about running lysol through the system to clean out the musty smell of the AC. How did you run it through system?
To eliminatete the mold and mildew in the car we did 3 things.

Wiped every inch of the interior with a rag soaked in lysol and used spray lysol. This included wiping gdown the wiring harness and other stuff under the dash and seats.

I dont shop at communist walmart, but a guy recommended their store brand carpet cleaner used in the rental machies. I used that to clran the carpet and mats. It really worked.

The lysol dried out the leather so we put two bottles of leather conditioner on the seats and door panels in 3 or 4 applications.

Last was the a/c. We bought one of those personal misters with the hand pump. We filled it with lysol. We removed both filters and put the a/c on max. We placed the mister tip next to each inlet. You can tell it is pulling it in, because the mist creates a small vortex at the inlet hole. We did that for about 10 minutes.

Next we placed the a/c on recirculate and ran the mister at the interior intake under the dash on the drivers side.

We turned off the a/c and sprayed each vent with the spray bottle of lysol.

We opened the front doors and sprayed the lysol both ways thru the vent tubes.

I let the system run o. 80* for a few hours switching between fresh air and recirculate.

I did that process to the the a/c twice. The lysol smell went away after about 3 days.

The car smells like new and wr haven't had any more mold or mildew issues.

The lysol left a white residue on the vents. We cleaned thay with armor all a rag and Q tips.
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Old 09-19-2015, 10:20 PM
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seemyad seemyad is offline
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Mine is a 2002 with sport and cold weather packages. I recommend the following.

Ensure you never overfill your expansion tank like I used to. Open her up and make sure the "stick" is flush with the top of the hole and NOT sticking out of the hole (you'll see).
Polish your headlamps and immediately take them to be professional covered with a UV protective film (or DIY). Those lights are $1200 each. The lenses will fade and yellow over time if you do not cover them with a high end protective film. Do not go cheap.
Keep the leather conditioned twice per year is fine so it does not dry out on you. The premium seats cost $5400 each.
Do not curb rash your rims. Stay out of car washes that have the metal rail guides on each side of the tire.

CHANGE YOUR TRANSMISSION FLUID and FILTER ASAP. DO NOT WAIT. First do a drain and fill (that changes about 65 to 70% of the total fluid and is a DIY). Six months or so later do a complete flush to include the AT coolant lines.

Flush your brake fluid (if you have not done so).
When you change your brakes switch to HAWKS Performance Ceramic pads and Centric rotors (no brake dust)

WATCH HOW YOU PARK! The front end is low. Many people have destroyed their front lower bumper by pulling into a parking spot with an average height concrete stop or curb. When you back out of the spot it will rip the bottom of your bumper off or warp it in an extreme and unattractive way.

Congrats on your purchase!!!

Last edited by seemyad; 09-19-2015 at 10:23 PM.
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  #16  
Old 09-19-2015, 11:07 PM
djdonsi djdonsi is offline
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The very first priority is the cooling system and rubber hoses and seals in engine compartment. Get the new water pump, thermostat, expansion tank, all cooling hoses, new valve cover gasket, oil housing gasket, check vanos pressure line, change sparkplugs, fan clutch (if automatic), fuel filter, guibo, all fluids (I mean ALL of them), brakes. Only then I would start worrying about cosmetics like dying the leather and fixing window regulators.
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  #17  
Old 09-21-2015, 07:55 AM
TX530i TX530i is offline
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I spent Sunday watching football and cleaning the garage.

We sorted out the PM schedule by laying out the receipts and found that we have most, if not all, of the maintenance records. This car was *meticulously* maintained.

The previous owner did a $5k overhaul at ~85k and another $3k of PM at ~99k. Most of the stuff mentioned below was done at them time, or since.

T
  • he valve cover gasket doesn't leak, so I'm not going to screw with it.
  • The hoses and belts were done at 85k. We discovered a crack in the intake boot and temporarily repaired it with rubber cement, because we needed to order a new one. I have the new one, but we'll install with the CVV job.
  • The brake fluid was flushed with the brake jobs at 69k & 99k.
  • One questionable item is the expansion tank. The cooling system was overhauled at 85k and the expansion tank looks new, but we don't see it on the receipt.
  • The ATF and spark plugs are due again at 120k along with a few other things.

We polished the headlights and they look like new. We used 400, 500, 600, 800 & 1000 grit wet sanding paper, then 3M polishing compound. To protect them, I cleaned them with rubbing alcohol, then sprayed them with 3 coats of Moeller Marine UV Clear Lacquer.

The CVV valve is either clogged or bad. Its only $30, so we are just going to replace it. The seal for the oil filter housing has a slight leak (not even enough to create a drip) but its less than $15, so we are going to replace it when we do the CVV.
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  #18  
Old 09-21-2015, 01:33 PM
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seemyad seemyad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TX530i View Post
I spent Sunday watching football and cleaning the garage.

We sorted out the PM schedule by laying out the receipts and found that we have most, if not all, of the maintenance records. This car was *meticulously* maintained.

The previous owner did a $5k overhaul at ~85k and another $3k of PM at ~99k. Most of the stuff mentioned below was done at them time, or since.

T
  • he valve cover gasket doesn't leak, so I'm not going to screw with it.
  • The hoses and belts were done at 85k. We discovered a crack in the intake boot and temporarily repaired it with rubber cement, because we needed to order a new one. I have the new one, but we'll install with the CVV job.
  • The brake fluid was flushed with the brake jobs at 69k & 99k.
  • One questionable item is the expansion tank. The cooling system was overhauled at 85k and the expansion tank looks new, but we don't see it on the receipt.
  • The ATF and spark plugs are due again at 120k along with a few other things.

We polished the headlights and they look like new. We used 400, 500, 600, 800 & 1000 grit wet sanding paper, then 3M polishing compound. To protect them, I cleaned them with rubbing alcohol, then sprayed them with 3 coats of Moeller Marine UV Clear Lacquer.

The CVV valve is either clogged or bad. Its only $30, so we are just going to replace it. The seal for the oil filter housing has a slight leak (not even enough to create a drip) but its less than $15, so we are going to replace it when we do the CVV.
I thought we ran 100,000 mile spark plugs. Correct me if I am wrong. I changed mine somewhere between 95k and 100k. They looked to be in good condition. Only one had a couple of small pits in one of the prongs. I had a little oil on plug #6. I let it go for a year and eventually had the VCG changed alone with other maintenance.

Sounds like you found a gem of a car.
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Old 09-22-2015, 12:05 PM
TX530i TX530i is offline
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Seemyad,

Yes you are correct. The BMW replacement interval is 100k.

However, a set of NGK BKR6EQUP spark plugs is only $47 and Mike Miller's Old School BMW Maintenance Schedule has a 30k-60k recommended interval. https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/at...0&d=1374531843
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Old 09-22-2015, 05:50 PM
TX530i TX530i is offline
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Took some pics
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Old 09-22-2015, 05:52 PM
TX530i TX530i is offline
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Another
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Old 09-22-2015, 05:55 PM
TX530i TX530i is offline
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A few more including the whiskey dings
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Old 09-22-2015, 05:57 PM
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seemyad seemyad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TX530i View Post
Seemyad,

Yes you are correct. The BMW replacement interval is 100k.

However, a set of NGK BKR6EQUP spark plugs is only $47 and Mike Miller's Old School BMW Maintenance Schedule has a 30k-60k recommended interval. https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/at...0&d=1374531843
Excellent information you linked to! Thanks for that.

I agree with many things stated in the document. Some things I think are a little overkill (can't hurt though). As a matter of fact, after reading the document, I am looking into changing my differential fluid.

I installed the very spark plugs that you mentioned in your post.
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Old 09-22-2015, 07:50 PM
TX530i TX530i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seemyad View Post
Excellent information you linked to! Thanks for that.

I agree with many things stated in the document. Some things I think are a little overkill (can't hurt though). As a matter of fact, after reading the document, I am looking into changing my differential fluid.

I installed the very spark plugs that you mentioned in your post.


When you installed those plugs, could you feel any difference?
Are they identical to the the BMW OEM plugs? I've seen conflicting information.
How did your old plugs look?


I was surprised by the intervals in that document too. Some of it seems like overkill, but he has a '77 3 series that is still on the road, so I'll go ahead and spend a few extra dollars on his maintenance plan. Its much cheaper than a car payment.

Heck, how awesome would it be to have this car on the road in 2041?

He mentions Redline lubricants quite often. I use Royal Purple and hear good things about AMSOIL. I wonder which one is the best.
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Old 09-22-2015, 10:36 PM
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seemyad seemyad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TX530i View Post
When you installed those plugs, could you feel any difference?
Are they identical to the the BMW OEM plugs? I've seen conflicting information.
How did your old plugs look?


I was surprised by the intervals in that document too. Some of it seems like overkill, but he has a '77 3 series that is still on the road, so I'll go ahead and spend a few extra dollars on his maintenance plan. Its much cheaper than a car payment.

Heck, how awesome would it be to have this car on the road in 2041?

He mentions Redline lubricants quite often. I use Royal Purple and hear good things about AMSOIL. I wonder which one is the best.
They were identical to the BMW plugs I removed. The engine ran a little smoother if I recall. New plugs normally do.

My plugs looked weathered but in good condition. Only one plug had a couple of small pits in a one or two of the four prongs. Number six plug had a little oil on it. I changed the VCG a year or so later.

I'd change the plugs at 80k if I wanted to be cautious. I typically wait until the belts show signs of wear OR if I am having some work done that lends itself to changing an older belt.

Great information in that link you provided.
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