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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 01-04-2011, 06:28 PM
kpprod kpprod is offline
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Cost of Replacing Head Gasket on E39 M52TU

Gents:

My engine overheated and apparently I need a new head gasket as the car will not run for more than 15 minutes with out getting hot and the sweet smell of antifreeze out the tailpipe. If I choose to take it to a BMW mechanic to make these repairs, what is the ball park financial figure I am looking at?? The engine has about 109,000 on it and the head was reworked with new seals and and head gasket by the previous owner whom I purchased the engine from. However I didn't realize that the old Radiator needed to be replaced and apparently this is what overheated my first engine and now this replacement. Suggestions? Thoughts? A fair market price for the repairs?
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  #2  
Old 01-04-2011, 07:39 PM
edjack edjack is online now
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You may need more than a head gasket. Is the mechanic a BMW specialist? If not, find one: www.bimrs.org.
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  #3  
Old 01-05-2011, 12:14 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpprod View Post
what is the ball park financial figure I am looking at?
- BMW part numbers (1) (2) labor rates (1) (2) (3) & where to find a good repair mechanic (1) (2)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kpprod View Post
head gasket by the previous owner
Why did the PO need to replace the original head gasket?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kpprod View Post
I didn't realize that the old Radiator needed to be replaced
The entire cooling system is a weak link, dooming the engine if you don't overhaul the cooling system every 5 or so years:
Cooling system overhaul DIYs:
- Pictorial look at typical E39 cooling system failure modes (1) (2) (3)
- Complete cooling system overhaul recommended parts list (1)
- Coolant, for engine, automatic transmission, power steering, and AC evaporator cooling (1)
- Bleeding the cooling system (1) (2) (3)
- How to refill M52/M54 coolant DIY by cn90 (1)
- Cooling system DIY (cn90 1997-1998 M54TU) (cn90 V8) (aioros '99-03 M54) (Ågent99 '01 530i) (pelican 3-series)
- E39 Fan shroud removal DIY (Besian) (M54)
- Removal instructions for the alternator & drive belt system of a 2002 525i
- Removal instructions for the fan shroud of a 2002 525i
- Tools necessary for a cooling system overhaul
- Cooling system overhaul tips (fan clutch nut removal tools) (cn90 fan clutch nut replacement trick) (bb hose removal trick) (o-ring replacement parts)
- Cooling system overhaul mishaps (broken radiator nipple) (crooked fan clutch nut) (broken bleeder screw) (thermostat loom misplaced) (broken expansion tank nipple & cn90 repair) (expansion tank fell apart inside)
- Expansion tank floating mechanical coolant level sensor height (1) (2)
- High instrument cluster check of the cooling system temperature KTMP (1)
- Cooling system date stickers & radiator date codes & markings (1) (2)
- What brand of waterpump to buy (1)
- Fan clutch failure modes (1)
- Fixing a head gasket coolant leak (1) (2)
- What is the temperature of the coolant & when the thermostat opens under normal conditions (1)
- Modifying the cooling system (pressure cap) (zero psi fluids) - Zionsville (BlackBMWs) (William) (ohmess)
- Understanding the AUC automatic air recirculation (aka stink) sensor (1)
- Behr radiator and Behr expansion (aka surge) tank autopsy (1) (2) & request for another autopsy (1)
- Debugging overheating problems not related to low fluid levels (1)
- How to install and remove an Oetiker clamp (1)
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  #4  
Old 01-05-2011, 05:18 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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1997-98: Iron block ---> you can replace the cylinder head only, leaving the engine block alone.

1999 ---> 2003: Al Block, when the engine overheats, usually you need a new (used) engine. This is because even if you replace the head gasket, during the torquing down process, the bolts cannot bite into the block.
Start looking for a used engine, make sure the engine has a warranty.
Plus if you get a used engine (usually with at least 80-90K miles), I do not know if it is a good idea to replace a head gasket anyway so you start new.

For people who read this message, it is a reason to do a cooling overhaul every 80-90K miles.
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  #5  
Old 01-05-2011, 10:54 AM
AdyCool AdyCool is offline
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Mein Auto: BMW 530I A Sport E39 2001
Rad replace and head casket costs

Quote:
Originally Posted by kpprod View Post
Gents:

My engine overheated and apparently I need a new head gasket as the car will not run for more than 15 minutes with out getting hot and the sweet smell of antifreeze out the tailpipe. If I choose to take it to a BMW mechanic to make these repairs, what is the ball park financial figure I am looking at?? The engine has about 109,000 on it and the head was reworked with new seals and and head gasket by the previous owner whom I purchased the engine from. However I didn't realize that the old Radiator needed to be replaced and apparently this is what overheated my first engine and now this replacement. Suggestions? Thoughts? A fair market price for the repairs?
I had a new radiator fitted by my dealer last year.....approx £800.00 it cost the new head gasket repair was approx. £225.00. Sorry mate this fix aint cheap.... in hind sight i would of saved a fortune if i had bought the rad myself for approx. £300.00 labour was about 2 hours at £125.00 an hour.
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  #6  
Old 01-05-2011, 01:07 PM
kpprod kpprod is offline
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Exclamation PO information

The Previous Owner had purchased the car with this overheated engine, he rebuilt it and had an obscure problem which he couldn't resolve. He bought another engine and after it was install this new engine had the same problems...all to find out an O2 sensor wire was compromised. I purchased this engine at a great price from the PO and it went in and worked well 300 miles later, it began to overheat. This is when I realized after consulting with a colleague that I should have replaced the radiator and that it was apparently the problem all along. I replaced the radiator, the hoses, the thermostat and double checked the Fan clutch. Pressure checked the Cooling system when engine was cool and all seemed well. I also made sure the cooling system was bleeding in accordance with the Bentley Repair manual. However, it now over heats after about 15 minutes of operation when standing still or at a stop light.
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  #7  
Old 01-05-2011, 01:16 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Read through e46 forums. There's more information on head repairs there, as they rebuild their engines more. E46fanatics.com for one.

There are at least two long-term solutions for the head bolt stripping issue; several drivers on e46fanatics have pulled their head several times with the repair system in place.
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  #8  
Old 01-05-2011, 04:38 PM
kpprod kpprod is offline
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OK Ok a replcement engine...

Looking for a little more advice... I've already pulled one engine out and replaced it with another. So it seems as though another engine would be the best course of action. If I decided not to do the work myself this time, what would be a fair market price to exchange engines at a BMW shop?
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  #9  
Old 01-05-2011, 07:18 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
during the torquing down process, the bolts cannot bite into the block
The factory must have torqued the bolts when the engine was new ... so is this problem because the bolts (or block?) were damaged due to the overheating?
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  #10  
Old 01-05-2011, 08:33 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
The factory must have torqued the bolts when the engine was new ... so is this problem because the bolts (or block?) were damaged due to the overheating?
Apparently.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoveringuy
Aluminum will anneal as it heats so if you totally roasted the motor you may have weakened the aluminum to the point that it's scrap. If you turned the motor off as soon as you saw the red light you are fine.
Quote:
The problem comes after the block is overheated from a loss of coolant, and the heat treat in the aluminum is lost. We've seen several M52TU engines running poorly after an overheat, and compression on these engines is terrible. Every time we get one in like this, we don't waste time doing timeserts. Used engines are easy to find.
E46 guys use Timeserts to re-tap the head after f*cking the threads. More info than you'd like here
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1220347 (M54 is the same head. Different intake manifold, some differences.)

Specifically about M52TU head bolt stripping http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1125253
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Last edited by bmw_n00b13; 01-05-2011 at 08:42 PM.
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  #11  
Old 04-05-2011, 03:28 PM
adrian_s adrian_s is offline
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If it only overheats when stationary it should be related to the fan, the fan clutch usually...
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  #12  
Old 04-09-2015, 02:19 PM
Jimania Jimania is offline
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Cost of Head Gasket Job - Indy Shop Price

Here is 2015 head gasket job price info: I just picked up my E39 528i from a complete head gasket job. The head was machined, and the valves were good (not needing any valve work). The work was done by a local BMW repair shop with BMW Master Techs. The work was done for $2,100.

While the engine was torn down that far I had them do some extra work for $400. I had them replace, oil filter housing gasket, several hoses, throttle body boot, thermostat, check fan relays, do an oil change and flush/fill with BMW coolant.

Total price for all of the work was $2500. For the record, this car had overheated a couple of times although I shut it down quickly. The good news is that the head was not cracked.
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E-39 1997 528i * Voxx Maglia 18" wheels, staggered 8.5/9.5, BMW 68mm center caps * Tires 225/40R-18 & 275/35R-18 * Montreal Blue Metallic * Bavarian Soundwerks Stage 1 Audio Pkg * Pioneer AVH 4000 NEX Head Unit * M5 Bumper & Fog Lights * Clear Headlights, Sidemarkers, LED Tail Lights * LED Interior Lights * Shadowline Bumper Impact Strips & Side Moldings * M Style Chrome Grills . . . . it's only money, lol
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  #13  
Old 05-29-2015, 05:59 PM
ThreeOZ ThreeOZ is offline
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Thanx Jimania for the price info. Much appreciated.
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  #14  
Old 05-29-2015, 08:43 PM
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aa240sx aa240sx is online now
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+1 get a used engine bro- too much has happened to that engine already
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  #15  
Old 05-30-2015, 01:52 AM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
Under the lift arms
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Mein Auto: E39 540, E36 328is, E83x3
5000$

Rebuild the engine,
rebruild the cooling,
Rebuilind the timeing,

5000$

*just step away from bmw
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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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  #16  
Old 05-30-2015, 01:52 AM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
Under the lift arms
Location: Under the lift arms
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,533
Mein Auto: E39 540, E36 328is, E83x3
5000$

Rebuild the engine,
rebuild the cooling,
Rebuild the timing,

5000$

*just step away from bmw
__________________
Specializing In BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz ,Volkswagen, Volvo

"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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