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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 03-16-2010, 06:07 PM
Rjim Rjim is offline
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Power Steering Reservoir..Always Wet

Had a minor leak at the base of the reservoir. Reclamped hoses and fluid level is holding ok. I know the reservoir cap has a vent hole, but is it normal for the cap and top of the reservoir to be wet all the time? Seems like a mist must be coming out of the vent hole continuously.
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  #2  
Old 03-16-2010, 06:10 PM
Ryan M Ryan M is offline
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There is a hole in the cap on the reservoir. This is normal. The power steering system is self bleeding and the hole gives the air somewhere to escape. When driving the fluid splashes around and some escapes out the hole. Completely normal.
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  #3  
Old 03-16-2010, 06:11 PM
crazyguy crazyguy is offline
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what hoses did u replace?as i just noticed today,one of the hose is leaking on mine..
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  #4  
Old 03-16-2010, 08:26 PM
Rjim Rjim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan M View Post
There is a hole in the cap on the reservoir. This is normal. The power steering system is self bleeding and the hole gives the air somewhere to escape. When driving the fluid splashes around and some escapes out the hole. Completely normal.
Thanks for the reply. I'll quit worrying about it.
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  #5  
Old 03-16-2010, 08:29 PM
Rjim Rjim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyguy View Post
what hoses did u replace?as i just noticed today,one of the hose is leaking on mine..
I did not replace any hoses...just replaced the OE clamps with standard worm screw-type clamps.
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  #6  
Old 03-17-2010, 05:52 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan M View Post
There is a hole in the cap on the reservoir. This is normal. The power steering system is self bleeding and the hole gives the air somewhere to escape. When driving the fluid splashes around and some escapes out the hole. Completely normal.
I used to think so too, but it is not true.

After I changed the O-ring ($5 item at dealer) on the PS Cap, it is nice and dry, VERY VERY EASY to do. Go to dealer, they always have these O-rings in stock:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho....php?p=4633012

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  #7  
Old 03-17-2010, 07:00 AM
wyowolf wyowolf is offline
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I just went to check on mine as i was having the same issue. Took off cap, no O ring!! so found one in the shop that seems to fit, will see if it hold up... i am guessing it just sits on the outside of the threads as i dont see a groove for it to fit in... thanks!

Frank
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  #8  
Old 03-17-2010, 07:45 AM
crazyguy crazyguy is offline
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that reminds me to check the o ring on my cap..as i noticed it is wet too..and low on the fluid.so i topped it off
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  #9  
Old 03-17-2010, 07:52 AM
crazyguy crazyguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rjim View Post
I did not replace any hoses...just replaced the OE clamps with standard worm screw-type clamps.
thats what i am going to do too.do u have to take off reservior to replace clamps ?
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  #10  
Old 03-17-2010, 07:54 AM
poolman poolman is offline
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That O ring is made of the same material as our Vanos seals--Rajaie indicated that he was also looking
at making an 0 ring for the power steering cap--I doubt there would be much interest in that part as
easy as it is to change out.
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  #11  
Old 03-17-2010, 09:12 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Two separate issues:

1. PS Cap O-ring: straightforward.

2. Leak at bottom of PS Reservoir, cut 1/2 inch of the hose and re-connect it using new clamps (screw-type). I did this in 2006, no leak since:

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  #12  
Old 03-17-2010, 12:22 PM
Rjim Rjim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
I used to think so too, but it is not true.

After I changed the O-ring ($5 item at dealer) on the PS Cap, it is nice and dry, VERY VERY EASY to do. Go to dealer, they always have these O-rings in stock:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho....php?p=4633012

Will replace the o-ring. Can't get any simpler than that. Thanks.
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  #13  
Old 03-17-2010, 12:33 PM
resharp001 resharp001 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyowolf View Post
I just went to check on mine as i was having the same issue. Took off cap, no O ring!! so found one in the shop that seems to fit, will see if it hold up... i am guessing it just sits on the outside of the threads as i dont see a groove for it to fit in... thanks!

Frank
take some sort of sharp pick and probe around on your cap. my old one was so crushed i didn't even notice it at first. it just looked like part of the plastic cap. once i picked at it i realized it was indeed a mutilated o-ring. once you get the old one out you should see exactly where the new one sits. there is indeed a grove for it to sit in.
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  #14  
Old 03-17-2010, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rjim View Post
Had a minor leak at the base of the reservoir. Reclamped hoses and fluid level is holding ok. I know the reservoir cap has a vent hole, but is it normal for the cap and top of the reservoir to be wet all the time? Seems like a mist must be coming out of the vent hole continuously.
You need the SOCK MOD!

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  #15  
Old 03-17-2010, 01:31 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by resharp001 View Post
take some sort of sharp pick and probe around on your cap. my old one was so crushed i didn't even notice it at first. it just looked like part of the plastic cap. once i picked at it i realized it was indeed a mutilated o-ring. once you get the old one out you should see exactly where the new one sits. there is indeed a grove for it to sit in.
1+.

LOL I was looking so hard for the O-ring and sure enough it was there. Look Look and look for it.
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  #16  
Old 03-17-2010, 02:32 PM
crazyguy crazyguy is offline
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i just replaced the o ring and it costs me $2.14 included tax from my local bmw dealership.
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  #17  
Old 03-17-2010, 03:01 PM
Ryan M Ryan M is offline
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Can someone explain to me then why all the power steering reservoirs I service on a daily basis are all wet? Even the new ones. They must all be missing these o rings.
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  #18  
Old 03-17-2010, 03:23 PM
resharp001 resharp001 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan M View Post
Can someone explain to me then why all the power steering reservoirs I service on a daily basis are all wet? Even the new ones. They must all be missing these o rings.
That's a really good question. Is this just some kind of design flaw? I can say that I replaced mine about a month ago after seeing CN90's suggestion on a different thread, and it's been as dry as could be ever since. My old o-ring was so flat and deformed that it obviously was not serving its purpose. I imagine that it just got that way over time and with people completely over tightening the cap to the reservoir.
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  #19  
Old 03-17-2010, 03:28 PM
Colington Colington is offline
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Yeah, that is an issue endemic to the E39 system. the hoses get impregnated with fluid over time and no matter how tight you clamp the hoses, it will seep. i found that it was really easy to order a replacement unit and hoses and just replace it. cost me a few hrs (as im a reg guy, not a mechanic) and $65. good luck.
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  #20  
Old 03-17-2010, 05:48 PM
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The o-ring apparently just wears out over time...I was constantly wiping my cap and under cap dry and then decided to replace mine last year (think I found out about on RealOEM...not sure) anyways, has been clean and dry ever since. Different obviously if its leaking around the hose.
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  #21  
Old 03-18-2010, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by jvr826 View Post
You need the SOCK MOD!

+1
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  #22  
Old 03-18-2010, 12:27 PM
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I think it's GREAT that the culprit was found which was causing the power steering in tens of thousands of BMWs to leak power steering fluid onto the cap.

That's what I love about this forum - helpful diagnosis & solutions!
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  #23  
Old 03-18-2010, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by jvr826 View Post
You need the SOCK MOD!

That is hands down the funniest $hit I have seen in ages. Even better than the Hitler Rant!



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  #24  
Old 03-18-2010, 12:47 PM
crazyguy crazyguy is offline
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the sock mod is a joke right ? hehe..but it does seem to work too..so i am confused.
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  #25  
Old 03-18-2010, 02:02 PM
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Sorry but I replaced the oring and redid the hoses below and the resivour still has an oil residue on it. Each time I'm under the hood I have to wipe it off with a paper towel. Not alot of fluid but enough to attract dirt and make the paper towel black.
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