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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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Old 02-17-2013, 09:10 PM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,302
Mein Auto: 2001 530i (E39) 140k
New E39? Need ideas on what to replace to make it mechanically solid?

People always come on and ask "What should I service on my new E39?" Or, say you bought a car that simply was never serviced beyond oil/tires/brakes. Sometimes, people want to do one "huge ball off wax" servicing of pretty much anything likely to break sooner or later on most E39 BMWs. Here are some ideas:

  1. Air filter
  2. Cabin air filter
  3. New wipers
  4. New Battery
  5. New tires
  6. Change all fluids: Differential oil, transmission oil, flush power steering fluid
  7. Cooling system; water pump, radiator, thermostat and housing,
  8. Sepentine belt, tensioners, pulleys, fan, fan clutch
  9. Oil leaks: Oil Filter Housing Gasket leak, Valve Cover gasket leak.
  10. Replace broken headlight adjusters
  11. New brake pads and rotors
  12. Bleed brake fluid
  13. Replace all vacuum lines
  14. Spark plugs & boots
  15. Fuel filter
  16. Replace power steering reservoir and hoses
  17. Replace entire front suspension: Struts, control arms, thrust arms, sway bar bushings, etc.
  18. Change DISA value (flap breaks)
  19. SAP valve (Secondary Air Pump)
  20. Engine and transmission mounts
  21. Replace VANOS seals
  22. Fix cluster pixels

Things you can replace before they fail:
  1. MAF Sensor
  2. O2 sensors (pre-cat)
  3. Intake boots
  4. Alternator
  5. Fuel fump
  6. Replace coils
  7. Camshaft and Crankshaft Position Sensors

Set aside money for these possible failures:
  1. Fix ABS Module
  2. New Window Regulators
  3. FSU (Final Stage Unit) Errant blower motor
  4. CCV - Gets clogged. Rough idle
  5. Center support bearing (CSB)
  6. Guibo
  7. Rebuild transmission
  8. Catalytic Converters
  9. New exhaust
  10. A/C compressor
  11. Broken sunroof
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:45 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Location: San Jose, CA
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 13,444
Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
Ask Mike Miller for his maintenance schedule, too:

Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:23 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
I've always struggled with this topic of (things that will go bad, even if they haven't yet, so plan ahead).

I think the problem with most maintenance checklists for the E39 is merely that there are so many of them.

Basically, there are so many that it's hard to find the 'canonical' E39 maintenance list.

Here is one I tried to start for checking and cleaning (but not replacing):
- Maintenance checklist of filters and components to be periodically checked & cleaned in the BMW E39 (1)

And, another I started on what small parts to stock for replacing when you happen to be in the area:
- What stuff (parts, fluids, gaskets, o-rings, filters, scanners, tools, etc.) should we stock in our garage for eventual use (1)

Here is a set of common things that break on the E39:
- Compendiums on common problems, fixes, & repairs for parts that go bad on the E39 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

Here's one on service schedules:
- BMW service/maintenance schedule (1) & checklists I, II, and III (1) (2) & tips for newbies for what maintenance to initially perform (1) (2) and typical 150K mile maintenance issues (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & inspections (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & check/replace all fluids (1)

Here's one on repair expenses:
- Typical 150K mile maintenance issues (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) checklists (1) inspections (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & check/replace all fluids (1) & samples of the last six months of user repair expenses (1)

And, here's one on checklists:
- BMW CPO PPI inspection checklist (1) (2) & an official BMW CPO retailer operations manual (1) (2) & a BMW certified preowned pre purchase inspection brochure (1) (2) (3) & a BMW service/maintenance schedule & checklists I, II, and III (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & a classic E39 inspection I, II, III DIY (1) (2) (3) & tips for BMW E39 150K mile maintenance issues (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) & a glovebox printout for the most often recommended BMW E39 fluids (1).

And that's just a very short list of the lists of them ...

I think we need a single place (probably the wiki) for all the common problems and maintenance issues of the E39.
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 02-18-2013 at 08:31 AM.
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