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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 02-08-2013, 03:24 PM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
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RIP beloved E39? or can this be saved?

So I spun out and crashed my beloved E39 today :-\. The snow was pretty bad and I was driving definitely under 15-20 mph. The car lost all traction and spun out. I hit a tree head on, and then the car continued to spin until I was facing oncoming traffic.

Right after impact, I saw some smoke coming out of the engine bay from the gap right in front of the windshield wipers. I tried to pop the hood open to see if I damaged the radiator in the impact but couldnt get the hood to open up. So I tried to start the car back up and it fired right up. I decided to continue driving to my destination and it drove fine for the most part. However, at some points the aux fan would come on full blast and when that happened, the car would almost die. The battery light and the engine oil pressure light would come on. The first time around I pressed the gas and got out of it. The second time onwards (happened around 4-5 times), the whole car would just die. If it didnt die and was taking long, I would turn the car off, leaving the ignition on to let the aux fan do its job and turn the car back on so I dont damage the Engine due to low oil pressure.

Physically the car doesnt look so bad, the front bumper is pretty much destroyed, but thats about it. The hood is popped up slightly (and jammed of course) but doesnt seem to be warped. The left headlight is improperly adjusted as the bumper is sitting under it, pushing the small trim underneath it up.

Now for the questions:


What could have that puff of smoke been? It was too little to be coolant steaming off. Could it have been insulation from some wire hitting hot parts of the engine bay (happened on a friend's camary when he crashed). What could cause the aux fan to come on and just kill the car? I dont know if the car was just getting hot and the aux fan was coming on to cool the car, but if that is the case, why would it kill the power of the entire car? My cluster pixels are dead so I couldnt read the digital readout of the temp and the voltage being put out from the battery. The guage showed dead center for teh temp though and it did not deviate throughout the car ride.

If I can simply pop my hood open and fix the issue of the aux fan killing the car electrically, I will probably fix the car and keep it as I already have a LOT of money put into the car. Brand new suspension, cooling system, etc, all OEM. And the car has a LOT of sentimental value to me.
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  #2  
Old 02-08-2013, 03:43 PM
Nervous Nervous is offline
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You most likely damaged the radiator, radiator support, aux fan, condenser. Aux fan CAN'T cause battery light to be ON, so you either damaged the belt (however, you should lose power streering as well, plus, water pump will be off service - therefore overheating should occur), or alternator, or other electrical damage (short wires or something). Low oil pressure indicator could be a result of electrical damage or you are losing oil (therefore, turning the engine on would be a stupid idea). Anyway, open the hood first.
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  #3  
Old 02-08-2013, 04:14 PM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
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Here are some pictures of the incident :-/. I was hoping the radiator and such aren't too damaged. If I can fix the car dying issue, I will replace the radiator and whatever else needs replacing.

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When the aux fan comes on and the car is about to die, the reason the oil pressure light comes on is because the car pretty much dies with the ignition still on, 0 RPM, and since it's off, I lose power steering as well.
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:29 PM
Nervous Nervous is offline
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So, hood looks damaged too.

I don't see a real link between aux fan failure and 'car dies'. I think these events are separate.

Did you pay attention to temp gauge?
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  #5  
Old 02-08-2013, 04:53 PM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
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The car dies as in, it's pulling too much current and takes away from everything else and the car just stalls. Feels like power to the spark plugs is being interrupted, stalling the car. The temp gauge stayed at center like always. The hood isn't damaged, it's pushed up by the bumper which got jammed underneath it.
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:03 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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You cannot tell what is wrong without opening the hood. Your hood, bumper, etc. are toast. If you are making an insurance claim, let the claims adjuster handle this. If you are not making an insurance claim, then remove the plastic grille (use a hammer) and jimmy the hood open. It will all have to be replaced anyway. That way you can determine what the mechanical or electrical damage is. If it is too bad, then it's a writeoff anyway.
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:04 PM
occhis occhis is offline
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Does not look bad at all. I hit a deer about 3 years ago and had more damage than that. That smoke may have been the a/c refrigerant. The ins co totaled it, but I bought it back from them and I had it fixed and am very glad I did.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:50 PM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
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Thanks guys! I had plans on either 1: get a new car or 2: Get new bumpers (M5 reps from DDM), along with all the lights and such, and a repaint. As long as the car isnt mechanically or electrically destroyed, this would just be a bump towards getting the work done sooner on the car. Im not making an insurance claim on this car as I only have liability on this car.

Fudman, by removing the grill, do you mean the kidney grills? If so, I will remove them and try to open up the hood in the morning. Hopefully the storm would have died out by then.
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:53 PM
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mjalloul11 mjalloul11 is online now
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Well you said the snow was BAD, could it be that some snow hit the hot mufflers,evaporated,and a puff of smoke?
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:33 AM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
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I was hoping that's what happened.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:47 AM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
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I looked at the car this morning and it seems less severe than I thought yesterday. there is still coolant in the system, pretty much topped up. the belts and all look fine. Started the car again and seemed fine at start and then eventually the cel car on with codes:
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I'm leaning towards a short somewhere causing fuses to get blown causing all this.
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Old 02-09-2013, 11:56 AM
Ed Cheung Ed Cheung is offline
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I think you broke the radiator, or bend the upper hose or crack the hose to the overflow tank or something and coolant is leaking, that's why you see the smoke and then the aux fan is on because the coolant is low.
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:53 PM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
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As I said, the smoke lasted for about 1-2 seconds right after impact. the car was driven for about an hour after the crash (no overheating), and the coolant is at the proper level when I checked this morning. The car started and sounded "ok" today but a bunch of codes popped up (see above posts).
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:19 PM
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The P030X are misfire codes and the P017X are fuel system too rich codes. Something other than your cooling system is amiss. You need to dig deeper.

And yes, I meant the kidney grilles.
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:54 PM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
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Yup thanks so much for the tip! When I removed the kidney grill I was able to undo the latch and get the hood opened. Ya I'm getting random misfire codes and adaptive limit codes and fuel trim codes. and all the codes were doubled up as pending. I had a similar issue once when I blew one of the fuses under the passenger side cabin air filter area. I was hoping all the electrical issues are related to blown fuses and electrical shorts cuz that can be easily fixed. I will upload pics of the engine bay tomorrow, it's too late today to work on the car. I'm going to tear into it tomorrow. keeping my fingers crossed.
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:44 PM
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bkgreene39 bkgreene39 is offline
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Good luck with it, from the pics you have posted it doesn't look to bad cosmetically.
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:06 PM
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Does your a/c still work You could of damaged the condenser and released all the freon. Which is your smoke or steam your talking about.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:24 PM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
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I fully opened up the hood on sunday. Had to saw open parts of it because the latch is jammed shut. The radiator support is broken and the shroud broke off and the mechanical fan was stuck onto it. I had to tear apart the fan shroud and zip tied the radiator and expansion tank in place to be able to drive it to a body shop monday morning. So im being quoted 4-5k just to fix the frame damage and then whatever parts need to be replaced will be past that point :-\. Fixing the car is no longer something im willing to do so I will have to let it go. So as of now, my car just became a parts car. I will be making some metal brackets and supports to hold the expansion tank and radiator in place so I can drive this until I get myself another car. I just purchased a car for my wife so I am a bit strapped for money. Im hoping to either get another e39 (since I have a spare car to pull parts from if I need), or go for a newer 3 series. I will trully miss this car. Thank you all for all the amazing advice throughout the years.
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Old 02-15-2013, 06:22 PM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
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what car would you say is very similar to the e39. I can't seem to find any car even close to it.
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Old 02-15-2013, 07:29 PM
Crutzy Crutzy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrpumpk1n View Post
what car would you say is very similar to the e39. I can't seem to find any car even close to it.

e60.
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  #21  
Old 02-15-2013, 09:25 PM
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TemporarySanity TemporarySanity is offline
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Nothing compares to the e39. I have an e34 an e39 and an e60.
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:38 AM
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manticore33 manticore33 is offline
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Nothing really compares back to the e39. It is really the ultimate compromise car that few manufactures have matched. That said, there are other great cars that you now have an opportunity to own. What do you want out of a vehicle?
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:00 PM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
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Im looking for something similar to the e39. In terms of handling and interior. I love the ergonomics of the interior on the e39 and I dont see any other car on the market even coming close to it, even the e60. The F10 is out of my price range so thats out of the question and so are the latest 3 series. I recently bought my wife an A4 2.0T Quatro and its a pleasure to drive in its own way but the interior ergonomics is so bad. I want something where the consoles are tilted towards the driver, slight wood trim, classy styling, and comfortable. I want either a rear wheel drive or an all wheel drive, just personal preference. I'm still driving around my e39 and doing so while biting my nails. My radiator is being held up with zip ties and some metal brackets and the hood is tied down to close. Need something to replace the car soon :-\
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