03 E39 (525i) Engine Regular Maintenance - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums



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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 10-05-2016, 04:34 AM
mutyo051026 mutyo051026 is offline
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03 E39 (525i) Engine Regular Maintenance

I have 03 525i sedan and it has about 160,500 miles on its odometer. I bought this car last May when it had around 150,000 miles on it, and since then I have had no issues on the engine. I have changed the motor oil once, and I regularly check other important fluids such as brake fluid, coolant, etc... But since I will probably keep this car at least 3 more years, although I do not have any issues on the engine right now I want to know the appropriate ways to maintain it so that I can maximize its life span.

So what else should I do regulary other than changing the oil and filter? And how often?
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Old 10-05-2016, 05:44 AM
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GrannyApple GrannyApple is offline
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This information is readily available in the faq, wiki, in bluebees crosslinking posts and in searches both in site and in google by using keywords like "e39" or " bmw m54" followed by whatever your searching for like "maintenance" or the like. Not trying to offend but if you're really set on owning this car definitely try to read up on everything already available. Not only will it help you understand your car better it's really interesting.



These engines are very reliable as long as they have coolant and oil. Think about it as a Toyota 5fse engine but instead of worrying about a timing belt failure you worry about a cooling system component blowing and overheating the engine So you would want to make sure hoses, thermostat housing, water pump, radiator and the mechanical fan are in good shape. The hoses should be nice and smooth with no cracking when you squeeze one. The waterpump well as long as your not overheating and there's no leakage from it is should be good. Same with the radiator. The mechanical fan should freely spin when you give it a push with the engine off.

Other than that give it the same care you would give any other engine. Check spark plugs, air filters, check the vacuum lines for any leaks and always have any eye out for any developing oil and coolant leaks. As long as you don't neglect and ignore issues the engine will last ya.
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Old 10-05-2016, 06:02 AM
rbelton rbelton is offline
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Check out all of the E39 maintenance videos on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd0...XbkR0ap6uzX7yA
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Old 10-05-2016, 06:19 AM
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TheHockeytowner TheHockeytowner is offline
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Great advice from Barracuz.

I too bought a high-mileage 2003 525i, that was over 6 years ago.

Once I established a solid "base" on my car (got it running really smoothly [VANOS seals, CCV, DISA, cleaned ICV, replaced all vacuum hoses, fuel injector cleaning, etc.], avoided catastrophic failure [complete cooling system refresh]), I created a maintenance schedule (see attached). The intervals come in part from Mike Miller's "old school/lifetime maintenance schedule" but also from the old service sheets from BMW. Some of the items on the list have a shorter interval than the Mike Miller schedule, others have a longer interval.
  • I run a 7.5k OCI; I used to run a 5k interval. Any modern synthetic, approved for the E39 or not, should last at LEAST 7.5k. I do not send my used oil to Blackstone Labs.
  • I replace the air filters (engine and cabin) every 15k. I also try to pour a bottle of Techron fuel system cleaner in every 15k, BEFORE I do the oil change.
  • Diff, manual transmission, and power steering oil get changed every 30k -- but in practice, the power steering is more like 60k due to my laziness
  • I also replace the drivebelts every 30k, but this is probably too soon. Same with spark plugs, probably could get more than 60k miles out of them.
  • O2 sensor replacement is listed as every 90k, but in practice/since replacing all 4, it's more of a "as the sensors fail" kind of thing.
  • I try to follow the coolant and brake fluid replacement intervals, but not always. Before I did brakes on the car last year, the brake fluid was at least 5 years old
  • I do not perform routine/preventative cooling system refreshes -- I work on the car so often (whether maintenance or repair) that I am constantly checking the condition of those components. I do not replace anything unless it is obviously ready to give up the ghost. A gamble maybe, but so far so good.
It's a lot of work (and expense) but I get routine compliments from passengers re: how smoothly and quietly the car runs. Oil consumption is around 1qt/5-6k miles @ 243k. Cosmetically it's a total pig, but it's like the Millennium Falcon: "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts."

Lastly, a one- or two-quart oil can with a flexible spout is truly your best friend. You can then buy Castrol EDGE 0W-40 A3/B4 in bulk (5qt. containers) for ~$4.50/qt on Amazon and never muck around with single quarts again.
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Last edited by TheHockeytowner; 10-05-2016 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 10-05-2016, 04:36 PM
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JaxPlanet JaxPlanet is offline
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Go to Bavauto.com's Tech Tips section to download a maintenance schedule.
Get the "BMW 5 Series Service Manual 1997-2003" from Bentley Publishing.
Go to RealOEM.com to identify parts
Here are some good parts suppliers: Autohausaz.com, FCPeuro.com, BavAuto.com, GetBMWParts.com and TurnerMotorsports.com
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Old 10-05-2016, 04:53 PM
mutyo051026 mutyo051026 is offline
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Great advice! Thanks!!
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Old 10-05-2016, 05:31 PM
mutyo051026 mutyo051026 is offline
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I will! Thanks!!
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Old 10-05-2016, 05:32 PM
mutyo051026 mutyo051026 is offline
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Thanks for sharing your maintenance schedule. That would be very helpful!
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Old 10-05-2016, 05:52 PM
mutyo051026 mutyo051026 is offline
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Thanks for the info!
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Old 10-05-2016, 06:01 PM
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TheHockeytowner TheHockeytowner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mutyo051026 View Post
Thanks for sharing your maintenance schedule. That would be very helpful!
No problem. I would still try to find a copy of Mike Miller's schedule. If you do track days/autocross, you'll definitely need to replace the brake fluid more often
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Last edited by TheHockeytowner; 10-10-2016 at 02:46 PM.
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