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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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  #1  
Old 04-29-2019, 09:57 PM
Lackzance Lackzance is offline
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Need the Skinny on Timing Chain Guides

Copy pasting what I posted in the "welcome new members" section earlier today.

Hello everyone, just picked up a 1999 540i/6 speed car, 167k miles that has a perfect interior, save for ALL 4 window regulators completely failed.

It's beginning to have that timing chain guide rattle, as well as a slight valve cover gasket leak. There's a lot of conflicting information about how to do that timing chain guide job, and I'd really appreciate someone who's done it sending me some links to get the parts and special tools necessary, or even just some discussion about what I need to purchase to replace while the front of the motor is apart.. Most say parts alone cost over $1000+ when it seems FCP Euro sells the timing kit for a 1/10th of that price.

Not afraid of spending the money, just don't want to waste it on junk parts.

Currently daily driving a 2004 BMW 530i, and have had many e36s in the past, so I'm pretty confident I can get the job done, I just can't find exactly what parts I neee to replace.

Any information and tips I could get would greatly appreciated!
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  #2  
Old 04-30-2019, 06:26 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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No way your going to get all the parts necessary to do a timing chain job for anything less than $700, that doesn't include the tools.
I've done a number of them, bought my parts discounted heavily from BMW, had an account with them.
Haven't looked at what FCP is selling, however I did do a friends 540 timing and the parts he bought from (I think) FCP weren't complete.
The '99 540 (depending on production date) will also need to have the distribution units replaced if the upper part that the cam rings ride in are not Teflon coated. The aluminum wears away so oil will leak past the rings not allowing full advance/retard on the intake cams.
Pics coming later.
At that mileage the vanos o-rings need to be replaced too.
What's conflicting about removing the front of the engine, replacing parts, and then putting it back together?
Now timing the engine is another issue that a first time noobie is pretty sure to mess up.
https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...a-540tu-engine
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Last edited by JimLev; 04-30-2019 at 06:35 AM. Reason: Added link
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  #3  
Old 04-30-2019, 07:17 AM
Lackzance Lackzance is offline
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To be clear my confusion is not about the process of replacing them. I haven't been able to find a parts list on any of the write ups describing the replacement. The tear down, replacement and assembly all seems doable with close attention paid. I just have no idea where to find the correct parts and special tools.
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:26 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Might try replacing the tensioner first. Although, the PO did not bother replacing the window regulators, the guides are probably original.

Have you removed the lower pan to check for guide debris?
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Old 05-02-2019, 02:04 AM
Chedley Chedley is online now
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The skinny is : do NOT do it, until and unless you see bits of plastic debris in the engine oil pan -you will need to drop the pan, maybe to replace its leaking gasket?!-
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Old 05-02-2019, 04:52 AM
jp5touring jp5touring is offline
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German Auto Solutions rents timing tools. He makes beautiful stuff. I rented from him when I did my M54 head.

`http://www.germanautosolutions.com/b...ol_rentals.php
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  #7  
Old 05-02-2019, 05:29 AM
E39Hoon E39Hoon is offline
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Bobdmac has a detailed post on this https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sh...3&highlight=80
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Old 05-02-2019, 07:03 PM
Lackzance Lackzance is offline
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Thanks for the information guys. I haven't started tearing the car down, due to the mileage I want to replace everything I can and drive for (hopefully) years to come. The car is a 1 owner I purchased for $1000 and the rattle is VERY loud and seems clearly to be this signature timing guide failure. I took a short video of the car running and will post it on YouTube and provide a link. Danny's Garage has a really helpful video and he provided the following parts list for a BMW 4.6 (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...gM/mobilebasic)

Does this stuff seem to encapsulate everything I should do at nearly 170k miles?
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Old 05-02-2019, 07:07 PM
Lackzance Lackzance is offline
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Old 05-02-2019, 08:19 PM
atobe atobe is offline
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You can look at this kit and decide https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...11311741746kit , this is the bare minimum https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...11311745406kt1 , the whole shebang ! https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...-11311741746kt and yes do the vanos while you're in there. If you can afford it (~$500 for parts), do a cooling refresh since you're there anyways. Then the engine should be solid for years to come. Does the rattle go away after it warms up or does it sound like that all the time.
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Old 05-03-2019, 02:31 AM
Chedley Chedley is online now
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Well, yes, definitely go with the whole shebang parts if you are determined to do it. You might as well replace as many parts as you can things "while you are there"...

However, my advice though is: do NOT do it.
For what it is worth, the rattle noise you posted in the video is very normal for the V8 M62TU engine on cold start up, and does not necessarily indicate timing chain guides failures.
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Old 05-03-2019, 02:46 AM
540fan 540fan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chedley View Post
Well, yes, definitely go with the whole shebang parts if you are determined to do it. You might as well replace as many parts as you can things "while you are there"...

However, my advice though is: do NOT do it.
For what it is worth, the rattle noise you posted in the video is very normal for the V8 M62TU engine on cold start up, and does not necessarily indicate timing chain guides failures.
I would get similar rattle and knock on my 540iT with 202k miles. Just did an oil change and followed a suggestion that I switch from Castrol to 10w30 Redline Full Synthetic oil. I get a deal on the gallon jugs atv$40 each. Put the oil and in and did not restart until next day after I completed trans fluid change.

Started up and not one knock or rattle. With check again this morning. Read a TIS bulletin that talked about lighter weight oil settle down the noises.

Do a good engine flush and try Redline. Way cheaper that guides for a first move.
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Old 05-03-2019, 07:44 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Wow, that's pretty loud. The tensioner won't fix that.
Here's the pics of the distribution unit I mentioned in post #2.
The distribution unit in the first pic doesn't have the Teflon coating. Disregard the arrows, that was to show another peep oil flow direction.
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  #14  
Old 05-14-2019, 03:34 AM
540fan 540fan is online now
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All my cold start rattle and knocks disappeared after I started using RedLine Synthetic oil. It's a bit expensive at $80 for two large jugs but my engine is happy now. The BMW bulletin was correct about a lighter weight oil. 202k miles on original guides and counting.
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Old 05-14-2019, 03:50 AM
Chedley Chedley is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540fan View Post
All my cold start rattle and knocks disappeared after I started using RedLine Synthetic oil. . . The BMW bulletin was correct about a lighter weight oil. 202k miles on original guides and counting.
In addition to the timing chain tensioner -which I think is most important for the longevity of the guides- , my trick when doing oil changes is to pour a quart of 0W-40 synthetic oil in the new filter housing, then fill with 5W-20 synthetic...That quiets my engine a lot, even on cold starts.

I just clocked 182 K miles on the original guides..cross fingers..
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:42 AM
4thBMW 4thBMW is offline
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My trick to less rattle....

apart from a *clean* cartridge chain tensioner is clean oil that is spec. for this vehicle...and keep it clean. I sometimes change my oil filter in between iol changes...Hell, they're $6. All those oil passageways, little valve are dirt magnets. Watch your oil level.
ps- I have been in and around the petroleum refining business for 40 years. I still have friends who work in advance process engineering for oil majors. I would not , and don't, purchase Redline (0-w40) motor oil which is what Redline recommends for BMW LL/ E39 540 spec. @$13 a quart. I've seen people do more foolish things than take advice from strangers that hawk products and /or try and out 'guess' engineered, developed specification. But, hey, some peeps don't need the money.

Last edited by 4thBMW; 05-14-2019 at 06:18 AM. Reason: comment.
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:41 AM
Lackzance Lackzance is offline
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I'll definitely try changing the oil and seein if that changes anything. I haven't run the engine longer enough to get up operating temp just to be safe, so I have no idea if it's a cold start sound only or not. Cant hurt to have fresh oil anyways I suppose.
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Old 05-14-2019, 02:30 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540fan View Post
All my cold start rattle and knocks disappeared after I started using RedLine Synthetic oil. It's a bit expensive at $80 for two large jugs but my engine is happy now. The BMW bulletin was correct about a lighter weight oil. 202k miles on original guides and counting.
Nice! I made it to 263,000 miles before my guides finally packed it in Oil (LL-01) and filter changed every 7500 miles from new. Now at 298,000 miles...
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:43 AM
540fan 540fan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4thBMW View Post
apart from a *clean* cartridge chain tensioner is clean oil that is spec. for this vehicle...and keep it clean. I sometimes change my oil filter in between iol changes...Hell, they're $6. All those oil passageways, little valve are dirt magnets. Watch your oil level.
ps- I have been in and around the petroleum refining business for 40 years. I still have friends who work in advance process engineering for oil majors. I would not , and don't, purchase Redline (0-w40) motor oil which is what Redline recommends for BMW LL/ E39 540 spec. @$13 a quart. I've seen people do more foolish things than take advice from strangers that hawk products and /or try and out 'guess' engineered, developed specification. But, hey, some peeps don't need the money.
No product hawking here... but then I also haven't been "around" the petroleum business for 40 years... I mentioned Redline because after having used the spec'd Castrol oil for my 01 540iT since it was new and listening to the annoying cold start knock for the last 5 years, thinking the dreaded chain guides were on their way to failure, I wanted to see what's up. Reading BMW literature along with my 40 years "around" heavy equipment, automotive, racing, and oil sampling, I wanted to go another direction.

The knock comes from compressed air during cold start and BMW recommended lower viscosity oil. There is a long history of Redline used in BMWs in daily driver and racing applications. Also have a friend with a new high dollar 500 hp plus SS Camaro that had a valve train tick on right bank. Of course GM says it's normal. He switched to Redline and tick is gone. When I switched to Redline, my knock disappeared and I can let the car sit for a week and no knock. Will other products do the same, probably. Just stating my experience and results.

Oils and engines are quirky. Had a 99 VW Passat from new to 375k until engine failure due to coolant hose rupture and millennial not watching gauges. At 150k it would eat synthetic oil all day long using specified oils. Switched to cheap Rotella 15w40 diesel oil the same stuff I ran in my IHC Diesl Scout, and it never used a drop of oil again.

As for guides, I don't worry about them but I know the entire service history of my car. When and if they let go, just get another engine and swap out. It's less work for me than doing an in car guide replacement plus engines are plentiful and not expensive. Just did an engine change in an E38for experience and it was straightforward. Now I have a core to get rebuilt and maybe "built" for the day when mine 540iT erupts. I will never get rid of the car so having a spare engine is fine by me.

Last edited by 540fan; 05-15-2019 at 05:36 AM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:30 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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He changed the oil, still sounds like a cement mixer.
I looked at his car today, tear down in progress.
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