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E60 / E61 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series E60 Sedan was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E61 wagon followed shortly there after. The E60/E61 5 series is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 10-08-2019, 04:05 PM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is online now
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Replacing ground cable N54 - the improper way

So letís recap my most recent n54 2008 535xi adventure. I had a no crank, no start situation. It happened right when I gave the car to my wife while I replaced a bunch of parts and serviced her SUV. The BMW was stuck in the middle of the driveway. I figured I knew everything about the car and ignored the advice of my friends here and

Replaced the starter - did that help? No
Replaced the battery - did that help? No
Disconnected the IMB (or whatever itís called) - did that help? No
Reset a lot of the computer stuff - like the CAS - did that help? No

Meanwhile my wifeís car was in million pieces because I thought the BMW would be a simple fix.

So finished my wifeís SUV and set out to fix the BMW. Bypassed the ground with a set of jumper cables and the car started!

I have a 4 post lift so I drove the car to the lift to with sparks flying under the hood and ordered the cable.

Watched a few you tube videos and thought it would take 20 minutes, maybe 30

Well, what I have learned is if you want and e60, get a RWD non turbo six.

I have done many difficult (well, I think they are difficult jobs) on the car from walnut blasting to replacing the oil pan gasket.

And this job, on a scale of 1-56, is a 55.

Let me describe the process. Lift car in air and find cable. No problem, it is on the bottom of the frame on the passenger side. But I canít see the other end. Lower the car.

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See it down there? Itís a game of find Waldo. Itís disconnected now in the pic. Anyway there are too many pipes to close to get a socket on it. So now that I know where it is, I raise the car and try from below and can not see the end. But, I figure, if I remove the wheel well liner I could easily see it.

The car is lowered on a four post lift with the battery disconnect so I jack up the car on the lift and put it on jack stands. How I accomplished that could be a whole other post.

Anyway, get all the cladding off wheel liner off and guess what? The bottom of the nut is wedged between some of the frame so it wonít spin. The top is hidden by the frame and I still can not see it from below. And on top the nut is too close on to get a socket on from above. So I use this

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If anyone cares itís a 13mm. Which is the only time luck was on my side because the set of those wrenches I have only has 11 and 13mm.

Well, itís now off. Iím getting a drink before I try to put it all back together.


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  #2  
Old 10-08-2019, 04:41 PM
twh twh is online now
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I have a 2006 530xi. I did the replacement through the passenger side wheel well. Removed some of the plastic wheel well shields and that was enough to get it done.
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  #3  
Old 10-08-2019, 07:08 PM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is online now
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How the heck did you get it done? I think those are coolant pipes blocking me, not the turbo stuff?


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  #4  
Old 10-08-2019, 08:51 PM
audiophool audiophool is offline
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That sounds like fun. Not.

Pic of the bad strap?

Edit to add: you say you replaced the oil pan gasket. I suppose the subframe had to be lowered for that. Did the ground strap maybe get damaged then?

Last edited by audiophool; 10-08-2019 at 09:02 PM.
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  #5  
Old 10-09-2019, 03:20 AM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is online now
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Will get a pic after I am victorious. I have spent 2 hours in various positions trying to get the bolt on.

I had to disconnect the ground strap on the subframe when I dropped it. That end is easy to get to. And the old strap looks good except it is green and brittle.


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  #6  
Old 10-09-2019, 06:54 AM
twh twh is online now
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Now my car was an N52, but I think this is all the same. The one problem I did have was getting the bolt on the fender side. The cable appeared not long enough. Upon closer examination, the original cable had a shorter heat shrink tubing and that allowed for the old cable to be bent closer to its end. The new cable had a longer heat shrink tubing and the bend was not as far up towards the end. I just bent the cable a bit further up towards the fender side bolt hole.
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  #7  
Old 10-09-2019, 09:42 AM
audiophool audiophool is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgjks6 View Post
Will get a pic after I am victorious. I have spent 2 hours in various positions trying to get the bolt on.

I had to disconnect the ground strap on the subframe when I dropped it. That end is easy to get to. And the old strap looks good except it is green and brittle.


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A real trooper! Victory is mine!!!

And mmmmm, green crusty on the ground strap. Good old copper oxidation. Now you're making me want to inspect mine, but it's freakin' cold outside and my garridge is full of boxes whilst our basement work is underway.

I want a 2-post hoist in my garridge, but that's a pipe dream.
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  #8  
Old 10-10-2019, 06:07 AM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is online now
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So the new TIS says to remove bolt. That's it. No advice. I'm taking the weekend off, but I have a feeling a subframe drop is in my future.
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  #9  
Old 10-10-2019, 07:50 AM
dharmabmw dharmabmw is offline
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Originally Posted by audiophool View Post
A real trooper! Victory is mine!!!

And mmmmm, green crusty on the ground strap. Good old copper oxidation. Now you're making me want to inspect mine, but it's freakin' cold outside and my garridge is full of boxes whilst our basement work is underway.

I want a 2-post hoist in my garridge, but that's a pipe dream.
Princess auto is your friend.....
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  #10  
Old 10-10-2019, 10:05 AM
kd7iwp kd7iwp is offline
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A subframe drop sounds really annoying for having to just replace a ground strap. Fortunately, I didn't feel that the subframe drop was all that difficult to do, provided you have an engine support bar. It's also annoying to get an alignment afterwards. But really, you just support the engine from above, can disconnect control arms if you want, and drop it a few inches. If you can get away with just lowering a few inches, great. If you have to fully remove it that is more annoying as you're now draining your power steering and if you have an automatic, you have transmission cooler lines. But hey, new motor mounts, pan gasket, or any of those other exciting things can be done... I'm really sorry to see this happen to you, sucks man.
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  #11  
Old 10-10-2019, 10:20 AM
audiophool audiophool is offline
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Originally Posted by dharmabmw View Post
Princess auto is your friend.....
I found a nice portable 2-post. Comes in three pieces and has quick-connects for the hydraulic lines. You set female threaded inserts in the mounting location to bolt the posts into. Each post has wheels so you tip the post back and roll it away like a hand truck after unbolting. Tuck the posts and the pump away in a corner of the garridge and you're not tripping over it when you don't need it.

https://www.maxjaxusa.com/

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  #12  
Old 10-10-2019, 10:51 AM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is online now
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Replacing ground cable N54 - the improper way

The ground strap is on the passenger side motor mount. Mine are still original and I debated replacing them when I did the oil pan gasket. I think I just need to lower the subframe a couple inches to get the room to change the strap.

But this leads to another question. Has anyone replaced the motor mount on the passenger side on an AWD turbo charged E60. Because the top mount on the nut is blocked by a bunch of hard metal pipes and turbos. The top of the driver side mount is easy to get to, but when I dropped the subframe before, I detached the passenger mount at the subframe and left it attached to the engine. Even with the subframe off and all the front suspension removes I could not get to the top of the passenger side mount.

As far as oil pan gasket, never again. On an xi you have to pull the axle because it runs through the middle of the pan. What a great design.


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Last edited by dgjks6; 10-10-2019 at 10:56 AM.
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  #13  
Old 10-10-2019, 02:22 PM
kd7iwp kd7iwp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgjks6 View Post
Has anyone replaced the motor mount on the passenger side on an AWD turbo charged E60
Did it in August. Granted... I had my downpipes out (but they weren't too bad to get to. I unbolted the mount from below and didn't have a problem getting up there, but I think I had all those pipes out already (trying to remember my order of operations). Wow, I guess it's bigger than I was initially thinking for you because I already had in mind to remove the turbos. Any chance you could tap a hole somewhere else for the ground strap?

I found the passenger axle was a breeze to remove. I got the 12 point socket for the axle nut and my DeWalt 20v impact yanked it right off (didn't even need to punch out the indents on the nut first) and then I disconnected the nut on the small wishbone arm and then tapped the axle with a prybar where it comes out from the oil pan and it slid right out. Then I think you can remove the axle carrier from the oil pan and hopefully have more access to the motor mount?

Here's a bit of a post I put together when I did my job and this is one image where I was removing the motor mount (I have an 535xi E61)


Last edited by kd7iwp; 10-10-2019 at 02:27 PM.
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  #14  
Old 10-10-2019, 03:00 PM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is online now
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Replacing ground cable N54 - the improper way

Been there, but never messed with the turbos. Maybe I should just drop the sub frame, replace the engine mounts, turbos, and water pump. My pump has consistently gone out every 75,000 miles so Iím approaching another one in the next year anyway.


And I thought about it, but I can clearly see the mounting place for the bolt. I just canít get enough room to get the nut on the top. Once I get it started I got the tools to tighten it. Just canít get the darn thing started.

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Last edited by dgjks6; 10-10-2019 at 03:02 PM.
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  #15  
Old 10-16-2019, 07:55 AM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is online now
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Victory is mine. Dropped the subframe 1-2cm. Didnít take out the bolts. Just loosened. That was enough to be able to get a socket past the turbo oil and coolant pipes. Car starts. Still have to put it back together.

So to recap. $450 in parts and about 16 hours in labor. Canít decide if I love or hate this car.


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  #16  
Old 10-16-2019, 09:55 AM
audiophool audiophool is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgjks6 View Post
Victory is mine. Dropped the subframe 1-2cm. Didnít take out the bolts. Just loosened. That was enough to be able to get a socket past the turbo oil and coolant pipes. Car starts. Still have to put it back together.

So to recap. $450 in parts and about 16 hours in labor. Canít decide if I love or hate this car.


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Old 10-16-2019, 02:43 PM
dharmabmw dharmabmw is offline
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  #18  
Old 10-16-2019, 03:51 PM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is online now
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Anyway...I needed the lift so after o got everything to where the car would start, I backed it off the lift and guess what? I got no brakes. I mean none. Slam the pedal to the floor and I barely slowly stop.

I didnít go anywhere near the brakes.




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  #19  
Old 10-16-2019, 05:25 PM
audiophool audiophool is offline
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Hate to say it, but you may be cursed. Is the master cylinder full?
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  #20  
Old 10-22-2019, 11:12 AM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is online now
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Yeah. Itís fixed. I pulled a vacuum line off the booster while I was doing something somewhere. Now to torque everything correctly. And put all the under body cladding back on. And hope the AWD/DSC goes away.


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  #21  
Old 10-22-2019, 06:44 PM
dgjks6 dgjks6 is online now
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All codes gone. But I forgot to tighten the wheels. Ooops


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  #22  
Old 10-23-2019, 07:44 AM
audiophool audiophool is offline
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Originally Posted by dgjks6 View Post
Yeah. Itís fixed. I pulled a vacuum line off the booster while I was doing something somewhere. Now to torque everything correctly. And put all the under body cladding back on. And hope the AWD/DSC goes away.


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Ah. Pedal hard and high, no boost. I thought you were saying the pedal went to the floor as in no fluid.
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