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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 01-01-2007, 07:55 AM
matteni matteni is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: St. Louis
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 191
Mein Auto: 540iA Sport
Red face On the 11th day of Christmas I almost blown up! / Fuel Filter Change!

On the eleventh day of Christmas my

"e39 2000 Biarritz Blue 540iA with Sports Package" gave to me...

..an ulcer and a hernia thanks to a new fuel filter!

I decided to document my adventures to replace my daily driver with a 2000 e39 BMW 540iA Sport.  It is long and you can't get your time or money back so read on at your own risk.  I am cross posting to my favorite forums so I apologize if you are like me and you frequent them all.  Smoke em if you got em...

Here is a review of everything to date! OR Skip to start of the story

First day of Christmas I purchased a e39 540i as a run around daily driver that would be a lot more fun then the land barge I was driving. (10/3/2006)

- 2000 e39 540iA Sport with 79,000 miles ($14,000)
- 1 hour technical inspection + drive ($100)
- Coolant system

Cost = $14,100
Running Total = $100 (maintenance)

On the Second day" of Christmas I drove it down to an indy I thought I could trust and ended up giving back all the hard earned money I bargained out of the car. (11/1/2006)
- State inspection
- Wiper Blades
- Oil Filter / Oil
- Oil filter mounting bushings
- 2 Power steering hoses near reservoir
- Valve cover gasket
- NKG spark plugs and tune up
- Front brake pads and rotors
- 4 wheel alignment
- 2 serpentine belts
- Lower Oil Pan Gasket
- Thrust arm bushings
- Front wheel bearings
- 4 new Falken Zien tires
- Ambient temperature sensor and wire

Cost = $3,400
Running Total = $3,500

On the third day of Christmas I did my first mods and had the paint professionally touched up from front to back (11/5/2006)

- TEC BMW E39 5 Series Cup Holder ($500)
- Homelink transmitter
- M5 Spoiler (unpainted)
- Pieke diagnostic tool
- Bentley Manual Set

12/1/2006 (total of $300)
- Paint touch up
- Front bumper repair
- Rear M5 wing paint and installation

Cost = $800
Running Total = $4,300
On the forth day of Christmas I emptied out my bank account with Matt and www.Umnitza.com  (12/10/2006)

- Predator Angel Eyes with 6k HID kit and Euro clear corners
- Remote Angel Eyes activation
- Rear cup holder replacement (OEM)
- White fog light bulbs
- Clear side markers with white bulbs
- Lumin-X protection for lights
- BMW Driver's side OEM cup holder

Cost = $1,000
Running Total = $5,300

On the fifth day of Christmas I tried my hand at body work, put on new license plate holders, and purchased an //M sport OEM replica lower lip spoiler.  (12/14/2006)

- 2 new WeatherTech license plate frames
- //M sport lower lip spoiler replica
- Prep, paint, and installation

Cost = $200
Running Total = $5,500

On the 6th day of Christmas my e39 gave to me 1000 MP3s with a new MP3 Changer!   (12/17/2006)

1) Alpine CHA-S634 6 Disc CD MP3 Changer ($235 shipped)
2) Alpine KCA-130B Ai-Net/M-Bus adapter ($25 shipped)
3) Soundgate v5 or higher BMW/Alpine M-Bus adapter
4) Ai-Net male to male cable ($30 shipped)
5) Duralast AutoZone Battery

Cost = $500
Running Total = $6,000

On the 7th day of Christmas my e39 gave to me - new rear brakes & new air filters! (12/18/2006)

- Rear Brake Disc from Brembo (OEM) for $54.61 each (x2)
- Brake Pad Set from Pagid (OEM) for $51.87
- Brake Pad Sensor for $16.83 (I didn't need it as my sensor never went off)
- Interior Cabin Air Microfilter $35 each (x2)
- Air Filter $17

Cost = $250
Running Total = $6,250

On the 8th day of Christmas my e39 shifted like new thanks to a DIY full transmission and differential service (12/19/2006)

- RLDFL Red Line Synthetic Differential Fluid - 2 Quart 2000 540i = $17.90
- 24 11 1 673 KIT Automatic Transmission Filter Kit 2000 540i = $53.95
- 02341 Tool - Oil Filter Housing Cap - 36mm socket (with 17mm hex head) 2000 540i = $17.95
- 11 42 1 745 390 Oil Filter - Plastic ends - With Seal Rings 2000 540i (3) = $29.85
- ESSO LT71141 Automatic Transmission Fluid - 1 Liter 2000 540i $18.95 (6) = $113.70
- 61 66 1 379 054 Washer Bottle Cap 2000 540i $1.95 1 = $1.95
- ATE GOLD Ate Super Gold Racing Brake Fluid - 1 liter = $12

Cost = $260
Running Total = $6,510

On the 9th day of Christmas my e39 gave to me all of my power back thanks to new O2 sensors and MAF sensor (12/23/2006)

- OSW1 Bosch Oxygen Sensor Tool 2000 540i $18.95 (x1) = $18.95
- 13 475 Oxygen Sensor - located after catalytic converter - 2 required per car 2000 540i $109.95 (x2) = $219.90
- 13 802 Oxygen Sensor - located before catalytic converter - 2000 540i $74.95 (x2) = $149.90
-1 x OEM VW MAF MK4 cars all (part #06A906461A) = $90.00

Cost = $490
Running Total = $7,000

On the 10th day of Christmas my e39 gave to me a sweet new song via MagnaFlow dual 3" rolled tip muffler!

- MagnaFlow 14815 Muffler $123 delivered
- Midas installation and bumper modivication $193

Cost = $300
Running Total = $7300


Gas smell.  Not of the Taco Bell variety but the stuff of dead dinosaurs.  Right when I start the car the smell is there.  ARRRRRRRRRRRGGHHH.  After $7300 invested in this car it is going to blow up on me!!!

As with any car problem you go through 5 distinct phases of automotive grief (some of us never get to the 5th level but we all try):

Grief StageBMW 540i Manifestation of Grief
1-Denial:  "this can't be happening to me".  No crying. Not accepting or even acknowledging the loss of horsepower, functionality, or that it left you stranded on the side of the road. "There really isn't a gas smell.  I am not really throwing up in my garage every morning from gas poisoning.  I am just pregnant or something."
2-Anger:  "why me?", feelings of wanting to fight back at the car or get even with car, engineers, or manufacturing people, blaming them for car breaking. "Those GD BMW German engineers are still pissed off about the 2 world wars and are taking it out on me directly by making this car that they knew would be irresistible to me and I would someday buy 2nd hand and this particular VIN would have a gas leak and blow up and I would die."
3-Bargaining:  Bargaining often takes place before the loss. Attempting to make deals with the Car and/or God to stop or change the loss. Begging, wishing, praying for them to work right. "Car heal thyself!  Pleeeeeeeeeeeesseee!!!! 

I promise if you do I will always put 93 octane instead of the 91 I sometimes put in!"

4-Depression:  Overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, frustration, bitterness, self pity, mourning loss as well as the hopes, dreams and plans for the future. Feeling lack of control, feeling numb. Perhaps feeling suicidal. That is it.  I can't take it anymore.  I am going to stand under the lift and drop the NSX on myself.  I swear I will - don't taunt me!!!
5-Acceptance:  There is a difference between resignation and acceptance. You have to accept the loss, not just try to bear it quietly. Realization that the car is a lemon and that it is not it's fault, they didn't leave you stranded on purpose. Finding the good that can come out of the pain of loss, finding comfort and healing. Our goals turn toward personal automotive performance. Maybe time for the Dinan stage 3 with the supercharger package?  Maybe if I am going fast enough I won't smell the gas!

OK - so I am somewhere between 3 and 4 above and decide that it is time to replace the fuel filter.  Why?  Why not.  Can't be too hard and there are no other obvious signs of leaking.  The smell neither seems to be coming from the engine or the exhaust but I smell it right where I sit with the door open or the window down.  Hmmm.  Probably the original if I know the first owner so definitely overdue.  What is another $30 and another 30 minutes at this point?  Let's get-R-done!

Well the first thing you need is a new fuel filter!  See how good I am getting!  ($80 total)

BTW - I am completely insensitive to how much car parts cost anymore.  At least this thing has a fuel pressure regulator built in!

- 13 32 1 709 535 Fuel Filter with Pressure Regulator 2000 540i = $64.95

I also purchased a quart of my favorite brake fluid for the future:

- ATE GOLD Ate Super Gold Racing Brake Fluid - 1 liter = $11.95

I go ahead and bust out the manual as this is a common "use" item and they are typically the best described things in the manual.

Here are the steps exactly as described in the Bentley Manual:

1) Disconnect battery
2) Caution1: You may loose your radio stations.  Caution 2:  You should not be smoking or work near heaters or other hazards (well there is that nuclear reactor across the street and I always run with scissors when getting tools)

I love the order of priorities here!

3) Use appropriate hose clamping device to clamp off inlet/outlet and lesson fuel spillage.  (Who is to say what is appropriate for hose clamping?  There is a lot of wiggle room here!)
4) Loosen center clamping bracket and hose clamps
5) Note arrows or marketing of flow direction
6) Install new clamps
7) Drain fuel and check for rust, moisture (I thought all gas was moist!), and contamination (am I supposed to drink some too!?)

Then there is an addendum - if the filter is equipped with a regulator:

8) Remove vacuum hose
9) Pull out locking clip
10) Remove regulator
11) Install regulator on new filter

That is it!  Well this should be SOOOOOO easy.  Look at how few steps there are.  I think the hardest part is disconnecting the battery!!!

PROBLEM 1:  Where is it?  Well - no fear - it must be obvious right?  I mean you spend $100 on a manual for a simple item like this.  For them to omit where it is then it must be obvious.  It must be like telling someone where the engine is - right?  I a mean it must be as CLEAR AS THE NOSE ON YOUR FACE OBVIOUS.  I MEAN - YOU ARE GOING TO TRIP OVER IT BACKWARDS AND FORWARD.  RIIIGGHHHHGHHTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!


It is not obvious Sam I am.  I do not like the Bentley man.

Can you find it under the hood?
I can not find it under the hood, not in the engine - I wish I could!
I do not like the Bentley man.  I would like to choke them Sam I am.

Can you find it in the trunk?

I can not find them in the trunk.  Not in the trunk.  This manual stunk!
It's no where near the trunk I thunk!
I do not like the Bentley man.  I would like to choke them Sam I am.

Is it. could it hide under car?

I looked everywhere near and far!  I banged my head - now I see star!
I do not like the Bentley man.  I would like to choke them Sam I am.

So I looked high, I looked low, and then I eventually looked online.  Apparently it is UNDER the driver's seat according to one post.  I don't even know how to remove the driver's seat, then the carpet, etc!  This is going to be a BIG JOB.

Well before I could get the seat out I figured out it is not just under the seat.  It is also under the floor board!  Whew!  That saved me some time.

PROBLEM 2:  Not nearly enough space to get this done comfortably with the lift I have!  I positioned the car as close to one side as possible to even have a shot at this.  Boy it is going to be a tight fit as the lift access panel isn't wide enough to get to everything.  I remove some (but not all) of the under panel nuts holding the underbody carriage and finally find the little bugger.  Getting at this thing is going to be really tough!

Well I start on the list of things to remove and there is no correlation between the removal steps and the actual fuel filter.  Damn those Bentley manual writers!  I don't know if I should be working on the right side of this filter first, the left side first, etc.

I split the middle as there is clamp holding this filter up against the body of the car.  The clamp wraps around the unit and it held on by one bolt (10mm I believe).  The hoses on the left side are VERY short (like 2") which leaves us with problem 3

PROBLEM 3:  There is not enough room to clamp the hoses on the left side before they go into the metal fuel lines.  What is worse - if you a replacing the hoses there is no where to clamp them so you can completely replace them!!!  You are going to get wet!  DOOHHH!  What am I going to do?  As I understand it - these things are under a lot of pressure.  I am not ready to die a fiery death taking with me all my cars and my house!

I do a little more research and you can put the battery connection back on, start the car, pull the fuse to the fuel pump in the trunk (#22 I believe?) and then let the car run until it dies.  Apparently from others online this will remove most of the fuel from the lines AND bleed off the pressure.  Wow cool!  Then I won't have to worry about clamping anything and potentially messing something up!  We have a plan!

So I do all the things above.  Start car up - check, pull fuse - check, wait for car to die - and wait - and wait.  How long can this thing run without fuel pressure?  It is like watching a ship sink!  It is slow but I guess inevitable.  It starts to stumble once then twice and then again.  I am starting to wonder if this is a good idea as it might run the injectors dry.  Too late to worry about that now I guess.  After what seems like 5 minutes the car finally takes it's last breath and dies.  I begin to wonder if it will ever run again...

Well I pull the battery again and lift the car back up on the lift.  I decide to start on the left side.  The hose clamps on the first filter nipple are only 2 inches apart.  I decide to get out the Philips screwdriver butt with the little access and the angle of the clamps they are very hard to get to.  I don't want to back it down, re-fire it up, move it over, and jack it up so I just have to keep trying.  Well I strip the damn things so luckily I can get them off with a 4mm socket as well.

Well I loosen them up and move them out of the way.  Not bad - only 45 minutes into the job!

I start to try to move the hose off the nipple.  Nothing.  Damn these things are on tight.  I wedge a screwdriver against the base of the filter and use it to wedge the thing off.

What the ___!  As I finally get these things to move a millimeter a stream of gas starts to spray out all over the place.  How can there be this much gas and this much pressure?  I keep working it off the nipple with the screwdriver but every time I stop the screwdriver it goes right back on.  Dooh.  Did I mention I am spraying and leaking gas everywhere?  I hate this stuff!!!


Well I finally decide to get the lineman's pliers and stop caring about how hard I pull and how much gas I get all over me.  I have been working on this for 1.5 hours and it is dusk but I finally get this thing off.  Now I am officially "committed" to this project.  This car will not run until I am successful OR I die a horrible death. 


I break out the bucket I used for the tranny fluid change and get out a bunch of towels to soak all the gas up.  The gas keeps dripping all over the place, all over me, and out of the filter.

PROBLEM 4:  Gas all over your body, your hands, and breathing it in is not very good for you and makes you susceptible to blowing up.

Please don't do this at home.  Please don't blame me if you do.  This is stupid!!!

...but I don't know how else to do?  I have to get this going so I break out the 2 1000w Halogen work lights.  I guess I can also smoke too as nothing can be worse then having these around while you do the job.  I remember seeing a Polish mechanic I used to have do work for me smoke while working on the fuel system and he didn't blow up so I should be OK - right?

Or not.  There is also so much gas in the area I am afraid to even use the flash and have to take the pictures from 20 feet away.

Did I mention that it smells really bad and is making me light headed and my hands are going numb from soaking in this gas.  Doohhh!

I am scared s__tless that a spark will blow up all my hard work, my cars, and my home.  I go to get my fire extinguisher but - unfortunately - it is out!  I yell at all my kids to go down to the field and play.  Even the dog is ordered off the ship.  If I go - I go alone.

Well - I am able to get everything off the car with the exception of the final hose.  It is the high pressure inlet hose.  Unfortunately there is the biggest problem of them all:

PROBLEM 5:  The SOBs at BMW decided to use "special" hose clamps that are crimped down and there is no way on planet earth to easily remove them without the "special" BMW removal tool.  OMG.  I try to move them off.  Nothing.  I grab them with pliers.  Nothing.  I consider the dremel and cutting them off but somehow I am able to think through the gas poisoning and realize that would be a very bad idea!

What am I going to do!?!?  I decide I don't care and start cutting on the last hose.  No dice.  I finally realize that the filter is coming off so I don't have to remove the clamp closest to the filter.  I DO have to remove the other one to get the new hose on.  I grab this thing with all of my might with my pliers.  I turn and twist it.  Damn my hand slips and I have another cut.  Have you ever poured gas on a cut.  Feels pretty bad.  This goes on for another 30 minutes.  SOB I have never wrestled with anything like this where I am so scared I am going to die any second.

Here is the first law of car repairs.  The one that every mechanic has to come to.

Mechanics Rule #1:  You can only fix something the first time you repair it when you completely let yourself go of caring weather or not you destroy your car and your life.  Only then will the part give and you can make the repair.

This is a "truth".  You will *****foot around the problem.  Tug at it.  Pull on it.  Only when you completely fill with hatred and anger, let go of caring about your car part and even your life - will the repair proceed.  Until then.  Forget about it.

I squeeze and tear back and forth with all of my strength.  I am putting tremendous strain on the fuel lines that are still connected.  I care not.  It is coming off or I am blowing up.  Nothing in between!


and finally it comes off!  Whew - and only 3 1/2 hours into the project.

I have just enough time to go to the parts store and get a new fuel line and some clamps.  It is Sunday night and everything else is closed and I need my car to go to work.  I drive over to AutoZone and meet up with an "old timer".  I brought the fuel filter so there would be an excuse for the terrible gas smell around me.

I tell him I need a couple inches of fuel line and some hose clamps.  He tells me, "let me look at that filter".  I show him and he says "I am not going to sell you anything".  I say "what"?!!?

He says "you have to go to the dealer to get these special clamps and you need special high pressure hose that only the dealer sells too".  My face completely sinks.  I am not getting this done tonight and can't even close my garage doors as the fuel smell and fumes would build up.  AAAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHHH!

I go home completely light headed, completely dejected, and completely depressed. 

I wash up and put all my clothes in a bag so they can be washed without stinking up my closet.  Heaven knows how much time I have left and it is Sunday meaning I have to find the time to finish this up!

Well the next day I get up and look at my calendar.  Nothing big on there.  What if I "work from home?".  I have painters coming to paint a couple rooms because I am too busy customizing my cars to do simple paint work.  I call in sick, busy, and a few other excuses.

Time to go to work.

I called a BMW dealer and get ready to order the special tool and the correct parts.  I ask, how much for the specific and special high pressure hose, hose clamp tool, and clamps.  I am fully guessing this is going to cost me $200 for a tool I will use once.

The guy says "how many feet of hose do you need".  Huh?  I figured it is a special pre-cut part.  "Naw - we use the same type of stuff you can get at AutoZone".  ARGHHHH!  Same for the clamps?  "Yep".  I call a second place to make sure and sure enough it is the same stuff.

I drive back to the AutoZone pissed at someone besides BMW for a change.  The old timer is copping the attitude again and I tell him again I need some hose clamps and some high pressure fuel lines.  He starts in on me "I thought I told you yesterday you can't use our stuff".  I tell him he is wrong and that I called 2 BMW places to prove it.  I wish I had gotten a picture of his face when I told him he was wrong!

NOTE:  They sell 8 types of fuel line including "high pressure" line.  Make sure you get the right stuff like this one with the inner lining.

Here is a better picture of the new high pressure fuel line from AutoZone.  I went ahead and purchased 1/4" clamps too.  Only bad thing is that now I have a couple "English" clamps with the metric but I don't plan on doing this every day.
Here are the tools that saved my life!  Good set of channel lock pliers and a mini cutting tool to get pretty clean cuts on the hose.
Well I finally have everything I need to put this back together.  Umm...  Where do the 2 input lines go?

PROBLEM 6:  The gas will make you forget which hose was which and the Bentley is completely useless to help you! 

Well I am screwed.  I honestly cant remember which lines to hook up where.  I think it is probably important.  I consider having the car towed to a real shop but can you imagine my embarrassment?  Back to business.  Luckily I am doing these posts and I have the pictures!  After careful review it appears the 2 fuel lines "cross" (why I don't know).  Whew - disaster averted!!!

Now to get these things back on I use some spray lubricant and really muscle these thing back on (remember mechanics law #1).  I figure they will hold or not.  I use all my strength and decided to use some of the spray lubricant on the blocks that hold the metal fuel lines so they slide back and forth.  This allows me to move them around a little so I can get the rubber lines over the nipples a little better.  Great trick!!!

Well here is the final result.  Let's all pray that they hold!
I am able to get the other side and the vacuum line setup as well.  I then bolt the whole thing back to the car and lower the car on the lift.  I reinsert the fuse in the trunk and plug in the battery.  I turn the key to position 2 so that the fuel pump will pressurize the system, and then after a minute or two I decide to start the car then run around the lift and slowly raise the car while it is running.  I setup a latter on the back of the lift so I can run up the latter and turn it off if I have to.  Damn - I wish my fire extinguisher hadn't given out!!!!

Well the car does not blow up and everything starts up.  It stumbles a little on startup but not as badly as I feared. 

PROBLEM 7:  There is so much gas from doing this job it is difficult to determine if your fuel system has a leak or not! 

Solution found!  I use the simple green and some more clean rags to clean up the mess and also to spray around the clamps and hoses.  Any leak will bubble up and show up pretty easily - in theory.

I run the car for a good long time and there is no leak!  It works!!!  Alleluia!!!!!!!!

I put the whole thing back together and I go for a drive.  I can't tell a real performance change but figure after 80,000 miles - it is good insurance again.  I also realize there are some things better left for people without 3 kids and a business to worry about.  It is one thing to die on the racetrack following your passion - it is another thing to die trying to save $100 changing out the fuel filter!

This job only took me 6 hours from start to finish and I regained my vision back after a couple of days so I guess it was all worth it!

This is the evil clamp that I ripped off the car.  This BMW SOB crimped and punched on clamp cost me my sanity, about 10 more years in purgatory, and about a pint of blood from all the cuts I got getting it off.  I am thinking about wearing it as a ring on my finger as a "badge of honor".  With all the time and money I have spent on the car I may soon have an open finger where my wedding band used to be!

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Old 01-01-2007, 09:33 AM
frhsfootball80 frhsfootball80 is offline
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Location: keller, tx
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Mein Auto: e39 m5 & 92 civic
hahaha "blow up the garage"

should have jacked the car up outside and done this job. it takes the gas stress factor out of it. but you do have a lift so i woudlnt have done it either.

to get one of those clamps bmw has on all you do is take pliers and pinch the top of the clamp and it usually comes right off. if it doesnt then it gives you room to pry off the clip that holds it after you use the pliers at the top of it.
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Old 01-01-2007, 11:02 AM
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razzy530 razzy530 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2007 530i 6 Speed
you know the wonderful thing about all of this is?

The fact that you have a LIFT in your garage.....

Need i say more.

BTW. nice poetry there
2013 F30 335i M-Sport (RWD)
2007 E60 530i 6 Speed (RWD)
2002 E39 530i Retired

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Old 01-01-2007, 11:35 AM
stingrayl82 stingrayl82 is offline
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I'm not sure if BMW is the same way as the American cars, but if you take the fuel pump fuse out and start the car, the car will start and suck most of the fuel out of the lines. Makes changeout a lot easier.

2001 Titanium Silver 740iL Sport

In God We Trust, All Others We Monitor
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Old 01-01-2007, 11:51 AM
matteni matteni is offline
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Originally Posted by stingrayl82 View Post
I'm not sure if BMW is the same way as the American cars, but if you take the fuel pump fuse out and start the car, the car will start and suck most of the fuel out of the lines. Makes changeout a lot easier.

That is exactly what I did. Be warned there is still a LOT of gas and some pressure still in the system.
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Old 01-01-2007, 12:09 PM
Lanc3r Lanc3r is offline
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I have to say, fuel filters in BMWs are not my favorite either.

I seem to remember the E46 having quick-release fittings at the fuel filter. Weird that the E39 did not.
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Old 01-01-2007, 12:52 PM
poolman poolman is offline
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Matteni-you make it sound sooo easy-after reading that -it makes one want to go out and do it again. Best laugh I've had ever on one of these DIY spots. Oh yeah I'm laughing with you not at.
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Old 01-01-2007, 09:48 PM
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aw/ir02smg aw/ir02smg is offline
in HIS hands :)
Location: chino hills, ca
Join Date: Dec 2002
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Mein Auto: 03 m sport 540it
thanks matteni. i've already said this - learning and laughing at the same time. this is some CRAZY stuff you did in this installment.

the "mother" thread. summary of mods

"The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away, blessed be the name of the LORD."
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Old 01-01-2007, 10:30 PM
frhsfootball80 frhsfootball80 is offline
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Originally Posted by matteni View Post
That is exactly what I did. Be warned there is still a LOT of gas and some pressure still in the system.
haha now imagine getting under the car while its on a jack and doing this with full pressure.

Originally Posted by poolman View Post
Matteni-you make it sound sooo easy-after reading that -it makes one want to go out and do it again. Best laugh I've had ever on one of these DIY spots. Oh yeah I'm laughing with you not at.
i can make it easier. pull of clamps. vice grip entering pipes. pull pipes of both sides. repeat in reverse.

i hate to say it but i told you so
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Old 02-13-2007, 09:16 PM
Mike_Check Mike_Check is offline
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I have to say...that is the funniest story I have ever heard!!! Good to see there was no fire...nice work.
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Old 02-16-2007, 03:02 PM
jnusser jnusser is offline
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Mein Auto: 540i/6 & 330i
wow, that sucks you had to go through all that...

Makes me glad my 97 540 is the "normal" style. Just pop off the hoses and clamps, replace, reinstall hoses and done. I did mine during the time it took my trans fluid to drain.
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Old 03-27-2007, 10:08 AM
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TemporarySanity TemporarySanity is offline
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Mein Auto: 02 530, 02 540, 07 525
I sure got a good laugh at your antics! You should be a humor writer. I haven't done the fuel filter on my BMW yet but I have done other cars and can relate.

I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be eaten by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.
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Old 03-27-2007, 04:17 PM
aarijk aarijk is offline
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Location: NorCal
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Mein Auto: 2009 328i e93

BTW, I am still waiting for the Twelfth Day

Originally Posted by razzy530 View Post
you know the wonderful thing about all of this is?
The fact that you have a LIFT in your garage.....
Need i say more.
2009 328i Convertible, Silver/Coral Red, Navi, Sport/Prem/Cold Weather Pkg, Comfort Access.

Sold, but still missed : Fully Loaded 2003 TiAg/Black 540iA, M-Sport & Cold Weather pkgs, MK IV Nav, PDC, Rear SunShades
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Old 03-27-2007, 04:21 PM
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jvr826 jvr826 is offline
Is it Trackday yet?
Location: In the woods. Santa Cruz County, CA
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Posts: 8,975
Mein Auto: 05 330ci 6MT
You paid $500 for a cup holder?

FWIW, the hardest maintenance item I did on my F-150 was changing the fuel filter to. It has these nasty clamps that are supposed to be easy to remove but are a major pain in the ass. No wonder Jiffy Lube wants $75 to replace it! The filter was eight bucks. I eventually got through it myself.

So, even with all the pain, it was still worth it wasn't it? I wrench on my car, my truck, and my motorcycle, and I curse like a trucker and bust my knuckles every time I do it. But when I'm all done there is a level of satisfaction from doing it myself.
Jeff R.
Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA - Autocross - Come Join Us!

"You drive like old people $#@%... slow and sloppy!" - George Carlin

Last edited by jvr826; 03-27-2007 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 09-17-2008, 09:06 PM
seanr1976 seanr1976 is offline
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Location: Tempe, AZ
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Posts: 7
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Mein Auto: 535i
There are days when I'm glad I have and E34. Today is one of those days. What a nightmare.
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Old 09-18-2008, 01:25 PM
Max_VQ Max_VQ is offline
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Location: In my garage
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Mein Auto: E39 with a sweet six
I use tin snips to cut off the clamp.
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Old 09-18-2008, 01:57 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Location: Omaha NE
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Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
Nice job and nice poetry but you made it too complicated.

1. I use Wood Ramp (see pic).

2. I do this job during noon time, so no need for lighting.

3. I also do this in the driveway about 10' from the house. Between the two: car vs house: house is more important.

4. Fire extinguisher always nearby.


5. Drive BOTH left side (driver's side) tires on the ramp, so the left side is now lifted by 6 inches. For safety: Car in gear, P brake on and chock the right tires with bricks etc.
Make a diagram of the hose routing to avoid confusion.

6. Now run the engine, then pull the fuse to fuel pump, engine will stall in 5 seconds or so.
Turn ignition OFF.

7. To remove the SOB clamp from factory, use a Cutting Pliers. This should not take more than 1-2 minutes.

8. While there, it may be a good idea to change the 10-year-old fuel hose as well.

Re-installation is straightforward.

Now I told you my tricks....
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Old 09-18-2008, 02:38 PM
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540iman 540iman is offline
resident, old fart
Location: N.W. Indiana
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Mein Auto: 2002 540i sport
Did the original smell go away? It sounds like everything was tight as hell which implies you did not find a leak??
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Old 06-26-2009, 12:08 PM
Suki Suki is offline
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Location: Silicon Valley, CA
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Posts: 21
Mein Auto: 04 325i & 00 323Ci
I just had a similar experience replacing a broken rear lower control arm on my E46. The inner bolt is 1cm shy of clearing the axle, so it takes about 5 hours of taking things apart (including dropping the rear differential) to get that one bolt out. It took another two to put it all back together. If the bolt bracket had been 1cm longer, it would be a simple 10 minute job to slip in and out the 2 end bolts.
Why is it that the Engineers at BMW don't inject a micron of common sense into their designs? Obviously they do not work on their own cars.
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Old 06-27-2009, 07:08 AM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
Freude am Fahren
Location: Cambridge, ON
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 6,373
Mein Auto: 99 528iA
Wow, this is a blast from the pastů.
'99 528i ('98/12 build). 290,000km BY29428/Royalrot
Breaking My Wallet since 2009

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Old 06-27-2009, 08:37 AM
[email protected] Mark@EAC is offline
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Mein Auto: e39 5
yeah lol. I remember this guy's threads. It seemed like he did a bunch of maintenance repairs with DIY threads and then just kinda disappeared.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:07 PM
Breakzilla Breakzilla is offline
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Location: St.Louis, MO
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Mein Auto: 540i
Just changed mine on a 181k E39 540i. Cake walk! Just use vice grips on the fuel lines (in and out). I had ZERO gas spillage except for what was inside the filter. Just make sure to put your fingers over the holes on the sides when you're carrying it around lol.
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Old 02-18-2012, 10:00 PM
MJB9 MJB9 is offline
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Location: Keller, TX (DFW)
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Mein Auto: 2002 525i (E39)
Anyone know what the clip is in the middle of the filter? I read on the first page here something about fuel regulator and to remove from old filfer and put it into the new filter? But I thought the new ones came with the regulator (at least the description says so). I tried removing clip and remove middle piece but it wasn't budging and didn't want to force it. Do I need to open it?
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:25 AM
Monkeyking Monkeyking is offline
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Mein Auto: TiAg e39 540iA, e30 325i
theres nothing to removed from the old filter to place onto the new filter. its a direct replacement. just remove & put the fuel lines back in the same order they were removed off the original. unless this is not the replacement filter for your car. what year is your e39? good luck.

'00 TiAg 540iA Sport, '90 325i, '01 325ci
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:05 AM
MJB9 MJB9 is offline
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Location: Keller, TX (DFW)
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Mein Auto: 2002 525i (E39)
hi. yes, it is supposed to be an oem replacement. its for 2002 525i e39. I decided to go get some house to have on hand just in case. now car is hot so think ill do diff oil change first, let car cool for several hours then do fuel filter. going to walmart bcuz autozone didn't have anything to pinch lines with. wanted to sell me two vice grips at $10 each. lol

thank you.

oh, wish me luck...never done shrunk like a diff oil change. ive fine oil change on domestic car before. should b fun :-)

next weekend I'm hoping to do the steering flush, new abs module, n 2 o2 sensors.
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