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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 05-18-2013, 02:39 PM
BarryM BarryM is offline
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Fuse box under cabin filter in engine compartment

I couldn't undo the 4 bolts holding the lid on this fuse box today!

The bolts are Allen heads and the rear 2 just spin. Looking at the front 2 it looks like the bolts thread through an upper half & lower half. Anyone else had this problem and any suggestions on how to get them out - neither are easy to get much on
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  #2  
Old 05-18-2013, 05:38 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Not unheard of. Water gets in there and corrodes the threads. If the rear bolts spin, it may be that they have been broken free, or are stripped.

Remove the other bolts to see if the cover can now be removed. There is a rubber seal on the lid.
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Last edited by edjack; 05-18-2013 at 05:41 PM.
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  #3  
Old 05-19-2013, 12:52 AM
194449 194449 is offline
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It's not that the bolts are stripped but that corrosion has fused them to the threads of the female metal pieces (ferrules?) that they screw into. When you try to unscrew them, the ridges on the outer circumference of the female ferrule can't handle the force and break free from the plastic hole that they've been inserted (possibly glued) into.

The "trick" here is simple. As you try to unscrew the allen bolt, pull up on the lid at that corner. The whole thing (bolt and ferrule) is going to come out as the lid releases. Once you have the lid off and out of the way, you'll have to hold the ferrule with some pliers, get the allen bolt out, and re-insert the ferrule in its hole on the e-box. Might have to tap it in; you may even want to use some sort of adhesive. However, when you re-attach the lid, it might be a good idea to put some anti-seize on the bolt threads so that moisture doesn't cause it to corrode/fuse with the ferrule threads again. Also, probably you don't want to tighten these bolts too much, either.

Another fix may be to find an identical allen bolt in a different alloy that doesn't form galvanic corrosion with the ferrule.
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:58 AM
BarryM BarryM is offline
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Well pleiades has hit the nail on the head (if you get my meaning)...

After taking the front bolts out that's exactly the problem - and it's bone dry and clean in there. I'll give his suggestion a try, already used copaslip on the 2 I put back in
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:56 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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It has been a couple of years, but I tried (and failed) to get my ebox cover off:
- How to open the BMW E39 white e-box under the passenger side cabin air filter ebox (1)

I didn't try all that hard, only because I was just curious what was there, but, there's some information in that thread above which the OP, now that his is open, can append to that thread above for others to benefit from.
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:57 PM
BarryM BarryM is offline
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Well, I revisited the cover today and those 2 rear bolts still aren't coming out. I fear the only answer will be to force the lid off and break it which is a real windup.

Any last suggestions before I break the lid?
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:06 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryM View Post
Well, I revisited the cover today and those 2 rear bolts still aren't coming out. I fear the only answer will be to force the lid off and break it which is a real windup.

Any last suggestions before I break the lid?
I used a very small pair of channel lock pliers maybe 5 inches long, think I bought them at Sears. Reach down with the pliers and grab the lower portion, the threaded part in the lower case. Squeeze the hell out of it while you try and back the Allen bolt out. That works for me.
Before I put it all back together I cleaned up the threads on the bolts, ran a tap through the lower portion and used anti-seize. Don't tighten the bolts too much when you put it back together.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:07 PM
BarryM BarryM is offline
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I appreciate the suggestion Jim but it's the two at the back with one right by the bonnet hinge & no chance of getting anything below that. I did try getting some purchase on the portion directly below the allen head with mole grips but no luck there.

It never fails to amaze me how a simple job can turn into a real PITA, I guess a breakers is my next port of call to get a s/h one before I get really serious with it.
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:22 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Why not try to drizzle some penetrant, like Kroil, onto the bolt head? It may just work its way down to the threads, but it could take several applications, and a day or two.

Otherwise, brute force is the answer: "If it won't move, force it. If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway."
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:59 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Originally Posted by BarryM View Post
I appreciate the suggestion Jim but it's the two at the back with one right by the bonnet hinge & no chance of getting anything below that. I did try getting some purchase on the portion directly below the allen head with mole grips but no luck there.

It never fails to amaze me how a simple job can turn into a real PITA, I guess a breakers is my next port of call to get a s/h one before I get really serious with it.
I just looked at a pic of mine, your right. The one by the bonnet is on a shaft that is inside the DME box. The other 3 are outside the box and accessible, at least on mine they are.
Try what edjack suggested or cut the top off seems to be your only options.
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Last edited by JimLev; 06-26-2013 at 06:00 PM.
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  #11  
Old 10-12-2013, 04:15 PM
BarryM BarryM is offline
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Well I eventually decided it was time to get serious after a couple of separate sessions squirting some lube down the bolts. I decided I might as well break the lid so followed the suggestion from Pleiades in post 3 and went for broke - the inserts pulled out from the lower casing but didn't break the lid so great news

I guess I was just too worried about breaking the lid first time around and once I'd decided it was definitely gonna break it came away with both sleeves intact from the bottom section. After I'd got everything apart I replaced all 4 screws with new ones I found in my toolbox along with a washer and re-assembled with loads of copaslip.

I was in there to check the wiper relay and the terminals were badly burnt so hoping the intermittent wipe will work after cleaning it up.

Hopefully the next person will be brave enough to keep trying with more force and won't break their lid - definitely poor design on this one BMW
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