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Seek to understand,^Value
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Otherwise it would be full of opinions, which really belong in the numerous individual threads, not in a reference bible guide.
Very good point. I've removed the (5) link. Of course, anyone is welcome to add their own best links ... and, of course, each of those referenced links are often filled with links themselves (one of which could be to this (5) location) ... but, Dan did hit it on the head as to the intent of my posts on the bestlinks thread.

My posts on the bestlinks thread isn't so much for us (except to refer others to it); it's more for the new guys (many who are allergic to searches) to find the most recommended solutions to the most-often asked about problems.

It's also a bookmark, of sorts, of the most commonly referenced threads ... because ... generally, whenever someone asks a question, and one of you, e.g., cn90, MatWiz, Poolman, 540-iman, QSilver7, Ågent99, edjack, etc., answers it with a pointer ... I then re-edit (a thousand times) my posts (for two months) until they lock up, to add that information to the thread.

As an aside, a couple of times, I screwed up and accidentally deleted the posts, and the threads were sorely missed ... but I re-created the links and even use them myself to find the most commonly referred to links.

We can move on ... but thanks everyone for helping to create a wonderful tribal knowledge store if DIY information. In fact, I'm doing my entire cooling system tomorrow using these threads ... wish me luck!
 

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Thanks much, bluebee!! Good luck and keep up the great info tips.
 

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Hi tdog67,

As you can see, selecting a spark plug boils down to:
- No. of prongs: 1, 2, vs 4
- Electrode Metal: Copper vs Platinum vs Iridium

There have been some cases of prongs breaking off (especially with the 4-prong sp plug) causing valve damage. But these are anecdotal cases, so you have to read those threads with a grain of salt.

The issue of Electrode Metal: as I mentioned above Platinum or Iridium seems to be the current trend because the electrode tip of Platinum and Iridium lasts longer than copper as time goes on.

To read NGK spark plug description:

- The "base prefix" reference for E39 engine is BKR6___

- The "suffix" tells you the number of prongs and the electrode metal type, e.g.:

BKR6EQUP($8-9/each) = NGK #3199 ---> 4-prong and Platinum; "Q" is quad = 4 prongs, "P" is Platinum.
BKR6EIX ($6-7/each) = NGK #6418 ---> 1-prong and Iridium

Search the forum using keyword "BKR6EIX" and you will see quite a few BMW owners now use it, even though it was not specified in the owners manual (see below re history of spark plug design). As I mentioned above, when I pulled my 2007 Honda Odyssey spark plug (Iridium type) at 40K, the gap was unchanged at 0.044", amazing!
At my next spark plug change, I will use BKR6EIX because for the same money (actually Iridium plug costs less than Platinum), I may as well get Iridium instead of Platinum. See Larry Carley's article below re pros and cons of Iridium vs Platinum.

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The following are excellent articles written by the American car guru Larry Carley.
Platinum ($1,000 per ounce) as introduced around 1985 or so. Iridium ($400 per ounce) around 2004 or so.
Read the discussion on Platinum vs Iridium. Personally I think Iridium will replace Platinum 10 years from now:

http://www.underhoodservice.com/Art...in_spark_plug__ignition_cable_technology.aspx

http://www.aa1car.com/library/2004/us30428.htm

 

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I was checking for sparkplugs at Bavarian Auto and they were $22 each for OEM. What other choices are best for a '99 528i with 103k miles, it runs good but we haven't replaced the plugs since we have had it about 30k miles
Down under i have to pay $24.00 plus 10% gst for the NGK6EQUP plugs - 8x 24.40 = $195.20

I've tried importing them from the US but for some reason all sites i've tried purchasing from online, including pepboys won't deliver to Australia....some sort of restriction/contraband, happens all the time when i'm about to finalise the purchase through Visa/paypal transactions :(
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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To read NGK spark plug description:
That wonderful chart from cn90, plus the discussion by MatWiz and others, prompted me to again modify that line of useful references for spark plugs to:
- Spark plug application charts (1), deciphering key (1), replacing (1) (2) (3) & the truth about torque (1)

Bear in mind, I use approximately the following general bestlinks algorithm:
a) If I've had to do the job myself, I've already done extensive searches so the bestllinks for that task are (probably) pretty decent if I added them;
b) If I've never done the job myself, then I'll take all prior links in the bestlinks to combine them (and therefore, again, they should be decent);
c) In addition, if someone references a thread in response to a query or if I run into a thread that I can predict to be useful, I'll add those links also.

In practice, we have two months from the creation of any one post to modify it, so, any one post gets extensively modified until it locks up.

The problem, of course, is that once locked up, it can't be modified ... so there is a regretful redundancy when new information comes in. The choice is whether to repeat (with the new information), or just add the new information. Always a difficult decision.

BTW, I read the thread from the bottom up to mitigate that tactical problem.

It's not perfect. But it's ok. Especially since we all pitch in with the DIYs, references, pictures, charts, and discussions!.
 

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...

In practice, we have two months from the creation of any one post to modify it, so, any one post gets extensively modified until it locks up.

The problem, of course, is that once locked up, it can't be modified ... so there is a regretful redundancy when new information comes in. The choice is whether to repeat (with the new information), or just add the new information. Always a difficult decision.
...
It's not perfect. But it's ok. Especially since we all pitch in with the DIYs, references, pictures, charts, and discussions!.
Donna, you are doing an admirable job. We are all SOOOO lucky to have you here with your enthusiasm, motivation and professional expertise!

As to the post edit lock after 2 months, you might be able to ask the MOD to open up the post for further editing. Consider sending him a PM and ask.

mw (A.K.A Dan ;))
 

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Freude am Fahren
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Donna, you are doing an admirable job. We are all SOOOO lucky to have you here with your enthusiasm, motivation and professional expertise!

As to the post edit lock after 2 months, you might be able to ask the MOD to open up the post for further editing. Consider sending him a PM and ask.

mw (A.K.A Dan ;))
SImple solution: http://www.bimmerfest.com/wiki/index.php/BMW_E39
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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That's a good idea ... but not as simple as you might think.

The reason is that the 'formatting' takes as long as the data gathering.

The formatting of the bestlinks is freeform; so all the time is spent on data gathering.

Plus, you could spend hours on the wiki, and someone could wipe out your creation in seconds, for better or for worse, and all your efforts would be for naught.

Still, it's worth the risk, so, I just edited the wiki to add the top few dozen most common "problems" known on the E39.

Check it out.
BB

Common Issues

This area needs to be expanded.
[edit] VANOS Seals

If you own an I6 engine with more than 20k miles (32 kilometers), then your VANOS, engine variable valve timing unit, is most likely failing. These VANOS units have been consistently diagnosed to fail due to deteriorating piston seal o-rings. The o-rings are made of a material that is failing in the engine environment. This causes the VANOS piston seals to lose their sealing function and for the VANOS unit to fail.
BMW does not provide the VANOS seals separately. It sells rebuilt VANOS units for ~$500. New rebuilt VANOS units are supplied with the same failing o-rings and have been found to significantly fail in 20k miles (32k kilometers).
VANOS seals repair kits are now available from Beisan Systems. They incorporate upgraded o-rings to address the failure mode and replacement Teflon seal rings. DrVanos.com sells rebuilt VANOS units that integrate upgraded o-rings.
See www.beisansystems.com or www.drvanos.com for more information.
- Related bestlinks threads (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)
[edit] Cooling System

Under no circumstances should you ever operate the vehicle if the temperature gauge goes past the 12 o'clock mark! Around 80-100k miles, you should overhaul the cooling system.
CN90's cooling system writeup. Generic for I6 engines, but double check all part numbers for application to your car. http://bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/199986
For the V8 engine, search for BlackBMW's writeup on BimmerForums.com
Related bestlinks threads: - Pictorial look at typical E39 cooling system failure modes (1) (2) - Cooling system recommended parts list (1) - Coolants recommended by BMW and users (1) - Bleeding the cooling system (1) (2) (3) - How to refill M52/M54 coolant DIY (cn90) - Cooling system DIY (aioros 1999-2003 M54) (cn90 1997-1998 M54TU) (pelican 3-series) (cn90 V8) - E39 Fan shroud removal DIY (Besian) (M54) - Removal instructions for the alternator & drive belt system of a 2002 525i - Removal instructions for the fan shroud of a 2002 525i - Tools necessary for a cooling system overhaul - Cooling system overhaul tips (fan clutch nut removal) (fan clutch nut replace) (hose removal) (o-ring replace) - Cooling system overhaul common mishaps (broken nipple) (crooked fan clutch nut) (bleeder screw) - Expansion tank floating mechanical coolant level sensor height (1) (2) - High instrument cluster check of the cooling system temperature KTMP (1) - Cooling system date stickers (1) (2) - What brand of waterpump to buy (1) - Fan clutch failure modes (1) - Fixing a head gasket coolant leak (1) - What is the temperature of the coolant & when the thermostat opens under normal conditions (1) - Modifying the cooling system (pressure cap) (zero psi fluids) - Zionsville (BlackBMWs) (William) (ohmess) - Understanding the AUC automatic air recirculation (aka stink) sensor (1)
[edit] Instrument Cluster Pixels

The instrument cluster pixels fail, line by line due to a poorly designed press-fit pink connection tape which lifts up over time. Related bestlinks threads: (1) [cluster removal instructions (1) (2)]
[edit] MID Pixels

As in the instrument cluster, a poorly designed press-fit pink connection tape lifts up over time on the MID causing dead pixels.
Related bestlinks threads: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) [MID removal instructions (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)]
[edit] Headlight Adjusters

Poorly designed or fabricated brittle PBT plastic headlight adjusters crumble over time causing the lights to point downward.
Related bestlinks threads: (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) & options available (1)
[edit] ABS Control Unit

Poorly fabricated resistance-welded steel power wires in the Bosch 5.x ABS control module often lift off their gold contact because of BMW's decision to install the ABS control module close to the heat and vibration of the engine to cut costs. The first indication to the user is often the so-called "trifecta" of yellow BRAKE, DSC, and ABS lights lit on the cluster.
Related bestlinks threads: (1) (2) (3) ... Abs control module autopsy (1) (2) ... why the diagnostic tools fail (1)
[edit] Fan Control

Poorly designed or fabricated fan-control final stage unit (aka final stage resistor) (FSU/FSR) modules go haywire due to poor heat-sink design causing erratic behavior of the fan, often described as "my fan has a mind of its own". Another common result is the fan runs all night causing the automobile battery to go dead.
Related bestlinks threads: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) ... Autopsy (1) (2) ... battery drain due to FSU/FSR problem above (1) (2) (3)
[edit] Vapor Barriers

Improper adhesive was used on rear door vapor barrier seals which often allow rain water to fill the rear footwell.
Related bestlinks threads: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
[edit] V8 Valley Pan Gaskets

The V8 valley pan gaskets often leak coolant.
Related bestlinks threads: (1) (2)
[edit] Windshield Molding

Poor choice of heat labile rubber windshield & back window molding flakes and crumbles. Related bestlinks threads: (1) (2) ===Jack Pads===- Poorly designed plastic jack pads (aka "Support Lifting Platform", often fall off the underside of the frame due to poor latch design causing jack failures & wind noise. The replacement jack pads are designed not to fall off.
Related bestlinks threads: (1) (2) (3)
[edit] Air Conditioning

Many users report air conditioning odors (often described as "gym sock smell") emanating from the air conditioning ducts. While the experience is common, the cause is poorly understood, most ascertaining it's due to organisms growing in moist hard-to-reach recesses in the circulation system. Some report clearing cabin-filter housing drain hoses and undercarriage drain hoses leads to a cure; others promote periodic spraying of disinfectant; while others modify their habits prior to shutting off the vehicle. Related bestlinks threads: (1) (2) (3)
[edit] BMW Roundel Paint

Poorly painted BMW hood & trunk emblem roundels wash away, over time, necessitating replacement.
Related bestlinks threads:(1)
[edit] Trunk Harness Loom

An amazingly poorly designed trunk loom wiring harness is almost certain to chafe causing myriads of light and fuse blowing and locking problems. Related bestlinks threads:(1) (2)
[edit] Shocks

Amazingly difficult to diagnose premature failure of the OEM Sachs interacting with the ABS system while braking on bumps causes violent shudder wholly unlike normal ABS pulsation. Related bestlinks threads: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
[edit] Window Regulators

Poorly designed rear-window regulators often fail.
Related bestlinks threads: (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12)
[edit] Ambient Temperature Sensor

Low mounted ambient temperature sensors are often ripped off on a parking curbs affecting air conditioning and outside temperature indications of -40°F (-40°C). Related bestlinks threads:(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
[edit] Cup Holders

Poorly designed front and rear cupholders practically beg for a replacement strategy. Related bestlinks threads: (1)
[edit] Power Steering

The power steering reservoir is often constantly wet due to a worn o-ring in the power steering reservoir cap. Related bestlinks threads:(1) (2)
In addition, the OEM power steering hose clamps are practically guaranteed to leak fluid over the alternator, often said to cause premature alternator failure. Related bestlinks threads:(1) (2) ===Alternator===-
The alternator prematurely fails, often ascribed to being directly under the power steering hose leak or to inadequate air flow due to debris clogging the ducting. Related bestlinks threads: (1) (2) & how to prevent leaves in your alternator air-intake duct(1)
[edit] Wood Trim

The highly varnished wood trim spontaneously cracks on almost every E39. Related bestlinks threads:(1) (2) (3)
[edit] Vent Trim

The plastic trim around the center dashboard air vent often cracks at the corners. Related bestlinks threads:(1) (2) (3)
[edit] SEAT

Seat covers that don't protect switches for both the steering wheel tilt & driver's seat control.
Related bestlinks threads: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)
Seat cables often fall out causing seat twist. Related bestlinks threads:(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) & accidental airbag light fix (1)
[edit] Windshield Washer Reservoir Pump

The windshield reservoirs prone to leaking due to an ill-fitting pump o-ring gasket. Related bestlinks threads: (1)
[edit] CCV

The crankcase ventilation valve diaphragm often tears, freezes (1), &/or clogs (1), necessitating CCV replacement Related bestlinks threads:(M54,M54,M54) (M52,M52) (M52TU) (M62,M62) ('99 528i) ('98 528i); raising pressures, often causing the OFH oil filter housing to leak (1); frequently blowing the VCG valve cover gasket (1); and sometimes the head gasket (1); often causing vacuum leaks (1) (2) (3)
[edit] SAP

The secondary air pump freezes(1) or the diverter valve clogs, taking out the secondary air system (SAS). Related bestlinks threads:(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)
[edit] Ignition Switch

The ignition switch fails causing weird but well characterized electrical problems related to the passenger sunvisor light (of all things). Related bestlinks threads: (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)
[edit] MAF

The mass air flow sensor (MAF) and idle control valve (ICV) require periodic cleaning. Related bestlinks threads:(1) (2)
[edit] Thrust Arm Bushings

Poorly designed fluid-filled thrust arm bushings crack and tear causing vibrations at speed.
Related bestlinks threads:(1) (2) (3) (4)
[edit] DISA Valve

The DISA valve flap breaks, sometimes with parts sucked into the intake manifold. Related bestlinks threads: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)
[edit] Center Armrest

A nearly useless console design just begs to be replaced.
Related bestlinks threads:(1) (2) (3)
[edit] Key Memory

This isn't so much a problem as much as it is a basic complaint that it needlessly takes about $100 at the dealer to modify basic user settings, e.g., automatic door-lock settings.
Related bestlinks threads:(0) (1) (2) & Easy-DIS unlocking (1)
 

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I installed Champion Iridium # 9202 Spark Plugs in My 2002 530i at 50,000 miles and into my son's 525i 2001 at 115,000 miles. I have 25K on mine and my son now has 40K on his with perfect service. No misfires. They work perfect and I liked the design better than the 4 prong NGK factory plug.
 
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