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Check twice, fix once...
742 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone have a top ten repair list for their 540 Sedan or Wagons? Not so much for mods, but for repairs.

I'm going through a 1999 540iT and so far, the things I need to address are fair for it's age and 80k mileage. Wondering what you all have experienced.

Here's mine so far, I don't have ten items
1. ZF Steptronic Transmission wear
2. Steering tilt drive shaft stripped
3. Liftgate struts are starting to go
4. Front and rear can holders
5. Remote Key fob rubber worn out.
6. Broken oil filter bushing
7. Power steering reservoir starting to leak

#1 is the major potential item, the others are easy fixes...

01' BMW 540iMspt
164 Posts
#1) Alternator
#2) Radiator & expansion chamber
#3) Battery
#4) Water pump
#5) Thermostat
#6) A/C blower motor
#7) Rear window regulators
#8) Valve cover gaskets
#9) Oil pan gasket
#10) Thrush rod bushings

O2 sensors, spark plugs, brakes, tires, belts, shocks, hoses, clamps, lamps, fluids, & filters I consider maintainance, so did not include.

Check twice, fix once...
742 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
o yeah... Mine came with a smaller battery that needs to be replaced soon. Tested O.K. for now, but smaller than spec. I don't want a marginal battery based on intermittent power issues I see on this forum.

Also can see some very minor seeping on the valve cover gaskets that will be a future maintenance item. So far, other than the power steering reservoir, no other leaks.

No cooling component items yet...

5,494 Posts
1. Realign exhaust
2. Fix plastic center console thingy
4. Headlight adjusters
5. Sunroof (probably won't fix it though, I never use it)
6. Alignment
7. AC belt
8. Tranny fluid
9. Oil change
10. Get tinting redone

So all in all, nothing major, I just have a lot of little things to take care of.

91 Posts
unexpected stuff

1. Window regulator(s) i have replaced 3 of 4 so far
2. Oil filter housing bushings
3. a/c compressor
4. cup holders front and rear
5. sunroof tilt function
6. battery
7. valve cover gaskets
8. seat belt buckles for SRS light
9. trunk struts
10. power steering fluid resevoir leaking

stuff i wanted to do and did

1. new wheels: 19" BBS LM's and Hamann PG2
2. Hella Celis rear, Xenon AE front lights, + fogs
3. re tint windows
4. replace interior trim
5. respray front and rear bumpers
6. replace front and rear window trim + shadowline
7. add rear trunk lip spoiler
8. Dinan rear muffler withresonator delete
9. Dinan CAI with program
10. M5 subwoofer


Check twice, fix once...
742 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Top "47" list... Gulp... Actually good info to know. I've seen many of these in the forum and a few new ones...


Seek to understand,^Value
25,378 Posts
E39 top ten repairs for my Blue B

My repair list for the 525i E39 is currently ...
- air conditioning stink research & diy
- brake bump shudder judder shake to pieces research
- windshield cover molding diy
- driver seat cover replacement diy
- cupholder replacement diy
- instrument cluster (pixels out) replaced by dealer
- intermittent fan blower (FSU) research
- jack lifting pads research & diy
- broken gas cap tether research

My maintenance list is currently ...
- four wheel brake job diy
- brake fluid diy
- H7 light bulb research
- oil & brake fluid change power extractor and bleeder research

My nice-to-have list is currently ...
- dice ipod research & DIY
- best parts supplier by price and availability research
- obnoxious door lock research


1,956 Posts
OK Here is my list.

Because of failure:
1. Oil Separator Valve/CCV

Because I just felt it was time to change, not due to failure:
1. Radiator
2. Water Pump
3. All hoses (including water cooled alternator hoses)
4. Fan Clutch
5. Fan Blade

Next up on my list are thrust arms as they have failed resulting in 45-55MPH shimmy.
Valve cover gaskets
Spark Plugs

(fluid changes are not listed here because they are standard maintenance)

31 Posts
1995 BMW 540i. Trust arms replaced at 76,000 miles, Power Steering leaks - 2 times, Valve cover gasket leaks - three times. The latter two problems seem to be carryover problems to the newer 540's as well. Also my remote door locks have never worked properly - dealer said it was a design flaw and they could not fix it when under warranty. These are great cars but an extended warranty is mandatory. My Acura TL has been far more reliable, but isn't as nice a car.

3 Posts
1. Radiator, hoses and all belts
2. Brakes
3. Right arm (can't recall type) It was about 6 inches long and fixed the vibration/shimmy felt in the steering wheel. It might have been the same type Amancuso referenced in his post
on 11/16/08.
4. Passenger front window motor (soon)

All cup holders work perfect.

I need to replace what?
439 Posts
540i most common problems

Hi new 540 owner,

I bought a 540I last July. Appeared to be pristine, but took it to an indy, and this is what they found:

1. leaks from water pump- (slight) replace water pump, thermostat assembly. Replaced coolant 50/50 and used Redline Water Wetter.
2. Valley pan gasket leak- needed to replace Valley pan and gasket-I was told the two parts were the same, couldn't just replace the gasket, as they are integrated. Replaced valley pan cover , as well.
3. Oil leak out of manifold (slight) replaced manifold cover and gaskets.
4.Removed & Replaced intake manifold and coolant pipes (as long as the manifold was off, time to do it.)
5.Cleaned throttle body and new gasket.(see above)
6.Replaced center tie rod for steering. (loose)
7.Replaced rear sway bar links(sloppy)
8.Replaced rear brake rotors and pads(down to 10 %)
9.Had inspection ll done- sparkplugs, NGK, new Mobil 1, new cabin filters, flush brake fluid, flush cooling system, change differential oil, lube doors,reset service intervals.
10. wheel alignment due to new brakes.
11.Replaced the belts- main was cracked and showing age- had the a/c belt done as well.
12.Replaced the battery, I guess the7year old one couldn't handle one of the most complex electrical and computerized vehicles in existence! and his is for a 2002 5- I can't imagine a 2009...

Sure, I could have done some of this myself (and will next time) but I just wanted my 2002 car back up to speed.

My tech told me and asked me repeatedly if I wanted all of this work done. He told much of this service was elective...Yes, this would be needed at some point, , but not needed to drive the car right now. I just wanted the car to be right.

Cost for the fixes? about 3 large. Yes.3 grand.Still under what KBB and Edmunds said what the car was worth when I bought it.

l'll tell you what- this car brings a smile to my face.


Check twice, fix once...
742 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks Marv! How many miles did you have on it at the time?

I've had this car for two weeks now. at 79k miles, I had the Service II also done, tranny fluid changed and fixed a steering tilt problem. This weekend, I'll replace the battery as the one in now is smaller and marginal. $2k for service and DIY parts plus the purchase price I'm still $3k under KBB. Most all of the small items have been fixed.

Driven 600 swift and fun miles these last two weeks. The car is definately worth every penny...

I need to replace what?
439 Posts

I had 45,00 miles on it. Oh, I did neglect to mention the radiator, expansion tank will go out also. It's only a matter of when. At least all of this other stuff is already paid for.

Strong new battery is a great idea... my tech put an Interstate MTP-93 which he said was almost overkill (1,000 Cold Cranking Amps) I live in the Pacific Northwest which does get really cold in the winter,, but these cars have a HUGE amount of high tech gadgets- automotive microprocessors- Did you know, for example, that your car's computer doesn't shut down for 16 minutes after you turn it off, close, lock and turn on security? Not to mention if you use the 1/2 hour timed cooling fan in the summer, or the 15 minute heater in the winter.

These cars are expensive to maintain. I knew that going in. But NOTHING drives like a Bimmer.:thumbup:

Check twice, fix once...
742 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Interesting. My tech recommended the same battery. That's going in today once I find a close supplier. When you changed yours, aside from like clock functions, was anything reset that messed anything up?

The cup/can holders are worthless except for holding soda (or similar) cans, They hold those great although still fragile. I do have the one ultimate cup holder in mid console coin tray.

My valve cover show a slight leak. I understand there's an inner and outer gasket for the M62. If the inner one leaks, it can impact the coils? Gotta understand that better...

Thanks for the feedback...
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