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Seek to understand,^Value
25,199 Posts
For reference, a newbie posted this today ...

Hi, First post. Tried to search for a solution but there are too many starter motor problems to sift thru in a day.-
I wrote back that this is exactly why this thread, and the bestlinks were written and maintained!

I find most things I need nowadays, simply by using the bestlinks (if they're well known topics). And, at least once or twice a week, I add to the bestlinks so that all repateable topics covered are adequately represented.

If only we could get newbies to read the stickies ... :)

107 Posts
For me, I have found google searching better than forum searching and if you want to google this specific site use the following in the google search field: with your search word and it will confine the search to this site only. i.e. secondary air pump ...
More on Google search in the presentation starting at approx. 0:47:00. (First part of the video is about Bing and I found it uninteresting)
It's not so much an eye opener as a good general educational video on search tactics. I'm sure other videos like that could be found on YT.

1 Posts
Hi guys this is my first post I just got a 528i 98 that was put in a small ditch and was sitting in garage for over 2 years and I just got a new battery and new starter and it's running now but I started it and not even 5 mint into it being running the gage for the temp was on hot. If anyone mite now what I have to change or do paz let me know.

Sent from BimmerApp mobile app

Seek to understand,^Value
25,199 Posts
This question was asked today, which relates to how to find information in the bestlinks:
I'm sure this question is best-link-searchable, (sorry bluebee), but what criteria must be met for the aux fan to switch on?
Here's my answer, which explains the keyword process a bit:
The search criteria is always the same.
By design, it's always whatever the first word that comes to mind would be.
Usually it's the part name (yes, it really is that simple).
It's almost always a noun.
And, usually it's all the common ways that that noun is used.
If the part name is often misspelled (e.g., giubo vs guibo), then all the common misspellings can be used as a search, since the entry is keyword rich, by design.
Rarely, the problem is so common, that it has a nickname (e.g., trifecta) or an associated brand name (e.g., Hella), so those keywords are judiciously added to the keyword-rich sentence.
Given that, what noun first comes to mind when you want information on the aux fan?

In this case, I'd simply use "aux fan" (although auxiliary fan, auxilliary fan, & electrical fan will all work). Even "cooling system" will work.

- How to test the cooling system auxiliary electrical fan (1) (2) & a DIY for how to replace the aux fan (1) (2) (3) & where is the infamous auxilliary fan Fuse F75 (1) & where is he aux fan relay (1) & an exploding aux fan noise situation (1)
Also note, that, lately, I have been reducing the number of links, i.e., the (1) (2) (3), etc., to just the canonical link (1), which, lately, is always a bimmerfest link, and then just referencing great new threads on the topic to that canonical link.

So, in summary, the bestlinks use model has evolved, over time in roughly these stages ...

  1. Full explanatory sentences, linked to the best current threads, to
  2. A series of keyword-rich links, onsite or offsite as new threads came in (1) (2) (3) (4), to
  3. Longer and longer sets of links as new worthy threads appeared where the better threads were moved to the lower numbers (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6), to
  4. A zero notation for really good threads that came in after we already had a long set of links (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6), to
  5. A shorter set of links as we culled out the disappearing offsite links (0) (1) (2) (3), to
  6. Abandonment of the zero notation in favor of a fundamental switch to always make the first link a bimmerfest link, in response to the fact that we couldn't append to the offsite links, (1) (2) (3), to
  7. Another fundamental shift to only list a single link, even further making the chosen bimmerfest link a canonical link for one-stop shopping (1).
Note the current strategy of defining a single canonical link means that even newer more excellent threads no longer get defined as the canonical link; they simply get linked to the previously defined canonical link. Life isn't fair.

Meanwhile, I still extensively re-organize the keyword-rich sentences, as needed, and I have been taking the liberty to append all the great PDFs that come in, over time, giving them long keyword-rich names with underscores as spaces.
For example, yesterday someone asked for a specific document, which it was trivial to find simply because of the specific use of underscore in reference document names:
I once saw a chart with common E39 wheel sizes and a speed error column. I cannot find it anymore. Does anyone remember the thread it is hidden in?
I don't know what chart you mean, but it might be this PDF found simply by typing /_wheel_ f3 in the bestlinks?
- BMW_Tire_Wheel_Rim_Size_Chart.pdf (36.1 KB, 162 views)
Yeeeeeees! That's exactly it. I searched, I swear!
Just to give you a hint on finding PDFs in the bestlinks (of which there are at least a hundred good ones), all you need to do is add an underscore to your search, and it will only look for PDFs.
So, for example, had you searched for /wheels f3, you would have gotten links to reference threads on the topic.
But, had you searched for /wheels_ or _wheels, you get the reference PDFs.
The entire bestlinks process is kindergarten simple, and always attempts to be logically the first thing you'd think of, by design (but it's always improving, over time, by the inexorable process of incessant incrementalism).
BTW, since the chart was a multi-page PDF, I just now took the liberty of converting it to a single-page graphic image; and since that graphic image was white on black, I took the additional liberty of inverting the colors (so that the chart is more easily printable for you and for others in the future).
In addition, regarding offsite pictures, lately, I have been checking the better threads, to see whether the pictures are offsite (e.g., photobucket, flickr, tinypic, etc.) and if so, I often take the liberty of appending the pictures to that thread (typically in the order of appearance), so that others, in the future, will have the pictures, as outside links are ephemeral. This is a pain, so, I try not to go to the effort all the time as I'd be spending my whole life fixing up other people's errors.

I also often append the snapshot of an ebay link (although I am getting tired of doing that too) whenever someone posts them, because, in the future, those ebay links are certain to be dead.

Seek to understand,^Value
25,199 Posts
I think this discussion about how to IMPROVE the knowledge on Bimmerfest, is apropos for this standard serpentine belt replacement thread ... (where the goal is for the USER to ADD VALUE with each problem encountered) ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Alternator Belt Snap - Help
Documenting one's work is fine but we'd have a fair amount of duplication of effort if everyone here contributed in this regard,
While I can't help but agree, we're so far from that "problem" that I hadn't mentioned what it is that "I" do, which is I look up how to do the job, and, almost inevitably, the steps are missing things, so, I document what's missing, if possible.

Or, the steps are on a different vehicle, which doesn't seem to bother most of you, but it causes me all sorts of grief. So, I re-document it - only on my vehicle.

Pictures are always nice.
For example, spark plug DIYs rarely have the information that I added from every other DIY I could find, into this thread, by way of example:
- One user's pictorial DIY for replacing the BMW M54 engine spark plugs (1)

I think. Some people are challenged by just following the steps already laid down by others, let alone take on their own detailed documentation efforts.
Again, I can't disagree with you, as I've seen far too many people get a code that says something about sensor X, and they go out and replace sensor X, without even thinking to debug the problem (which requires understanding how it works plus a few diagnostic tools).

However, again I'll say it's rare that I've found a DIY that explains every single bolt, with a picture of each one, so, even when DIYs exist, people have to GUESS (which, for me, is a bad thing as I always seem to guess wrong).

As an example, look at the steps I wrote up for removing and rebuilding your window regulator, over here, for example:
- One user's effort to diagnose, rebuild, and replace a BMW E39 front driver side door window regulator (1)

Personally I'd prefer if everyone on this site did some of their own 'research' before posting an issue, they would learn more in the process and potentially become more valuable resources for us all.
Again, I fully agree.

In fact, we've made it so easy with the bestlinks to just type a single word to find almost anything, and we've cross linked to those threads, so it's one-stop shopping, and we've added hundreds of pictures to each thread that they don't even have to READ (they can just look at the pretty pictures to figure out the steps), etc.

We could always make it even easier, but, it never was this easy.
For example, during my emergency belt-drive overhaul, I had to learn a ton of things, which I WISH I had known BEFORE I had started!
So, when I was all done, I took the time and trouble to summarize in these four threads what I WISHED I had, all to help others:

Common questions which need to be answered BEFORE you do an alternator and/or drive belt system overhaul:
- 1st: Physically, determine what type of tensioners you have (1)
- 2nd: Physically, determine exactly what alternator you have (1)
- 3rd: Determine which parts you need to buy for a complete drive belt system overhaul (1)
- 4th: Do the alternator and drive belt system DIY (belts, tensioners, pulleys, rollers, alternator) (1)

In addition, my research uncovered these details, again which I summarized for the next person to stand on our shoulders:

Alternator and Belt Drive DIYs:
- Removal instructions for the alternator & drive belt system of a 2002 525i
- Removal instructions for the fan shroud of a 2002 525i
- Alternator and Belt Drive DIY (1) (2)
- How to tell if you have spring-drive or hydraulic belt tensioners or both (1)
- How to diagnose noises coming from the drive belt system (1)
- One users' example of total electrical failure (AAA towed away) alternator repair (1) (2)
- Video of cold idle engine squeal (1)
- Recommended parts list for a complete belt drive system overhaul (1)
- How to make your own BMW special cooling & belt drive system counterhold tools (1)

So, the good news is that anyone coming after me (or cn90 or Fudman or JimLev or Teklord69 any of a host of other contributors) has the huge benefit of having all the information that wasn't initially available to us, but which is now well documented, so that they can start off standing on our shoulders, where everyone pitched in, sort of like we did with the ABS trifecta thread:
- How to diagnose & fix the ABS DSC (or ASC) BRAKE trifecta (1)

Given all that we've said above, I wish people would do the following:

  1. Search the logical keyword in the bestlinks for their problem
  2. Read those threads to start where others left off
  3. Try to understand the system (before throwing parts at it)
  4. Try to diagnose the problem (usually requires diagnostic tools)
  5. Follow the existing DIY (noticing where the user stumbles)
  6. Flesh out the areas where the DIY was deficient (for the next person!)
And then, I really wish more people would do this next step:

  • Autopsy the failed part & open a pictorial thread to discuss the post-mortem findings!
The forensic autopsy is key!
Unfortunately, I can find only a handful of autopsies listed in the bestlinks, e.g.,
- Bill's (540iman) autopsy of his ABS control module (1)
- Bluebee's autopsy of the Hella headlights (1)
- Teklord69's DISA valve autopsy (1)
- JimLev's power steering pump autopsy (1)
- Kraft's FSU circuit board autopsy (1)
- JimLev's throttle pedal position TPS potentiometer autopsy photos (1)
- Bluebee cooling system autopsy photos (1)
- Pudl's sunvisor forensic autopsy (1)
- MatWiz' and Bluebee combined windows regulator motor & transmission spool autopsy (1)
- Jeffinmn's catalytic converter autopsy (1)
- Nervous' fuel filter autopsy (1)
- Teklord69's CCV autopsy (1)
- etc.

Unfortunately, emergency HELP ME!!!!!!! repairs are many, but pictorial step-by-step DIYs and post-mortem autopsy photos are far too few!

Seek to understand,^Value
25,199 Posts
Today, I ran into the classic teach-a-man-to-fish dilemma when someone asked for the owners manual, and then complained that the answer didn't help them (because they didn't follow the advice because it was effort).
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Looking for 2000 E39 Touring owners manual

When it was suggested to google for the owners manual, the OP replied:
Just google your topic and download the manual. Or, look on eBay for the manuals.
Thanks for the suggestion..although I thought it might have better luck here. Thanks again
What do you do in that case?

  1. PM them the PDF (one person offered) or reference it for them (some did)
  2. Point them to google or the bestlinks or the bimmerfest search engine (which some did)
  3. Give up and let them figure it out on their own (which many, I'm sure, did)
The dilemma is how best to teach someone to fish, who doesn't appear to want to fish but who still wants the answer...

EDIT: It happened again:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > e39 how to change ml to km
Check your owners manual
i do not have user manual, i could not manege to finde it on internet
EDIT: Again ...
It happened again, just now ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > 1998 bmw 528i wont beep when lock/unlock
Try to find on line owners manual .
i tryed to find everywhere, but i couldnt??
My dilemma is that I can't make it any easier to find than to type /owners manual f3 in the bestlinks.
- Where do I find for my BMW E39 an online owner's manual or a PDF owners manual (1)

Is there a better way that I'm missing so that people can more easily find the information they need without us having to point them at it directly every time?

17 Posts
97 528i camshaft sensor malfunction code

Need help with code camshaft sensor malfunction. I have already replaced the camshaft sensor and I'm still getting the same code with engine light keeps coming back on. Engine misfire and shaking a bit. I was told that the part might be defective. I don't want to buy another part and still get the same problem. Also, I want to know if I need to replace my oxygen sensors with these readings - Bank 1 Sensor 1 0.095V Short Term Fuel Trim 28.13% Lean
Bank 1 Sensor 2 0.800V Short Term Fuel Trim Not Available - does that mean sensor 2 is bad?

Fuel System 1 Status Closed Loop Control using Oxygen Sensor - Normal
Fuel System 2 Status Closed Loop Control using Oxygen Sensor - Normal

I have recently replaced exhaust
Replaced engine oil/filter
Replaced both tps sensor
Replaced mass air flow sensor
Cleaned air filter
Checked hoses no breaks or leaks

When I remove the engine oil cap it seems to ide better.

Pls. advise.

Seek to understand,^Value
25,199 Posts
And, below, I list the firefox settings I use for efficient tab handling when culling out the riffraff from extensive search results:
Regarding opening many tabs and efficiently closing them as they pan out, Mozilla has disabled the about config BrowserTabCloseButton={1,2,3} setting so that what I wrote above no longer works after Firefox version 31:

The workaround is to install the Firefox extension "tabs-closebutton-restored":

EDIT: The good thing is that you get a close button both on every tab, and one that never changes location (to be placed where you want it placed).

To repeat the reason this matters, is that efficiency is a lot of little things done well. Searching, by necessity, involves opening multiple tabs, and closing those that don't pan out, so that you can concentrate on the best of the links found. This is an easy way to close out the tabs, with an absolute minimum amount of effort, so that you will be willing to open the tabs in the first place to ascertain whether they'll be useful.

The worst search is the search not done, and this little tidbit helps get the search done.


33 Posts
make me scared to ask now

tried the methods, yet no outcome, few questions to ask about my car but seems simple to be answered, e.g. cannt diffrentiate my engine is it m52 or m54, ran search , so many videos showed different engine for same picture, and difference between timing chain or belt and the what so called tensioner belt, which needs to be changed and at least how to check it out, all do respect:D

Seek to understand,^Value
25,199 Posts
Today someone asked about torque specs, and I pointed them to the canonical link in the bestlinks, which, in the olden days, often pointed to a specific post (in this case, an old canonical post with a dead URL from cn90) and they came back saying the torque spec document wasn't there (at that post).

But, they had not bothered to read the thread (they had just tried the URL that cn90 had provided in one post).

So, if you are reading this thread to figure out how to find things, please look at the ENTIRE thread if someone points you to a POST in a thread, if that post doesn't specifically answer your question.

Since we improve threads by incrementalization, over time, the THREAD (if not the POST) will contain everything you need to know, as was the case today...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > torque specs
op said:
hi, looking for head bolt torque spec for 1999 4.4 vanos
a url link to prove your readings would be nice too.
Typing /torque f3 in the bestlinks nets this...
- BMW Torque specifications
op said:
Ya that didn't help. Said the page was up for deleteation. Can anybody else pls help me find head bolt torque specs for 1999 vanos
Try this attachment (from that thread).
op said:
Ya that helps, thanks
Had you just looked at the thread, you would have found that same torque spec that Bobdmac kindly supplied in post #5 of the thread I had already pointed you to.

In addition, I had forgotten to mention that typing /torque_ (the underscore captures PDF files) in the bestlinks nets this:
- BMW_torque_values_for_all_bolts_1997.pdf (172.4 KB, 1164 views)

Which is also the same document.
Nonetheless, I'll update the canonical thread and bestlinks references so that it's more clear that the torque specs are available in that PDF.
op said:
In summary, if you want to find something:
- Look in the THREAD (in addition to the POST)
- Consider using underscores in the bestlinks search (if you're looking for a PDF document)

Seek to understand,^Value
25,199 Posts
It's rare, nowadays, for an E39 to have a unique problem, but, there was one today which deserves note for how we handled it (by way of explaining the process)...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Removing radio from an e39 528i

  1. Australian user asks how to remove 1996 e39 528i radio.
  2. QSilver and Edjack and JimLev do their part to assist
  3. Radio turns out to be IRIS style
  4. Bluebee searches and finds what's there for IRIS removal and then adds a bestlinks reference, so that the next person searching for IRIS radio removal procedures can more easily find the information provided by QSilver, Edjack, and JimLev, and the search results.
That new thread is now the "canonical" thread on IRIS removal, such that we should strive to cross reference new useful threads to that thread, for one-stop shopping for the next person with the same problem.
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