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Discussion Starter #41 (Edited)
A/C Fix Attempt

I disconnected the low side a/c line from the compressor. Here is what the damage looks like.




Some people aren't going to like this... I attempted to bend the hold-down tab back into position. It seemed to work OK.




I reassembled it with the original o-ring (because that's all I had today) to see if it will hold a vacuum and did a system vacuum test.






The Vacuum did not hold [edit:] initially. I tested the gauge set by itself to see if it would hold a vacuum and it didn't. [edit] I was about to return them but decided to test them one more time and I found a loose connection where the blue hose connects to the coupler. I tightened it up a bit (still hand tight) and it held a vacuum. I hooked them back to the car, ran the pump and the vacuum held for over an hour. Tomorrow I'll try adding R134. It should be fine after that.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
The right side wishbone came today. It doesn't seem the old one was bent so now I'm back to trying to figure out why the camber is off. Maybe the Steering Knuckle is damaged (more on that when I post the photos).

I think I will follow 'crazy4trains' advice and just get the alignment checked to see what they say.
 

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Look online for coupons. Some places will offer a free alignment check but you may have to buy something else to get that.
 

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you can jump out the pressure switch quickly to fake the system in to running the compressor..

Its a ez quick way to figure out if your system has bled out
 

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Discussion Starter #45
The new 'wishbone' arrived and the side by side comparison shows the original wasn't bent. (wishbone is what realoem calls it. The Bentley manual calls it a control arm)




However...
When I removed the nut from the ball-joint on the steering Knuckle (or carrier according to realoem) I discovered this unexpected 'extra' part. The wishbone came right out of the steering knuckle without needing the ball joint tool (though I did need it to separate the unexpected part later). I don't think it should have come out like that. I'll see what happens when I replace the left side.

 

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However...
When I removed the nut from the ball-joint on the steering Knuckle (or carrier according to realoem) I discovered this unexpected 'extra' part. The wishbone came right out of the steering knuckle without needing the ball joint tool (though I did need it to separate the unexpected part later). I don't think it should have come out like that. I'll see what happens when I replace the left side.
That is the bushing that is normally press-fit into the steering knuckle, that the threaded ball joint pin is pressed into upon wishbone installation.

It's possible that the steering knuckle got "mashed" a bit and that's why the bushing fell out so easily. I kinda wanna look at mine now, since I also have a front camber issue following a minor accident.
 

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Discussion Starter #47 (Edited)
That is the bushing that is normally press-fit into the steering knuckle, that the threaded ball joint pin is pressed into upon wishbone installation.

It's possible that the steering knuckle got "mashed" a bit and that's why the bushing fell out so easily. I kinda wanna look at mine now, since I also have a front camber issue following a minor accident.
Thanks, I'll see what happens when I look at the left side.

The accident on my car clearly had force enough to bend the Thrust Arm and break the Tie Rod. I could imagine it doing some harm elsewhere.

I've been looking on other posts and some suggest that the strut may have bent. It's the only other item I haven't checked or replaced (other than the frame itself) that could result in the Camber issue. The accident was too minor and at too low a speed to cause frame damage but maybe there's an issue with where the strut mounts in the wheel well. I may need to remove the strut next.

The cost of this minor accident keeps increasing (even with doing it all myself and without repairing the cosmetic damage). If I can keep it on the road for another 2 years, I'll be happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Another status update (for anyone following along):

The A/C seems to be holding a charge so far (expected because the vacuum held for over an hour). The pressure sensor reading from DIS showed 2.67v which is close to the middle of the .37v reading when the system was empty and the 5v reading when I disconnected the sensor's connector.

I ordered a new steering knuckle because I suspect it could be bent. I can't tell by looking at it but the camber is definitely off (top of wheel is further out than bottom). The strut and strut mount at the top of the wheel well look good. It seems the way the force from the accident broke the tie rod and bent the thrust arm, the wheel would have been pushed in at the bottom which would have put torque on the steering knuckle where the strut tube attaches. I'll verify when the new steering knuckle arrives and I can compare it with the old one.

Unrelated to the accident (and since I'm changing the steering knuckle), I decided to replace the original struts. I also noticed the engine mounts are shot (which is probably the real cause of the broken fan blade) so I'll replace those too (along with the transmission mounts). Also unrelated to the accident, the car didn't pass CA emissions because of a 'not ready' indication from the "secondary air ...". I read the errors with DIS and looked at the O2 sensors readings. It reported "not active" for one of the pre-cat O2 sensors. People on this forum recommend changing the pre-cat O2 sensors before 100,000 miles so at 170,000, mine are overdue for replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #49 (Edited)
A good news update: Installed the new struts and the right steering knuckle. The Camber now looks good and there's no more pulling to the right while driving. I still have to get it professionally aligned but the car feels like it did when it was new. The new struts make a big difference (considering I was still on the originals for 170,000 miles). I wish I could change the title of the thread now because I'm definitely keeping it.

It's too hard to tell what caused the camber issue. I couldn't tell if the Steering knuckle was bent when I compared it to the new one. The old strut has a slight intent on the lower part of the tube so that may have been the problem. It wouldn't take much of a bend to cause a camber problem. I'll follow up with photos of the old and new steering knuckle side by side and the suspected bent strut next to the new one..

One note (or warning), DON'T use the harbor freight (or similar) spring compression tool. It's not compatible with our E39 springs because there aren't enough turns on the springs for the tool's hooks to grab and allow it to fully compress the spring. I tried. Fortunately I had access to a Branick professional wall mounted strut spring compressor (and even that seemed scary).
 

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That indent on the strut body was probably your problem.

You can use those style of spring compressors on H&R lowering springs, but yes, the E39 springs are long with few coils.
 

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Discussion Starter #51 (Edited)
Here are some pictures showing the old and new steering knuckle and struts. I also have a before and after photo of the camber. Whatever the cause (likely the bent strut) the car handles well with no pulling in either direction.

Steering knuckle comparison: A bend isn't obvious but it would be hard to see at any angle.




Strut comparison: Note the close-up of the indent on the lower strut tube. This had to be the problem.




Camber: Before and After (If you can tell by photos taken at different angles)


 

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Good job on saving a nice 530i from the scrap yard. If you still need to get the alignment, I like "Associated Tires Brake and Alignment" close the Victoria/101. They have a very nice setup and know what they are doing. I still plan on doing my complete suspension rebuild for my 2002 but need to finish my other projects first.

Also, where did you get those HIDs? OEM or did you find a good alternative source? They look nice.

Harold
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Good job on saving a nice 530i from the scrap yard. If you still need to get the alignment, I like "Associated Tires Brake and Alignment" close the Victoria/101. They have a very nice setup and know what they are doing. I still plan on doing my complete suspension rebuild for my 2002 but need to finish my other projects first.

Also, where did you get those HIDs? OEM or did you find a good alternative source? They look nice.

Harold
Thanks for the alignment recommendation. The car is still running great. I never did bring it in for an alignment. The car has a fixed caster and camber so all I needed to adjust was the toe. I did it by eye then made sure the car tracked straight without pulling (all while ensuring the steering wheel was centered). I kept two wrenches in the car and adjusted it as needed over a few days and it all seems good. The tires seem to be wearing well. I know I still need to get a professional 4 wheel alignment but for now it seems great.

I had another unrelated issue last month when the car overheated and had to replace the heater pipes (they crack over time). They're located under the intake manifold so I had to remove a lot to get to it. Overall it's not too hard a job. While I had it apart, I also did the CCV (or is it CVV) delete procedure (the one where it's replaced with a PCV valve). This one.
So far I'm not losing any measurable amount of oil which is a huge improvement over the 1 qt every 500-1000 miles.
 

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I was thinking the salvage title would make it difficult to insure. Am I wrong about that?
Don’t be scared off by a salvage title and you can insure the car after the repairs. The only issue is that if you add full coverage and have another accident, they will deduct the first payout from the cost of the repairs in the second accident which generally means, don’t add full coverage. No issues with liability insurance.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
Don’t be scared off by a salvage title and you can insure the car after the repairs. The only issue is that if you add full coverage and have another accident, they will deduct the first payout from the cost of the repairs in the second accident which generally means, don’t add full coverage. No issues with liability insurance.
Thanks, that's good to know.
 
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