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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair

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  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    On my E39 540 I now have around 140K on the clock. I replaced the radiator around 80K, and since I was doing that, I replaced just about all the cooling system - water pump, thermostat, hoses, and the damn cheap expansion tank. I'm about to look at that stuff again, as soon as it gets warmer, and I am seriously tempted by a radiator that is more art than science - It is a gorgeous piece from Zionsville- www.zionsvilleautosport.com. if you want to see it. Only problems are that it costs way more than a stocker, and it is the kind of thing that means I am committing to the car for at least another 100K. Of course, if I do that, then I believe that I'd have to go with a much higher flow water pump etc etc.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,674
    Yes, the Zionsville radiator was the one that I was referring to. It's a very nice piece of work if you are planning to keep your car for the long haul.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,687
    Hmmm, I haven't replaced the water pump yet, should I do a preemptive replacement now that the car is into six figures?

    -2000 528iA, 103K.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,674
    It's a funny thing, all but one of my BMW sixes have usually need a water pump at around 60K intervals(my 1973 Bavaria 3.0 was the outlier). Then there are guys over on the Yahoo E39 group who are well into six figures and still on their original pump. The pumps usually start to drip a bit before they let go, so if you keep an eye on it you'll probably be OK. That said, the OEMs aren't all that expensive, and if you combine the work with a coolant change it shouldn't cost too much.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Thanks for the response- I am taking the car in tomorrow to have the thermostat replaced and I'll ask about the other things you mentioned- the car only has 68k on it.
  • i have a 1998 528 the transmission is slipping bad and when its in drive it acts like its in neutral. do i drain the old fluid and add new? if so how and what type of fluid do i use and how much
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,674
    do i drain the old fluid and add new?

    How many miles on the car? Has the fluid ever been changed? I'd check the ATF level first. Here's how to check the ATF level. It's on page 2 of the PDF file.

    Here is the ATF/filter change how-to. Your car uses a similar GM transmission- the A4S 270R.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • ferozferoz Posts: 14
    Hi Guys! I see some very diffrent states on 4-6 year old bimmers. Some look like new while other have severaly details. On the milage it´s even more confusing. Can owner who want to sell their cars alter the milage?

    Thanks!
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Not legally, at least, not here in the U.S.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • ferozferoz Posts: 14
    Thanks for your quick response. Is it technically possible? Can some one access the computer and change the milage??? I would think manufactures protect thei cars aginst such abuse.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The only way that I know of to change the mileage is to swap out the entire instrument cluster, probably more money to do that then just deal with the lower value of a high mileage car.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,674
    I subscribe to a Brit BMW magazine -BMW Car- and there was a discussion about this very issue several years ago. Apparently it is possible. As a side note. BMW will recode a new cluster to match that of a car that is at one of their dealers, but it takes a few days and the car has to stay at the dealer so that the miles on on the old and new clusters match.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,278
    Very risky business. You can get jail time for spinning speedos. This is a serious crime.

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  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,674
    Very risky business. You can get jail time for spinning speedos. This is a serious crime.

    Agreed, but it would be nice to be able to buy a used cluster and be able to reset its mileage to equal the actual mileage of your car. Actually, I never understood why automakers don't store vehicle mileage in a memory module that is seperate from the cluster so you wouldn't have the problem to begin with... :mad:

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    Couple of days ago I started getting a loud banging under the middle of my car at low speed, first/second gear movement. I was a little annoyed because I have "just" replaced the transmission and engine mounts (After I checked my records, it turns out that "just" was 80K and 2 years ago!) Got the thing up on a lift today, and it turns out that it is the driveshaft support that has worn out. Go figure.... I guess that at 145K I'm starting to see the stuff that is not part of any real maintenance schedule.
  • ANyone know how dependable these are and how many miles are good? I am looking at one, my first, and it has 109k miles but in perfect condition. There is a little "shimmy" when you getin the engine slowly and we are going to have that checked out but otherwise, just what kind of luck and anyone had with these cars?
  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    Fenster, car is only as good as how it's been maintained... having said that, I'd suggest getting acopy of this month's "Bimmer" magazine, as it includes a piece on the E39 with concerns etc.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,674
    I guess that at 145K I'm starting to see the stuff that is not part of any real maintenance schedule.

    I had to replace the ones on my E3 Bavaria and E28 535is; it's not all that uncommon.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,278
    That's a pretty common repair and always something to watch out for.

    A used 528i is something I view like a "bank account". If the previous owner has been making withdrawals with few deposits. the new owner is going to go bankrupt. If the deposits have been kept up, then you can run these cars a long, long time---as long as YOU continue to make those deposits.

    A BMW is not a car you can be 'reactive' with, like a Toyota. When something breaks, it's going to cost you a lot of money to repair both the item and the collateral damage. You have to be pro-active with them because the stakes are higher than with a Hyundai. (as are the rewards :P )

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,687
    The '98 you're looking at has just a few more miles than my 2000 528iA which is close to 104,000 miles. I've made the "deposits" and been rewarded with a car that is quite dependable and rarely out of service except for routine maintainence.
    I expect to enjoy The Blue Max for many more miles.

    You should consider a preemptive replacement of the original radiator and expansion tank as these are known issues on E39s. If it's an Automatic as most 528s are, don't rely on BMW's ludicrous Lifetime Lube scheme, have it flushed every 60K or so. If that hasn't been done on the one you're looking at, or isn't documented-- beware!

    Shifty's advice about preventive maintenence is right on.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • I have a 2001 530I with 98k miles. I had the oil changed in mid-December. Two weeks later, oil light came on; oil level was several quarts low. Oil droplets were on the rear end of the car (I did not notice early on because the rear end was covered with snow). Oil dripping from tailpipe. Mechanic was puzzled, replaced oil separator. No change. Help...
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,687
    Any signs of oil pooling or dripping below the car when it's parked? Any smoke coming out on startup or while the motor's running? Any sign of oil leaking from the valve cover gasket?

    I wonder what the hell an oil separator is. :confuse:

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,278
    IIt's just a fancy German PCV valve which, unlike the simpler, cheaper, primitive, $2 valves in American cars, actually manages to get stuck a lot. You can clean 'em however.

    Excessive crankcase pressure from a stuck PCV will force oil anywhere it can get out, iincluding seals and piston rings.

    image

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  • The oil separator is an "expensive" PCV solution.
    With its replacement, at least in the short term, the problem with my 530i is not solved. Possibly, the new, finer synthetic oil with the recent oil change? Or, earlier threads on this page suggest new valve stems/guides? Advice?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,278
    Worn valve guides should have shown up on the cylinder leakdown test.

    Do you get a puff of blue smoke when you first start the car in the morning?

    Actually I think you need to start a very careful oil consumption test to see what's really going on here. This would require placing the car in a level spot overnight and in the morning marking the dip stick level, then driving 1,000 miles and rechecking at the same spot in the morning before starting the car and marking the new level.

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  • Engine passed the cylinder leakdown test with flying colors. No puff of blue smoke when I start the car in the morning. No leaks from engine, although there is an acrid smell from the engine area when I turn it off. Twice last weekend, I took it up to legal speed (75 mph) on the Interstate in 3rd gear for a couple of miles (4500-5000 rpm). Started to smoke then, especially when I took my foot off the pedal on the off-ramp. Regarding consumption, it used more than 2 quarts in 500 miles before the oil separator was replaced. Appears to be on the same trend now as before (oil droplets appearing again on rear of car).
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    If you're getting smoke when you're using engine braking, it is almost assuredly valve guides. FWIW, I have seen isolated cases where an engine will do will on a leak-down test and still have worn guides.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,278
    Yep, that's valve guide wear all right or bad valve stem seals (which might have sneaked by the testing).

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  • I greatly appreciate the feedback from you and Mr. Shipo. I will take this information to my import mechanic (closest BMW dealer is 400 miles away).
    One last question, this excessive oil consumption began to occur immediately after I had the oil changed in December. Coincidence? From item number 434 on this page, "The main reason that you wouldn't want to switch is that the engine seals will have shrunk on a higher mileage car and synthetic can leak because it's much finer." Not sure if they used a different brand or weight range?
    Again thanks for the feedback.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Any reference to synthetic oil affecting the engine seals is bull. Your engine was designed to run exclusively on synthetic oil, and even if it wasn't, synthetic oil wouldn't bother internal seals one bit. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
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