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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,837
    Well you might take a guess and buy a new cap, although really it could be a leak somewhere in the evaporative emissions system. You might poke around in the trunk and look for loose vacuum lines, (not sure what's in there exactly) also at the evaporative emissions canister. The dealer has a tester for this sort of thing but they're going to nick you for an hour's labor at least I betcha.


  • troyrtroyr Posts: 3
    My automatic 1998 540 i might have some transmission problems.....every time i put the car in drive you can hear it accelerate but it wont go in gear, however if i put it in reverse it goes into reverse perfectly.....then theres also the check engine light that also popped out.....does anybody know if the problem is linked, and also does any body know for sure if i have transmission problems?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,476
    Your best bet is to take the car too a good dealer or independent MW tech. The automatics are just about impossible to "shade tree" diagnose

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

  • buffnyce17buffnyce17 Posts: 2
    hi there!! I actually have the same problem on my 2001 504i... please share with me how you fix the problem....THANK YOU SO MUCH
  • buffnyce17buffnyce17 Posts: 2
    I just purchased a 540i 2001 from a private party...great car. However the company that I hired to tint the windows left the doors open while they worked on the tint which in turn caused the battery to go dead....and I guess they had to "jump-start" it. After I was driving away, I noticed that my on-board computer, fuel gauge and tachometer are not working. Could this be related to the battery being low....or might it be something else. Thank you to whom ever can give me a little peace of mind. THANK YOU SO MUCH
  • x021627x021627 Posts: 148
    Thanks. Should have mentioned it is a 2008 538xi and under warranty. Unfortunately a Tahoe backed into me while I was sitting in my car, in a parking space and got some damage to the left side bumper. My car is currently being repaired. I asked the body shop (BMW certified one) to check it while it is there. Will report back as to whether there is a real issue or if the computer didn't reset after I rescrewed the gas cap.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,476
    For over a decade, BMWs have been designed so that the dome light shuts off if the door is left open over @15 minutes. That said, the electrical problems you are experiencing are almost certainly being caused by a low-and likely dead-battery. Have the battery charged and load tested. If it is bad, replace it with an Interstate MTP-93; you should be able to find one for under $140, easy.

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

  • gardisgardis Posts: 185
    I just noticed a slight shaking in my 1996 328i (109K miles) at speeds between 20-35mph. At higher speeds, goes away. I always maintained the car with the dealership, I cannot imagine what this is except: I need new tires on the rear set.
    Do you think this could be the cause. The tread (Toyos) is down to the minimum, but I want to trade the car in, but I want to resolve this issue first.

    Any suggestions are welcome. Should I have it evaluated at the dealership?
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,621
    Badly worn tires can cause all sorts of problems like this as they get out of round and perhaps lose balance weights. I don't recommend going to the dealer for something simple like this, try an independent BMW specialist or a tire and alignment
    specialst, you'll save big over what the dealerships charge.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • x021627x021627 Posts: 148
    Just to tie off this thing, the check engine light turned out to be an issue with the emission system, so you may have been correct. Once that issue was resolved, the check engine light wouldn't go out and it was determined that my computer needed to be reprogrammed.

    Reprogram didn't take and now they are replacing computer module. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR :mad:
  • gardisgardis Posts: 185
    Thank you, really appreciate the advice.
    Pursuant to above post, I also have my 'check engine light' now for weeks it won't go off (another issue!) I thought it was the gas cap, but I've taken it off and put it back on several times. I think I'm due for an emissions check does that have anything to do?

    What could it be, the engine runs perfectly.
  • x021627x021627 Posts: 148
    My engine ran perfectly also and I took off and replaced the gas cap several times to no avail. it was an emissions issue according to deal that was fixed and then turned into a computer module issue.

    Good luck....
  • gardisgardis Posts: 185
    Did you use the dealer to resolve? How much did it cost, was it an involved thing?

    Thanks for your input. Appreciated.
  • x021627x021627 Posts: 148
    I only have 16K mile son my 2008 528xi, so it is covered under warranty. The computer module itself is a $1500 part w/o the labor. Your issue should probably be coverd under warranty depending on your mileage/age of vehicle.

    Yes, the dealer is resolving the issue after the failed reprogramming, which I am sure they tried twice.

    Hope your issue is less involved. Between the holiday and the wait time for ordering the part, this is taking a week.

    Good Luck!
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,621
    The OBDII system will light the CEL for all sorts of minor issues that don't affect the engine: I've had it come on when there's dirt in the Mass Air Sensor and when there's a leak in the Evaporative Emissions System.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • mhutchinsonmhutchinson Posts: 17
    Do you happen to know how to remove the evacuator/dryer on the 540i, 1998 version? It is just below and behind the passenger headlight. Do I remove it from underneath or above? I see the round plate on top of it and the three anchoring screws. One is hard to reach with an allen wrench. Must I remove the headlight?
    I can't determine how to access it from the underneath.
  • mhutchinsonmhutchinson Posts: 17
    Who knows how to replace the evacuator/dryer? It is located just behind and below the passenger headlight. Do you have any other insights: warnings, online manuals available, etc.? Thanks.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,837
    Removing And Installing/Replacing Drier Flask For Air Conditioner

    A/C system is drawn off.
    Notes On Replacing Drier Bottle Or Drier Insert

    The drier bottle or drier insert does not have to be replaced at regular service intervals in a functioning, leakproof A/C system.

    However, the drier bottle or drier insert must be replaced without fail in the event of:

    * fouling of the refrigerant by filings/shavings (e.g. when the compressor is clamped)
    * a leaking A/C system or loss of refrigerant
    * the refrigerant circuit being opened for a period exceeding 24 hours , e.g. during repair work.

    Follow instructions for dryer bottle replacement.

    Remove complete right headlight.
    Remove holder for headlight mounting.Unfasten screws.

    NOTE: Pull pressure and intake pipes upwards and fit with plugs if A/C system remains open for longer than one hour.

    Replace sealing rings.Unfasten screws and pull drier flask upwards to remove.


  • mhutchinsonmhutchinson Posts: 17
    Thank You! I just got to the dryer bottle and it is larger than the replacement offered by O'Reilly Auto Parts. Soooo....since I have not opened the system yet, and the refrigerant is not lost, I will need to ensure the compressor did not send shavings into the lines.

    Background: I am replacing the compressor as it began knocking and recently it became loud enough to hear it inside the car driving down the highway with the windows closed.

    New Problem: I was told there is no in-line filter screen as is found on many US systems. Is this correct? If so, how would I check for or debris/shavings from the compressor except to examine the inside of the lines where I disconnect them from the compressor?

    Looking fwd to your response.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,837
    Yeah you're sort of doomed if you do, doomed if you don't. Generally, you wouldn't get debris unless you seize the compressor but since it was knocking, one has to wonder. You'll have to open the system to remove the dryer or replace the compressor anyway. I'd wash out the AC lines as best one can and see if there is any debris in there. If you see lots of debris, your job isn't over. You have to clean the whole damn system and replace the expansion valve as well.


  • mhutchinsonmhutchinson Posts: 17
    I pulled the belt. The compressor is turning fine by hand. No squeaks, no drag, no serious play in the shaft.
    Wash out the lines. I've never done that before.
    I'm guessing you remove the lines from the car and run [what] through them? How do you dry them out again?
    Thanks again Mr. S.

    The refurbished compressor contains 1.5 oz. of ICE32 oil. I have not lost any oil. Do I need to add any?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,837
    I think you could blow them dry with air. I cleaned mine in a solvent tank---that might have been a bad idea, I don't know, but it worked. Maybe you could just use air at first to see if anything comes out?

    I'm not an expert on AC and due to chance of injury etc, I'm not keen on advising you on a casual basis. :shades:


  • mhutchinsonmhutchinson Posts: 17
    Got it. I appreciate the risk of injury using compressed air. I will wear eye protection.
    I plan to blow air through the high side line toward the dryer (disconnected of course) into a cloth rag and inspect it for particles.

    What about the oil capacity? Any idea whether the 1.5 oz. pre-charge will be adequate? I can't find the specs online and I haven't purchased a manual yet (although I will probably do so real soon). Found a used Bentley brand at for $107.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,837
    Oh no I meant injury from pressurizing and depressurizing the AC. I assume you're smart enough not to poke yourself in the eye with an air nozzle--LOL!

    * The oil should be replaced whenever a ruptured component is replaced, because the quick discharge causes some of the oil to be released along with the refrigerant
    * Use only PAG oil in an R-134a system (not mineral oil)
    * Use only mineral oil in an R-12 system (not PAG oil).
    * Add the right amount of oil into the system when replacing a major component such as the compressor; condenser, or evaporator.
    * When replacing the compressor; drain the oil from the old compressor and measure the amount. Turning the clutch plate by hand helps "pump" out any remaining oil. Inject an equal amount of fresh oil. Note: service compressors are shipped full of oil; this oil must be drained before the new compressor is installed.
    * When replacing the condenser or evaporator, add 2 oz. of oil to the system.
    * When replacing a receiver/dryer, add 1 oz. of oil to the system.
    * You do not need to add any oil when replacing a hose, since hoses do not collect much oil.
    * Oil can be added to a charged system using the Robinair 18065 oil injector and a manifold gauge set, or the injector bottle on the ACR4 unit.

    Now those figures are not "total fill capacity", which I guess is for a total overhaul of everything.

    Those specs are:

    Nippondenso 160 ML +/- 15 ML
    Seiko 180 ML +/- 20 ML

    So I guess what this is saying is that you still need to know the capacity of the compressor and then add extra if you replace the dryer or the evaporator, right?

    The total fill specs seem to indicate something like 5 or 6 oz. I think an ounce is about 30 ML

    Funny German names in there, huh? :P

    PS: Watch out---from 9/98 build date, you have different refrigerant capacities than prior to 9/98.

    Minimum Charging Pressure is 10 BAR


  • mrfinaglemrfinagle Posts: 20
    great idea to change trans and differential fluid every other yr.

    full synthetic does not have naturally occurring aromatic hydrocarbons and other compounds which cause sludge like dyno oil, so I would stick with that, although topping off with dyno between changes is fine. Amsoil is not snake oil, its a great oil if a) you can afford it, b) you change your filter every 5k but not the oil, and c) test the oil for breakdown around 10k to decide whether to change it. I'd rather buy Q from wally world and change both every 5k.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,621
    I had the CEL switch on in The Blue Max, my '00 528iA. They checked the codes and it came back as a fault in the Evaporative Emissions System. They checked it out at the indie shop I go to and found that rodents had eaten away at the hoses connecting the gas tank to the charcoal canister, cost to repair (mostly labor @ $90/hr)=$190.

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I had to replace rodent damage to a previous car when they chewed on the A/C wiring ($700!) in the fender and have taken several anti-rodent measures including D-Con packs and moth (camphor) cakes under the hood.

    I don't mind those chipmunks running a Club Med for rodents on my property but this *&#@ has got to stop. :mad:

    Any ideas. :confuse: :sick:

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,837
    All I can say is that for some reason, rodents prefer German wiring and hoses. Is this a sinister plot by German parts manufacturers?

    As for discouraging the little buggers, I think trapping them or that sticky paper stuff might decrease the surplus population. But an all out cure? Probably not possible unless you rodent-proof your garage, which isn't easy unless it's all concrete.


  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,476
    As for discouraging the little buggers, I think trapping them or that sticky paper stuff might decrease the surplus population. But an all out cure? Probably not possible unless you rodent-proof your garage, which isn't easy unless it's all concrete.

    We have a couple of outdoor cats and we have had zero rodent problems since they arrived.

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

  • galamagalama Posts: 12
    I have 2002 530i stick and my alarm is going off on its own i had this problem with many cars i owned don't know why me. I dont think i have aftermarket alarm im sure its factory unit. Did anyone have any similar problems liek me.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,621
    I have 2002 530i stick and my alarm is going off on its own i had this problem with many cars i owned don't know why me. I dont think i have aftermarket alarm im sure its factory unit. Did anyone have any similar problems like me

    I've had similar problems w my E39 and other cars. They occurred because the motion detectors are VERY sensitive and can be triggered by falling leaves or even a gut of wind especially if the sunroof is left open. If you don't believe me try dropping a pencil thru the open sunroof after locking the doors.

    The cure is simple, the motion detector can be disabled by a second push of the lock button (after the first push to lock the doors) on the remote.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

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