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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • jasjas Posts: 115
    I would take div2's advice and get a second opinion from a good independent BMW tech.

    My buddies 2001 540 w/ 75k started running hot on his way to work, so he dropped it off at a dealer. It was the thermostat. But they also said he needed to replace the radiator, waterpump and power steering hoses. Since it was under a 100k warranty, it was not a problem. But, I think these dealers try to replace everything.

    I would as the question: is the check engine light caused by the vanos or camshaft sensor, or are they guessing?. What's the deal with the radiator or expansion tank - have you seen leaks?

    All valve covers seep a little over time. A little evidence of oil from the cover without evidence of burning is not a reason to change the gasket in my book.

    Always ask the question WHY? and have them explain in detail what the problem is. Ask them what is the result of not doing the repair. That will help you to determine if they are just snowing you.

    Once I had a dealer tell me I needed new spark plug wires because I they had a cut in the insulation. They where just changed 20k miles prior. After questioning them, the cut was a mar and would not cause a problem.

    Good luck.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    check out a previous posting on the cup holders:

    Sorry to hear about the hail damage. I am anal also, I hate to screw up a factory paint job.

    My buddy recently put on Yokohama ES100 tires on his 540 (replacing the original Dunlops at 33k). He has been happy with the performance and traction, their treadwear is fairly high and they are reasonably priced. I have not decided whether to go with these or the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S which have a 400 treadwear when it is time to change. I too drive 15-20k/year.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I was wondering about the radiator as well. I know that the 540 radiators are failure prone, but I rarely hear of problems with the sixes.
  • grios1grios1 Posts: 22
    Hi, I wanted to relate my story and a warning to new 5 series owners. I recently found out that the spare tire wheelwell in the trunk has an electronic module that controls the stereo and I-drive screen at the bottom of the wheelwell. I placed a water hydration pack (Camelback)in the trunk. Unware to me, the pack some how leaked and the water pooled at the bottom of the whellwell. A few days later I smelled a scent like burning wires. The next day the stereo and screen went out.
    I took the vehicle in and was advised that it would not be covered under warranty. $500 worth of damage. I think that the bottom of the spare tire wheelwell is an odd place to have an electronic module of such importance but who am I.

    So be careful not to spill anything in the trunk!!!!
  • I received my 2005 545 but to my disappointment, it had 10 times the rattle that I experienced in my 2004. It was all coming from the back, I returned the car after 2 days. When you spend that much money on a car you simply cannot just tune the rattle out. Performance wise it's superb but the rattle can only get worse especially when no one at BMW can address it.
  • Does anybody know where to purchase some door edge trim products?

    Possibly color coded, and the kind that stick by adhesive?

    I park in a tight spot & opening & closing the doors might damage the doors to the Beamer.
  • stl540stl540 Posts: 67
    I ran across this Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) on squeaking noises from the door frame in the E60. /510704.html

    There is some interesting info to skim at your leisure. Many of the BMW TSBs that I quickly scanned are for the E60 and the Mini Cooper.

    Main site:
  • stl540stl540 Posts: 67
    My wife has the clear door guards on her silver Acura. It was installed by the dealer. It is barely noticable and does a good job protecting the edge of the door when she 'rests' the door against the garage wall, etc. The guard is stuck on to the door by an adhesive. I believe it is the same type of material that some people put on the front of their cars to protect from rock chips. Her car is 3 years old and there is no discoloration to the guard.

    Check with a local window tinting company. I bet they would have info on the product.
  • Hey- I have a 2000 528i (5-sp, SP, PP). About a week ago I would hit the gas and the car just did not want to go- it felt like the engine was flooding. It did this a couple of times more (intermittently) and then the service engine soon light came on (and stayed on). Then I had no problems for a couple of days and Sat. nite the light went off and has stayed off. We had a lot of rain here around the time the problem started so I thought I may have just gotten some bad gas (I buy Shell usually, but I guess it's possible some water got into the gas). The gas cap has always been on tight so that was not it. Naturally, the car is now 6 weeks out of warranty. Do I need to take it in now that the problem seems to have fixed itself? I was hoping to wait and see if the problem resurfaced, but don't want to damage anything if there really is something wrong. Any feedback would be appreciated.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    The CEL will go off after several engine start/stop cycles IF the engine management system no longer detects a problem. The fault code remain stored in the ECU. Any Autozone will read the fault codes at no cost to you. If you plan to hold on to the car you might want to get one of these:
  • Div2- thanks for the info- I'll try AutoZone (I'm in Memphis where AutoZone is based so there are plenty of them around!).
  • Div2 (or anybody else)- I just went to AutoZone- they hooked up the diagnostic thing and it came back with camshaft position sensor as the problem. Questions- since the CEL went off does that mean the sensor could have fixed itself? Are my symptoms (severe intermittent hesitation that has now gone away) consistent with a camshaft position sensor problem? Is this an expensive repair? Thanks for your help.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Yes, your driveability problems could well be caused by a bad CPS. A 2000 528i has two different camshaft sensors(the parts CD refers to them as "pulse generators"); one for the intake cam and one for the exhaust cam. Either one could be causing your hesitation. They cost less than $90 each. Replacing them is a fiddly job, but it's not terribly hard. I'd keep driving the car and see if the problem returns.
  • mtv65mtv65 Posts: 45
    01 530i with Sport 235/45R17's......narrowed it down to 2.

    Fuzion ZRi or Pirelli Pzero Nero M+S.

    I'd like to take a quick poll for those who have experience on either of these tires. First of all, it's my wife's so comfort(quiet) is on the top of her list. I do drive it occasionally, so performance would be second and finally longevity. Price range less than $150.

    If there are other tires that I should consider, do let me know.

  • div2- thanks very much for all the good info.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    I have gotten no good answers from BMW or from service on the mis-calculation I see with the MPG.

    Although the car runs great and it is not a big deal, it is just kind of an annoyance and I think they have a problem with the software calculation. I see an error of 5-6 mpg greater than what I am actually getting (calculated by fuel used and miles driven).

    Can anyone with a 545i run a calculation and let me know what you are seeing? Please note if you have a auto or manual.

    Much appreciated.
  • cassidymcassidym Posts: 108
    I just got a 2005 545 six-speed and the computer says I'm getting 17.6 mpg which seems about right but I have't had time to actually calculate it. Do you have a six-speed and what sort of milage are your calculations showing?
  • mtjohnmtjohn Posts: 34
    I recently purchased a set of Goodyear F1 GS D3s for my 2001 530ia SP and they have performed extremely well. The tread design works great in wet weather, they are very quiet and they have eliminated any tramlining I used to experience with my Continental ContiSport Contact 2s. The only tradeoff is slightly more sidewall flex which can be minimized with a few extra PSI front & back. Check out Tire Rack for their ratings on the tire. Really great compromise for performance, quiet and overall ride for the sport pack.
  • I leased a 2004 545iA sport, premium, nav, h-up, PDC, a month ago. Now I am unhappy with the car because the driver's seat is too large for me to be comfortable. The seat looks like BMW was hoping Shaq would be driving the car instead of me. I can understand that, but now I am stuck with this very uncomfortable carseat. I am a 5'5 woman. First, there are very few seat controls, and no lumbar support controls. I have the seat up as high as it will go, and it still feels like I am sunk down into a big bath tub, straining to see over the dash, so the bottom of the head-up display doesn't appear cut off. There is no upper back support, leaning back into the seat is uncomfortable as the back of my head only comes to the junction of the seat and headrest...where there is no support. It is impossible to drive in this position, even with the seat bolt upright...the seat sways back in this position, so I am forced to lean forward. My neck and upper back ache after 10 minutes of driving in this position.

    The thigh extender is a joke. Who really needs this??? My knees barely reach the end of the seat as it is.

    I have found a temporary solution. If I sit on a 3" thick lumbar support pillow, I can see out fine and, more importantly, my head and upper back fit into the seat right so it is much more comfortable. I can rest back and my head actually comes up to the headrest!!! I don't find the pillow that comfortable to sit on for long driving, it doesn't fit the seat dimensions that well, but my shoulders, back, and neck feel much better.

    I have owned MB 500sl, mbE320, Jaguar XJR, and many other cars. Never have I had an issue with the seat and sitting comfortably, so I didn't really consider this on my short test drives of the car before I got it. Also, comfort seats were not available in the cars at the dealerships I went to, so I never tried them. However, I didn't realize that if I didn't get the "comfort seat" I'd be getting the uncomfortable seat.

    Called BMW, they said the seats are designed for people as short as 5'1" and there was nothing they could do for me. Called the manager of the dealership, who refused to take my calls. Now I have 35 months to go on the lease. I am disappointed in the ergonomics of BMW (what ergonomics), but that's another discussion. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Thanks.
  • cassidymcassidym Posts: 108
    I'm 6'2" and naturally find the 545 seat to be very comfortable and I very much like the thigh support. I have a 2005 545 with SP, HUD, NAV, SAT and CWP. It came with the adjustable lumbar support standard. I'm surprised your's did not.

    Had you considered sitting on a wedge shaped pillow? I use one of these in my house (I have a bad back) and you place the high end towards the back and the thin edge towards your knees. This particular pillow is three inches high in back and narrows down to about a quarter inch in front. Anyway, it forces you to sit with a curve in your lower back which, at least in the case of my dining room chair, makes it a lot more comfortable. And the added three inches in the back ought to elevate you sufficiently to clearly see the HUD (I love that thing).

    Pillows like this are made out of a high density foam so they give a little but don't squash down. You ought to be able to find one in any store that specializes in devices for bad backs.

    It's too late now but you probably should have considered Comfort Seats which have an articulated upper back that you may have found helpful. The buggers cost $1200 so I never gave it a thought.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    div2's Helpful Hint of the Day:
    Always TEST DRIVE a car before you lease/purchase it.
  • As an idea, would you consider trying the sheepskin wool seat covers advertised in the buff books? Or, for a far out solution, installing a Recaro type seat that you would take out atlease end?
  • manybmwsmanybmws Posts: 347
    Could be ingition coils.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    I have a 2004 545 six-speed (manual). 95% of the miles are freeway (70-80) with a few hard accelerations around town. I am getting 20-22mpg actual, but my computer says 25-27mpg.

    I took delivery at the end of August. I was going to wait for a 2005, but they told me the 545's would not be available until late November and I did not want to wait -when did you pick yours up?
  • cassidymcassidym Posts: 108
    Picked it up in Munich on 4 October and shipped it the same day. It arrived at my dealer's in Maryland on 30 October. The car was actually built and stored in a garage by about mid-September. I ordered it on 5 August and I imagine that if you had done the same thing, you'd have had it sometime early last month.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    FYI: Lumbar support on the 545i was on option in 2004 and standard in 2005. I guess BMW figured out it should be standard. However, there are only about 12 options for the 545 as most things are standard and it is pretty clear in the options list. BTW - the lumbar support is great, you adjust the position up/down as well as how much support you want.

    I would check with the dealer to find out if a lumbar support seat could be swapped for your seat - it may not be cheap.

    If it is really that uncomfortable, I would check with a body shop to see if you could put shims under the seat mount to raise it - this is something I am sure the dealer would not do because it has liability issues.

    I agree with div2 - if you are purchasing or leasing a 65k car, I would think you would do a little more research on the options and time for the test drive. I had been to three different BMW dealers over the coarse of my research and everyone of them had a comfort seat car.

    For someone like me who is 6'3" the BMW cockpit is one of the few that is roomy enough, unlike my wifes Volvo. The thigh extenders are very usable allowing the seat to adjust from someone who is short to someone who is tall.

    My wife, who is 5'7" does not have any problem with the seat adjustments. You have to realize, a BMW cockpit is not designed to have your head in the roof, you do sit lower.

    The tone of your email is what prompted me to write this response. Possibly, that is why the dealer will not return your calls. I would try a new approach with the dealer to find a solution: Can a lumbar support seat be added to your car. can the seat be chimed, what aftermarket products exist.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    If you're uncomfortable you're uncomfortable, but I'm 5'8" and I love the seats in my 545 (and I do use the thigh extension as well). That's only 3 inches taller than you. I just drove the car about 1,500 miles in three days and like the seats on the 330xi I used to have I have never found any cars seats that I find more comfortable (note: I like more firm seats so maybe that's where we differ). My fiance is 4'10" and she loves the seats. So I don't think it has to do with height really. Not sure what to tell you, but it's not a design flaw because you're the only person I've heard mention this. I'm not saying that you're wrong, but just that I don't agree.
  • I apologize if my tone sounds bothered regarding my uncomfortable seat problem. I have been sitting on a wedge shaped pillow since I got the car, as cassidym so kindly suggested. It helps a lot to be lifted up those 3 extra inches. My upper back and neck strain go away, my head rests back comfortably into the headrest. I'm not that happy with driving around on the wedge in my 63K car, especially when it comes to the valet (and my friends) laughing at me. I don't look as cool as I thought I would in my new 545...

    I did test drive the car several times, but I was more worried about how rough the ride was on run-flat tires, whether I would be able to deal with idrive, and trying to decide between 530 and 545. I scoured these boards and learned all about the dirty brake dust and even read one on squeaky comfort seats.

    I made some assumptions that turned out to be wrong. I figured that BMW would have the same basic luxury items in the cabin that my other cars have had (like a comfortable seat??). Only after I got the car did I come to learn that feminine ergonomics is not a BMW priority. There is no sunglass holder, no decent usable center console storage (you have to open 2 doors to get to a very small compartment). The door pocket is the only convenient place to put my sunglasses, extra keys, garage door opener, cell phone, etc. The glove box is too far away to reach even when I'm hiked up on my wedge.

    Do I dare continue on this forum??? I really don't want to offend anyone with my tone or whining. I do love the way the car drives, steers, handles and brakes. That's why I got it. But the premium stereo really lacks sound quality. Too tinny. No matter how the equalizer, balance, bass and treble are adjusted. My jaguar stereo was full with great bass. The car's stereo rocked. I miss its rich full sound. Having bass tones blare at me from the BMW windshield speakers is awful. Turning down the front speakers turns off nearly all the bass.

    Also, the inside lighting is way too harsh and the plastic cover looks really cheap. Turn on those overheads at night and the photophobic response is unbearable. Best to not ever have to turn any of those lights on. The small infrared light beam is pretty useless. The mercedes e320 has much more elegant dimmer lights, just enough to read something without being overbearing.

    Finally, the idrive computer is too slow and cumbersome. I am already backed out of my drive and down the street before the park distance control comes on, rendering this feature useless. When I slide the button to select an option, it takes many seconds to respond. In this computer age, I am accustomed to a computer responding much faster, and think this would be important and a priority while operating a car.

    I was referred by bmw general manager's assistant to service. Nobody else has this problem, I guess, they never heard of it either. They had nothing to offer to resolve the seat problem, (and I was really sweet when I explained my problem). I will look into replacing the seat, Recaro? You can bet, in 35 months, the next car seat is going to be incredible!
  • I just bought a new 530i and was wondering does the bluetooth work with cell phones or does it require some additional hook ups? Any help is appreciated. Verizon sells a Motorola bluetooth and before I purchase it I wanted to see users experiences.
  • cassidymcassidym Posts: 108
    Carlook, here's a list I just got from BMW North America that shows all the cell phones that are compatible with the 5-Series bluetooth

    AT&T Wireless
    Motorola V600
    Sony Ericsson T616
    Sony Ericsson T637
    Sony Ericsson T68i (phone is discontinued) Siemens S56 (phone is discontinued)

    Motorola V600
    Sony Ericsson T637
    Sony Ericsson T68i (phone is discontinued) Siemens S56 (phone is discontinued)

    Sprint PCS
    Sony Ericsson T608

    T Mobile
    Motorola V600
    Sony Ericsson T610
    Sony Ericsson T68i (phone is discontinued)

    Verizon Wireless
    Motorola V710 *No

    *Note: The Verizon Wireless Bluetooth phone (Motorola V710) launched in September of this year. This device is not fully supported by BMW’s Bluetooth option. The phone is expected to be compatible with BMW’s Bluetooth option before the end of this year, when Verizon implements new software.
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