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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • cassidymcassidym Posts: 108
    I've also got a 545i six-speed. Like you, I like the active steering just fine. Had initial problems banging curbs and the like till I got use to it. But, have not noticed the click you mention.
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    Well, I know how to put oil and gas in the car, but looking for the aux fan is another matter. :blush: (I took typing in high school instead of shop.) Anyway, I used my trusty BMW flashlight and found a small boxy looking shape on the left side of the engine (if you are facing the engine) and it said Bosch on it. Is that it or is there another place to look? Everything else under the hood had BMW on it from what I could see.
  • I bought a pre owned 97 BMW 540i Oct 03 with 92,000 on it. I love the way it drives and the looks I get
    But, but after 4 months, i had taken it to the dealer for schedule maintenance which as expected handed me a list of repairs needed to be done i. e. service + O2sensor replacement $550, drive belts replacement $200, catalytic converter x2 replacement $2461, rear main seal leak $1142, valve cover gasket replacement $548, radiator replacement $548, intake manifold $ 768. With discount we paid $5461 total.
    Yesterday, we took the car for schedule II maintenance and paid almost $1000 and as expected we again got a list: coolant leak $1220, front control bushings $750, front crank seal $450, break and coolant flush $320. The car is driveable and there is no sign of trouble yet but there is a warning saying coolant is low. We opted not to have the recommended repaits done since it is not within our buget this month, but I need help, anybody who could recommend do this job for less or an independent technician in the Dallas, Tx area is greatly appreciate. I am a new BMW owner and need everyone's input. :confuse:
  • jccaseyjccasey Posts: 4
    I explored it more this weekend and it is actually coming from the engine...sort of a clunking sound that speeds up when the RPMs are revved up. It doesn't sound like a light "ticking" sound like the sound of the spark plugs firing, but it sounds more like something is loose on the lower part of the engine. I should probably just take it to the dealership, but it is such a pain to do that after only owning the car for a week!
  • weho530weho530 Posts: 2
    I have a 2006 530i and I notice after driving 10 mins or so and the car is warm the (active) steering makes a faint noise...which disappears when I make a turn and have the wheels turned all the way...but as soon as I start turning them back it is there again...and I also hear it when the car is just idling. Turning the steering wheel elevates the noise gets a little more intense compared to not moving the steering wheel...

    Reminds me of wind noise...has some high pitch noise in it along with flowing air noise.

    After 30-45 mins or so of putting up with it the noise disappears for the rest of the day and shows up again the next morning after the car is warm again...

    If I put the a/c fan on the second lowest speed it is drowned it is faint but noticeable for people with normal or fine? hearing...anyone else notice that as well and it is normal for A/S?
  • cassidymcassidym Posts: 108
    Approaching an intersection in my 2005 545 six speed, when the doors unlocked, the flashers activated and the iDrive screen frantically announced I'd had an accident and tried to send my location to BMW. I switched off the flashers and carried on driving. Now,every time I start the car, I get this ominous message on my iDrive screen "Fault in passenger restraint system affecting air bag, seat tensioners or belt force limiter".

    Though all this the car has run just fine. I called my BMW Service Center and they say it's a software glitch and to bring the car in for a software update which takes 5,000 hours (or seems to); actually it's an all day affair.

    Anyone else have this problem? If so, what was the cause? Also, after the iDrive tried to call BMW, it announced the call had failed. What does that mean?
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    The first thing you need to do is join the BMW Car Club of America. Club members get discounts of up to 25% on parts and/or service at hundreds of dealers and shops. Next, go to -the web site of The International Association of Independent BMW Service Professionals. They have several member shops in your area. Finally check out my E39 home page in my profile.
    As for your current problems, it sure sounds like the dealer is hosing you-for both scheduled maintenance and repairs. Why were the 02 sensors and cats replaced? Was the check engine light on? Were the cats rattling? As for the cost of an Inspection II, my independent BMW shop only charged me $700 to do the service on my wife's 528i-and that included new BMW brake pads on all four wheels. Now, your V8 would be a bit more, but certainly not over $300 more. As for the brake fluid/coolant flush, my BMW dealer only charged $143(BTW, the brake fluid only gets changed every two years while the coolant should be changed every three). I've owned my 1997 528i since 3/01 and it currently has 122000 miles on the clock; my total service and repair costs have averaged less than $800 per year-and that includes one set of tires.
    As for the dealer's current attempt to shaft you, I'd want to know:
    Just exactly where is that $1200 coolant leak?
    How much oil is leaking past the front seal?
    Why do the control arm bushings need replacement-is there a shimmy or vibration in the front end?
    It really ticks me off when dealers treat service customers the way you have been treated. I hope this information will help make your BMW ownership experience considerably less expensive.
  • poetpindarpoetpindar Posts: 18
    Is there a way to manually turn off that irritating message that shows up on the I-Drive every time you start the car? It is the warning about not using the I-Drive while you are driving. I’d love to turn it off as I have already read it too many times… Any help is appreciated.
  • jjohnjohnjjohnjohn Posts: 24
    Hello Everyone,
    I am having some crazy electrical problems with my 1998 528i. The car has recently just been shutting down completely after I park. All the electrical system shuts down, Bad Battery? I just replaced the darn thing no more than 2-3 years ago. Now this is the crazy thing, after the car electrically completely shut down, I wanted to put my briefcase in the trunk since I could not even lock my doors, the trunk would not open.When I turned the trunk key lock, the car regenerated itself! All the electrical system kicked back on. What's Up with that?!?! Am I missing something? :confuse:
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    The first thing I would do is load test the battery. A bad battery can cause all sorts of glitches on an E39. If you bought a BMW battery then it is very possible that it is at the end of it's lifespan; for some reason the BMW replacement batteries do not last as long as the OEM battery(assuming that you keep the water level topped up). If the battery is bad you should replace it with an Interstate MTP-93. Just make sure that the dealer includes the vent kit so that it will connect to the car's vent hose. If the battery and it's connections are good we'll try a little more long distance troubleshooting...
  • jkingjking Posts: 12
    It's interesting to hear that there was actually a replacement for
    the fan. Now I know I wasn't going crazy.

    Great information, thanks.
  • turnbowmturnbowm Posts: 76
    FWIW, most replacement batteries only last three years. After that, you're on borrowed time.

  • I own a 2004 525i. Ever since I have had it (new) I have had a myriad of problems, including 2 recalls which seriously cut into my workdays. The first dealer told me that my recurring window problems where the passenger side window would not go up (kept getting to the top then going back down half-way) was due to the fact that there was not enough power to roll up the windows and shut the sunroof at the same time! After unsuccessfully trying to fix that twice and being unable to fix the radio which would not hold the settings, I went to another dealer 30 minutes from my house. Well, they WERE able to fix the window and after 2 attempts to fix the radio - a firmware update. However, I continue to have quality issues and problems - electric headrest not working, fuzzy speakers, auto trunk key not responsive, cupholder knob falling off, etc. Yesterday the car was in for some of these repairs and lo and behold when I got the car home the sunroof would not close! And, an impending storm was approaching. Calls to service soliticted 1) bring the car in right away and 2) "don't worry, the BMW sunroof has drains so too much water won't get in the car. I took it back this morning and supposedly the sunroof needed reinitalizing - which according to the service mgr. the cars don't need, but mine did. Hello - electrical probs here?? Anyway, I am seriously thinking of chucking the beemer and buying something else. How many problems are too many??? The car practically sits in the driveway since I choose to take the metro subway to work. It's awful that I waited 38 years for a BMW and this was an anniversary gift and I am secretly pining for my old VW Jetta . . .
  • car_rmcar_rm Posts: 47

    Run, don't walk, to the customer relations manager at the dealership. Take a summary of the dates, issues, number of days out of service and if the issue was resolved with you. I originally had a 2003 325i that was was in the dealer 8 times in 12 months for electrical, water in the car and transmission problems. :lemon: I kept complaining about my experience to the service manager but it went nowhere. I went to a Lemon Law lawyer here in CA. BMW agreed to take the car back. I replaced it with a 2005 530i and it has been flawless since taking delivery in late Jan. :) The first comment from the customer relations manager was "Why didn't you come to me in the first place?" Didn't know and wasn't told that she was there to help with these problems.

    Good luck.
  • Thanks so much for the suggestion! I did not know that there was such a thing as a customer relations manager. Do all dealerships have them? They must keep that person hidden behind a 2 way mirror . . . Luckily I have kept good records and notes. You have given this girl some hope.
  • Good Evening,

    Earlier today, I had the V Belt and Air Conditioning belt replaced on my 99 528i, tonight, when I picked it up at my mechanic's after hours, after I started it, the Canadian "Check Engine Light" and the TrTransmissionafe Mode light were on, do these need to be reset, bebecausehe battery was didisconnecteduring the belt process, or do I now have a bigger problem. thanks Troy
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Disconnecting the battery would not cause the problems you have described. It is far more likely that your mechanic forgot to re-attach a sensor or two under the hood. A competent shop will be able to read the code faults and correct the problem.
  • Thanks

    This shop has been working on my car for a couple years adn was recommneded to me by another BMW owner. He has the equipment to read the codes. I thouge it strange that I woudl go from a belt problem to a Transmission problem, because when I took it in the tranny was fine. Originally the battery light was flashing, they check the starter, alternator, and battery and they were fine, when they looked at the belts, the V belt was cracked adn stretched and the AC belt was really cracked. I would agree I have a sensor problem and not a Transmission problem, I hope (-:
  • davismaxxdavismaxx Posts: 33
    Hi everyone. First time here. I have a 1999 528iT. Just hit 100K, and shooting for 200. Per the book, it's time to replace O2 sensors and spark plugs. It looks like I can do this myself.

    O2 sensors: is there any difference between Bosch universal and Bosch OEM besides the connector and $35? If not, seems sensible to use the universals and solder or crimp the OEM connectors to them

    Spark plugs: The OE plug is NGK platinum with 4 prongs. These have performed perfectly for 100K miles, so I would ordinarily plan to install 6 new ones. But--I have always (well, since I bought the car at 60K) had mild detonation under acceleration between 2000 and 3000 rpm. Would a different plug help eliminate this?

    Thanks for all your help!
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    1. I have a 1997 528iA with over 122000 miles. I'm still running the original o2 sensors. When they finally start tripping codes I'll replace them. I'll use BMW sensors; with a CCA discount the cost should be close to the Bosch sensors.
    2. The OEM plugs(assuming the plugs in your car are OEM) should not be causing detonation. I run 93 octane and have never had any problems. There must be another cause if the detonation is so bad that the DME can't eliminate it.
  • hi everyone
    i am about to purchuse my first BMW... i reallly love the car and i test drove it and drove nice. one main concern was about 50-60Mph steering shake abit, and with breaking as well. not alot but noticable amount..
    i really want to buy it, but i know cost wise is alot of money to maintain..
    can i get some input what common probs i might be runnin into with this particular model.. or maybe i should recosider ..!! it got 100k on it, but clean in/out. the guy have maintain it at dealer mostly, he says...
    IT IS A 97 528I

  • My dasboard indicators indicate that I have simultaneous problems with my vehicle. The ABS failure, Check Engine, Transmission & Stability control lights were on. The car has 92,000 miles & I had the vehicle serviced a week ago and no problems were found. (Transmission flush, engine oil change, brake fluid change & Injectors cleaned.)

    I had my family with me when this occured so we drove the car home (approx. 5 miles) I only drove 40 MPH. The transmission seemed to shift differently, however there were no abrupt jerks.

    Does anyone have an idea pertaining to what my problem may be!
  • motowneermotowneer Posts: 25
    Unfortunately, the '04 5 Series was the very first year of the re-designed model, and problems were miriad. I have an '05 530i and have had absolutely no problems. Not one. Most first year models have a higher rate of issues. The 5er is a great car once you get the kinks worked out. Stick with it if you can!
  • davismaxxdavismaxx Posts: 33
    I have a '99 with 100K. The steering shake and braking shake are common. The steering could be wheel balance, bad tire, or worn front bushings. The steering is very sensitive so if anything is slightly out you'll feel it. The shimmy on braking is probably brake rotors that are slightly warped. The warp can be eliminated by turning the rotors or replacing them.

    Make sure the car has had all the scheduled oil changes. Ask the seller what dealer has maintained it, and then ask that dealer about the service history. If it has been well maintained, the engine is good for at least another 100K. If I were you I'd take the car to an independent BMW mechanic for an inspection. It should cost around $100.

    I've found it to be a very reliable car, and needs no more repairs than other cars. Parts are not expensive. It's pretty easy to work on. I do my own oil changes., E39 forum, is a good place to get more information on these cars. The 97 - 03 5 series is called E39.

    Good luck!
  • davismaxxdavismaxx Posts: 33
    Thanks div2! I heard that old O2 sensors can hurt the cats, even though the car still runs fine. I think I'm going to use the OEM sensors for the manifold, mostly for appearance sake. The universal ones have a big connector that won't fit in the standard retainer clip.

    The plugs are the original plugs. Highest octane I can get here is 91. The car came from New Jersey (I'm in CA)--maybe they have 93 there so the car got used to it?

    Is DME the knock sensor? I've been wondering if maybe there is a problem with the knock sensor. I've asked 3 different BMW mechanics (2 independents and one dealer)and none of them have eany idea of what could be causing the detonation. One suggested intake cleaners, but no help.

    Anyway, it's a great car and I'd like to drive it forever. I think that taking care of this detonation will probably add to the life expectancy of the engine.

    Thanks for your help.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    DME=Digital Motor Electronics-the complete engine management system.
    You might try adding a large bottle of Techron to your fuel @400 miles before your next oil change; Techron is one of a very few products that can actually reduce valve and combustion chamber deposits..
  • billbroxbillbrox Posts: 41
    Ok, since my 2003 530i does not have a tape player and I did not get a CD Changer in the trunk, I opted for the Ice Link Plus that will allow my iPod to play through my OEM Radio/stereo.

    Has anyone out there installed one?? How well does it work? I understand I can still use the volume controls on my steering wheel. Please let me know ; it sounds almost too good to be true.
  • davismaxxdavismaxx Posts: 33
    Hello all. I am doing the 100K maintenance and before I change the spark plugs I'd like to find out if using a different plug than OE might help reduce or eliminate the pinging/detonation I am hearing.

    It's light pinging while accelerating, only audible with the window open. I can eliminate it by staying in lower gears, but I am not lugging the engine.

    The OE plug is NGK with 4 electrodes. Would a cooler plug help? Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

    1999 528iT
    5 speed
    Siena Red/Sand Leather
    Premium package/non-sport
    11/98 build date
  • janetkjanetk Posts: 3
    Bought a 1999 528iT wagon w/ 45K. Do I really need 91 octane or can I get away with 89 or 87? I'm buying it used from a non-BMW dealer. He wants to sell me a 3y bumper to bumper (including wheels and tires) for 3K. Is it worth it?
  • cmybimmergocmybimmergo Posts: 265
    Your mileage will drop if you skimp on the octane. I use premium in my 530 because 91 isn't an option where I live; my choices are 89 or 93.

    As regards the warranty, there is an Extended Warranties board somewhere around here; you might want to read up on them before you decide (post #1464 on the Prices Paid and Buying Experience board has the link). Company reputation and solvency are important. FWIW, I paid three grand for a 7 year 125,000 mile warranty when I bought my 5.
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