Let's put everyone's knowledge together for some of the more frequently asked questions here for E39's so when newbs come up, most of the questions they need answering would be found in one area... plus, it reduces the repetition of the same question over and over again and again and again and again.
please understand that this is focused on 540's. those with 525's, 528's, 530's and M5's, please feel free to let us know what you know! :)
and i'll begin with.......
God Forsaken Cup Holders...
yes, it's a great car but NO, the cup holders work as well as LBJ's legs.
you got 4 choices:
1: get OEM so look around ebay since most dealer's price is kind of a rip though not always.
2: http://ultimatecupholders.com <-- great cup holders which holds a varity of cup sizes. my only gripe is that if you get a drink with a lid, the carpet might catch it and if you go around a turn, the drink will spill out and all over the carpet.
3: http://www.tecaccessories.com <-- again, a great cup holder but it's more of a 12 oz beer..., i mean soda, can holder. anything else is pushing it. if you drive an auto, this works great. if you have a manual, well.. it kinda gets in the way but nothing double jointed bad.
4: leave it broken and just ignore it.
M5 Exhaust on an non-M5
Can it be done? yes? do you really want it done? that's up to you. do you REALLY feel like HAMMERING (note the capitalization) your FULL tire well a bit to wedge the passenger side in? or you can just cut it and invert the cut part so you'd end up with a pretty, yet wedged, spare tire well.
Can your OEM spare tire still fit? yeah, i suppose. where it would normally sit? never seen it but something tells me the answer is no, not really. it could be just a centimeter (yeah, gotta conform with the world guys, sorry USA'ers) off to the left (hey, i'm a righty OK!) but nothing detrimental.
stay cool... or try to be...
You say your radiator blew up on you? you notice that "CHECK COOLANT LEVEL" on the OBC now? does your 5 look like it took a leak over night in the garage and didn't wipe up? that would be the uber weak cooling system bmw's seems to have not yet master (on top of the electrical).
what to do you say? well, if you notice a leak, take care of it quick! if you just had it done and it still leaks, check the gaskets unless you have a Geba water pump. Yes, Geba will not only look tougher but will leak on you in a few thousand miles (ask me how i know). the system doesn't leak and shouldn't.
if your radiator blew up, don't go cheap. it's a BMW, drop the extra coin for the expansion tank (that's in line to let you down) and the water pump as well as the thermostat. get them all at once. where to get? that's up to you but definitely run down to the dealer and get the water pump gasket. i used one in the box (could have just been because it's made by Geba) and it leaked from the get-go. pretty sweet huh?
let's start with the radiator. you can go with a Behr which is OE. nothing really wrong with it except it's made of plastic and it'll let you down agian... guaranteed. but the price of it isn't so bad so spring one if you like. it comes with ridges in the neck to give it an extra "grip" so the pipe doesn't just slide off.
you can also spring for a Nissen (not Nissan and not the brand that makes noodles) radiator. Some say they are made better but it's still plastic. the radiator neck is smooth then ribbed so some say in certain conditions, the upper radiator hose *might* slip off. who knows, it could just be crappy workmanship or the truth. either way, it's something to think about. the longevity of this "aftermarket" radiator is said to be above OE but some have doubts.
if you are in true baller status and really want to make sure the radiator is a thing of the past, you can fork over a nice coin for this:
it's a lot more then the cost of a Behr or Nissen but it'll never ever let you down EVER again.
so now you'll need an expansion tank. it's that extra canteen looking thing humped on the radiator. yes, it too is made of plastic and it too will fail on you. There's OE's which will work fine since you are going to replace the radiator with the expansion tank all at once so might as well fork over the cash for it; don't get cheap on this, your motor is dependent on this like you are with your liver; sure you can live with 1/2 a liver but do you really want to?
again, if you are a baller and really have no patience for things failing over and over again, get a Lexus... Just kidding! if you are tired of servicing your cooling system, here's the package made just for you:
yes, the price says it all but you know what? you're NEVER EVER going to post: "i got stuck because of my radiator".
so we covered the radiator and the expansion tank. 2 very critical components and like death and taxes, will definitely fail on you. you should also look into the water pump. the OE pressed aluminum foil impeller is good to be used as a home made spinner firework. you do have some choices but i will say this: NOT GEBA. E36 guys have had hell with them and so have I. it was too late for me though. i bought it and half way thru the install i read about a post noting the failure rates of Geba water pump. There's other out there that you can get is very good news. Graf is the OE replacement and it serves it's purpose, pump water around the block. it's OE so you're still going to get the pressed aluminum foil quality impeller but think of it this way: it was working fine so why re-invent the wheel. if it worked before, it should work again. nothing wrong to think like that and many have gone this route. there are other options as far as water pumps since the price could make the difference. Laso is another water pump out there. built of the same quality, it serves it purpose and serves it well. neither of them are price too far from each other so it's a matter of personal preference. A new contender that i never heard of but it's been raved by the fanatical Volvo owners (those who own a true Volvo, before Ford took over and as much as i hate to stereotype, they are truly into getting quality parts because anything less then perfect will freak them out, maybe that's why they don't own a BMW) is the brand: Hepu. it could be found here:
Hepu water pump
it's a bit more (like $20... just skip out on your kid's allowance for a week or something) but i'm going to try it out and report back.
thermostat is a thermostat is a thermostat unless you go for the cooler popping ones but that's a special case and i'm not going to cover it. this part isn't expensive and they are usually priced all the same (give or take) but you REALLY should replace it. last thing you want to do is fuck youself by not replacing this part and having it go bad or worse.. leak and short your ECU.
if you need cooling system parts, contact Bill (Bill@bimmerclinic.com).
Oh No... O2's!
So instead of heading over to the dealer and bend over for the O2's, Autozone carries the Bosch PLUG AND PLAY (very important since others sell UNIVERSAL ones that you need to SPLICE into the harness and that's just a glutton for pain and punishment).
it may not be in stock but give it a few days and they'll get it in. i'm not 100% sure about other E39's but for 540's the Bosch part # is: 13 559. They run for $65 (plus tax if applicable). sure beats the $135 dealer charges for the same damn part.
Buttplug?? No, i said Sparkplug!
Ever start the car first thing in the morning (or when the block is cold) and when you start to drive off the car spudders a bit and only when the car warms up a bit does it run smooth from a dead stop? well, it's your buttplug..i mean sparkplug.
these should be changed with inspection I and II but hell, who's counting?
My source for the OE replacement at the cheapest price is at:
nicoclub thanks to, well, you guessed it, NICO club (for those that don't know it's Nissan/Infiniti forum)
this is for NGK plugs BTW.
i orded 8 for the 540 and total FINAL price (included shipping) was $67.01
some other sites are going to cost about the same but they all do the same. the other sites might be forum sponsors so do buy it from them if you can/want to spring the extra dough. i bought mine before finding all this out or i would have supported the sponsors for a few bucks more. i'm cheap but when it comes those who make this place possible, i'm all for it.
Batteries ARE Included!!!
so you got issues starting, running and all the electrial stuff is going googlie eyed on you. guess what? it's either your alternator or battery. most likely it's the battery.
head over to your autozone (hey, they are more then just for O2's) and pick up a Duralast 49-DL. Secret about car batteries: there's only 3 manufactures and all are about the same; Duralast is made by Johnson Control which also makes Diehard, Interstate and Optima . don't spring for anything more like Optimas unless you are going to compete in audio show which then you'll need special batteries but for everyday Joe, Dick and Bob, the Duralast is your winner. And at about $65 (i think.. could be $67 but not over $100) plus tax, it's the winner by a HUGE margin.
save some ducks and take yourself out to a good dinner with the $65 you just saved then going to a dealer for a battery.
Got vanos problem???
Ever wonder why the 528/525's have like cold start issues where your car stalls or idles like a poorly tuned lawn mower?
BMWNA basically is giving you a FUCK YOU and basically telling you to go fuck yourself for buying a BMW with VANOS. isn't that nice of them??? the guy already showed what the problem is yet BMW is letting their "patrons" hang out in the cold.
PS: BMWNA seems to have really gave all their clients a cold shoulder on helping out fixing this problem.
Shake shake shake... shake shake shake.. shake that bushing! shake that bushing!
Ever get that shake when you are going about 50ish? right at the speed limit, the car transforms and becomes a rolling vibrator? well, you're not alone. it could most likey be your thrust arm bushings.
now conventional wisdom would suggest to replace it with OEM E39 540/M5 bushings however, there are some that went with an E38's bushing since it's said to be stronger (car's heavier after all). But I personally like the idea of using X5's bushings. It's not as clear cut as it seems though. There are controversy behind which bushings to use and even how it should be installed. The X5's suspension geometry is reversed and thus the bushing is installed reversed but what if you reversed a reversed bushing in ours? it's complicated so i'll get these guys do the explaining with pictures:
Bushing controversy..... and you thought "who killed JFK" was complicated... HA!!! they never owned an E39
taken from K-bud on Roadfly:
headlights looking for change and letting you down?
it's your adjustors. check this thread out with the PDF's attached:
Not getting blown??
this is why:
final stage/resistor pack... 6 or half a dozen...
shove this up your tailpipe!
all i gotta say is if you ever need Magnaflow exhaust (i think i'm going to get one for the VR4 from him), get it from MyPerformanceExhaust and tell him Dan sent ya!
Mike Del Toro - firstname.lastname@example.org
i can't wait to get it installed. i got the 14816.
need a fan removal tool but don't feel like dumping $$$$ and wait for it? Make your own!!!
^^^ it's for the M62's motor to change the belts
How does coolant play a roll in the longevity of your radiator
So watching MotorWeek today, Goss garage brought up a good point and i am guilty of not doing what is suggested by the show.
Apparently you're suppose to change the coolant EVERY fall. that's ONCE A YEAR for those wondering when every fall is.
I have a gut suspicion most of us change the coolant when something goes wrong and the next time we change coolant is the next time something fails. to prevent failure, changing every fall will refresh the coolant.
why is it important to refresh the coolant?
well, one reason is mentioned here:
What they mentioned is correct however they fail to mention what this does to PLASTIC..
The pH change in the coolant not only eats away at your motor block but if it does that to your block, think of what happens to your PLASTIC radiator and the water pump!
what is the lesson in this FAQ post???
CHANGE YOUR COOLANT ONCE A YEAR!!! (doesn't have to be fall but the old school thought is so that when winter hits, you're mixture is correct so it doesn't freeze and crack any vital parts)
i am going to practice this and see how long everything lasts.
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