1997 E39 528i About To Hit 150,000 - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
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#1 (permalink) Old 07-05-2005, 05:03 PM
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My 1997 E39 528i just rolled over 147,000, and the indicator tells me that it's time for an Inspection I service. I figured I should ask you guys if there's anything I ought to do preventatively. I've heard the following:

-replace lifetime tranny fluid, since otherwise you'll spend a lifetime paying for a new tranny.

-replace the timing chain.

-replace differential fluid.

-Do a "valve job." (WTF is a valve job anyway?)

If you all could confirm, deny, or add to this list, that would be great. Thanks guys!



1999 E39 540i/6-VF Stage 1 S/C, Dinan exhaust, Dinan strut+shock braces, Dinan ltwt flywheel + clutch, Dinan Brembo BBK, Dinan monoball, H&R Springs, Koni Yellows, M5 sways, Dinan forged 18" wheels, &c.

1995 E38 740i. Highly modded. Faster than you.

Sold 2-28-07: 1997 E36 M3/4, 8-30-05 RIP 1997 528i


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#2 (permalink) Old 07-05-2005, 06:30 PM
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First off, if you have NEVER had the tranny fluid replaced. Dont have it replaced. The fluid thats in there is old, and so are the seals on the tranny. Replacing the fluid might clean some of the gunk off those seals and cause a leak, meaning you WILL spend a lifetime paying for a new tranny.

As for your other question. A valve job is simply checking and setting the valve timing. If you have an annoying tapping sound (aka valve tap) you already know the reasoning behind this. Valves that stay open too long or close too early generally make your car run like crap.

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#3 (permalink) Old 07-05-2005, 07:46 PM
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Like d3ity said, dont have the transmission fluid replaced. Do have your timing chain replaced. It may cost some $$$ in labor, but it's worth it. Have your mechanic, preferrably at a BMW dealer, do a vacuum leak test. Often times when our E39's get up there in years and miles, the gaskets will begin to leak. This can lead to misfirings, and other symptoms causing poor engine performance. When mine rolled over 150K and I had inspection II, I also had them reset my "adaptation values." Basically it'll clear out your fuel injection system's memory.
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#4 (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 12:22 AM
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RARELY do timing chains get replaced. Unless the chain is severely stretched... leave it alone.. thats why its a CHAIN.

Changing tranny fluid is a little bit of a grey area. It's not bad to change it IF it hasn't completely been broken down with clutch "dust" in it. The problem is not just seals, etc (those will only cause leaks if they are in-fact gunked together) But rather the fluid loses its lubrication properties and the clutchpacks start wearing away. The fluid absorbs the clutch "dust" and it becomes an aid to stop slipping. If you change that with fresh fluid, there will be problems.

However, 9 times out of 10 if the fluid is still red and not too black (some brown is to be expected) the tranny will remain ok. If your not sure what to look for and / or are not sure how to detect any of this - take it to a reputable tranny shop that you can trust.

I know many who have waited to 200k + to change tranny fluid and its ok. I also know quite a few who changed it at around 120k or so and had the trany fail.

Basically if your tranny fails after a fluid change, you had a pre-existing problem anyway.

Valve job.. maaan maybe on the older cars, but thats rare on that m52tu engine. it should be fine.

Diff fluid - when was it last replaced? If the car was properly maintained 150 sounds like an odd-mileage to be changing it. (unless it has a 75k service interval)

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#5 (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 11:53 PM
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Thanks for the advice, guys. I really appreciate it.

sp0rky, I'm thinking about the differential b/c I have no idea what was done to the car maintenance-wise until I bought the car one year/37,000 miles ago. I've heard that you do it every 60/65000 miles, so worst case scenario is that I'd be doing it 30,000 miles early. Can't hurt, right? Or can it?

Matt, I'm curious what the benefits of clearing the fuel injection system's memory are. Will it help the car adjust "from scratch" as it were to my typically "spirited" driving?

I do drive this car hard; my typical highway speeds are between 35%-50% higher than posted limits, and I've done over 37,000 miles mostly on the highway in the last twelve months. In all that driving, my only regret so far is that I didn't spend the roughly $1500 more it would've cost me to get a 540i. On the other hand, I bet my gas card is thanking me.



1999 E39 540i/6-VF Stage 1 S/C, Dinan exhaust, Dinan strut+shock braces, Dinan ltwt flywheel + clutch, Dinan Brembo BBK, Dinan monoball, H&R Springs, Koni Yellows, M5 sways, Dinan forged 18" wheels, &c.

1995 E38 740i. Highly modded. Faster than you.

Sold 2-28-07: 1997 E36 M3/4, 8-30-05 RIP 1997 528i


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#6 (permalink) Old 07-07-2005, 12:31 AM
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Resetting the DME will just allow the electronics to re-adapt from scratch.
Resetting the trans computer will also allow the trans to adapt from scratch.

Some people feel like it's a brand new car and others don't even notice.

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#7 (permalink) Old 07-09-2005, 02:04 PM
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Speaking from real world experiance here, I own a 97 528i that just turned 217,000. IF IT AINT BROKE...dont fix it. Original tranny fluid, rear end fluid and engine oil...ok well maybe not engine oil. Your seals will not take a fluid change. All I have done it a coolent flush (it gets gumped up). You have a timing chain, not a belt, so dont replace it. You will need to replace the tensioners when you hear the chain flapping around. Otherwise leave it alone. These cars run forever on their own. At 217K I cant even hear the motor at idle, and that's with oil changes every 4K with basic oil (dont go synthetic).

Thats just my 2 cents


Quote:
Originally posted by sp0rky@Jul 7 2005, 01:31 AM
Resetting the DME will just allow the electronics to re-adapt from scratch.
Resetting the trans computer will also allow the trans to adapt from scratch.

Some people feel like it's a brand new car and others don't even notice.
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#8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2005, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tacroteau@Jul 9 2005, 03:04 PM
Speaking from real world experiance here, I own a 97 528i that just turned 217,000. IF IT AINT BROKE...dont fix it. Original tranny fluid, rear end fluid and engine oil...ok well maybe not engine oil. Your seals will not take a fluid change. All I have done it a coolent flush (it gets gumped up). You have a timing chain, not a belt, so dont replace it. You will need to replace the tensioners when you hear the chain flapping around. Otherwise leave it alone. These cars run forever on their own. At 217K I cant even hear the motor at idle, and that's with oil changes every 4K with basic oil (dont go synthetic).

Thats just my 2 cents

Some people feel like it's a brand new car and others don't even notice.

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Thanks for your input.

Service was completed yesterday. On the majority advice, the only thing I did besides the normal service was to change the differential fluid, since beyond the 37K I've driven the car I haven't any idea whether it's been changed recently (and with a lifetime of 60K, wellllll....don't wanna get dicey here).

I've definitely noticed that the cooling system gets gumped up. The small holes between the expansion tank and the radiator got gumped up on mine, causing overheating. No problems after a flush and replacement of the tank, though. Apparently someone had put in that stuff that automatically seals holes in your radiator, and the expansion tank holes were small enough to be filled in instead!

I'm also thinking of adopting Bavarian Auto's advice on putting lower-temperature thermometer triggers in the radiator for the pusher fan. That plus Redline's Water Wetter would make it run nice and coooollll.



1999 E39 540i/6-VF Stage 1 S/C, Dinan exhaust, Dinan strut+shock braces, Dinan ltwt flywheel + clutch, Dinan Brembo BBK, Dinan monoball, H&R Springs, Koni Yellows, M5 sways, Dinan forged 18" wheels, &c.

1995 E38 740i. Highly modded. Faster than you.

Sold 2-28-07: 1997 E36 M3/4, 8-30-05 RIP 1997 528i


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#9 (permalink) Old 07-10-2005, 04:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tacroteau@Jul 9 2005, 08:04 PM
These cars run forever on their own. At 217K I cant even hear the motor at idle, and that's with oil changes every 4K with basic oil (dont go synthetic).

When I rang BMW and asked a tech if my e39 had Synthetic oil his response was quick and spirited, "I bloody hope so", he snapped then explained that all Bmw's should be running on fully synth. At a different place, run by ex BMW techs they replaced my oil with Castrol Magnatec (fully synth). Even an enquiry at a Kwikfit resulted in me being told they should always run on fully synth.

However, if yours has managed that kind of mileage on non synth that's a testament to how good these engines really are I guess.
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#10 (permalink) Old 07-10-2005, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by BeelZibub@Jul 10 2005, 03:43 AM
However, if yours has managed that kind of mileage on non synth that's a testament to how good these engines really are I guess.
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The only thing thats good about synthetic is that it can go longer between changes. If your running dino oil and do the changes at the regular recommended service interval - it's every bit as good as synthetic.

I bet you the reason they feel that synthetic should be used in all BMWs is that people go by the inspection lights on the dash rather than the regular 3k miles recommended for regular oil changes.

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#11 (permalink) Old 07-11-2005, 07:15 AM
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Yes..and No. The alloy used in the head/valve train on e39s from 98 on were made for synthetic, and absolutly must have it! However like myself, and the person making this post we have 97s, both with a fair amount of milage. Running synthetic at this point would be a very bad idea. Synthetic is great at working its way into seals, that is great for a new motor (helps it seal up), but when you have 217K on it it will turn into a mess of oil pissing out everywhere.


Quote:
Originally posted by BeelZibub+Jul 10 2005, 05:43 AM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(BeelZibub @ Jul 10 2005, 05:43 AM)</div><div class='quotemain'><!--QuoteBegin-tacroteau@Jul 9 2005, 08:04 PM
These cars run forever on their own.* At 217K I cant even hear the motor at idle, and that's with oil changes every 4K with basic oil (dont go synthetic).*

When I rang BMW and asked a tech if my e39 had Synthetic oil his response was quick and spirited, "I bloody hope so", he snapped then explained that all Bmw's should be running on fully synth. At a different place, run by ex BMW techs they replaced my oil with Castrol Magnatec (fully synth). Even an enquiry at a Kwikfit resulted in me being told they should always run on fully synth.

However, if yours has managed that kind of mileage on non synth that's a testament to how good these engines really are I guess.
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