Parts Catalog Accessories Catalog Tech Info Tech Forums
 
Follow Pelican Parts on Facebook Follow Pelican Parts on Twitter Follow Pelican Parts on Instagram Follow Pelican Parts on YouTube Follow Pelican Parts on Pinterest Follow Pelican Parts on Tumblr
  Search our site:    
View Recent Cars  |   Cart  | Project List | Order Status | Help    
 >  >
BMW E39 Timing Chain Guides Removal
 
Bookmark and Share

Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Timing Chain Guides Removal

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

8 hours8 hrs

Tab:

$500

Talent:

*****

Tools:

10mm, 13mm, T10 Torx socket and wrench, T12 Torx sockets with various extensions and a ratchet, 36mm socket with breaker bar, crankshaft and camshaft alignment tools.

Applicable Models:

BMW 540i Sedan/Wagon (1997-99)

Parts Required:

Engine cover, drive belt and pulleys, alternator, power steering pump, water pump, lower oil pan, timing covers

Hot Tip:

Drain coolant from the block drain to avoid spilling coolant

Performance Gain:

Repairs broken timing chain guide

Complementary Modification:

You can replace the timing chain and tensioner

This article is on the 4.4 liter V8 produced from '97 to '99 (9/98). For the timing chain, timing chain guides and timing chain cover removal procedure for the 6 cylinder look at the E46 articles.

Once our BMW V8 engines have between 100,000 to 200,000 miles they may develop a problem where the timing chain guides break. This creates a dangerous situation. The timing chain guides do just that, guide the timing chain so there is little to no slack in the chain. If the chain is allowed to move as the result of a broken timing chain guide there is a chance the chain could jump and throw engine timing off. If this happens valves could contact the pistons and engine damage could result. In this tech article we will walk you through all the steps to access and replace your timing chain guides.

In order to perform this tech procedure you will need to lift and support your vehicle. See our tech article on lifting and supporting your vehicle.

This job requires you have access to the front of your engine. This means you are going to have to remove the accessory drive belt, pulleys, tensioners, water pump, alternator and power steering pump from the front engine timing covers. You may also want to remove the radiator to give you more room to access the front timing cover. See our tech articles on removing these components before you start this job.

You do not have to remove the radiator but if you do you will have more room to work.
Figure 2

You do not have to remove the radiator but if you do you will have more room to work. See our tech article on removing the radiator. This photo is from a previous tech article.

Remove the accessory drive belts.
Figure 3

Remove the accessory drive belts. See our tech article on removing the accessory drive belts. This photo is from a previous tech article.

Remove the accessory drive belt tensioners.
Figure 4

Remove the accessory drive belt tensioners. See our tech article on removing the accessory drive belt tensioners. This photo is from a previous tech article.

Remove the water pump.
Figure 5

Remove the water pump. See our tech article on removing the water pump. This photo is from a previous tech article.

Remove the power steering pump.
Figure 6

Remove the power steering pump. See our tech article on removing the power steering pump. This photo is from a previous tech article.

Remove the alternator.
Figure 7

Remove the alternator. See our tech article on removing the alternator. This photo is from a previous tech article.

Remove the coils and both valve covers.
Figure 8

Remove the coils and both valve covers. See our tech articles on removing the coils and removing the valve covers. Here, the left side valve cover is being removed. This photo is from a previous tech article. 

Remove the lower oil pan.
Figure 9

Remove the lower oil pan. See our tech article on removing the oil pan and follow the instructions to remove the lower oil pan. This photo is from the tech article on oil pan removal.

Here we are under the car looking at the front of the engine with the lower oil pan removed.
Figure 10

Here we are under the car looking at the front of the engine with the lower oil pan removed. Remove the five 10mm fasteners (green arrows) that attach the upper oil pan to the front timing cover.

Remove the 10mm fastener (green arrow) that is on the left side of the block towards the front but outside the lower oil pan.
Figure 11

Remove the 10mm fastener (green arrow) that is on the left side of the block towards the front but outside the lower oil pan.

Here we are at the left side cylinder head.
Figure 12

Here we are at the left side cylinder head. Remove the six 10mm fasteners (green arrows) that hold down the left side upper timing cover to the cylinder head. There are two hidden fasteners (yellow arrows) recessed on the sides or the cover.

Remove the left side upper timing cover from the engine.
Figure 13

Remove the left side upper timing cover from the engine.

Here we are at the base of the timing cover on the left side; Remove the 10mm fastener (green arrow) that holds the bracket for the oil dipstick tube mount and remove the bracket (yellow arrow).
Figure 14

Here we are at the base of the timing cover on the left side; Remove the 10mm fastener (green arrow) that holds the bracket for the oil dipstick tube mount and remove the bracket (yellow arrow).

Here we are at the right side upper timing cover.
Figure 15

Here we are at the right side upper timing cover. Remove the 10mm fastener (green arrow) that holds the upper oil dipstick tube mount.

Remove the dipstick tube by pulling it upwards in the direction of the blue arrow.
Figure 16

Remove the dipstick tube by pulling it upwards in the direction of the blue arrow. You may have to twist it and maneuver it to pull it all the way out of the engine compartment.

Before you remove the timing chain tensioner or crankshaft bolt you need to secure the crankshaft.
Figure 17

Before you remove the timing chain tensioner or crankshaft bolt you need to secure the crankshaft. Install the crankshaft alignment tool in the hole at the bottom of the transmission. Rotate the engine in the clockwise direction until you are at TDC and insert the tool into the hole. You can use a substitute Allen key but make sure the metal is very strong.

Here we are back at the front of the engine on the right side.
Figure 18

Here we are back at the front of the engine on the right side. Remove the'mm timing chain tensioner from the right side upper timing cover.

Remove the six 10mm bolts that hold on the right side upper timing cover.
Figure 19

Remove the six 10mm bolts that hold on the right side upper timing cover. Since one is hidden behind the cover we have removed the cover to show 5 of the 6 fasteners. The hidden fastener (yellow arrow) is no the bolt you see, it is behind it on the side of the cover.

Here we are at the very front of the crankshaft.
Figure 20

Here we are at the very front of the crankshaft. You do not have to remove the 8 13mm fasteners that hold on the crankshaft drive pulley but we have chosen to do so to for photographic purposes.

Remove the 36mm crankshaft pulley mounting bolt (green arrow).
Figure 21

Remove the 36mm crankshaft pulley mounting bolt (green arrow). This bolt is going to be very tight. Make sure the crank shaft is secured by the crankshaft alignment tool.

Remove the crankshaft bolt (green arrow) and the crankshaft pulley flange (yellow arrow) from the end of the crankshaft.
Figure 22

Remove the crankshaft bolt (green arrow) and the crankshaft pulley flange (yellow arrow) from the end of the crankshaft.

Remove the 10mm (green arrows) and 13mm fasteners Yellow arrows) that hold the timing cover onto the block.
Figure 23

Remove the 10mm (green arrows) and 13mm fasteners Yellow arrows) that hold the timing cover onto the block. We have removed the timing chain cover from the block to give you a clearer picture of where the bolts are.

Remove the lower timing cover from the engine in the direction of the blue arrows to expose the timing chain and the timing chain guides.
Figure 24

Remove the lower timing cover from the engine in the direction of the blue arrows to expose the timing chain and the timing chain guides.

Even though the timing chain tensioner is removed the chain is still too tight to remove from the engine and the cams are twisting against the cam lobes.
Figure 25

Even though the timing chain tensioner is removed the chain is still too tight to remove from the engine and the cams are twisting against the cam lobes. Remove the timing chain guide on the right side by removing the single T12 Torx fastener (green arrow).

Pull the guide rail in the direction of the blue arrow to remove it from the engine block.
Figure 26

Pull the guide rail in the direction of the blue arrow to remove it from the engine block. Be careful not to break the nylon tube (green arrow) that attaches to the guide rail and fits into the block.

Remove the left side guide rail by removing the two T10 Torx fasteners (green arrows) and two 10mm bolts (yellow arrows).
Figure 27

Remove the left side guide rail by removing the two T10 Torx fasteners (green arrows) and two 10mm bolts (yellow arrows).

Pull the lower part of the timing chain around the nose of the crankshaft and remove the timing chain from the engine.
Figure 28

Pull the lower part of the timing chain around the nose of the crankshaft and remove the timing chain from the engine.

Installation is the reverse of the removal steps however you do have to set up the timing chain with special tools.
Figure 29

Remove the center timing chain guide from the engine by removing the 5 T10 Torx fasteners (green arrows) and pull the timing chain guide away from the block

Installation is the reverse of the removal steps however you do have to set up the timing chain with special tools. You should already have the crankshaft secured with the crankshaft alignment tool. Install the timing chain alignment tools on the cam shafts and install the timing chain. Install the timing chain guides starting with the middle guide, followed by the left side guide and finishing with the right side guide. Starting at the crankshaft gear remove as much timing chain slack as you can by pulling the timing chain tight and wrapping it around the left side camshaft timing gear followed by the right side timing gear. This way most of the slack is on the right side guide.

You should have installed the crankshaft alignment tool before you removed the timing chain, so the camshafts should be close to their alignment position.
Figure 30

You should have installed the crankshaft alignment tool before you removed the timing chain, so the camshafts should be close to their alignment position. Install the camshaft alignment tool the right side cylinder. Verify the camshaft lobes for the #1 cylinder are both pointed up toward each other. At the same time fit the second camshaft alignment tool on the left side cylinder head. This will hold all the camshafts in place. The Crankshaft alignment tool will hold the crank position in its proper place.

This photo illustrates the right side cylinder head looking at the timing gears.
Figure 31

This photo illustrates the right side cylinder head looking at the timing gears. Loosen the six T10 Torx fasteners (green arrows) that hold on the intake camshaft drive gear. Do no remove them just loosen them you will notice the gear may more around a little bit. This is normal.

This photo illustrates the left side cylinder head looking at the timing gears.
Figure 32

This photo illustrates the left side cylinder head looking at the timing gears. Loosen the six T10 Torx fasteners (green arrows) that hold on the intake camshaft drive gear. Do no remove them just loosen them you will notice the gear may move around a little bit. This is normal.

Install the timing chain center cover. Put a small amount of silicone sealant in all of the corners of the center timing cover before installing it. Install the right side upper timing case cover. Put a small amount silicone sealant in all of the corners of the right side upper timing case cover before installing it.

Install the tensioner is the right side timing case cover.
Figure 33

Install the tensioner is the right side timing case cover. Put the piston (green arrow) in first then the cap (yellow arrow). The tensioner is spring loaded and hydraulically assisted with oil pressure. The cap will have to be forced on then thread the cap into the right side upper timing cover. Use a new crush washer to prevent oil leaks from the tensioner.

You can now continue with installation. First tighten the six intake camshaft drive gear fasteners to lock the left gear down to the camshaft. Now you engine valve timing is correct. You will need a T10 Torx wrench because some of the fasteners are hidden behind the upper timing covers. If you do not have one you can use a socket and ratchet but you will have to rotate the engine until the fasteners clear the upper timing case covers. You should remove all the spark plugs, camshaft alignment tool and the crankshaft alignment tool first and from the crankshaft rotate the engine twice. Verify the crankshaft alignment and camshaft alignment tool will go back in to check engine valve timing. Because you had the engine open you should do and oil change at the completion of all your work. Install spark plugs, water pump cooling pipes, water pump, valve covers, accessory drive belt pulleys and tensioners. Also install coolant hoses, cooling fan and shroud. Fill the cooling system and bleed it according to our tech article on draining, refilling and bleeding cooling system tech article and verify the engine starts and runs smooth. The engine may be a little noisy when you first start it up but after a few minutes oil pressure should build up and the engine should quite down.




Bookmark and Share
Comments and Suggestions:
Kip Comments: I have a 2001 540i with 4.4ltr I want to know if I can change middle timing chain aND guides with out messing with the timing can I put the new chain on the same way I take the old one off
July 18, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can leave the camshaft chains on and replace the main chain. You will need to lock the engine using timing tools to keep it timed during the procedure. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Trav Comments: Very informative. What would the complete kit cost? 2002 540I 4.4l
January 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I’m not the best with part numbers or prices.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ken Comments: What is the price of the kit and the price to rent the tools for the cam and crank
January 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You didn't mention what vehicle you have. For a fast response, give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
A-A ron Comments: one thing that i would add is that some crankshaft alignment tools are longer than desired and can run into the center steering linkage that connects to the tie rods. a trick is to actually place a jack with a block of wood under the bell housing of the transmission and jack up the transmission and the engine slightly. this will give you enough clearance fit the long pin into the hole to merry up with the flywheel.
October 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MaxHeadroom Comments: Instructions like these are exactly what I was looking for. I will buy the kit from you in advance of doing the job. I assume you have the crankshaft and camshaft alignment tools for rent? What silicone sealant product do you recommend? I have a July 1998 540i 135000 miles. Thanks
August 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Most black RTVs will do. The Right Stuff is pretty good.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jct Comments: Should change the engine oil separator while you are in there.
August 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, good point. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Michael Comments: Hi, thanks for the excellent article. One question about the installation. I've noticed that your lower timing chain cover gasket does not include the gasket for the bottom lower timing chain cover to upper oil pan. Could you suggest what I need to use? Thank you.
July 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Use a silicone sealant, if I remember, the sealant is there from the factory, you break the seal when removing the cover. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rob Comments: Hi, I just got a 1997 540i.
I don't know if someone ever replace the chain guides or the tensioner.
How do I know if I need to do it?
Thanks
July 9, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This tech article shows you how:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/BMW-5-Series-E39/105-ENGINE-Timing_Chain_Guides_Removal/105-ENGINE-Timing_Chain_Guides_Removal.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Cyril Comments: Very good step by step guide
March 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thank you for your feedback. We appreciate it! - Casey at Pelican Parts  

  Search our site:    

View Cart & CheckOut | Project List | Order Status |  Help    

 

[Home] [Customer Service] [Shopping Cart] [Privacy Statement]
 [Contact Us] [About Us] [Shipping] [Map to our Location] [Careers]

Copyright © Pelican Parts Inc.

Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:38:24 AM