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BMW E39 Drive Belt Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Drive Belt Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$40

Talent:

****

Tools:

Set of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i Sedan/Wagon (2001-03)
BMW 528i Sedan/Wagon (1997-00)
BMW 530i Sedan (2001-03)
BMW 540i Sedan/Wagon (1997-03)

Parts Required:

Drive belt

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine.

Performance Gain:

Proper engine accessory operation

Complementary Modification:

Replace idler pulley

In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with replacing the drive belts on the BMW E39 6-cylinder engine and 8-cylinder engine. Be sure to work with a cool engine and remove the key from the ignition.

Models with 6-cylinder engine:
BMW E39 models equipped with a 6-cylinder engine utilize 2 multi-rib engine drive belts.
Figure 1

BMW E39 models equipped with a 6-cylinder engine utilize 2 multi-rib engine drive belts. A small outer belt drives the A/C compressor and the larger inner belt drives the alternator, coolant pump, and power steering pump.

With your engine cold and turned OFF, inspect your drive belts for wear.
Figure 2

With your engine cold and turned OFF, inspect your drive belts for wear. The belts (yellow, red arrows) should be free from cracks, fraying, glazing and missing chunks. Replace your belt if any of the previously mentioned issues are present or every 4 years.

Working at top of radiator, remove expansion rivets from intake air duct (yellow arrows).
Figure 3

Working at top of radiator, remove expansion rivets from intake air duct (yellow arrows).

To remove the rivets, you can use a small flathead screwdriver to pry them up, then using needle nose pliers, pull the rivet out.
Figure 4

To remove the rivets, you can use a small flathead screwdriver to pry them up, then using needle nose pliers, pull the rivet out. The expanding portion of the rivet will now come out with duct. Depending on model year, vehicle may have 3 or 4 expansion rivets.

Next, remove intake air duct from radiator support by lifting up and out of intake air housing duct.
Figure 5

Next, remove intake air duct from radiator support by lifting up and out of intake air housing duct. It is not necessary to remove the radiator cooling fan shroud from the vehicle. Removing it will allow easier access to drive belts. See our tech article on Radiator cooling fan removing for instructions on how to remove. Before removing drive belts, mark direction of rotation (if reusing belts) and note installation position. There are two styles of tensioners, hydraulic and spring loaded. Each has a unique way of releasing tension.

Hydraulic style tensioners, remove dust cap from tensioner pulley.
Figure 6

Hydraulic style tensioners, remove dust cap from tensioner pulley.

Once dust cap is removed, you have access to the 8mm Allen bolt used to rotate tensioner.
Figure 7

Once dust cap is removed, you have access to the 8mm Allen bolt used to rotate tensioner.

Spring loaded tensioners use a 16mm hex boss to rotate and release tension.
Figure 8

Spring loaded tensioners use a 16mm hex boss to rotate and release tension.

Locate A/C drive belt tensioner; use 16 mm hex boss or remove dust cap to access Allen bolt, if 16mm hex boss is not present.
Figure 9

Locate A/C drive belt tensioner; use 16 mm hex boss or remove dust cap to access Allen bolt, if 16mm hex boss is not present. Using a ratchet with a long handle and an 8mm socket or a 16mm open end wrench (depending on style of tensioner), rotate A/C belt tensioner clockwise to release tension and slide belt off pulleys.

Locate accessory drive belt tensioner and remove dust cap (if necessary).
Figure 10

Locate accessory drive belt tensioner and remove dust cap (if necessary). Using a ratchet with a long handle (red arrow) and the appropriate socket, rotate drive belt tensioner clockwise to release tension and slide belt off pulleys. With belts removed, inspect pulleys for lateral play or binding. The idler pulley commonly fails, if this occurs the coolant pump will lose the drive belt and engine will overheat. Now is a good time to replace the idler pulley to prevent future problems. See our tech article on idler pulley replacing. To install accessory drive belt, begin by wrapping belt around crankshaft pulley, then over and around power steering pulley, around alternator, around coolant pump and around tensioner pulley. Avoid running belt under idler pulley for now. Once the belt is properly installed on all accessories, release tensioner as described earlier and slide belt onto idler pulley. Tension belt and check that it is properly aligned and installed in all pulley grooves correctly. Be careful not to force belt onto pulleys, damage may occur. To install A/C drive belt, begin by wrapping belt around crankshaft pulley, then onto A/C pulley, next bring a loop of the belt toward tensioner, working through center of loop release tensioner as described earlier and slide belt onto tensioner pulley. Release tensioner and check that belt is properly aligned and installed in all pulley grooves correctly. Be careful not to force belt onto pulleys, damage may occur. Reinstall dust caps on tensioner pulleys and install intake air duct. Start engine allow to run for less than 30 seconds, shut engine OFF and recheck belt installation

 Model with 8-cylinder engine:
BMW E39 models equipped with an 8-cylinder engine utilize 2 multi-rib engine drive belts.
Figure 11

BMW E39 models equipped with an 8-cylinder engine utilize 2 multi-rib engine drive belts. A small inner belt drives the A/C compressor and the larger outer belt drives the alternator, coolant pump, and power steering pump. Use this diagram as a reference when removing and installing your drive belts. With your engine cold and turned OFF, inspect your drive belts for wear. The belts should be free from cracks, fraying, glazing and missing chunks. Replace your belt if any of the previously mentioned issues are present or every 4 years. The alternator (accessory) drive belt can be replaced from the top. The A/C belt is replaced from below.

To release tension on the alternator (accessory) drive belt, loosen two 13mm tensioner fasteners (yellow arrows).
Figure 12

To release tension on the alternator (accessory) drive belt, loosen two 13mm tensioner fasteners (yellow arrows). The belt tensioner should release once these are loose. To check that the tensioner is fully released, you can rotate the tensioner clockwise using the 17mm hex (red arrow) on the tensioner.

With tension released, now you can remove the belt.
Figure 13

With tension released, now you can remove the belt. Start by sliding it off the tensioner pulley. Then remove it from the alternator, then the power steering pump. Unhook it from the idler pulley and remove it from the crankshaft pulley then finally the water pump. Now that you removed the accessory drive belt, you can remove the A/C belt. Start by jacking and supporting the front of your vehicle. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle. Remove the engine splash shield. See our tech article on removing the engine splash shield

Start by loosening the 10mm fastener at the tensioner bracket (green arrow).
Figure 14

Start by loosening the 10mm fastener at the tensioner bracket (green arrow). Then loosen the 13mm fastener at the tensioner (yellow arrow). The belt tensioner should release once these are loose. To check that the tensioner is fully released, you can rotate the tensioner clockwise using the 17mm hex (red arrow) on the tensioner. The belt can removed from the tensioner pulley, the A/C compressor and the crankshaft pulley now.

Once the old belt is removed, install the new A/C belt first.
Figure 15

Once the old belt is removed, install the new A/C belt first. Then use a 17mm wrench and rotate the tensioner clockwise, then tighten the 10mm fastener to lock it in place. Then tighten the 13mm tensioner fastener.

With the A/C belt installed and tensioned.
Figure 16

With the A/C belt installed and tensioned. You can install the accessory belt. Start by sliding it on the crankshaft pulley. Then wrap it around the water pump, then from the right side of the engine, pull a loop of belt between the water pump and crankshaft pulleys and place it on the idler pulley (see the belt diagram if needed). Place the belt around the power steering pulley, then the alternator, and finally the tensioner pulley. Then tension the belt by rotating the 17mm hex (green arrow) counterclockwise to stop, then tighten 13mm locking fastener (yellow arrow). Once tight, tighten the other 13mm fasteners at the 17mm hex. Check that the belts are properly aligned and installed in all pulley grooves correctly. Start engine allow to run for less than 30 seconds, shut engine OFF and recheck belt installation. Reinstall engine splash shield and lower vehicle to ground.

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Page last updated: Fri 12/2/2016 02:04:43 AM