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Pelican Technical Article:

Jacking Up Your E39 BMW

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

30 minutes30 mins

Tab:

$0

Talent:

**

Tools:

Floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks

Applicable Models:

BMW E39 5-Series (1997-03)

Parts Required:

Jack pad

Hot Tip:

Work on a solid level surface

Performance Gain:

Ability to service components beneath vehicle.

Complementary Modification:

Replace missing or worn jack pads

Jacking up and supporting your BMW off the ground is required for many maintenance and repair tasks. This common and not so difficult job still creates a bit of anxiousness in the mind of the experienced mechanic as well as the amateur. A repeatable process with safety in mind can ease the nerves. For example, always work on level solid ground, use tools you trust and never rush the job. Remember to block the wheels to prevent unwanted vehicle movement. Use a good quality jack and jack stands and don't be afraid to add an additional jack stand or support under the vehicle.

When jacking the front of your vehicle, place the transmission in Park and apply parking brake, along with blocking the wheels with a chock. When jacking the rear of your vehicle, you do not have the transmission or parking brake to hold the rear wheels still. Use wheel chocks on right and left front wheels, (in front and behind tire).

BMW E39 models have 4 solid rubber jacking pads, slightly behind front wheels and slightly in front of rear wheels.
Figure 1

BMW E39 models have 4 solid rubber jacking pads, slightly behind front wheels and slightly in front of rear wheels. (green arrows)

The jack pads are designed to support the vehicle from below when using a hoist, hydraulic jack, or when changing a tire in an emergency situation.
Figure 2

The jack pads are designed to support the vehicle from below when using a hoist, hydraulic jack, or when changing a tire in an emergency situation. This is where you will place a jack stand to support vehicle when working with vehicle raised. (green arrow)

If a jack pad is missing, replace it before jacking up the vehicle, otherwise body damage can occur.
Figure 3

If a jack pad is missing, replace it before jacking up the vehicle, otherwise body damage can occur. This photo shows jack pad area with missing jack pad. Jack pad snaps into hole in body. (green arrow) You can see this is a typical east coast vehicle. There is a fair amount of surface rust around the jack pad area. If you have a situation like this, I would repair the rust before jacking in this area.

To replace a jack pad.
Figure 4

To replace a jack pad. Lever jack pad out of body, I like to use a flathead screwdriver.

Snap new jack pad in place.
Figure 5

Snap new jack pad in place. Then use a rubber hammer to drive the jack pad into body. To jack up the vehicle, park vehicle on level solid ground. If removing a wheel, loosen wheel studs before jacking up the vehicle. Install wheel chocks to block wheels that are not being jacked up. This will help to keep the vehicle from unexpectedly rolling. Do not assume the parking brake or transmission will hold vehicle, wheel chocks are a must.

Jacking up the front of vehicle:
There is not enough room to jack and support vehicle the in jack pad area at the same time.
Figure 6

There is not enough room to jack and support vehicle the in jack pad area at the same time. When using a hydraulic floor jack to lift front of vehicle, place the hydraulic floor jack under steel box section of body (green arrow). Raise vehicle slowly while monitoring jack and vehicle position.

Once you reach desired height, install jack stand at jack pad location to support the vehicle.
Figure 7

Once you reach desired height, install jack stand at jack pad location to support the vehicle. Slowly lower vehicle onto jack stand until full vehicle weight is supported. Check that the jack stand are not tilting or moving when vehicle is lowered. You can add a second jack stand under the steel box section of the body for added support.

Jacking up the rear of vehicle:
There is not enough room to jack and support the vehicle in jack pad area at the same time.
Figure 8

There is not enough room to jack and support the vehicle in jack pad area at the same time. When using a hydraulic floor jack to lift rear of vehicle, place the hydraulic floor jack under the center of the rear differential (green arrow). Raise the vehicle slowly while monitoring the jack and vehicle position. Since you are lifting the vehicle from the center most point in rear, I suggest placing jack stands under both rear jack pads. This will make it easier to keep vehicle level while lowering it onto jack stands.

Once you reach desired height, install the jack stand at the jack pad location to support the vehicle.
Figure 9

Once you reach desired height, install the jack stand at the jack pad location to support the vehicle. Slowly lower vehicle onto the jack stand until the full vehicle weight is supported. Check that the jack stands are not tilting or moving when vehicle is lowered. You can leave the hydraulic jack under rear differential for added support. When lowering your vehicle, raise the vehicle up off the jack stands, remove the jack stands from beneath the vehicle and slowly lower the vehicle to the ground. Make sure all tools and parts are clear before lowering your vehicle.

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Comments and Suggestions:
mjbennett9 Comments: Thank you Nick! I don't have a manual. Are you referring to the Bentleys manual I hear about? Does it list/recommend/discuss these other jacking points? Sounds like it's a good investment.
November 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yeah, the Bentley manual is the standard. I am glad to help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
mjbennett9 Comments: There are other jacking points too. Can you list those? i.e. under engine pad there. Postings of using the differntial as a jacking point right or wrong, and the lower control arms as another example, or cross member, etc.
November 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: These are the BMW preferred jacking points. If you want to use the diff, that can work. Just be careful where you jack and don't allow the weight of the vehicle to rest on the diff for too long. You can also jack on the subframes if needed, but be careful, the jack can slip if you do not have it on right. I would grab a repair manual, if you aren't familiar with jacking, you should read what BMW has to say about it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:05:06 AM