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Complete E39 Exhaust Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Complete E39 Exhaust Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

5 hours5 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

*****

Tools:

13mm socket with ratchet and long extensions, 13mm wrench, mallet, possible hacksaw

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:

Exhaust system, hardware

Hot Tip:

Penetrating oil

Performance Gain:

Quiet car

Complementary Modification:

Exhaust hangers, mounts

The BMW E39 is a very fast machine. One of the ways this is accomplishes is with a high volume, high flow exhaust. These units are large and sturdy but can corrode from high moisture and road salt contamination. These can lead to louder exhaust noise and in some states a failed emissions compliance inspection. Part of this exhaust system is the catalytic converters. These catalytic converters keep your vehicle emissions compliant. The OBD-II diagnostic system in your engine control unit compares the front and rear oxygen sensors to see if the catalytic converter is doing its job. If it is not functioning the control unit will flag a code and turn on your check engine light. The exhaust may also have to be removed to service other items such as the drive shaft and parking brake cables. In this tech article we will review all the steps to remove the entire exhaust system.

Exhaust systems, even quality one with more stainless steel have high iron content to handle the hot exhaust gases, these high iron content parts are prone to oxidation and rust. It is entirely possible that fasteners and components can rust to a point where they are no longer useable. You may have to provide heat and/or destroy hardware to remove your exhaust. It is a good idea to use extensive safety practices when working with heat and wear eye protection to prevent loose rust from falling into your eyes.

This photo illustrates under the middle of the car on the left side.
Figure 1

This photo illustrates under the middle of the car on the left side. The black cover (green arrows) contains the oxygen sensor connectors. The oxygen sensors can be removed separately from the exhaust or can be removed with the exhaust. There is another cover on the other side of the car for the oxygen sensors mounted in the right side exhaust.

This photo illustrates under the middle of the car on the left side of the E39 with the 6 cylinder.
Figure 2

This photo illustrates under the middle of the car on the left side of the E39 with the 6 cylinder. On the left side we see the black cover (green arrow). This is the only housing for the rear o2 sensors. Follow the same following steps to unplug these rear O2 sensors.

Working at the same left side oxygen sensor cover remove the two plastic nuts (green arrows) that secure the oxygen sensor connector to the body of the car.
Figure 3

Working at the same left side oxygen sensor cover remove the two plastic nuts (green arrows) that secure the oxygen sensor connector to the body of the car. You also have to do this on the right side of the car

Unclip the metal bands (green arrows) that hold the oxygen sensor wiring harnesses to the heat shields.
Figure 4

Unclip the metal bands (green arrows) that hold the oxygen sensor wiring harnesses to the heat shields. You'll have to do this on the right side exhaust as well.

Flip the cover around and pull the oxygen sensor connectors (green arrows) out of the cover.
Figure 5

Flip the cover around and pull the oxygen sensor connectors (green arrows) out of the cover. There are two connectors, one for the pre-catalytic converter (sensor 1) and one for the post-catalytic converter (sensor 2). Don't worry about getting the front and rear oxygen sensors mixed up the male and female connectors are reversed from sensor 1 to sensor 2. Once again duplicate the step on the right side exhaust for the other two oxygen sensors.

Separate each oxygen sensor connector by squeezing the end of the connector (green arrow) and the other side the connector (yellow arrow) and pulling then straight apart.
Figure 6

Separate each oxygen sensor connector by squeezing the end of the connector (green arrow) and the other side the connector (yellow arrow) and pulling then straight apart.

The next few steps deal with unbolting the exhaust from the car.
Figure 7

The next few steps deal with unbolting the exhaust from the car. The exhaust is large and heavy and you should support the middle of the exhaust with a jack stand or equivalent. This exhaust has been serviced already with either a replacement catalytic converter or replacement "cat-back" system. This is why you are seeing the exhaust sleeves (green arrows) mounted in the exhaust. You may not have these but simply have straight pipes.

Working at the back of the car use a jack and a block of wood to support the mufflers at the rear of the exhaust.
Figure 8

Working at the back of the car use a jack and a block of wood to support the mufflers at the rear of the exhaust.

This photo illustrates under the back of the car on the left side.
Figure 9

This photo illustrates under the back of the car on the left side. We are looking at the front of the mufflers. Remove the 13mm nut (green arrow) that secures the muffler mount to the body of the car.

Moving towards the middle of the exhaust there is a
Figure 10

Moving towards the middle of the exhaust there is a "V" shaped resonator (muffler). Remove the rubber muffler hanger (green arrow) that is on the right side from the lower pin that is attached to the exhaust.

Moving towards the middle of the exhaust remove the four 13mm bolts and one 13mm nut that holds up the center support bracket.
Figure 11

Moving towards the middle of the exhaust remove the four 13mm bolts and one 13mm nut that holds up the center support bracket. Move the bracket out of the way.

On 6 cylinder models the 13mm nut that holds the exhaust hanger is on the other side of the bracket.
Figure 12

On 6 cylinder models the 13mm nut that holds the exhaust hanger is on the other side of the bracket.

This photo illustrates the right side exhaust where is connects to the exhaust manifold.
Figure 13

This photo illustrates the right side exhaust where is connects to the exhaust manifold. Remove the 4 13mm fasteners (green arrows) that hold the flange on the exhaust downpipe to the flange on the exhaust manifold. There are 13mm heads on the other side of the fasteners so you will have to use a wrench to hold the bolt heads while you loosen the nuts. You will have to perform this identical procedure on the left side exhaust downpipe.

Still working at the same right side exhaust flange we see someone has already removed the rusted fasteners and replaced them with new ones.
Figure 14

Still working at the same right side exhaust flange we see someone has already removed the rusted fasteners and replaced them with new ones. If you have rusted fasteners you can cut them here at the red arrows and replace them. You will have to hammer and possibly chisel the old ones off so wear eye protection to avoid flying rust.

On the 6 cylinder model remove the six 13mm fasteners that hold the exhaust downpipe to the exhaust manifold.
Figure 15

On the 6 cylinder model remove the six 13mm fasteners that hold the exhaust downpipe to the exhaust manifold. You do not have to remove the front o2 sensors because they are mounted in the manifold.

Carefully remove the jack stand under the middle of the exhaust.
Figure 16

Carefully remove the jack stand under the middle of the exhaust. Carefully, lower the front of the exhaust to the ground. You may want to have a helper with you on the other side of the car. Move to the back of the car and lower the jack. Lift the muffler up and remove the jack and rest the exhaust on the floor. It is probably easiest to slide the exhaust out of the back of the car so you may want lay down something to protect the exhaust from the ground. It is heavy so you may also want someone to help you. Installation is the reverse of the removal steps. Position the exhaust on the jack stand by the front of the exhaust and position the jack under the rear muffler and jack it up to meet the body. Install the front pipe connection to the manifold first and secure the fasteners. Install the center support bracket and the rubber exhaust hanger on the right side of the "V" shaped resonator. Finally jack up the rear muffler until the muffler mounting bracket mounts on the stud on the body and fasten it to the car. Start the car and check for exhaust leaks around the manifold area.

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 02:05:56 AM