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BMW Home > BMW Technical Articles  > BMW 5-Series E39 (1996-2003) Technical Articles
  
BMW E39 DIY Technical Articles

BMW 5-Series E39 (1996-2003)
Technical Articles

Welcome to our BMW E39 technical articles section.  We've gathered a vast collection of useful articles to help you repair many items on your BMW.  Save money by avoiding your mechanic and perform the repairs using the information we've provided here.  Can't find what you're looking for?  Try our Search Engine, or hop over to our Technical Bulletin Board, and ask your question to the thousands of members who post messages there every day.

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 Basics & Essentials
Battery Replacement
New to working on your car? Not sure where the air filter is or how to change your oil and filter? Check out this simple article.      Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Changing Engine Oil
Whether you follow BMW's recommended interval or like to change your oil every 3,000 miles. Use this tech article to learn how to do the most common task to do on your E39.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Drive Belt Replacement
Worn drive belts. Here's some short instructions on this very basic of maintenance tasks.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Fuel Filter Replacement
You should replace your fuel filter every two years. In this tech article we will go over all the steps to remove your fuel filter so you can replace it.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Engine Air Filter Replacement
New to working on your car?  Not sure where the air filter is?  Check out this simple article.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Identifying Vehicle Options
How do you know what options your car came from the factory with?
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Engine Splash Shield Removal
This tech article shows you to remove the lower engine splash shields
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Jacking Your Vehicle
Most common tasks need the car to be jacked up in the air. But where should you place the jack, and what is the safest method of lifting it? It's all answered here
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Engine
Oil Filter Housing and Lines Removal
Replace your oil filter housing or hoses easily by following this technical article.
     Applies to: 540i (1997-03)
Oil Level Sensor Removal
Oil level in your dash no longer accurate? Swap that pesky sensor out in no time!
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (1997-03), 540i (1997-03)
Alternator Removal
Replacing the alternator on the E39 can be a bit tedious due to the modular front end design. Here, we'll go over the steps involved in changing it.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (1997-03), 540i (1997-03)
Oil Pan Gasket Replacement
If your oil pan is leaking this tech article will go through all the steps to remove the pan and install new gaskets.
     Applies to: 540i (1997-03)
Throttle Housing Removal
Need to remove your throttle housing, also known as the throttle body? We makes it easy with his detailed guide.
     Applies to: 530i (1997-98), 540i (1997-03)
Engine Cover Removal
Need help removing the engine cover? Find the answers in here!
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Starter Replacement
Click! Click! Click! It's probably time for a new starter.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Spark Plug Coil Replacement
Your spark plugs ignite the mixture in your engine. Keep them new to improve the combustion process.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Motor Mounts Removal
Sagging engine or vibration? Use this tech article to help with replacing the engine mounts on BMW E39 vehicle.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Cylinder Head Gasket Removal
Over-heating? Misfiring? Excessive pressure in coolant system? Signs of a bad head gasket and we are going to show you how to service it.
     Applies to: 540i (1997-98)
Exhaust Manifold Removal
Exhaust leak noise? Here is how to replace your exhaust manifold or gaskets.
     Applies to: 540i (1997-03)
PCV System Removal
Smoking engine or internal engine vacuum leak. This tech article shows you how to replace the PCV system on your BMW E39
     Applies to: 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Valve Cover Gasket Removal
Leaky valve cover gasket? This tech article shows you how to replace in a few easy steps
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Timing Chain Guides Removal
Here we describe how to remove the timing chain and guides on your 4.4 liter V8 E39.
     Applies to: 540i (1997-99)
Tensioners And Pulleys Removal
Here we describe how to remove the tensioners and pulleys on your E39.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
 Fuel Injection
Fuel Injector Replacement
Dirty or leaking fuel injectors? Fault codes being set? Use this tech article to see how to replace the fuel injectors on your BMW E39.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (1997-03), 540i (1997-03)
Mass Air Flow Sensor Replacement
Running rich or lean? Poor drivability? Check your MAF.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Engine Management Systems
Your engine management system keeps the fuel mileage up and emissions down. Here is how it works.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Fuel Pump Sender Removal
No fuel pressure means no start, so change the fuel pump and level sender.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Fuel Rail Rebuild
Leaking injectors or fuel pressure is not correct. Rebuild your fuel rail.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Intake Manifold Removal
Check engine light with lean codes? Maybe you have leaking intake manifold gaskets.
     Applies to: 528i (1997-98), 540i (1997-03)
Camshaft Sensor Replacement
A bad camshaft sensor can cause reduced engine power and a check engine light. Here's how to change it out.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Crankshaft Sensor Replacement
Crankshaft sensor fault code, or an engine that won't start? We'll show you how to replace your crank sensor in this tech article.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
 Exhaust
Complete Exhaust Replacement
Want a performance exhaust? Or just to fix your stock one? If you have to remove it here's how.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Muffler Replacement
Is your E39 muffler rusting into oblivion? Maybe you want to install an aftermarket performance muffler? Replace it by following this guide.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Oxygen Sensor Replacement
Old, worn out oxygen sensors can cause poor mileage, low power and a variety of fuel injection problems. Learn to replace them today with our article.
     Applies to: 528i (1997-98), 540i (1997-98)
 Water Cooling System
Thermostat Removal
No heat in the car? Engine running cool? Try a new thermostat and use this article to see how to replace it.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Cooling System Filling and Bleeding
Cooling system flush overdue? If you've opened up your cooling system for any reason you will need to bleed it.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Cooling Pump Removal
Car starting to overheat? Heater not working like it used to? Over time, the water pump will eventually need to be changed.Here's how to swap it out on your E39.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (1997-03), 540i (1997-03)
Coolant Expansion Tank Removal
These coolant tanks are well known to crack and leak. Replacement is a snap and takes less than 30 minutes.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Cooling Fan Replacement
Is your engine running hot when stopped but fine down the road? Check your cooling fan and swap it out with this article!
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Coolant Valley Pan Removal
Coolant leak down the back of your engine? This could be a leaking valley pan gasket. This tech article shoes you what it takes to replace it.
     Applies to: 540i (1997-03)
Radiator Replacement
Leaky radiator? See how to replace yours in this easy-to-follow tech article.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-99)
Radiator Outlet Temperature Sensor Removal
Do you have a diagnostic trouble code for the outlet temperature sensor? Well then check it.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (2001-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1999-03)
 Transmission & Axles
Transmission Mount Replacing
Vibration or noise when shifting? This tech article shows you how to replace your transmission mounts.
     Applies to: 325i (2006), 325Xi (2006), 330i (2006), 330xi (2006), 328i (2007-2009), 335i (2007-2009)
Automatic Trans Fail Safe
If your transmission is stuck in 3rd gear here's how to find out why.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Automatic Trans Fluid Replacing
It is a good idea to service your fluid every 60,000 miles; doing so will extend the life of your transmission.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Manual Transmission Fluid Change
Grinding while shifting? Sticking shift lever? Drain and refill your manual gearbox fluid
     Applies to: 525i (2001-01), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
 Brakes
ABS Sensor Replacement
ABS/ASC/DSC light on? Maybe it's one of your wheel speed sensors.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Brake ABS ASC Module Replacement
If you had a wheel speed sensor code and changed it but the light is still on here is the real fix.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Brake Bleeding
BMW recommends you change your brake fluid once every two years, here's how.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Brake Lines Replacement
Brake lines can clog causing calipers to stick and you don't want that.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Brake Master Cylinder Replacement
Spongy pedal? Just bled the brakes. Change your master cylinder.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Brake Pads Replacement
Are you squeaking while braking? Brake pads low? Replace them yourself.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Brake Caliper Replacement
Is a frozen caliper causing your car to pull to one side under braking? Replace it.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Parking Brake Shoes Replacement
You can get your parking brake to become useful again.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Parking Brake Adjusting
Is your parking brake not holding the car on a hill? We can help you fix that.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Brake Rotor Replacement
You know your brake pads wear but did you know your rotors wear also?
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Parking Brake Adjusting
Is your parking brake not holding the car on a hill? We can help you fix that.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
 Suspension
Power Steering Reservoir Removal
Is your power steering reservoir looking ugly? Swap it out with a new one following the steps outlined in this guide.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (1997-03), 540i (1997-03)
Power Steering Pump Removal
Over time, power steering pumps tend to fail. In this article, we'll go over the steps involved with replacing the pump.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (1997-03), 540i (1997-03)
Front and Rear Wheel Bearing Removal
Noisy front or rear wheel bearing? No problem, this tech article shows you how to replace it.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Axle Shaft Rebuild
You can extend the life of your axles by cleaning and changing the grease in them.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Axle Shaft Replacement
Axle shaft put all your horsepower to the rear wheels. Remember that when you replace them.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Driveshaft Rebuild
If your up to the task you can fix that driveline vibration yourself.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Driveshaft Replacement
Driveline vibration that increases and decreases with speed. Could be the driveshaft.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Front Lower Control Arm Replacement
Over time ball joints and bushing can wear. Here's how to replace your front lower control arm.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Front Strut Replacement
What is a BMW with great handling. Struts can make your car feel new again.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Guibo Flex Disc Replacement
The guibo absorbs the drivetrain shock so when it wears out you're going to notice it.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Rear Strut Replacement
New struts can make the whole car feel new again.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Radius Arm Replacement
If your car pull under braking but it's not the brakes try this.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Rear Differential Fluid Replacing
Rear differential fluid lubricates your expensive differential. Protect it with new gear oil.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Rear Forward Upper link Replacement
Does the rear of your car feels like it goes off in a different direction then check your rear links
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Rear Lower Control Arm Replacement
The rear ball joint is often over looked but a worn one will hurt handling.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Rear Rearward Upper Link Replacement
Does the rear of your car feels like it goes off in a different direction then check your rear links
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Rear Swaybar Links and Bushings Replacement
Excessive body roll reducing confidence in turns. Check your swaybar bushing.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Tie rod Ends and Center-link Replacement
Is your front end wandering in turns? Want that tight steering feel again?
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Front Swaybar Links and Bushings Replacement
Do you hear a light tapping noise over bumps? Check your swaybar links.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
 Body
Blower Motor Final Stage Replacement
Blower motor is stuck at one speed or works with the key off killing the battery? Here is how to change the final stage.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Blower Motor Repair
If you do have a bad blower motor you are going to have to access it to replace it, here's how.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Blower Motor Testing
Not sure why your blower motor is not working, here's how to test the final stage.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Center Console Removal
Spilled coffee in the center console. Here's how to remove it so you can clean then mess.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Cabin Microfilter Replacement
If you live in congested or dusty areas air borne partincles can make it inside your cabin. Replace your cabin air filter to filter out these contaminants.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Center Dash Panel Removal
Putting in a custom radio or navigation? We'll show you how to remove the center of the dash.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Trunk Release Button Replacement
BMW uses an electric switch to open the latch on your trunk. Here is how to test the switch.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Door Latch Replacement
A bad door latch can tell the GEM then door is open when it isn't. Here is how to fix that.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Driver Side Lower Dash Panel Removal
Need to access parts under the driver's side of the dash? Then you need to know how to remove the lower panel.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Exterior Mirror Replacement
Whether you are changing the mirror or the whole assembly here is how to service your exterior mirror.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Front And Rear Seat Removal
Sometimes you will need to remove the front and rear seats to make a repair or run wiring.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Front Bumper Replacement
Fender bender? You can replace the front bumper yourself.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Front Door Panel Removal
If you are changing a window regulartor, door latch or actuator you will need to remove the door panel, here's how.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Glove Box Removal
Sometimes you need to remove the glove box to access certain components.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Headlight Lens Refinishing
Cloudy headlight lenes? Here's how you can fix that.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Headlight Replacement
Is your headlight assembly damaged? Replace it.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
IHKA Control Unit Replacement
If you are changing your IHKA panel or the MID display you will need to know how to remove them.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Pillar Cover and Door Trim Removal
Need to change a seat belt or run wiring for a radio installation? Pull the pillars to hide the wiring.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Power Seat Testing
Power seats not working? We'll show you how to test them.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Power Window Testing
Power windows not working? Here's how to test the parts.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Rear Bumper Removal
Some one has tapped you in the rear bumper? You can fix this yourself.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Rear Door Panel Removal
If you need to service components in your rear door you are going to need to know how to remove the rear door panel.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Steering Wheel Removal
To perform some repairs you will need to know how to pull off the steering wheel.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Steering Wheel Switches Replacement
Turn signals, wiper or washers not working. You may have to replace the switches.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Tail Light Replacement
Cracked tail light lens. Fix it yourself.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Trunk Latch Replacement and Testing
BMW uses an electric switch to open the latch on your trunk. Here is how to test the switch.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Upper Dash Panel Replacement
Do you need to change your blower motor? You'll have to remove the upper dash panel.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Window Regulator Replacement
If your window will not go up and down due to a bad regulator here is how to change it.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
 Electrical
Wiper Component Replacement
Are your wipers not working or stopping in the wrong position? Here's how to fix that.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Reading Fault Codes
Use the techniques outlined in this article to diagnose fault codes.
     Applies to: 525i (2001-03), 528i (1999-03), 530i (2001-03), 540i (1997-03)
Got more questions?  Join us in our BMW Technical Forum Message Board, and ask a question to one of our many automotive experts.
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