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M54 6-Cylinder Engine Drive Belt Tensioners Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

M54 6-Cylinder Engine Drive Belt Tensioners Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

****

Tools:

Set of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 528i xDrive Sedan (2009-10)
BMW 528i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 530i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 530xi Wagon (2006-07)
BMW 535i xDrive Sedan/Wagon (2009-10)
BMW 535i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 535xi Wagon (2008)

Parts Required:

Drive belt tensioners, bearings, hydraulic tensioner

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Proper engine accessory operation

Complementary Modification:

Replace drive belts

Two drive belts in the M54 6-cylinder engine drive the accessories pulleys at the front of the engine. The power steering pump, coolant pump and alternator are driven by one belt. A separate belt drives the AC compressor. A tensioner pulley tensions each belt.

Note that the engine-cooling fan is electric and not belt-driven.

The belts are tensioned by strong tensioners and do not need periodic adjustment. But they will, over time and due to heat, cold and the rigors of operating multiple pulleys, develop signs of wear, which include: cracks, fraying, glazing or missing chunks. In addition, the tensioners and idler pulleys may develop defects. Bearings in these pulleys are lifetime lubricated. The lubrication eventually dries up or wears out and may cause noises. If it seizes, it can damage the belt quite quickly due to excessive friction. This kind of failure can occur when you least expect it. There are a few warning signs: listen for increasing belt noise, chirping or grinding from the belt area. If you have any of these symptoms, remove your drive belts and inspect the idler and tensioners. Also inspect the main drive belt tensioner for straightness. As the tensioner bearing wears it can tilt, causing your drive belt to fail. If you have a chirping sound from your hydraulic tensioner, it could be bad needle bearings. Rebuilding or replacing the main drive belt tensioner can remedy this. I will show you both methods in this tech article.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Be sure to work with a cool engine and remove the key from the ignition.

Remove the cooling fan and drive belts before beginning. See our tech articles for instructions on how to do this.

BMW E60 models equipped with an M54 6-cylinder engine utilize two multi-ribbed engine drive belts.
Figure 1

BMW E60 models equipped with an M54 6-cylinder engine utilize two multi-ribbed 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.

This photo shows both drive belts from below.
Figure 2

This photo shows both drive belts from below. The A/C belt is pointed out with the green arrow. The accessory (main) drive belt is shown with the yellow arrow. I will be working mainly from below the engine. I will let you know when I move to the top of the engine.

A/C belt tensioner: Using a 16mm socket, loosen the center tensioner mounting bolt.
Figure 3

A/C belt tensioner: Using a 16mm socket, loosen the center tensioner mounting bolt.

A/C belt tensioner: Once loose, remove the tensioner with its bolt from the engine.
Figure 4

A/C belt tensioner: Once loose, remove the tensioner with its bolt from the engine.

A/C belt tensioner: When installing a new tensioner, be sure to properly align the installation tab (green arrow) with the engine.
Figure 5

A/C belt tensioner: When installing a new tensioner, be sure to properly align the installation tab (green arrow) with the engine.

This photo shows the accessory (main) drive belt components.
Figure 6

This photo shows the accessory (main) drive belt components. The crankshaft pulley is at the bottom (blue arrow), tensioner (green arrow), alternator (red arrow) and the idler pulley (yellow arrow).

Accessory belt tensioner: Using an 8mm Allen bit, loosen the tensioner pulley mounting bolt.
Figure 7

Accessory belt tensioner: Using an 8mm Allen bit, loosen the tensioner pulley mounting bolt. Remove the pulley with its bolt.

Accessory belt tensioner: Be sure not to misplace the pulley shim (green arrow).
Figure 8

Accessory belt tensioner: Be sure not to misplace the pulley shim (green arrow).

Accessory belt tensioner: Working below the thermostat, remove the 13mm tensioner mounting fastener (green arrow).
Figure 9

Accessory belt tensioner: Working below the thermostat, remove the 13mm tensioner mounting fastener (green arrow).

Accessory belt tensioner: Working next to the alternator, remove the 13mm tensioner mounting fastener (green arrow).
Figure 10

Accessory belt tensioner: Working next to the alternator, remove the 13mm tensioner mounting fastener (green arrow).

Accessory belt tensioner: Using a pry bar (green arrow), gently lever the tensioner (red arrow) away from the engine.
Figure 11

Accessory belt tensioner: Using a pry bar (green arrow), gently lever the tensioner (red arrow) away from the engine.

Accessory belt tensioner: Remove the tensioner from the engine by sliding it off the pivot pin (viewed from above the engine).
Figure 12

Accessory belt tensioner: Remove the tensioner from the engine by sliding it off the pivot pin (viewed from above the engine). At this point, you can either replace the entire tensioner assembly, or rebuild yours. If you replace it, just install the tensioner in the reverse steps of its removal. To rebuild the tensioner, see the next few steps.

Accessory belt tensioner: Secure the tensioner in the vise.
Figure 13

Accessory belt tensioner: Secure the tensioner in the vise. Remove the 13mm hydraulic strut fasteners. Then remove the strut from the tensioner.

Accessory belt tensioner: With the strut removed, you can now replace the needle bearings inside the tensioner.
Figure 14

Accessory belt tensioner: With the strut removed, you can now replace the needle bearings inside the tensioner. These are the items that cause the chirp or squeak. Before removing the old bearings, measure and note the installation depth of each. The front bearing (red arrow) is installed deeper than the rear bearing (green arrow).

Accessory belt tensioner: Using a brass punch, drive the needle bearings out of the tensioner.
Figure 15

Accessory belt tensioner: Using a brass punch, drive the needle bearings out of the tensioner. Tap the perimeter of the bearing as you drive it out. Doing so will ensure that it comes out straight.

Accessory belt tensioner: Using a soft-faced hammer, drive the new bearings into the tensioner at the previously noted depth.
Figure 16

Accessory belt tensioner: Using a soft-faced hammer, drive the new bearings into the tensioner at the previously noted depth. Install the new hydraulic strut to the tensioner. Then install the tensioner to the engine.

Accessory belt idler pulley: Remove the idler pulley dust cap.
Figure 17

Accessory belt idler pulley: Remove the idler pulley dust cap. Use a small flathead screwdriver to lever it off.

Accessory belt idler pulley: Remove the idler pulley's T45 Torx fastener.
Figure 18

Accessory belt idler pulley: Remove the idler pulley's T45 Torx fastener.

Accessory belt idler pulley: Unscrew and remove the idler pulley from the engine.
Figure 19

Accessory belt idler pulley: Unscrew and remove the idler pulley from the engine. Install the new idler pulley and tighten the fastener. Reinstall the drive belts. Start the engine and allow it to run for less than 30 seconds. Shut the engine OFF and recheck the belt installation.


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Comments and Suggestions:
jammer Comments: Hi,

I went to replace all my pulleys last weekend but discovered that realoem was giving me the incorrect idler pulley p/n. Can you provide me the idler pulley p/n for my 2005 530i? This is for the pulley that is bolted to the alternator shown in figures 17,18,19.

Thank you!
November 19, 2014
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