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Everything posted by rdl

  1. rdl

    Which service do I need?

    In BMW's service schedule for North America at least, the only difference between Insp 1 and Insp 2 is engine air filter and fuel filter replacement. More important though is the usual interval between an Insp 1 and Insp 2 is ~30k miles while the Oil Service interval is ~15k miles which is combined with Insp 1 or 2 when they come due together. Given you've had an Insp 1 only 4k miles ago (and an Insp 2 only 6k before that!!) there's no need now, exactly as Clavurion mentioned above. (If you don't know yet, the instrument cluster counts toward warnings for Oil Service, Insp 1 & Insp 2 based on fuel consumption. These intervals are approximations.) So going forward you might expect: OS @ 99K, Insp 2 + OS @ 114k, OS only @ 129k, Insp 1 + OS @ 144k, etc., etc. Many folks are queasy at the idea of a 15k oil change interval and do an oil & filter change only (not the other few items on the OS list) half way through the 15k. Do you have a copy of BMW's E39 service schedule, i.e. the list of items for Oil Service, Insp 1, Insp 2 and 100k mile service? If not, a search will turn up download sites. If you're at all handy you can do most or all of them yourself. When the time comes, browse the list, do what you can and pay only for the items you don't wish to do yourself. Clavurion mentioned a brake fluid flush every two years. Similarly, BMW's schedule also calls for a coolant flush every 4 years, so you ought to check if that's been done. You'll see in the E39 forums that many long term E39 owners recommend preemptive replacement or at least a very careful inspection of the cooling system every 100k miles. This based on bitter experience. Cooling system service is not in BMW's published schedule. The list of items includes: radiator, upper and lower rad hoses, expansion tank, water pump, fan and fan clutch, serpentine belts. Regards RDL
  2. I had a walking speed parking lot accident on the front bumper left corner at about 45 degrees. The bumper is now shifted sideways 1/4 to 3/8" and backward at the left side about the same amount where the bumper lines up to the fender at the wheel well arch. I've not taken the bumper off yet to measure. I know everything is speculation until I get things apart but am on tenderhooks wondering just how bad this will turn out to be so I have a couple of questions. Are the bumper supports springy and supposed bounce back or "one time only" and supposed stay compressed? Anyone with the experience to estimate if the bumper supports are bent sideways or more likely the frame rail at the mounting point? I have the TIS frame straightening control dimensions but haven't yet puzzled through exactly how I'd be able to verify this. TIA Regards RDL
  3. A heads up that those are the part #s for models without rear door side air bags. With rear side airbags (option code S261) left side is 51 48 8 230 221, right 51 48 8 230 222 RealOEM lists the airbag variety as less expensive than "regular" - worth checking out at your vendor. Also, in North America any auto parts store will sell butyl tape by the roll. I've used 8mm (5/16") square with success. Price here for a 15 ft roll, enough for 2 doors, coverts to less than GBP 10. Likely less than BMW's price. Regards RDL
  4. A tip on fitting the vapour barrier to the door that should improve the chances of long term success. A few years ago I went through a series of 3 repairs each failing after just a few months with the foam panel the pulling away from the butyl adhesive at a lower corner. And this with a new vapour barrier after the second failure. Talk about annoying and frustrating! I finally figured out that the door pocket protrusion was likely pushing on the foam barrier with just enough force to make it "creep" on the butyl and release over time. I then tried stepping the panel's sealing flange inward from its natural, relaxed state (with full overlap on the door's steel flange) along the bottom edge and up ~30 cm. Not by much; the setback was just a centimeter or so to allow a little more depth when the door's trim panel was installed. There is still lots of overlap for the butyl tape to have a good wide contact strip once compressed during installation. A year and a half later the door is still water tight and the rear footwell dry. Regards RDL
  5. rdl

    EML anyone know what this means??

    This looks to me as a message that INPA has failed rather than reporting an error in the EML. Is you INPA installation complete? Regards RDL
  6. rdl

    Winter tyres on 16" alloys

    You'll find 215/60R16 to be closer to stock rolling diameter and therefore a better choice. FWIW, I found Blizzak WS80s in that size to reduce the speedo error to only a couple of kph vs the 5-6 with 225/55R16 All Season tires. 215/55R16 will be smaller diameter than stock and increase the speedo error, but perfectly workable so long as the load rating is OK. Regards RDL
  7. Bushing end 110 Nm Ball joint end 80 Nm Regards RDL
  8. BMW's TIS (dealer service manual) says to replace self-locking nuts on both the bushing end and ball joint end. Most DIYs re-use the nuts, some with Loctite, some without. I've never seen a report of re-used nuts coming loose in service. FWIW, I've seen other references that state re-using compressed/squeezed self locking nuts (as these are) up to 5 times is perfectly acceptable practice. Folks who tightened the bushing end with the suspension in full droop have reported premature bushing failure in as few as 10k miles. The theory goes that the bushings are permanently in a twisted state while subjected to driving loads & this causes failure. This sounds sensible since the spec for orienting the bushing in the thrust arm is +/- 3 degrees. TIS says the car should be in "normal position" which involves putting the car on the ground and adding weights to the car's seats and trunk. However that sinks the front suspension by ~5mm compared to let's call it "usual position" which works out to a change of ~1/2 degree. Compared to the orientation spec that's not a significant difference. I've done mine with the front strut at unweighted height (see next paragraph) with no failure in several years and over 100k miles. Torquing the bushing end with the car on the ground is very difficult even using ramps. Many folks leave the car on jack stands and use a floor jack with a wood or rubber pad carefully positioned under the upright to jack the strut up to typical/usual ride height. Then torque the bushing end. I should note that the rear suspension is a different matter. Weighting to normal position drops the rear by 25 to 30 mm over shorter arms than the trust link, so the angular change is larger. There I would use the TIS recommendation. Regards RDL
  9. rdl

    Headlight movement

    I've replaced adjusters in half a dozen lights so unfortunately have lots of experience with the difference between good & failed. The lateral adjuster is definitely broken. Given the way the light moves I'd guess that the vertical is OK, but could be wrong. Good adjusters will move ~ 1/2 cm with the force you were using; and they have more a feeling of flexing rather than the loose flopping seen in the video. Your 2001 will have the "bakeable" lights which makes renewing the adjusters much easier. A search in E39 forums and youtube will turn up lots of DIYs. The adjuster design changed around 1999, so be sure to buy the correct ones for your headlights. EDIT: I should have mentioned. I have the HID lights which cycle up/down/up when started. Even with broken vertical adjusters they would cycle properly. So operation of the vertical control is not a valid test for broken adjusters. Regards RDL
  10. +1 on that. A few years ago I carefully installed a new Zimmermann rotor after wirebrushing the hub and carefully cleaning both the hub & rotor seating surfaces. I then checked runout and got 0.005". So much for Zimmermann quality I thought. However when I removed the "defective" rotor I spotted a barely visible flyspeck of black something crud. After wiping it off, re-cleaning surfaces and checking runout again my dial indicator said less than 0.001". Where that black flyspec came from I have no idea. But if I hadn't checked I'd have had a brake shudder without a doubt. Now 2 years and 30k miles later my brakes are still silky smooth. And BTW, it's vital to clamp the rotor to the hub firmly with at least 3 bolts to get an accurate measurement. I've checked a rotors with only the set screw installed and got over 0.010". Then disturbing nothing else other than snugging the rotor down with 3 bolts, measured less than 0.001" Regards RDL
  11. rdl

    Vapor barrier or not

    There is an easier way than removing the panel. Open the door and run a stream of water down the window (on the outside ) for several minutes. Immediately you start, you should see water draining from the door through the drains at the bottom hem. If after a few minutes there is no sign of water on the bottom edge of the trim panel the vapour barrier is tight. If you find any drips at all, the V-B seal has released. It's drips off the trim panel that are just inside the sill cap that get inside and soak the carpet. Since your floor is dry it's almost a certainty you're OK. The puddle light on the bottom of the trim panel has a "springy" clip on one end and a solid, fixed lug on the other. Push on the light to slide it toward the rear of the door and then try to pivot the front edge downward. If it won't pivot out, try the other direction. Regards RDL
  12. rdl

    Vapor barrier or not

    I've done the vapour barrier reseal too many times over the 8 years owning the car: right side once, left side several! New butyl tape seems to work better than simply heating and re-attaching with the old butyl. For me though, the trick to long term success was the positioning of the barrier panel on the door structure. In earlier attempts I'd pulled the vapour barrier sealing lip downward for maximum overlap on the door - it seemed to be how it was meant to be fitted given the barrier's profile. I then suspected that the door pocket was pushing on the vapour barrier and the constant pressure causing the butyl to creep and eventually separate. Last time I didn't pull it down and left more slack for the barrier panel to accommodate the door pocket. Four years later I've not had a recurrence. Regards RDL
  13. rdl

    E39 seat cushion foam

    I used Leatherique with good results on my then 10 year old seats. I'd previously tried Lexol without noticeable improvement. The front seat leather in particular was pretty stiff; the rear not so much. I did two treatments several months apart and the improvement was quite remarkable. The rears are now what I imagine was "as new" while the fronts are not quite as soft but much improved. And I do annual treatments which has maintained the softer feel. Be sure to follow their directions and don't skimp. Instructions call for 16 oz of Rejuvenator to be slathered on the front and read seats and door leather which seemed excessive. But, amazingly nearly all of it was absorbed. Which I suspect explains the improvement. And the Pristine Cleaner used to remove the sticky residue left after soaking for a day came away with an amazing amount of dirt. Regards RDL
  14. rdl

    Air conditioning stopped working

    If you're a bit handy & a DIYer, you might start the engine and jumper the A/C compressor clutch to force engagement to determine if the problem is the HVAC control system or a mechanical fault. Make sure the cabin heat control is turned down so that the heater core doesn't overwhelm any A/C cooling. First - does the clutch actually engage? Next, do you get cold to icy air out the dash vents within a dozen or so seconds? If yes to both, there is reasonable confidence that the mechanical side is OK and the problem is the control system. If no to either, then it's mechanical & you'll be best off going to an A/C specialist as diagnosis and repairs need specialized knowledge, tools and equipment. And a result of "somewhat cool but not really cold" &/or "it took minutes to get cool" would count as a "no." After that, the first thing needed is the car's model and model year, and ideally the build date. We'll also need the type of HVAC control: automatic or manual. The A/C control system varied over the years. For instance, in later year cars a failed electric aux fan in front of the A/C condenser can prevent A/C operation; earlier years, not. In some variants, the DME (engine controller) has the circuit to engage the A/C compressor clutch; in others the HVAC control module does that. etc., etc. Then you'll probably need to get INPA working in order to track down the signals controlling A/C operation in order to find root cause. For instance, the A/C pressure sensor returning a "too low" value and HVAC control won't try to enable A/C. Or the control module is trying to engage the compressor clutch, but a broken wire or corroded contact prevents its operation. etc., etc. Unfortunately, the INPA troubles you describe suggest larger issues and A/C inop may simply be one of the symptoms. Regards RDL
  15. The Hunter machine can reduce the effect of an out of round tire (oops tyre) within limits. If the technician runs the complete diagnostic cycle, both tyres and wheels are measured. The program embedded in the Hunter machine then calculates a swapping routine, including indexing, for each tire onto a recommended wheel. After the swapping, the tyre/wheel is balanced with weights. For instance, a tire with 1 mm out of round mounted on a wheel with 0.5 mm radial runout with the correct indexing/orientation would then wind up with 0.5 mm runout mounted on the car - a much improved result. And after weights, be very smooth on the road. But one can also imagine that one might optimize say 3 tyre/wheels and be left with a hopeless fourth pair. Further, as I read the Hunter manual tires or wheels too far out of spec result in a "do not use" flag so there is a limit to the algorithm's ability to cope with tyre & wheel variation. Apparently the machine can recommend adjusted weight placement to reduce the vibration from out of round &/or variation in tyre belt stiffness - but within limits. If the tyre is too much egg shaped there is no tire weighting that will compensate as the (perfectly balanced) 50 or so lbs of tire/wheel is bounced up and down as it rolls down the road. I've see reports that many shops with Hunter machines don't run the full cycle of diagnostics since they're not willing to take the extra time measuring plus dismounting and remounting tyres. Instead they balance each, as received, and do the best possible, which is better than conventional balancers, but not best possible. So one shop might give you great results, another only OK. I don't mean to dismiss the capabilities of the Hunter machine. Within the limits of physics it does a great job. The limits being how much the belt stiffness varies and how much "egg shape" there is in the tyres and wheels. I've read many reports of people extremely satisfied with the improvement versus conventional balancing. And FWIW, my neighbour manages service in a Ford dealership & Calvin tells me the machine is far and away the best he has seen after decades in the business - but only if used properly. Regards RDL
  16. You should check the warranty. In North America at least, out of round ("uniformity" in tire industry speak) is guaranteed for the first 2 or 3 or so 32nd inch of tread wear. Which you should be comfortably under at that mileage. A few years ago, I had a 2 sets Michelins replaced (pro-rated against wear) for out of round. Interestingly, I'd had a trouble free set of that particular tire without issues. The 2nd set developed an out of round problem. And the replacements went out of round too. The first set was manufactured in an Oklahoma plant; the 2nd & 3rd in Mexico. I've got my finders crossed that the current set, a different model tire, from a South Carolina plant does better. BMW spec for mounted tire radial runout is 1.1 mm, with wheel radial 0.3 mm max. Industry standard for tire uniformity is 1 mm. On the problem tires I had up to 1.5 mm mounted on wheels with ~0.1 mm radial. And they were pretty rough by 70 mph. Not surprising - you can balance an egg, but you can't make it run smooth. Regards, RDL
  17. I've had the shimmy & vibration you describe from both brake problems and failed thrust arm bushings. When I replaced thrust arms I very carefully pushed, pulled and twisted on both the old arm and new. My testing wasn't scientific and measured as in checking deflection cm vs force or twist angle vs torque. But I couldn't detect any difference using my subjective method, although the vibration was eliminated. I did though find that one of the thrust arm bushings was leaking (a sure sign of failure) that I couldn't see with the arm in situ. I've also had vibration due to uneven pad deposits. In my case it was due to pistons sticking in the calipers. It's a well known phenomenon since disc brakes rely on the piston being pulled back 0.1 to 0.2 mm by the seals when the pedal is released. If the piston doesn't withdraw, the inevitable slight runout in the disc results in a tiny touch on each rotation. The result is uneven deposits causing vibration under braking and in really bad cases, vibration while driving. You could try this test to confirm. Perform a "bedding procedure" to clear the uneven deposits and achieve smooth braking. Then drive the car on highways where you're able to avoid using the brakes for many kilometers, say minimum 50, the more the better. If you then find vibration, sticky calipers are suspect. Next, clear the discs as described and drive in town/city setting with many brake applications. If the brakes stay smooth after the highway test fails, sticky calipers are even more strongly implicated. Dirty or damaged caliper guide pins have also been reported to create the sticky caliper problem. The maddening thing about either failure mode is that it can come and go as the caliper / piston may work it's way through a sticky bit to a clear patch but then return as the pads wear a fraction of a mm, and the caliper / piston changes relative positions to another bad spot. I've also seen lots of reports of BMW/Lemfoerder bushings failing around 50k miles. The Meyle HD bushing of solid rubber (no liquid fill) are reported to last virtually forever. Really frustrating are reports of people installing new brakes and eliminating the vibration - problem found and fixed, right? Only to have it return a thousand or so miles later. They've gone on to describe that new thrust arm, or just bushings, permanently eliminate the problem. I suspect what is happening here is that the bushing failure mode is loss of damping ability as well as a change in compliance which changes the resonant frequency of the suspension. While perfectly new brakes may be perfectly smooth, even slightly worn or worked in start to build micro or mini uneven braking. The failed bushings aren't able to damp this out and the resonant frequency is now in the same range as tire rotation. The vibration resonates and builds until becoming noticeable. And VERY annoying! So unless you can find an obvious, outright failure in one or the other, I think your stuck trying one repair and hoping. Then the other if the vibration is still present or returns shortly.
  18. rdl

    Trickle / Maintenance Chargers

    The recommendation to connect the -ve somewhere else on the chassis (whether connecting jumper cables or charger leads) is to avoid making a spark at the battery. Making or breaking the circuit will virtually always create a spark & it's important that the spark be nowhere near the battery. In both cases the battery can be generating hydrogen gas which is extremely flammable. Even a tiny spark can create a mini-explosion that travels back inside the battery and cracks the case &/or damages the plates; a lesson I learned the hard way many years ago while connecting a charger to my battery. It's important to always attach the -ve (at a remote point) last, and disconnect it first. A separation of 12" or 30 cm from the battery will be safe. If you're working from the engine bay terminals, all this is irrelevant - order does not matter since it's so far away from the battery. One might think it's perfectly safe to connect a charger directly to the battery posts if the charger isn't yet plugged in to the mains. I wouldn't risk it. Some charger designs will allow a small current at the instant of of contact before cutting it off, so a spark is still possible. Unless the charger's manual specifically states it's OK, better to play it safe. And it would be a shame to lose a battery and dump acid in the tray because one forgot to ensure the charger was unplugged. So far as charging an E39 is concerned, it makes no difference what so every to the battery if you attach the the charger at the battery, in the engine bay or to the cigarette lighter plug on the console. The battery has no way of knowing where voltage and current is coming from. (as an aside, I believe later BMW models with the intelligent power control system, it could make a difference. The battery circuit is these is much more complicated) There are two caveats regards charging from the cigarette lighter: 1) Use a trickle charger only. The wire gauge between the socket & battery isn't adequate for the prolonged high current that a "full sized" charger can apply. Overheating with melting or fire could result. 2) Some world market regions require the lighter socket be disconnected from the battery when the engine is stopped. (Australia for instance) In those regions one cannot trickle charge from the lighter socket ... unless you leave the engine running. LOL Regards RDL
  19. rdl

    Re-sealing headlights after sanding/polishing?

    I can second that. 3M film has kept my headlights clear for going on 7 years now. There is no yellowing whatsoever & even after those years of road dirt sand blasting there is some, but not much surface damage to the film. They are in much, much better condition now than they were when I bought the car at 8 years of age. It's too bad that BMW/Hella didn't install film at the factory. Mine were rough enough that I started with 400 grit paper, so I'm pretty sure that any protective coating applied by Hella was long gone by the time the lenses were refinished. The 3M film is poly-urethane with UV blockers & apparently it works. I've never applied wax or any other protective coating to the film. Regards RDL
  20. rdl

    M54 - Engine Idle Speed

    That's interesting. Is this for an E39, which mine is? Or the E60 mentioned in your signature block? Still though, I wonder what the reason for the difference might be.
  21. rdl

    M54 - Engine Idle Speed

    My M54 idles at 750 RPM when the engine is warm, which is what I've seen many others report.. From a dead cold, start up to about 1,100 RPM depending on how cold. Idle then stabilizes at 750 within a minute or so. Keep in mind that V8 guys report a different RPM, 650 if memory serves. And many of them report a bump in RPM when A/C is engaged, which mine does not. EDIT: I should have said - mine is the 3 litre, as requested by OP My tachometer is fairly accurate but not exact - it is easy to make a 100 RPM error reading the needle. The 750 RPM is as reported by cluster test 7.2. (Actually fluctuating between 745 to 755, but who's counting ) I take that as the more accurate value. Regards RDL
  22. rdl

    Bl**dy handbrake adjustment

    FYI, here is a paraphrasing of TIS procedure for parking brake adjustment. I've used this method for several years and while the parking brake is not wonderfully effective (and very definitely not an emergency brake) it is adequate. Perform procedure after fitting new rotors, shoes or if 10 hand lever notches are required for braking effect TIS assumes use of a roller dynamometer to measure braking force at the tire Lacking this piece of equipment I instead jack the car until the tire is clear of the ground and use a torque wrench on the 36 mm axle collar nut (12 point socket required) to convert braking force at the tire to torque on the axle/wheel loosen bowden nuts cable at handbrake lever tighten parking shoe adjuster until the wheel is immobilized loosen adjuster 12 notches, which works out to 1 full revolution snug the nuts on the Bowden cables at handbrake lever until finger tight pull on lever ~400 N (~90 lb.) 5 times with button pressed with the hand brake lever at 0 position, the TIS specified force @ tire <150 N calculates to 48 Nm or 35 lb-ft - if higher, correct problem, which would most likely be a seized Bowden cable then raise lever to 3rd tooth/notch - adjust nut on bowden cable at handbrake lever - specified force @ tire 500 +/- 50 N calculates to 160 Nm +/- 16 Nm or 117 lb-ft +/- 12 lb-ft Note the the 500N x 2 = 1,000N isn't the maximum braking force the parking brake can apply. After adjusting it with this procedure, I'm able to raise the lever to the 5th or so notch without a great deal of effort. But I've never bothered to try measuring braking force with this increased lever lift - it's way beyond my torque wrench range. Wear / use conditions - braking force difference side to side 30% maximum. Seating parking brake shoes - new rotors &/or shoes - ineffective parking brake effect at ~40 kph apply handbrake lever until braking effect noticed lift lever one more notch drive ~ 400 m, ~ 1/4 mile repeat if necessary after allowing time for cooldown EDIT: even with new shoes and rotors, the parking brake would not immobilize my 530 automatic transmisison with the parking brake applied as tightly as I could manage. It did though take a fair bit of throttle to move the car - a bit more than I would use pulling away from a stop sign. And FWIW, I'm about 200 lb and (still) fairly strong - far from a 98 lb weakling. Regards RDL
  23. rdl

    Battery Life?

    If your battery won't last a week it's on its last legs anyway. Assuming of course that there isn't excess parasitic drain from a defective module(s) not going to sleep properly. The spec for E39s is maximum 25 mA. Anything more indicates a problem. BMW standard procedure at the time E39s were current models was (perhaps still is?) that cars being stored must be recharged every 6 weeks. And apparently this time was conservative - set so that batteries were never discharged enough to risk damaging them and reducing life. Regards RDL
  24. rdl

    Another headlight question....

    Grounding will be handled by the low beam plug, i.e. connection to the ballast from the car's harness. One pin will be +ve and the other ground/-ve. Similarly, the thick high voltage lead from ballast to bulb has both +ve and ground (-ve) circuits.
  25. rdl

    Another headlight question....

    I'm not familiar with this brand, but I'd be leery. Based on reports and reviews over the years I'd stick with known manufacturer brands such Philips or OSRAM or other well known brands such as Hella with a reputation to protect. No-names are reported to have problems with lumen output, short life and dimensional errors that create a poor light pattern and aiming problems.These will cost more than the Lunex but not all that much. For instance, last year I bought a pair of Philips D2S for C$100 + C$10 shipping, so roughly GBP 65. But you must shop around and make sure it's a reputable seller who isn't peddling counterfeits, which can be a problem. I know that Philips has an online system to verify authenticity from security codes on the box. I believe that OSRAM has a similar system. FWIW, I'd stick to OEM 4300K colour temperature (maybe stretch to 5000K) Higher colour temperature bulbs generally have lower lumen output. The claims of "enhanced vision due to higher colour temp" are male cow droppings; by definition lumen measurement uses a curve of the human eye's response to colours from red to violet. Elevated colour temperatures are a matter of cosmetics rather than improved illumination and vision down the road. But of course it's your money, your priorities, your choice. Regards coding the LCM for HID low beams, see the attached image from NCS for Dummies from my LCM for the halogen vs HID option. The highlighted parameter is the one that BMW software NCS Expert uses to code the LCM for Xenon bulbs. Regards RDL