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AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/18/19 11:53 a.m.

Dang, IDK how this happened, but it looks like I never started a build thread for this car.  perhaps (1) i knew it wouldn't be a build so much as just a "maintain until time to discard", or (2) because i didn't expect to keep it this long.  either way, she's been in the fleet for over 4 years and 72k miles, so i'll go ahead and bore you with a summary of our relationship.  i'll add detail to some of these items in subsequent posts.

Since Sept of 2015 (update: in June 2019 i picked up a 2001 Sonoma and the E60 became AngryKid#1's daily), i have DD'd a 2007 525xi, automatic, non-sport.  the 525 is the least powerful N52 fitted to these cars, and the "x" in xi indicates AWD.   bought with 136k miles on it.  currently showing 209k miles.  reliability IMO has been no worse than i'd expect from any car within that range of age and mileage.

the PO was not a car whisperer by any stretch, so it came with some deferred maintenance issues, which i addressed at my leisure.  here's a list of things i've addressed in the last 4 years that are not what i'd consider routine maintenance, although some are probably routine for BMW:

2016-01-30, 143k:  replaced original (electric) water pump and thermostat, replaced gaskets on oil filter housing and oil cooler.  water pump R&R is a motherberkeleyer due to packaging with AWD.  there's an automated coolant bleed procedure that must be run to get air pockets out of coolant passages in cylinder head.

2016-09-22, 154k:  replaced accessory drive belt and idler/tensioner because they were getting noisy.  also replaced both front suspension "tension strut" bushings and both outer tie rod ends.

2017-06-02, 165k:  replaced both front swaybar end links

2017-08-26, 168k:  replaced transmission mechatronics sealing sleeve, changed ATF and filter (which is an integral part of the pan, so instead of a $20 filter and a $20 gasket, it's a $130 pan kit).  also drained and replaced transfer case fluid.   all of these items were on the dealer PPI i got at 136k.  Ignored internet-conventional wisdom regarding changing ATF.  40k later, trans is still performing flawlessly.

2017-10-12, 170k:  replaced heater control valve that was booger-berkeleyed by Blue Devil stop-leak, and flushed/filled coolant with BMW long-life coolant.

2018-01-28, 175k:  cleaned VANOS solenoids and replaced associated o-rings.

2018-02-23, 176k:  repaired broken wires in trunk lid harness.   cold-work / fatigue failures where the harness has to bend when the trunk is opened and closed.  poor routing caused this failure.

2018-04-04, 180k:  replaced original alternator, also replaced (again) gaskets on oil filter housing and oil cooler.  also replaced valve cover gasket/seals and ran ValveTronic relearn procedure.

2018-07-02, 184k:  replaced original starter, replaced one crumbly CCV hose i broke while removing intake manifold to access starter.  i later learned that starter R&R could be done without disconnecting this hose.

2018-07-07, 185k:  replaced original transmission cooler thermostat, cleaned blockage due to jellified Blue Devil stop-leak from radiator and trans cooler, replaced coolant with BMW long-life coolant.

2018-08-09, 187k:  replaced VANOS filters aka "non-return valves" which are located in the passenger side of the cylinder head, not on the front of the head with the VANOS solenoids.   also cleaned and tested VANOS solenoids, and replaced all 6 COP ignition coils.  Also fixed TPM Malfunction by soldering a jumper wire into the TPM PCB to bypass a broken pin in the connector.  Pin was corroded, with no evidence of moisture anywhere.   poor material selection?  poor interface fit between terminals on PCB and terminals in harness-side connector?  IDK.

2018-12-28, 194k:  Dealer executed NHTSA recall 17V683 to replace heated PCV valve due to electrical short melting the PCV and some nearby components.

2019-02-17, 197k:  replaced (again) oil cooler gasket.

and there's been a couple of ghosts in the machine: the first ghost is in the HVAC system.  twice in the first year, the HVAC fan stayed on when i shut the car off.   i had to pull fuses to get it to shut down.  could not repeat.  hasn't happened again. 

the second ghost is in the clockspring assembly.  occasionally, especially in sub-freezing ambient temps, the SWA sensor loses calibration and disables VSC, so it throws a DSC + 4WD fault.  this is cleared by cycling the key and turning the steering wheel full left - full right - back to center before driving off.  it happened 1x in 2016, 3x-ish in 2017, 3-ish again in 2018, and about 20x in 2019.  interweb says clockspring can be disassembled and cleaned.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/18/19 2:10 p.m.

2017-08-26, 168k:  replaced transmission mechatronics sealing sleeve, changed ATF and filter (which is an integral part of the pan, so instead of a $20 filter and a $20 gasket, it's a $130 pan kit).  also drained and replaced transfer case fluid.   all of these items were on the dealer PPI i got at 136k.  Ignored internet-conventional wisdom regarding changing ATF.  40k later, trans is still performing flawlessly.

the only reason i'm posting this is to repeat part of the conversation i had with the dealer service guy as he was walking me through the PPI.  one of the items was "oil pan gasket leaking.   replace oil pan gasket $1200."  so i ran him through some quick math.

ME:  "let's say it's leaking one quart per 1000 miles.  and let's say oil is $10 per quart.  i could buy 120 quarts of oil over the next 120k miles before that repair paid for itself."

HIM:  "So i guess i don't need to tell you about the $700 trans fluid leak?"

IIRC, it was either changing the transaxle fluid or replacing the mechatronics sealing sleeve that required removing the transaxle mount crossmember, which was really the only difficult / involved step in this job.  on a lift, with trans jackstands, it was a piece of cake.

used an HF drill bit with hex driver end plus a hex driver extension to drill through exhaust nuts at manifolds, then struck with hammer and long chisel to split and remove.:

That exhaust system is one heavy SOB!

I followed a how-to on Pelican Parts website.  They said more than once “make sure you can remove fill plugs before you remove drain plugs.”  So I did.

Here’s a comparison of old-vs-new ATF and transaxle fluids:

and

Inside of trans looked great, no crud built up anywhere.  New pan / filter, new fluid, new gasket and nuts on exhaust, and no issues since.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/18/19 2:15 p.m.

2018-02-23, 176k:  repaired broken wires in trunk lid harness.   cold-work / fatigue failures where the harness has to bend when the trunk is opened and closed.  poor routing caused this failure.

symptom:  message center would occasionally inform me that i had a license plate light bulb fault.  replacing the referenced bulb didn't fix it.  swapping bulbs left to right showed the problem stayed on the left.  google told me about the trunk lid wiring harness and how the goofy routing caused the wires to flex and fail. my fix was to lengthen all the wires in that bundle, then reroute the harness.

The wire bundle comes out of that grommet and goes cross-car toward the passenger side hinge, where it bends 90 degrees and goes up into the trunk lid.  So that bundle gets twisted every time the trunk is opened and closed.

 

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/18/19 2:23 p.m.

2018-07-02, 184k:  replaced original starter, replaced one crumbly CCV hose i broke while removing intake manifold to access starter.  i later learned that starter R&R could be done without disconnecting this hose.

also, my dumb ass loosened the bolt that holds the rearward knock sensor to the block.  internet wisdom said this knock sensor is easily damaged if you bang it with the starter. 

anyway, i loosened the bolt, then decided i was a good enough mechanic to not damage the knock sensor.   i was not, however, good enough to remember to tighten the knock sensor bolt, and a week or so later it was down on power and throwing DTCs for knock out of spec, retarding timing, etc. so i bought new knock sensors.  something about pulling the intake loose triggered my memory of loosening that bolt, and sure enough it wasn't even finger tight.

Torqued to spec, buttoned it up, cleared DTC, got all my ponies back.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/18/19 2:34 p.m.

2018-07-07, 185k:  short story:  replaced original transmission cooler thermostat, cleaned blockage due to jellified Blue Devil stop-leak from radiator and trans cooler, replaced coolant with BMW long-life coolant.

long story:  sunday around noon, hauling ass up the interstate, taking AngryKid#1 to summer camp.  it's our tradition.  we stop at the same place for lunch.  We take turns playing iPod DJ.  we stop at the same place for ice cream.   only this time, with ambient about 93*F, about halfway between Brighton and Lansing I get TRANSMISSION OVERTEMP WARNING.   STOP.   SHUT OFF VEHICLE.  HAVE VEHICLE TOWED TO BMW DEALER" or some such warning.  Pull over for quick inspection.  nothing out of the ordinary.  wait about 10 minutes, restart, warning is gone, start up the road again.  about 10 miles from lansing, same warning.  berkeley it, there's an airport in lansing, we'll rent a car there.  it's good to have money in my pocket.  So AK1 asks Siri for rental agencies at lansing airport, and handles the reservation.  we get the rental in about 6 minutes because the place was empty, transfer stuff between cars, leave E60 at airport and resume hauling ass up the interstate.  eat lunch in car.  play DJ.  skip ice cream so she can get there early enough to get a top bunk.  she learns a valuable lesson about (1) solving a problem on the fly and (2) it's good to have money in your pocket.

4-ish hours later, i return rental and get in E60 for slow drive home.  ambient is now only 85-ish, and i drive the speed limit home.   no warnings.  internet and some smart friends tell me about trans cooler thermostat, so I order one.   drive car to work next day, no warnings.  part arrives.  disassemble and find what looks like Papa Smurf did the nasty in there:

note to self and others:  Blue Devil stop leak doesn't play well with BMW cooling systems and/or BMW coolant.  passages in cooler and in radiator are full of Smurf Baby Gravy.  compressed air at low setting on regulator, brake cleaner, acetone, camelbak hose cleaning brush, and lots of water from the garden hose, gets rid of all Smurf Baby Gravy.  replace thermostat and seals, flush and refill with new BMW coolant, and haven't had another cooling system issue since.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/18/19 3:22 p.m.

the second ghost is in the clockspring assembly.  occasionally, especially in sub-freezing ambient temps, the SWA sensor loses calibration and disables VSC, so it throws a DSC + 4WD fault.  this is cleared by cycling the key and turning the steering wheel full left - full right - back to center before driving off.  it happened 1x in 2016, 3x-ish in 2017, 3-ish again in 2018, and about 20x in 2019.  interweb says clockspring can be disassembled and cleaned.

update:  eventually the calibration procedure stopped bringing it back to life, and with MonZora taking up all my time I farmed out the R&R to a trusted friend.  turns out there are two sensor assemblies at the top of the column, and i had DTCs related to both of them.  The expensive one is in the $350 range, and the cheap one is around $140.  After replacing the expensive one, the car exhibited different faults than before.  for example, the speed-sensitive power steering no longer provided boost at low-to-zero speed, so parking lot and driveway maneuvers sucked.  and it still had DSC faults.  so we replaced the cheap sensor, which of course has to be coded to the vehicle.  My guy didn't have the software to do that, but his guy did, so off to another shop to get that done.  after coding, no issues until about 3 feet out of that guy's garage, where it promptly set a Right Front Wheel Speed Sensor Information code.  WTF, we were nowhere near the RF WSS in any of this process.  anyway, yesterday (2019-11-17) i threw a cheap-ass WSS at it and all the lights went out.  Hooray.

 

FuzzWuzzy
FuzzWuzzy HalfDork
11/18/19 3:43 p.m.

Yay E60 stuff.

I'm running my wagon in to the ground until the engine and/or the trans turns to E36 M3. The N52 (even my fancier 530i) and trans are not worth it to repair/replace to me. Something better would go in in a heartbeat. 

am surprised to see that even the sedan got the annoying torn wires due to trunk hinge issue; I was under the assumption only the wagons had that problem.

I will also say the wires BMW used during the E60 run are an absolute joke. They're either too thin and/or in a horrible location.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/18/19 4:48 p.m.

the above list might make you think it's been nothing but pain and suffering, and that's not entirely true.  The E60 has been part of a lot of good times with us, like just hanging out with the old folks:

bombing up to Boyne for snowboarding with AK2:

AK1's first solo drive with freshly-minted Drivers License:

another trip to Boyne with AK2:

(the aftermath of that trip to Boyne):

plus exploring colleges with AK1:

as well as serving as a classroom of sorts for AK1 and AK2:

overall, she's been a good car.

klodkrawler05
klodkrawler05 HalfDork
11/19/19 11:01 a.m.

This thread became recently relevant to my interests. I rescued a manual trans e61 wagon.

the most noticeable issue on the way home was burning oil smell due to a leaking valve cover gasket. In the time it took me to order parts and get that sorted the power steering reservoir went empty. Investigation has shown it to be leaking from the main line at the quick disconnect fitting. And of course requires a whole new line. And requires dropping the front subframe to get to the mounting brackets. (Maybe a candidate for the jobs that should be simple but aren't thread)

the little bit I have driven it has been great and I'm looking forward to more miles. 

Mad_Ratel
Mad_Ratel Dork
11/19/19 11:33 a.m.

Dad loved his 2004 545i 6spd m-sport car. So much he drove it from 30k miles to 166k miles when he sold it to my bil so he could buy a 2012 550i 6spd m-sport car.

BIL promptly killed the 2004 within 2 months by texting and driving and then rear ending someone...

Dad sold teh 2012 as 1k miles after buying it CPO it threw a "clutch wear" code, and a "tire pressure low" code.

CPO covered $12k in parts put into the car by the dealership. not the $800 wheel.  he was so terrified of cracking another wheel he never felt comfortable in the car again.  

 

12k included a full fuel system upgrade (bmw has/had a program where you could ask to be upgraded to latest tech and so in 2016 he got the full fuel upgrades etc that gave teh "newer" car more power.).  I forget what else but the car with 28k miles had the clutch worn to the point where the bolts were inbedded in the fancy bmw dual mass flywheel. 

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/8/19 9:04 p.m.

She slow-cranked on a cold morning last week so I bought her a new battery. I knew the old one was at least 4-1/2 years old, so I figured a new one was a safe bet. 3 year free replacement warranty, $112 plus tax after 25% off discount code with Advance’s order online and pick up in store. Then back to the guy in Pontiac to plug in and tell the car the max charge rate for the new battery. Yep, BMWs sure are smart.

rothwem
rothwem New Reader
12/9/19 12:33 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:

She slow-cranked on a cold morning last week so I bought her a new battery. I knew the old one was at least 4-1/2 years old, so I figured a new one was a safe bet. 3 year free replacement warranty, $112 plus tax after 25% off discount code with Advance’s order online and pick up in store. Then back to the guy in Pontiac to plug in and tell the car the max charge rate for the new battery. Yep, BMWs sure are smart.

Enh, I'm okay with the whole battery registration thing.  A couple years ago I downloaded the "BMW Tools" package and bought a K+DCAN cable, and I can DIY it.  I can also code stuff, flash modules, and get good diagnostic codes.  

Anyways, I'm glad you've been able to more or less keep your E60 running trouble free.  I was *THIS CLOSE* to buying an E61 530xi, but I've already owned an AWD Bimmer and hated the packaging. I like the size of the E6x though, our rear facing car seat would probably fit better than in my current vehicle.  

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/13/20 11:07 a.m.

Another boring update. 215k and still going strong. Haven't exactly been racking up the miles lately, but she was due for oil and filter, front brakes, and tension strut bushings. Except I diagnosed without looking at her very closely. Front brakes are beautiful. Rears need to be replaced. And the front end noise over bumps went away with some grease in the Moog sway bar end links. Sometimes I suck at this game. But AK1 volunteered to help so it was a net positive.

dj06482
dj06482 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/13/20 12:55 p.m.

Following along, helpful to get a real-world perspective on one of these!

untchabl
untchabl Reader
7/13/20 6:02 p.m.

Guy at work just picked up an 07 525xi for $500. Not sure of the miles on it but he said he tossed a used battery in it from another car he has and it drove home with no issues. I'm anxious to see if it becomes a maintenance/repair nightmare for him because he's never owned or messed with a German car.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/14/20 12:08 p.m.

In reply to untchabl :

i do not have that kind of courage.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/20/20 10:57 a.m.

7/19/2020, 215k, hauling AK2 up to summer camp:

same thing happened 2 years and 30k ago, hauling AK1 to the same summer camp. The fix then was to replace trans cooler thermostat, clean trans cooler, and replace coolant. We should choose a different camp, I suppose.

So we sat on the side of the road for 10 minutes with the hood up, then resumed the drive a little slower and without AC. Listened to old Bruce Springsteen, talked about life. Dropped her off and drove home without AC. Same warning popped up about 4 miles from home. Coasting in N down the hill to my exit, plus shifting to N at red lights, and it went away. Will diagnose and repair this week, if all goes well. Will also do fluid and filter and hope for the best.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/8/20 9:14 p.m.

Dammit, page reloaded mid-post. Much thumb typing lost. Woe is me.

havent done E36 M3 about trans overtemp because it hasn't repeated.

havent fixed clunky front end or shaky brakes.

But while searching CL for an off-season deal on winters, I scored a set of gen-after-E60 rims with barely-worn run-flats (dated late 2017) for $350:

and the next day I scored a set of Blizzak WS80s, also dated late 2017 and also barely worn, for $250:

all four are showing 9/32" to 10/32" in center of tread:

so now I've got a redundant set of General Altimax RT43's to sell. Winters will go on E60 rims since those TPM sensors still work, and the run-flats will stay where they are, since those sensors don't work. 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/28/20 7:35 p.m.

218k mile update: Who's got two thumbs and put the handed sway bar end links on the wrong sides 2 years ago, leading to their early demise?

yep.

so today, working from home looked like this:

That's right, it's front end Friday on Wednesday. Akebono Euro pads and Zimmerman rotors:

gravity-bled fresh fluid, plus replaced the end links and even put them on the correct sides this time. Maybe a little overkill for what is probably the last brake job this car will ever get, but I even cleaned corrosion from the hubs and the wheel pilots, and used anti-seize on those surfaces.

old and busted:

fluid comparison:

new hotness:

I even sprung for a new wear sensor to replace the one I cut and twisted the wires together for the PO a couple months before I bought her. End result: no more front end rattles, no more steering shake while braking. All of this is important because:

AK2 got her permit a couple days ago.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/19/20 11:55 p.m.

Finally got around to getting the Blizzaks mounted and balanced:

I paid the local Belle Tire $80 out the door to break down and bag the all-seasons, then mount and balance the winters. I checked the sidewalls and they did indeed mount up as 2 lefts and 2 rights. Saved me at least 4 hours vs driving to my buddy's place in Pinckney to DIY. We'll put them on the car tomorrow.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/17/21 8:34 p.m.

E60 has been leaving a small spot of coolant on the ground, inboard of the left front wheel, for a couple months now. A couple weeks ago I noticed the small spot was a medium spot, and the other day it was a large spot. It appears that the (3-year-old replacement) heater control valve is leaking, must be a crack in the plastic housing. I also noted oil leak from oil cooler housing, and the coolant hose that attaches just below the oil cooler is really squishy from the oil leaking on it over the years. And it needs rear brakes. And I haven't addressed the trans cooler thermostat issue yet. So I loaded the ECS Tuning parts cannon with $800 and I'm gonna knock out all of those things, starting with replacing the heater control valve and trans cooler, plus a coolant flush and fill.

with this round of maintenance complete, I think she should be good for a while. the next big thing will be water pump and thermostat. The OE replacements I installed in early 2016 now have 80k on them, and both my indy shop guys say that's about all they're good for.  The original pump failed at 140k.

and I've never changed rear diff fluid.

or front diff fluid.

and the trans fluid and filter have 60k on them.

and I guess it never really ends.

im hoping to reach 250k before loading the cannon again. We shall see.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/24/21 7:36 p.m.

2021-01-24:

  • replaced leaking oil filter housing seal And oil cooler seal. These seals seem to last about 2 years.
  • replaced trans cooler thermostat due to the overheat situation last summer, but the cooler itself seems to not flow very well so I'm gonna get a new one and replace it as well..
  • replaced leaking POS aftermarket heater control valve with genuine BMW (Bosch) part.
  • replaced rear rotors and pads.

Should be good for a while. supplier shipped the wrong spark plugs so I didn't get to knock that out.

She's been drip-free for over a week, so yesterday AK2 and I headed north for our annual ski vaca at Boyne Mtn. Since I'm trying to win cool dad points, I arranged for us to have dinner with AK1 at her campus about 100 miles north of Boyne.

It was a nice surprise for AK2, and good to see AK1 thriving while away at school.  Hit 221k on the way up:

She's still a great highway bomber, definitely worth another round of maintenance. Gonna do ATF and fluid in both diffs, and just keep running her.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/27/21 2:44 p.m.


 

Wet-sanded with 1000 and 1500 before using the foam-backed pad in the kit. The magic is in the solvent-based clearcoat wipe. Dusterbd13 turned me on to this product, and I definitely give it 10/10 would buy again. I used same product on Sonoma and Odyssey last summer and they're both holding up great so far.

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
2/27/21 6:05 p.m.

Hmm, cool.  I need to restore the headlights on the Xterra...

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