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Engine swap

Discussion in 'E39 (1997-2003)' started by Touring525i4dawgs, Oct 20, 2016.

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    Touring525i4dawgs '02 525it M sport

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    My local mechanic is about to embark on putting a new engine in a 2002 E39 540i. A professional mechanics forum has suggested 2 ways to remove the existing engine. One suggests removing the transmission then the engine. The other suggestion is to basically remove the front of the vehicle allowing for the engine/trans to come out together. Car has automatic trans. Anyone have a suggestion for which is the better option? Thanks
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    MGarrison

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    I'd guess the conventional approach would be drop the trans and then pull the engine from the topside (hood removal possibly necessary?). If you're tackling the removal yourself on jack stands, I have to guess that's a pretty hefty trans, I'd think you'd find a floor trans. jack helpful. You'd need an engine hoist to pull the motor. Taking the whole front of the car off sounds like a good bit of extra time - however, if access for trans removal is so limited due to the V8's size, rearward positioning, etc., maybe that's better than wasting tons of time trying to get at hard-to-access bolts.

    If you're going to all that much work and it can be in the budget, I'd tend to think it would be worth doing any of the pita maintenance items on the V8 before it goes in - valve covers, valley pan gaskets, coolant pipes, timing chain guides, relocate the inaccessible pcv, address any vanos stuff, etc. etc. - look into what all the issues are, seem to recall there's a variety of stuff w/ the V8's.
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    Touring525i4dawgs '02 525it M sport

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    The swap is being done by by m7y regular mechanic. He has all the lifts and such. Was really trying to give him some advice from the clubs point of view. The used engine is is under 80k. He is planning on a full check of those items before the swap happens. Thanks for your input!
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    • Technical Service Advisor

    charlson89

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    The best way I have found to do this is to drop the engine trans and subframe together on a lift table. The engine comes out easiest from the bottom. I do recommend like garrison said to really hit the weak points on the new engine before install. So basically I would do timing chain guides, complete engine reseal besides head gaskets. This way the engine will be bullet proof and you can just drop it in a enjoy. Instead of one by one doing repair to your new engine.
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    Touring525i4dawgs '02 525it M sport

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    The shop owner did mention that possibility too. Do you think disconnecting all the suspension bits and then having to do putting that all back is easier then doing trans then engine? I know he will not put the new engine in before he does a total check of items you both have mentioned. When he swapped out my Honda engine a few months ago he did a great job replacing all the traditional weak parts plus a few others he has discovered over the years.
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    MGarrison

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    From what Charlson's saying with his experience, I'd have to guess dropping it wholesale that way is faster than futzin' around trying to get at transmission bolts & separating the trans with the engine in the car. I suspect that's how it's installed at the factory - front subframe, suspension, trans & engine go in as a unit. 80k isn't bad mileage-wise, but I think all the niggling-but-pita-and-expensive-to-fix-mostly-because-of-lack-of-access issues start cropping up around 100k, so being really thorough on pre-emptively doing all the known things (google, check bimmerforums, etc.) engine-wise, you'll stand a better chance of avoiding major engine bay service stuff (besides the usual 50-60k cooling system stuff no thanks to short-lived German plastics) doing all that now. Then hopefully you don't get too much wonky electronics stuff and your repair/maintenance can be suspension stuff as it wears and on-schedule fluid changes. Oh, the joy of keeping older cars going... :D
    Mpowered1 likes this.
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    Touring525i4dawgs '02 525it M sport

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    I will be passing all of this on to my mechanic. I'm sure he will will appreciate the info.

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