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E39 //M sport wanna be - conversion complete

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by bwilder10h, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. So I've always liked... well ok, loved the 03 540 Sport and never really wanted to drop that much coin on a used car and given the issues these cars have with cooling systems, window regulators and just all around frustrating electrical gremlins here and there... but I wanted an E39 because I think it's in the top 10 for best looking car on the road.

    I searched around and found a 01 530 with only 36k on the clock that an older guy had for his "summer car" when he was here in Ohio. Florida is his winter home.

    Long story short, I bought the M-tech front bumper, rear bumper and side trim. Had a local bodyshop paint them and I installed it all myself. The last item was the muffler to fill in the gap from the M bumper. A $125 Magnaflow did the job.

    I posted some before shots a while back before I did this install. One of them below...
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Here is the after... without the center section in the front lower grille
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    And after a good wash in the driveway... (grille section painted and installed)

    In the garage

    The business end.

    All we're missing is a 340hp V8 but I can live with the better mileage...................for now:rolleyes: 
  2. jxs1984


    Apr 13, 2007
    Rochester, NY
    that looks alot better. i also have a magnaflow muffler too... good stuff. i like the tiles in your garage.
  3. Excellent car and photos Brian.

    I had an E39 528 Sport with a stick and it ranks with my Corvette as one of the best cars I've ever owned. I bought an E60 545 automatic soon after they came out - probably the best motor I've ever owned (not to dis my 'vette), but the rest of it didn't do anything for me after living with it for awhile - I much preferred the E39.

    You've got a great ride.
  4. personal opinion - fwiw (you know...)

    I like the lower grill better without the insert.
  5. sclamb


    Jan 2, 2007
    Good choice of car. I have a E39 528i SE. Getting it re-chipped in a couple of weeks for better mid-range acceleration.
  6. Thanks for the compliments all. One day I plan on taking some better shots of the car.

    Ron, Stuart (Ott's Human) has a 545 and said the same thing about the motor. I guess I need to drive one someday... but they sure dont have the looks of the E39. I agree on the lower grille thing but the way this is setup, there are unsightly clips that are built into the grille to hold the T piece in there and I'm not taking the bumper back off to replace the insert... that's quite a process... :rolleyes:  :smile:

    p.s. Did you move? Just noticed your location...
  7. RaceTripper


    Jan 6, 2007
    St. Louis
    E39 is a classic. I miss mine (but the M3 soothes the pain of longing). Yours (with the M kit) looks great. Love the double spoke M wheels.

    I never could come to grips with the newer 5ers. I just can't grok the new style.

  8. GBRandy


    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    Wow....that sounds like the same list of complaints I have on my old MG's & Triumphs...I guess the "prince of darkness" made his way to Germany after the fall of the British Leyland empire. :smile:

    Nice shots BTW....
  9. Dean, the only thing that could make my car better is if it were black... I have only bought black cars and trucks until this point. I found this car and the deal was right so I went with it but I miss a black car... nothing looks better when it's clean. :smile:

    Randy, yeah it's unfortunate. I was just telling someone else this car has caused me more greif in the 9 months I've owned it than any Acura or Honda that I've owned before it. (this is my first BMW). I've had Honda's and Acuras that I've taken 100,000+ on oil changes, tires and fuel.

    There is a long list of 'common knowledge' things that go wrong on these cars. Radiators are only known to last 40,000 miles, window regulators are typical replacement items. I've replaced both cam sensors on the car, the navigation screen goes blank for a day or two at will... on and on. Keeping all in perspective the vehicle only has 38,000 miles on it now. It's not just this model either... my bro-in-law has a lot of the same things go bad on his X5.

    It's a shame that you pay more for these new than you do a comparable Acura and buy more problems... but there doesn't seem to be slowing in sales. :rolleyes:  She's pretty but if she causes me anymore issues, I'll have to part ways and go back to the Japanese that know how to build a car that lasts. I've never owned a Lexus but a 400hp V8 GS430 (used of course) sounds better and better the more I spend wrenching on this thing. I'm just thankful I can do this stuff myself. If I had to pay a BMW dealer $75 an hour, this would be already gone.
  10. RaceTripper


    Jan 6, 2007
    St. Louis
    If you want reliability you buy a Japanese car. If you want to stop yourself falling asleep at the wheel thru sheer boredom of driving you buy a BMW. :biggrin:

    Actually, I've owned 4 BMWs. The 5er reliability was impeccable. The M3 has only had very minor issues. The other two have not been as reliable, but not terrible either. All in all, I have a pretty good record with BMWs.
  11. Well, I disagree. :tongue: This car is pretty boring compared to the 05 TL I came from before this. Even my wife comments about how heavy the steering is and how it feels "like steering a tank through traffic" on the road compared to the Acura. The TL was worlds faster, the transmission was smoother and it seemed to shift a lot less to stay in a comfortable powerband. The TL was actually more fun to drive and my wife and I both miss it. A recommended a TL to a co-worker that was coming from a 3-series recently and she fell in love and bought the TL. I got to drive it the other day and it confirmed my thoughts. The Acura is just a better driving car with much more raw power. The 530 would struggle to turn the tires over from a dead stop and the TL would burn them off if you wanted to. I'd love to drive the new Type-S... but probably shouldn't :biggrin:

    We were looking for something a little less expensive so we went used this time and since I've always loved the E39, I thought I would try it. I have a feeling I'll be back in a Japanese car before the end of the year... but I've been wrong before... :cool: 
  12. RaceTripper


    Jan 6, 2007
    St. Louis
    Well, maybe I should try driving a TL sometime, but I have yet to get excited by any Japanese car (except the 240Z I had back in the 70s). It may also be we're different drivers and have different expectations.

    As for the transmission, I can't stand slushies anyway. I did have Steptronic in my 5er. I regretted that almost immediately and added the Dinan software to improve it. That was my first and last automatic transmission. :rolleyes: 
  13. Yeah my wife doesn't drive a manual so I'm stuck with it in my daily driver... :rolleyes: 
  14. RaceTripper


    Jan 6, 2007
    St. Louis
    I love my SMG II. Even though it doesn't have a mechanical clutch pedal, it is a true manual (with clutch and direct-coupled gearing), so I get all the performance. It has an auto mode, but in 23K miles I've used it maybe 2 miles. I always shift it manually.

    I'm looking forward to seeing the double-clutch sequential gearbox BMW is developing for the M3. Reports say it'll shift in about 5 ms (as opposed to 80 ms in mine). :Shocked:
  15. Both of those shift faster than a Human :wink:
  16. RaceTripper


    Jan 6, 2007
    St. Louis
    That is correct. Even experienced race drivers can't shift that fast with a clutch pedal. But most modern race cars also use sequential gearboxes anyway.
  17. Yep - my "sabbatical" is over. Went back to work in late January here in Chilli and I'm loving it - great people around me and a world of challenge. We've got homes in both places and I'm in Cinci a lot of weekends, so if we cut another of our deals it'll be just as easy as the rest. :smile:
  18. Glad to hear you didn't leave for good Ron. :smile:
  19. Ottrott's Human

    Ottrott's Human

    May 21, 2006
    I'll second that.....but Brian if you prefer Japanese cars then more power to ya bud. Just not my thing. The E39 530i is one of the finest all around cars ever produced IMO. Heavy steering??? What are you kidding me? "We" call that "perfectly weighted steering feel":biggrin: :biggrin:

    I've owned 8 BMW's since '92 including 3 E39's. I've read about all of the problems Brian is talking about with E39 models in the various forums (which are typically full of nothing but complaints about this and that), but thankfully the three I owned were all 100% trouble free. The last one we sold went to its new owner with 87,000 miles on it and the only thing we ever did to it was regularly scheduled maintenance.

    If you want to talk about German cars with Gremlins......well....don't get me started on Porsche. They're worth the hassles though IMO.:biggrin:

    Love that second shot Brian. That's very well done.

    The cosmetic upgrades really look great!

    Sad to hear that you and your wife aren't enjoying it though.
  20. RaceTripper


    Jan 6, 2007
    St. Louis
    Consumer reports did a test of the 2002 530i comparing it to a Benz, Audi, Lexus (I think, but it was 4 cars total). At the end of the report they said not only did the 530i win the test, but that it was the best car they've tested...ever, in all their decades of testing cars. I used to have a copy of the report, but can't find it right now.

    I loved the steering on the 5. And it was as neutral as they come on any car I've ever driven (with just a very little bit of understeer). Only the M3 has better steering. Steering on the 540i is not as good (because it's worm gear rather then the rack and pin on the 525/530).
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