Project E39!

Discussion in '5 Series' started by Wilseus, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Wilseus
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    Wilseus Site Supporter

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    So as I posted a few weeks ago, I bought an E39 530d for basically pocket money. I thought it would be a fun project to tart it up a bit.
    First thing was to fix the kidney grille which has been sprayed black by a former owner, which was starting to peel and looked generally crappy:

    IMG_20190109_080405523_HDR_edit.jpg

    Having been quoted £80 or so for replacements, I decided to try and get the paint off the existing ones. Luckily for me, the aforementioned previous owner had very stupidly, yet very usefully, failed to sand them prior to painting. After a bit of elbow grease, some washing up liquid, brush, and hot water, here is the result:

    IMG_20190209_142928268.jpg
    And after a bollocking from SWMBO for cleaning "oily" car parts in the bathroom, here they are refitted to the car:

    IMG_20190210_120737234_HDR_edit.jpg

    Much better, I think you'll agree.

    Next step is a set of nice alloys. I bought a set of pretty decent style 66s over the weekend which over the next few weeks I am going to have refurbished:

    Alloys from ad.jpg
    After that's done I'll need four new tyres (the two shown here are dead)
    2x 235/45/R17
    2x 255/40/R17

    Does anyone have any tyre recommendations? There doesn't seem to be much choice of brands for 255/40/R17.

    Other things that I want to do:
    • Fix some minor bodywork issues including a scratch on the bonnet
    • Clean the engine bay
    • Maybe upgrade the stereo system
    • Investigate having a remap done

    Stay tuned for the next exciting instalment of "Project E39!"
     
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    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  2. mach one
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    mach one WARLORD Site Supporter

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    the grills look much nicer now (y) some cars suit the black grills but i think a silver car the stock silver surround looks better

    wheels look to be in good condition now, look like a nice clean set of wheels
     
  3. Wilseus
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    They're not bad but have a few nicks and scratches and I want them perfect (y)
     
  4. mach one
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    mach one WARLORD Site Supporter

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    are you going to DIY the repair or go professional?
     
  5. Wilseus
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    Wilseus Site Supporter

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    Professional I was thinking. I'm good with nuts and bolts etc, but not things like this. Plus the pros have all the equipment like ovens etc.
    There are several alloy wheel places in my home town, so I should be able to get some competitive quotes.
     
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  6. Verbarthe
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    Verbarthe WARLORD Site Supporter

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    A nice well looked after E39 is still a very good looking car , it has a timeless shape like the E36/46 . Keep the pics coming .(y)
     
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  7. Wilseus
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    OK, while I wait for quotes for doing the new alloys and research tyres, I've recorded all the issues with the bodywork.
    There are a few issues, as you can see here, including a graze to the bumper, door damage, corrosion on the boot lid (I think all E39s have that), lacquer peel on both nearside doors and a scratch on the bonnet (both necessitating a respray I believe.) There's also a very small rust spot on one sill which I forgot to photograph.
    IMG_20190217_151741577_HDR.jpg IMG_20190217_151709174.jpg IMG_20190217_151657982_HDR.jpg IMG_20190217_151648085.jpg IMG_20190217_151642951_HDR.jpg IMG_20190217_151635216_HDR.jpg IMG_20190217_151614362_HDR.jpg IMG_20190217_151542961.jpg
    I'm hoping I can get all this done (minus the bumper which can wait) for under £1K. Boot lids are on eBay all the time, but most have rust around the lock.

    There's also damage to the auxiliary fan wiring, it still works, but the blue wire is down to only a few strands. I'm not sure how to go about fixing it yet, the damage is too close to the connector to just splice in another piece of wire, but I'm confident I can do the repair myself.
    IMG_20190217_164432458.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  8. slim_boy_fat
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    slim_boy_fat WARLORD Site Supporter

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    Aye, a known problem. Mine rusted not there, but at the very lower edge of the panel, directly below the lock. :mad:
     
  9. Wilseus
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    A small bit of progress, I had the car inspected by my friendly BMW specialist http://www.mtekautomotive.co.uk/ who told me what I already knew, namely that the car is generally sound with no corrosion to speak of underneath. They did find some deterioration of the brake pipes, a split steering gaiter and a worn rear ball joint which was causing the knocking that I knew about, and they did all that work for a reasonable price.

    I also got a quote from a recommended good-but-inexpensive bodyshop to fix all the bodywork issues shown above, it came in at a shade under £1K, which sounds very reasonable when you realise that's the price of 12 tanks of diesel.

    So the question is what job do I do next? I think I'll get on and get the Style 66s refurbed and half decent tyres put on, hopefully for £500 or so. I'll also treat it to new bonnet and boot badges. Can anyone tell me whether all bonnet/boot badges fit all BMWs?

    I'll get the bodywork sorted in the summer, hopefully in time for Santa Pod!
     
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  10. slim_boy_fat
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    slim_boy_fat WARLORD Site Supporter

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    I wouldn't put money on that, iirc even the ones on the e39 bonnet and boot are different? Measures yours to check.

    Also, I'd advise getting originals [ask Ed to quote with Members' discount] as some have reported poor quality with some bought online. Easy to replace, just carefully prise them up out of the plastic grommets into which they're a push fit. Watch you don't scratch the paintwork in removing them! :banghead:
     
  11. kleynie
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    kleynie WARLORD Site Supporter

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    I did a couple of nice mods to my old E39 touring, 19” wheels with Avon tyres, shark fin aerial and a stereo upgrade, perhaps some mods to the inside would be good?
     
  12. Wilseus
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    I'm tempted to put one of those Android head units in it, but it seems to be a lottery as to what fits, and what is any good.
     
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  13. slim_boy_fat
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    YouTube might be your friend there [ or Google]. I'm sure I saw a video a good while back where someone had done just that. Iirc, they ran through what was needed and how it was done.
     
  14. Rob530i
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    The badges seem to be different between models, even front and back. You may also need the rubber grommets (two per badge). Very easy to remove; use a thin flat bladed screwdriver and a credit/points card. Place the card next to the badge to protect the paintwork as you lever up the badge. It should lift off easily so you can get your fingers underneath it.

    I've sold my 530i Touring to my father in law as a runabout; too much work for me to take on (no time either), too expensive to pay to fix but he's retired and has all the time in the world to fix it. I replaced both of mine when I bought her and purchased them from the dealer as you have to buy the grommets separately. you won't know what state the grommets are until you remove them.

    Rob
     
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  15. Wilseus
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    I've never understood the logic in this, from what I can gather an E39 is cheaper to fix than newer models as they are mechanically simpler and have much less electronics to go wrong. My local specialist told me it was £800 just for the part when one of the headlights on his E60 packed up. All that can go wrong on mine is a £5 bulb. Previously, I had been considering buying a £10K F10, which in depreciation alone would have cost me the best part of £1000 a year. Yes, the auto box might pack up, but I'll cross that bridge if I come to it, and a manual conversion can be had for less than £1K.

    That said, I plan to do stuff like brake pads and discs myself, it's not very hard.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  16. Richyroos
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    Richyroos

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    The newer cars are more expensive to fix! Just a silly example - both my E39's were tourers, and both had seized rear wiper spindles, BMW do a kit of bits that was somewhere around £35, which I didn't think was too bad. Later I had an E61 tourer - again seized rear wiper, this time though, the repair kit was £60 odd - for near enough the same parts -why?? In the end I managed to "unseize" the spindle myself - took all one afternoon, but essentially a free fix!

    As you say, the degree of electronics makes the later models more expensive too, I am not saying they go wrong a lot, but when they do - watch out!!

    I liked the E39's I owned, my only comment now is that they do feel a bit stodgy to drive compared to the later models, but saying that I would still consider another one, as they are very well made cars. It is very strange that on the saloon E39's, they always seem to rust under the boot lock - I wonder why?? Does water seep in around the lock bezel perhaps?

    Good luck with your project!

    Rich
     
  17. Richyroos
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    Richyroos

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    Just read your post again (the last one!), yes stuff like brake pads, discs etc are dead easy to DIY, and not expensive either if you buy them from the right suppliers! I cant recall what mileage your car has done, but the autoboxes generally last well, providing you change the oil and filter every 60k, if it is high mileage and the oil changes have not been done by previous owners, you could be looking at a rebuild at some stage, or a rebuilt torque converter. I had to have a rebuild done on my E61 auto,- not cheap, but worth doing if you can bear the cost - mine cost £1700 for a full recon, mine had done over 150k.

    Rich
     
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  18. Wilseus
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    There's been a little more progress with the E39 (or Ziggy as he is called.)

    The wheels are back from being refurbished, with brand new tyres. All four turned out to be buckled so I had to have them straightened which cost a bit more money, but never mind. IMG_20190413_111619927_HDR.jpg IMG_20190413_111636316_HDR.jpg
    I put some protector stuff on them this weekend, I have to wait for that to cure before I can put them on the car.

    The jacking points (a common problem on these cars) all look completely clean with the exception of the driver's side front which starting to go rusty but is OK structurally I think. It looks as though someone jacked it up badly at some point and split the undertray and damaged the paint at the same time, allowing moisture in.
    At this point it looks like an easy DIY fix.
    IMG_20190406_141920625.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  19. IVIajor
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    IVIajor

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    Looking good....I think you'll need an 82mm and a 78mm badge. I got copies from E Bay and they seem to be lasting OK.....The headlights look nice and clear. Is the raising and lowering working fine? Both of mine had the usual snapped inner workings. It's a bit fiddly to repair them without splitting the lights but it's possible and it took me an hour per light. Give me a shout if you need advice/help on that one.

    Some nice little M badges required for the wheels too (y)
     
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  20. Wilseus
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    Yes, I bought some counterfeit front and rear badges, I'll see how well they last. I only needed to replace the rear one though, the front one is in very good condition. I hadn't actually thought to check the headlamp mechanism, the previous owner gave me a comprehensive list of everything wrong with the car and headlamps weren't mentioned.
    I've got the old M badges, I'm going to try cleaning and polishing them before buying new ones.
     

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