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lemusa

03 e39 540i Motorsport

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Hi All,

Here's my newly aquired e39. I had a 98 540i many years ago but a Corolla sent that to it's grave in Easter 2014. Since then I've only owned another commodore which was then sold when company cars came along. I've been passively looking for a weekend toy for a while and this one came up in Christchurch, originally the seller was asking $3800 but with no wof or reg and a list of things required. I initally gave it a miss but it came back up with most of the work completed so I gave it a second chance. In the end I purchased it with no wof on Thursday and, one ballast replacement later, it passed it's first wof since April 2018 this morning. 205k's on the clock.

The Good:

  • Drives quiet and smooth.
  • Interior is in reasonable shape.
  • Exterior is straight and only minor scratches.
  • Full service history up to 2016.
  • Trans rebuilt at 152k.
  • Minimal oil leaks, the power steering reservoir is the main culprit I think.

The Bad:

  • Bonnet and roof were recently resprayed. Kinda looks like they did it in a corn field during harvest...
  • Unknown service history from 2016-present (except what previous did to it which included manifold gaskets, PCV, couple of suspension pieces and steering arm.)
  • Car had sat for at least a year. Exact details on the last couple of years are a little vague.
  • Plenty of small trim items to repair/replace.
  • ABS light comes on occasionally.
  • Brakes are a little spongey so hoping a full fluid replacement solves this.
  • Passenger's side cabin air duct is broken at the filter housing so it's sucking from engine bay.
  • Timing chain guides haven't been touched (tensioner has been replaced though).

I've got a few things on the way from FCP including a maintenance kit. The oil was last changed at 178k (that I know of) and I'm not sure if it's been touched before or after it sat. Will do a full service excluding trans.

To Do List (in no particular order😞

  • Full service including brake bleed/
  • Replace cabin air duct.
  • Fix power steering leak.
  • White "angel eyes" (low beams are already 6000k).
  • Fix seat twist problems (driver and passenger!).
  • Fit new windscreen seal.
  • Replace stereo unit with aftermarket. Most likely a Chinese Dinan knock off.
  • Remove car phone and replace with something that provides storage.
  • M5 Grill
  • Get sun visor lights working
  • Dye parcel tray back to black
  • Get decent radio reception back
  • Respray bonnet and bumper
  • Fix ABS trifecta

I'll get some better pics once I've given it a proper clean up. A couple of the pics attached are the seller's from FB.

Cheers! Sam

 

20200806_200126.jpg20200806_180018.jpg

 

 

108926292_1160108564364832_2823288162828781106_o.jpg116151478_1160108534364835_5308512963070119277_o.jpg

109145039_1160108601031495_8606728011462790744_o.jpg20200807_230236.jpg

My old 1998 e39 540i. Had done around 155kms at time of death.

20140420_114517.jpg

 

 

Edited by lemusa
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Very nice!

That M badge on the rear needs to go. (and probably delete the 540i with it for a clean look)

Also you should pick up the E39 ABS unit for sale listed here to fix your ABS issue. 

It needs some euro plates to fit nicely on to the long plate frame!

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5 minutes ago, qube said:

Very nice!

That M badge on the rear needs to go. (and probably delete the 540i with it for a clean look)

Also you should pick up the E39 ABS unit for sale listed here to fix your ABS issue. 

It needs some euro plates to fit nicely on to the long plate frame!

Yeah badge delete is on the cards. I actually still have the ABS unit from my old wrecked e39. Not sure if they're the same across all years though as my last one was a 98. I'll start with bleeding them first and go from there. Euro plates would be nice but that's down the line.

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Tonight I gave the interior a decent wipe down and gave the leather a quick once over with some conditioner I had on the shelf.

20200808_214919.thumb.jpg.7d27f8bb247923450cca59e3d008d482.jpg

20200808_214925.thumb.jpg.66b6cabbce5e989fe11cdae60e51827a.jpg

Happy with how it came up except for the back seat having a bit of a worn patch. I'll have to get googling a patch up for that.

20200808_214950.thumb.jpg.2ec3613ae3dc0ce081b5b4c4efd2088e.jpg

Also did a quick dash mod. I did this on my last one as well and quite like how it cleans up the dashboard. I had a set of rings already but lost the little ones 🤷‍♂️. This will do for now.

Used a paint pen for needles. Probably thicker than it needs to be but it came out nice and even with the lights on. Maybe not to everyones taste but I think it's an improvement over the white.

20200808_195730.thumb.jpg.cb7cb4de59834df63a0de586ac9fd13a.jpg

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Now I'm basically waiting for the FCP order to show up. They reckon I'll have it on the 18th.

 

Edited by lemusa
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That M Badge was likely originally put on from BMW NZ, being NZ new, but not the "540i".  But M badge now obviously in wrong place.  Here is my NZ new 530 (now with a new caregiver...)

 

DSC02826.JPG

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I do like the M badge but mines faded so I'll remove them all and see if I like it.

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5 hours ago, hqstu said:

That M Badge was likely originally put on from BMW NZ, being NZ new, but not the "540i".  But M badge now obviously in wrong place.  Here is my NZ new 530 (now with a new caregiver...)

A lot of NZ new ones came with the M badge only (both of mine were like this)

Jap imports typically have the model designation (our touring was like this)

The OP's M badge is clearly an aftermarket add on and hence removal would look best. If he wanted the M badge, can buy a nice new one and stick it on in the "correct" location using hqstu's photo as reference.

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Made a trip to pick a part today and grabbed these for $38.

20200815_160518.thumb.jpg.0396b879406dc85b68910781bfa73b51.jpg

Nice straight forward upgrade to get rid of the redundant mobile phone. There is just enough room under the center console to feed the plug and antenna back down. I've got a new box coming from FCP and that will complete my centre console repairs.

20200815_184658.thumb.jpg.5b60134b3c12ab4af90a47e09ad06fe8.jpg20200815_184708.thumb.jpg.9cae01eef2ebcffea00fb663f06be2de.jpg

While I was there I replaced the cigarette lighter tray thing. Mine was stuck open. I could of possibly fixed it as it's just a little rod missing but seeing as I had a good one I just threw that in.

20200815_183539.thumb.jpg.4edd67fac6d2b5832b449c56b2aeecfc.jpg

I also fixed the rear quarter window privacy screen. Forgot to take photos but basically I just bridged the broken plastic at the bottom with the hot glue gun and sealed it in place with super glue. Time will tell if it holds up but at least for now the screen isn't hanging loose.

20200815_181049.thumb.jpg.31e6747a0ff56d13f415dc6ac208d0d9.jpg

And finally my crued fix for the cabin filter duct. Was suprisingly easy to remove the duct so I could tape right around it. There was only one at pick a part but it's a 96 model and the clip is different. My tape held up for the 20km round trip so should hold up until I can find a good duct.

20200815_181233.thumb.jpg.d6e52834238d7902f6396eaf7825f069.jpg

All completed with the company of Supercars. Man I've missed this.

20200815_184718.thumb.jpg.639e37b0cb7c91b9b1b14b0274dd11fe.jpg

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Very clean looking car and I like the idea of replacing the phone holder in the middle. I had no idea there was another option and I might have to look into doing the same with mine as it's such a waste of space. I bought my 540 a few months back and it came with a replacement brand new cup holder, went to swap it out today only to find its for a LHD bimmer haha. Guess I'll add that to the list of things to do.

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From what I've read there's 3 different armrest types but only one has the storage underneath. 

I hope you realised it was LHD before you had it all dismantled! I'm looking at cup holder options, the stock ones are just too useless. I can't find any RHD ones though so I might have a go at something like jeffbebe did here: 

 

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Beautiful car and a great colour for it 😎

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On 8/10/2020 at 11:53 AM, qube said:

A lot of NZ new ones came with the M badge only (both of mine were like this)

Jap imports typically have the model designation (our touring was like this)

The OP's M badge is clearly an aftermarket add on and hence removal would look best. If he wanted the M badge, can buy a nice new one and stick it on in the "correct" location using hqstu's photo as reference.

Jeez, when did you become the badge police, Kyu?! 😎

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On 8/8/2020 at 11:51 PM, lemusa said:

Happy with how it came up except for the back seat having a bit of a worn patch. I'll have to get googling a patch up for that.

20200808_214950.thumb.jpg.2ec3613ae3dc0ce081b5b4c4efd2088e.jpg

I recommend European Leathercare Colourlock system.  https://europeanleathercare.co.nz  I have no commercial involvement, am simply a very satisfied customer.  Do add 'Elephant Leather Preservative' to your Leather Fresh Repair kit.  This contains cleaner, toner (to re-'dye' the damaged leather), and protectant. The Elephant Preservative helps keep the leather supple, a bit like moisturising your skin, only this is non-oily and not greasy.  I even use it on my steering wheel.  https://www.colourlockleathercare.co.nz/shop-now/product/10-leather-fresh-repair-kit 

Hope that helps. 

I

Edited by Olaf
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Thanks man! Are you familliar with what colour matches the E39 leather? Maybe F029 or F038?

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My pleasure!  I got a black kit to match my old Volvo - very black leather.  It works fine on all the black leathers I've encountered; jackets, bags, steering wheels... I've not had to use the tinter it on my e60 (Black Dakota Leather), just the cleaner, protectant, and elephant preserver.  

As far as colours, I reckon your safe with Schwartz F035 (or possibly the lighter Anthrazit F046) - though depends how black your leather is.  If in doubt, go Black.  Like Wesley Snipes in Passenger 57: "Always bet on black".
 

If you have cracking you can get a tube of tinted filler that matches, though it looks more like scuffs in your case.

giphy.gif

PS: @lemusa I can't tell from your images which black you have - there are colour balance issues from artificial light.  Use your best judgement.

Edited by Olaf
gif action, baby!

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@Olaf It's just scuffing. There is no cracks anywhere that I've found. I think the pic below is fairly colour accurate but from what I've googled it might be the Anthrazit F046. I'll do some more Googling. Thanks for your help!

109120450_1160108647698157_6532870394547003145_o.jpg.ffb580d23f89c4af8feee9da7cc5506b.jpg

Today, instead of re-pailing the fence, I took two photos of the car parked in front of it 😆

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8 hours ago, lemusa said:

Thanks man! Are you familliar with what colour matches the E39 leather? Maybe F029 or F038?

Probably easier to just find a good used seat base then go through the hassle of repairing. 
 

I recommend the febi branded cupholders. As long as you’re not a gorilla they stand up to the test of time. Have had one in my M5 for over 5 years. You can get them off ebay, just check the brand and search “e39 rhd cupholder”

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1 hour ago, BreakMyWindow said:

Probably easier to just find a good used seat base then go through the hassle of repairing. 

But then I wouldn't learn anything 😉. Thanks for the tip on cup holders. Are the febi ones stiff enough to hold a maccas cup? I've always found anything more than a coffee is asking for trouble.

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Ah yeah true it’s a good project. I’d probably get a colour match off of a surrounding area as if you go off a paint code or using the excess leather underneath the seat base it might not match due to uv fading.


Yeah the febi ones have thicker plastic and are definitely up to holding maccas cups. Just put the cup in nicely and you’ll be fine.

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11 hours ago, Olaf said:

Jeez, when did you become the badge police, Kyu?! 😎

I note nobody has an issue with the hilarious ebay sticker I added to hqstus car 😁

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On 8/8/2020 at 11:51 PM, lemusa said:

Tonight I gave the interior a decent wipe down and gave the leather a quick once over with some conditioner I had on the shelf.

20200808_214919.thumb.jpg.7d27f8bb247923450cca59e3d008d482.jpg

20200808_214925.thumb.jpg.66b6cabbce5e989fe11cdae60e51827a.jpg

Happy with how it came up except for the back seat having a bit of a worn patch. I'll have to get googling a patch up for that.

20200808_214950.thumb.jpg.2ec3613ae3dc0ce081b5b4c4efd2088e.jpg

 To tidy up that rear seat go and see Clive at FibreNew, on Lismore Street. He will tidy that up for next to nothing.

Like the red needles, very M. Please share your method with us.............

 

Edited by Bandit
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There are few how to's out there but basically just remove cluster and split it to get access to the needles. I didn't remove them, with my hand propped against a flat surface I could very carefully run the paint pen (like this one) down each needle. I was aiming to get it in one pass so it didn't show any uneven spots with the lights on. If you muck it up just wipe off and try again. From start to finish it was a 15-20min job.

Others have used red sharpies which would probably be easier as you don't have the risk of paint dripping on the instrument decal!

Just spotted your comment about FibreNew. I'll check him out. Cheers!

Edited by lemusa

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3 hours ago, BreakMyWindow said:

Probably easier to just find a good used seat base then go through the hassle of repairing. 

you'd replace a seat rather than simply clean it, add some toner to re-colour the scuff, and then protect it? 

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Sure, used e39 parts are quite cheap now. If it were a different colour or had individual spec stitching or some other rare characteristics then definitely a touch up on the damage.

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