Discussion in 'Member Rides' started by BMR, Dec 18, 2020.
Loving this .. will await the updates keenly
Loving this. Sub’d
keep it coming mate.
A large pile of parts accumulated while the car was away at the bodyshop so it was time to get cracking with it.
New OEM brake and M5 fuel lines fitted up along with new accumulators for the self levelling rear air suspension.
Rear axle built up using the modified rear subframe, rebuilt M5 LSD, refurbished lower arms and hubs, new bushes throughout, all new upper arms, new wheel bearings, new top mounts, new drop links, new nuts and bolts, Bilstein B6 shocks, Eibach ARB, Arnott air springs, refurbished drive shafts plus other bits and bobs.
Blasted and painted subframe built up using an M5 ARB, M5 steering box, new centre drag link, all new bushes, all new M5 PAS pipes.
Original rod bearings replaced with the engine @ circa 125k miles
Rear axle bolted up and in along with the fuel tank using new tank straps
Engine and box mated along with the recently replaced clutch and flywheel, bolted onto the built up front subframe using new engine mounts ready for its "marriage" to the body
All bolted up in to the engine bay and back on all four wheels with the rear air suspension inflated.
The result of 27 hours over the bank holiday weekend. Lots more to do!
this gives me lovely man feelings
I would honestly buy this in a heartbeat
Such a great project, can’t wait to see it finished!
Using every bit of spare time available (without the wife divorcing me!) I have been pressing on to meet a deadline.
New parking brake hardware, new rear wheel bearings with the M5 hub flanges (note the two grub screw bolt holes non M5 E39's don't have), new discs pads and rebuilt callipers.
Saloon and tourings differ in where their parking cables pass through the knuckle, 12'o clock on the saloon and 9'o clock on the touring. This presents a minor problem in that the M5 uses bigger rear discs and there for bigger back plates so there a two options to address this issue, either weld in the centre of a touring back plate to an M5 outer or cut down the touring back plate to clear the M5 disc.
The latter is the route I chose as its easier and welding thin bits of steel and they have a shape critical to the operation of the parking brake.
Another saloon/touring difference that needed to be overcome was the rear brake hoses. On a saloon the hose come out of the calliper horizontally then attaches to the rigid pipe in a vertical position. On the touring the hose comes out at an approximately 45 degree angle then turns rearward to a horizontal join of the rigid pipe. The reason for this is to clear the shock absorber as again there is a difference in mounting points, the saloon being vertical in to the top of the inner wheel arch and the touring at about 30 degrees to the rear subframe (as can been seen in previous pictures).
To overcome this custom made HEL braided brake hoses were fitted to the rear with matching non custom fronts.
Bilstein B8 shock absorbers coupled with the existing Eibach pro kit front springs, new top mounts, all four arms new with the brake reaction (upper) arm bushes replaced with Powerflex, new M5 (like the rears two grub screw holes plus two locating pins) wheel bearings plus as per the rear new pads, discs and rebuilt callipers.
Front end coming together.
Along with the new fuel lines was fitment of the M5 specific fuel filter and pressure regulator set up.
And now on to one of the areas I enjoy with a build.........
The M5 body loom laid out.
As mentioned at the beginning of the thread, an E39 M5 touring build has been done several times before and having trawled the web to see others approaches I found that people have taken one of two ways when it comes to the wiring alterations required. Now I suspect their chose boils down to the base touring they chose to convert as to the approach they have taken, the two choices being alter the existing touring loom to suit or use the M5 body loom and alter it for the touring specific parts such as tailgate, self levelling rear suspension (if retained) with the latter involving a lot more work.
Other differences to throw into the mix is if the touring as ASC or DSC (all M5's have DSC), wether the touring is a Diesel or petrol and even more importantly if the touring was built before 09/98.
This is particularly important as the E39 had a major technical update from this build date (and all M5's were post 09/98) which also including a lot of the electrical components and wiring..
There are also differences between V8 and six cylinder cars and even after the 09/98 technical update there are a few slight differences.
The upshot of this is that the easiest touring to convert is a post 09/98 540i manual that is a similar build date to the M5 donor car.
Never the less......
..... using a 03/99 built 540i auto touring and an 09/99 M5 meant minimal wiring alterations to the touring loom but still plenty of wires to be harvested from the M5 body loom to integrate the Sport button (for different throttle map and steering), manual transmission and S65 vs M62 differences.
As with my E46 M3 touring project, all wiring alterations were done without cutting and soldering so all terminal numbers and wires colours are as per factory wiring diagrams.
Great build, what are your plans for the interior?
I saw this today near slough/Uxbridge. Spotted it a mile off. Hats off to you. It looked amazing.
Major update coming tonight/tomorrow but yes it’s on the road!
Moving back to the engine bay meant plumbing in the oil filter housing and PAS reservoir. These are located differently to the 540i and have their own bolt on mounting bracket compared to the (by now cut off and painted inner wing) welded on bracket the 540i uses.
Both plastic fill in panels from the 540i were replaced to allow for the M5 twin air intakes, both of these were damaged on the M5 donor so were bought new along with....
.....some of the most expensive bits of plastic known to mankind!
Due to the front end damage of the M5 donor car a lot of the front end parts were scrap. In the end a new fan blade, fan clutch, radiator, fan cowling, expansion tank and not pictured but replaced with new, both belt tensioners, belts and top coolant hose. Luckily the 540i shares the same front panel, PAS cooler. electric fan and AC condenser as an M5 so they could be reused.
What you see here is pretty much all the hardware required to mount an M5 exhaust which was all scrap on the M5 donor car. That pile there was about £500. That hurt!
Rear silencer mounting studs all wound in after running a thread cleaner through the holes.
Rear silencer heat shields fitted up with all rear silencer six rubber mounts. Another pair of parts that seem like a minor thing but were both missing from the donor M5 and had to be bought new at great expense for what they are.
Quad pipes on a wagon!!!
All the complication of grafting in the M5 boot floor, relocating the battery, the expense of all the new M5 exhaust mounting hardware just be able to have four pipes like an M5 saloon when I could have just used an alternative method with a lot less work an expenditure but it would have been a massive compromise for me.
The donor M5 had been de catted and had a rear silencer delete all done quite poorly. I bought a pair of used rear silencers from ebay so refitted those but a pair of used M5 cats a quite expensive now at circa £1200-1500 and ideally i wanted a complete uncut system from the down pipes to tail pipes so this unsightly exhaust is a temporary solution till a suitable system comes up.
Engine bay now built up with the intakes, fluids filled, petrol added to the tank, EWS, key barrel from the M5 fitted (for the time being) and it pretty much fired straight up!
Back onto the interior refit, as I had a deadline to meet (July the 4th E39 M5 meet at Caffeine & Machine) It was full steam ahead with every spare bit of time so a lack of pics during this stage im afriad.
The M5 front seats were sent to a mate at the polishing company east anglia to re colour the blue centres to black and these were back in time to refit.
A set of Michelin PS4's fitted up then Hunter wheel alignment to M5 specs.
After running up the engine up to temp, checking for leaks (and rectifying a minor coolant leak) it was time to take it for its initial test drive.
I know people say this a lot, but if you ever want to sell this.. send me a message!
The finished article looks fantastic.
Time was very limited for covering absolutely everything to "finish" the car so to stand a chance of making the meet I had to prioritise what to do so it could be driven and so it looked complete. Pressing on last week after hours at work and all the way up to 11.30PM on Saturday I just managed to achieve this.
Keeping the self levelling rear air suspension meant some rerouting of the pneumatic lines, wiring and removal of the compressor from its "tortoise shell" housing that locates it in under the spare wheel and putting it in the forward compartment of the M5's battery tray that normally houses a tyre inflation kit.
One of the plastic trims (left one which covers the BM54 radio unit) was already cracked and the ones on the right needed some cutting to allow routing of the some wiring so this is an area that requires some finessing so another set of plastic covers will be sourced and adapted to tidy this area up.
More of that gold plated plastic fitted up, the centre under tray specific to the sport front bumper is often missing or damaged from speed bumps etc and in my case, it still has an SE one fitted along with ebay copies of the "pork chop" side pieces.
I was initially told the centre piece was on back order with no delivery date (so no stock in the UK or Germany) but then one turned up a couple of days later. Happy days I thought but on closer inspection it had clearly been knocking about in a warehouse for some time as it was covered in dust and had (as can been seen in the pics) lots of scratches to the underside. Annoying but I wasn't going to be too choosy on something I would have to wait a long time for another if they even make another batch!
The M5/M3 Oval interior mirror suffering from the usual bleeding of its auto dimming glass plus mine was missing its "clown nose" alarm LED lens so it was an order from cutters forum sponsor www.mirrorjohn.co.uk for a replacement glass and lens.
Fitted up and working. I ordered a set of covers for the back of the mirror and rain sensor but they don't seem to fit so thats on the snag list to look into whats going on if there are different size rain sensors.
When I bought the 540i the previous owner had fitted a set of birch anthracite interior trims which was quite sought after and I do like them but I wanted the interior to have as much M5 feel as possible so I swapped the birch for a very good set of M5 specific titan shadow trim set.
Another couple of options already retro fitted to the touring were the built in child booster seats and rear door blinds. Having owned several E39's over the years I always wanted the booster seats in them for my kids to use but now they are old enough not to need them any more. typical! M5 rear outer head rests added to match the fronts.
Switch panel with the M5's specific sport button to adjust throttle map and steering assistance.
Another retro fit carried over from the touring is the wide screen MK4 nav (very antiquated now) and DSP audio system which although not great, its a step up from the very poor base spec audio most E39's have to put up with.
The donor M5 still had its original early black face instrument cluster so that was swapped over but as you can see its suffering from the usual dead pixels in the display. What isn't noticeable in the pics are some other issues with it such as the fuel gauge incorrectly reading and the warm up lights on occasion doing an impression of a crappy disco.
I have tried another cluster to confirm its my cluster at fault and not a dodgy sender or wiring issue so I need to send mine away and see if it can be repaired.
During the week I had driven the car to and from work a couple of times to give it a short shake down so with no issues it was time for a longer run and at speed so a 40 mile round trip up the M23 then one junction of the M25 and back with no issues I was confident it would be ok for the 250 mile round trip on sunday.
A fresh set of side mouldings with M5 badges plus clear side repeaters to replace the body colour painted ones and ambers.
Continuing with the amber to clear theme a set of mint condition facelift rear outer lamps with clear indicators and new facelift inner lamps to replace the faded ones fitted plus a pair of new outer bumper mouldings.
And to finish off the clear indicator theme (all UK M5's had clear indicators) the amber shod halogens that had a cheap HID kit and broken adjusters were replaced with a set of OEM facelift xenon headlights that had been refurbished with all new adjusters, polished lenses and new bulbs.
Also in the pic you can see the M sport front bumper T bar in the centre grill has been swapped out for the M5 mesh grill and the standard mirror have been replaced with the M5 specific ones. A new motor and glass was required the drivers mirror as they had been damaged when the donor M5 was crashed.
The engine bay received a bit of a wipe down, new headlight gaskets and some of the bolts that hold on the headlights, rad supports and front panel were replaced with new to get rid of some rusty old ones to help tidy it up a bit
Quick wash the evening before the meet then the last piece to go on at 11.30 pm was the M5 rear badge.
5.45am V power fill up before heading round the M25.......
.... before meeting up with a load of E39 M5 owners at Beaconsfield services......
..... to head up the M40 to the meet at C&M.
An enjoyable morning out with some nice M5s including plenty in some rare individual colours.
So impressions... it goes and stops just like an M5, it handles pretty much like an M5 with the Eibach rear ARB helping to keep the body roll with the extra weight in check. Ride is nice and compliant compared to my M4 despite the Bilstein B8 shock absorbers and with every bush, ball joint, mount, suspension arm and steering rod being new its a tight as can be.
Only down side is 3rd gear syncro has had it so a quick change up or down into 3rd will mean a crunch. Annoying as it means a box rebuild and I had no way of knowing this as i couldn't drive the crash damaged M5.
Very happy with how it has turned out so far and despite there being a snag list plus a few other changes i would like to make, I am looking forward to doing those as and when.
Very cool !!
I really enjoyed reading that, what a quality build. I can appreciate the enthusiasm for the E39 touring as i've had a 530i sport touring for over 6 years. I like the lengths to get the OEM exhaust setup on the rear, the tailpipe positioning looks factory
Fantastic build, great job. Looks awesome.
Nice to see this built up. Out of interest how much were the front pork chops? I heard they are ridiculously priced.
I love the car and your uncompromising approach of creating as the factory would’ve done so.
How do you go about re-registering it with DVLA as an M5 touring and is it a huge pain to insure, ie. does the insurance company end up considering it as a heavily modified 540i touring?
It’s a beautiful thing.