The Story: Ryan’s 2000 BMW E39 M5


Spring 2015 started with body work.  I had the new side mirrors painted, rust removed from one rocker panel, and various other rust spot corrections.  The car is now rust free!  I did the brake fluid when new lines were installed, and got fresh coolant after a thermostat replacement.  At 188,026 miles now, this car is more capable than any 2003 model I’ve ever seen.  A full euro lighting conversion, all OEM parts, a short shift kit, Shark tune, M-audio, SIRIUS XM, aux, upgraded navigation, fresh vitals, etc.  2015 carried on with a ton of improvements:  18mm Eibach rear sway bar, beast power brackets, front PDC retrofit, aluminum pedals, Eisenmann Race 4x76mm axle-back exhaust, fresh Pilot Super Sport tires, an oil change, OE front rotors and Hawk HPS pads, new front calipers, PDR, seat trims and buttons, and various other hardware and small trim bits.  I also replaced all of the interior Titan-line trim.  The center console, dashboard, all fresh.  The old stuff was in okay condition, but it tends to get glossier with age.  The fresh trim set is more of a matte finish, and freshens up the interior quite nicely. Seemingly, right after I ordered the fresh interior trim set, the prices on this stuff skyrocketed.

Over the summer of 2015, big plans were hatched.  I now knew that I need to keep this car for a long time, perhaps decades.  I expect it to be reliable for the foreseeable future, and a 190,000 mile motor was the expense glaring me in the face.  Now, this engine had been fantastic.  In my ownership, I had only replaced the basics of plugs, sensors, filters, fluids, and a few small gaskets and hoses.  My previous owner had done the head gaskets.  My concerns lied in the VANOS system, connecting rod bearings, and timing chain guides.  I had no indication of any of these systems failing, but it would be only a matter of time.  My goal was simple:  this M5 needs to last and be reliable for at least another 100,000 miles.  This is going to mean either a rebuild, new engine, or a mix of the two.

I explored all options to determine which is the most economical and feasible for me.  If I rebuilt my 2000, I would want to replace the piston rings to get past the oil blow-by issue. My current engine burnt some oil, maybe 1 liter in 500 miles.  It had grown to be a little worse, but the carbon deposits on the back of the car were what was really bothering me. Any time I hit the gas I got clouds of dark carbon deposits from the tips that adhered to the rear bumper and trunk lid.  Even a 5 mile cruise downtown left the rear of my car very dirty.  Because the S62 engine has an alusil-coated engine block, it can’t just be honed for new rings.  I would have to bore the block, and then sleeve it. Not only does this cost a ton of money, but it’s a risky procedure.  I had also decided that I wanted a stock build.  I don’t want or need more power, and the stock setup of the S62 is reliable as is.  This made rebuilding my 2000 motor a less-attractive option.

I then explored replacing the engine with a new S62, from BMW.  That’s right, they still make the S62, 15 years after the first one was fitted to an E39.  I got quotes on ordering one, and having it installed.  The price was huge, as I expected.  The new engine didn’t even come with any accessories- no alternator, AC compressor, starter motor, intake manifold, etc, etc.  This option proved to be too much money for too little product.

The happy medium that I decided on was to buy a used engine, and partially rebuild it.  I ended up buying a late build 2002 S62 with 122,732 miles on it.  A big thanks to Adam Bajrak (Clemster, M5Board) for getting me a great deal on such an engine.  This motor had originally been in a carbon black 2002 M5, that was unfortunately damaged on the highway in Ohio somewhere.  The damage to the vehicle was the rear right corner, so the engine was left completely unharmed.  I made the trip from the Cleveland, Ohio area to see and hear this engine near Baltimore, Maryland.  I left early in the morning, arrived around noon, and spent a few hours talking to Adam about how I should approach this. The engine started right up, but sounded like a ticking time bomb.  It had been months since it had ran, so the lifters were ticking like crazy.   I was assured from both Adam and a few hours of forum research that this noise would subside once the engine got warm and adequately exercised.  I made a deal with Adam to buy the engine, a 50k mile 2003 rear differential, and 100k mile rear axle set that were in better shape than my existing.

Partially rebuilding the 2002 motor meant that my car could spend the winter covered in my garage again, instead of being torn apart in a shop for months.  I set the ball rolling with this decision.

Lastly, in November, my MKIV navigation computer failed.  It kept freezing and was very slow at times.  I had little patience for this, since my electronics were otherwise fully functional.  I sold that computer, and found a 2012 (not a typo!) MKIV on Ebay that I purchased and installed.  This one should last quite a while.

Winter, 2015

The first time out was in March.  This is as far as it got from the garage that day.

March, 2015

I installed the 18mm Eibach rear sway bar with BeastPower brackets.  I also installed new under-body splash shields.  I installed the aluminum sport pedals in March as well.

May, 2015

Front PDC.  The 2000 M5, when optioned with PDC, only came with rear PDC.  In 2001, the package included front sensors as well.  Time for a retrofit!  Video, and article.

Summer, 2015

I got the Eisenmann Race exhaust installed, did the whole Zaino-polish treatment, and enjoyed the hell out of the car this summer.

Fall, 2015

This is right before the car was put in storage mode for winter, and the real engine work began at the local shop. Fall, 2015

This is less than 50 miles worth of driving.  It’s time to do something about this.
Fall, 2015

Here’s the engine that I bought, still in it’s original M5.Winter, 2015

A few weeks later, the engine and differential had been removed, shipped, and delivered to my local shop.  Video

For E39Source, I put together a video detailing my plans for the engine and future.

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2000 BMW E39 M5, Silverstone Metallic. 2002 BMW E46 330xi, Topaz Blue Metallic. BA Business Management, Kent State University. E39Source Owner.

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128 thoughts on “The Story: Ryan’s 2000 BMW E39 M5

    • I love driving it on long drives, but I rarely do. The stone chips to the front end cost thousands to repair and one trip to the east coast can cost you a headlight(s), bumper, windshield, and hood re-spray.

      • Do the sport seats & suspension make it better or worse for long drives? Some owners say that they hardly get fatigue driving it long distance. Do your think that’s where the car shines?

        • The sport seats are way more comfortable and supportive than the standard/luxury seats. There’s no comparison there. And the suspension on the highway is perfectly fine, it’s really a fantastic long distance car. It shines in most everything it does!

          • I assume the suspension increases the car’s high speed stability, which even if you do the speed limit for a long drive decreases driver fatigue because its easier to keep an M5 straight at those speeds than a boat like a 7 series.

            • It sounds like that’s what the M5 is about. I used to & many M5 owners think of the M5 as a sports car but its way to heavy to lap a track for it to be a sports car but it seems like a car that you can drive at high speeds without worrying about losing control of the car.

      • Have you ever considered getting a clear bra put on? A lot of people with expensive cars do that so they can minimize rock chips and other damage.

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