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

  1. Looking better than ever! I remember when you first got the car– I didn’t really understand what it was but years later I finally have a decent idea lol. I want to make some high-resolution recordings of the engine, exhaust note and other sounds from your E39 one of these days. I’ll make it into ringtones and we can upload them here. I use the unlock sound from my old 540 as my MacBook Pro system sound and it’s loads of fun.

    • Hey Michael! We should definitely do that, that would be a pretty cool sound kit to offer. It’s still in Ohio for now but will make it’s way to San Diego before long. You’re more than welcome to come to either place any time. 🙂

  2. Hey Ryan, so I have 99 540i and I have had to replace all the window regulators on every door multiple times. And I just bought an 01 M5, but I’m just so paranoid of using the windows and the sun roof on that car because I don’t want to replace the regulators anymore. I have seen in many of you’re videos that you just roll down your windows and sun roof like you’ve never had this problem before. I know this is quiet a common problem but are you using some kit that reinforces the regulators? Any help is appreciated.

    • Hi Dillon, firstly congratulations on the M5!

      Window regulators can be hit and miss. My M5 has all original regulators, now 17.5 years old with 196,700 miles of road experience. They all work perfectly fine. Some of the OEM ones do fail though. The problem is, owners or cheap shops put in very cheap aftermarket regulators, that are even worse. Then the vehicle owner has to keep replacing those cheap ones. It’s best to have an experienced installer replace any broken stock ones with new Genuine BMW parts.

      But definitely don’t be afraid to use the windows. It’s a $75,000 german luxury car, the winders had better work.


  3. Hello Ryan! I love your car! I always dream about the e39 M5, the best sedan sport car ever and when I saw your and your dedication, that’s push me to find my car. But you made me nervous about your AA code comment! I have the same code. Could you please explain to me how dangerous this code is? Should I stop the car until I solve this problem? Please let me know!

  4. i just added sirius to my 2000 e39 m5. Strange problem, sirius module is activated and i can see the channels on the screen but im not getting any sound. AM/FM both have sound. Any thoughts?

    • I would try two things here:

      You need to program the BM53 radio into USA area in order for certain features to work. To do this, make sure that everything is connected correctly first. Go to the driver’s seat. You must put the BM53 radio into program mode to select the proper area. Within less than a second of hitting the power button, press and continue to hold the SELECT button on the 16:9 display. Within about 5 seconds, you’ll be in the menu looking at the serial number of the radio. Use the CD track skip buttons ( < and > ) to cycle through the different options. When you get to ‘area’ or ‘location’, press numbers 1 or 2 on the left of the 16:9 display until USA is displayed. Once it is, press the radio power button (volume knob) to save these settings and turn off the radio. Note that the GAL option in the service mode is speed-variable volume on a scale of 1-6. If you want this system to be aggressive, select a higher number using the preset buttons 1-6.

      Additionally, the two cables (B and C) that plug into this connector on the BM53 radio can be switched in several ways. Do your best to try all the possible different ways until audio works for everything.

      Good luck!

      • Hey buddy I WS watching one of your videos and I was wondering why didn’t you install a front sway bar as well I seen a set of front and rear eibach sway bar kit is there a reason not to use the front ? Ps I have a 01 530i sport 5 speed new owner here and look foward to become a member thanks Mike

        • I considered the front sway bar, and did some research on it. The general consensus was that the front bar is important when you do a square wheel/tire setup, bringing 275 width tires up front as well. I have no desire to do that (cost, road dirt/dust on car), so I decided to keep the stock front sway bar.

          A 5-speed 530i is hard to find, enjoy that!

          • Bro I feel like I’m talking to a celebrity as you are so cool and I’m not sure if there rare but I’ll take your word for it 100% I would love to send you some pics of it but not sure where to send them I am supposed to be paying for it tomorrow! I did notice on a cold start up a little clicking noise that lasted a half of second and went away the car does have a 179k miles 1 owner with a stack of receipts from the last two years worth over $10k so the ran great I’m 42 years old and I never felt a car ride like that with so many miles and I’m a bimmer fan I might ad amd thanks for getting back to me so quickly yours truly Mike. D

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