The Story: Ryan’s 2000 BMW E39 M5


In March of 2016, the roads cleared enough for me to take the car into the shop. The plans had grown though.  Not only was it getting a rebuilt 2002 engine and 2003 differential, but a full driveline, brake, gear linkage, and suspension refresh.  Anything under the car that wasn’t set for at least 100,000 miles was to be rebuilt/replaced.

The engine work had been going on since January.  The heads were sent out to a machine shop to be cleaned, and have new valve seals fitted.  The valve clearances were checked, and they were all like new.  The block was also sent out for cleaning and a polish.  It came back like new too.  Anything that is wearable inside the engine was replaced (minus the piston rings).  Every seal, gasket, tensioner, washer, bolt, nut, etc etc.  Hundreds of parts were replaced while re-constructing this engine.  The VANOS system went to Dr. VANOS for new o-rings, cleaning, testing, and to have the helical gears machined so it’ll be as quiet as possible.

While all of this was going on, the rear end and drive line was worked on.  New parts include:

  • Subframe bushings
  • Differential with PowerFlex differential bushings
  • Porsche nickel-copper alloy brake lines
  • Rear wheel bearings and hubs
  • Rear brake dust shields
  • Rear axles
  • Rear upper and lower control arms
  • Rear integral links
  • Driveshaft guibo
  • Pressure plate, flywheel, clutch disc, throw out bearing
  • Driveshaft CV joint
  • Driveshaft center support bearing
  • E60 545i short shifter, UUC DSSR, all shifter bushings
  • Transmission shaft seal

This totally refreshed my rear suspension, rear subframe, all brakes, shifter-linkage, and driveline.  While the rear subframe was down, I also had the differential mount reinforced with aluminum tig welds.

The engine build took about 4 months start to finish.  When it was done being built, I moved the original plenum to the new engine before installation.  I used the alternator and AC compressor from the 2002 engine (less miles and newer than my original), but replaced the starter motor with a new Bosch unit.  The engine was finally installed in late April, filled with BMW 5w-30 oil (just for break-in), and started for the first time.  The lifters ticked like crazy in the beginning, as expected, but quieted down quickly. No service engine soon light.

I got the car back to my house with pretty much every mechanical component refreshed on May 25th, 2016.  TimmayFest was just a few weeks away, and I needed miles on this engine for break-in asap.  I couldn’t put it on the highway for a few hours until it was properly broken in.  In the course of a few weeks, I put 1,000 city miles on the car, and changed the oil (back to Castrol TWS 10w-60).

I made it to TimmayFest just fine, and enjoyed what was probably the best TimmayFest weekend to date!

January, 2016

Disassembly of 2002 engine.  (122,732 miles)

February, 2017

What a contrast to last year!  I was able to get the car out and put a few miles on in February this year.  I also found a good deal on the 1:18 model on Ebay, to match to the smaller 1:43 model that Kennan gave me years ago.  The blue-print looking graphic is just that.  It’s from BlackArtGraphic, back when they did custom BMW models.  It’s laser-etched on a piece of black aluminum, it’s very cool.

March, 2017

VANOS, block, and heads have returned, and are ready to be assembled.   March, 2017

Time to get the car to the shop!  I had driven it just enough this year so far to achieve 192,000 miles exactly- as I pulled into the shop.  This way, I’ll always know exactly how many miles it has been since the rebuild!

March-May, 2016

Engine assembly, driveline, suspension, brakes, rear end, etc. (Above) Old flywheel and clutch.  The flywheel had 192,000 miles, the clutch had 84,000.(Above 2)  New flywheel and clutch, OE from Amazon for 1/8th the price of the dealer!

May, 2016

Home!  A 0-mile S62 is kind of a cool thing.  I suppose it isn’t really 0 miles, but all of the important parts are brand new.  I just had to drive it carefully, and keep the revs low.

June, 2016

This is the time of year that I live for, and this year was special.  The mechanicals are done for the foreseeable future, so it was time to get a fresh coat of wax on the M5, and then enjoy it in the nice weather.

(Above)  One must let the girlfriend experience the M!  Well done, Megan.  

November, 2016

Time to do something fun!  My friend Geoff had just installed the Euro-dash on his 2001 M5.  After seeing his, I knew I had to do mine.  The European dashboard is different than the one that the United States got.  The lower portion is much thinner, and matches the door panels a lot better.  It also allows for more leg room, no lost glovebox storage space, and a little cubby pocket by the driver’s left knee.  Please excuse the low-quality iPhone night pictures.  

December, 2016

I graduated from college this month.  Due to being so busy with exams, I never made true steps to winterize the M5.  I parked in the garage, full of gas, cleaned it up, plugged it in, and left it.  No plastic tarp this year, not even a cover.  I was able to drive it once or twice in December, but then not again until February of 2017.


I did a 3 part video series on the engine rebuild, starting in late 2015.  I will embed them below.

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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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