The Story: Ryan’s 2000 BMW E39 M5


All cars have a story, and I’m about to get very carried away telling mine.   It’ll be long, it’ll be detailed, and it’ll be full of links to YouTube videos and website articles better-articulating what I have done with this car.

Sunday, July 18th, 2010.  6:42pm.  The corner of Village Way and Library Street, in Hudson, Ohio.  I was in the downtown area of my community with my grandparents at a concert on our green.  During intermission, we always took a little stroll to get some ice cream.  This stroll happened to be a tad more expensive, but much more fun than the usual.My M5 was poorly backed in to a spot, showing it’s age with the pre-facelifted headlights, a gaudy front license plate, and more than a handful of stone chips in the hood and front bumper.  There was an orange For Sale sign on the inside of the windshield, displaying the car’s year, make, model, and the owner’s phone number.  I snapped a few photos with my iPhone 4, hence the exact date and time.  My grandparents were a lot less excited about the car than I was.

I should mention that I’ve always been a car enthusiast.  Not only a car enthusiast, but a European car enthusiast, thanks to my dad.  When I was a kid, he had a 1991 Porsche 964 Turbo.  From 2003-2006, he drove a loaded BMW 530i/5 Sport.  In 2004, he purchased a 1998 Ferrari 355 F1 Spider from Florida.  Being around a car-nut, I guess it rubbed off.  Luckily for me, he had good taste.

It was probably a mixture of the Internet and Top Gear that taught me what an M5 is.  I knew it was a sport version of BMW’s 5-series model.  I knew it had power, technology, and a larger-than-anticipated price tag.  My best friend and I used to bike around our town all summer, totaling some 2,000 miles per season.  I can remember seeing a jet-black post-facelifted E39 M5 downtown, turning around, and pedaling back to look at it. I appreciated what it was, but never thought that I’d own one.  Looking back in my iPhoto archives from 2009-2010, I have several pictures of my car poorly-parked around town.  I always saw it, knew it was an M5, and snapped a photograph.  Little did I know it would be mine one day.  Here are a few photos of the car I took before I owned it.

July 18th, 2009  

Noticed an M5 badge, took a photo.  I had no idea that exactly 365 days later, I would spot this exact car for sale- and buy it.

SSPX0706 SSPX0707 SSPX0708

SSPX0853 SSPX0854

SSPX1099 SSPX1100 SSPX1101

 July 18th, 2010.  Found downtown for sale.

July 18th, 2010. First time I saw this car for sale.

2000 BMW M5 Back Camera Back Camera Back Camera

Shortly after finding my future M5 for sale, I found myself on my bike at our local favorite restaurant, Yours Truly.  I gave my dad a call and told him of my find.  We didn’t have any immediate plans to buy my first car, but I always have been one to push the buck early.  I told him what it was, and that I really liked it, and he laughed at the idea of a 16-year-old even thinking about a BMW M5.  That night, I remember staying up for hours doing research on the car.  YouTube videos, reviews from when it was new, and research about it’s reliability and maintenance.  I fell in love with nearly everything that I found.  The next day was a Monday, so I called the number on the for-sale sign.  It was hard to tell if the last digit was a 1 or 6, as the sign was very low behind the windshield.  I tried my luck with a 1, and reached a mental hospital.  The 6 got me to the middle-aged second owner of the car, Dave.  I told Dave that I had seen the car downtown, and that I really liked what I saw. I asked how many miles the car had on it, and how much he wanted for it.  I found that the car had 147,347 miles, and that the price seemed reasonable at $12,900.  I told Dave that I’d think about it,” and “call him back later.”  I got my grandfather and dad to agree to go over and look at the car, drive it, and see if it would be a good fit.  Dave turned out to live about 1.5 miles closer to town than I did, so the trip was short.  His 5-bay garage housed the M5, a Z3M, a C5 Corvette, his E39 M5 replacement 2008 E60 M5, and some little red project car (MG?)  We spent our first 15 minutes talking with Dave about the car, and looking over its condition.  We found that the car had been meticulously cared for, but was driven as his daily driver for the past 7 years. We found the usual signs of use, stone chips on the front, slightly-foggy headlights, and the typical pre-facelift trim wear on the interior center console, shift knob, and parking-brake handle.  We decided that we should take the car on a short drive, so we piled into the M5.  We just took a short ride down his street, to highway 480, and then back into town.  My dad drove, since I didn’t even have my temporary license yet. 90MPH felt as stable as can be.  I remember my first ride in the M5’s passenger seat, it felt smaller than I expected, but very well built and comfortable. The array of buttons for the radio and climate-control looked impressive, and the car felt very solid and powerful. My dad backed the car back into Dave’s driveway, and begun the negotiation process. $900 off the original price later, and I saw a handshake.  That was a feeling that I’ll never forget.

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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

  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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