E39 M5: Must Have Mods

Okay, so you’ve already made the best decision of your life: you bought an E39 M5. Now, what minor (or major) modifications will make a great car even greater?

Let me start out by saying that this article is very subjective.  Each M5 owner has his or her own expectations for the car.  Some people are after pure performance, while others are allured by a refined, quiet luxury car that also has balls.  Many of us are somewhere in-between.  I bought my 2000 M5 in 2010.  It was my first car, I was 17 years old. Somehow, I didn’t kill myself.  By 2011, the void of E39 M5 DIY content online had pissed me off enough that I decided to spearhead the lack of online content with E39Source. This has allowed me to connect with hundreds of fellow E39 (M5) owners.  I would never say that I have seen it all, but I have been exposed to a lot of very tasteful (and garish) mods. In this article, in no particular order, I will list and describe several ‘must-have’ modifications, per my taste. Continue reading

BMW M50-M52 Intake Modification

With this modification, your M52B25 or M52B28 engine will make more power.

The M52B25 and M52B28 engine can be found in the E36, E39, E38, and in some early BMW E46 models.  It is not the easiest modification, but if you are at least a little handy, it is not difficult.  Some people say that this will gain an additional 20HP, while some say it won’t give you any.  I believe that there are power benefits.

In the picture below, you see on the left an M52 intake, and on the right, an M50 intake.
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Say Hello to Andrew’s new Benz!

My past BMW’s were fun cars.  I had a great time driving them, and I learned a lot fixing them.  However, they got a bit repetitive after having cars so similar: the E53 X5, E36 318ti, and the E36 328i.  These all shared so much in common that I could go through the motions to change out a thermostat or replace an oil filter housing gasket with my eyes closed.  So, what does a car guy do when they need a new project to tinker on?

He moves on and gets a 1995 W124 Mercedes E320!

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BMW E36 Bi-Xenon Headlight Retrofit

thumbHow do you get high intensity lighting for under $200 $50?

Easy, peasy, lemon squeeze: all you need to do is retrofit your stock plastic lens E36 headlights with bi-xenon projectors.  With some modification from a Dremel, razor blade, and a pry tool, you too can have HID lighting without resorting to a eat-ramen-every-night college-esque budget.   Continue reading

BMW E39 Changes Throughout Production

UntitledThe BMW E39 5-series was produced from 09/1995-06/2003 for the 1996-2003 model years. In September of 2000, for the 2001 model year, BMW gave the E39 a facelift.  This means that the E39 chassis was updated, renewed both technologically and aesthetically for a few more years of production.

Even outside of the big 2001 facelift, things with the E39 changed each year.  This article will summarize the changes BMW made to US-spec vehicles throughout production. Continue reading

BMW E39 SIRIUS XM, AUX Input, BM53 Radio Retrofit DIY

IMG_3169Welcome to what is going to be a very long article, and a great wealth of knowledge.  I am going to attempt to break down exactly what you need to do to retrofit a BM53 Radio, Auxiliary Input, and SIRIUS XM Radio into your BMW E39 5-series.  It is important to realize that the BMW E39 uses an infrastructure for technology in the car known as I-Bus, or Information Bus.  Picture it as the platform, and the language of hardware/software that makes everything technology communicate.  I-Bus was first used on the 1989 BMW E31, or 8-series.  It offers an impressive data transfer rate of 9.6KB/s.  I-Bus was used until 2006, on the E46 3-series and E53 X5-series.  This gave BMW a long time to create newer, better, faster, and more functional hardware that operated off of I-Bus.  Note that many BMW models used I-Bus, but the majority of these are not compatible with the products listed in this article due to their age.  The oldest car that I would expect to work with SIRIUS XM, for example, would be a navigation equipped E38 7-series. Continue reading

2000 BMW M5 – Facelift Steering Wheel Upgrade

IMG_29782001 was a big year for the E39 5-series, for BMW face-lifted the car.  The E39 chassis had been around for 5 years or so, and it was time to update it for the final 3 years of production.  On the M5, in particular, the updated steering wheel is one of the biggest updates.  It looks a lot more modern than the old wheel, and feels much more sporty due to it’s thicker girth, and more pronounced side bolsters.  Depending on when your E39 was made, this update process can be super easy, or damn near impossible.  Let’s get into it. Continue reading

The Ultimate Car Detailing: Zaino

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It’s a guy thing.  In the garage or shop of a car enthusiast, you’re likely to find dozens of car products.  Soaps, tire shines, glass cleaners, leather conditioners, assorted towels, brushes, sponges, et cetera.  We like to spend our weekends polishing our cars, even if they only go back in the garage directly afterwards.  For some reason, it’s a therapeutic process, the cleaning of our cars.  But just like any process, there are dozens of ways to go about it.  And with automotive detailing, there are millions of ways to do it wrong. Waxing and polishing products are tools, and like any tool, they are only productively effective when used correctly.  Zaino products are my tools of choice.  They’re not cheap, easy to use, or something you can do in-between commercials.  This article is designed to enlighten the correct way to complete the Zaino wax process on your vehicle, and then maintain all of your hard work. Continue reading