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 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

BMW E39 Auxiliary Input Kit Installation DIY

Aux Input

Objective: Add the ability to play your iPod, iPhone, Android, or any other MP3 player to your E39.

Applicable Vehicles: 1997-2003 BMW E39 5-series (Without Navigation): 523i, 525i, 528i, 530i, 535i, 540i, M5.

Parts required: OEM Auxiliary Kit (82 11 0 149 390), 3.5 mm stereo cable. Continue reading

1994-2010 BMW Navigation System Upgrades: (Computer, Display, Software, Maps)

Nav

In this article, we will discuss in-depth the steps required to upgrade your BMW’s navigation computer, display, software, and maps.  The information in this article is only applicable to BMWs that speak the same ‘language’.  All of the following models speak this same language, utilize the same connectors, and make use of the same hardware/software interface:

  • E38 7-series (1994-2001)
  • E46 3-series (1999-2006)
  • E39 5-series (1996-2003)
  • E53 X5 (2000-2006)
  • E83 X3 (2004-2010)
  • E52 Z8 (2000-2003)

*It is important to note that in order to upgrade your navigation system, you must first have a navigation system from factory.  Retrofitting navigation to a car that did not originally come with one, while not impossible, is exceedingly challenging, time consuming, and expensive.  This article does not cover or support such an endevour.

*I will also note that BMWs produced for the Japanese market are not supported in this article.  They used completely different wiring harnesses and electronic components for some reason, and they do not speak the same language.   Continue reading

97-00 BMW E39 5 Series Facelift Lighting

M5We all know that buying a 1997-2000 BMW E39 is cheaper.  There seem to be more of them for sale, and those that are found are almost always several thousand dollars less than their 2001-2003 counterparts.  There is a reason for this: cosmetics.

Other than the ‘face-lift’ cosmetic changes, BMW didn’t really change a whole lot on these cars.  A few new colors, standard features, but nothing like updates between iPhone generations.  Let’s first be clear with what the ‘face-lift’ did for the E39:

Continue reading

BMW E39 5-Series Shift Knob Replacement

Shift KnobObjective:  This article will detail the replacement of the manual shift knob found in a BMW E39 5-series.  A video of wiring an M5 shift knob is embedded at the bottom, as well as wiring an M shift knob into a non-M BMW.

Applicable Vehicles:  1997-2003 BMW E39 5-series:  523i, 525i, 530i, 535i, 540i, M5.

Parts Required:  Shift knob.  Note:  M5’s have illuminated shift knobs, and will use one of these part numbers, depending on production date: Continue reading