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 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

BMW 16:9 Navigation Display Knobs

IMG_4915A weak point for an article, yes, but something nonetheless that we should address.  As new, enthusiastic owners buy up BMWs, we often like to do a little maintenance.  Replace some trim here, a shift knob there, et cetera.  After years of use, the somewhat-cheap rubber knobs really deteriorate.  They look scuffed, and feel slushy.  Replacing them can improve the feel of your radio and navigation system!

Objective:  Refresh navigation display with fresh, new knobs. Continue reading

BMW E39 Trunk Carpet Replacement DIY

IMG_2840Today I installed very lightly used carpeting into the trunk of my 2001 BMW 540i/6.  The carpeting that was in the vehicle was in very poor condition due to abuse and lack of knowledge by the previous owner.

Objective:  Refresh the look of your trunk area. Continue reading

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

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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

BMW E39 5-Series Rear Corner Sunshade Replacement

SunshadeObjective: This article will detail the removal and re-installation of the corner sunshade on the rear doors of the E39 5-series.

Applicable Vehicles: 1997-2003 BMW E39 5-series: 523i, 525i, 528i, 530i, 535i, 540i, M5.

Parts required: Sunshade, small flat-head screwdriver.

Left Corner Sunshade- BMW Part Number: 51167110205

Right Corner Sunshade- BMW Part Number: 5167110206

Continue reading