Elizabeth

My air-ride E39 540i build thread

139 posts in this topic

So, as the pace of my mods begins to gather, I thought I would do a build thread because a) it means I can stick everything in on thread for convenience and b ) I've always wanted to do one :)

 

To recap, I'm Elizabeth, editor of Performance BMW magazine, and back in February of 2014 I bought myself and E39 540i. It's a 1998 540i SE in Aspen silver with aubergine leather, 16s, Shadowline trim, xenons, M Sport steering wheel, comfort seats and a shade under 118k on the clock. It looked like this:

 

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The first thing I did was take it to BMSport over in Bexleyheath to give it a once over and get the mudflaps off and then it was off to Andrive where Phil fitted one of these for me:

 

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And a reversing camera because it's cool :)

 

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The car had been stood for a year and the paintwork was in a bad way so I took it up to the Meguiar's HQ where much cleaning happened and it came out looking decidedly more presentable:

 

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And what a difference a new roundel made :)

 

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It may well have been looking better, but those nasty 16s were really letting the side down, so I decided it was time to get some wheels on there and went for a set of Cades Tyrus staggered 18s with a bit of a dish:

 

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Much better :)

 

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So, after that, I decided to head down to Vehicle Solutions in Hastings and treat the E39 to a same colour respray, along with debadging it, getting the arches rolled and owner Samir also suggested giving the wheels a bit of a spray - how could I resist? It came back looking like a new car and they even sprayed the grilles in black for me for good measure:

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The wheel centres got a coat of anthracite with a rainbow pearl

 

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At this stage it was starting to come together slowly. Next up, the brakes, which were pretty much shot, so a set of Tarox discs and pads went on

 

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So I could now stop but I still needed to address the extremely important ride height issue. This should do the trick:

 

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That's just one box of many that make up the Air Lift Performance Digital Combo Kit that I upgraded to a twin tank and twin compressor set up. I can't recall the last time I was that excited about something :) So, I loaded up the car and took it down to Studio Incar near Portsmouth and left it in their capable hands, which brings us nicely up to speed as I collected it last weekend and this is what it looks like now:

 

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And the boot build is a work of art :)

 

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And I love where they mounted my controller

 

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So, that's the story so far, but plenty more to come :)

Edited by Elizabeth
gar525i and merc convert like this

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Lots of effort put in! Well done!

Must admit that my heart sank a little when I saw the ride height pics!! Not my taste personally but that's not the point. ;)

What are you planning next??

:)

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Lots of effort put in! Well done!

Must admit that my heart sank a little when I saw the ride height pics!! Not my taste personally but that's not the point. ;)

What are you planning next??

:)

 

Better? ;)

 

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Lots more, don't want to give it all away ;) This week, boring stuff, it's going in to get the air con working (finally) and sort some other bits out. Next week, some more exciting things are planned...

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Ah that's more like it!! ;)

Look forward to seeing what else you have planned. :)

I need to buy some more BMW roundel's myself. I made the mistake of buying cheap eBay ones and they have faded to buggery and look awful..

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Very nice, was the air ride kit expensive?

or we talking perks of the job  ;)

 

Ta :) Base price is £2699 plus the additional tank, compressor and a few other bits. 

Edited by Seb

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That air ride install has been brilliantly done, some proper attention to detail has gone into that, looks 1000% better than running plastic everywhere, I do think your perks from work come in handy for these projects of your own, fair play I say :)

Edit: how have you found the tarox discs? Are they quite noisy with the amount of grooves on them? I'm running drilled and grooved with yellow stuff and they work well, need to give them a good pasting to try them out properly though as only had the yellows on for 400 miles.

Edited by burnzybubbles

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Nice work. 

 

I think I would have just lowered it and spent the rest of the money elsewhere on the car such as replacing the interior, decent Alpine stereo setup, nice exhaust, facelift lights etc, but I suppose this is aimed more at the Performance BMW lads.

 

I think the wheels look like 17s in that last pic though - and I'd have to grind that lip off!!  Mind you, don't mind me and my opinion - what the hell do I know - I just traded my E39 in for a Volvo Diesel.......

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Nice work. 

 

I think I would have just lowered it and spent the rest of the money elsewhere on the car such as replacing the interior, decent Alpine stereo setup, nice exhaust, facelift lights etc, but I suppose this is aimed more at the Performance BMW lads.

 

I think the wheels look like 17s in that last pic though - and I'd have to grind that lip off!!  Mind you, don't mind me and my opinion - what the hell do I know - I just traded my E39 in for a Volvo Diesel.......

 

Thanks :) And remember this is far from the finished article ;)

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Thanks :) And remember this is far from the finished article ;)

 

I'm very interested to see where this goes Seb - In the past, I have been the King of spending a shedload of cash on a car, and then selling it at a silly loss!  I'm having a little bet with myself here that when this project is finished, you will own a £20k+ E39 - My kind of car!!

 

Don't be tempted by Sport or M5 rear bumper - everyone does that. Keep what you have, fit a set of twin pipes and cut the bumper to fit them in - looks much better, and a wee bit 'Alpina'.

 

Any plans for the interior?

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I'm very interested to see where this goes Seb - In the past, I have been the King of spending a shedload of cash on a car, and then selling it at a silly loss!  I'm having a little bet with myself here that when this project is finished, you will own a £20k+ E39 - My kind of car!!

 

Don't be tempted by Sport or M5 rear bumper - everyone does that. Keep what you have, fit a set of twin pipes and cut the bumper to fit them in - looks much better, and a wee bit 'Alpina'.

 

Any plans for the interior?

 

Lol! I'll see what I can do ;)

 

Hmmm, I see what you're saying, but I do like the Sport kit...

 

Not at the moment, tbh. I love the purple leather and the wood too, lol :D

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 I love the purple leather and the wood too, lol :D

 

Yep, I can see why you would - it's unusual, and that's good in an E39.  My one had a sand beige interior, with black dash top, door tops and mats, and Walnut wood trim, and I loved it.  My Wife hates wood in cars, said I was being an old fart, and should have got a car with all black and aluminium trim.  No.  Just No.

 

Best of luck with it anyway!

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Sorry but I hate the air ride. Too "dub" for me.

 

Just curious why you hate it? It means I can have a nicely lowered height most of the time, it means I can go over speed bumps without any problems and it means I can amuse myself by dropping it when I park up somewhere. Also, it's almost become as much BMW as it once was Dub. 

BM Ian and Carlosos like this

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It's chavvy and not suiting of a 5 series BMW. It looks horrid when fully dropped.

 

Everyone's entitled to their opinion. 

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Indeed. It's your car and the important thing is that you like it. Doesn't matter what I think.

I'd probably avoid posting it on piston heads though!

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It's chavvy and not suiting of a 5 series BMW. It looks horrid when fully dropped.

It's just a better version of coilovers and much more fun. It looks silly dropped but that's just for fun. It's not like it's a classic Bentley that need to be preserved, although that would be fun as well.

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Really? Air bag suspension is not as good as good quality static suspension in terms of handling.

Its all for show.

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I reckon the car suits it's target - that is Performance BMW readers.

 

Like it or not, it's interesting to see what other people are doing with their BMWs now and then.  I don't subscribe to PBMW, but I flick through it in Tesco, and if anything floats my boat, I'll but a copy.  I subscribe to BMW car, as that's my sort of thing - but I REALLY miss Total BMW.  That was a great mag, and while the BMWCCGB Straight Six magazine is getting better, it will always be a club magazine.

 

I would have thought there was a gap in the market for a Total BMW like mag, but unfortunately the publishers don't think so.

 

How did I get on to that subject??  Sorry Seb.........

Carl-e34 likes this

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Really? Air bag suspension is not as good as good quality static suspension in terms of handling.

Its all for show.

So are 95% of the coilover kits purchased. Most are badly made tat to give a drop. It suits the laid back personality of a normal e39 really well.

merc convert likes this

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Have you got plans for bigger and wider wheels? It looks broken now due to fitment. Get some wide 19's on or seriously wide 18's on and it may just work. Air only really works if you're doing the stance thing.

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Nice work dude, a lot of work put into it.

 

Why don't you creat a build thread in the projects section, will be good to follow the progress

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So are 95% of the coilover kits purchased. Most are badly made tat to give a drop. It suits the laid back personality of a normal e39 really well.

Hence my "good quality static suspension" reference. If you pay £200 for Coilovers, expect them to be poor.

I'm sure your £2699 air bag system is one of the best out there, its just not to my taste. I'm going to bow out of this thread now on the grounds that I do not want my comments to make the thread any worse. As AMC7 says though, create a project thread for it, then continue to up date it in there.

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