El Turko

Turko's E39 540 Sport

57 posts in this topic

It seems my 5 is suffering from EVERY common fault to hit the e39. This time around it was the turn of the FSU Resistor (hedgehog).

 

So bought a Meyle item online and swapped the two over. Its relatively easy to get to, but it was hell to get it out - awkward position and angle.

 

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Next up was a small project I’d been meaning to tackle for a few weeks. I loathed running my plate in the windscreen and desperately wanted a solution, as there was no way I am going to drill/screw my freshly smoothed bumper.

 

I’d tried a plate flipper but the fans behind the grill got in the way. The only other ‘easy’ solution was to get a plate holder that screws into the fittings for the tow hook. I’m not a massive fan of plates offset to the side of bumpers, but it provides a solution so rolled with it (even if temporary).

 

I’d done a bit of searching and there were plenty available, but mostly in the States. More surprisingly was the price, with most north of $100. Not good value at all. So went about making my own. How hard could it be? I’d buy a tow hook, a bit of metal and rope a mate in with a welder into helping me. :D

 

So started off with the standard £7 tow hook from eBay:

 

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We soon realised that it would stick out a mile if I mounted it on a normal T bracket (or even using the supplied hook). The e39 corner curves around quite a bit, causing part of the plate to stick out a good 20cm or so. If mounted at an angle, I’d never get it on and would hit the bumper on the first rotation.

 

So, we came up with the idea, to create an angled mount that screws in, then the plate screws onto the mount. This would allow the plate to sit more in line with the shape of the bumper, and not stick out as far.

 

Spot weld to get the angle right:

 

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Welded up to make the adaptor a solid one piece:

 

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The bolt was then welded to a backing plate, and then further welded to a panel which would house the numberplate.

 

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The backing piece was crimped along the edges to reduce flex. I didn’t want it snapping or under stress on the motorway.

 

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The finished article:

 

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Very happy with it considering it cost peanuts. Although couldn’t have done it without my mates help.

 

I know a more central plate would look miles better, but until I find a quick release solution this is perfect. Just needs a lick of paint now to stop it getting weathered.

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I've not updated this for over a year and it is long overdue an update. :oops:

 

This is probably the first car I've owned where I have tried to tackle the majority of jobs myself, so I really should have kept on top of the journal (even if just for my own benefit). Apologies in advance for the lack of order and decent pictures.


November '15 I made the decision to take the car off the road. The plan being to stick it on axle stands, and tackle all the jobs I wanted to do, taking my time and doing everything exactly how I wanted. I even bought a daily run around to see me through, and the plan was to be done by February/March :D

 

The reality is, I got to May, still hadn't finished half the jobs I'd over ambitiously planned, so put the car back together so I could enjoy the car over summer. I will persevere and finish off my plans this winter, but will update on where I am up to:


As I had done so much to the exterior, alot of what I wanted to do was interior based; upgrade the hifi/stereo, add a bit more leather, sort out a boot build for all the airlift stuff and also upgrade the air ride management system to the latest (at the time newly released) model. If I stripped the inside of the car, it would make all these jobs easier, right?

 

Working in such a mess actually became a bit of a de-motivator at times, as it was difficult to see a finishing line

 

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I managed to source some extended leather bits:

Steering cowel
Centre console
Lower dash
Glove box
Lower B pillar trims

 

It doesn't sound like much, but made a difference. No pics yet unfortunately.

 

Also fitted a compass mirror

 

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Then I moved onto the front seats. The sport seats are good, in fact there was nothing wrong with them, bar a little bolster wear. But as I was going to so much effort with the car I just wanted something different. 

 

A friend had linked me to an e38 interior for sale, which had the contour seats with lumbar support. The fronts bolted & plugged straight into my e39 as both cars were facelift models. I made the long old journey down to Torquay to collect.

 

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Yup, the seats are beige. So another learning curve; restore/re-dye seats :D

 

First up was replacing the dead foam in the drivers bolster. I went to a breakers, and sourced foam from a passenger seat (shares the same foam as an e39 sport seat):

 

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Then once I had gone over them with some heat (to reduce some of the the stretch in the leather) I set about dying them to black. I was really nervous about ruining the seats, but had the mindset of nothing ventured, nothing gained. Ordered a kit from furnture clinic with matt finish and set off nervously.

 

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Side by side comparison:

 

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With a stroke of luck I also found some extended leather seat backs for them. They had scratched trim, but a morning wetsanding them had them come up like new.

 

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The results of the seats are not 100% perfect, but I'm really impressed with how they have turned out. After 6 months of use, I've had zero issues or even wear.

 

 

So, onto media. 

 

One of the guys on here (Piper) linked up to a youtube video of NBT installed in an e39. For those that don't know, NBT is basically the media system installed in BMW's after 2012/2013. As soon as I saw the video I knew I wanted to do the retrofit.

 

A guy in Ireland (company called Germaniks) makes a retrofit loom for all the kit, and a few of us latched on to a group buy for the loom. I then scoured ebay for the hardware: NBT unit, screen, controller, mounts etc.

 

The loom made it far easier than most imagine, and Mick kindly logged onto my PC remotely to code it all to the car. The only challenge being, because this is such a rarely tackled retrofit, stuff like controller mounts and screen bezels are not manufactured, you basically have to go have it made, or make it yourself.

 

Not having any experience with fibreglass or fabricating, I chose the illogical option to make them myself. I am not going to lie, not knowing what I was doing meant it took me ages. I think i spent 4 weekends sanding, filing, cutting, fibreglassing etc. I really struggled, but I got there in the end.

 

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Screen in (and trimmed in leather):

 

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The NBT retrofit is amazing, and is by far the best thing I have done.

 

200gb hard drive

Bluetooth
USB Aux
Ipod/Iphone integration with album artwork
European Maps/Nav
Traffic updates
Postcode search
Handsfree telephone
On screen check control
PDC - with on screen images (can even install a reversing camera in the future)


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Interior back in:

 

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Having everything integrated in the car made me want to do something with my new Airlift controller. I decided on a roof mount, and custom fabricated (again this was all new to me) a sunroof panel which would house; hazard light switch as its oem position had been replaced by the NBT controller, sunroof switch, microphone, and the air ride controller.

 

But, to make it more complicated, I wanted the controller to be at an angle to make it easy to read/control. Headlining was dropped, wires run, and I got fabricating.

After a lot of swearing, and again, black leather, I'm proud of how it turned out. Also means I don't have a controller flapping about.

 

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I had planned upgrading speakers and amplifier, but I wanted everything in to minimise the need to chase faults with the NBT kit. I'll tackle it more this winter. I have all the bits, its just finding time.


Next up, boot build. As the plans with the car escalated, I was looking to upgrade whatever needed doing. I want it to be perfect.

 

So I stripped out all the stuff in the boot relating to the air ride, and replaced with new; 

 

New seamless tank 
Upgraded from 1x 380c compressor to 2x 444c ViAir compressors
Bought noise isolator mounting kits for both to keep compressor noise to a minimum
Upgraded from Airlift V2 Management to Airlift 3P (the latest)

Also bought an Alpina boot carpet (from Maccavvy on here) in fitting with the wheels I normally run.

 

Set about building a mini boot build:

 

Under the carpet I built a false floor, with countersunk holes so the screws/bolts wouldnt stick out. Then trimmed the whole lot in black felt to keep the boot silent.

 

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Still have a bit of work to do, but getting there.

 

 

I also replaced all my window and bumper trims as they were showing signs of age:

 

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Old rubbers:

 

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That's pretty much where I got up to in terms of working on the car. It was then MOT'd ready for me to hit a few shows.

 

First up Rollhard Show in Cressing Temple Barns

 

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Then it was to a local Bmwowner.com meet in Surrey, Minter was on hand to take some great pics;

 

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Players10 in Essex

 

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The next show I was due to attend was 100% Tuning in Rotterdam. I was invited by the organisers, and couldn't refuse as I love shows abroad, and its the first indoor event for the e39 which I was hyped about..

 

I decided to make a proper trip of it with the Mrs, taking in Brugge and Amsterdam along the way, making a mini trip of it all. Hotels, crossing etc all booked and ready to go, we were both really excited.

 

Until two days before one of my wheels started leaking, and as I was on the motorway, it killed the tyre. Nobody could get me the tyre size i needed before going and I had no time to get it fitted. Proper gutted, but decided to do the trip anyway as everything was paid for.

 

A friend of mine came to the rescue with a generous plan - overnight some centre bore adaptors/spacers, and I could run his wheels so I could still make the show.

 

The results are epic:

 

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The show was awesome, and to see the car on carpet, roped off, and on general display in front of 40,000 visitors was amazing. Such a brilliant feeling, The whole trip was incredible to be fair, and the car got attention wherever it went.

 

Lastly, Ultimate Stance in Telford.  I'd gone from never exhibiting at an indoor show, to two in a matter of weeks. Slam Sanctuary kiindly invited me to appear on their stand again:

 

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Thats it for now....

 

I'll try and keep it more up to date over coming months to save such a long post in future.

 

 

**I'll have to go through the pictures at some point and update the photos - looks like the quality on a few has gone to pot where Ive saved on my phone and uploaded to photobucket.

Piper, Jay_w and cocomillion like this

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ABSOLUTELY F**KING AMAZING!

 

Bek, it's blown me away. Glad I have contributed to this car! (Seat backs and NBT enthusiasm!):lol::lol:

 

Best car on the forum.

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