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Restart E39 530d Sport Touring

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Christmas did not go so well this year, ran out of skill in the snow with a heavily laden car. One of those annoying slow motion spills where you get to watch your hard work come to pieces.
The damage wasn't actually so bad; engine was untouched, fan spins freely. The sweet irony being the snowplow clearing by all of a minute later.

If it weren't for the rust I'd have started rebuilding,  but there is rust, hence I've spent the last month looking for  530d with low miles and a relatively clean body to transfer parts into. Turns out almost all E39s have some rust  somewhere, so it became a game of finding the easiest to redeem. This came up locally a couple of days ago:
It's not the cleanest, but it has promise and the price was fair at 2k. 130k miles, gear box oil changed, vortex breather, turbo reconditioned (as precaution), vacuum lines, engine mounts, rear wheel bearings, rear suspension arms and bags, new windscreen. Folder full of receipts, and reasonable MOT history.  

There are some bad bits:

A replacement bumper has already been ordered. The Style 66s have had a nasty rattle-can respray, and the tyres are not legal. Under trays are missing, replacements already ordered. Traction control light came on after about 10 min on the dual carriage way, which I am hoping is the worn tyres, will be cleaning sensors as a precaution. Something is rubbing on the drive train, an annoying tick like a skipping CD, will getting under it today to investigate. Headlight adjusters were dead, but I had a spare set which have already gone in. The clips for the trim around the rear window have broken, and the trim is rattling, a lot. Auto dim on the mirror is permanently on. The left side mirror glass is loose, and vibrating above about 50 mph. The bonnet is full of stone chips and small dents. 

While irritating, these problems are easily fixable. It helps to have a donor car. 

Step one has been to solve the anemic wheel problem, and get some decent rubber on there:

I had a set of E38 staggered style 32s refurbished for the last car, so these went straight on, with 10 mm spacers at the rear and 15 mm up front.

I'll get the 66s refurbished, and a good set of snow tyres...

It's off to the body shop next week to get the bonnet and some peeling lacquer resprayed, and to have sills and arches done. There's just a little little rust showing, which I want to get ahead of. I'll try to document all this.

Once the bodywork is sorted, the mechanical fun can begin, with a manual conversion very high on the list.


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Those Style 32s look excellent ;)


How is the car with the offsets now you're using spacers? The rears look spot on; any rubbing at all though?


Have you used 74.1 to 72.6 spacers; or did you bore the hubs of the alloys? Also; which 10mm spacers did you use?

Edited by d_a_n1979

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That does look good with those wheels on it. Sounds like it will be a good touring once the faults are all fixed too. 

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On 1/14/2018 at 1:58 PM, d_a_n1979 said:

Those Style 32s look excellent ;)


How is the car with the offsets now you're using spacers? The rears look spot on; any rubbing at all though?


Have you used 74.1 to 72.6 spacers; or did you bore the hubs of the alloys? Also; which 10mm spacers did you use?

Thank you. I am really pleased with the way they turned out

The offset is about perfect now. I tried 15 mm at the rear, but that was too much. There is no rubbing up front. The rear does just touch on g-outs (fast compressions, etc.). As the body shop are doing the arches anyway, I'll get them to trim the lip back for more clearance.

Yes, I used 74.1 to 72.6 spacers. If I was doing it again, I would get the rims bored out.  The spacers fit fine on the front, but at the rear you'll have to take a little off the hub as the spacer sits proud by ~ 5 mm.

I was not comfortable doing this, but whoever replaced the bearings chewed the flanges to pretty badly in the process, so this was a reasonable way to square the edges off. I have to change the rear hubs for an M5 brake conversion soon, when that happens I'll figure out a better method of spacing the rims.  


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Just a short update. I've been out of the country with work the last month, so didn't get a whole lot done. Made use of the sunshine over the weekend to get the basics sorted.



Fresh oil & filters all round. It's pretty clean in the engine bay, bar every other bolt and fitting is missing. Luckily I have a donor car to pull these off of.

Rocker cover gasket is leaking and the manifold and head need cleaning badly. I have a Febi gasket to go on, but want to wait for a few more parts, to save going in there twice.

Seems the previous owner fitted a gt2260v, which was a nice surprise among the missing bolts an other butchery. 

After nearly getting concussed by the rear glass, I decided swapping out the struts was a high priority.


That Job took a few quiet moments and cups of tea. So satisfying to have the boot lid hold itself up now! Few tips for anyone considering this: cut a small section of 4 mm ply to protect the roof when you're levering against it; get a 36'' pry bar; vacuum out the debris before inserting the new struts, no sense getting grit in the nice clean pivot grease.

Not wanting to chase down any electrical gremlins, I fitted the largest battery I could:  Bosch S5 393 mm.

It will go in provided most of the surrounding trim is removed, and the earth cable. It's worth getting the breather hose in the right place beforehand, as taking it out is a faff.

The rest of the weekend was spent preparing for the body shop. The new bumper arrived form Germany. I found a dent-free and slightly less-rusty bonnet at a breaker's, along with a full under-tray and replacement mirror (with auto light sensor!). With those parts fitted I delivered it to the body shop, where it will be for the next month or so.

Edited by sinner

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Sorry for the big gap between updates, the joys of working abroad. Good news and bad news this time.

I got it back from the body shop on Monday. It is now completely rust free, with a fresh bumper, and M5 grill. I am really happy with the way it looks.



I fixed the wobble in the left mirror, but broke the lens in the process. Electrochromic mirrors are not removed like normal mirrors. There is a small tab under the centre of the glass that needs pushing to one side to release it. I will put up pictures when the new lens arrives...

With only a leaking mirror, it passed the MOT with no advisories on Wednesday.

Now the bad news, and reason for so few pictures. I wanted to get the gearbox serviced before anything else (and there is a lot else), so took it up to Martin Hind's on Friday. He is a top bloke, honest, with a well-kept workshop, pleasure to deal with. Alas, the box was not so happy:30849315_10156375365513410_1899083920_o.thumb.jpg.7dd513b674ff618822c53c96b0ea2a94.jpg30849583_10156375365358410_924127686_o.thumb.jpg.df67a1568dfcfd05c1711e7cfa122f84.jpg.

This is after 130k. Martin suspected the un-mapped gt2260v had not help, but was not surprised.  As Martin didn't have a box to swap out and I needed to get home, I risked it.

Survived the M40, but lost all drive just off the motorway. Extremely luckily, about 10 min from a friend's house; he towed it back with his 330d. Do like a diesel.

  Manual conversion suddenly got very high on the list. This forum has provided all the information: http://forum.bmw5.co.uk/topic/116450-auto-to-manual-conversion/ , now to source the parts...


WhatsApp Image 2018-04-27 at 23.10.24(1).jpeg

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