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I'm amazed that it's been virtually 11months since I updated the thread!


Here's a long waited update, although there's not all that much to add really, I've been rather busy with other things and not had much time to do much on the M5. I've used the car quite a bit over the last year which is good. Also it passed its MOT test with flying colours yesterday, so all good for another year :)


Last September I finished the E38 armrest install, it was all black. I have black interior and dark trim and I felt that it was too dark in the car.

I had already bought some chromeline front speaker grilles and door pins which helped add a little sparkle to the darkness. Whilst looking at E38 armrests I saw that a chromeline version was available, but the only one available was for £180 ! Having chrome button surrounds weren't that important!

Anyway, I found a place that could do chrome painting. This looks just like chrome plating but much easier to have done, chrome plating is awkward, especially on plastics and in 'one-off' numbers.


I had a good think about things and sent off the armrest button surrounds and also the rear door speaker trims. A few weeks later, they returned looking great.


Here are the armrest button surrounds:





Here they are fitted to the armrest:





I don't have a picture of the rear door speaker trims on their own, but here they are fitted with my aftermarket speakers:




I used superglue and then made the blue strap to hold the speakers securely in position, I think the nuts used were M3.



Other side, I cut out the hole, these usually don't have a speaker and are blanked off:





With the little grille re-fitted:





Test fit in the door card:





On the door in the car:





Another, further shot:





I think they both look ok and add to, rather than take away from the interior. I'm usually one that shy's away from sparkly bits but the interior needed something and you hardly notice them most of the time. I'm happy with them.


As far as I can tell from my searching, I've not seen another E39 with the rear speaker trim pieces chromed, so a little first there :)



A few weeks ago I spotted that the rear left door wasn't always locking. I had suspected something for a while as it sounded laboured and slow but it did always lock. Now it sometimes failed to lock and I feared it wouldn't open for me one day. I didn't want to have to tear off the door card so I dug out an actuator and fitted it. I didn't have to remove much of the door membrane and I managed to swap it over without having to remove the lock. There's a relatively big grommet just above the lock, removing this allowed me to see and ensure that the levers went into the actuator correctly. All done in little time and the locks all now work sharply and quickly. and the door card shall remain intact :)


Last week also saw a little milestone in that the M5 was finally lifted on our new scissor lift (one of the things I'd been busy with).

Getting the M5 to be lifted was a bit of a pain as its jacking points seem to be much further apart than for any other car. We discovered this after buying and fitting the lift. The lift's platform is about 6inches too short to be used with an E39; it was too late to send it back (not that you would want to, they are incredibly heavy!). We never imagined this would have been a problem, we were sure that the lift was long enough for any car and never considered it when looking for a lift!

To get around this, we used some heavy rectangular section on top of the platform that was long enough to reach from one jacking point to another. However, as the car is pretty low, the ground under the wheels had to be raised, so a number of pieces of kitchen worktop were placed under the wheels, raising the ground level by a few inches. everything works now anyway, it's a shame there isn't another jacking point on these cars!

I took a short video to mark the M5's first lift occasion :) Dad was at the controls and it's my voice you hear (and we're speaking Welsh). Working on it will be a fair bit easier now, I can get under it easily and working with brakes etc will be much more comfortable as they will be at a nice height.




To aid in using the lift, getting cars onto it squarely and having plenty of clearance, we decided to get some roller type garage doors (another thing I'd been busy with). These are more secure and take much less room. They also gave us the opportunity to widen the garage opening, so it was made about 9inches wider - not much but it makes a big difference with the cars. These doors came with remote transmitters so could be opened from the house, if you so desired! No more standing in the rain fighting with a worn lock and struggling to get the door up and over! You could also use the remote from the car...



So, last week I finally got around to sorting out the Homelink in the car. The transmitter has four buttons but the homelink only has three, but this would not be a problem, just not use the fourth (which wasn't used for anything anyway).

Richard P mentioned that he got his working by connecting the unit's buttons to his transmitter and that's exactly what I did - big thanks Richard.

In doing so, the original homelink circuitry was 'disabled' (ie I removed some components off the board and disconnected the power!) so the board is only there to hold the power connector and to act as somewhere to attach the transmitter's circuit board onto. Without removing the components it would have been rather awkward to have the board lay flat. A non working homelink circuit is of no consequence as it was sourced from the US and would have used the incorrect frequencies for UK use... I hope no-one will tell me that it would have been a piece of cake to reprogram it!!! Too late now. I guess they were a chip, a cap, a crystal/oscillator and a mosfet type thing. I disconnected the power connector from the board and bent the pins so they pointed slightly upwards for easy soldering, the connector was screwed back to the board. The buttons and LED's were also removed.


Here's the board with a few components removed:





Button 'daughtercard' and transmitter circuit board - it has some double sided foam tape to stick it to the homelink board - I just remembered to take a picture before it went on - that stuff really sticks! :





Closeup of the power connector pins sticking up:





Rear of homelink board, showing where the power connector pins used to be and where the button daughtercard connects onto:





Look closely! This shows the transmitters board stuck onto the homelink board. It lays flat enough and cannot short out on anything underneath:





Side view showing the foam tape sandwich:





Beginning to wire it up. The red wire is actually on the wrong pin here, I later moved it to the left-most pin at the connector. Connector carries ignition live, illumination and earth wires:





Seven of the eight wires connected to the button ribbon. I hunted around for some light, thin wires. I stripped an USB cable down and found some suitable ones in there :) . Wire colours don't mean anything, I just used what I had:





Everything connected up (and correctly wired to the correct pins). Looks much worse than it actually was :)  :





Everything was cleaned up, wires taped up (especially at ribbon) for strength and to ensure it wouldn't short out. Everything fitted into one half of the homelink case, not touching, being squashed or shorting anywhere and, importantly, no rattles:





All of this was re-fitted in the car and tested, I'm glad to report it all works as it should :) I can actually open the garage from the road! Having the transmitter in the car like this means I'll never forget it and it will never run out of battery, it uses the car's battery. I don't have a video but it is pretty cool and very handy being able to open the garage without getting out of the car :)


If anyone wants to do this, then the following might be handy to know regarding the homelink connections:

Here's the only picture I have of the Homelink board all together, in one piece! It does show the power connector and its orientation:





White power connector:


Br - Earth

Gr/Rd - Illumination (centre pin)

Vi/Bl - Ignition Feed (12V)


All the buttons share a common feed (positive as it happens, so four wires connect to three buttons)


Button daughtercard ribbon looking from the top (so you see the actual buttons and the solder side of the ribbon connection)

I'm listing them from Left hand side to Right hand side, connections are:



Amber LED Earth

Button Common connection

Switch #1 signal

Switch #3 signal

Switch #2 signal

Green LED positive or Anode (use about 2v, use a current limiting resistor for more voltage)

Green LED negative or Cathode

NC - Not Connected

Amber LED positive - illumination - 12V is ok here, three LED's are in series and have a resistor or two.



I hope this helps :)


I do have a few other little things to do over the winter, hopefully I'll get some time to sort them out. I'll try not to leave it as long for another update either!

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Wow love the chrome rear speaker surround! I always thought the interior chromeline option for E39 was almost pointlessly stingy giving you only lock pins and front speaker surrounds, compared to the E38 where you get loads of bits! Now you've made it worth having.

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You can also get the chromeline speaker grills for the front doors 


Just let me know if you need a part number from them as i'm sure i've still got the bag they came in with it on.

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I do have the chromeline front speaker grilles and the door lock pins, but a big thanks for the offer of help.

I'm not sure what else they did or what could be done without it starting to look a bit 'too much'. I think maybe some of the doorcard edging/seals may have been chrome but I prefer my gloss black ones. I'm pretty happy with it as it is now, it has just a little something to break up the bleakness.

Sent from my SM-N910F using Tapatalk

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It's time for another update...

I forgot completely until I looked through some pictures that I'd changed the gearbox oil for the correct BMW stuff, MTF-LT-2 at the end of September last year. I had some pretty ordinary Castrol gearbox oil in it and I wasn't convinced it was the best stuff. After careful consideration and reading as much as I could find, I settled on the genuine BMW oil.

The gearbox sticker says MTF-LT-1 :


Looking through various info it became clear the LT-1 has been superseded by LT-2. From what I could gather, I should not use LT-3, which I believe is the latest stuff but maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, I found some LT-2 on ebay for much less than what the local dealer wanted - they only sell it in 5l cans (83220309031) and it would have cost me about £120 !! I only needed about 2l, so this would have been silly. They refused to sell me only 2l decanted from their stock, what I really hoped for and what some have received, it would have been more reasonable in price. Anyway, they didn't get my business and ebay it was, about £60 for roughly 4l, much better.

As the stuff is so expensive, I didn't want to waste any. So I bought a new oil can, connected a pipe to it and used that to pump the oil into the box, worked a treat.
 Car was driven to get the old oil nice and warm, then drained using the lift to get under the car. I let it drain for a good while, about 30min.


I can't really say I notice much difference in 'slickness' but I do know that the correct stuff is in there now.

Didn't do much to the car over the next few months but I February I decided to get a new fuel pump as I had concerns about the original one dying on me and costing a lot to get it sorted in an 'emergency type' scenario.

Clayton had bought a new pump from fuelperformance.co.uk and I too went to them. I bought a [URL="http://fuelperformance.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=5556&search=qfs-340ft"]Quantum 340 QFS-340FT. I didn't realise at the time, but it is very similar to the Aeromotive pump that some members here have had issues with, overheating and not working for a while. These issues happened under pretty hot conditions and it's rather unlikely for us here in Wales to get such hot conditions. I contacted the seller whom assured me that if I had any issue, he'd help me sort it out. It might be that this pump has slightly different innards and that it will never happen anyway, but it does look just like the Aeromotive.

Anyway, it's now fitted and works fine :) I took a few pictures as I changed it, some may be of use if someone else is doing the same job...

Here's what I had, the pump kit, and a new tank seal from BMW. The kit included the pump which is a 340lph with a large central pick-up, pump wiring (the connectors are different to the genuine pump), a fine filter, a foam sleeve or a rubber lower cap to locate the pump, a new connecting pipe from the pump's outlet to the tank 'lid' and some jubilee clips to fasten the pipe.


To fit - I removed the fuel pump fuse and started the car a couple of times to remove any fuel pressure, then I removed the rear seat bench:


Lifted up the sound-proofing and undid the three screws (daughter helping here):


This revealed the 'lid' at the top of the tank:


Electrical connector opened, very carefully, with a screwdriver - just open it a bit with the driver then lift a bit and repeat, don't just shove the screwdriver in and force it open, it will break. A bit of wiggling and it all opened nicely:


Lid with connector out of the way (and I started cleaning it):


Lid, lock ring and tank collar were all cleaned rather carefully. Most loose dirt was vacuumed out and then a damp rag worked very well to get it clean:


To reduce spills I wrapped some tissue around the fuel line - I hardly got any fuel spillage:


For mine, all I had to do was pinch a couple of tabs on the fuel line connector and lift. Then the lock ring was marked and removed by tapping the 'tabs' with a screwdriver and a hammer, it came off quite easily, only requiring to be rotated about 3/4 of a turn. The fuel pipe end was then moved to the side, out of the way. Here's the lid without the pipe and lockring:


I had a few spectators and helpers too, dad and my two daughters (eldest in her boiler suit). It's funny how they disappeared when the lid came off (petrol smell doesn't appeal to many!!):



Lid was removed, after a bit of gentle persuasion around the perimeter with a screwdriver, the seal held it down. I didn't have much petrol in the tank, light had been 'on' for a while, read about 40miles remaining. Original pipe and wiring allowed for the lid to be removed without removing the pump from its locked position. The new pipe is about 2" shorter and I had to pop the float in before I locked the pump down. Here's the lid removed:


Here's the pump, in situ in the tank. You can just make out the lower locking tab, in line and beneath the pump's electrical connector. Float leg sits in the 'C' shaped area next to the pump - I didn't actually see this but it's the only place it would go! Correct me if I'm wrong, please.. :


Plastic receiver at the bottom of the tank. The tabs lock into the sections at N and S of the pump 'well'.
The black dots are little bits of dirt. A little were removed with a magnet but I had to siphon some petrol out to suck out the remainder. Top tip, don't use cheap ice cream tubs to hold petrol, it melts them in no time, use a sturdier container! :


I took a number of pictures of the pump assembly/cradle whilst on the bench. I know there are differing versions so I thought some pictures might help.
Here's the pump having removed the wiring and the pipe:


Another view, screwdriver showing the little locking tab that holds the original pump in place:


Original pump with filter still fitted:


Top view:


Filter removed. Note the offset hole and the small notch that locates the filter so that it doesn't rotate:


Comparison of both pumps, old has offset entry and new has central entry - this means the cradle needs a little modification:


Both old and new filters. New is larger but it does fit ok, needs to be twisted a little bit:


Old filter on the cradle:


New filter on the cradle :


Using a £1 coin to mark the cut out required. £1 coin was perfect size:


Marked line:


Attack with the Dremel:


Job done:


New pump test fitted, all looks good. This was using the foam sleeve that was in the kit:


New pump fitted, new pipe fitted and wires soldered. I left the wires a bit longer so that I could use the old pipe should the need arise. I did get some radio reception problems the following night (after fitting the new fuel filter) and I was worried that this extra wiring was to blame as I had looped them slackly. As it turned out, the radio sorted itself out by the next day :) :


Pump in cradle. I used a stainless zip ties to clench the upper tabs of the cradle to help secure the pump. I then used two more zip ties to ensure the first couldn't move:


Pump was dropped into the tank, all I had to do was twist the filter a bit so that it sat at a slight angle to get the best fit in the receiver. Pump cradle clicked into place easily. It took me a moment to figure out where the float 'foot/leg' went, I hope I got it correct (in the small 'C' shaped bit in the receiver I hope).
I fitted the new seal to the tank, having smeared a bit of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) on the inner surface, where the lid needed to slide. Pressed it down and it went into place nicely. Popped the lockring back on and managed to turn it way more than half a turn. All I had to do was tap it round about 1/8 of a turn for it to align with it's old marks. This was tight down, everything had gone 'home' nicely.

As I had so little fuel in the tank I went to get about 15l from the garage and added this to the tank. I didn't want to kill the new pump by running it dry!

I primed the pump twice by turning the ignition on twice, not sure if it was necessary but then the engine fired up nicely.

The following night I changed the fuel filter, which sits under the left hand side of the car.

In 2013 I bought a Hengst filter from Euro Car Parts and to my surprise I actually had the correct copper sealing washer (07119963129) that I'd bought for something in 2011 !.

Here they are:


I lifted the car and thought I'd try to change the filter without removing the big black plastic under panel:


All I needed to do was remove the four nuts and screws circled here:


This gave me enough access to do the job. I removed the two filter mounting screws and used a locking adjustable to hold the fpr (fuel pressure regulator), allowing me to use a 19mm spanner to open the front joint.


The rear joint, being a push fit, was easily opened using a screwdriver to gently push back the locking collar. Filter was then unscrewed and removed. Here's the rear end of the fpr:


New filter was fitted in no time. Here's a pic of it installed, all that was required then was to fit the plastic panel and its four fasteners:


The fuel that came out of the old filter's inlet was a bit dirty, so some dirt was in the filter. After emptying it all I blew though it and it offered little resistance, I reckon there was plenty of life left in it. It wasn't the original filter, I'm glad to say. I thought the previous owner said he had changed it but I wasn't certain, at least now I know that the filter is new and that the new pump has the best start in life!

Car was then taken for a drive. It all seemed great. Some say they feel an improvement due to the new pump and increased fuel pressure but I didn't notice anything.

What I had found was that the radio wasn't working (on FM), or receiving very badly. Turning off the ignition, using just acc, the radio seemed fine. I was thinking that the extra length of wire I'd fitted (to allow me to use the old fuel pipe if needed) was causing this, as I had very slackly looped it, I had visions of getting back into the tank again to sort it. Anyway, the following day it all seemed perfectly fine.

Another little problem reared up too. The pdc system gave a long beep, indicating a fault. Most likely a sensor failure. Working sensors give an audible (just) clicking noise if you place your ear next to them. It still worked and beeped with the rear sensors, so the problem lay with the front end. I listened to them and found #2 to be silent. Took it out, gave it a wash with contact cleaner but still no go. Finally, to confirm a sensor and not wiring, I moved it to #1. Fault followed so I ordered a new one from ebay.

Incidentally, even though there were no beeps, the intravee controlled display on the clocks still showed what the working sensors picked up, so it could still be used. Thank you intravee :)

Whilst sorting the pdc, dad remembered he had some sensors from the e46 he had. Two failed for him and he had bought a set of four, so had two as spare. Upon inspecting them, I found they wouldn't fit my plugs, they were keyed. But, having looked at the ones on ebay, I realised they weren't at all keyed and that they were suitable for most of the cars. So, I removed the key in dad's ones (Dremel wins again) and got them to fit and yes, they do work perfectly fine.

Now, at the moment, my rear sensors are sort of 'D' faced, not round faced. I've wanted them all to be the same (fronts are already round...I wonder what happened there..., no one has noticed yet!) and the newer replacements are the round versions. Dad's old e46 ones are the round variety and are painted (Titan silver unfortunately).

I would need four to convert my rears to round, two black (in the trim) and two painted ones in the actual bumper. I can now paint dad's to my colour (Le Mans Blue), using as little paint as I dare and get two new black ones for the trim ones. A few minutes after realising this, two others were ordered from ebay :)

I just need to get these painted up and I'll get them fitted when everything arrives.

Lastly, I kept on receiving 'check number plate light' on the dash. I had led 'bulbs' fitted that were of the 'canbus' no fault variety, and all was fine for ages, so I didn't bother coding them out.
Anyway, I thought I'd have a look at them. One 'bulb' had lost a resistor - which I soldered back only to find another falling off! The other side had only three of six emitters working :(

Thinking of not bothering with these led 'bulb replacements anymore, but I still want led's (look much better imo).
Having scoured ebay, does anyone have any experience with the 'cree' type number plate lights? There are some with three emitters and I'm tempted by them, but a little worried if they're going to be a bit too bright - though this might come in hand to reverse :) Any thoughts?



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Another little update - been doing a few things lately :)

I had a PDC sensor error, discovered it was a front sensor and I was able to locate the faulty one. A new ebay one was ordered for about £10, I thought it was worth the try, apparently German made with some 3 years of warranty.

It arrived and was duly fitted, PDC back to working perfectly :)

Here's the sensor (round faced with 90deg connector) :


ebay link: SmartSense PDC Parking Sensor for BMW E46,E39,E60,E63,E38,E65,E83,E53,E85 6620? | eBay

Arrived just as advertised and thus far, works.

Amidst this PDC issue I realised that I had the 'D' shaped rear sensors and circular faced front ones. The front end must have been 'updated' some time :)

I would have liked to have both ends the same, but I wasn't about to start buying sensors at BMW prices so left It at that. Seeing these sensors at £10 each and dad having a couple that I made to fit my connectors, it would only mean I needed two new black sensors for the outer positions in the trim, so I ordered them-from the same place as the front sensor. I could re-paint the old ones from dad and fit them in the inner two positions.

Here they are (round faced with straight connector) :


ebay link: SmartSense PDC Parking Sensor for BMW 3/5/6/7/X3/X5/Z4 Series 66206989069 6620? | eBay

Here's one of my old 'D' shaped rear sensors :


Dad's old, modified E46 sensors ready for paint - majority of old paint was removed :


Same ones, painted. A couple of coats of primer followed with a few light coats of colour, topped off with some thin coats of lacquer. BMW make a bit of a fuss that you can't paint these, having to buy them in the correct colour, I just didn't go mad with the paint :


Fitted to the bumper :


It should have been a relatively quick job, just pop the rear bumper off enough to remove the sensors but one of the PDC mounting brackets decided it would separate from the bumper skin. This meant having to remove the bumper entirely off the car so as to be able to plastic weld the carrier (with a soldering iron - took me back to them days of repairing motorbike fairings :) )

Anyway, it was done and all fitted back in a bit. PDC tested and works perfectly, so painting worked out ok.

I also decided to go with the ebay three 'Cree' led number plate lamp units. The previous LED 'bulbs' hadn't lasted anything like what I expected but I do like the look of the led's.


They arrived just as promised and seem to be pretty good stuff. Body is all aluminium, screen is bonded in and the electrics are screwed in from the back. I did modify the spring clip a little bit - it wouldn't squash all the way, it would touch the aluminium after compressing it a little bit. I knew that you need to compress these all of the way in order to remove them so I filed down the offending end just enough to clear the aluminium housing.

Here they are, as when arrived :


Front, closeup :

REar, with two connections to suit older and newer cars - I know the e90 uses the smaller connector :


Spring clip - it was the lower end of this that I filed a little bit :


Fitted. The picture makes them appear to be reflecting a lot off the plate, in reality it is perfectly readable, there are no 'two bleached spots' on the plate, they give a pretty even spread of light, albeit quite bright :)


Then, I fitted two new cheap boot struts. Nothing fancy, again off ebay, didn't even take a picture! They were very well packaged and were a perfect fit. They did come with both ends, most on ebay don't come with the 'lid' ends, you have to transfer them across. Anyway, they work and open the bootlid properly, no more hitting my head :)

eaby link, in case someone is interested : Set of 2 Tailgate Boot Gas Struts for BMW E39 520i 523i 525i 535i 540i 1996-2003 | eBay

Finally, yesterday I decided to sort out my MID. I had bought a replacement ribbon in Sept 2013 from akspeedo and I found it! It included a username and password to download some instructions etc, unsurprisingly, these didn't work. I did call them to ask for the fresh details, but I was told to email them together with my details so they could confirm I had actually bought it from them. No probs, I whisked an email in no time. However, it was mid morning today on them replying with some details, I still couldn't open the files!
Nevermind, I had completed the job yesterday, but it would have been nice to have something to fall back on.
I did look at a couple of youtube videos but they seemed to be showing pretty basic stuff.

Anyway, it was a bit of a pig of a job as it was particularly awkward to re-fit the lcd assembly back into the unit's front. Patience and plenty of light worked out in the end.

I didn't take many pictures as I wanted to get it done quick, sorry guys.

Here are the few pictures I took.

Display, prior to repair. Not at all bad but very annoying, the top row on the top line had 'gone' and around the 'SC' and 'MODE' area wasn't good but it did worsen with heat :


Here's the ribbon, as supplied by akspeedo :


Mid way, showing the old yellow ribbon :


All done. I took this picture later on in the evening, I wasn't at it until 9:20 ! I think it took a good couple of hours, taking it easy :


I have to say, it's rather nice having all the displays working correctly. I did the clocks ages ago and I'm really glad I sorted this out, its finished the interior off nicely in a sub-conscious kind of way.

That's all for now :)

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1 minute ago, ger said:

Small world eh :)


Whereabouts are you?


Originally Pwllheli but I'm down south in Cardiff these days. Always loved the colour of your car when I saw it.

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Time for another update. This is a bit of a biggie!

Not done that much in the past few months, but I've been busier recently. The good weather helps I suppose.
First thing I did was to fit a Parrot MKi9200 handsfree kit. I know it's not bmw oem but it makes life much easier. I had managed to find a fitting cable that connected to the big bmw radio connector and had the correct Parrot connector at the other end, reduced the mess quite a bit. Not sure where from I'm afraid but I've a feeling it was called a SOT (Sound On Top) lead. After fitting I upgraded the Parrot and then set out to have a nice custom pic on the screen. I had thought of having just the angel eyes visible but the unit dispays some text all of the time, so that idea was scrapped. In the end, I made a relatively small M5 logo and colours and managed to get the logo to sit neatly under the writing that comes up on the screen:




All works great and allows for hands free operation, no more needing the little earpiece smile.gif


Here's one version of the image file:



and here's a darker version:



Next up, cam sensors!

I carry a i910 code reader in the car, as I have been getting sporadic errors and codes that I can just clear and be on my way.
This time, I was on the way down to the BMW meet at BMW HQ at Farnborough, using the cruise control and going relatively steadily. On trying to pass a car, by just pressing the accelerator, the car gave a different noise to usual coupled with an almost complete lack of power frown.gif

I did think of a cam sensor as it had changed note, but the code and message given by the little code reader at a lay-by didn't really convince me it was a cam sensor (???? torque monitoring, lefel 2), checked the net and couldn't find much information about this. I reset the code and cycled the ignition, it returned. Cancelled again and cycled, again it returned. Did this a few times and it finally, after about five or six tries, cleared. Engine ran ok and no engine light on the dash.

Resumed the journey and a few miles further up the road it happened again. Faced with a long journey like this I had to start thinking of aborting it, my dad was getting very impatient!

I managed to get it reset again. I thought if it happened again I'd be turning back home. For the next 600 odd miles it behaved impecably, didn't put a foot wrong. Went to the meet, started and stopped several times and returned home without issue (other than being exhausted, having hardly slept at the b&b! I had to stop at a services somewhere and have a nap in the back of the car).

Here's a picture that Sam Davenport took of my car at the meet, which I really like (Thanks Sam) smile.gif :



A rather surprising fuel economy result for the return drive:


Anyway, back to the cam sensors...

It continued to behave for most of the week, but on returning from a short journey, it came back again.
This time, I used a c110 scanner, that I also have. This instantly gave me a P0395 error, describing it as the bank 2 inlet cam sensor. I knew this was the awkward one, ugh! Shame I didn't try this little scanner previously!

I decided it was best to replace them all...but:

I now knew it was a cam sensor and wasn't too keen on BMW's cam sensor pricing, especially after their recent price hikes.
A few years ago I had the bank1 exhaust sensor die on me (the easy one to change). It was the original one. I bought a new, genuine item for about £90. It worked well for just over two years (just out of the BMW warranty), but annoyingly and terribly dissapointingly, only about 1500miles, as I didn't use the car much.


I got a replacement sensor from Clayton Usher, he had replaced all of his but thankfully had kept his old ones. These were his original ones so were quite old, but got me out of a problem and worked fine. But, I had lost faith in the BMW overpriced sensors (now about £130 ea by now!).

During this time I had a good look around for other sensors from other manufacturers. I entered the old sensor part number (13622249320) in ebay (and everywhere else!) and found plenty of other cross refferenced numbers and sensors. The original part number for the exhaust sensor is used by Rover in the 75cdt, which also opened up possibilities. If items were compatiable with the Rover, then they had to be compatiable with the sensor and thus the M5.

So, here are the exhaust cam sensor numbers I found that are compatiable with each other (this is the 90deg angled sensor):

Newest part no for M5: 13627796054

Original, old M5 part: 13622249320 (so these two are compatiable)

13622249320 Vemo equivalent part no V20-72-0021. (7002621) - Euro car parts 419110840 (not currently listed)

Intermotor equivalent (to Vemo no.): INT19183

BMW equivalent no's to the Intermotor part:
13622249320 (hello, that's the genuine one!) and...
13627794646 (this one pops up a lot!)
also equivalent to : Vemo V20-72-0515 available from Euro car parts (part number-419110451, still listed, about £60)

Also equivalent to the Vemo V20-72-0515 are these:
BMW 13622249320 FE31700 (this is a Febi part)
BMW 13627796054
BMW / ROVER 12142249320
BMW / BOSCH / ROVER 2249320
BMW / BOSCH / ROVER 2249320B
LandRover 8510297

Rover 75 :
BMW 13 62 7 794 646
(this one pops up again!)
OPEL 6240 359
OPEL 6238 216
VAUXHALL 93183514
VAUXHALL 93171362
Rover nsc100891

(not listed on Febi's webcat, but listed for several diesel BMW's and Land Rover's, but the original part number was also used in a diesel Rover 75) This works as I have it fitted and running perfectly fine!

Delphi : SS11034

camshaft position sensor
BMW 13 62 7 794 646 (and again)
Opel 6240 359 or Opel 6238 216
Vauxhall /GM 93183514 or Vauxhall 93171362

So, any of the above are likely to work with the M5 as they are all equivalent to each other.

I got a Febi FE31700 (usually about £40 online) and a Vemo V20-72-0515 (from ECP, £60 usually but just under £40 with their frequent discounts). These look identical to the genuine BMW item. The Vemo even had part numbers or logo ground off (so likely to be an oem supplier maybe).

Here's the original and Febi exhaust sensors together:



Closeup of the original's part number:

Vemo exhaust sensor:

Vemo sensor showing ground off part number:




Now for the inlet sensors (these are the ones with a straight connector, didn't go into this quite as much):

Newest part no for M5: 12147539173 (£130 odd, with vAT etc)

Original, old M5 part: 12141438082 (so these two are compatiable)

Equivalent BMW numbers:
12147539173 (the newest number for the M5)

Also, found somewhere else:
BMW - 12 14 7 518 628 (12147518628)
BMW - 12 14 1 438 082 (12141438082)
BMW - 12 14 7 506 273 (12147506273)

Meyle/Febi : 23799 (this is listed on the Febi webcat for the car, as well as many other BMW's)

Delphi : SS10888 (listed directly by local parts factor)

Although the Febi item looks identical to the newest BMW item, as I was in a bit of a rush to get this sorted I bought a pair of Delphi sensors locally for about £30 ea (then found them to be closer to £20 online!).

Here's an old inlet sensor with a Delphi one:


Closeup of the part numbers:

So, after all of that, I bought a Vemo V20-72-0515 and Febi 31700 exhaust cam sensors and I bought two Delphi SS10888 inlet cam sensors. All of these cost less than one sensor from BMW and still carry a two year warranty!

My car seems to pull better than ever, when taking it for it's MOT test and 'warming' it up, it seemed much 'peppier' than it ever had and gave more chirps than usual, I put this down to the fresh sensors, as nothing much else of significance has changed.
I shall keep you informed of any developments with regards to these sensors, but I'm pretty happy with these!

Here are a couple of useful pictures that show where these cam sensors 'live'. I couldn't find a picture showing the metal brackets fitted, but they're both over their respective inlet sensors. Thanks also to the respective owners of these pictures, I hope you don't mind me using and sharing them here, they're only to help others...

Indicated locations:




Nice, clear picture:


Next up, brakes!

About a year ago, I decided I'd change the rear discs for brand new ones I'd 'collected' over the years. I was also going to change the pads, shoes and shoe fitting kit, as the handbrake (or parking or emergency brake) was really terrible frown.gif

So much time had passed that I actually went and bought a second set of shoes and fitting kit! I found the box containing all of these the following day! I returned the others for a full refund.

Also in the box were new 'expanding levers', the parts that the handbrake cable attaches to and operates the shoes in the drum.

By now, I had also decided it was time to fit new discs and pads up front too.


I had bought two virtually new front discs from a fellow bmw5 forum member for a very good price, but he did warn me that one of them had a warp. For the price, getting one disc was a bargain. He had suffered a seized caliper shortly after fitting them and had to fit new discs and calipers again!

The discs were duly fitted with new pads (more on them later...) and indeed, one was causing pulsing under braking. It was perfect with my old (thin) disc, so had to be one of the new discs.

I suspected the passenger (left hand in UK) disc as it made strange, inconsistent noises when turning and rubbing against the pads. I ran a dial gauge on it and it showed a rather chunky 0.3mm (12thou) runout. Permitted is in the order of 0.03mm iirc!
So, what to do now? I found a website that pushed disc skimming as a solution. Gave them a call and they confirmed a few local garages that had the suitable disc lathes. As it happens, my wife works at one and it was duly booked in for the following day.


Took it in, met the technician, who'm I've known for years and started with the skimming. After setting it all up, their machine wasn't big enough! it needed to be about 5mm larger! So, wheels back on and out looking for somewhere else. Found that another pretty local garage could do it, this time a BMW specialist (Stuart at Prestige auto care), but I'd have to wait another week!

Finally, the time came and it was taken there. He skimmed the disc but unfortunately, it hadn't cured it completely.
Here's the disk after its skim:


Finally, I decided it might be best to get a new left front disc, after all I'd managed to get all the others cheap and I do save a small fortune doing virtually all work myself. So, I waited a few days until Euro Car Parts offered a discount code and a brand new disc was soon on it's way from Germany! Within two days (it was ordered on a Sunday) it had arrived via DHL with impressively accurate tracking. This was soon fitted to the car and the braking is back to being perfectly smooth smile.gif

New left hand disc:


New disc, from rear:


Part number/thikness info now stamped on disc perimeter, nothing on the alloy bell:


Regarding the pads and shoes. I've always been a bit dissapointed with the car's braking performance, it's always felt a bit lethargic and wooden, a bit slow in reacting but ultimately gave good braking.


I've bled the brakes umpteen times, with and without DIS to run the abs unit and precharge pump, with the engine running or not, with a pressure bleeder and not, opeing all four bleed nipples or doing each in turn.

I've fitted fresh pipes everywhere they were needed and new rubber hoses in all six hose locations, refurbed the calipers with new pistons and new seals and they do work perfectly smoothly.

I even changed the servo and master cylinder and was starting to contemplate changing the abs unit. I felt a bit better when I tried Clayton's brakes at the Farnborough meet, which did feel pretty similar to mine, but it would be nice to get them better or closer to how the other cars I drive behave.

Having tried Delphi pads on other family cars and being incredibly pleased with their performance, I thought I'd give them a try. They were pretty cheap and could be viewed as being an experiment if they didn't work too well.



I got a full matching set:

Front: LP1003 (only shared with other BMW's)
Rear: LP1803 (shared with Land Rover's Range Rover)
Handbrake shoes: LS1920 (shared with several VW's!)
Fitting kit: LY1330

Pads were pretty impressive, nicely shaped backing plates with the noise absorbing shims fitted and all a very good fit in the calipers.

Handbrake shoes were fitted with the new discs and adjusted to have 8clicks backed off from tight, then with the handbrake lever on the second click, the cables were adjusted to give a torque of 100 to 105Nm when torquing a wheel nut (lug bolt) with my torque wrench (I could just get it to turn the wheel at 105Nm, it would click on 100Nm). Since the car has an LSD fitted I adjusted the left hand cable first, then backed it off 4 whole turns. Then I adjusted the right hand cable, to the same torque. I then adjusted the first, left hand cable back up 4 complete turns.

If you don't do it like this, you can never tell which side is causing the drag at the wheel, as both wheels are atached (ie left side brake will cause right side to drag when you're trying to adjust it, so better to back of left side so it doesn't interfere with the right side's adjustment).
Having done the adjustment this way, the handbrake is working better than I've ever had it before (and I fitted new shoes before!). It even holds the car on the hill outside my house, never happened before. In the MOT test, the handbrake required an efficiency of 15% but ended up giving a reading of 30% smile.gif

Rear left disc fitted:

The car's braking using these Delphi pads has been transformed. It now feels much sharper and responsive. A gentle dab yeilds results, whereas before it would hardly react. It now feels like a much more modern car.

I do remember hearing, in a program about the McLaren F1 iirc, that at the time, regulations specified that car brakes should be able to withstand hard braking from the car's maximum speed down to zero. This meant that the pads had to be incredibly hard to withstand such stresses and would impact on the cold braking dramatically. I wonder if this is similar for the M5?


Does it fall into the age where it needed basically racing pads for it to pass the braking tests when new?

Apparently, regulations were changed as people don't drive like that and greater benefit would come from cars that braked well at the speeds they were normally driven at, so more sensible pad compunds were allowed. When this change came into being, I've no idea! It might all be bad information too.

Anyway, I'm chuffed to bits that the brakes now feel and work as I've wanted them for years. I can now stop wasting brake fluid, it would appear that the brakes are correclty bled smile.gif

Whilst I was changing the pads, I decided to fit the old, original, two part handbrake lever I had, but this time with matching 'birke' trim that I picked up reasonably of ebay. I had a full leather handbrake as the titanium trim on the old handbrake had gotten to look pretty awful.

Also, in changing the handbrake lever, I had to remove the centre console. This had a few broken bits of plastic so I plastic welded them back thogether, adding some wavy wire into the mix at various positions and adding 'speed nuts' into the locations that usually strip ad don't hold the trim securing screws. now I can tighten them up nicely.


Centre console removed:


Other handbrake lever fitted:


Closeup of what's under the handbrake lever trim, holding it in position:


Another view, showing the 'clip' a bit clearer:


Inner side of the trim, where it locks onto the 'clip':


Another view:


Trim fitted:


Trim, side view:


Also, as the centre console was removed, it made it much easier to wire in distribution blocks/connectors for illumination and earth wiring, as I had adapted my ash tray lid button to being an illuminated e38 version and the rear vent temperature control to being illuminated, similar to the e38 again.

I saw the ash tray lid button conversion here:
E38 Aschenbecher Beleuchtung EBA im E39 ! - BMW E39-Forum - BMW E39-Forum

and the rear vent adaptation here:
Ich habe meine Fondausströmer teilweise beleuchtet ! - BMW E39-Forum - BMW E39-Forum
I've no pictures of the rear vent I'm sorry.

I did not however drill through the plastics for the ashtray and used two led's for the heater illumination.

Here's the 'prototype' I made on the left and a fresh lid mechanism on the right:


Blocks of wood glued together to help hold it (note the central groove and both corners removed so lid mech fit's nicely):


This is why that central groove is there...:


Plastic thickness that needed to remain:


First bit of plastic removed:


Second level of plastic removal:


Another view:


My simple setup. I set the cutter in the chuck, and the piece on the wood. I used feeler gauges set at approximately the correct thicknessess under the cutter and raised the 'bed' up (and locked it) to set the correct thickness:


The finished lid mechanism, wiring will follow the narrow path:


Comparing the handmade original test run with the newer version:


Trim button, just removed:


Trim cut up to make a through hole, nerve wrecking describes doing this the best!! I used a Dremel with a cutting disc, slipping was simply not an option! :


Finished cutting the hole, it still needed tidying up:

Inner edge finished and all masked up:


New 'button' fits finally:


New button, without masking tape:


Trial run, it works smile.gif


Parts used:


Clubcard card was used to make a 0.75mm spacer so that the illuminated button did not stand too proud of the surface. The clubcard was the closest thing to the required measurement smile.gif The buttons come from the E38 rear door ashtrays, they have an LED facing innwards and outwards. The centre console lid only has the LED's facing upwards but the button is the same.

Button with super glue on it, ready to be fitted one last time!


Underneath of the lid trim, ready to be painted black. Without this, you could see a little bit of aluminium etc through the gap:



On the wall, during painting:



Finished painting:



Underside of the assembled lid mechanism:


All together now:


Picture showing what makes up the LED board, top wire would be the +ve IIRC :


Underside of the original E38 wood trim showing wire path cut into it:


Bad picture of the illuminated button (it's the lowest orange dash):


After all of that, it was time to sort out the e38 rear armest I had knocking about for about two years!
I had previously removed the rear ection of the leather to gain aaccess to the main bar, but since had come across MJM's thread about fitting a rear centre console to his 5. I followed his advice from here:
Remote Control Passenger Seat Memory Retrofit - E39 1996-2004 - BMW 5 Series Owners Board

Here's the E38 armrest, showing the 'C' clips that hold the rods in position:




The smaller rod is similarily held, but you have to peel the foam back a bit further to reach it.

I reluctantly hacked a leather rear armrest as I couldn't easily get a local old cloth one cheaply, having one sent over would have been a bit expensive for what I was after.

Anyway, the leather on the old e39 one was peeled back enough to get to the shaft. I used a Dremmel to slice though the steel rod at both sides. Then the lumps were filed down and cleaned up in the lathe.


The E39 rod end:


Rod is actually a 10mm tube:


The rod was sawn in half and finally they were painted, just to ensure they wouldn't rust:


If you're thinking of doing this and don't want to cut up an old armrest to get the E39 rod, here are the end dimensions so you can go and make them in a lathe. Rod length is 234mm and overall length, from outer end to outer end is 258mm, ends fit into the tube by about 14mm or so:

The e38 armrest was re-opened to remove the second bar, then gued up together again. finally, the rods could be pushed in from either side and the armrest fitted. It sits there securely, opens nicely, without catching anything but is a bit tighter when closhing or pushing it shut, I guess it's 2 or 3mm taller, or something like that.


And there we have it, the most recent work since the last update :)

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Epic as usual mate, you were lucky with your discs, I braked on the M6 on my way home from the Silverstone Classic to nearly have the wheel wrenched out of my hand, next day got a dial gauge on the discs to find a 4mm warp in the drivers disc!!! God knows where that came from. Good advice on the handbrake too, mine is poor even with new shoes and discs, gonna try that method.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Those illumination mods are epic. All that work for something almost nobody will even notice!! :) My kind of mod!!

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Another little update:

First off, I've some pictures of the E38 rear armrest intalled:





and open:


Those of you with beady eyes will notice I don't have the standard m5 rear bench, I have instead a child booster rear bench which has a different leather pattern and layout, very handy with the girls. The m5 one is stowed away safely.

Second is a little picture of the rear centre vent with illuminated heater control, a la E38 :

Taken with the flash (but you can see everything!:


Not so good picture showing the illumination:


It is a shame that it's so difficult to do anything with the air flow dial on the other side, I'm thinking about it but nothing much is coming up at the moment...

Now for the most recent stuff.
In March, I decided to change my fuel pump. The original one functioned ok, but was a bit of an unknown entity with regards to it's reliability. Car started fine and seemed to drive ok, but I feared being stranded far from home with a dead fuel pump.

I bought a Quantum 340 (QFS-340FT) from fuelperfomance.co.uk and it was duly installed, I wrote about it earlier in this thread. I understand that this is very similar, if not the same, as an Aeromotive 340, they do look very similar, other than the blue vs red plastic and the different name!
However, since it was fitted the car hasn't started as well as it used to. I decided to look into it and had a read through a few threads. I noticed this post and thought I'd investigate my pump setup in a similar way.:


At first it was rather difficult to see anything, and as it happens, I was very fortunate that my tank with less than half full. This allowed me to see the top of the pump which was clear of the fuel (this turned out to be very important). I asked dad to turn the key  to prime the fuel system whilst I peered at the pump. After three or four times I realized that fuel was coming out from the pump exit (barb or nozzle) and getting past the transparent flexi pipe. If more fuel would have been in the tank, I would not have seen this.

Pump was then removed, single clamp removed and two clamps fitted tightly instead. No way could any fuel get past this (I thought!). I blew into the pipe as hard as I could, no apparent leaks and it was re-fitted.

Here's a pic of the twin clamped barb:


I thought it better to just prime the system once before closing it all up. Again dad 'did the honours' and turned the key whilst I peered. To my dismay, fuel managed to leak again. I left it for the night and had a think.

Following day, I thought that maybe if I gave the pipe a bit of help in sealing, all would be fine. I bought a tube of blue Hylomar, which is fuel resistant, and took the whole lot out, cleaned and used a dab of 'blue' to seal it. In thinking this would be ok, I only used one 'O' clip this time. 

Here it is all sealed up and ready to go:


With the blue Hylomar, which has finally changed packaging:


Hopes were high and it was all fitted again. This time a prime was definitely on the cards, but I thought all would be good.
On turning the key, a large gush of fuel was pumped and no leaks, weheeey. That lasted about two seconds.. A prime lasts three! just as it finished, fuel gushed out past the barb again. I was drained and fed up of this, but wanted to get to the bottom of things, so it was removed and inspected again.

I thought that during all of this time, the other end of the pipe, connected to the plastic 'end' underneath the tank 'lid' hadn't leaked a bit.

I had a look at fuelperfomance's website and found their page on the clear flexi hoses:

Convoluted Fuel Flex Hose

This gave me some numbers. The pump's barb was measured to be 8.25mm. The original pump's barb was also 8mm or so and I'm sure it never leaked. I had used the new clear flexi hose as supplied to me with the pump. I measured the old one, both ends were for 8mm barbs.

Fuelperformance sell a short, 160mm long, flexi with 8mm at both ends. The 220 and 260mm long ones had one end at 8mm and the other at 9mm. Their 280mm one is 9mm at both ends. The supplied pipe is 260mm long...

I removed the pipe from the pump and, sure enough, it had a 9mm end. The other end, fitted to the tank 'lid' was the 8mm end, no wonder it didn't leak.

Here's a picture of both ends of the supplied pipe:


This pipe is supplied and is said to be specific to BMW's (and a few other manufacturers). Turns out it isn't!

Anyway, I left there for the night and returned the following day. I fitted the old 'clear' (but now petrol stained brown) pipe. Both ends were a nice tight fit. Both ends fitted with one 'O' clip and clenched reasonably tight.

All fitted and again checked. This time, not a single drop came out and the fuel movement sounded more positive, I'm sure more fuel returned to the tank, as I noticed it, it was 'noisier'.

Finally, I could finish fitting it all and refit everything.

Car fired up fine, even with some air in the system and has continued to do so since. Finally I can say that the problem is solved!

Incidentally, very little information is given about the original 'O' clips as used by BMW to clamp the flexi fuel pipe.
They are marked '113' and 'JET PAT', 113 referring to their size, 11.3mm 'open' diameter. They are 5mm in width, which I couldn't easily get here.

Here's a picture:


I did get a 10-pack of 11.9mm, 7mm width ones which have worked perfectly with the correct sized pipe. I didn't bother with a picture of these, you can go on ebay and search for 'single ear' 'O' clips, or sometimes known as 'Oetiker' clips. They weren't expensive and it was nice to use the correct type of clip for the pipe. 

So, nice to finish on a good note. I want to change the tank vent valve too, as I've had a few codes relating to that but I've not been able to yet. That shall be done in the near future.

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Another little update.

I've finally have got around to change the fuel tank breather valve. I kept on getting the code - 7F - tank leak diagnosis system, when read with a small handheld scanner; code P1451 I believe from a generic scanner.

Plenum off (all them nuts and bolts!!) and dive in:


New one in position, old one there in the picture.

As most have found, it's a bit of a fight to get the lower hose off, but it will relent in the end. I squirted a tiny bit of Auto Glym's rubber and vinyl care to help get the pipe back on, that stuff will dry in no time and I doubt it will cause any harm to anything, but it did help the pipe to slide on easily.

I had checked the replacement valve, it held pressure/vacuum when blown into or sucked out of and when 12V was applied it gave a strong 'clunk' and free flow or air.

When the old one was removed, I instinctively tried blowing/sucking though it and it held my pressure quite happily. I was beginning to wonder if I'd wasted time and effort. Anyway, later on I hooked it up to my little 12V source and it became clear that it wasn't performing as it should, held a little pressure no problem, but it hardly moved when I applied power to it. Sucking on the lower 'exit' pipe connection (normally under vacuum, it goes to the inlet) it sometimes failed to open, giving an unreliable poor air flow. So, not a waste of time.

I'll have to use the car a few times now to confirm that this issue is properly sorted. Seeing that the valve was obviously faulty, I'm pretty confident that this will have solved the issue.

Incidentally, the valve is just the same as any other bmw tank breather valve. Any one from any supplier will fit, there's plenty of room there for any of them, even though the M5 one is a tiny bit shorter.

BMW part number is:
13907830766  (think expensive)

However, 1 748 875 on the lower part of the unit, this is probably an old number for the valve.

I had a look on Febi's webcat.
Febi make a fuel tank valve, no. 46426, but it's not listed for the M5...

Febi also list this as an equivalent to:
13 90 1 433 603
13 90 1 433 602
13 90 1 744 150
and 13 90 1 748 875 - this is the same shape as the M5 version, this number is on the m5 unit! So, the Febi valve would/should work in the M5.

I'm hoping now that my starting and eml issues will have been solved. A bit of use and time will tell.

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Hi, here's a bit of an update for the car. There probably one or two other things I did to it since the previous installment, but this does update it.


BMW_E39_XTRONS-DAB-Splitter en.pdfAfter seeing this thread on m5board.com (http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e39-m5-e52-z8-discussion/586378-xtrons-pb7639bp-android-head-unit-installation.html) I decided it was time to update the radio in the m5. I've been wanting to update it's looks since I bought the car but going oem seemed a bit silly as I'd be fitting old tech, but any aftermarket stuff meant I'd lose the BC functionality. Not anymore! The Resler interface allows the radio to communicate with the car's I-bus and the Android based I-bus app can make use of its functionality, bringing virtually all of the BC features to an aftermarket headunit, just what I was after. Also, apparently this combination allows for the digital dsp amp to be used too, though this doesn’t apply to me.

The original setup I had was a cd drive, MID for high BC and I installed the ‘Top HiFi' amp together with speakers in every possible oem position in the car. These are: front door tweeters, mid range and main drivers lower down, rear door tweeters, rear main drivers above the parcel shelf and also two 10" subs under the parcel shelf-similar to the M-audio ones- which are driven by an additional amp I installed in the boot (trunk) next to the HiFi amp.




The radio in the dash had the large radio connector, flat pin. The radio also provided a speaker level output and originally drove only the four main speakers (and little tweeters in the front doors with passive crossovers from the main front speakers).


I fancied using all speaker positions, why not! I discovered that the HiFi amp would drive each of the car's speakers directly, all ten of them, which was great. It did not have an output for subs-no problem. The HiFi amp also takes speaker level inputs, from the front radio. This bit of information I learnt from RichardP (thanks Richard) and saved a lot of experimenting.




The sub amp takes its signal from the rear speaker channels from the headunit, dropped down by a ‘converter' to line level, suitable as an input to an amp.





The amps are powered from the battery connections in the ‘first' distribution fusebox, they are earthed direct to the battery terminal (not to a puny screw driven into the chassis that will rust!). I used the white wire that activates the diversity antenna as a ‘wake up' signal for the sub amp.


I also had an intravee2 setup instead of a cd changer and to give the extra functions it gives. This allowed me to have an ipod with all of my songs on it.


As it happened, my setup allowed for a relatively easy install for an Android unit, the main connector was just behind the radio in the dash (not in the boot), my amp could take speaker level inputs so I could retain the mid range and tweeter speakers



Anyway, I bought an XTRONS PB7839BP direct from the suppliers (www.xtrons.co.uk) and received a good discount (use code ‘VIP15’ for 15% discount). Delivery was quick and they have been very responsive to a few emails I sent them, can't fault them really.

I also bought a DAB+ usb receiver/decoder, an xtrons bluetooth obd dongle to plug into the car's diagnostic port and a microphone (subsequently not required).

I bought the 3D printed brackets from ‘Da Ondy’ who’s a member on the BMW Xtrons und I-BUS Android App… group on Facebook, it’s well known that the supplied brackets are not very good – there’s a small screw on the back of where it mounts that interferes with how it fits against the brackets and the holes aren’t in the correct position for a good fit. These 3D printed ones allow for the small screw, have the holes in sensible locations and allow for a little adjustment, it's a shame that the suppliers don't give you better brackets!

I also bought a Resler usb interface, from Resler himself.

I paid to unlock the I-bus software.

A bit later I realised that the diversity antenna could be used instead of the DAB antenna but required an extra splitter unit and various antenna cables to make it work, these were bought.

I also discovered that you could use the oem microphone, just make up a cable and run it up to the mic, I had bits for this.


Where did I gather the info: See links below. I translated one or two files into English, I've included them in this post. If you want to see the web pages in English, using Chrome to view will help as it will automatically translate, very handy!


Xtrons website (www.xtrons.co.uk)

Xtrons/I-bus app Wiki site – (http://xtrons.ibus-app.de/index.php?title=Hauptseite)

I-bus app information and purchase/unlock – http://www.ibus-app.de/english

Resler interface – http://www.reslers.de/IBUS/order.htm

Resler interface fitting – http://download.speedy-pics.de/uploads/safe/Einbauanleitung_Resler_Interface.pdf - I have translated this, file included in this post.

3D printed brackets link – http://xtrons.ibus-app.de/index.php?title=Alternative_zu_den_beigelegten_Montagewinkeln

Antenna splitter link – http://xtrons.ibus-app.de/index.php?title=Splitter_f%C3%BCr_DAB%2B_zur_Nutzung_der_OEM-Scheibenantennen – I have translated this, file is included in this post.

Using oem microphone link – http://download.speedy-pics.de/uploads/safe/eba_oem-mikro%20mit%20xtrons.pdf – I have translated this, file included in this post.

Stopping the screen from going black in reverse when no reversing camera installed – http://xtrons.ibus-app.de/index.php?title=Abschalten_des_schwarzen_Bildschirms_(Rückfahrkamera)_beim_Einlegen_des_Rückwärtsganges .

Installing a different bootlogo – http://xtrons.ibus-app.de/index.php?title=Bootlogo_%C3%A4ndern




I tried to test the unit ‘on the bench' by hooking up a 12v supply to both yellow and red and earthing (or 0v) for the black. The illumination lights would flash once, but the unit wouldn't switch on! I tried resetting it but still nothing. It was either dead or the canbus interface was causing this ‘issue’.

I had a look on the net, not much info at all but there were a few posts about this. The canbus interface interrupts a few of the signals, if no bus traffic is detected it won't allow the power through. It's very similar regarding the illumination signal apparently, it monitors the orange wire (which would connect to the grey/red in BMW's) and is meant to send the correct information to the unit. A ‘mod' is to remove the orange wire contacts from the canbus interface plug and join them together, so the actual illumination voltage goes direct into the headunit. This is true for the Android 6 ones, I haven't looked to see if it varies with the dimmer in mine yet. If it doesn't I'll probably do this but there might be a chance they've sorted it.


After failing to test it, I removed my MID (Tx10 under volume knob, remove MID, then unscrew the two screws all the way to remove the cd-drive) and tested it directly on the car, it worked great!


I then linked the unit to my phone (using my phone as a Mobile hotspot) and downloaded updates etc.

I also downloaded the I-bus software and unzip to unpack it, then installed it. This was dead easy, I was a bit concerned about this step!

Checked that the phone operates (Bluetooth), worked great.


I connected up the wire tails to the Resler interface to make up an easy connection, removing the three required wires from the MFD connector (12v, gnd and ibus).

Used the file linked above, translated version is included.


No picture sorry, but there are some in the file.


I made an adaptor wire to go from headunit ‘Ant.’ Wire (bullet connector) to the antenna splitter power in (spade connector). I didn't want to cut into any of the original wiring.



Adapter wire to go from Ant wire to the power for the antenna splitter.



The following day I decided was the installation day.


I removed the glovebox side of the lower dash. This required removing the glovebox itself, centre console side panel to access the bolt for the lower dash and all of the screws under the trim and two going up from the inside of the glovebox. The lower dash twisted just enough to manipulate the old radio cage out.




Fitted the lower dash back and then went ahead to fit the supplied gps antenna (my car didn't have nav so no oem gps receiver under rear parcel shelf, if you have this you can get a cable to connect up to it from the headunit).

I positioned the gps receiver next to the passenger airbag, held in place with a thick pad of automotive double-sided foam tape, receiver is very light and this stuff really sticks, I doubt it will go anywhere!).



GPS receiver nestled next to airbag




I folded the wire (there was plenty of it!) and taped it to the steel frame, out of the way but leaving enough of the wire to easily connect to the headunit.



GPS receiver cable folded up and taped to steel frame



I then fitted the 3D printed brackets, adjusted until the unit looked ok to me, might need further adjustment which will be easy enough if required. The brackets did bend a bit though because of the varying thickness of the dash material, billet aluminium could be a possibility...



Left hand 3D printed bracket



Right hand 3D printed bracket



I installed the Resler interface, I-bus app seems happy and was unlocked very easily, just tap on unlock whilst ensuring you're connected to the internet. App finds your chassis no from somewhere (through the ibus) and compares it with the chassis number you entered when purchasing the unlock, this is the internet requiring bit.

Interface and app seems to do what it says it would. I connected the interface to the short usb lead with the green connector, usb 1 (1.1 and 2 protocols).

Fitted DAB antenna splitter (following guide on the Xtrons/I-bus wiki site, I've translated this too..). Decided to mount the unit with double sided tape under the headunit, should be safe and various wires can reach.




View from top left



View from underneath of splitter and DAB


Splitter works well, very good FM and DAB reception.

Fitted the dab usb receiver just behind the antenna splitter, seems ok and wires reach. Connected the yellow usb (2.0) lead to the DAB usb receiver. I had to open the cloth wrap that was around both red and yellow usb wires to fold back the yellow one.

The red usb connector was fed into the glovebox, under the steel brace and through the little gap by the plastic ‘side piece' and steel bracket at the back of the glovebox.


To save quite a bit of space I decided to remove the second large connector that was supplied.

I used two little bits of alu welding wire to push back the tabs to release the contacts out of the connector. I double taped all of the ends.



Second ‘large’ connector removed, contacts taped up


Everything was connected together and tested, all seem good so far.

Next job was to run a wire from original microphone down to unit.



Microphone lead with three pin connector. 3.5mm end will be fitted once wire is in position, to get the length ‘just right'.


As it happened I had a Parrot handsfree unit installed so I used the mic wire to pull the new mic wire through. Connected to oem mic as described in write up (translated version here).

This was a bigger job than anticipated, took ages! Roof lining dropped and several dash pieces removed but it was completed in the end. A mono 3.5mm jack was soldered onto the end of the wire and then plugged in to the relevant plug.


To save a bit on the oem antenna cable I fitted an antenna cable extension, this also means that the unit can be removed from the dash and operated with everything working, might come in handy sometime.



Antenna extension cable (Fakra M to to Fakra F)



Then I tried the XTRONS bluetooth code reader/Torque, they worked as expected.




Unit was finally screwed into place. I almost had a little ceremony to remove the protective film over the screen!




Had a fiddle with it and saw that I needed to disable the black screen that appears when in reverse. Followed instructions in the link : Stopping the screen from going black in reverse when no reversing camera installed – http://xtrons.ibus-app.de/index.php?title=Abschalten_des_schwarzen_Bildschirms_(Rückfahrkamera)_beim_Einlegen_des_Rückwärtsganges



I also fancied a different bootlogo, so made one up. Nothing too fancy but it ‘goes’ with the car and it's not seen for long anyway! Installing a different bootlogo – http://xtrons.ibus-app.de/index.php?title=Bootlogo_%C3%A4ndern



New bootlogo, I like it anyway!



I tried a 64Gb micro sd card I had in my phone, it wouldn't read it. I had to reformat it in the unit. Looking at it on the computer later it turns out it’s formatted as a FAT32 disk.



There is included a wiring diagram but I’ve not seen this available online, so I’ve taken a picture of it, in case it could come in handy sometime:



Included wiring diagram for PB7839BP




Looks very good, oem and takes its place well.

Sound seems fine, it seems to work ok with my setup and I'm happy enough with it.

FM radio works great.

DAB radio works great but it's not keen when restarted, it says ‘connecting' but never actually does connect-or maybe I'm not patient enough! I just close the dab app and restart it. Not a biggie but it would have been nice if it just works. There might be a workaround or something.


Google maps is installed and we all know how it works, but it needs an internet connection (unless you download the necessary maps before your trip).


I-bus app works great, showing all BC functions and resetting etc.


Very pleased with everything and a big thank you to the guys who've developed the ibus app and the Resler interface and to XTRONS for making the headunits suitable for the e39 and the good customer support.


I hope the original authors of the diy file don’t mind me translating them. I’ve left their names and links in them and linked to the original files here.


Next up, I want to test my ipod connected to the red usb connector in the glovebox and I wonder what is the ipod selection in the factory menu...


BMW_E39_XTRONS-DAB-Splitter en.pdf


using oem microphone-en.pdf

xtrons install.pdf

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On 9/17/2014 at 2:32 AM, ger said:

This is the last update on the e38 centre armrest, I hope!

I thought everything was fine when I fitted it a couple of days ago. However, when I drove it, the armrest raised itself when I went over a few bumps, it was apparent that the magnet wasn't latching to the steel plate in the base.

Closer inspection revealed that the step I had left at the front lip was too 'tall'. It wasn't allowing the base to come into contact with the storage tray and therefore stopping the magnet doing it's job.

I removed material from the lip, so the front lip is now all at the same level. After doing this, the base plate gets into position and the magnet clicks.

Now, everything fits nicely and the armrest locks with the magnet latch, it doesn't rise up on its own when I go over bumps!

Also, leaving a 4mm lip at the front has positioned the rear of the armrest ideally, when it's as far back as possible and in the fully up (and 'locked' position) it almost touches the rear centre vent. Taking the assembly further back on the base plate would have meant that the back of the armrest would be touching under these conditions.

All done. If anyone wants a bit more details I'd be happy to help.


Just wanted to thank-you for such a detailed DIY as I’ve just test fitted my E38 armrest. All good except for the magnet problem (I did read your last update but thought I’d removed enough metal).


I’ll remove the extra metal and paint & refit but very happy with the result :)






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