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Jamie's E39 M5.

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Cam sensors or CPS's were pretty much one of the last sensors to be done on the engine. They are a bit of a PITA to install due to access and they are only available at the dealers for about £115 each. Pretty steep when you aren't even getting any fault codes.

There a re 2 camps. 1 camp says sensors are sensors and either work or don't. Others say they go a bit squiffy over time, and although they don't throw codes, they aren't exactly at their best. Vanos controls EGR on these so i'm lead to believe using varying degrees of valve overlap. Again, back to my emissions based saga i wanted to put to bed any tiny possiblility of something amiss here. Given my extensive vanos overhaul IMO it was only right to swap these over and give the engine a full bill of health in terms of sensors.

I managed to source 4 sensors from bmminiparts for £414 all in delivered which saved me a few quid. So with an afternoon free i got on with it.

First off i removed the cabin filter and filter to bulkhead snorkel for some "access" in the loosest term


then remove the spark plug cover to help a tiny bit more


You can see where the sensor  - or one of them - lives here, the shiny black piece is the sensor housing


to get to the inner sensor (intake cam) you need to remove the engine harness support bracket


Which is done with a lot of swearing, luck, and breaking your fingers in 6 places. Not to mention the fun retrieving the 6mm bolt that repeatedly falls out of your fingers or socket.

This is bank 2 but you get the idea of access



You can see i actually removed only 1 screw from the bracket on bank 2 and pushed it out of the way, making it ever so slightly easier

Comparing old to new, you can see how they changed the design to a beefier receiver part of the sensor


Just to add insult to injury, good old B<W in their wisdom supply 1 sensor with a new oring, and the other one without.  :evil:

A little bit of jiggery pokery getting it all back on and it was done.

Well, it wasn't. Greeted by the sound of a glorious muscle car soundtrack may have sounded good, but was indicative of misfires on startup. My laptop decided to shit it, and after an hour faffing with it to get INPA running i was greeted with faults on no 3 and 4 injector relating to the wiring/missing signal.

With no time that day i set about removing the whole plenum the next day where i discovered i'd unclipped the plugs from injectors 3 & 4 when lifting the wiring harness for access. Lesson learnt.

Sewing it all back up and all WAS well this time. A happy bunny, but with sore fingers

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A while Ago i wanted to match up the interior gaiters with the headliner which is alcantara.

I bought some black ones from Ebay and put them on, but i was never 100%. The headliner in the M5 is often referred to as black but in fact is a very dark grey/anthracite colour. I held off taking it further as i thought it was something i was going to have to live with, thinking BMW must have a specific OEM shade that can't be copied.

Much later during some random internet browsing i stumbled upon a similar thread and learned that the code for BMW alcantar was in fact 9002 and something a decent trimmer should be able to get a hold of. I spoke to John (sleeper) from Bespoke Leathering just before Gaydon, and then at the show, detailing what i wanted which he said he could do no bother.

A few weeks later and i had in my hand my new gaiters with tri colour stitching which match the headliner a treat. Ta very much John, see what you guys think.

Old black gaiters


New matching ones.






Much better i think.

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Nothing to write home about other than a general fuids and filters service.

Using the online discount codes from Euro Car Parts yielded me 4 litres of oil (i already had 4 litres here), 2 air filters, an oil filter and 2 cabin filters for the princely sum of £63.42. Bargain


So it was up in the air, and drain the old oil


Whilst up there, take the oil filter cap off


Then lift the oil filter out, being careful not to spill oil everywhere


Bang in the new one


Whip out th old air filters. Not too bad


But you can see the difference


Lastly the cabin filters.


I noticed these were naughty when i replaced my cam sensors and felt a little bad about letting them get like this, tut tut


New ones made me feel better though


Taking care to note the way the air flows through them so they're installed correctly


All done, put the sump plug back in, off the stands and fill with lovely new golden oil to max. Job jobbed

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I only replaced my thermostat and temp sensor about 2 and a half years ago due to cool running, (engine temp, not the bobsleigh film). Lately i had been experiencing what i would have considered cooler water temps than normal, as viewed on the OBC menu. It should hover around 78-79C as the stat is rated at 79C, when cruising on the motorway. In town its not unusual to see it climb into the 80'sC range, but i was struggling to achieve water temps of 76C on the motorway, a sure sign you have a stat or temp sensor issue.

I was a little miffed as the stat and sensor were only just over 2 years old as said, and last time i was resigned to buying the stat from the dealer at around £75, not great, but ECP came to the rescue this time as they have started doing stats made by Wahler who are an OE supplier, and also the temp sensors by VEMO which look identical to OE bar the BMW stamp, all bought for the nice sum of just under £30 deliverd thanks to their online discount. I tried the sensor on its own first to see if a 10 minute job was on the cards but no, it didn't make a difference so on with the stat change

This time i also opted to change the sealing ring inside the stat housing which is a dealer part, and you always need to change the o rings on the 3 tubes coming from the stat which whilst available from the dealer for ridiculous money for an o ring, i sourced some through work for £0.

So on with it

First off is to drain any coolant from the expansion tank. I used a big syringe for this, and its simply to minimise coolant loss. Next, remove the intake tubes and the vanos high pressure lines manifold from the top of the stat and unplug the temp sensor. Remove the stat hoses and push them to one side out of the way.



Then remove the 3 bolts holding the stat housing on and pull the unit out. You need to wiggle it about to get room but its easily doable. If the stats been in for eons, it may take some persuasion as the 3 tubes tend to stick fast in the housing and the engine side seats. Mine was out about 2 years ago so only a little force applied


You can see the tubes location engine side here


Once the units out, you can remove the stat


Then the sealing ring has to be removed, which usually involves large pliers and a mullered seal ring, but its getting replaced so no worries, just be careful you don't mark the housing or seal seat


Now the new sealing ring can go in, its lightly tapped in with a large socket, or something soft like a piece of wood used as a drift etc, you don't want to bend it all out of shape


Comparison of old and new stats


Pop the new stat in


And the secret to installing new o rings with minimal fuss. Vaseline

Remove the tubes and renew all 6 o rings, carefully apply some vaseline to the rings prior to sliding them into the tubes on the stat, then apply to the other ends also in prep for fitting them to the engine side


No reinstall, being careful not to pinch the o rings which will cause coolant loss, just try and push the unit home square, it should slide with some resistance into place



Now button it all back up, and refill with coolant.

Temp now showing the 79C it should, happy days

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During my paint refresh in Summer 2011 part of that was supposed to be a repair and paint of the bonnet. Unfortunately i was advised against it by my paint guy, as the corrosion to the underside seam was past it and he couldn't say the corrosion wouldn't return.

Cue my search for a bonnet. Easy all E39's are the same. Or maybe not.

First bonnet i had sent here by a breaker had all of the corners bent by the courier. Refund and re search. Next a member from M5 Board said he had one i could have. Great.  A trip to Caenarfon (sp) in North Wales ensued in the then daily hack mondeo with roof bars. Picked up in black primer and strapped to the roof ensued a very brown trouser drive back as it felt like i would take off at every opportunity over 30mph.

Again, after a few days i was told this wasn't really the best bonnet either. A few dents i hadn;t picked up on and also it wasn't a genuine bonnet.

Aggreived i searched again and came up with one in North Wales again, this time i hired a van and picked it up, saw the paperwork saying it was a genuine BMW supplied bonnet about 4 years previous and was fitted and painted at their body shop. Great. Brought home and dropped at my paint guys shop, it has been painted in shop quiet time so took a while but now looks all the better

Old bonnet


Underneath, well crusty  Eugghh



To be fair, it wasn't this bad when first diagnosed, i have just taken time finding a nice bonnet allowing it to get a little worse!

Bonnet off. Wish i could drive around like this!


Nice new one on



A couple more marks to sort out nearer summer and she should be pretty much spot on.

Roll on the good weather

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Not much updated for a bit. The car has been running great and its just been brought out from its mainly unused winter state to pass its MOT.

There are a couple of jobs to do, aren't there always, but the idea of working in baltic conditions ineccessarily didn't appeal, and so a rear wheel bearing thats to be replaced will wait until its just a tad warmer.

Meantime i swapped out the utterly useless and now defunct Traffic Master panel up front for some nearly as uselss front cup holders, but at least it looks a bit better and has a small level of useability.

Also the rear boot lid light had cracked at some point and looked horrible, so a new one of those was popped in also.

Like i said not the worlds most important jobs but a job to be logged in the journal nonetheless as a part of the cars ownership and IMO better than writing about 45 pages of 1000 photos of nothing really happening with the car other than a "look at my next photo of the car driving somewhere" same as the last 6 pages of photos.

The useless TM panel


Whip it out with the effective and BMW special tool butter knife x2


Simply clip the cupholders in place


Ols saggy light


You can see where the clip has parted company


New one in


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Next on the list to tackle was my Drivers side rear wheel bearing. It had been making a small irritable noise for a while, but i was loath to crawl under the car in Winter's depths to change it out as it wasn't exhibiting any play etc, and they can be a bit of a pain to do.

I'd had the bearing for a while in the shed from ECP, and as the weather got warmer i decided to tackle it post MOT.

Reading through TIS it looked pretty painless, but i don't think they have changed the method to suit 8 cylinder cars which is a little different as you cannot access the reverse torx bolts easily (at all) with the driveshaft in the way.

First of you have to crack the centre nut, so wheels dependant you may have to remove the wheel, pop the cap out and put it back on as trying to undo it will more than likely force through the handbrake mech if you try it this way alone.


First snag is its a 36mm socket, but it must be a multipoint one because of the design of the nut. Use a short extension and a proper knuckle or breaker bar, perhaps with another extension. You can be careful and do it alone, but to save marking your alloys its nice if you can have an assistant hold it nice and snug as you crack it.


Then lift the car into the air and secure it on axle stands. I also like to have a good jack just under the centre of the diff touching it as an added safety measure.

Wheel off, you can see the centre nut, simply remove this, and also the disc and the caliper. Bungee the latter out of the way to avoid straining the brake hose. Then you can see the bearing and hub assemble from the front



Now, TIS says place a special tool and a slide hammer on the bearing and whack it off, destroying the old bearing in the process. In lack of these a good 3 jaw puller and other method will suffice.

So, under the car, remove the E14 torx bolts securing the driveshaft to the output hub of the diff, and place to one side


Then get a pry bar and pop the shaft off the hub.


I thought i could get a little better access by removing the rear exhaust box, but in hindsight i didn't need to, however it let me do a couple of other bits whilst i was in there which i'll show later.

Now use the 3 jaw puller to push the spline of the driveshaft through the  hub, You'll get to a point where it will stop, so don't force it


Now remove the lower shock bolt, and also the 2 top tie rods on the hub end.


I've only shown the rearmost tie rod here, but the front one is similar about 3" away from it. This means the hub is now a lot more free floating, so you can start to manouvre the driveshaft out of the way. Reason the front arm is entirely removed in the above pic is becausei had a mre removing it from the hub, ended up bending it trying to remove it as the aluminium had corroded it to the hub, so had to order a new arm from ECP and fit that on rebuild

You want to drag the diff end of the driveshaft out of the way of the output hub so you can then tap the driveshaft pretty much out of the hub, this means you can access the 4 torx bolts that hold the bearing assembly to the hub, in here


You can now fit your ratchet and socket on and remove them, careful to line up the socket and not round the bolts off as you'll be in trouble



At this point you can nowpress out the splined hub from old bearing to new bearing and you're ready to reinstall. But like i said i removed the back box and took this oppurtunity to go over any vunerable seams etc with undersealer, and also remove the rear arch liner and attack the portion of the rear brake lines i previously couldn't get to last MOT to protect those


Rear "wheel well" seam



Rear valance



So, after a bit of protective faffing and the rear arch liner back on, with the new bearing onto the splined hub its time to refit the new bearing. Make sure any crud etc is wiped and scraped off any mating faces and then reinstall



With it snug, you can feed the driveshaft back into the splined hub now


A few taps with a soft mallet front and back gets it through enough to just run the nut on a few threads



Then simply start bolting things back together. Start off by getting the driveshaft back into the diff hub and then you can refit the rear arms bottom shock bolt, caliper and disc



Then with handbrake applied and assistant on the brakes you can tighten the new centre nut and you're pretty much done, (barring the exhaust in my case!)


Next up, sorting a 4WA

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So after the beaing fitment i thought it best to go along and have a 4WA done. Its never had a full alignment and i didn't want to be back and forth at £100 a pop as i refreshed my suspension, arms, bearings, yadda yadda so in light of most things have been done i can get it sorted and as and when i change the last few components i can just get it re tweeked if need be for a lot less money.

I've used these guys up in Liverpool before back in my E30 days and they are good. Quite expensive compared to what some people on here quote for a full 4WA but in reality when rear tyres can be £300 a piece its money well spent.

In light that the rear arm i had to remove in my bearing job has an eccentric bolt at the inner end to control toe and secondary camber, its only more prudent i get this set up properly.

First off its onto the ramps and set the Hunter rig up


It doesn't take  genius to see the red settings are out of spec, all but one of! Not by a massive amount, the car has always drove fine, but this rig goes down to minutes of degrees


The guys got busy on the rear first


And a few settings started to look a little better


I did have a pic of the rears as it was brought into spec but the camera shat and didn't like it.

The onto the fronts



You can see a before spec


and an after spec


You'll notice therear camber on the passenger side is out by 3 minutes from spec, and the eagle eyed amongst you may also notice that in an earlier shot it was actually in spec. The reason being is that as other settings on the rear are adjusted they affect each other. It would have been very much possible to bring the camber within spec and have all green settings showing, but the advice i was given was you want the rear thrust angle as close to zero as possible and in reality 3 minutes on camber is around 0.1mm on an 18" wheel which isn't much at all so all in all i'm pretty happy.

I had them set the front camber to within spec but slightly more aggresive than a completely balanced setting so they are about half a degree negative which shouldn't really introduce tyre wear. The interesting thing to not is the front camber on the E39 isn't adjustable as stock, save for any slight movement you'll have in the front strut top mount holes, however i can dial in what i want with the BC setup. BUT, at standard the left front was cambered too much even though it was set at zero on the shock, so this has had to be compesated for when adjusting them.

It goes to show simply fitting adjustable top mounts and whacking them right in for full camberz stance or whatever doesn't mean you'll always have a balanced car.

I drove away £114 lighter but happy in the knowledge the car is setup right

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Just a small visual update. I've had a few irons inthe fire so to speak over the last month or so. A trip to the bodyshop to sort out some small issues and have the jack points inspected and undersealed plus a Stoptech BBK for the front. The BBK is a WIP and i am waiting on the pics back from the bodyshop so i can update you guys with a before and after.

In the meantime i got hold of a post facelift M5 wheel and decided to swap it over to bring the car to pretty much facelift spec cosmetically wise.

I got hold of the steering wheel from a breaker who deals over on BMW5. It was nice enough as it was, with a little wear to the top edge, and the usual tri colour stitching looking a little grotty.




Some APC and a nail brush had the thing degunked and the stitching looking better



Then an overall clean with some gliptone, before a condition again with gliptone products got it looking like this.




If anything the clean up has exacerbated the wear on the top, you can feel it a little more now as all of the gunk making it feel smooth has been removed, however it was always planned to get the wheel retrimmed at some point anyways so its no massive deal breaker.

Onto fitting it, easier if you extend the steering wheel out towards you and put the wheel at 90 degrees before disconnecting the battery



this makes it wasier to access the torx screws for the airbag

A T30 and its off easily


Then a 15mm socket see's the wheel off, simples


Pop the new one on


you can see if you've aligned it OK with the nice little tell tales BMW put there. A kind of line on the splines should align with a corresponding mark on the wheel


Whack the bolt back in, connect your airbag up, and make sure the wires are tucked away before clipping the new airbag in.



Job done. Another one off the list.

I'll update with BBK goodness and body shots soon

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As said in the last update i took my car in to the bodyshop to have a couple of small marks sorted out and also to have the plastic sill covers removed, the jack points and surrounding area inspected and repaired if needed.

Apologies for awful pics, they were taken by the bodyshop  for me. Not too many, and if i'm honest its only to serve this journal as i'm an owner who will show everything even the scabby bits

First off i had a small blemish on the bootlid which was sorted out.


Also i had some bubbling coming through on the o/s/f sill cover area, around an area that had already seen attention some time ago. I think i've said it before but the area looked as if it had been damaged from underneath by a PO jacking the car up not on the jack pad area or some sort of impact from underneath.

Digging about revealed it was worse than first thought and revealed a hole.


This was ground back to good and repaired with new steel let in


Then the areas around the front of the sills were tidied up of some minor spiderwebbing


Finallu underneath the covers were removed and any grot ground back and treated.

Most weren't bad at all


but one area around the rear o/s sill cover was gone, and had to be sorted. Apologies for the pic, its all i was given.


With all of that taken out and sorted, the area was given liberal underbody protection and the jack points had waxoyl fired down them into the sills.

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With the body sorted everything was going great. I was (and still am) awaiting my parts back to complete my Stoptech front install when out in the car the other day i noticed a noise when turning from slow speed or standstill.

I knew straight away what the issue was. My top spring mounts on the front coilovers were the old type, and were binding on the spring on the passenger side.

A few years ago when i bought the BC's mine were supplied with a bush type top mount. Some owners at the time had complained that when turning the car from standstill or at slow speeds they would get a popping noise, kind of like a spring twanging. They had sourced revised mounts from BC that incorporated a bearing in the upper spring mount, enabling the spring to rotate with the shock freely and stop any binding.

Seeing as i had never experienced any untoward noise i never opted to take my struts out and replace them with the new ones. Over the last few days when the noise developed i guess that over time, crud gets into the old mount and thats what has started my noise. So i decided to source the revised mounts from BC and fit them.

First off was to whip the front strut out and dissassemble. Nice and easy as its a coilover there's no need for any spring compressors.  10 minutes after being put in the air it was out and stripped


Spring showed virtually no nasty marks or corrosion etc after 3 years. Nice.


Also after 3 years, a quick clean of the threads to get any road grime out of them saw the collars spin up and own nice and easy by hand

You can see the old perch on the left compared to the new one on the right


Here you can see the original way the spring should rotate on the mount, a plastic shim type affair. Not the greates day at the design office


And also when removed you can see how it has been binding


To be fair to BC they've engineered the issue out. Looking into it its fairly common for coilovers, not just BC's to exhibit similar noises and so for a company not usually spoken in the forst breath when it comes to coilovers, its nice to know they'll hold up their hands and rectify issues

New mounts on and set the preload. Handy as the spanner is 4mm thick to set it


Then it was a case of reinstall and adjust the height again as the new mounts make the shock 10mm longer overall so the car would sit 10mm higher.
Done the other side and its all quiet again. Lovely.

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I had a rear balljoint picked up as an advisory on my last MOT and thought i'd set about replacing it, along with the other side, and integral links.

The issue E39 owners have (and X5 and E38 owners) is the inability to remove the balljoints in situ without the use of the special tool.

I looked around and found that you can hire the tool on ebay, and was initially going to go down this route. However, a look on amazon (UK) showed the tool up for a rather strange £24. I ordered one and awaited to see if it was the correct tool before linking it to fellow members. It was the correct tool, but the following day after ordering the price had returned to its normal £120 ish and so obvioulsy something was amiss on the amazon site at the time of my order.

You can find the tool here if you want to keep an eye out


No matter, i thought since i had the tool i could take sizes from it and post here should you want to make your own. I made one to prove it, simple eh with access to a lathe. I appreciate if you haven't it makes it more difficult but i;ll post the sizes of the tool after this DIY. As said you can simply rent the tool from ebay for a small amount if you want to tackle this yourself.

I followed this short video on youtube


it really is very good at showing the process as opposed to just pictures although i'll post up the few i have.

First off with thte car in the air, secured and wheel removed, you need to remove the long through bolt that goes through the balljoint and integral link




next up you can remove the integral link to leave you with this




Now you can lever the suspension arm down and over the balljoint housing, use some mole grips or similar just to stop it slipping off whislt you set the tool up


At this point you can also remove the snap ring holding the balljoint in

Now you can set up the tool to remove the balljoint, Use the large reciever and the smaller removal cup


Now wind out use 2 24mm spanners to push the balljoint out. The video clearly shows the guy using air tools, i'd stress to use hand tools so as you get a good feel for if the balljoint is set up nice and true to extract it. It takes a bit of effort to get the initial movement but once its moving its pretty straight forward.

Once out it looks like this. You can see how the tool works here


And how it would sit assembled


Now set up the tool to install, swap out the small removal cup for the slightly larger install cup.  You can see the small relief machined into the front edge of it which locates the balljoint nicely for install. Also the install cup being slightly larger slides over the rubber boot.



Offer the assembly up, and press the joint in


Now fit a new snap ring


Finally you can reinstall your integral link, or a new one.

Remove your mole grips and lever the  arm over the balljoint to align the holes for the long bolt. Be careful you lift it over the joint and not allow the arm to hit the rubber on the balljoint as there is a danger of nicking it.

Finger tighten the top integral link bolt (old pic shown here i didn't take one with the new link fitted


Now tighten the through bolt fully beofre tightening the top integral link bolt.

Thats it, you're done!

Like i said i made a tool also


Simple enough to do. I'll rattle you off a few sizes.

M16 threaded bar. 240mm long

Receiver cup:

63mm OD

58.5mm ID

31mm bore length

66mm length total

Machine 5mm off the side of the cup up to about 6mm from the front edge of the cup, you can see in the above pic

Installer cup:

58mm OD

48mm ID

35mm Bore length

43mm total length

There is a small relief machined into the bore, 52.5mm diameter for a couple of mm depth to locate the new balljoint

Removal cup:

50mm OD

46mm ID

16mm bore depth

28mm total length

16mm clearance holes through all cups to take the threaded bar.

Hopefully that helps people

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I've had a front Stoptech ST40 kit in various pieces for a while now, and if i'm honest its been a bit of a journey to even get it to this stage. I've never known something that should be bolt on to keep giving so much grief. Although i'll admit the greif isn't really any fault of the kit, rather i've just been hit with delay after delay and a good slug of plain old bad luck

Initially the kit was bought as a slow burner. One caliper half had seized bolts in the abutment plate mounts at some point and the PO had tried to remove them, then drill the offending bolts out with no success. This left the holes oversized and drilled like a large oval, meaning simply retapping them wasn't an option.

No real problem, I've got contacts in engineering shops and asked if they could repair the caliper, at their leisure for more favourable rates. What i didn't bargain on was "at their leisure" ended up being about 5 months................

Anyways, after receiveing the caliper back it looked like this. Job done.



You can see where they've opened up the hole and plugged it with a larger piece, tapped and screwed into position giving a good "new" surface to redrill and tap the abutment plate mounts.

At this point i had ordered some new hardware from Zeckhausen Racing over in the USA as their prices for stoptech bits are more favourable than the robbing bastards that are CA over here, even with VAT and international shipping, go figure.

So i had to get the calipers powder coated and away i could go, or so i thought. Initially i was simply going to do the calipers red as per the original colour, and also as my rears are red too. However, in keeping with the ethos of the car which is roughly, "could it have been available as an option" and "could it pass for factory" i was tempted to do the calipers Phoenix yellow, as per the BMW performance brake kit.

Again, the same contact had initially said he could powder coat the calipers, but after some delay, it was apparent it was only going to get done in a "standard" colour when his guy was caoting other jobs in the same colour.

With no chance of Phownix Yellow or similar being on the cards a month later i had to look around and he pointed me in the direction of a local firm that were pretty reasonable.

I visited them and saw they were doing larger items like gates, patio sets, radiators etc, but they also did alloys and motorbike frames so it seemed a good shout. I picked a RAL colour, Ochre Yellow, which seemed to best fit phoenix yellow and left them with him all masked up and apparently ready.

A few days later i got them back and in all honesty i was heartbroken.


He'd tried to blast them again and went through a lot of the areas i had masked. Also he'd managed to get some powder into the bores of the caliper cylinders.

Further to that the job wasn't ideal, and the colour wasn't very Phoenix Yellow.



Finally, where the calipers had been hung on rods, the rods had indented into the powder giving a poor finish


In reality, the colour was my fault. He had said it was a horrible colour but i was adamant as it looked to me close to Phoenix, but the job itself just appeared too intricate for him. Wheels, frames, patio sets etc don't really require a lot of thought, but here the coating was so thick it started to obscure the caliper detials like the indented ///M logo on the rears and the embossed stoptech on the front.

I looked about and decided that i was going to send them to the Brake caliper Specialists.


I had looked at these guys before and was well impressed, but they are quite expensive. Well, you buy cheap you buy twice. I usually follw this to the letter but here for reasons unknown i tried and failed to pursue a bargain. Well, now to give the calipers what they deserve.

The guys there are very helpful and the job they did was brilliant. They did send the bridges off the front calipers back unpainted but thats a simple oversight and they are correcting this as we speak. They also supplied me with new bore seals as the previous powder coated got coating on some of them, and they are so much cheaper than stoptech for them too, bonus. Finished in proper Phoenix Yellow, not a simple RAL clour thats near or supposed to be, i'm very happy.

Unfortunately, my camera skills aren't up to much more than simple documentation, so some of the pics make them seem gold, or yellow, but they are spot on coluor wise





And some decals i had to source from Australia


In Silver to carry out the PBMW brake kit theme.

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On Monday i did my first ever proper track day, at Anglesey, and had an absolute blast.

There were some serious machines there and a hell of a lot of Caterham/Lotus 7 type cars too, which meant combined with me being at a novice level in a car not really designed to be belting around a short track with standard brakes, i was going to be in the way a lot!









There was an old God knows what there, looks Morgan ish


And also a MK2 Jag that i didn't get a pic of as it lost oil, blew its engine and popped off pretty early on in the day.

I managed to get some good pics from the on site photographer, i'll just pop 1 or 2 up




Overall, i think the old girl done well. I overtook a few cars that i really didn't think i would do, and also got passed by a few that didn't look up to much but were proper track weapons!

Running standard brakes though was a downfall. I could only stay out about 5 or 6 laps before having to cool down a bit. Early on in the day i suffered from what i now think was a cocked/stuck outer pad on the NSF caliper. This resulted in the paint blackening on that caliper and it took all the pad material off down to the metal whn the other side had about 5mm left. With the inner pad also being OK, the pad warning light never illuminated and so first warning was a bit of a nasty noise! You can see here a new pad compared to the inner thats worn normall, compared again to the one making all the row!



Being stuck late in the morning session with that i couldn't continue using the car. At lunchtime i ventured out to the local petrol station to fill up and ask about getting some pads. Turns out 1 junction down on the dual carriage way was a CES parts shop and they had a set in stock. I suppose thats the good thing about BMW putting 530i pads on the front of the M5. They're shite, but they are stocked everytwhere!

So £40 lighter i limped back to the track. Without a tool to my name i borrowed a jack, socket set, pliers, screwdriver and G clamp off various people there better equipped than i and changed the offending side only, simply as i wanted to get back out as quickly as possible, and also as my BBK will be on in the next week or 2 it seemed pointless doing more work for nothing.

An absolute credit to the type of people you see and meet here. Lending tools out and generally helping out anyone in need i wasoverjoyed that there are still decent people out there, it really made my day

With new pads in i completed the rest of the day with minimal drama. I had to come in to cool down but much less so than in the morning. There really must have been something just stopping the pad from releasing.

The blot on the day was however, some debris from either trackside or possibly from my brake episode has nicked one of the spokes on my alloy, meaning i'll have to address that with a refurb. I've called up the Wheel Specialist where i had mine done and they are confident they can match it, although i appreciate they can't stone wall guarantee it due to the nature of how these are painted. What i'll likely do is get the 2 alloys on that side done, that way if there was any slight discrepancy, you wouldn't notice as both wheels on each side would be the same as each other and wouldn't be seen together.

You can see here the drivers side caliper looking normal, compared to the passenger side which took the heat, and the chip to the wheel.





Likelihood is i would hunt a set of generic 18's down and fit them with track rubber should i want to do this again. And i do!!!

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So before the few pics and install a couple of points as to why its taken a wee while to get these on.

Finally after a lot of deliberation about pads i most likely upset some on here. It wasn't intentional but there were a few mitigating factors at the minute which i'll go through.

I ended up choosing EBC Redstuff for the pad compound, and amongst athousand cries of "WHY!!!!!????" i'll tell you.

I was after a pad that primarily would give me low dust and minimal noise, as in squeal. I wanted all things to all men and i knew i wasn't going to get it, so i was prepared to sacrifice disc wear in order to achieve that. Also i wanted to be road biased so i didn't want anything that would be poor from cold. A lot of my driving in it does involve motorways too and i didn't want to be in situations where the car was up to operating temp and i'm coming off slip roads with cold brakes and potential poor feel etc. Further to that, i was having conflicting opinions from people about certain pads and their attributes, like noise and dust.

I appreciate that i have no experience first hand of a lot of uprated pads so i'm feeling around with info i gathered here and various other sources, so before people jump on me shouting "ah but xyz pads work brilliantly from cold etc" also consider this final point.

When i think that with the BBK fitted and red pads my braking capabilites and longevity in the car will be improved 100 fold anyway over any stock disc and pad setup i could have (and have) had, i decided to go this route first.
EBC reds were supplied with my kit. On looking at the price of them they were circa £150. Yellows were about the same and first off that said that people choose red/yellows out of preference of attributes as opposed to because the "uprated" yellows are made of super duper stuff compared to the reds. Thirdly i could have went for a completely different and recommended pad like pagid rs29's etc etc but that would have meant not only spunking £250 on a set of fronts, but another £100 on rears, totalling £350 on pads.

Adding insult to injury would have meant i had a £150 set of pads doing nothing, i couldn't really sell on as they're a niche fit for stoptechs and some porsches. Having the reds meant i could get matching rears for only £55 which was £300 less outlay. They're described as a low dust pad, and if i disagree with them its a potential £55 lost as opposed to £350.

Not including that above, recent spend exceeds £6k with the brake refurb, timing chain parts and stage 1 'charger, another couple of hundred would have just been a bit too much.

So with that out of the way  :lol:  :lol:  i got on and fitted it.

Rears were removed along with the standard lines


And new ones fitted with braided lines. Don't worry, the line isn't stretched in the pic although it looks like



I whizzed the fronts off. Note the blackened caliper from my track day!!


And the disc bore a little of it too


Side by side its shiny, but not as different in size as the OE one as you'd expect


Fitted the caliper brackets and you can see where the dust shield needs a small trim




Fitted and bled through with pagid super blue





Couldn't go much bigger though!!


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I've been living with a really crazed RHS headlamp lens for a while and wondering what my options were. My lights are unbakeables, meaning that i can't warm them in the oven and prise the lens off the housing. These were fitted by a PO with no real known manufacturing date, they had a solid clear/grey looking glue which scuppered my choices somewhat. Also because they are what look like OE xenons, i didn't want to swap out the lights for a pair of new halogens and couldn't justify the stretch to new xenon units for what the issue was

Compound that i found recently that one adjuster was also broken in the same headlight i decided some action was needed.I decided on fitting new lenses, new adjusters and making the lights "bakeable" for future access.

No real special tools are needed other than a Dremel or similar with a cut off wheel, a "milling" tool attachment, a Stanley Knife or similar knife and some patience.

I sourced my lenses from ebay, they are DJ auto items and fit nicely. I paid £80 for the pair which is cheaper than Scheidmann and they are the same lenses. My adjusters were also ebay sourced, i went for standard replacements.

Some of the photography in this update/DIY are taken with a flash, some without, i simply picked the best photo per step. I'm not a pro photographer but i hope they serve the purpose for this DIY.

First off my existing lamp unit. You can see the crazing i'm talking about and why i think it wouldn't have come out simply by polishing or sanding




Take the top black cover off your lamp by prising the clips with a screwdriver and put to one side. We'll use this later


Now using the milling attachment in the dremel, remove all of the clear tabs on the lens.



Swap attachments for the cutting wheel. You'll see here i used quite a robust wheel. You can use the thinner wheels if you like. I chose this type as i only used one for the 2 lenses, the thinner ones do cut nicere but have a tendency to break easily. your call. Start to cut the lens off right in front of the raised rib on the lens as it meets the black lens housing



You only want to go deep enough to cut the lens, and do it it steps, you can't cut through and then move the tool along as it will drag


Cut around the to black tangs as so.



When you've went around the whole lens, remove these torx screws


Now lift the front of the lens away from the lights


You can see here again the extent of the crazing


Now using your Stanley knife or similar, cut into the existing bonding holding the lens in.


Also, now the lens has been cut off you can access the bonding on what would have been the other side of the lens also in the same manner so do this now. Be patient and go around a couple of times to really cut into the bonding either side of the remaining lens "rib".

Once you have been around the lens, swap attachments in the dremel again and cut the rib as shown to split it.


I find its easier to cut it where i did it at a nice flat piece of the rib at the top of the lamp.

Now grab the rib with pliers. You want to start pulling out the rib from the housing down towards the inner corner of the lamp as this is a good straight run



If you've cut the bonding enough it should start to pull out. you can be quite forceful here but not hell for leather. If it resists too much you can get your knife in as you pull away on the rib as more bonding will be revealed.



Once it gets to the corner of the lens stop.

Now use your knife again to getinto this difficult right angle on the top of the lens.



Start pulling the rib with pliers towards this section and then past it as you use your knife and pliers again in the same manner. When you get to the bottom corner by the turn signal, stop again.

Now, no pics for this part but in essence you want to cut the rib again halfway along the bottom of lamp and pull in the direction of the corner for each piece as above. You'll finally have both bottom corners left holding each piece in, and its easier to work the knife and pliers on the bonding with only the corners holding the rib in to minimise risk of damage. Once its out you'll have this.



Note in my pics its out in one piece. I recommend you do it in 2 pieces as i described as i had a tougher time on the first lamp doing it as per my above pic where its held in the corners.

Now scrape what you can of the remaining bonding out of the channel in the lamp housing. It does come away fairly easy with a screwdriver and of course you can access it far easier with your knife now too.




Every last piece doesn't have to come out but looking like this will suffice


Now your lamp will look like this



Now to fix the adjusters. I neeed to remove the front halo ring fascia from the unit, so you need to again cut the bonding with your knife where they sit into the rear housing



Try and gently prise the fascia tabs away from the unit once cut, a little at a time





Once done you should be able to pull the fascia out from the housing, the fascia tabs look like this with a little right angle on them


With that removed you'll need to remove your self levelling motor if applicable, via the torx screwd on the rear of the lamp. The ball end slides out of the projector unit as shown here, the pic is for clarity not how it sits once assembled. The ball unit slides out to the left shown here


And you should be able to pull the projector housing from the unit by popping off the ball ends of the adusters, or in my case it pulls out easily as the adjusters are broken



If they are broken, pop the broken ball end out from the projector "socket" end. I removed this socket from the projector to fish mine out


Unscrew the adjusters from the housing and screw in your new ones. So your aim isn't way off, note how many turns it takes to unscrew each one and refit the new ones the same number of turns. You can final adjust once fitted to the car.

Refit your self levelling motor linkage, it sits like this in situ


Right, remember the fascia tabs with the right angle on them? Well we need to cut that right angle off and grind alittle material off the end of each of the fascia tabs, i'll tell you why shortly


Now we'll test refit everything without new sealer to make sure all fits OK. So refit the fascia.


Be careful to line up the halo points with the housing fibre optics



Ok the reason behind cutting the tabs is this. We want to make sure the fascia sits as far back in the housing as it did originally. Seeing as we cannot get every last piece of bonding from out of the housing or off the fascia tabs, if we make them a little shorter, it will more easily sit in the right position naturally without forcing the delicate tabs.

Use the existing bonding marks from fascia to housing to make sure it all lines up OK



Once this is done, get your new lenses and remove the top seal. Its held on with self adhesive foam strips on the DJ auto lenses.



Clip the lens onto the housing and fit the OE top plastic trim that we took off way back in the first steps



Make sure the clear plastic tabs all click securely over the lamp. If its a little tight you can shave a little off the black "fins" on the housing that the clear tabs click over.

Once you're happy all looks well, remove the front lens again.

Now we're going to seal the lights and make them so we can reopen them if necessary. You need to use a Butyl based adhesive and you can use any you like, but over in the UK at least, roof and gutter sealant can be bought in a cartridge thats butyl based, just make sure it says on the label



Simply fill the channel on the housing with a good bead of it


And now refit the lens to the housing, clicking the lens home over the tabs





Refit your torx screws in the lens rear and you're done!!!

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Initially i wrote this as a DIY guide and thats why it reads as such, however its prudent to place it in my journal.

Its the biggest job tackled so far in my ownership and was done in readiness for my FI install which will hopefully follow in a hundred or so miles, so i know everything is OK.

The post is so big i've had to split it into two, i hope you enjoy reading it!

Excuse some old pics as i took some from my vanos job, as that is needed to be repeated here for a portion of this job

Before getting dirty it pays to sort out your parts, as there can be quite a lot

Also as you will be using many new o rings etc, I find printing out the relevant realoem pages and stapling the bags to that page helps immensely with keeping track of your parts used


Moving onto the job, first off you’ll need to disconnect the battery. You’ll be removing the large positive cable from the LHS valve cover and also the alternator.  

Also, I decided to remove the bonnet. Simply as my garage has limited height and I wanted to make sure I had as much room and light around the car as possible. You may decide to leave it as is, or engage the bonnet straight up in its service position.


Now get the car in the air safely. Before doing so, crack your wheel bolts so you can remove the wheels later on easily. Make sure you get the car as high as possible for comfort

Once its in the air, remove the lower engine covers for access. Now would be a good time to inspect the covers for missing screws etc and order any that are missing.


Drain the coolant from the drain plug on the bottom of the radiator and drain the engine oil.
I find it easier to work with the radiator removed, and it gives you a good opportunity to clear out any debris from in front of it. Remove the Viscous fan, 32mm spanner CCW thread. In absence of a proper holding bar you can remove it either with a sharp blow with a hammer and punch,  or hold the pulley with a screwdriver in between the mounting screws as shown here, fan removed for clarity


CHAIN GUIDE ONLY   After removing the fan, crack loose the water pump mounting pullies as shown in the above pic, same method as undoing the 32mm nut.

Now remove the auxiliary and AC belts, by rotating the tensioners with a socket and spanner clockwise only 1 shown here but it’s the same for the AC belt too



Now remove the water pump pulley

As you are removing things it’s a very good idea to bag up screws, small brackets etc etc in freezer bags or similar and label up what they are as it will help immensely on the rebuild


Remove the fan shroud by removing the plastic push rivet clips and lifting it out after unclipping the electrical connectors here



Now remove the expansion tank in the same way. Note if this is the first time you have done this, the small bore hose running along the top of the radiator will have a crimp on connector, not a jubilee clip. You’ll need to cut this off and get a suitable replacement ready the hose runs along the radiator and attaches here.


Remove the top and bottom radiator hoses which pull off after releasing the spring clip. Now lift the radiator out off its supports and set it safely aside. Clean it at your leisure. You’ll be left with a lot of space at the front of the car.


No pics for this one but remove the plenum completely and the cabin air filters. Its straight forward nuts and bolts, with a couple of hoses.

Now remove the coil pack covers, and the coils. Its good practice although not critical to label the coils up to their respective cylinders.



Personally I think it’s a good idea wherever possible to replace the nuts or bolts you’ve took off back onto their respective studs or holes to ID easier where they go.


Remove the valve covers. Remove the spark plugs, this will make it easier to turn the engine over by hand. Place how towels or similar in the valve cover to stop debris getting in the engine

Remove the vanos 100 bar regulator and hose from the top of the thermostat housing and vanos  units, vanos mounts shown for line.


Now remove the thermostat and its housing from the water pump. Take the hoses with it.


Disconnect the oil level sensor and remove all of the lower sump bolts. A couple of them also hold small brackets for the P/S hose so simply move these out of the way when you undo them. They will naturally want to bolt up back in their correct places when you come to reassemble everything


Remove the lower sump and place to one side.
Remove the bracket holding the A/C Pump to the upper sump and also the lower bolt from the short damper off the auxiliary belt tensioner.


Undo the small plate holding the dip stick securely into the upper sump, 8mm spanner, and remove the plate


In order to remove the oil pump we need to remove the scavenging pumps on either side of the upper sump. They need some persuasion to pull out and you will get splashed with oil. Be patient, by twisting and pulling and gentle prying they will come out


Now you can remove the oil pump sprocket, it’s a standard thread not CCW.


Now remove the oil pump itself


Here’s my tensioner with 142K on it. The grooves look pretty bad on this pic but in actual fact they were only about 0.5mm deep, a new one will be fitted


With all of the piping removed and oil pump out, it will look like this


Now onto removing all of the control arms etc that are attached to the subframe, in prep for removal. First disconnect the headlamp level sensor off the front control arm. Undo the front control arms and Anti Roll Bar drop links. Excuse the dark pic


Now undo the anti roll bar brackets and drop the bar down so you can access the rear thrust arm bolt head



The next step is up to you haw you do it. You can either remove the track rod joints from the hub, or unscrew the whole of the track rod from the centre drag link. If you choose the former, its likely that your alignment will be fine when you reassemble, if you do the latter, you’ll definitely need alignment. I opted for the former and knocked the track rod joints out of the hubs.

Now remove the pitman arm from the steering box. The spindle of the arm should have a line marked into it which lines up with the gap on the pitman arm. I went over this with a small punch, but its not hard to see. If you remove the bolt completely you can knock a wedge or screwdriver into the gap in the arm to pry it open slightly and the arm will come off easier. Pic how the bolt still through the arm, yours will be removed, this was just to illustrate



And remove the idler arm from its mount on the subframe, you can leave the arm on the drag link side and remove it as one.


You’re almost ready to drop the subframe now. You need to remove the 3 piece heat shield/cable holder. They are held on with small hex head self tappers in the subframe. Most are obvious but a couple are a little more difficult to spot. You can see some on the LHS of the subframe on the pic above. There is another one near to the steering box shaft here

Also remove the screw through the bracket holding the P/S  line to the subframe. Its shown here with the subframe removed but you get the idea.



Finally remove the steering box from the subframe. Once the heat shields are removed you can see where its held on. There are 3 bolts. Also consider unplugging the steering box electrical sensor from inside the RHS wheel arch so that it does not get pulled tight if the steering box drops. Use zip ties to hold the steering box up by tying it around the exhaust manifold.

Now set up your engine brace as shown. Note that if you choose to use another means of support from underneath you could lift the engine with a piece of wood across the upper sump pan, remove the engine mounts then support at the engine mount arms with wood etc. Like I said I chose this way for safety and also so I had as much room underneath as possible, so I will not go into debate about other ways to support the engine, that’s up to you.


There is a lift point at the front right and rear left of the engine as you look at it. My brace would not sit wide enough  in the centre of the engine so I placed it at the front and used the front eye, and the engine mount arm.



Undo the engine mounts from underneath and above. You can access the above nuts by using a long or numerous extensions easily enough.


Lift the engine until you can fish out the engine mounts. If you have used a chain as I have on the engine mount arm a bolt or similar through the mounting hole will ensure the chain does not slip although in reality it is very secure, but safety first! The below pic shows with subframe removed for clarity


Now it a case of removing  the 6 subframe mounting bolts and lowering the subframe. Although its quite large its not as heavy as you might think. I removed all but 2 bolts and then lowered it bit by bit onto my chest as I was laying underneath, then slid it out.
Once out it’s a good time to clean and inspect it, and give it a lick of paint


Now you’re clear to remove all of the upper sump bolts. Before you do, undo the return oil pipe that goes into the upper sump. You can see it here above where the scavenging pump mounts on the UK passenger side


Also there are 2 nut and a bolt holding the P/S Pump to the upper sump, you can just make out one nut from the pic here at the top left


 In addition to the upper bolts there are 4 torx head gearbox bolts to remove which go through the bottom of the bellhousing into the upper sump, and 2 x 13mm headed bolts going up into the upper sump from below. Also there are 4 holes at the rear of the sump where you have to put your socket and extension into to get at the deep recessed bolts, all are obvious once you’re under there. On the UK Passenger side again there is a small bracket connected to a pipe that locates through 2 of these sump bolts, swing it out of the way.

Once these are removed you can remove the upper sump. There are 2 pipes that go from the upper sump up into the block and you can’t remove these before you remove the upper sump. Therefore you will likely bend the small pipe on removal and so must order a new one



You can see from above you now have access to all of the bearings.

As you remove the sump be aware there is a washer on the end of the dipstick tube and oil separator return tube, keep these safe.

Apologies for lack of a picture or two in this section. Its very difficult to hold something with 2 hands and then try to take a pic but it is straight forward.  Work on one bearing at a time from start to finish.

With everything out of the way you can now access the bearings. Rotate the engine in direction of travel until number 1 cylinder is at the bottom.. If you Imagine lying under the car looking up at the engine, all of the cylinders run up at an angle of around 1 o’clock or 11 o’clock depending what bank its from.

If you rotate the bearing cap of the cylinder you are working on around so its directly  opposite the cylinder, so 5 o’clock or 7 o’clock as opposed to directly at the bottom of its travel, i.e 6 o’clock, it makes removing the top bearing shell much easier as you can fish it over the top of the crank.

Undo each of the cap bolts a little at a time until the tension gives way, then undo them completely and remove the cap.
Clean everything with a brake cleaner or similar. Replace the shell in the cap. There is a locating groove/indent so you cannot get this wrong. Now push the rod and piston up slightly into the bore and flick the rod over the crank so you can access the top shell. Again push the shell out, clean and replace.


The caps on this engine are cracked from a one piece rod, so they will only fit one way as they are all unique. However if you are unsure of which orientation it goes back and cannot quite see, the end of the shell with the locating tangs in are on the same side for rod and cap.

Using oil or assembly lube coat the bearing surfaces and reassemble. Run your new rod bolts up and tighten to 5Nm. Now 20Nm. At this point make sure you have not bound the crank or rod up. You can rotate the engine 1 full revolution if you wish. Now tighten a final 65 degrees.

Finally check the clearance again by grabbing the rod and trying to push and pull it towards the front and rear of the car, it should move ever so slightly. Turn the engine over again 2 revs to make sure its all free. Repeat for the other 7 cylinders.

Here’s mine with 142K on. 10W60 used in my ownership and Full BMW service history before my ownership. Changed at manufacturers intervals.

The upper shells are the ones that are worn but even these not badly, when mic’d up less than 0.01mm so I was very happy. The pics make the wear look more severe but I chose these taken with a flash so as to show detail more.






Now we’re ready to start bolting things back up. Start off by putting the 2 washers from the dipstick pipe and oil separator return pipe, onto their respective pipes, then fit their o ring seal onto the pipe underneath the washer, to hold it in place. Using a new gasket (and I used some blue hylomar too) offer the upper sump up to the block. Locate the dipstick and oil return line into the sump before pushing the sump home.

Screw in a couple of bolts loose to hold the sump in place. Making sure all brackets etc are clear of the sump, tighten the sump up fully. Sump bolts are 10Nm.

Refit the dipstick tube locking plate and nut


CHAIN GUIDE JOB ONLY: If you are taking on the chain guide job, fit a few of the bolts that screw up into the lower front timing cover but jut nip them slightly. Once all of the bolts are tight, remove these front ones again as they need to be out for removal of the lower timing cover

Remember the bent pipe from the upper sump? Well now it time to fit the new one.


Shown here for clarity is how the pipe fits into the sump from below


Once the sump is fitted you can see how they are fitted in situ



And the reason why you can’t really take them out with the upper sump still fitted.

Now you can refit the subframe and engine mounts.

If you have taken the anti roll bar out of the subframe in order to clean it etc, be aware that you must loosely refit it to the subframe before refitting, as you cannot fit the front anti roll bar once the subframe has been fitted!!!!

The subframe locates on pins so you cannot get this slightly out of alignment. Once fitted lower the engine back onto its mounts before fitting the nuts securing it.  If you attached the anti roll bar to its subframe mounts before bolting the subframe up, you will have to undo these again to clear the rear thrust arm bolt so you can attach the thrust arms.

Tighten your engine mount bolts from above.


Now reconnect the thrust arms and front control arms



If you are using OE bushings in these arms they must be left loose and tightened up fully at the cars resting height, which you can do later. I won’t mention this in the guide again so don’t forget!!!

If you’re using powerflex this doesn’t apply and you can tighten up fully with the car raised.

Refit the steering box. Tighten to 2 vertical bolts first then the horizontal one.

 Now refit your  heatshields and tidy up any wiring


Now you can refit your centre drag link and track rods.  Fit the Pitman Arm and idler arm. It’s a good idea to check the bush in your idler arm for seizing/play etc. Mine was tight, but I easily pressed it out with a vice and sockets, cleaned and greased the bush and refitted it along with a new drag link


Make sure you refit the arms on the correct side, it’s a handed piece. Theres an L stamped on one end of the drag link that denotes the LHS of the car which is the idler arm on a UK car, double check for US and Euro Cars



If you are leaving it at rod bearings, you can skip to the part about refitting your oil pump. If you are continuing with guides you can read on.

Now you’re going to need to remove your vanos units, so as we can remove our upper timing covers.

Although the pics only show one bank, you’re going to be doing these steps on both banks, 4 cams, at the same time.

First thing is remove the oil lines that cover the cams, 5 bolts on each. DO NOT MIX THESE UP


Now, rotate the engine on the crank pulley, 32mm socket, around to TDC firing position cylinder 1.  On cylinder 1, both intake and exhaust valves are closed at this point, and lock the engine with the special tool. I made one in work which is basically a small  nubbed end of 8.5mm diameter that steps up after about 5 mm in length to about a 12mm diameter shank, however you can easily use an 8.5mm drill bit with tape wrapped around it to make up the diameter.


TIS says we need to put the cams into initial position next, and in absence of the special compressed air tool that the dealers have, we can release the pressure in the system by removing the solenoids. You can grip each of the solenoids with water pump pliers and carefully pull them out evenly, bit by bit



Now you can use a machined 27mm open ended spanner on the cast hex portion of the cams and move them to initial position.


Once the cams are in the initial position, you will feel them come to a hard stop, as the vanos piston/helical gear comes to the end of its travel outwards from the cam. If you don’t feel this hard stop you can move the cam backwards and forwards until you hear it. In its initial position you should be somewhere like this. Note the position of the helical gear, just protruding from the helical hub. (take no notice that the vanos unit is unbolted, I have no picture of the helical gears in initial position with the vanos still bolted up)


If you’re not sure, you can remove the piston cover and check to see if the piston is all the way back, it should be about 2mm from flush with the end of the bore.


Also, assuming your cam timing isn’t off, you should also see the cam timing marks align with the cut out in the cast as shown


Now, remove your crank pin, crank the engine over 1 revolution to overlap TDC and insert your crank pin again.

Now, slacken the 3 visible hub retaining bolts on each of the  4 cams



Now, remove your crank pin, crank the engine over 1 revolution to firing TDC and insert your crank pin again.

Now slacken the remaining 3 visible bolts on each of the 4 cams.

IMPORTANT: I noticed that on the above step, I could only access 2 of the bolts, not 3 on the exhaust cam of bank 1 when the engine was at TDC. Perhaps it was the casting of my components, who knows, but it happened to me. I had to just be aware and be a little cute in making sure the inaccessible bolt was already pre-undone by the time I cranked to TDC firing position in order to have all 6 bolts slack. If this happens to you, you’ll have to pre slacken that bolt first as you are cranking the engine around and it becomes accessible.

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Also, make sure you slacken those bolts right off, as if you only do it a turn or so, when you slacken the opposite 3 off, the first 3 will bite up again and cause you a little trouble you could do without.

Each cam has a hole in its first bearing cap that should align with a cutout on the cam when its in the correct posiiton. BMW have a special tool set to lock these but you can do it with an 8mm drill or bolt. I used the allen bolts you can see in this pic.

Now put in your 8mm drill bit or bolt and lock the cams. You may have to wiggle the cams a little using your 27mm spanner, but they should drop in, right where your timing marks line up



Now, undo your vanos unit mounting bolts, and pry the unit out. There are 2 indents one left and one right on the unit.

Now here’s where TIS is a little confusing. It says here, you should be able to just pull the unit off. However, with the cams locked, the helical gears won’t spit out of the helical hub. At the time I didn’t know this, and so I ended up unscrewing the vanos pistons from the helical gears to remove the unit, using a 7mm and 10mm spanner. These threads are left hand/CCW threads.

You can see from the next picture that this meant I could extract the unit. However, to get the helical gears out, or to remove it all as one unit complete with the helical gears, you should remove your cam locking pins, and whilst pulling on the unit, move your cam back and forth a little using your 27mm spanner, and the gears will spit right out, whilst still attached to the vanos unit.


Also remove your filter unit carefully using pliers wrapped in a rag or such ( filter removed in the above photo, the hole in the centre of the 2 large cam “holes” is where it lives

Next, remove your main chain tensioner piston. It lives screwed through the top timing cover on bank 1, and pushes against the long deflection rail you can see in the next couple of pics, to give you an exact idea of its location. It’s a 20mm socket that fits over it and it screws right out.

Remove your Vanos pressure accumulator to have better access at getting your Secondary air system piping out of the way. Its 2 10mm hex head bolts

And it lives here



Not sure if all M5’s are the same for this as there were a number of changes to the accumulator system throughout production, but if its there, remove it for access

Remove your Secondary air system pipe and the flexi “vacuum hose” from the check valve. Its one bolt into each of the top timing covers, one either side. You can swing it out of your way then to get at all of the timing cover bolts


To remove bank 1 top timing cover, its 11 bolts, 5 around the base of the cover screwing vertically down into the lower cover, and 6 screwing horizontally into the cylinder head. There is one particular bolts that’s a total pain to see and undo, its one that screws vertically down and is located right in the corner near the A/C pump. You need patience and a good 10mm ring spanner to undo it 1 flat at a time



With the top cover off you’ll be greeted with this site, notice I have now been able to remove my helical gears since I unlocked my cams and “spat” the gears out. Once I did this I re locked the cams with my M8 bolts

You can see here the deflection guide I am on about on the left of the chain that is pushed against the chain by the tensioning piston


Now remove bank 2 timing cover. Note there are 12 bolts, not 11 on this bank, one more screwing in from the front of the cover on the right hand side, so don’t try and lever it off after removing 11 bolts!!

Remember the really awkward bolt on bank 1?? Well, the mirrored bolt on this side is a little awkward too, but nowhere near as bad as bank 1. Patience is the key

Now remove the timing cover. Note there are 12 bolts, not 11 on this bank, one more screwing in from the front of the cover on the right hand side, so don’t try and lever it off after removing 11 bolts!!

Remember the really awkward bolt on bank 1?? Well, the mirrored bolt on this side is a little awkward too, but nowhere near as bad as bank 1. Patience is the key



Once bank 2 top cover is off we can now move onto the lower timing cover.

If you’ve still got bolts into the upper sump at the front edge, these need to be removed as they screw into the bottom of the timing cover. Remove the 6 x 13mm hex bolts holding on the crank pulley  “cover” that has the 36mm hex moulded into it, which I what you turn the engine with.

Once that’s removed it will reveal 4 torx head bolts, E14 which you need to remove, along with the vibration damper


This allows access to the hidden water pump mounting bolt behind the vibration damper.

Be aware that from this point on your ability to lock the crank has gone, as the hole is located in the vibration damper, so care needs to be taken. You’ll also notice a dowel on the face of the chain pulley pointing at 12 o’clock, which gives you a good idea of TDC anyways so you know you haven’t moved the crank.

Remove the water pump and also the torx head T50 bolt that holds one of the idler pullies on.


Also remove the engine lifting bracket, tensioner assembly/damper and also the alternator.

In  the next few pics you’ll see my alternator hanging. I found trying to replace the cover a pain so in the end I removed the alternator and installed it after the cover was fitted, that’s why its still in the pics.

To remove the alternator its 2 bolts at the front, then one 17mm hex nut holding the main cable on at the rear, and a spring loaded plug at the rear. It will be tight on the mount on the timing cover and you may have to wiggle or pry it off.

Remove your  seperator oil drain tube from the bottom cover, 2 x 10mm bolts and pull it from the sump. Again take care of the washer and o ring. Same for the dipstick tube. Its important you remove the o ring from the upper sump if it does not come out with either tube as it makes installing them a lot easier.


Now remove all of the lower cover bolts. Note the 13mm headed bolts, one at each of the bottom corners of the cover, and 2 on the RHS of the cover near to the alternator and tensioner pulley mounts. The pic here is of the cover refitted but illustrates the point well. Please note the 13mm hex bolt at the bottom left of the cover also has a small bracket attached that holds a cable clip, but is not shown in the picture.

Now you should be able to remove the cover, and you’ll be greeted with this.


You can see the holes in the front of the upper sump that screw into the lower timing cover in the above picture, 6 in all.

Now we need to remove the helical gears on all 4 cams, 6 bolts on each. At this point you’ll remove the helical hub, a spring washer behind and another shaped washer. Be careful removing them, and make sure you do not mix them up, or their orientation. On pre 09/2001 cars the orientation and part numbers of the spring washer and the shaped washer are different. If you have a pre 09/2001 car you can if you wish update the vano spring plates at this juncture. Have a look at my Vanos DIY thread for more information. If you are not updating or have a post 09/2001 car read on.


Now remove the 6 allen head bolts from each cam and remove the duplex sprockets on the inlet cams and the helical gear housing on the exhaust cams.


In the above pic shows the remaining “washers” with cutouts so you can see the 6 threaded bolt holes per cam, still attached to the cams. The pic isn’t very clear sorry.  I am just making you aware they are there, they should remain so. Pull the duplex timing chain together at the top and secure with a cable tie.

Lay the components you took off in a good order so as not to mix them up. Laying them in the correct orientation will also help reassembly i.e sprockets laying exactly as they were taken off, same bolt hole at the top etc


If you are renewing your oil pump chain you can now fish it through the main timing chain.


Now remove the 2 between cam tensioners, 2 x 13mm bolts. You may have to tap them off their dowels with a soft mallet or similar.

You can see the wear on mine here, the pic makes it look worse, they actually weren’t bad at all.


Replace them for new ones and leave the pins in that hold the tensioners compressed.  Also remove the chain guide that the main tensioner acts upon


Remove the chain guide from bank 2. Its only held in with one bolt, and over 2 pins. The lower pin needs to have a plastic retainer moved with a pick or similar to get the guide off. It looks as if it won’t come off and wants to foul on the gaskets that stick out of the head but you can remove it with a bit of patience.


Now remove the centre rail. Note that of the 3 torx bolts at the bottom of the rail, 1 is a shorter length.


Wear on my guides were minimal. Here’s  bank 2 plastic guide


And the centre guide. The only issue here was the top tab on the front and back of the left hand portion of the guide had snapped off. The guide was still intact and hadn’t really moved.

You can see over the next few pics




And the minimal wear on it


Now you can fit the new guides and also start refitting the cam gear by fitting the housings and cam chains. You can also remove the cam tensioner pins now and let the tensioners spring to the chain.


No pic for the next step, but I replaced the lower cover front crank seal. Its straight forward to remove and replace with the cover off. Seat it a little more deep/proud of the old one so its sealing on a fresh part of the crank.

Essentially you can start bolting things back up now. If you like you can put some RTV/Hylomar etc onto the top of the upper sump gasket and onto the gaskets that attach to the block either side of the timing cover, on the bottom edge of the gaskets that protrude from the head and sit against the top of the timing cover and also in the centre of it around the water pump jackets. FWIW I used a brand new upper sump gasket but was prepared to reuse my other timing cover gaskets with sealant. I previously did this on my vanos job with good results. Cable tie the moving main tensioner guide up in its tensioned position as shown in the pic so you can get the cover on easier. Also it’s a bit tricky to get  it around the A/C hard pipe into position. My advice would be to have a little trial run without the gaskets/sealer etc etc so you know what your plan of attack is.

Whilst manouvering the front timing cover on, as it gets to the crank, use a thin pick or similar to ease the crank seal over the crank, then push the cover home. Run all the bolts in finger tight, then tighten them up to about 2Nm. Tighten the from the upper sump into the timing cover up to 10Nm, then the rest of the bolts that bolt horizontally into the block. You can use a little medium loctite here if you wish


Also in the above pic you’ll notice the helical hubs back on, along with the spring plates and all fixings. Run the bolts up finger tight, and renew with 10.9 rated ones if yours are the old 8.8 type. Fit your seperator tube and your dipstick tube. Fit the washer and the o ring to the tubes as it makes install easy as opposed to fitting them into the sump and trying to slide the tubes through. Secure the dipstick tube at the bottom with the plate and 10mm nut


The bracket that secures the A/C pump to the upper sump and engine mount leg can be refitted now, you can see the holes in the above pic. Along with the damper off the aux belt on that side of the engine

Now refit the alternator. The reason you had to (probably) pry the alternator out was because it has a floating bush in it that clamps up on install. Rather than struggle refitting it, we can push this bush out slightly so it swings into place easily. On install it pulls back into position.

You’ll need a nut and bolt of suitable length, 2 washers, and a socket that fits over the bush to accept it into as a receiver.  Set it up like so, on the alternator


And tighten the nut and bolt. This will start to extract the bush from the alternator. You only need to tighten a couple of turns to move the bush a few mm.  Remove the nut/bolt/socket arrangement and the alternator should fit easily without a struggle.

Don’t forget the connectors on the rear of the alternator, you may find it easier to attach these before bolting home, whatever works for you.

Refit the water pump.

Now, reinstall both of your top timing covers. Instructions below relate to doing one but you’ll follow each step for both covers/cams etc

PLEASE NOTE: According to TIS you MUST have the bolt in the front bottom right of bank 1 cover that screws into the head horizontally already in the hole, or you can’t fit it afterwards. I think with everything off the front of the car it’s not needed but thought I’d let you know

Clean all remnants of old gasket from the faces to be sealed. Be aware of the gaskets. Replace them if you want or use sealant. Also you need a small amount of gasket sealer in the bottom corners where the top and bottom timing covers meet the head, you can see the cutout in the corner here. Shown is bank 2 Personally I like to use a small smear of the paste all along the sealing face to make sure I have a nice oil tight engine, but it’s up to you.


At this point cut the cable tie holding the tensioner rail in and remove the cable tie. However you’ll have to manipulate the  tensioner rail to get the cover on. You can do this by inserting a screwdriver  between the 2 cam hubs and moving it in the direction it would be pushed by the tensioner. Perhaps have a little play first before settling all of your gaskets etc. For bank 2 you may find it easier to first install the accumulator that sits under the vanos unit so you aren’t struggling for space


Reinstall your filter unit, give it a nice push so its home


Before we reinstall the vanos unit, we have to turn both of our splined hubs all the way clockwise on their adjustment slots, so that when we install the vanos the splined gears will rotate them back anticlockwise as we push the unit home.

I’ve just shown here in a picture for illustration what I mean.


You can see here the hub has been rotated clockwise up until the bolt reaches the end of its slot and cannot travel further. Do this for both hubs

Now we can offer up the vanos unit to the timing cover. First give the large o rings a coating of clean oil. Make sure the radial pump dimples are in the correct relation to the pegs on the inlet cam hub to pick up and then we can slide the unit on.

You may have to turn the  vanos helical gear slightly to get the long straight part of the gear to engage. Once they do slide the unit up until the helical gear is just about to engage the splined hub.

Remember I said line the radial pump dimples up? Well if you’ve done it right, it should now look like this


At this point the helical gears may not want to mesh into the hub as they are ever so slightly out of line. If this is the case, we need to rotate the splined hub counter clockwise until it engages. Please note that you are only going to be a fraction of a tooth out, and it must engage in the first possible point it can. Don’t be tempted to think you can turn it a few teeth, this is wrong.

BMW have a special tool for this surprise surprise, but I found it simple enough with a 3mm Allen Key


If you apply gentle pressure to try and push the vanos unit on, whilst moving the splined hub gently counter clockwise you should feel it start to engage

Now do the same for the inlet cam



Once they are both in line and have just started to engage we can then push the vanos unit on until the 2  large O rings are just touching the timing cover, not all of the way home yet.

Now, run 2 of the vanos mounting bolts up finger tight, just to keep the unit there, not to push it home

Now, tighten the 3 visible hub screws on each cam to 10Nm, then slacken them off again about ¼ to ½ a turn.



Now install all of the vanos mounting bolts and tighten them down in ½ turn increments to make sure the unit is pulled in square.

Now reinstall your chain tensioner.

Take out your Crank locking pin and rotate the engine AGAINST its direction of travel until you feel a noticeable resistance. Now rotate the engine back to TDC and insert your crank locking pin.

This is simply to compensate for play in the vanos and means that now you can set the timing correctly, kind of like how you would make sure the slack of your timing chain was on one side of the engine when timing up an old car.

Now, retighten the 3 visible bolts on each splined hub. If at this point you want to use loctite, take each bolt out and blast with brake cleaner, dab your loctite on and fit it. Tighten to 10Nm Remove your crank pin and your cam locking pins/bolts  and rotate the engine 1 full revolution to overlap TDC, and re insert your crank pin.

Now tighten up your remaining 3 visible bolts on each hub.

Again remove the pin and rotate the engine 1 full turn to firing TDC. Re insert your crank pin.

Now, using your 27mm spanner, move the cams to their initial positions again as  described above and check your timing marks. You should be spot on



Refit the boards and new gaskets


Refit your covers


Refit your oil feed lines on each bank, your valve covers and all ancillaries. When refitting your valve covers, a smidge of gasket sealant on the part the timing cover meets the head is needed



Now you’re ready to refit  the oil pump and associated bits. First though we need to refit the vibration damper. You’ll need 4 new bolts here as recommended by BMW as they are torque to yield.

So refit the vibration damper along with 4 new bolts and the captive washer.  Insert your crank locking pin.

You can hold the engine with your crank pin for the first stage of tightening which is 60Nm.

Peter (Herrrubermensch) has commented he has held the vibration damper for the complete tightening sequence on this alone and I do not doubt him. BMW use a special tool, it really is up to you. If you choose to make a tool you can make one like this, that picks up on 3 of the crank pulley  “cover” bolts. You can use the cover to mark out on steel where you need to drill the holes.

Whilst doing this I used a jack and a piece of wood to touch the holding plate I made so as to stop the engine turning and putting pressure on the crank pin.


Now tighten the 4 bolts through 50 degrees. Then around them again another 50 degrees.

Now you can remove your locking plate. Now refit the engine lifting eye and tensioner pullies, along with the vibration damper “cover” plate.  I know the top timing covers are shown off here, it doesn’t matter.


Now you can refit the oil pump. First replace the tensioner, its held on with a simple spring clip. This was about the most worn piece in my whole rebuild.


Fit the pump and  torque the bolts to 22Nm. Refit the pipe and baffle to the pump and sump, 10Nm.

Refit the pump sprocket over the chain and onto its spindle. I used loctite here and torqued to 40Nm


Refit your solenoid pumps after fitting new O rings. A nice coating of oil will help you fit them although they are tight. I pulled mine in the last bit with the mounting nuts


Refit the pipes that run at an angle from the upper sump to the oil pump with a new o ring too.

Now you can refit the lower sump and bolts, all 10NM

Up top you can refit your secondary air pipe and valve. If you want to delete them if you are getting an AA code or had it coded out you can blank off the valve here with a plate and a new gasket/gasket paste, this is purely optional, you can refit the original pipework if you wish


Remove the piping from the Throttle body, along with the check valve and simply have a small piece of tube left out from the throttle body with a bolt in to seal it off


And route the electrical valve piping back on itself to stop dirt ingress, (or you could remove this altogether)


You can now remove the SAP and pipe itself from in front of the RHS wheel well.

Refit your radiator, expansion tank and your thermostat and piping. Refit the plenum and fill the car with oil and a new oil filter and coolant.

Pull the fuel pump fuse and connect the battery. Once you’ve spun the car over on the key and built up oil pressure you can refit the fuse, plugs and coils. That’s it you’re done!!

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Not the earth shattering update i was expecting, but a small improvement none the less.

I recieved the rear mirror glass from Mirror John, very speedy service, and his guide on how to repair the mirror is very clear.

I also got some side mirror glass from him as my drivers side had started to look a bit manky and had also burst. These are also Chromatic and are a whopping £300 odd quid from the dealer for the lens. I wasn't about to go and pay that, if i'm honest i'm not overly arsed about chromatic side mirrors at that extortionate cost so i got some blue tinted and heated ones from John.

The only issue with side mirror glass in the aftermarket world is they do not have the black plastic surround on that the OE ones do, and that bothers me more than the chromatic feature. I initially bought a pair and was going to replace both so they matched, but thought i'd have a look if i could remove the old surround off the original glass. With a sharp stanley blade this did come off rather easy, so i opted to fit the old surround to the new lens for a near as damn OE look.

You can see the manky glass here with the surround cut off



and the new one fitted. Excuse the flash has made it look like the lens needs a wipe, it does as i have wiped it with tissue and theres a afew remnant on but you get the idea


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Thanks lads.


Hopefully another update soon as the car is due to be supercharged in the coming weeks, just trying to find some time to fit it in as I have a lot of other car related commitments to squeeze in before hand!!

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So finally, I'm done.Well, not really there's still more to do, more on that later, although the kit is on and running.


I thought i'd give you a few pics and stuff of my progress.


After having the kit for an absolute age i finally had completed my engine refresh and could get on with it. Its taken a few weeks of swqueezing it in between other projects, jobs, duties, favours and what have you, but i finally went out in it yesterday, and promptly found that i need a new clutch! Ah well.


First off i removed the bumper and on request by my wife no less put it in the front room for sfe keeping. Thats understanding for you




Bumper, off i got to taking all the top end off, plenum etc, and also the rad just for some extra work room






Not directly related to the install, i had some sport variant brake ducts to install and had to open up my arch liners to accomodate them




Then i could test fit the plastic ducts




Then next up wad to fit the larger injectors which required some patience




New vs old




And fitted






Next, fit the aluminium plenum plates, an absolute work of art






And the crank pulley




And supercharger bracket




Then test fit the head unit and piping to get it all sat right










Then seal the drain at the bottom of the plenum




weld on the flange






Paint it up








Then test fit it to see where to drill out for the CCV Fittings and new IATS










Before fitting, seal up the drain pipe that normally attaches to the plenum




And run the connection and pipe for the BOV from a vacuum source, i used the TB on the front of bank 1






Relocate the PS resevoir




And run new pipes to it along the bottom of the rad




Connect the CCV system up to the modified seperators






And run the pipe down to the air filter for a vac source






Connect all of the piping up ( a bit of a faff, more so than it sounds!)




Fit the BOV




Belt and fan spacer




Fit my ducts properly




And upload the new base map




Power is immense but as said i am suffering badly with clutch slip. Also i need to send off my data logs for a tune tweeking which i'm having a bit of an issue with at the moment getting the software to talk to the ECU, but all in all, not too bad.

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