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Restart E39 530d Sport Touring

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Christmas did not go so well this year, ran out of skill in the snow with a heavily laden car. One of those annoying slow motion spills where you get to watch your hard work come to pieces.


The damage wasn't actually so bad; engine was untouched, fan spins freely. The sweet irony being the snowplow clearing by all of a minute later.

If it weren't for the rust I'd have started rebuilding,  but there is rust, hence I've spent the last month looking for  530d with low miles and a relatively clean body to transfer parts into. Turns out almost all E39s have some rust  somewhere, so it became a game of finding the easiest to redeem. This came up locally a couple of days ago:


It's not the cleanest, but it has promise and the price was fair at 2k. 130k miles, gear box oil changed, vortex breather, turbo reconditioned (as precaution), vacuum lines, engine mounts, rear wheel bearings, rear suspension arms and bags, new windscreen. Folder full of receipts, and reasonable MOT history.  

There are some bad bits:



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

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

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




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





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

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

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


Edited by sinner
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Those Style 32s look excellent ;)


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


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

Edited by d_a_n1979

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

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

Those Style 32s look excellent ;)


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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


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

Edited by sinner
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Just a short update this time, as I am pretty busy with the manual conversion.

Again, sorry for the long break between updates. Been out of the county with work again, and family stuff ate the last leave. Much to my girl friend's annoyance, I've taken two weeks off to try and get it sorted.

Decided to go the six speed route, for the slightly higher torque rating. This is something I've planned for a while, so had a lot of the parts already, just wasn't expecting to have to do it so soon!


Work began yesterday:



Pretty sure most of the parts here, although there is always something missed or wrong. Managed to find a combination of E46 and E60 bits that save a lot of fabrication. Gearbox mounts are the only thing that looks to need making.

When it's done, hopefully sometime next week, I will write it up properly.

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It's too damn hot to be messing around with wiring in the car, so an update. Work is still going, but it's close. Few more cups of tea yet...

After the usual prep of exhaust and prop out, I removed the pedal box and selector. To remove the selector, I had to slide the center console back a couple of centimeters. For the pedal box, we get better access by also removing the lower dash section to the right of the steering column.

Next was pulling the engine and box, mush easier with two people (thank you Gareth). Unfortunately, the feed and return lines for the HP pump pretty much disintegrated - new ones on order.DSC_3608.thumb.jpg.325fbfe247d7e8bf3a08d1b15015b3ad.jpg

After draining/spilling a whole lot of oil the old auto is where it belongs, and I now have to figure out how to clean the drive.DSC_3610.thumb.jpg.17f50f56c564899074fd71ffd8b1cb1e.jpg


I fitted a fresh main seal to the crankshaft, and got the clutch on. The flywheel is LUK late E46 330d, which has a burly needle bearing in place of the spigot cartridge bearing. The clutch is a Sachs Performance, to fit a late E46 330d and the more powerful E60 530d (careful here as the less powerful 530d is too small at the hub). The ZF parts site is really useful to figure out which components work with each other, and for what models: https://webcat.zf.com/ For anyone wondering: 240 mm diameter, 26 tooth spline, 32.5 mm X 35 mm hub.





We gave the gearbox a service before fitting it. The input and selector seals are pretty straight forward. The output seal needs a 41 mm socket and fairly substantial puller to get it off. Impact guns make life easy.

Engine and box are now almost ready to go in. I am waiting on a gasket for the turbo oil drain and some copper washers for the new feed line. The previous owner had bodged the GT2260v in there; the drain was fowling the steering rack and looked to be leaking. Correct and fresh lines and gaskets all round.



Test fitted the E60 shifter linkage, and it match perfectly the position needed (88 cm from bell housing face to selector pivot). It's also a lot stouter than the E39. I've fitted new bushings, and gone with a short shift lever from a 545i, as this worked well in my last E39.

Got the clutch lines fitted and the pedal box back in. 



Fitting the shifter linkage is easy enough. It's important to remember the rear support, the little cylinder below the shifter aperture:


The interior is nearly back together. I've fitted new vacuum lines for the engine mounts. 


The engine should go back in this evening. Then can start fabricating the gearbox mounts.

I had an E39 manual prop shortened by 82 mm to account for the difference in length between the GS5-39DZ and GS6-53DZ. The auto prop is too short and uses M15, not M12 bolts at the output flange. An M5 prop is almost the right length, but also takes M15 bolts. I didn't fancy swapping the output flange on the box, so went with shortening. The prop is due back tomorrow. 

Next is the wiring. Big thanks to Enda and Alan for helping with this. There is also  great information here:
and here:




Edited by sinner
Removed incorrect wiring notes

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Thank you guys. It's turning into a fun build.

Yes, that is Gareth from Car Throttle.

Got the prop back today, shortened, balanced, with a fresh centre bearing and CV. Dave Mac Propshafts in Coventry do good work.
The engine is still not in, as I am waiting on the gaskets for the turbos still. It is possible to do this with the engine in, but it is also a faff, so I have used the time to fix a few other things.

Kick-down clicker has been removed from the throttle pedal, and the pedal is back in. A little bit of silicon spray made it much easier to install.






The next challenge has been wiring...



I didn't have the foresight to get new connectors for the DME, so I carefully pulled all the leftovers from the auto-box harness.

It turns out most of the other write ups I'd been following are for petrols, and the pins don't match the diesel DME. Luckily the reverse switch is described here: http://forum.bmw5.co.uk/topic/122234-e39-manual-conversion-reverse-lights/  Clavurion also provided this  http://www.bmw-planet.net/diagrams/release/en/zinfo/E39_PA2249D.htm Based on those two, the wiring plan changed slightly.

1 - Connect park neutral switch (pin 6 EWS) to permanent 12V at pin 10 EWS. Save wire to pin 6 for reverse switch.


2 - Clutch switch (3-wire).
             - wire 1 to ground. Stolen from brake switch wire 2.
             - wire 2 to pin 23 of the DME X2414 black 40 pin connector.
             - wire 3 to 12V. Stolen from brake switch wire 1.


3 - Reverse switch part 1 - wiring.  Reused part of the auto-box harness as the reverse switch is in near enough the same place as auto box connection (under at the back.)

            - wire 1 to ground. Pin 6 of the X2411 DME black 9 pin connector.
            - wire 2 to pin 16 of the X2412 DME  black 24 pin connector.


4 - Reverse switch part 2 - line from DME to cluster. Reuse park neutral switch wire (blue/black) from pin 6 EWS.
            - connect wire to pin 4 of the  X11175 black 26 pin cluster connector .
            - move other end from EGS (pin 3 on the blue 62 pin connector) to pin 19 of the X2414 DME black 40 pin connector.

Most of this is done, I just need to run a wire for the clutch through the firewall, then test and tape up the loom.

Edited by sinner

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It has been a busy couple of weeks! The new lines for the turbo and HP pump turned up, and the wiring was complete, so the engine and its new box went back in. Engine mounts looked ok – annoyingly, they are not, but that will have to wait now.

I sourced an E60/61 gearbox mount, it sits at the right height and the front four of the six mounting bolts almost line up with the manual mounts. With a slight expansion of the holes (not the webbing) it was in. The rear two holes sit over the step for the auto mounts (auto mounts sit slightly higher in the tunnel ), I am making some adapter plates up to allow the two rear bolts to engage. For now it’s only four of the six bolts holding the box in, but this is not too concerning given the original mounts.

The engine had an oil leak from the around vacuum pump. I wasn’t sure if this was the pump seal, or the rocker cover, so I changed both, and was pleasantly surprised how clean the engine was internally.



I also changed the rocker cover for a later M57N version, these have additional webbing at the mount points and an extra bolt hole for the later inlet manifolds.

With all that back on it was time to refresh the cooling system. I’ve done away with the EGR, so removed the EGR cooling, and swapped it out for the manual pipe work, which looks so much cleaner. While I was there it got a fresh set of belts. Luckily the pulleys all felt fine, as the did the pump.


I also fitted a M57N2 inlet manifold, these are slightly larger, and supposedly less prone to splitting. I had it ultrasonicly cleaned by a marine diesel place, turned out much better that I could do with solvents. These manifolds use a different type of 3 bar MAP sensor, 13627792260, which mounts on the top of the manifold. It should be noted that the wiring configuration for this  sensor is different to the E39; wire 1 = supply, wire 2 = ground, wire 3 = signal (signal and supply are inverse on the E39).


With that lot done, I took it to Enda to get everything coded in correctly. Cruise control now works in 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th! Reverse lights and PDC work (They did not initially, which turned out to be my inability to count pin numbers…). I went with the weighted E46 knob, 25117896886, combined with the E60/61 short shift, 25117546373, which feels great. Clutch is unsurprisingly heavy and loud.


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On 19/09/2018 at 13:50, chewy7 said:

How's the car running now mate? Love your thread! Its been a great read! 

Thanks. Sorry for the lacking updates, work has taken over. But the car is running well enough.


Had an issue with the engine cutting at ~3.5 k first guess was the presupply fuel pump. Swapped out the standard for a Bosch 044. This is very easy: it needs 8 mm barb fittings, the connector needs removing and some crimp-ons fitting, and the foam mount needs trimming back a little. The pump is about 20 mm longer than standard, so the hoses need shortening slightly too. It is not too noisy, and presupply now holds steady at a little over 4 bar. However, the cutting issue remains. Next to investigate are injectors and HP pump.



While the plastics were off for the pump, I cleaned up the underside and gave it a healthy dose of Waxoyl. Everywhere. I pulled the rear bumper, and wings off too - cleaned and coated everything I could get at. It’s pretty amazing how little rust there is under there, the jacking points are clear, as are the front of the sills. Was not expecting that after the last few E39s I’ve worked on…

With it all back together, it was time for the drive back to Bern; 700 mile to get the feel of the car and figure out everything else that needs doing.
I am now used to the clutch, which is very heavy, but also a lot of fun. If it were a daily in traffic, I would have gone for something a bit more sensible. Bar the intermittent AC (F-U FSU!), it did well enough.

The auto diff is not great. I hoped 2.81:1 wouldn’t be too far off the 2.35:1, but it is; that drive would have sucked without 6th. I have a manual diff here that will go in as soon as I put the fresh seals in it.

There is a very annoying speed-dependent ticking coming from what I think is the fan in the centre dash.

The suspension is shot. Driver-side air bag seems to have a leak or at least not level properly, dampers do not dampen, and there is a lot of body roll. There is also a lot of juddering under braking. I knew this needed doing, but had to delay it when the auto box failed.





These faults aside, I am actually really pleased with how this project is going.

Edited by sinner
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Quick update this time. I've taken a few days to get it ready for winter, and fix a few of the problems (all of suspension) I've found.

The rear subframe is coming out for new bushes, arms and bearings. Finally gotten around to fitting the manual diff with the Quaife; looking forward to holding the gears a little longer.


I'll try to get some more pictures of the other parts tomorrow.

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Sorry, very few pictures. I was working on my own and flat out in a less than ideal workshop. At least it was dry!



Horror stories found were: split boots on all ball joints, a couple of well-hammered bolts needed filing to fit a six-point, the upper control arms had been fitted without the conical spacers that locate in the hub carrier, a rose joint link was in two pieces (no idea how that happened), the off-side rear airbag had nearly worn through, and the ABS sensors were covered with filthy grease. All in all, not too bad considering, but enough to drag the job out.

New Parts fitted this time are:
Subframe buses
Powerflex diff mounts
Rose joints and links
Drop links
Steel E46 M3 ARB mounts (33506779734)
Control arms
Hub bearings and flanges

Pad sensor

M5 rear brake conversion



Parts transferred from the old car:
Goodridge lines

Bilstein B6 dampers

Eibach Pro kit coil conversion (E2070-140)

Spring mounts (2 of each 33531093785, 33531093786, 33531093787)


For the brake conversion disc guard needed trimming and welding as the handbrake is orientated 90 degrees off on the M5. The pads and discs are new, the calipers are recondition. I also machined the hub flange to match the mounting bolt holes of the M5 discs (could have just brought M5, but had the normal ones already). If you have access to liquid nitrogen, it makes fitting the flanges into the bearings much easier!




Unfortunately, BMW sent one wrong seal for diff, so holding off on putting that in until next time. Also, one handbrake cable is very sticky, so need to free it up or get a new one. I will get some pictures of the brake setup and suspension in a couple of weeks when I do the front end.

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A thread filled with yes.  Thought I recognised Gareth!  I love threads that are documented well (I try and keep my Golf one the same!) so it's good reading!  Keep it up! 

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