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Rebuilding my 540i... join me :)

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Hey guys/gals, started this thread as I feel like sharing my project with you all, Always nice to share and no doubt I will get some tips on the way to as well as give some.


The car: e39 540i in TopazBlue. bought cheap (2k), didn't drive very well, but engine and gearbox felt Smooth and powerful and chassis showed to signs of rust.


If you go through this thread, you will find in no particular order some help with pics on fully restoring and slightly upgrading the car:


Brakes, refurbed callipers, new discs pads and braided brake lines

Fully polly-bushed car including Subframe and diff bushings

New suspension, eibach springs and OEM Sachs sport shocks with top mounts

Every last drop of oil changed, gearbox, diff, engine, power steering

Wheel bearings changed

Full coolant flush and sensor change

Yaw sensor replacement

General service, plugs, filters etc..

Fixing minor oil leaks from around the engine including rocker cover gaskets and refurb, vanos seals and sump gasket

Fitting 18" 8jF and 9jR style 32's

Upgrading and modernising the stereo and Nav with discrete sub

M bumpers and exhaust back box delete

Interior refresh/upgrade, and fixing side bolsters the best way!

Wiring angel eyes to be DRLs

Intake system overhaul

Driveshaft squib and centre bearing, engine and trans mounts

Fixing rattly doors, getting a good closing thud

Belts, pulley bearing and tensioner overhaul

And more..


As I go ill upload pics of what im doing, any helpful comments welcome and ideas to :)

This is the car as I bought it.






Edited by waitee

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Ok. First job, bought the full kit from power flex UK, pretty nice looking bushes with lifetime warranty so hope this is one time only job! haha Starting at the rear, doing the whole lot. 


The hardest part is getting the old bushings out, use a press to make things easy, the new ones slide in real easy with the provided grease. A good thing about the poly bushes is you can torque them up without the car on the ground as they won't twist.


Used a local engineering shop with their 20t press for a few I couldn't manage my self, mainly just took the rear subframe to them for Diff mounts, subframe mounts.


What a difference to the handling.. WOW really WOW. feels Super tight, no funny creaks or clunks. Showing up that the shocks need changing, but that will come with a bit more cash in the bank.

Ps also changed the rose joints!
















Edited by waitee

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Started to refurb some rocker covers I got from a scrapped Land Rover. spent 6 hours cleaning them up! nasty holy gungy shit! I have VHT wrinkle black to paint them with, should come out great.


After trying the VHT paint I wasn't happy with it, I should have done this from the start, took them to get dipped and powdercoated, couldn't be happier with the results.


Need an end hose to go over the ventilation port that the X5 and landorver have which the e39 does not, but anything to block it will be fine.






Edited by waitee

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All credit to you, a really good start. As a 540 owner myself I'll follow this with interest.


Being an ongoing project, it may be best to ask a Mod to put this in the projects section, elsewhere in the forum.

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Little things today, but the devil is in the detail ;)


LED interior, looks nice, including the door welcome lights. LED torch bulb upgrade, made massive difference! its a MES E10 bult, get a cree LED there cheap on ebay, unscrews and screw in new one.


Got a 2amp mini USB that folds away unseen for the cigarette lighter, and added a relay underneath so its only on with the ignition. otherwise there would be a small drain all the time as 12v turns to 5v even with nothing plugged in.


And replaced a headlight (oem second hand of ebay) which was yellowing and the tilt motor was naked.


Oh almost forgot, didn't take any pics sorry, but I got replacement cheap buttons for the air con to replace broken temperature ones, they looked SHIT! and out of place. but a cool fix for the OEM ones, once the button is out, get your favorite super glue, araldite or gorrilla glue and a match stick. brake the matchstick to the correct width of the button and slot it in with a dollop of glue. let it all dry and it works great, no more 2 piece button and it has a 'stint' to make the button last.


Pics towards the end of the thread with rest of interior

Edited by waitee

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Tires 20 year old unloved seats + £5 leather restorer cream of ebay + a couple of microfibre cloths + about 30 min work!


Fantastic results! 


(I also did the gear knob and door cards at the front.

5 copy.jpg


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Hello again to all of the 3 folk following my rebuild ;)


Amazing day today, LONG day under the car:


Diff oil

Auto box Oil/filter

Engine oil/filter 5w40 seems less noisy now which is nice.

Fixed broken filter mount, bit of DIY with some rubber grommets I had lying around.

Drained the power steering, replaced the reservoir and filter with a new unit.

Secured loads of bits in the engine that where loose.

K&N air filter (Bonus find on the car) washed as it was manky! and re oiled.

cabin filters.


And I spend hours cleaning the underside of the car and engine bay of 20 years worth of oil. So much oil under the car, of course I have a leak to fix. Hope this helps identifying it.


Oils used:









Edited by waitee

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Today sorted the wires in the boot harness, quite a few about to go!! all sorted now. Licence lights and boot light wasn't working.

While I was there took the number plate lights off which where full of overspray from a shit paint job, sanded down with 1200grit and lacquer, good as new.






Edited by waitee

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You are doing a great job. Really pleased to see that you changed the auto box fluid and didn’t believe this ‘sealed for life’ bullshit.  Get all the sills and closed sections drowned with rustproofing.  Keep it rust free.

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Cracking work and thread :) 


Great to see someone with the confidence of doing all this; I worry what I'm gonna snap just trying to swap a bulb out :lol: 

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Hey guys thanks for all the nice comments, had a cracking day today!


£200 from a breaker got me the following... get ready for disbelief!


Front and rear M sport bumpers with all bits and bobs attached, they are black and both have a couple cracks, all fixable, will need paining anyway to topaz blue.

Full anthracite headlining with all bits and bobs again, lights A,B,C pillars etc.. oh and parcel shelf.

"M" sills to replace my crappy old BMW ones.

Exterior door bumper trim thing with M logos.

And finally the interior shadow line window trim to replace the dazzling chrome.


Some pics of swap over, not finished yet as the suspension is on the way so ive left the rear in bits to get access to the top of the shocks.


Also used TEAC oil on the M sills, kick plates, seat controls, they came out looking brand new! nice dark black. should last a few years to as the oil soaks into the plastic and then dries. Supper easy to apply with a rag, and buff off.


Page 5 for final interior shots.


Not bad for £200! bumpers included, but not pictured yet ;)











Edited by waitee

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Evening, after a few days off I have a few more bits going on, Im back at work so less time to spend on the car, but next week suspension will be fitted, Shocks and Springs. Eibach and sport Sachs.


Also in the post today I received the M5 steering wheel, I was a little uncertain as to if it was going to make much difference, boy was I blown away!


so they are the same design and diameter, the M5 is noticeably thicker to grip, less spongy, and of course has the factory coloured sticking which just looks awesome! fitting it was a doddle.


Driving home from my wee workshop I can tell you I makes a really noticeable difference to the car, so much nicer to hold and use, after all its the main point of contact with the car. check out the pics.


Highly recommend and M5 wheel if you can find one online (I believe M3 wheels are the same but without the buttons, you could easily fit buttons to an M3 wheel. personally I love this design more than the "newer" 3 spoke wheels. 

















Edited by waitee

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Hey folks, 

couple weeks off, as back at work, a great thing!


Last couple days, I have now fitted all 4 corners Sachs M sport and Eiback Pro springs, and Febi top mounts. Lovely combination!


Oddly some nugget had fitted an SE spring in the rear on one corner?!


And to top it of an M5 alignment at Kwik fit.


You can see the car sits at the perfect height with this combo. this is after breaking in period.


Next jobs over the next month, exhaust, minor rust repair, engine oil leak. Stay tuned :)










Edited by waitee

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Afternoon, another day doing up the car, Finally finished installing the rear part of the headliner, I was waiting for the suspension to be done.


I repainted the parcel shelf, have a look at the pictures it was quite faded as im sure many are, the original colour looks to be black almost, learn from my experience: I started by buying two cans of rustoleum fabric paint., decent stuff I guess, but didn't quite have the coverage, and left it a little patchy in "places", when over it with bog standard matt black spray paint, worked a treat, doesn't feel any different to the touch, so my suggestion, normal black paint. Matt finish for this I think gloss might not work/look right.


Pictures of it back in place and looking amazing.


Also replaced speakers, went for Sony XS FB1330 (3 way), properly mounted which is a must, I used some left over window seal to stick to the inside of the speaker to make a tight seal against the back box, and regales the foam back on.


I went for sony because I plan on fitting a sony applecar play headunit, and they work together with what the call MegaBass, and a sub to. Anyway contrary to what ive read, the speakers alone have made a NOTICABLE improvement to the sound in the car, handle the bass pretty well. So ive just ordered two more for the front doors. once I have the headunit to should be amazing, but really good improvement with just speakers.


Also got a new door seal and fitted that, easy enough, I suggest a rubber mallet to make sure its properly seated all the way round. took me 10 min to fit. trimmed of 1 cm maybe at the end. Door sound better when shutting to haha


enjoy the pics




Edited by waitee

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I don't know how I missed this thread but I've just had a look through it all and I have to say, top work sir! 

I've done a lot of similar jobs to my 540 recently and know how much hard work is involved so it's always nice to see another one getting some love. 

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