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Rebuilding my 540i... join me :)

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Hey guys, 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 blue. bought cheapish.


Some good points, its the right colour, engine is smooth as is the gearbox, no rattles from the engine. NO rust anywhere! pretty clean inside.


The work: (in no particular order)

Brakes, pulls to the left at the moment, seized caliper + braded hoses.

subframe/ bushings in general F+R, going to poly bush.

New suspension, thinking of B12 kit.

Every last drop of oil changed, gearbox, diff, engine, power steering (which is weeping)

Wheel bearings making noise.

Electric fan conversion maybe.

Coolant flush and sensor change (fault code for that)

Yaw sensor (fault code for that)

Brake fluid sensor?? (another fault code)

General service, plugs filters etc..

Oil leak, coolant leak!

Rocker cover gasket/refurb,

Rear alloy dented!

Oh and Nav unit not working.


then some aesthetic bits.

M bumpers, interior trim paint piano black, fit storage compartments.

Wire relay for the cigarette lighter so only works with ignition.

For no thats my list.


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







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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. Front will come in the future. Its ok for now.


using a local shop with their 20t press, not something Im going to do in my driveway haha

Diff mounts, subframe, arms etc..


While im at it I refurbed the sway bar. And new links to go with it. Might upgrade in the future to the M5 ones well see, should handle like a dream when its all done though.








Edited by waitee

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Ive also 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.

Still need more work, but im done for today!


Long live Covid, for project time haha








Edited by waitee

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Hello again, so I have some nice update photos. Rear subframe all fitted, including the diff bushings. H arms and other bushings done to.

Breaded brake lines and new brakes all round. And sanded and painted the sway bar with new links.

New tyres to PS4 ;)



What a difference to the handling.. WOW really WOW. feels Super tight, Showing up that the shocks need changing, but that will come with a bit more cash in the bank.


Any comments or tips welcome :)















Edited by waitee

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A quick note on the poly bushings. Full kit was under £400 posted UPS next day. Old bushings are a pain to get out, but the material on these, honestly you can practically press them in by hand with the supplied grease! 


Breaded brake lines from ebay £60 for the set. good price UK made.

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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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oil leak is the next big thing, any advice? it looks like it might be from the upper timing chain casing as well as valve cover!

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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 (hem 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 temp 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 you can see with the torch, the gem button is fixed, crack visible but button is solid, and looks and feels like it should unlike the ebay ones.


I love me some details! :) Also the wee tray I plastidipped, looks good as new.









Edited by waitee

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Well finally finished valve covers! came out amazing!!! 


Reason it took so long was initially I painted with VHT wrinkle, that stuff is shit, could not get a good finish on it, and when it dried it just peeled off.


Powder-coated now with a textured powder


Also boot full of Diff oil, gearbox oil, engine oil, and all filters :)






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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Hellloooooo Campers! XD


Todays work, got the new gaskets on the rocker covers, going to leave them in place to take shape for a bit, no rush as there spare covers until I get to the job, Its no wonder why they leak! the old rubber is rock hard and brittle! new stuff nice and soft!
Also sorted the wires in the boot harness, quite a few about to go!! all sorted now.
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.






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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! believe only available on M5.

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.


(Pic before and not many after, but will follow up shortly, what a difference the headlining makes! honestly so much smarter)


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, while I was at it I took it completely apart to restore the button areas, sanded and painted gloss black to match the rest of the cars trim. Supper happy with the results.


While I was at it I painted the shadow window trim to get rid of those chrome strips on the inside of the doors. Again same BMW black to match the trim.


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 of 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?!


Finished fitting the Poly bushes at the front, so the whole car is now done and honestly feels so "tight" steering handling, just GREAT.


And to top it of an M5 alignment at Kwik fit. (got M5 steering box on the way to!)


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









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