Jump to content
Dirty Tool

E39 520i SE Ressurection

Recommended Posts

Being a huge BMW fan boy, I thought it was sacrilege that I had never personally owned one of my favourite BMW's and IMO one of the best BMW's ever made - the E39. Luckily for me we had one in the family that I could have for free. The bad news is the car is a non runner and has been sat for 5 years. This is BMW Ownership number 12, my previous BMW car history is: 

 

- E46 328ci SE

- E87 130i M Sport

- E36 M3 Evo

- E92 335i M Sport (N54)

- E46 M3 

- E24 635csi Highline 

- E86 Z4M Coupe 

- F20 M135i 

- F80 M3

- E92 335i M Sport (N55)

- E92 M3 (Still own)

 

and now the E39 520i SE. A quick back story - my immediate family are also BMW car nuts as this particular E39 was purchased by my father approved used in 2010. This was his second E39, the first being a pre-facelift 1998 528i SE in Glacier Green. This titanium silver example was driven by my father and then in 2013 he gave it to a family member who was not in a good place to help out. Over time the car developed an oil leak (which was diagnosed as valve stem seals) and due to the large quote to fix it and the value of E39's at the time, especially lowly 520i's. It was parked up in 2017 and has not moved since. 

 

I completely forgot about the car and around a month ago I saw it sitting in terrible condition and I said to myself to get the car back on the road and use it again. It is a late production model being a 2003 car, therefore it also has the benefit of being ULEZ compliant. The current condition of the car on the 10th August 2021: 

 

IMG_5839.thumb.jpg.97a30bb8ce00c3fdd6d446dc020f1722.jpg

 

A few people have told me to forget the car, scrap it e.t.c but its been in my family for over 10 years and has sentimental value to me - my father and I went together to purchase the car and we drove it home together. I remember the day like yesterday so for me I wanted to get the car back to its former glory.  I know it will cost a lot of money to get it back up to scratch but getting the car back for free in the first place is a good start. Unfortunately due to work commitments I won't be able to do much of the work required myself, therefore will have to factor in labour costs too. We tried to get the car going on the 14th of August - charged the battery and put in fresh fuel. Unfortunately the car wouldn't start - we reset the immobiliser link as I've read this can go funny with the battery being dead for so long but again to no avail. A faulty fuel pump was diagnosed and a new Pierburg OEM unit was ordered. 

 

IMG_5890.thumb.jpg.55f3cbbf26e90b9c8ee1296a3809d025.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by Dirty Tool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update on 26th August 2021: 

 

Progress with the car was slow as we waited for the Pierburg fuel pump to arrive and I had to go away with work. However it was fitted and unbelievably she started up first time! The engine sounds rough and tappety but not surprising considering how long it has been sitting. I let the car idle up to temperature with no overheating issues, it also shifted smoothly through the gears. I drove it the 5 yards of space I had so luckily the callipers hadn't stuck.

 

Next step is to do an oil service and get it down the MOT station to get it up on the ramps and see what's what. A quick video of the second start in 5 years :) 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's alive!!! Really pleased it's started.

 

How are the tyres after 7 years? Are you sure they're ok to take for an MOT? They must have bad flat-spots at the very least.

Dash looks suspiciously fault-light free...! Be interesting to see if it throws anything up when you start to move it around properly.

 

Edited by CG172

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 27/08/2021 at 21:24, CG172 said:

It's alive!!! Really pleased it's started.

 

How are the tyres after 7 years? Are you sure they're ok to take for an MOT? They must have bad flat-spots at the very least.

Dash looks suspiciously fault-light free...! Be interesting to see if it throws anything up when you start to move it around properly.

 

 

You are right, there we no warning lights after the first start! And it started first time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 month and 3 days after I started this thread, I am happy to report another E39 has been saved! The is road legal and driving beautifully!

 

We drove it out of the field/yard it was sitting in for years and straight to the MOT station where I expected a MOT Fail and a long list of repairs as long as my arm. Unbelievably, it passed first time with minor advisories! The mechanics complimented on how clean it was underneath and everything was in order!

 

This is how it sat afterwards (Kidney grill was off as the bonnet lever would not pop out therefore had to reach it to pop the latch):

 

 

IMG_6566.jpg

IMG_6567.jpg

IMG_6559.jpg

IMG_6560.jpg

IMG_6561.jpg

IMG_6562.jpg

IMG_6563.jpg

IMG_6564.jpg

IMG_6574.jpg

IMG_6575.jpg

IMG_6576.jpg

IMG_6578.jpg

IMG_6579.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Costs so far:

 

Pierburg Fuel Pump - £114

Battery - £85

Castrol Edge 6.5L - £50

Mann Oil Filter - £15

Mann Air Filter - £30

Mann Pollen Filter (x2) - £35

Bosch Spark Plugs (x6) - £37

Fix Bonnet Latch - Free (minor adjustment needed)

MOT - £50

 

Labour - £190

 

Total - £606

 

With the new battery the car starts on the button every time, shifts gears lovely and its a beautiful cruiser. Unfortunately as you can see from the pictures, mould has taken hold of the interior and is rather smelly. I found the rear carpet wet on the passenger side and after research and discussion with a friend who also has an E39, I believe it is the membrane in the rear passenger door card has failed and that is letting in water. Also the mpg is atrocious.

 

Jobs left to do:

 

Replace Spark Plugs (Bosch on order) - DONE

Rectify water ingress (Been quoted £150 labour to remove and dry the rear carpet and replace the rear door membrane, I will have to supply the tape)

Replace windscreen weather seal

Replace Bonnet Badge

Polish headlight lenses - DONE

Replace tyres

 

 

Edited by Dirty Tool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks all in a great bus

 

Re the vapour barriers; it takes 5mins to remove the door card and 30mins to remove the old butyl tape, reapply new tape and stick it back down. As for the water; dry it yourself and use a dehumidifier if you can and then give the carpet a decent wet/dry vac and it should be sorted :) 

Headlights look like they could do with the 3M headlight restoration kit; well worth the £25 ;)  **Edit; just seen you'd mentioned that **

 

Re the windscreen seal; IIRC its c£35 from Cotswolds BMW; deffo stick with OEM as it's not that expensive and fits perfectly 

 

All in though; it looks superb clean and it'll be a proper waft bus :mrgreen:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 29/09/2021 at 16:28, d_a_n1979 said:

Looks all in a great bus

 

Re the vapour barriers; it takes 5mins to remove the door card and 30mins to remove the old butyl tape, reapply new tape and stick it back down. As for the water; dry it yourself and use a dehumidifier if you can and then give the carpet a decent wet/dry vac and it should be sorted :) 

Headlights look like they could do with the 3M headlight restoration kit; well worth the £25 ;)  **Edit; just seen you'd mentioned that **

 

Re the windscreen seal; IIRC its c£35 from Cotswolds BMW; deffo stick with OEM as it's not that expensive and fits perfectly 

 

All in though; it looks superb clean and it'll be a proper waft bus :mrgreen:

 

Thanks for the advice - agreed with the windscreen seal, I had to do the same on my M3 not too long ago and cotswold BMW came up trumps for me there with a great price. For the vapour barriers, a friend of mine had to do the same on his E39 and he has lots of Butyl tape left! We will give it a go together soon, once I get a free weekend!

 

I polished up the lights with a meguirs restoration kit, it worked OK. Not great. Will buy another and give it another go - will look at the 3M.

 

On 30/09/2021 at 17:45, Sir Anthony Regents-Park said:

I'm amazed! :o8-)

 

I would have expected it to be knackered - just shows eh?

 

Many have had the same reaction, including myself! Got a sports steering wheel+airbag around from a breaker? need to get rid of the SE Bus steering wheel.

 

On 02/10/2021 at 13:05, CG172 said:

Blown away by that! It should have been rotten as a pear.

So pleased you chose to save it.

 

Any plans for it going forward?

 

Im pleased I chose to save it too! it pulls a few looks since you barely see them on the road anymore. Long term plans are to just keep ontop of maintenance and put the miles on it!

Edited by Dirty Tool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×