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Thread: Road trip story & Project thread: 2001 Titanium Silver e39 M5

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Frankfurt, Germany
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    Road trip story & Project thread: 2001 Titanium Silver e39 M5

    I'm proud to say that another M5 has found its home with me.

    I thought I'd share my whole buying experience since it was rather an interesting journey.

    It all started with me scouring car websites all over the Europe for M5's when I stumbled upon this listing in Italy.
    The car was listed on the Italian website that's similar to craigslist and it's not very big on car listings like Autoscout is.

    Listing looked like this.



    Very little details, just approximate kilometers, year and that the car is bellissima. Not even a phone number.
    I used google translate and sent an email to the owner and got a very short response and on my next email, he didn't even respond.
    I then noticed that he had another ad where he was selling a couch and for that he left a contact number. Makes sense, right?
    With that info, I then established communication with him on WhatsApp. It took few days to actually get pictures of the car. I didn't even know what color was it, he just kept saying it was light gray.

    Production date is 07/2001.Original facelift and it's a slicktop!







    Once I received pictures and VIN, I knew it was a real deal and started planning the trip with my girlfriend.
    The car was in a small town near Ancona called Sirolo. Booked a flight to Milan and took the train to Ancona where the seller was waiting for us.
    I don't speak Italian, and I asked him if he speaks English and he said little, which turned out to be nothing so dealing with a language barrier was fun.

    I'm going to start off by posting pictures of the beautiful town of Sirolo.













    We spent the night there and really enjoyed the scenery and food.
    Even though it's a tourist town during summer, we couldn't find a single person that was speaking English.
    Ordering dinner also proved to be challenging, but it's tough to go wrong with Italian food.

    Tiramisu was phenomenal!



    Now, back to the car.

    First thing I noticed on the car was a check engine light and that the left side Vanos was ticking quite a bit, which he didn't mention.
    You could tell that the car was little neglected, but otherwise pretty decent and in original condition which was key.

    Single family owned since new, 4 keys, service book and few records. Other than the lower right skirt (there was a small dent which can be seen in the picture he sent me) and front bumper that was repainted due some scratches, paint was original all around. Best of all, it had only 45k miles on the clock!





    It was obvious that the car will need some work, but that's just what I love to do and I was more than happy to nurture this beast to the condition it deserves. We settled on the price and next day completed the paperwork in the town hall in Ancona and the car was mine!
    The car had to stay with the owner until I found the transportation to Germany, so we shook hands with the owner and continued with our trip back to the north of Italy.

    We decided to make a mini holiday out of this trip and we stayed two nights in Treviso and planned to visit Venice.

    Few shots of a very charming city of Treviso. It has a very interesting city center with narrow streets and cobblestone roads.







    And very good pizza.



    We spent the entire next day exploring Venice, my first time and it was a great fun! Lots of beautiful and interesting things to see.













    Spaghetti bolognese for lunch and 'shrum pizza for my non-meat eating gf.

















    After a very nice trip, it was time to head back to Frankfurt and start looking for a transport.

    It was 2 long weeks before I saw the car again. In the meantime, the parts pile was growing.



    Found a very reliable guy for transport and the car arrived safe and sound.







    Noticed that the original Running-in instructions were still present on the windshield. It was hanging on by a thread so I removed it and put it in the service book to remain as part of cars documentation.



    I didn't waste any time and put those new parts to use.
    Out with the nasty old filters and worn out wipers.



    Oil separator vent hoses were very icky and it was time for a new pair.



    I'm a big Liqui Moly fan, but I figured I try that BMW's magic fluid made by Shell, even says that on the back label.



    Also picked up a BMW oil bag for the trunk to keep things tidy and clean.



    Bumper trims have done their job of protecting the bumper so I got a fresh pair of new trim for both sides.





    Now it was time to tackle that check engine light. I scanned the car back in Italy with PA Soft and it was throwing codes for exhaust camshaft sensors on both banks. There are total of 4 camshaft sensors, one intake and one exhaust per bank.

    They are conveniently located at the back of the engine right next to the firewall.

    When removing the cabin air filter box, I was pleasantly surprised how everything was intact, all of the plastic tabs were still there and even the glue that holds air filter tube was still present. It honestly looked like it was never removed before.

    Anyway, this is the location.





    Passenger side wasn't that bad and it was fairly accessible. Drivers side sensor, I had to attack from under the car. There was no way I could reach it from the top.





    Both sensors were original with a date stamp from 02.07.2001. On top of that, they are old design, the fatter sensor on the right is new updated design. I assume that intake sensors are original and old design as well so I plan to replace them too.

    After buttoning up everything, clearing codes and starting the car, the difference was astonishing.
    The engine idled much smoother and Vanos wasn't making any weird sounds anymore. Amazing how these small sensors made such a big difference.

    I didn't take pictures of this part, but the car had tint all around which I had to take off because it would be instant fail at the inspection.
    In Germany it is not allowed to have any type of foil on the front windows and for the rear, you need some types of certificates so I decide to take everything off.
    One of the worst jobs I had to do. I tried using a heat gun before taking the foil, but it still left a huge amount of glue on the windows.
    Lots of elbow grease and acetone, I was able to remove all of the glue from the side windows. I'm left to deal with the back window, but I'm afraid to use acetone as I know that the rear heaters are sensitive and I don't want to damage them. If anybody has a suggestion, I'm all ears.

    At this point, I decided to take the car to Dekra for inspection and see with what they come up. I didn't perform full inspection so I was curious.



    Got a call later that day from the inspection dude who told me that the car didn't pass and that he will show me the problems when I come to pick it up.

    He found the following issues that stopped it from being roadworthy in Germany:

    - Front tires excessively worn and not safe for road use. (I was aware of this since the front tires were from 2004 and the rear ones from 2009, an example of Italian old school maintenance, drive them until they expolde.
    - Front headlights not aimed correctly. (broken adjusters in the left headlight, common e39 problem).
    - Rear sway bar bushing bracket sheared off
    - Rear upper control arms had cracked rubber on the ball joints and the grease was starting to coming out
    - Missing first aid kit and safety west


    I'm happy to report that since then I addressed all of the issues and the car passed inspection without any additional problems.

    The very next day I had it registered and I was finally able to stretch its legs on the Autobahn!







    I think this is more than enough for the first post. More updates coming up
    Last edited by Sreten; 04-16-2018 at 12:24 PM.

  2. #2
    Wow! Awesome writeup and adventure.

    For all you reading at home, this is how you buy a car!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl Lazlo View Post
    Wow! Awesome writeup and adventure.

    For all you reading at home, this is how you buy a car!
    +1

    Great story, glad you're giving that beautiful M5 a loving home.

  4. #4
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    Good find ! Glad to see the progress.
    2005 IR / black / 6MT
    145,000 miles

  5. #5
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    What an amazing thread! Even sent it to the wife and said "Ignore the car pics...just check out Italy"
    anandoc

    2004 330i auto | ZPP, ZCW | Schwarz 2 (668) | schwarz (N6SW)

    aFe Stage-1 Pro DRY S intake | Morimoto FX-R 3.0 retrofit | ///M3 Seats (power, heat, bolster adj.) | ///M3 Strut Brace | ///M3 SMG Steering Wheel retrofit | OEM Alarm retrofit | GROM USB | Khoalty angel eyes


  6. #6
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    love it!! great adventure, especially with your girlfriend - that makes it even better. nicely done.
    peter



    2005 BMW 330iT ZHP 6MT | obnoxious

    2007 BMW X3 3.0si M Sport 6MT | the X

  7. #7
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    Nice pickup!!!
    -Jeff



    "There is a straight six engine at the front, a manual gear box in the middle, and drive goes to the back. That's page one, chapter one from the petrolsexual handbook." - Jeremy Clarkson

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl Lazlo View Post
    Wow! Awesome writeup and adventure.

    For all you reading at home, this is how you buy a car!
    Thank you! I bought many cars, but this one was one of the nicest buying experiences.

    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCurves View Post
    +1

    Great story, glad you're giving that beautiful M5 a loving home.
    Thanks, Will! M5 is indeed getting a lot of love.

    Quote Originally Posted by fredo View Post
    Good find ! Glad to see the progress.
    Thanks! Progress is well under the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by anandoc View Post
    What an amazing thread! Even sent it to the wife and said "Ignore the car pics...just check out Italy"
    Haha, nice one. Hope she liked it. My gf hates my passion for cars and how much time I spend with them, but when it came to a road trip in Italy, there were no complaints!

    Quote Originally Posted by slater View Post
    love it!! great adventure, especially with your girlfriend - that makes it even better. nicely done. : cheers
    Thanks, Peter! Given that everything was short notice, it turned out very nice for both of us. Even the weather was great.

    Quote Originally Posted by Whammy View Post
    Nice pickup!!!
    Thank you!

    To pick up where I left off, post inspection.

    I started with upgrading the headlights. 3rd time I'm doing this on e39.



    New headlight adjusters, old ones were literally falling apart as I was removing them.



    New Hella G4 Bi-Xenon projectors on the right.









    Put an extra layer of butyl to keep the moisture out.



    Everything buttoned up and later installed on the car. I'll get some shots of the cut-off soon.



    Then the battery crapped out since that too was from 2009. The beast needs a good power supply so I got her a brand new Exide 100Ah.



    Next on the list was rear upper control arms. Yellow markings are from the inspection dude.



    Got a set from Lemforder. Even though the rubber was cracked, the ball joint was still fine.
    It would fail inevitably so it's a good thing I got that sorted. One of the easiest DIY's I've done.







    This is a snapped rear sway bar bracket. I was very surprised by this, but after a quick search on M5board this turned out to be quite common as the brackets are made of aluminum and are prone to cracking. Replacement bracket from BMW is ridiculously priced at $70 each.
    M5board proved to be a phenomenal source of information for the M5 once again and someone had found that the bracket from e36 M3 will also fit. That one is made of steel and bares a price tag of $4.



    They are not 100% identical, but it did the trick.
    Also replaced both sway bar bushings while I was in there.



    Fan clutch was failing and revving the car sounded like there was a jet engine under the hood.
    Got a replacement part from the dealer. Manufacture was BEHR same as the one I removed.





    With the help of cheap Chinese tools, this was a very easy task.



    Got some fresh spark plugs too.



    Two wheel center caps were missing so I went for a new set with updated design which looks much better than the old one.



    This pretty much brings us up to speed.

    I'm now waiting for parts for the thermostat replacement and over the weekend I'm hoping to replace power steering fluid and a couple of leaking lines.

    Then I'm also dealing with a very annoying electrical issue where the radio just cuts off every time I start the car.

    M5 also awarded me with another CEL for pre-cat O2 sensor so I have replacement parts coming for that too.
    Last edited by Sreten; 04-16-2018 at 12:31 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sreten View Post
    I'm now waiting for parts for the thermostat replacement and over the weekend I'm hoping to replace power steering fluid and a couple of leaking lines.
    great work, man! love the quick progress.

    for the PS fluid, i've yet to actually do a flush on a BMW; what's your procedure?
    peter



    2005 BMW 330iT ZHP 6MT | obnoxious

    2007 BMW X3 3.0si M Sport 6MT | the X

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Frankfurt, Germany
    Posts
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    Thanks, Peter!

    I don't have a very special approach to be honest. I bought few liters of ATF and I just sucked out the old fluid from the reservoir.
    I did that 3 times so far and topped it off with fresh fluid. Now I plan to detach and replace lines that go to the PS pump and PS cooler, and hopefully I will replace most of it that way. If it still ends up looking like coffee, I'll repeat the process.

    I guess the best way to be sure you flushed all of the old PS fluid would be if you do it like in this DIY - http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e39...placement.html
    Remove the reservoir, attach a bucket with fresh fluid to the suction hose, start the car and just catch the old fluid from the return line.

    My working space and tools are limited, so I have to go with the easiest route. I couldn't find a normal single garage so I'm renting a space in the underground garage and doing all of the work there since outside is too cold and rains most of the time. It sucks.

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