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If you really want it to be how it rolled off the showroom floor in 2000, find a black M5 cluster. The gray cluster only came in the 2001+ model years, and in the replacement clusters that BMW provided. It's pretty hard to find a good condition black cluster at this point.
 

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Some people use FeBreeze, you used a 3500mg industrial strength ozone generator. Nice.

I bought the Leatherique bottles myself and really need to apply it before it starts cooling off. Today would've been perfect as it was in the mid-80s.
 

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Disassemble everything to clean - that’s a slippery slope. Ask me how I know. I may have removed one or two pieces of my interior.

Looks great! Getting the interior cleaned out makes a huge difference.


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Discussion Starter #24
If you really want it to be how it rolled off the showroom floor in 2000, find a black M5 cluster. The gray cluster only came in the 2001+ model years, and in the replacement clusters that BMW provided. It's pretty hard to find a good condition black cluster at this point.
I know. I don't think I will be going this route just yet, though. Maybe with unlimited budget, or at some point later...For now, I think my gray cluster is just fine. It was installed by the dealer under warranty, so I consider it a "authorized" change.

Some people use FeBreeze, you used a 3500mg industrial strength ozone generator. Nice.

I bought the Leatherique bottles myself and really need to apply it before it starts cooling off. Today would've been perfect as it was in the mid-80s.
Well I figured what the hell... :wink
Leatherique is great, definitely an excellent product.

Disassemble everything to clean - that’s a slippery slope. Ask me how I know. I may have removed one or two pieces of my interior.

Looks great! Getting the interior cleaned out makes a huge difference.
Ha, yeah, the goal is not to disassemble everything, but only the things that are easy to take apart, or needed to be cleaned. I mean, I'm not pulling door panels and taking out the dash. I did take the seats out though to steam clean the carpet and use leather conditioner on them while they were out of the car. Fronts are a ***** to take out.

Thanks all!
 

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Probably a good call - ha. My restoration started with:
Step 1 - Remove hacked HVAC assembly
Step 2 - Remove audio harness

For the gauge cluster, if/when you do decide to go that route, @blackknight530i can actually swap them and can install LED backlight as well. I posted pics in my restoration thread and he has pics in his pixel fix thread. Or you can find him by searching fixels on FaceBook.


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Discussion Starter #26
Thanks, great info.
 

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Nice story. And I agree with you on the E46 M3. It was my first BMW, bought one new in 2001 and had to trade it for a 325xi after only a year when I moved to Colorado. Absolutely loved that screaming alley cat and I will definitely get another one some day.
I'm curious though, what do you think about the E36 compared to the E46?
 

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Discussion Starter #28
They are very different cars. E46 does almost everything better - it's faster, more planted, more powerful, more luxurious. The engine is truly fantastic and chassis built to handle that engine properly. Marvelous car.

But E36 is lighter, simpler, more tossable. It needs to be pushed to the max to be able to drive it fast, and that is what makes it increduibly fun to drive. Both great cars. Like I said, I would own another e46 in a heartbeat. This is the only car I truly regret selling.

Having said that, unless forced by circumstances my E36 M3 is not going anywhere. I don't want to make the same mistake twice!
 

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Discussion Starter #29 (Edited)
Next I wanted to address the porkchops, both of mine were busted by previous owners. Didn’t look kosher. But looking at the current OEM prices for these parts, almost had a heart attack. $265 + shipping each? No thank you. WTF?





So, after weighting my alternatives and my budget, I ordered some from Latvia on eBay and they showed up over the weekend.



They looked ok, and as a bonus had brake ducts already cut... but they were missing the rubber pieces on the sides. For $55 shipped for both I was not about to complain, but decided to modify these a little bit. Quick trip to home depot for some supplies:



I drilled out the rivets on the old pieces and separated the rubbers. I cut of the piece where the rubber was attached from the old chop and used it as a guide to drill the holes in the new one. Then it was easy – slightly drill out the rivet stem, then just screw the rubber to the liner with the screws and some lock washers. Bingo.



Looked just fine from the other side as well, though it required a bit of massaging to make it fit right and take shape of the bumper.



The fit of the pieces is not very good, but with some work and a bit of cutting here and there you can make them fit rather decent.









These worked fine after reworking them for a couple of hours, but I’m sure I bust them at some point in the future, and when that happens, I’m going with OEM pieces. Hopefully the prices come back down to earth by then.
 

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Yeah those eBay ones are fine. I did the same thing a few months ago but didn't need to cut them. They're one of those things that most people don't notice the poor fitment unless it's on a lift, but when they're cracked, they're definitely a sore sight.

I don't see the OEM prices coming down for them though...if anything they'll go up.

How are your fender liners? I replaced both of mine up front.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
I just made sure the fitment was good. Didn't require much cutting, i guess trimming would be a better word.
My fender liner on driver side looks like it has been replaced at some point, pass side is ok, but has one ear gone, and couple of cracks in it, so a good candidate to be replaced.
Not the priority right now, are OEM pieces reasonable in price or there is another source?
 

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I just made sure the fitment was good. Didn't require much cutting, i guess trimming would be a better word.
My fender liner on driver side looks like it has been replaced at some point, pass side is ok, but has one ear gone, and couple of cracks in it, so a good candidate to be replaced.
Not the priority right now, are OEM pieces reasonable in price or there is another source?
They are ridiculously expensive as OEM. Aftermarket pieces are much cheaper but are ill fitting.
 

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Discussion Starter #33

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https://www.ecstuning.com/b-genuine-bmw-parts/front-fender-liner-right/51718159424/

Looks like $70 per, which is not too bad for OEM. Unless you were talking about the porkchops, then yes, those are effing joke.
Yeah I bought my fender liners and some underbody plastic panels from ECS, but also bought a bunch of parts from Pelican. I'm close to them so the 1-day free shipping deal is pretty sweet.

Don't forget about getting new pop rivets for the fender liners. The ones on the back are pretty much consumables.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
As promised, more on the interior – I think at this point I would consider interior 99% finished – I’m still waiting for fresh set of floormats and a tiny black cover that goes over the screw in the rear door handle.

Other than that, its all done. I might change instrument cluster to a correct black one at some point later on, but right now this is not a priority.

So, both rear and passenger side rear quarter window sunshades were not functioning right. In the case of door shade, it was a typical problem with the plate holding the tab being broken, as was evidenced by the attempted fix by somebody else once I removed the shade:



I have reinforced the tab with some hot glue, wound back the spring, and re-installed the shade back on the door. Works great again!




The rear shade motor was working fine, but the culprit of these mechanisms was always those tiny plastic tabs that slide in the shade rail, they ALWAYS break off. Pretty weak design by BMW if you ask me. Of course, mine were broken off when I purchased the car, and the guides were sticking up (and tore up holes in the tint on the back window!)




What I have discovered when I started looking at the shade itself, was that one of the rollers on the driver side was missing as well.




So, I have ordered OEM roller set, but for the tabs I decided to go with something a little sturdier than OEM – a precision CNC-machined set of tabs with allen screws and lock nuts made from aluminum. Pretty much guarantees I never have to deal with this problem ever again on this car.

Both showed up last night and I have installed both to fix the shade. CNC tabs are absolutely awesome product – highly recommended. Fit great, feel even better – if anyone wants details on eBay seller – PM me. They were $37 shipped so not too bad compared to OEM plastic junk.




The trickiest part was to drill out the old rivets, which I have accomplished by sliding a piece of wood under the old guide rail to avoid putting my drill bit through the window.




Once both sides were drilled out, I have used 6mm socket and a 3/32 allen wrench to lock the new aluminum tabs in place.




After that, it was just a matter of screwing the rollers back on the rail, and making sure the tabs are greased properly. It lives – rear sunshade is back in business – hopefully for good.



Finally, I have tackled the notorious front cupholder. Just replaced the broken one with the OEM I got cheap on eBay. I never going to use it anyway, but wanted this fixed.





With the interior complete, I plan to switch over to the underhood/engine area and replace windshield cowl, some firewall covers that have completely disintegrated, plus address few other minor issues there as well. Stay tuned!
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Amen brother.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Question for the masses - what is the best shock/spring combo used nowadays? Probably need to refresh the suspension with all the bushings and links, but wanted to settle on shocks and springs first. Just go with stock Sachs and use stock springs (cheap), or go with Bilsteins and H&R springs to lower a bit? What's the consensus? Don't want to go coilovers and such as I want to keep the car close to stock ride height and feel. Thanks!
 

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Question for the masses - what is the best shock/spring combo used nowadays? Probably need to refresh the suspension with all the bushings and links, but wanted to settle on shocks and springs first. Just go with stock Sachs and use stock springs (cheap), or go with Bilsteins and H&R springs to lower a bit? What's the consensus? Don't want to go coilovers and such as I want to keep the car close to stock ride height and feel. Thanks!


May also consider Koni/Stock or Koni/Dinan. Stock/stock always seems to be a very popular option as can be seen by the number of people that went aftermarket and ended up reverting back to OEM.

Here is an extensive suspension thread that has/had pics of different suspension set-ups.

The Suspension Thread – Popular coilover & spring/shock setups compiled here

https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?share_fid=11516&share_tid=496730&url=http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=496730&share_type=t


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