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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So where did it all start? I am not sure but the powder-coated valve cover discussion started with the previous owner and myself some years ago when he first got the Beast. He never got around to it and I merely took advantage of the winter months when I couldn’t and didn’t want to drive it anyway and finally got it done. Of course, you all know the real inspiration for it and so I will not go into it here. I used this thread to help me get the valve covers off and on and here is a thread I started concerning valve cover powder-coating. The picture below shows off my work and my new Bimmian aluminum oil cap. A word, or maybe a PSA, on that oil cap, the engine compartment with an operating S62 in it is hot. Really hot. A piece of aluminum sitting in that environment will become hot as well. Really, really hot. If you find you need to add oil after checking level at the gas station like a good Beast owner and you have a cap like this, wear gloves or other protective equipment or you will likely regret it. Ask me how I know.<o:p></o:p>
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Amber. It really is a beautiful color, especially on the-best-E39-M5-color-ever-Jet-Black. Looking back at some of the bookmarks I kept on the subject of amber, I see that member blackxs was far ahead of me even last year when I first picked up on this. Even in this thread that led me to post my own thread I only now noticed that he answered a lot of the questions and in the end, got me the amber-Celis taillights that I wanted. Thank you once again, sir! I completed the look with amber side-markers. <o:p></o:p>
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I needed to replace my headlights. They were in pretty rough shape overall and the last adjuster finally broke so it was time. After researching what was out there and seeing the prices I decided on two things: I wanted and, in reality, needed to retain amber corners to maintain the amber look on my car and I did not want angel eyes, or at most only OEM angel eyes.<o:p></o:p>
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Then I saw <st1>Cal</st1>’s thread (if you haven’t taken a look, you should) with pictures of his beautiful TiAg Beast and I was immediately convinced that pre-facelift headlights were for me. I totally agree with him; there is something very clean about them and angel eyes just weren’t doing it for me anymore (pictures 5 and 6 sealed the deal, by the way).<o:p></o:p>
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So I find a seller on another forum who has some pre-facelift headlights in good shape. I finally get them and they are a little rougher than I expected. I go into overhaul mode.<o:p></o:p>
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I used this guide that I found in this thread to help in disassembly and this .pdf as a general guide for refinishing. A 5mm nut driver works perfectly to disengage the auto-level mechanism from the reflector assembly. I opted to use 3M’s plastic polish because it was readily available and I am supremely impressed. If Menzerna polishes are better, which seems to be the overriding opinion, then they must simply be amazing because the 3M stuff isn’t bad in my opinion. The 3M polish definitely doesn’t make them look like new as the Menzerna polishes can but it’s not bad at all. A few hours progressing through the grades of sandpaper (400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500 and 2000), finishing sand with this 3000 grit foam pad thing I found and then a total of about 30 minutes (three ten-minute periods) with a random-orbital buffer and the 3M polish and they look great. I spent a total of three days disassembling them, cleaning the internal lenses, reflectors and housings, replacing the adjusters and sanding/polishing the lenses, etc. A little Meguiars wax and they look a lot better then when I got them. They’re so smooth that they almost kept slipping off of my lap.<o:p></o:p>
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I decided to install new 85122+ D2S bulbs and “reuse” the old pre-facelift ballasts (which work fine) in the low-beams and use the Toshiba 9012 HIR2 in the high-beams. I have a set of 9011 HIR1 and 9012 HIR2 in my Tahoe and they work quite well and so far I am quite impressed with the 9012 HIR2 operation in my M5. Read more about the original G.E. HIR and the Toshiba HIR1 and HIR2 here, this is also who I purchased mine from. Apparently there is a third-generation 9012 HIR2 out there made by Philips.<o:p></o:p>
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I had to modify my facelift wiring to power the pre-facelift corner marker and turn signal bulb. Instead of four wires (two are ground sources) I needed only three wires so I cut away the backshell of the turn-signal socket to expose the pins and soldered one end of a 4-flat trailer wiring plug to them. I soldered the mating end of the receptacle to my existing wires. I did this by connecting the ground wires together and then soldering the appropriate wires to the appropriate pins. The feed that powers the angel eyes (and corner marker via Celis) on facelift headlights should power the low-wattage filament in the 3457 bulb and the turn signal wiring powers the high-wattage filament. Everything works and there are no lamp check warnings with my setup. I didn’t cut existing wires so if I want to go back to facelift, I can very easily.<o:p></o:p>
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Now I had to aim these “new” headlights and so a quick search yielded this thread and using the .pdf on the second page I got them aimed properly I would also recommend Daniel Stern’s website if you want to learn some more about bulbs. I truly did not realize what a difference a set of properly functioning and aimed headlights could make and how much night driving safety can be affected by a malfunctioning or maladjusted set. It is literally a night and day difference. I really like the amber reflector even though it is huge. The design is pretty good and the area over the bulb is sort of clear so it is not as dated as I would think.<o:p></o:p>
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So all in all I am pretty happy with my work and am forever grateful to this board for all the information accessible on it. I linked only a few threads that I ultimately looked at but these were the ones that stuck out. Thank you to all of the members who make this the finest BMW forum online.
 

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Not sure how I feel about the headlights but the valve covers and oil cap look great

the msport bumper looks good too, any particular reason why you switched?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the compliments!

I feel I should get some better pictures of the headlights, like some front quarter shots to really show them in comparison to the facelift headlights. As far as the bumper/splitter, while I agree that the front end should be cluttered, it was on there when I bought the car and I haven't had the desire to remove it. I like the splitter, as well.

I tried to include before and after pictures of the lights for comparison purposes.
 

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I can see the allure to the pre-facelift lights. Gives it more of a classic old-school Bimmer look. I'm just not sure I would want to downgrade just in terms of light output though. The valve covers look great, and I really like the little touch you added with the ///M stripes in the front grille. Is that center bar in the grille from a 540 M-tech?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The classic look is what I was going for. I can not say if I percieve the retrofit as a downgrade as my facelift headlights were in much poorer overall shape. I do like, dare I say prefer, the cutoff on these pre-facelift headlights, though, and I can certainly say they do not appear inadequate, at least at this point. I do notice that a properly aimed set of headlights is competely superior to an un-aimed or mis-aimed set. Maybe the few hundred extra lumens of the 85122+ bulbs help in this regard? I plan to disassemble my old pair of headlights and try to recondition them also. The splitter is sourced from the M-tech 540 Sport package.
 

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Great looking Beast! I see what you were going for with the headlights. Love the M-tech grill and stripes. And DAYUM, that engine bay looks fantastic! The valve covers really provide contrast!

--Peter
 

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josiahg52,

M5 looks great man. I can't wait to put my rear wheels on the front & a Super Sprint exhaust on mine too. You M5 looks great with these & those amber tails look perfect on that color. An M5 is this color looks so damn mean... :M5launch:
 

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Looks sweet. I dig that additional horizontal splitter in the lower fascia opening.
 

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Doesn't that oil cap get really hot after the car's been running for some time?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Doesn't that oil cap get really hot after the car's been running for some time?
Yes. I mentioned it in my first post, kind of tongue in cheek, but it is no joke. It is very hot after the engine has been running for a while. It seems obvious to me in retrospect; it is a piece of metal in a hot engine bay.

congrats, your E39 M5 now looks 10 years older :D
That is a compliment! To me anyway! I am more apt to say that it "looks ten years old" rather than older. Pre-century, you know?

I'm not hating because it's your car and your choices, but I think the E39 already has "classic looks"

Good job for being unique, though
I agree totally. It really was more of a vintage BMW headlight look that I was going for, rather than attempting to improve upon what is already a very good looking package and classic that is the E39. Unique is what I try to be but the essence of the E39 is still there I think.
 

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Looking good. The headlights are kinda meh, but they'll grow on me, I'm sure. I need photos of the cluster. That is where its at.

When you're ready to sell it back to me, let me know. I miss that car terribly.
 
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Interesting approach. In most cases users upgrade pre-facelift headlights to facelift, so they would have the mean look angel-eyes, newer look, better visibility during night time, etc. :M5eyes:

If the purpose was to let the car look a little older than it is, then the target is reached. :D Anyway, the car seems to be in good condition, which is the most important. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I need photos of the cluster. That is where its at.
That is still coming together as there is still one more aspect of the cluster that I am trying to pin down.

. . . better visibility during night time, etc. :M5eyes:

Anyway, the car seems to be in good condition, which is the most important. ;)
That is one drawback for sure but using the 85122+ bulbs in the pre-facelift assembly has proven to be quite acceptable in the visibility department; much better than using an OEM bulb in the same assembly. Thank you for the compliment.
 

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I love the engine bay....but I can't say I would go with most of the exterior decisions for myself. She still looks good though.
 

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That is still coming together as there is still one more aspect of the cluster that I am trying to pin down.
Do not, under any circumstances, put any of those god awful chrome rings or extra ///M badges or any other nonsense in the cluster.
 
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