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Discussion Starter #1
Hello fellow Board members. I just bought this beautiful M5. I'm not new to BMWs (currently own 5), but am new to M cars. Love the M5 so far, but with 116k miles and no maintenance records, I have no illusions about cost of ownership. Thankfully I can do a lot myself (not rod bearings or timing chain, oh well). I've already been learning a lot here and have a lot more to learn. Hopefully I can also eventually contribute. I'll kick it off with a couple of questions.

1. What is the consensus on the E39 Bentley manual. Is it worth the cost for an M5. I have used their manuals extensively maintaining E30s and and E46.
2. I've read a lot of threads here about code readers and haven't found a clear answer. I still have a Peake from my time owning an E46, but was never that impressed and Peake's customer service was terrible. There seem to be several options for pirated BMW software, but I'm not too tech savvy. Is there a good code reader/software for under $500 that's user friendly? I would like to read BMW codes and see live data if possbile, but don't plan to do any high-tech coding.

Thanks, Cory

M5 pic by cory58f5, on Flickr
 

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Congrats Cory. 116k miles, nice score!
I picked up the schwaben tool from ECS and have been happy with what I can do with it.
Really helps with bleeding the brakes, reading smog monitors, and it can run active test on most the car.
Saw in your sig that you have an e30 touring, pictures? My favorite car I have ever owned was an e30 m3.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies!

Obioban - Thanks for the link. It looks like bcables cured the complicated installation challenge I've read about with the ISTA/DIS software. How is the usability for a non-tech person?

OjaiM5 - Thanks for the recommendation - I will check out the schwaben tool. I will also upload and post pics of my other Bavarian babies soon.

Cory
 

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Congrats and officially "welcome"!

Post more pics!

Re: diagnostics - The ISTA program is nice. It is decently intuitive but not exactly easy to use. The issue you will have trying to run that program on the E39 will be with the cables. I can't remember for sure what the difference is (damn getting older sucks!) but I know that I need different cables to check the e39 vs my F10 M5 (the reason I got ISTA running). So I still use vintage DIS v44 on an old laptop as well as INPA for the e39. DIS is slow and cumbersome but has everything you could possibly need to do on the e39. For most work, INPA works fine (monitor sensors, check fuel trims, read/clear codes from all modules, etc.) INPA is also easy to use provided you can find an English converted version like I have. (don't ask where it came from, a fellow member hooked me up back in 2010!)

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
technician117 - Thanks for the info. Looks like I'll try ISTA. The price for the software and cable from dcables seems very reasonable.

All - Here are some picks of my other babies.

E30 cabrio. Owned since 2006. Picture taken at 2018 Independence Day parade. My first and only Bimmer before this one was an E30 cabrio I purchased in 1994 as a dumb 27 year old with good credit. Driving it was a revelation and set the hook for my addiction.
July 4 Parade 2018 E30 1 by cory58f5, on Flickr

E30 Touring. Took me a year to find one with the specs I wanted (M20, 5-speed, factory A/C). I order to get that, I broke my cardinal rule of no rusty cars. Came with bottle caps and the style 10s transformed the look. Currently on the lift in my garage undergoing major maintenance (hard fuel and brake lines, all soft fuel and vent lines from hard lines back, remove/test/clean fuel tank, rear soft brake lines, rebuild driveshaft, transmission seals, clutch, throw-out bearing, rear main seal, starter)
Touring w Style 10s right rear 3-4 by cory58f5, on Flickr

E12. Picture taken at the BMWCCA Foundation on opening day of the Passion exhibit. Met the original owner when I moved to Charlotte in 2009. Met the second owner at a BMWCCA meeting and bought the car from him when he moved back home to Europe. Great condition. Always a second car. 85k miles. Awesome driving feel much more "vintage" than the E30s.
My car 2 by cory58f5, on Flickr

Cory
 

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I have both BCABLES provided software and the Foxwell 520 (Foxwell makes the Schwaben scanner). bcables install is mostly good, though I had an issue with an install screen which required a response from me being hidden behind another unrelated program which delayed the install but once installed it works well.

The Foxwell scanner works very well across all of my BMWs, and software for other manufacturers is available. Definitely worth the investment.


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It's funny, I plugged my Schwaben into my Cayenne and it can read/clear codes, check monitors, and I think do diagnostic checks. The only thing it wouldn't do is the thng that is annoying me, reset the service now light
 

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I recently purchased a Foxwell unit and it seems pretty good so far. It is the same unit as the Schwaben, but provides flexibility to install software to support other cars.

The E39 Bentley manual is fine as a reference for basic things, but you can find the same or better information here, in other forums, and on YouTube. There are key differences in the M5 that are not covered in the manual.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the responses! The INPA and Schwaben/Foxwell both seem like good options. Thanks also for Bentley feedback. It's nice to have a book in the garage when needed, since I don't have a computer or internet access there. I used the Bentley F30 manual last weekend for torque specs when doing a rear brake job in my wife's car.

Cory
 
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