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Discussion Starter #121 (Edited)
Excellent work! How lucky this car was to be saved by you. I still can't get over how nice the slicktop LMB looks. I would have given anything to have that extra headroom all these years, the lighter weight, and nice appearance. :)
Thanks, CSBM5! I think the car got really lucky. Probably didn't see this much maintenance in its lifetime:)

Germans don't really appreciate the slicktop that much, but once you sit in both cars you realize how much more headroom you get.

Man, it's so damn satisfying watching you replace all this hardware.

I need to replace the control arm bushing on the driver's side again and I'm trying to remember which one required the shock to be raised for nut access. Since you just did it, was it the rear/larger control arm or the forward/smaller one?

Put that badge back right now! How else will you know what you're driving?
Danke, Kiz!

I think you'll have to loosen the pinch bolt and lower the assembly a bit to get better access if you're removing the thrust arm. For the lower control arm (smaller one) the access is better.

I borrowed a pic from a different thread. How come it gave up? Did you use Lemforder parts?



A while back, I've seen one example where the guy slapped M5 badges on all of the headrests just to be on the safe side. :D

Nice work! This car has been saved. Good call on removing the M5 badge on the trim...yeesh.
Thanks, Kevin! Saved indeed and its future is looking much brighter. That was my exact reaction when I saw the badge on pictures.

She's almost there. LMB looks fantastic. See you in few weeks hopefully.
Danke, Z! Hope so too and hopefully you'll get to taste the M5 on the Autobahn at speeds it was meant to be driven!

Sreten you're my hero. Hell of a job keeping these great cars on the road. Thanks for sharing your awesome stories.
Thanks, Mike! Glad it was an enjoyable read. Definitely takes a lot of effort but I love that feeling when fixing a neglected car and with everything you replace you can feel how the car gives back and drives better.

Good call on getting the proper tool for the lower rear ball joints... the generic c-clamp style tool is a complete hassle to use otherwise. Both of my rear ball joints were shot so it made a huge difference in the ride and handling.



I love how you’re saving all these mildly neglected Italian M5’s, haha.
Thanks, Danny! I learned a while back that proper tool for the job is invaluable. Saves so much time and effort.

Somebody has to do it. :D

You have the best playground for the M5 with an actual Autobahn at your disposal.

What options are there for differential bushing removal kits, or is there a kit that does all 7 rear subframe bushes because most kits that do various models of bmw don’t actually say they can be used to swap out the diff bushes on an e39.
Hitting the Autobahn after fixing the damn thing - there's nothing like it.

I haven't looked into that one to be honest but a quick search revealed this - https://www.amazon.de/BGS-6456-Silentlager-Werkzeugsatz-für-7-tlg/dp/B0092JO6HI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1529582669&sr=8-1&keywords=bgs+6456

Same tool just bit cheaper on eBay - https://www.ebay.de/itm/Silentlager-Werkzeug-Set-Wechsel-Tonnenlager-BMW-E38-E39-Differential-Aufhangung/312042032721?hash=item48a7278e51:g:bMAAAOSw2LZaVMh2

This tool is made by BGS which is a trusted German company that makes great tools. I have their toolset and I love it.



 

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Discussion Starter #124
Not sure but yeah, I went with Lemforder and torqued them down under load. Did both sides the same way so wondering if it was maybe a defective part on the driver's side.
That's unfortunate. How did you diagnose it? Did the bush start to leak?

Just spent 5 hours reading this entire thread.

Awesome work thank you for sharing.
Damn, you really put in some time. :smile Much appreciate it and I'm glad you found my ventures amusing!

Not many updates on the M5. I was traveling with the car over the weekend so I took it to a shop for an alignment and brake fluid flush.

They found what appears to be minimal play in the front left wheel, at first they thought it was the tie rod but that's been already replaced and after a second look it seems it's coming from the drag link. Apart from struts which I ordered that's the only thing that hasn't been replaced on the front suspension so I got new parts coming to sort that along with new struts/shocks. I didn't think of replacing the drag link initially but I should have.

Anyway, time for another unexpected mini car buying road trip!

I was doing my usual thing and browsing car classifieds all over Europe for interesting bimmers when I stumbled across one intriguing 1991 E31 850i slicktop with a 6 speed in France.

The car was located nearby city of Nancy just across the border with France and 3 hours away from Frankfurt. Perfect excuse for a field trip and first longer drive in the M5.

The 8er was a bit of surprise in a good way. Black on black, build date is late 1990 with the first registration in 1991, 3 owners in total. 2nd owner from 1994 to 2006 and the current owner from 2006 until last Saturday. The last owner drove the car for an amazing 1.200 miles! The odometer shows original 82k miles.

I didn't fix the camera on my phone until the next day so the pictures are still crap, sorry for that, guys.



















The car was sitting for roughly 5 years. It used to be parked in the garage but the guy is in the business with coffee machines and he pushed it out of the garage in the backyard and now there's like sh!t ton of coffee machines in the way between this cars freedom.

The mighty 12 banger does fire up and the car moves back and forth under its own power. The engine is idling rough but no scary noises present, it slots into all of the gears and brakes, even though rusty seem to stop the car. The car will obviously need a serious amount of mechanical work but everything is there and doesn't look like it has rust. It has been badly repainted at some point and will need a new lick of paint. The good thing about it is that paint thickness gauge didn't show any use of bondo expect a very small layer on the front right fender so I would say it's accident-free.

What I liked about the car is extremely clean and preserved interior and of course sunroof delete! All of the electronics work - seats, windows, the electric steering column... But the best thing about the car are the service records. There's a full binder of invoices dating back all the way to the early '90s and even has the original purchase invoice from the 2nd owner - he paid 297.000 French Francs back in 1994.

Overall, I think that this E31 is worth saving and I got a pretty good deal on it so it was a no-brainer - took me like 3 seconds to say that I want it. The owner was absolutely awesome and English with the French accent is best English! It instantly reminded me of a scene from Top Gear with Peugeots. :grin
I don't think I'll be undertaking its restoration due to having a full-time job and I got my hands full with the M5. My free time is limited as it is, but we'll see how it goes. I'll be going with a tow truck later in the week to pick it up and bring it to Germany. More updates to come.

Now, few potato pictures of dazzling Nancy.

The big square Place Stanislas in the city center is simply an outstanding landmark.











Can't go to France and not try their delicious pastries.















Had to come back for more.







Awesome city with good people and good food. Would definitely come back.

On the way back I did get to know the M5 a bit better. The ride still doesn't feel alright to me, it's very vague at the front and doesn't give me the confidence to really push it so it was definitely a good call to get the new struts and drag link. I think it'll need a new thermostat as well, it wasn't particularly cold and the temp scale was all over the place. OEM headlights are like candles and it's simply scary driving at night with them.

Retrofitting headlights with new projectors was in the plan and I acquired all of the necessary parts even before buying this M5.
I had some free time on Sunday and finished overhauling the left headlight, but first I replaced the camera on my phone as it was insufferable.

Removed the patient's eye.





Stripping down the headlight.









Lens cover and inner plastic shroud with angel eyes removed.







Projector assembly removed.



Remnants of plastic adjusters.



Old projector vs new Hella G4 Bi-xenon projector.





New projector mounted and putting back everything togehter.







The old lens cover certainly wasn't too bad but it was a bit fuzzy and I'm a sucker for the look of brand new headlights so I got new lens covers too.





Fresh butyl all around for a good seal against moisture and dust.



End product and I finished it off with some fresh bulbs - Osram CBI D2S xenon bulbs, Osram H7 Night Breakers for the high beam and white LEDs for angel eyes.









The difference in output light against old projectors is astonishing.



That's all for now.
 

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Nice work on those headlights!!! Did you bake them to open them? How did you release the original butyl from that housing as you did an amazingly clean job. Also where did you source your Hella G4 Bixenon from? are those from a more recent E39 M5, were they updated at some point or did these come out long after E39 production ended?

Love this thread. Keep the pics coming man. That 8 is such a sweet find, I'd love to find me one like that... mmmmm pastries look AMAZING.
 

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Discussion Starter #127
Nice work on those headlights!!! Did you bake them to open them? How did you release the original butyl from that housing as you did an amazingly clean job. Also where did you source your Hella G4 Bixenon from? are those from a more recent E39 M5, were they updated at some point or did these come out long after E39 production ended?

Love this thread. Keep the pics coming man. That 8 is such a sweet find, I'd love to find me one like that... mmmmm pastries look AMAZING.
Thanks! This is the 4th set of headlights that I retrofitted with new projectors. 1st time I put them in the oven but last three times I used a heat gun since I found it to be more practical. It comes apart pretty easy, just heat up the edges and with a flat headed screwdriver work your way around then you can just pull them apart with your hands once the butyl is warm enough.

I got projectors on Aliexpress, let me know if you need the link and I'll dig it out. I think you can also find them on eBay. They fit all facelift e39 headlights and they are what they call Hella G4 aka EVOX-R 2.0 Bi-xenon projectors, I believe this is the most recent version. For my first set of headlights, I used regular EVOX-R's which are equally good just require a bit more work to fit.

Danke, I'm stoked about the 8er, can't wait to get it here.

The popping sound came back and then I saw it leaking. 'tis a bummer.

Also, I can't tell if you're more addicted to Bimmers or pastries. I guess it doesn't matter as both are sweet.
That sucks. I assume you can get it warrantied.

I just had an unpleasant experience with front Lemforder strut mounts.
Received one mount that's original Lemforder with Boge stamped on the part and then one that says Made in China on the box and Made in India on the part itself.

The difference in quality is obvious and I'm not putting that crap on the car. Already sent it back and ordered a new one from a different supplier.









Addiction to bimmers is getting out of hand. :grin
 

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Discussion Starter #128 (Edited)
Been meaning to do an update as I got a lot done.

Some goodies arrived for the M5. The goal was to transform how the big beast handles.







I started off by replacing the center link and idler arm which is something I should've done when I was replacing the control arms.
The center link that I removed from the car was made by TRW so most likely original unit. Ball joints were shot and I replaced it with a Lemforder unit.

Fun fact - inner ball joint that connects to the idler arm is actually a fixed stud. I got little confused by this since it does look like a normal ball joint that should be movable but after a quick search and removing the original unit I confirmed that it's indeed a fixed stud.



While in there, got new sway bar bushings too.



I went for a short drive after and I could immediately feel improvement just by moving the steering wheel as it would retract much easier in the center position. It used to have a minor play and this certainly tightened things up.

Then I embarked on sorting out the struts. Front struts are straightforward to replace. Pulled the old ones out, compressed the spring and put it on the new Koni sturt along with new strut mounts, bearings, bump stops, spring pads, metal plates and all new locking nuts. I just didn't replace the dust boot since replacement parts didn't arrive in time so reused the old one. It didn't have any tears and it was still, well, rubbery so should be fine.





I marked the original position of the spring on the stock strut and replicated that on the new sturts. Installed the unit back on the car and proceeded with rear shocks.



Rear shocks are not that difficult to replace just more time consuming as it requires more stuff to be removed.

To access the top mount the following needs to go out: rear seat, C pillars, parcel shelf and rear speakers and then we end up with this.





Off goes the fender liner and fuel filler neck moved out of the way. It's amazing how much crap the fender liners accumulate over the years, goggles are highly recommended for this part.
I used a block of wood cut to 23,5 mm and wedged against the frame of the car to keep the swing arm in place which makes for easier removal and installation of the shocks.







I set the spring perch at the lowest position on Koni shocks which matched the original setup and replaced all wearable parts along the way and then finished putting everything back together.







This is the end result. 3 totally dead shocks and 1 that would bounce back at snail speed. 105k miles is definitely more than stock Sachs units can go for.



Per Koni's recommendation when pairing them with stock springs, I left them in their factory delivered setting which is full soft. I really don't want to pull the rear shocks again anytime soon and I would rather live with softer and comfortable suspension than bounce around. The fronts are easy to adjust on the car so I can still play with them.

I went for alignment the next day and then took it on a short trip to Stuttgart to visit a friend on Saturday.



I still need to put more miles on them before I give them a proper review but since I was essentially driving just on springs before, the difference is simply unmistakable.
New struts transformed how the car rides and It finally feels like a proper M5. It's planted, firm, comfortable and the car gives me the confidence to push it to the limit and cruise at higher speeds which is exactly what I want for this M5. New shocks were undeniably a good call.

In other news, the 8er arrived earlier last week. My initial plan was to rent a tow truck and go pick it up myself but I ended up finding a guy who transported it for roughly the same cost which saved me a whole day of driving back and forth which was nice.





I started off with some basic maintenance like new oil & filters, distributor cap and rotors.







Changing spark plugs and PCV valves on a V12 was an interesting experience. Took me a better part of the day to get it done and I can't remember last time I cut and bruised my hands so much. You need acrobatic skills to reach sprak plug #12 and I'm not a very flexible human. Took me 2 days to recover from doing yoga with my girlfriend.



With that I completed some basic maintenance on the 850i and the big beast is already running smoother.



This car really has remarkable service history. I was going through the records the other day and the 2nd owner was spending some big money on it back in the day. The 8er received new clutch in 2001 which was just 4.000 miles ago, along with new water pump, tstat and other cooling components, control arms, belts, brake booster, ABS pump and bunch of other stuff. Shame how the last owner managed to neglect it.







For a 27 years old car, the interior is looking really sharp.







Looks to be a non-smoker car. Love little details like this.



Then jumped back to the M5 and did some preventive maintenance by servicing Vanos solenoids.

Vanos boards removed from the engine.



Brushed up on my soldering skills. Cleaned and resoldered all joints.









Removed old O rings and mesh filters. Activated each solenoid with 9V battery and thoroughly cleaned them with brake cleaner and compressed air. Slapped new O rings and reassembled everything on the car with new gaskets for the cover.











A vital part of maintenance to keep the beast running perfectly.

Finishing the update with some clean Le-Mans-Blue-goodness.













 

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Amazing work. Everytime I get your updates it looks like you accomplish so much in such a short time! The thread is like a time lapse of your work. Man those plugs on the 8er were skank! I had no idea it used a distributor, but 27 years ago is a looooongggg time.
 

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Awesome work!

Suspension upgrades are always a real treat. I'm still on the original Sachs shocks at 113k miles and plan on repeating what you did: Koni yellows on softest setting with stock springs. Outside of some mild squeaking noises from time to time, they're still fine but I know they're due and I really don't want to make the car too stiff.

Regarding keeping the swing arm in place when removing the rear shocks, was there no room to hold it up from the bottom?

Was removing spark plug #12 on the 850 harder than #8 on the S62?
 

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...as I got a lot done.
Indeed.:)

Fantastic job as usual. I'm still on my original struts at 98K, and they are holding up well. I suppose there are many factors that figure into how long they last. Especially compared to my Z4M coupe and F80 M3, the M5's suspension is much more supple.

I absolutely love your manual 850. Congratulations!
 

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Discussion Starter #132
Amazing work. Everytime I get your updates it looks like you accomplish so much in such a short time! The thread is like a time lapse of your work. Man those plugs on the 8er were skank! I had no idea it used a distributor, but 27 years ago is a looooongggg time.
Thanks, man! I do as much as I can with the time I can spare but it is sort of a time lapse. :)

Plugs on the 8er were indeed nasty. Old school BMW engine, basically 2 inline sixes bolted together.

Awesome work!

Suspension upgrades are always a real treat. I'm still on the original Sachs shocks at 113k miles and plan on repeating what you did: Koni yellows on softest setting with stock springs. Outside of some mild squeaking noises from time to time, they're still fine but I know they're due and I really don't want to make the car too stiff.

Regarding keeping the swing arm in place when removing the rear shocks, was there no room to hold it up from the bottom?

Was removing spark plug #12 on the 850 harder than #8 on the S62?
Thank you! I was thinking between OE shocks from the dealer and Koni's, but for the price you can't beat Koni's. I was also keen on keeping the ride smooth so you'll be very happy with this setup.

I can bet you right now that your rear shocks are blown. :D I also replaced OE shocks on my old 530i and ZHP at roughly the same mileage and in both cases the rear shocks were totally toast, fronts also leaked on the 530i while on the ZHP they were still good. My M5 was driven on pretty bad roads in Italy so it comes as no surprise I had to overhaul complete suspension but I had hopes that at least front struts had bit more life left in them. You will be amazed how big of a change it actually is.

Not sure how would you hold it from the bottom, if you have a friend helping he can always stand on the rotor and push the whole swing arm down while you wiggle the shock in and out. I'm a one-man show and found this to be the easiest way.

I never had problems with changing plugs on S62 so I'm gonna say yes. E31 has a long front end and #12 is really tucked all the way back with too many obstacles in the way.

Indeed.:)

Fantastic job as usual. I'm still on my original struts at 98K, and they are holding up well. I suppose there are many factors that figure into how long they last. Especially compared to my Z4M coupe and F80 M3, the M5's suspension is much more supple.

I absolutely love your manual 850. Congratulations!
Thanks, Kevin! My personal experience with Sachs shocks is that they tend to go around that mileage but I agree, many factors go into account of their lifespan. My M5 used to live in a street that looked like a minefield so that certainly contributed to their longevity.

8er is a fascinating car. I love this type of old-school engineering. Here's a little throwback :)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eX0SveEIXc
 

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I guess I could search, but what exactly did you do to the vanos boards and solenoids? Coming to E39 from E60 world, we don't clean anything, it just gets replaced.
Could you point me into the right direction to see what I need to do with those? Thanks.
Amazing job on all this, and the 8er looks fantastic.
 

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Discussion Starter #136
Anytime! If you have any questions, drop me a chat. I know I had questions when I was doing this for the first time and Sailor24 jumped in to help out.


Turned my attention to the interior. I deep cleaned and scrubbed carpets, mats and all plastic. I don't like sitting in filth and I had to clean and disinfected everything from the previous owners.

Leather wasn't particularly bad but you could tell it was dirty and in need of love. I decided to try ever so famous leatherique.

Unfortunately, I didn't take before pictures since I was applying the product in the night.

Here are the front seats after sitting through the night and all day baking in the sun with windows rolled up.





I tried various products over the years and all work in a similar way and get the job done, but nothing I used so far leaves clean matte finish as good as leatherique. The process is a bit mess but well worth it.























Interior is so fresh now and I love how black sport seats go along with titan trim.
 

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Leatherique is AMAZING. Typically you use the Pristine Clean in combination with the Leather Rejuvinator.

That smell is TO DIE FOR.... drool
 

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Discussion Starter #139
Would you mind sharing exactly which Leatherique product(s) you used?
Like Trizzuth said - Leather Rejuvenator and Pristine Clean.

I followed instructions from this video. The dude seems to know what he's talking about. I would highly recommend using a clean spray bottle for the cleaner. I didn't but wish I did, it would be much easier to control how much you use.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JLr7igvCZc
 

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Loving this thread, very inspirational.

Have you driven any more after doing the Koni shock install? Keen to hear your thoughts of how they are with the oem springs. I’m currently deciding to go either oem or koni.

Thanks in advance.
 
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