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Discussion Starter #1
Friends: I currently own a pristine E28 M5, and am planning to move up shortly to the E39 version of the Beast.

What mods are the highest priority for this car? Among Forum members, I've seen a bewildering array of mods by virtually every aftermarket shop. But which of these are the "must-haves" and which are less important? My E28 has a number of mods, including the Dinan engine chip and Stage III suspension.

Please forgive me if you've been over this before, but it would be really useful for new and prospective E39 owners to have a prioritized list of the available mods. :M5thumbs:

Many thanks, Mike
 

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Use the search function (and limit it to the E39). There is a bunch of stuff on this.

My list would start with

1. Exhaust (with headers)
2. Powerchip
3. Suspension



Ridgeback_Pilot said:
Friends: I currently own a pristine E28 M5, and am planning to move up shortly to the E39 version of the Beast.

What mods are the highest priority for this car? Among Forum members, I've seen a bewildering array of mods by virtually every aftermarket shop. But which of these are the "must-haves" and which are less important? My E28 has a number of mods, including the Dinan engine chip and Stage III suspension.

Please forgive me if you've been over this before, but it would be really useful for new and prospective E39 owners to have a prioritized list of the available mods. :M5thumbs:

Many thanks, Mike
 

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This is a very subjective topic. You can start from the least expensive and work your way on up the list...only you can decide what is a "must have" item.

less than $1000 items...
Brake duct modification (open up the airway)
brake pads
short shifter kit
rear swaybar (and brackets)
Powerchip

over $1000 items...
CAI w/IATS relocation
suspension upgrade
big brake kit
exhaust system
headers
clutch upgrade

If you are an audiophile or need radar detector or want hands-free phone in your car there are more items. Try looking at the board sponsor's websites for ideas on what is available for the M5.
 

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I would take a slightly different approach than what others have suggested.

Start out by making sure your driving skills are up to par. Investing in a driving school will make you much more efficient with your vehicle. With that being said, an exhaust system will give you great daily pleasure. Short shifters also a good thing to consider. Dinan adjustable rear swaybar will dial out some understeer, and is very cost efficient. The UFM temp. sensor relocation kit is also a great product. In simple terms, it relocates the heat sensor to a more accurate location, which stops the engine from cutting power to adjust for inaccurately warm air in the engine.

Hope this helps, please don't hesitate to inquire more.

Travis
 

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I have a slightly different approach. One of the strongest attributes of the car is its power, IMHO. Leave power modes for last since they are the most expensive.

I'd say your making a serious step up the power ladder here, and if you are anything like the rest of us, keeping your foot out of it will be a challenge.

First up my list of mods would be a really good radar detector and laser jammer. The money you will save, ticket and insurance wise, will allow you to buy all the other goodies.

Once you have them, get a Short Shift Kit, like the UUC EVO III. A missed shift in the e39 M5 can be expensive.

Then its time to dial out some of the understeer. A nice Dinan adjustable rear sway bar, and their camber plates for the front of the car.

These are some pretty cheap mods for the M5 and they will add to your driving satisfaction right from the get go.

Now you can start to look at the more costly things.

The powerchip seems to be a natural addition about now. Add a few bucks and get the IATS relocatioin kit.

CAI is expensive, and as a stand alone mod I doubt its worth it. If your looking to add dramatically to the power of the car, then its, in for a penny in for a pound, as they say. CAI, bigger MAF housings, headers and exhaust, bigger throttle bodies, different velocity stacks, yadda yadda yadda.

Many are pleased by a more agressive exhaust note and thats not quite so much money. My impression from this board is that most who have done it feel it adds quite a bit to their enjoyment of the vehicle.

Guess it all depends on whats more imortant to you. Raw power costs considerably more than more precise handling.
 

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"It all depends on what you want to do with it." That is, the single best sentence to use as advise when it comes to modifying cars. So, Mike, before listening to us, ask yourself what you want to do with the car. After you've figured that out, it will make things much easier.

Travis
 

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I'll comment on my mods..

The exhaust is #1. The stock exhaust is incongruous with the rest of the car's setup. Next most important the short shift kit has the best price/benefit ratio of any mod. Lastly the 3.45 diff makes the kick in the pants more dragster-like (with accompanying gearing pitfalls) but is expensive...

I'm looking forward to trying an aftermarket suspension, and you might want to wait on the chip till all engine mods are decided on.
 

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Looking at the mods I have done I can say w/o hesitation that the clutch is the best mod I have made:M5launch: , with suspension coming in very close second. Getting the Powerchip is not really cheap ($900?), but certainly gives a "seat-of-the-pants" improvement immediately. The IAT (intake air temperature) Sensor Relocation is a cheap & easy mod that gains immediate results (and a big grin when driving:wroom: !).

The SSK (short shift kit) with upgraded tranny mounts makes for a much more pleasurable driving experience. The exhaust mod certainly sounds much better tahn OEM, but I don't know that it gives anymore "boost" without going all-the-way and getting the headers in combination with the exhaust.

But remember also that each of these mods compliments the other. I strongly agree with the previous posters regarding saving the (serious) engine mods (HP) 'till last...this car has PLENTY of power & torque...the handling and simply "pepping-up" the existing car seems to be the way to go. Also, just doing some searches and see what sounds good to you and as a previous poster suggested "ask yourself what you are wanting from the car".

Robert
 

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#1 Short Shifter (UUC) Biggest Bang For The Buck!!!!! This is one of the most important interfaces with the car, it should be positive, smooth, feel good.

#2 Software (Power Chip) In Sport Mode, smooth throttle response.

#3 What ever you can afford.....

:thumbsup:
 

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Well, money aside I would do CAI/3:45 Diff/exhaust

I would also beef up the checking account for this
fun, as you will find out, you never get back barely
anything you put in, but if your keeping it, dont
worry. You can always wait for someone selling their
M5, and try to buy their mods cheaper. Just the 3
above mods from Dinan will run you 7-8K maybe more.
Add several thousand more for a better flywheel and clutch,
and I think the very best inexpensive mod I have is the
short shifter, that was worth every penny. but for flat out
speed the dif and exhaust and CAI did the most.:2:
 

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The car is already pretty terrific the way it comes from the factory. Power and handling are already very good, so there really are very few "must have" mods. I would start with modest mods that give you benefits in everyday use. These would be a short shift kit, cupholders and a Powerchip. The shifter is your interface with the car. The stock one is woefully rubbery and not up to the standards for the rest of the car. The cupholders are a joke and can't even hold your morning coffee. While stock power is good, the driveability could stand improvement, as in stock form there is a slight "hole" in the midrange that a Powerchip will shore up. The next thing you will notice after living with the car a while is the built-in understeer, so next on my list would be moderate suspension mods, like a Dinan rear sway bar and a pair of OEM rear wheels up front to dial out most of that understeer. Gears, headers and exhaust are expensive and give you a good amount of additional performance but are not "musts" to enjoying the car daily. :M5launch:
 

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Hey Ridgeback- You will love the E39, most everyone does, and many are happy enough to keep it bone stock, but it's aways fun to tinker and customize, making your ride perfect for you! That's the key of course, what is perfect for you? I like the advice that M5Kid gave...don't listen to us! :haha: Listen to what you want. Drive the car and get used to it first, then you will see for yourself what you want to improve.

My personal experience on "must have's":

- SSK (the stock shifter felt like from a truck)
- Dinan Front Camber Plates and Rear Sway on tightest setting :wroom: (get rid of that awful huge understeer at the limit, and help outside front tire wear)

Next, I might do the UUC clutch when (not if) my clutch dies. I hear almost universally that it's the s#it!

I feel my mods are essentially remedial in nature, addressing shortcomings in the car. I personally am happy (at least for now) with the stock power output, wheels, body, etc.

Let us know what you wind up with! :byee55amg
 

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Let me add one more thought to this thread. Most of the talk has been about performance upgrades, which is good, because I tend to shy away from aesthetic modifications. With that being said, a set of quality wheels such as Fikse or Dinan's is a great purchase. The stock wheels have proven to be good quality, and capable of taking a beating without bending. One of my favorite modifications is the European spec headlights with silvervision blinkers. The front and rear looks so much cleaner with this.

Travis
 

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I'm not gonna chime in on any mods, as that has been covered well enough. Well, maybe one. Get the upgraded rear swaybar brackets, as the stock ones are prone to fail, and when they do the car understeers like a pig. Found out the hard way in my E39.
What I will do is welcome you to the board, and ask if you have any pictures of your T210. I love the 210, and some day I hope to own one. Fantastic airplanes, especially the T's.
:cheers:
 

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coming from an e28, you'll find the e39 very heavy, with a bunch of understeer. My first step would be suspension. I have dinan stage 3, if you're happy with it on your e28 that'd be a nice start. Coilovers are a bit more agressive, and more tunable, but for me, the dinan set up as as stiff as i'd want. Eventually you'll get used to the power, bang for the buck would be supersprint headers and exhaust (cats too, depending on your state and smog issues). In the $5k neighborhood for 30 or so hp. A cai is probably eye candy, but it does look/sound good. I like my uuc evo3 ssk too, and the dinan wheels do maket the car feel a bit lighter.
Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
BmwNut said:
I'm not gonna chime in on any mods, as that has been covered well enough. Well, maybe one. Get the upgraded rear swaybar brackets, as the stock ones are prone to fail, and when they do the car understeers like a pig. Found out the hard way in my E39.
What I will do is welcome you to the board, and ask if you have any pictures of your T210. I love the 210, and some day I hope to own one. Fantastic airplanes, especially the T's.
Thanks, everyone, for all the terrific advice on E39 mods. I particularly appreciated the tip that it's a lot less expensive to purchase a car that already has most of the mods I'd want!

Exactly the same is true for airplanes. Avionics upgrades can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and you almost never get it all back when you sell the plane. Much cheaper to simply buy an aircraft that already has the mods you want.

Speaking of which, and since you asked, attached are a couple of photos of my T210 (Turbo Centurion), along with a recent aerial view of California's San Joaquin Valley at sunset. I think the T210 is the perfect aerial match for the M5; they're both in a class of their own! The Cessna may only have a 310 horsepower engine, but I clocked more than 250 kts groundspeed the other day crossing the Sierras westbound at 16,000 ft. That's nearly 290 MPH!! There are no speed limits in the air, and you don't need a Valentine One to protect you from the law! :M5thumbs:

Cheers, Mike
___________
1988 E28 M5
1983 911SC Cabriolet
2004 Volvo XC70
1981 Cessna T210N
 

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I would also say being patient and finding a nice car w/ well done mods is the most cost effective way to go. I got my car with the S2 pkg already installed for pennies on the dollar. You can spend a lot of money for little horsepower so I would put those mods down the list.

1) Drink Holders (I'm a coffee drinker and stock were pathetic)
2) Pony up the extra bucks for PS2s (very noticable improvement over stock Dunlops)
3) Dinan stage 3 (front camber plates and rear sway bar are worth it by them selves) or Coilovers if you can tolerate a stiffer street ride
4) Exhaust system (not much power but lets you enjoy that V8 sound)
5) Radar and Laser protection
6) Brake upgrades if you are tracking a lot
7) shift kit
8) take you car to a driving school (stock car does fine if you are nice to the brakes and accept some wear to the outside edges of your front tires)
9) Then think about engine stuff and if you want a 3.45 diff unless they already came with the car
10) Can wait until you wear out your clutch to ponder the options there......
 
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