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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I figured it would be better to start a new thread for the M5 rather than merge it with the LS E39 touring. As many of you know, I recently purchased a 3/2003 M5 with 98k miles in sterling gray. It was just the most unusual set of circumstances and timing that led me to this car. I won't go into the full details about why the PO got rid of it because part of it was personal in nature and had nothing to do with the car but also due to the fact that even the BMW dealer couldn't figure out what was wrong with the car. It had a voltage draw that was causing the battery to go dead within hours. After the dealer failed to find the cause, the car was parked for about a year. During this time, the interior (other than the leather dash and console), mirrors and bumpers were removed from the car and transplanted to another E39. The parts from that car were then swapped into the M5. The owner approached me about the car one day at cars and coffee. He asked me about my touring and I told him of my dream to also have an S62 powered E39 touring. The initial plan was to buy the car as a donor for an M5 touring conversion.

After checking the carfa and going over it with a fine tooth comb, I found that it has absolutely never had a single bit of paint work done. And the dealer did most if not all of the service work. The engine bay is absolutely spotless with no leaks anywhere. The original oil tag is still on the dipstick and it looks like the plenum nuts have never been touched. The condition of the car and the fact that other than the voltage issue and a slightly slipping clutch, the car is mechanically perfect caused me to change my mind about using it as a donor car. I had then decided I would repair the car and then flip it. But then I drove it home. I instantly fell in love and can see why all E39 M5 owners are so enthusiastic about their cars. The E39 M5 is IMO, the most awesome performance sedan out there. It's a gentleman's performance cruiser. Everything about it is as close to the perfect driving experience as I have had. The power and torque in my touring makes the M5 feel anemic but it still has that smooth yet raw feel that just can't be replicated in anything other than an M car. The suspension is perfect and it's quiet but still has a little growl when you get into it.

As many of you know, I have bought/sold several vehicles lately and since my plans to sell the M5 changed, I had to make the decision whether to sell the M or the mint 86 Toyota truck. Which I got cleared funds for today :) And that being said, I have begun my refreshstoration and will document here.

First of all, I was able to determine that the voltage draw was caused by a hidden radar detector. Why the dealer couldn't figure that out, I don't know but you couldn't see a single sign of it anywhere until I pulled the lower dash. Once that was removed and the battery was replaced, she was good to go. A few weeks ago, I learned you could replace the fading M logo on the trunk and intake plenum without replacing the badge so that has been done. I also replaced the one piece shifter knob/boot (which I can't stand) with an illuminated ZHP. Today from FCP and ECS, I ordered brand new OEM front and rear bumpers covers, trim, grill, valence, fog covers and tow hooks. I also ordered the glass filled plastic headlight adjusters that Stuck mentioned. While I was at work, I had a dent guy come and completely remove the 3 small door dings in the car so it is now 100% dent free. Paint correction will follow soon after I wetsand the entire car with 2000 grit.

Upcoming improvements will be all new interior trim, replacing the M5 seats/door panels (leaning towards caramel seats, door panel inserts and lower dash) and alcantara headliner, removing the window tint, having all 4 wheels refinished in shadow chrome and replacing all the interior lighting with LED's. I should be going up to NOVA to have my clutch replaced as well.

My ultimate goal is to make this car an absolutely pristine example inside and out. It will be all OEM/stock with no absolutely no aftermarket mods (although I may remove the mufflers which can easily be re-installed) because I feel that the E39 M5 is perfect just the way it came from the factory. I will probably end up selling it eventually if I come across a mint low mileage 03 M5 in alpine/caramel.

More photo updates to come soon but this will get us started.



















 

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Very nice, I'm looking forward to seeing the progression of work! I'm curious about the interior LEDs that you'll be using -- I've often thought about replacing some of the lights myself. I do like the orange overhead lights that shine down onto the gear shifter at night, I think they look pretty cool.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Here is a photo of the LED's in my touring. I absolutely love it. You don't lose the amber ambient lighting from the map lighting.



 

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Look like that will be a fun project :)

But that front bumper has got to go.... Unless you want the ultimate sleeper.
 

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Oops
 

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Looking forward to the restoration!
 

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Im confused a tad... there are some non-m parts on this car (front bumper cover and side mirrors) in your post you say that youre replacing the bumper covers... I assume you will go with m mirrors as well?

She looks amazing good luck with your project!
 

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NON M5 mirrors?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I guess my post was too long for everyone to read since a bunch of details have been missed in the replies (although I did forget to mention M mirrors will be returned once I find a decent set for sale) ;) All the original M parts will be going back on the car. When it's done it will be a mint all original M5 as it was when it left the factory. Thanks for the compliments, all! I do feel very lucky to have gotten such a wonderful example to begin with (albeit with the various non M parts)
 

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Hi RVAE34,

I think you are going the right way with this example, a very low miled example and all fresh once you get it back to factory spec/condition ! I think you might well get some very good offers for selling it at that point ! ;)

Looking forward to see how you progress with it!

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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Congrats on finding a car that seems to be in good mechanical condition, and I'm glad to hear that you found the problem and you're restoring a beast back to its glory!
 

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You must have had a great deal, lucky you :)

Looks lovely and is a nice colour.
I'm pretty amazed that 'they' couldn't find the parasitic battery drain. Removal of the lower dash isn't such a big job; half an hour or so I reckon, especially for an experienced/competent person and would not have cost that much more in labour.
I look forwards to seeing it all complete, keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
My friend Chris pointed out the fact that my car was missing the sport button on the control panel. Got a replacement from Clemster yesterday and holy crap, what a difference that button makes!!! It was raining and therefore a bad day to try it out for the first time. All I got was the anti-skid warning the whole time :D

I was also able to replace the adjusters in one of my sealed 03 lights. What a pita!!!! But unfortunately when I was putting the auto leveling feature back in, I snapped the clip on the socket that the ball of the adjuster fits in. So I will be opening up my pre-facelift lights this week to rob the socket and have at it again.

Bumpers and associated parts shipped from ECS. I think I will paint them myself even though I refuse to do it in my new garage. I will probably buy one of those temporary garages and turn it into a temporary paint booth. Here are the photos of the bumper I painted for my touring though to give an example of my paint work.




 

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Love build threads. This looks like it will be well done. As someone in the hunt for an e39 M5 in the RVA region, this has my attention...
 
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