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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had an 07 530 6MT Touring and found it to be so good in many ways but it was a decently base spec. It started getting up in miles so I decided to sell it. I bought an M235i thinking it would remind me of my early automotive days in my 88 325iX. It was even the perfect spec - manual, red leather, Alpine white, 10k miles, etc. Alas it did not and I found myself thinking more about the car that moved me: the E61.

I had done quite a few automotive projects with increasing difficulty over the years, including converting that 07 E61 to 2WD after a chunk of concrete ventilated the oil pan. That planted the seed that leads me to today: use the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup approach to build an S85 powered E61. Obviously, the US never got the M5 Touring but the chassis is largely the same. Noted exception is the cut out for the standardized transfer case notch since all wagons over here were AWD.
I bought a great recipient car in a 2010 535xiT finished in Carbon Black trimmed out with M Sport bits. After several months of looking, I found a great donor car in an 08 M5 6MT with 76k mi on it. I wanted a known runner instead of a salvage because after careful consideration I decided the best way to complete the swap was to do a complete harness out swap, and having a complete donor car would allow everything to port over rather than buy unknown small bits one at a time. My expectation is that I'll end up with a faithful near-factory car when it's all said and done.

So... When a friend had spare garage space and offered it up for me to take over for an undetermined period of time, I couldn't say no. As such, it's time to start my E61 M5 build!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
To kick things off, I didn't need a ton of extra space to do some preliminary body work so I set about an aesthetic pet peeve of mine with the M5 fenders - the bolt on vents. I'm sure many disagree but to me they just look like barbed wire bicep tattoos - you know, nice.
So I bought a junk yard fender off a random 5 series to donate some aluminum to fill the holes.
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The vents have a nice flange around them so I cut to suit, bent some tabs in then used 3M panel bond to make them permanent.
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I had never messed with filler before so after some digging, settled on metal filler for rough in and fine filler for the skim coat.
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I was probably quite wasteful but it was my first try and I think it turned out OK.
Next I turned to my other bodywork pet peeve, which was the corner reflectors that never seem to fit correctly.
I have an old damaged bumper that I used as a filler plate then plastic welded the two together with some stainless mesh behind for structure.
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A bit of sanding then plastic body filler smoothed things out for the body shop.
A quick test fit then off to paint!
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The finished panels needed quite a bit of finagling to get the gaps right but in the end I'm quite pleased with the results.
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Agreed - sadly the SUV basically killed wagons in the US.
Yep, I followed along too. My 2WD conversion was a little easier since I was just removing the AWD but he was doing the manual piece as well. That's one of the reasons I decided to go the way I am rather than try to chase wiring and make a bunch of compromises and wiring overlays.

Andy

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Slow/steady progress: HVAC and both carpets are now out so I can pull 95% of the full harness. The hangup is the section over the steering column that's held on by a plastic clip whose release is blocked by the pedal box assembly...
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...but to remove that I need to extract all the brake fluid so that's next on the docket. Running low on time today so I just pulled the radiator assembly, oil filter housing /bracket, and dropped the exhaust/all the heat shields
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Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Big progress over the last few days - had a buddy help with a 2nd set of hands and eyes to drop the rear subframe and pull the motor/trans out of the chassis.
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Used a hydraulic cart from Harbor Freight to support while I disconnected the 4 subframe bolts then lowered and slid the assembly out sideways. Interesting to see this sticker on the subframe that came out of the sedan. I was not that worried about it even though the RealOEM part numbers for the subframe are all different between the M5 sedan, M5 wagon, and 535 wagon, but this perhaps put me a bit more at ease. There are also a few "E60/E61" cast into the parts of the main subframe body so I'm confident the differences are some silly little things like holes for wire clips and such.

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We don't need no stinkin' lift!

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Interesting to see the grime after the bell housing of the transmission. I presume it's from the rear main, or perhaps a leaking slave cylinder. Will obviously split the engine/trans to replace clutch and/or flywheel.

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Buddy availability meant I had to pause the harness extraction but that's up next, then hold onto the chassis for a little bit to ensure I didn't miss anything. After that it goes to the crusher to make room for the wagon and a repeat of the deconstruction.

Lots of cleaning to do, of course, but not going full vapor blast/dry ice treatment... just a good degreaser and maybe power washer blast.


Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Steady stream of parts showing up. I never liked the clutch line loops in the factory set up, even went so far as to have a custom modification to the stock master to slave hard line on my 07 530iT 6MT in order to delete the loops and quick connections. I'm far too excited to get these parts:

Found a quick connect to -4AN and a 10x1 uniflare to - 4AN fitting that makes the resulting soft line a basic - 4AN /-4AN 18" hose. Both fittings are Earl's.



Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Full harness is now out. So many tie downs and grounds!
Including all miscellaneous stuff like front and rear fuse panels, module brackets, and the like the harness weighs just under 76 lbs! That is about an 18x24x36 box it's in.
Andy


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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sure keeping track of every hardware you removed is special task.
I've used about 50 lunch bags so far... Write contents on bag then place in box. Yellow tape with black sharpie is module connector, red sharpie is installation note. Very tedious but have used this method on 3 big car projects to good effect. Also lots of pictures (and 4 different directories on my phone by 'system'.
It definitely slows me down but will pay off in the end. I'm sure I'll be at a loss at some point but realoem will be a lifeline.


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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
In doing some tear down and cleaning of the rear subframe I noticed the guide link ball joint boots had essentially disintegrated. I was deep into finding a less expensive option for the 771/772 control arms when I realized that since I'm doing a bit of hodge podge when it come to the rear suspension components I will end up with the E61 donor knuckle, which comes from the 535xiT, which uses the 10mm stud ball joint (2x 886). On a side note, RealOEM indicates the wagons (non-M and M) both use the same 'swing arm', which is different from the E60 M5 so I'm curious to see the differences once I have both sets of parts in my hands.

I need to use the E61 knuckle because I need the air bag perch (and I don't have a body mount for the upper shock mounts). In theory I could source a set of E61 M5 knuckles that seem to be a mix of the E60 M5 knuckle (that updates to the 771/772) and the E61 non-M knuckle for the air bag. I'm all but convinced I don't need to do that even though bigger [ball joints] is, of course, better. I won't be tracking the car in all likelihood, so the guide link ball joint loading won't be regularly excessive from heavy turning loads. If by some happenstance I fail one early, the plebe-version 886 is significantly cheaper such that I could even do a 50k changeout if I wanted to and still come out ahead. It's not as if that would fail in 5k - big power has been put through the non-M rear ends before cough Evan cough so I'm not that worried about it.

At least, that's my thinking. Happy to take input.

Thanks,
Andy

E60 <--- E61 --->
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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
For anyone interested, when researching suspension options for E61, KW told me their kit (3522000X) ships with front spring p/n 60210046, and has a [progressive] spring rate average of 59.07 N/mm or 338 lb/in. Based on the info in the track thread, this is the same spring as the E60 M5 KW kit.
Rears reuse the stock airbags so I presume the low-ish rate is to balance with the rear bags.

I wasn't necessarily sold on coil overs in general but wanted ride height adjustment rather than chasing non-existent front only springs for the wagon only to find a huge 1.5" drop. I may regret it but I ordered the KW V3s. The above part number was not available in the US since no E61 M5s made it over here but a quick email to KW Germany fixed that, and ordered thru KW US (still built in Germany). Turns out KW US mostly does warranty/rebuilds and Motorsport stuff. Pretty much all OE and aftermarket products are made in Germany.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I haven't been able to make time for progress lately but finally did tonight.
Yup, that's a big hole, and the piece that fits in the hole. I touched on it earlier but I'm going to squib in the 2WD trans tunnel to have the regular rear trans mount and get rid of the AWD transfer case bump in the process.

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Andy
 

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Love seeing this project, I stopped the project on my E61 M5 6-speed conversion last year. Got as far as the tunnel and rear floor swap from my old M5 to the E61 along with the ABS module relocation and brake lines but then life hit me with health issues. Hope you finish this project as it will be such a gem to drive!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Small but significant progress this weekend - many parts cleaned up and disassembled. Naturally, after throwing a bunch of pump parts at my power washer the engine decided to quit 3 min in to blasting everything.... So hand scrubbing was the order of the day, and decent success was had.
The big thing I wanted to get done was to split the trans from the engine so I could inspect the clutch and flywheel.
Pretty happy with the clutch, and the flywheel basically looks fine but I think I'll replace both to avoid the need any time in the medium future.
Interesting to see the rear main was not leaking (still gonna replace since I'm in there) so my best guess on dirty transmission is a result of previous slave cylinder failure, based on the excess sludge build up inside the bell housing plus dirt and sludge build up outside. I also wonder if the rust on the input shaft is from the brake fluid that would have leaked out if the slave failed. Dunno, but will hit the splines with some fine sandpaper to address then light grease on reassembly.
Next up are the little upfits to the engine like belts, pulleys, solenoids, motor mounts, etc while it's out.


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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Pretty good looking cams, no grooves etc. Looked to either have an external leak from the oil fill tube or valve cover gaskets but I did both so hopefully fixed either way.
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Did quite a bit of engine small parts replacement - vanos solenoids (I feel for anyone doing the right side in chassis!), thermostat/o-rings, injectors, purge valves, water pump, belts/pulleys, and VC gaskets. Lots of cleaning of crud every where, as well... Random oil leaks captured road grime everywhere it seems.
Still debating on whether to replace the flywheel - seems a smart thing to do 'while I'm there', and can sub in the M3 FW to improve the rotational acceleration of the engine - but have a bit of time to decide that.
I'll jump over to the differential next with new seals and Einhorn solid mounts, then probably rebuild the calipers to get those out of the way. Plenty to do everywhere so we'll see what/how quickly I can make progress. I have a few more weeks of otherwise occupied so I'm not expecting much. Once those commitments are done, tho, it's game on!
 
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