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post #1 of 22 Old 5th April 2018, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
Marshall Smith
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Help Vetting Stereo Overhaul Components

Hey everyone. I know we have some audio experts out there so I wanted to ask for some guidance on the components I'm planning to use. Looking to make a substantial upgrade without going into the upper echelon of things.

Planning to use the 12v Electronics e39 speaker brackets to fit 6.5" speakers up front with 5.25" in the rear powered by a 4 channel amp and a separate mono amp for the stock subs (as I've heard that can sound decent when powered well).

Here is my list of components.

Questions I have:

-Any idea if the 5/25" speakers I chose will fit in the rear deck? Looks like the tweeter pokes out a little.
-My research shows that some double DIN head units can be too deep to fit without modification. The Alpine iLX-107 is rumored to fit without modification but I can't find confirmation of that OR any dimensions to compare with the Sony unit I like. Any idea if the Sony unit I've picked would fit?
-Any idea if there is a way to integrate the Sony unit with steering wheel controls? Sounds like it will be tricky so might just skip that...
-Is 2 amps the way to go or should I just use a 5 channel?

Super appreciate the knowledge base here! @herrubermensch @DennisCooper

Last edited by Marshall Smith; 5th April 2018 at 07:13 AM.
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post #2 of 22 Old 7th April 2018, 11:49 AM
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Hi

I'll respond to each of your questions below;

1. You've not mentioned which rear 5.25 inch co-axial speakers you wish to use so can't tell if they'll fit or not. You'll need to measure the available space and then check the physical sizing of the shortlist of speakers you may want to buy to see if they'll fit. Different speakers have different mounting depths etc. You don't have to go to the middle or upper choices for these, entry to upper entry level 5.25 inch co-axial's for around $50-80 USD will be fine.

2. The Alpine iLX-107 is a single DIN chassis with a double DIN 'thin' faceplate on the front. Unfortunately, the 'L' shape produced means the lower rear edge of the single DIN chassis won't sit 'further' back as to allow the faceplace to sit/fit flush to the dash contours. You could either modify the airbox to make the space for it or, modify the iLX-107 so that the single DIN chassis sits further up on the back of the faceplate so that it 'clears' the airbox. This second option is one of those unofficial type modifications - I've never tried it so can't guarantee it'll work, but I do know that some owners have done this previously. You 'mght' have to get a electronics repair type place to do this as there 'might' be internal ribbon cables/connectors which need extending etc. Again, I'm not saying this will 'definitely' work, but something for you to look into. If you don't fancy any of this, you could look to shallow depth head unit's which don't need any modifications to fit flush - Alpine iLX-007, Parrot Asteroid Smart, Kenwood DMX-110BT. You've not mentioned which Sony unit you're speaking of so I'll assume it's the XAV-AX100? if so, this unit will fit flush as it's the 'opposite' to the Alpine iLX-107 in terms of the single DIN chassis is at the 'top' of the slim front double DIN faceplate.

3. Steering wheel interfaces have been around for 2+ decades now and the E39 is a car that is covered. You can either get the same brand of interface as the head unit you buy, once you check and confirm compatibility or, get an aftermarket unit from the likes of Connects2, PAC, Paser etc. again, once you confirm the E39 is covered for the head unit you buy,.

4. Your choice on if you get 2 amplifiers or 1. Ease of install and wiring means get a single 5 channel amplifier. I personally run 2, one sub bass amp and one four channel and part of the reason is that I chose physically small 'Class D' units that also matched my anticipated budget level and which would look good once installed. I also didn't mind at all for having extra cabling runs for each amplifier. Depending on how you want your install will also help you evaluate the route you go.

Some aspects for you to think of;

1. If you are wanting smooth, controlled, musical, clean, tight actual 'sub bass' then the stock 'subwoofers' won't provide that. They'll give you a 'lower end' response yes, but it won't be 'sub bass'. You'll most likely be disappointed if you use the stock subs wither rightaway or a short while down the line. If you are happy with a response of down to around 50 Hz-90Hz and at a relatively 'light' SPL (Sound Pressure Level) then by all means use the standard 'sub woofers' (I put them in quotes as the OEM subs don't provide actual 'sub bass' !!). If you can, then purchase an 8/10/12 inch subwoofer and have a small sealed enclosure made to fit up tightly against the rear seat bulkhead and have the subwoofer 'fire' through the ski hatch. This method is the most efficient in every aspect - 100% sub bass transfer into the cabin, easy to make and install, takes up very little space depending on which subwoofer you buy, very keenly priced and then gives you 'true' sub bass with the quality characteristics I mention above. You could of course do this later as funds allow.

2. If you want to use 6.5's in the front and keep the 100% oem look ie no door builds, then you'll need to choose very very carefully for which component set you want. The reason is that with where and how you fit them, when the woofer cone's excursion 'outward' happens, it 'might' touch the rear side of the door panel and 'buzz' when it 'hits it'. To fix, you'll perhaps add a 'spacer' ring to sit the speaker chassis further back. To ensure you don't hit anything behind, you'll need to check and double check mounting depths. To get this fitment right, you'll need to shortlist speakers that are 'shallow enough' to fit nicely and do some light trimming and fabrication work to have them fit on the 12V electronics baffles in 'just' the right place. Generally speaking, the above issue is not the case with 5.25 inch drivers and if it is, it's 'easier' to fix. Although I use door builds in my setup, I use 5.25 inch DLS R5A's and they were chosen as for such a small driver they provide fantastic levels of 'mid bass' sound which helps with bring my soundstage further forward in the car.

To give you a bit more of a visual see the pics in the link below. Ignore the 'show level' finish - it's the fundamental's of the setup I'm describing which is 5.25 inch front components in similar to the 12 Electronics baffles, 5.25 inch rear entry level co-axials, a small sealed enclosure to fit against the rear bulkhead & the sub bass flowing through the ski hatch into the cabin. As you'll be using a high quality head unit, you'll a more simple install which will sound better all whilst not spending as much as if you really wanted to keep the oem audio.

Full JL Audio install - E39 530i Sport Saloon/Sedan - Audio & Navigation - BMW 5 Series Owners Board

I'll have to go find the owner again, he is 'was' local when I took these pictures and had a listen. Hopefully he still has the car !

Cheers, Dennis!

2003 Ex-Police E39 530 Diesel Touring. Alpine White, 260,000+ Miles & climbing!

Wheels;
19" Hartge Nova 5 - with custom painted 'Flash Chrome' centres & Polished Lips (set of 5)
19" Hartge Nova 5 - Awaiting custom re-finish (set of 4)
19" Hartge Classic - with custom powder coated centres in shadow chrome & diamond cut/no lacquer lips (set of 5)
20" Hartge Classic - Awaiting custom re-finish
19" 3Pc Forged wheels - ID retained until re-built & finished (2 sets)
20" 3Pc Forged wheels -ID retained until re-built & finished
19" Centres - ID retained until rebuilt & finished
Audio;
Full Custom Audio install - Arc Audio KS Mini ampliifers. DLS 5.25" 2 way front components & 4" 2 way co-axials. JL Audio 8W3-V3 subwoofer in stealth enclosure. Parrot Asteroid Smart head unit, custom door builds for DLS front stage & Earthquake SWS6 flatline subwoofers, custom rear pillar speaker pods. LumiDock iPod dock,

External;
H&R Springs, ExoticsTuning front lip spoiler, Sport F/R bumpers upgrade, Carbon Fibre effect printed Vinyl roof wrap, High gloss black vinyl window trim wrap, Hartge bonnet/hood & tailgate badges, rear rooftip spoiler, matt Black kidney grille, projector foglamps.

Internal;
Hartge auto gearlever, Hartge Handbrake handle, Hartge door sill strips, E46 M3 CSL Alcantara/Tri-stitch SMG steering wheel, full Black Leather Sport seats,

Engine;

Custom ECU re-map biased for more Power & Torque in Steptronic mode, EGR delete, K&N induction kit, Stainless steel de-cat, Stainless steel exhaust backbox with twin oval pipes. Manual 5 spd gearbox conversion.

Plenty more modifications to come!
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post #3 of 22 Old 7th April 2018, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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I REALLY appreciate the response. I'm wanting to post all this openly so that others can look through it down the road. I think you may have missed the list of components I compiled which can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/registry/wish..._7LAXAb5S7P5X8

1. I hear you, I definitely should measure to make 100% sure. Here are the rear 5.25" speakers: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000P0PF8C...O7GKW0W4&psc=0

2. I was referring to the XAV-AX100 which is great news because as you mentioned and from pictures I've seen, the single DIN part of the chassis sits in the upper part of the "L".

3. I'll revisit this one later as it's not a top priority.

-Thank you for the insight on subs. I had a sub box from German Audio Specialists and a 10" Infinity woofer in an E30 I had that fired through the ski pass and it sounded AMAZING. Considering the affordability and packaging, I'm considering this unit mounted flush to the ski pass: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...KIKX0DER&psc=1. It would be all the components I need and if the sound quality was not quite what I wanted I was thinking I could build a box mirroring the design of the GAS box (E39 Single 10" Enclosure: Folding Rear Seat) and move the components over to it.

-Another question that has come up: Why would I spend $149 on the 12v electronics door baffles (BMW E39 Front Speaker Mounts - 12v Electronics) when I could use these (PVC Speaker Adapters - CNC Machined - In Stock or Custom Made) for $34? The only difference I can find is that material they're made from. Also, you've got me questioning if I should even bother with the 6.5" speakers in the first place.

Last edited by Marshall Smith; 7th April 2018 at 11:01 PM.
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post #4 of 22 Old 9th April 2018, 07:01 AM
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post #5 of 22 Old 9th April 2018, 09:34 PM
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I appreciate this thread. I didn't even know units like those Alpine ones existed.

2/2001 M5, Jet Black, Exclusive Complete Black Walk Nappa Point Heritage Leather, Black Cubic Trim
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post #6 of 22 Old 11th April 2018, 03:04 AM
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Hi,

Marshall Smith - Apologies in the delay in responding back here, contract hours have been a little busy lately ! I did miss the embedded link you had in the original post and have seen it now! here's my thoughts;

1. You need component speakers for the front end. Spend as much as you can here as the performance of the front end is where you get the characteristics of sound quality, imaging and soundstage when mounted in a solid baffle. You've listed 'co-axials' so the tweeter in those if you installed them would play to your knee level and not to your ears. There's better brands out there and my recommendation would be to go for the entry or mid level ranges from dedicated car speaker audio brands such as, Focal, DLS, Hertz, Gladen, Morel, Ground Zero, Arc Audio H.A.T and similar (some of these also make amplifiers and processors as well). The reason is that it's less likely in the near future you'll want to change them in comparison to some 'usually' harsher/brighter sounding cheaper speakers. The issue is that cheaper brands often make their products with those characteristics which sound 'exciting' for a relative few minutes but quickly become 'fatiguing'. Not saying all are like that, but its a common aspect. Do look into well reviewed component setups from Alpine, Pioneer as well though, and of course with an eye on your price point.

2. For the rear, as it'll only be a bit of 'rear fill', you don't need to spend too much here, the ones you've shortlisted will suffice (check mounting depths though !) So overall, your spend split would be a 75-80% of your budget for the front and the remainder for the rear.

3. For the amplifiers, I'd take the JL Audio one and perhaps pair it with the 4 channel unit from the same range the JX400/4D. The 4 ohm rating for the JX500 is 300W RMS at 4 ohms, which is the usual benchmark. If you want to get the 500W RMS it's capable of, you can but keep in mind it'll run hotter so you'll need to take cooling into consideration. You'll also need to get 2 ohm capable subwoofer driver(s) too. The 4 channel JX400 is rated at 70W RMS per channel at 4 ohms. In my car, I'm running 1x300W for my sub and 4X75W RMS for my cabin speakers. It's plenty of power and if you choose your sub well along with it's enclosure, inside the car you can get awesome performance levels and yet outside the car, even with windows down, there'll not be a lot of sound or bass leakage i.e the common misconception that you'll be heard from the next block or want to make paving slabs bounce!.

4. Similar to the above, get a high quality and capable subwoofer, a good solid enclosure like in the above example and you'll get smooth, rich, controlled, musical, tight sub bass. With a nice setup session of your amplifiers gain levels etc, you can get a very nicely 'balanced' setup.

5. The Sony head unit is a nicely priced and well featured unit for sure. That single rotary control knob looks a little out of place and especially when in an E39 cabin as 'everyone' want the look of the oem 16:9 monitor! If it doesn't bother you then do shortlist it. Else, perhaps pickup an Alpine iLX-007 ? the great thing about these units are that it has higher end features like Digital Time Correction and a Parametric Equalizer built in. These kinds of features usually are on stand alone processors and cost more than the head unit itself! Add to that Alpine Sound Quality, it's a fantastic sounding unit. This assumes you have a iPhone as it'll only work with one due to being Apple CarPlay only. Do look at the other Alpine units iLX-107 and 207s.

6. Of the two subwoofer solutions you specify the better design is the GAS enclosure. Not sure if they're still around as a couple years ago they weren't doing so well and there's bit of nasty history with how they dealt with customers especially with the fiasco that was there E39 crossover unit. Also, technology has moved on, that enclosure is pretty much the width of the boot/trunk. Some subwoofers will perform in much much smaller sealed enclosures. I use the 8W3 V3 and have a look at how much smaller my enclosure is in comparison;

(Excuse Akita fur!)






You can see that the enclosure is perhaps 12 inches wide, 5 inches in depth and around 15/16 inches in height. To give you an idea of how it sounds, I've asked many enthusiasts and friends at car shows and local meets etc to listen and guess the size of the subwoofer they're hearing. Perhaps 65% said a 12", 25% said a 10"
and amazingly 10% or so said it was a 15" ! When I'd pop open the trunk/bootlid they'd look around firstly to see 'wheres the big sub box?' and then look in total astonishment at the piddly little 8 inch subwoofer !! There then usually followed lots of words mixed in with expletives too!

7. I've not seen those $34 baffles before! they do look good and will absolutely do the trick to provide your front components having a solid baffle to play from!

8. Alot of owners will 'automatically' assume they want 6.5's in the front doors. You can of course go for it, but it's more work to get right - see my initial post above.

Feel free to PM me and discuss any more aspects or questions and I'll do my best to help!

C4Racer - Drop me a PM! I can sort you out with our last PM/discussion

Josiahg52 - There are a handful of potential choices now Take a look at the Kenwood DMX-110 BT for instance !

Cheers, Dennis!

2003 Ex-Police E39 530 Diesel Touring. Alpine White, 260,000+ Miles & climbing!

Wheels;
19" Hartge Nova 5 - with custom painted 'Flash Chrome' centres & Polished Lips (set of 5)
19" Hartge Nova 5 - Awaiting custom re-finish (set of 4)
19" Hartge Classic - with custom powder coated centres in shadow chrome & diamond cut/no lacquer lips (set of 5)
20" Hartge Classic - Awaiting custom re-finish
19" 3Pc Forged wheels - ID retained until re-built & finished (2 sets)
20" 3Pc Forged wheels -ID retained until re-built & finished
19" Centres - ID retained until rebuilt & finished
Audio;
Full Custom Audio install - Arc Audio KS Mini ampliifers. DLS 5.25" 2 way front components & 4" 2 way co-axials. JL Audio 8W3-V3 subwoofer in stealth enclosure. Parrot Asteroid Smart head unit, custom door builds for DLS front stage & Earthquake SWS6 flatline subwoofers, custom rear pillar speaker pods. LumiDock iPod dock,

External;
H&R Springs, ExoticsTuning front lip spoiler, Sport F/R bumpers upgrade, Carbon Fibre effect printed Vinyl roof wrap, High gloss black vinyl window trim wrap, Hartge bonnet/hood & tailgate badges, rear rooftip spoiler, matt Black kidney grille, projector foglamps.

Internal;
Hartge auto gearlever, Hartge Handbrake handle, Hartge door sill strips, E46 M3 CSL Alcantara/Tri-stitch SMG steering wheel, full Black Leather Sport seats,

Engine;

Custom ECU re-map biased for more Power & Torque in Steptronic mode, EGR delete, K&N induction kit, Stainless steel de-cat, Stainless steel exhaust backbox with twin oval pipes. Manual 5 spd gearbox conversion.

Plenty more modifications to come!
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post #7 of 22 Old 11th April 2018, 08:10 AM
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So seems the ILX-107 may not fit because the L is at the bottom of the unit. Has anybody tried one?
I am less interested in the older -007 model, but maybe that is still better than the Sony.
Problem is they are no longer for sale by the major retailers in the US because the -107 is out now.
Maybe somebody is still selling them.

Also - does anybody know if the DSP amp is removed - does it create problems with the alarm?
I read that in another recent post so that is concerning to me.

Lots of obstacles to upgrading sound in the E39 M5... I'm having doubts now.
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post #8 of 22 Old 11th April 2018, 11:05 PM
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does anybody know what depth of a full size 2din unit will work?

this sony seems not as deep as some - other units go 6.5" deep, this one is 5.5" - could that potentially clear the HVAC ducting?

https://www.sony.com/electronics/in-...specifications

For example the similar Sony unit with DVD double din is 6.6" deep.

Maybe that's the ticket. May have to order a few of them and return the ones that don't work....

Last edited by C4RACER; 11th April 2018 at 11:12 PM.
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post #9 of 22 Old 12th April 2018, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C4RACER View Post
So seems the ILX-107 may not fit because the L is at the bottom of the unit. Has anybody tried one?
I am less interested in the older -007 model, but maybe that is still better than the Sony.
Problem is they are no longer for sale by the major retailers in the US because the -107 is out now.
Maybe somebody is still selling them.

Also - does anybody know if the DSP amp is removed - does it create problems with the alarm?
I read that in another recent post so that is concerning to me.

Lots of obstacles to upgrading sound in the E39 M5... I'm having doubts now.
My DSP amp is gone, alarm still works.
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post #10 of 22 Old 15th April 2018, 01:05 PM
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Hi,

C4racer - I dropped you a PM, you won't need to buy all those head units to try and then sell on if they don't fit - I've saved you at least a few hundred dollerz losses there! Also, I've never seen any posts where removing the DSP amp will cause issues with the alarm.

For everyone reading this topic, then 'currently';

1. The current range of USA release Alpine head units with the model numbers iLX-107 and the iLX-207, then they have a 'deep' single DIN chassis behind the double DIN faceplate. So essentially, the same as any traditional double DIN head unit's 'depth'. The lower rear edge of them will NOT clear the top front edge of the cabin airbox. Now for the E46 3 series, Alpine make the iLX-207E46 and it's the same shape/size/depth as the iLX-207, so it's confusing in that the E46 has even less space than the E39 before a double DIN head unit will 'hit' the airbox/ducting. See below, I'll need to ask Alpine and some reputable installers to see if they've fitted an E46 with the iLX-207E46 to see if they had to modify anything to make space.

2. The airbox could either be modified to make the space - just like those who've done so over the last 10-15+ years OR, a shallow depth head unit can be chosen where there's no issue for space as they're don't extend so far back to touch the top edge of the airbox.

3. Shallow depth, fully featured head units from reputable and high quality brands are the Parrot Asteroid Smart, Alpine iLX-007 (iLX-700 in the UK and others), Kenwood DMX-110BT (doesn't seem to have US release as yet). If these units are chosen, they will fit flush to the dash contours at the front and at the rear they're well short of being near the top edge of the cabin airbox - ie no modifying/cutting needed.

4. If the airbox is modified, then ANY double DIN head unit will then fit, so all those 'deeper' ones due to the disk mechanism will fit. Just be mindful of the potential pitfalls of this project and thus extra costs and faffing around needed.

I will be in touch with my contacts at Alpine, Pioneer, Kenwood, Parrot, JVC, Sony etc to 'urge' and 'prod' them into making shallow depth units again

Cheers, Dennis!

2003 Ex-Police E39 530 Diesel Touring. Alpine White, 260,000+ Miles & climbing!

Wheels;
19" Hartge Nova 5 - with custom painted 'Flash Chrome' centres & Polished Lips (set of 5)
19" Hartge Nova 5 - Awaiting custom re-finish (set of 4)
19" Hartge Classic - with custom powder coated centres in shadow chrome & diamond cut/no lacquer lips (set of 5)
20" Hartge Classic - Awaiting custom re-finish
19" 3Pc Forged wheels - ID retained until re-built & finished (2 sets)
20" 3Pc Forged wheels -ID retained until re-built & finished
19" Centres - ID retained until rebuilt & finished
Audio;
Full Custom Audio install - Arc Audio KS Mini ampliifers. DLS 5.25" 2 way front components & 4" 2 way co-axials. JL Audio 8W3-V3 subwoofer in stealth enclosure. Parrot Asteroid Smart head unit, custom door builds for DLS front stage & Earthquake SWS6 flatline subwoofers, custom rear pillar speaker pods. LumiDock iPod dock,

External;
H&R Springs, ExoticsTuning front lip spoiler, Sport F/R bumpers upgrade, Carbon Fibre effect printed Vinyl roof wrap, High gloss black vinyl window trim wrap, Hartge bonnet/hood & tailgate badges, rear rooftip spoiler, matt Black kidney grille, projector foglamps.

Internal;
Hartge auto gearlever, Hartge Handbrake handle, Hartge door sill strips, E46 M3 CSL Alcantara/Tri-stitch SMG steering wheel, full Black Leather Sport seats,

Engine;

Custom ECU re-map biased for more Power & Torque in Steptronic mode, EGR delete, K&N induction kit, Stainless steel de-cat, Stainless steel exhaust backbox with twin oval pipes. Manual 5 spd gearbox conversion.

Plenty more modifications to come!

Last edited by DennisCooper; 15th April 2018 at 01:31 PM.
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