DIY: New E39 M5 owner with list of things to fix - Insight appreciated - BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums
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post #1 of 25 Old 3rd June 2019, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
0ptimus Prime
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New E39 M5 owner with list of things to fix - Insight appreciated

Good morning, everyone.

I purchased the following vehicle on Saturday: https://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/ca...2-500-obo.html The transaction went as smoothly as possible, and Juan was a stand-up guy.

There is a list of things I need to do to get this thing back to 100% OEM working condition. I'm looking for human insight beyond what's in the FAQ, as I'll be diving into many of these issues in the coming weeks. A little background: I'm no stranger to working on cars. My daily is a 470hp Cadillac, my weekend warrior is a 350whp turbo Integra GSR, and my previous build was a 420whp 3rd gen Mazda Rx7 with a 6.0 liter LS2, fully built from the ground up, for which I did all the work myself - down to the wiring. I'm very mechanically inclined. I also previously had an e92 335is making 405 whp, so this isn't my first BMW.

With that said, this is my first E39 and I'm already discovering lots of gremlins, which is to be expected for a car that represented a technological leap from the previous generation.

The following list is of things that need to be fixed, and I plan to research and dive right in, so please let me know if you have some quick insight:

1) Front steering is very loose, including hollow thuds and clunks over bumps, and pulling during breaking. Solution: I ordered the 6-piece control arm kit from FCP Euro https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...e396piecekit-l Any other insight?

2) ABS Trifecta of lights (ABS/DSC/Brake). Solution: I plan to remove the ABS module and inspect it for soldering joint breaks. Re-solder as needed. Any other ideas?

3) Glove box handle won't open. Solution: Replace entire handle. Any ideas on getting the glove box open with a broken handle? I've tried resetting the locking mechanism by locking/unlocking with the key and pushing up to relieve pressure on the handle while trying to open, no dice. Do I need to dremel this thing off?

4) Central locking control not functional, buttons on keys do not lock/unlock, main lock/unlock button in cabin does not work, must lock/unlock vehicle by inserting key, key is NOT dead. Insight on solutions? I've checked fuse 53 in the trunk and it is functional. I'm unable to check fuses in glovebox since it's locked shut. I've confirmed the fuel door mechanism is NOT functioning as it should (does not lock/unlock with the rest of the car when I use the key manually), and I've read that mechanism could be the culprit, however, fuse 53 is not shorting out. Anything else to check before I replace the fuel door locking mechanism?

5) Driver side headlight leveling is way too low. Ideas on a quick fix? I haven't looked into this yet, so I don't know if this car comes with auto leveling or manual adjustment, etc, but I'm hoping there are adjustment screws that I can use to get the headlight leveling fixed.

6) Rear window shade arms are stuck up (shade not connected) and rear window shade button does not seem to work. After reading about all of the issues with the rear window shade, I plan to deactivate the system completely. However, any ideas on getting the arms to go back down? Is this a mechanical or an electronic issue?

7) Driver side rear quarter window shade lost tension and will not retract. Ideas?

8) Touchy throttle, this is exacerbated in sport mode. Ideas? This seems to be a common problem, and I'm hoping it is not associated with the MAFs and is simply a software issue. I plan to do a Shark 91 Octane tune with Euro Throttle, is this an appropriate fix?

Any insight will be greatly appreciated! Your will will go a long way in getting this old girl back to 100%.

Thanks, and I look forward to being a member of this board.

Ulysses
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post #2 of 25 Old 4th June 2019, 04:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0ptimus Prime View Post
Good morning, everyone.

I purchased the following vehicle on Saturday: https://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/ca...2-500-obo.html The transaction went as smoothly as possible, and Juan was a stand-up guy.

There is a list of things I need to do to get this thing back to 100% OEM working condition. I'm looking for human insight beyond what's in the FAQ, as I'll be diving into many of these issues in the coming weeks. A little background: I'm no stranger to working on cars. My daily is a 470hp Cadillac, my weekend warrior is a 350whp turbo Integra GSR, and my previous build was a 420whp 3rd gen Mazda Rx7 with a 6.0 liter LS2, fully built from the ground up, for which I did all the work myself - down to the wiring. I'm very mechanically inclined. I also previously had an e92 335is making 405 whp, so this isn't my first BMW.

With that said, this is my first E39 and I'm already discovering lots of gremlins, which is to be expected for a car that represented a technological leap from the previous generation.

The following list is of things that need to be fixed, and I plan to research and dive right in, so please let me know if you have some quick insight:

1) Front steering is very loose, including hollow thuds and clunks over bumps, and pulling during breaking. Solution: I ordered the 6-piece control arm kit from FCP Euro https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...e396piecekit-l Any other insight?

2) ABS Trifecta of lights (ABS/DSC/Brake). Solution: I plan to remove the ABS module and inspect it for soldering joint breaks. Re-solder as needed. Any other ideas?

3) Glove box handle won't open. Solution: Replace entire handle. Any ideas on getting the glove box open with a broken handle? I've tried resetting the locking mechanism by locking/unlocking with the key and pushing up to relieve pressure on the handle while trying to open, no dice. Do I need to dremel this thing off?

4) Central locking control not functional, buttons on keys do not lock/unlock, main lock/unlock button in cabin does not work, must lock/unlock vehicle by inserting key, key is NOT dead. Insight on solutions? I've checked fuse 53 in the trunk and it is functional. I'm unable to check fuses in glovebox since it's locked shut. I've confirmed the fuel door mechanism is NOT functioning as it should (does not lock/unlock with the rest of the car when I use the key manually), and I've read that mechanism could be the culprit, however, fuse 53 is not shorting out. Anything else to check before I replace the fuel door locking mechanism?

5) Driver side headlight leveling is way too low. Ideas on a quick fix? I haven't looked into this yet, so I don't know if this car comes with auto leveling or manual adjustment, etc, but I'm hoping there are adjustment screws that I can use to get the headlight leveling fixed.

6) Rear window shade arms are stuck up (shade not connected) and rear window shade button does not seem to work. After reading about all of the issues with the rear window shade, I plan to deactivate the system completely. However, any ideas on getting the arms to go back down? Is this a mechanical or an electronic issue?

7) Driver side rear quarter window shade lost tension and will not retract. Ideas?

8) Touchy throttle, this is exacerbated in sport mode. Ideas? This seems to be a common problem, and I'm hoping it is not associated with the MAFs and is simply a software issue. I plan to do a Shark 91 Octane tune with Euro Throttle, is this an appropriate fix?

Any insight will be greatly appreciated! Your will will go a long way in getting this old girl back to 100%.

Thanks, and I look forward to being a member of this board.

Ulysses
Got to like your taste in cars based on current and previous examples!!

Not much help. Headlights have auto leveling, I suspect the headlight adjusters (one for up/down and one for left/right) is probably broken, They are plastic and a known weak spot. There are some metal replacements. As long as you don't have 2003 headlights, you can bake open the 2001 and 2002 headlights in the oven, remove the lens and easily replace the adjusters. Plenty on here about that.

Steering can be a couple things, including uneven pad disposition on the rotors (rotors could be warped, but that is pretty rare). Dave Zeckhausen has a good discussion on how to bed brakes to clean off the deposits. He is/was a long time board sponsor and has a good website. A little searching should prove productive.

I think if the gas cap lock is not working properly you can't remote lock. But I don't know that it necessarily blows the fuse. Others may chime in.

Good luck!!

Regards,
Jerry

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post #3 of 25 Old 4th June 2019, 05:04 AM
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#1 - check fluid level. You'll likely gonna need more than the set you ordered, but its a good start.
#6 - Likely dead motor. Under the rear shelf.
#7 - check my build thread - I have a solution with pictures there.

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post #4 of 25 Old 4th June 2019, 06:19 AM Thread Starter
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post #5 of 25 Old 4th June 2019, 03:30 PM
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ABS trifecta is usually rear ABS sensor wires. Simple fix. Inspect them and make sure they aren't dissolved/broken/etc. If they are, replace. They are integral to the sensor.

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post #6 of 25 Old 4th June 2019, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3Fan View Post
ABS trifecta is usually rear ABS sensor wires. Simple fix. Inspect them and make sure they aren't dissolved/broken/etc. If they are, replace. They are integral to the sensor.
Thank you, I'll look into this over the weekend.
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post #7 of 25 Old 4th June 2019, 07:09 PM
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Also the pitman arm on the steering center link also has a ball joint that often goes bad and can lead to play in the front. FCP sells that in a kit that also includes both the tie rod ends and the pitman arm.

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Last edited by Trizzuth; 4th June 2019 at 07:10 PM.
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post #8 of 25 Old 4th June 2019, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Also the pitman arm on the steering center link also has a ball joint that often goes bad and can lead to play in the front. FCP sells that in a kit that also includes both the tie rod ends and the pitman arm.
I gotta say, this board is super helpful so far! Thank you!

I plan to tear into the front suspension and check everything in the coming weeks. I'll repair and replace parts as needed, and I'll update this thread with pics as I cross off the list.
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post #9 of 25 Old 4th June 2019, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3Fan View Post
ABS trifecta is usually rear ABS sensor wires. Simple fix. Inspect them and make sure they aren't dissolved/broken/etc. If they are, replace. They are integral to the sensor.
I think that is so if you get the ABS light. But the "trifecta" usually indicates an issue with the module itself. It is a soldering issue, most of us don't have the skill set to fix so we send out for repair (neighborhood of $200 if I recall).

There is also a DIY somewhere on this board where a member did the repair and posted up some pics. Seems like OP may have the skill set!

Regards,
Jerry

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post #10 of 25 Old 5th June 2019, 12:58 AM
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4. Check the GM module (do your wipers work? Windows?)

5. Most likely a bad headlight adjuster (I'm known for repairing/upgrading these lights if you happen to be a SoCal local). If not, maybe a disconnect lower trailing arm sensor arm.

6. Dead motor or binding due to the main shade sitting at the bottom.

7. Usually broken plastic. ( I offer a service for repair / replacement on these if needed)

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