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Thread: Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

  1. #241
    Premium Member test Nabs's Avatar
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    Re: Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

    This car is really starting to piss me off. I changed out the cable running from the firewall to the alternator & starter but I'm still having the intermittent issue where it's not charging the battery. After a bit of driving last night I noticed the system would stop or start charging after hitting bumps or it would turn off while going around long sweeping turns. I was also able to get it to start charging again sometimes if I were to quickly turn the steering left to right or vice versa while moving, leading me to believe that one of the connections are loose, most likely the one at the firewall but it's impossible to get a replacement for that specific part.

    I'm also still having issues with the front right wheel speed sensor. I had broken one of the bolts holding it in back when I was changing the wheel speed sensor and I haven't been able to get it out. I tried welding a nut on there and it just broke whatever was left of the bolt that was sticking out. I tried drilling and the bit broke off inside the bolt and now it wears out other bits in seconds. I have no idea how I'm supposed to get it out now but it's still drivable, I just don't have traction control or ABS.

    On the good side of things the exhaust clamp is holding up. I'll be measuring some stuff this week so I can finally order all the pieces I need to get the muffler and new tips welded in.



    I was putting on an oil pan heater and while I was only going to clean up one part of the pan I took a second look at how rusty and shitty the pan was looking so I decided to clean the whole thing off and throw on some POR15. I forgot to take a fished picture of it.


    - - - Updated - - -

    Jacked up the front of the car and started it to test the alternator cable, everything checked out, then I had a eureka moment. I went to the trunk and checked the voltage at the battery but I hooked up the multimeter to the backside of the positive terminal and found 13.5V there but only 11.5V at the battery itself. While wiggling the cable the light on the dash would go on and off. Checked for continuity and sure enough there wasn't any.






    This is what it looked like under the little plastic cover. That's the problem right there...






    It's an easy enough fix and took me 2 minutes, just had to shove the two end back together with a pair of vice grips. I also found the reason that the connectors came loose in the first place is that while I had the proper battery tray I didn't have the battery properly secured, you can see the rub marks on the tray. It must have been all the hits up against the snowbanks on the lake that accelerated the issue. I have the clamp for it but because there wasn't a nut on the bottom end of the tray when I got it I never put the clamp on. I'll be welding on a nut on the bottom and I'll weld the tray to the car itself so I don't run into another problem like this.




    I'm kind of mad at myself since it was such an easy fix and I went through the trouble of changing the alternator and the cable, but it wasn't entirely useless since the alternator was the original from 20 years ago and wasn't charging properly and the cable was damaged.
    Last edited by Nabs; 11-25-2017 at 03:23 AM.
    "Exhaust gases go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster"

    ///M3 Journal | E39 540i Journal | Turbo Install | Carbon Roof Time-Lapse Install

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  2. #242
    Premium Member test Nabs's Avatar
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    Re: Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

    I needed an excuse to do some more welding so I cut some holes in my car. The areas where the holes were is from the old spot welds of the old missing battery tray and I couldn't weld the new one to those areas so I cut them out, as well as the area on the top left since it was extremely thin and I broke through it with a wire wheel.

    "Exhaust gases go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster"

    ///M3 Journal | E39 540i Journal | Turbo Install | Carbon Roof Time-Lapse Install

    How to: edit posts | post pictures w/ browser | post pictures w/ tapatalk

  3. #243
    Premium Member test Nabs's Avatar
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    Re: Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

    About a couple days from getting this back on the road. Finished welding the pieces for the battery tray, now I have to treat whatever rust is left, seam seal the edge, paint it and then weld the battery tray in.



    Found some more rot in the spare tire well so I cut that out. It was a massive pain getting all the curves to match up, it took probably an hour and a half just to fab that small piece.




    Definitely not the prettiest welds but they works.




    I know I said I didn't care to spend any more money on this car but I caved and bought a few goodies during black Friday. I got a bunch of 409 stainless pipe for the exhaust and one section of Supersprint piping since that was 50% off and will save me a bunch of time. I'm hoping to pick up everything by next Friday and hopefully install everything by the end of that weekend, but knowing my luck it'll take a full week at minimum.
    "Exhaust gases go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster"

    ///M3 Journal | E39 540i Journal | Turbo Install | Carbon Roof Time-Lapse Install

    How to: edit posts | post pictures w/ browser | post pictures w/ tapatalk

  4. #244
    Premium Member test Nabs's Avatar
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    Re: Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

    It's been an interesting few days. Set the car on fire on Saturday, got lucky the whole thing didn't go up and I was able to put it out pretty quick. Mainly did damage to the trunk lining and some of the plastics. It did scorch some wiring, the worst of which was the tail light plug but luckily I was already planning on replacing the contacts in the plug so I can easily splice those in. I ordered a couple replacement pieces for the plastic pieces that saw the most damage, I'm not going to bother with the linings for now.








    The lining covering the factory subs was probably the most damaged lining and I was thinking of replacing it but then I remembered the sub box isn't hooked up, so I ended up removing it. I wanted to remove it a long time ago but I just kind of forgot about it. Now that it's out there's plenty of room to put the aftermarket sub enclosure right up against the rear seat and make a lot more room in the trunk.






    Models with DSP (Digital Signal Processing) have this enclosure with two 5.5 inch "subs" mounted in the trunk on the rear shelf. I guess Nokia use be in audio back in the day.






    I ended up pulling out the rear shelf since I thought it was bolted in from the top from the DIYs I read but it turned out that it's completely removable from inside the trunk. The rear shelf has seen better days, so I'm going to dye it back to black.






    While I have the rear shelf odd as well I thought I'd take a peak at the rear shock mounts and maybe adjust them. I have no idea why but it seems as though the rubber in the mount is getting torn up. I was kind if surprised to see the passenger side mount was rusting, and I found a frayed wire for the speaker there as well (bottom left corner)






    Since I had to remove the C-pillars to take the rear shelf out I figured I might as well take the A-pillars out and glue those since the fabric has been lifting since I got the car.






    And since I took out the A-pillars I figured I might as well take out the headliner to finally redo that in black. I haven't really decided if I'm going to dye it or just pull the fabric and redo it. I already have fabric, I just have to see how well it'll match with the visors and the pillars, and I have to find out how much it'll cost to dye, although I will have to buy some dye for the rear shelf and the b-pillars anyway.
    "Exhaust gases go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster"

    ///M3 Journal | E39 540i Journal | Turbo Install | Carbon Roof Time-Lapse Install

    How to: edit posts | post pictures w/ browser | post pictures w/ tapatalk

  5. #245
    Premium Member test Nabs's Avatar
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    Re: Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

    Ripped the headliner fabric off, and of course most of the foam stayed on. I tried taking it off by pulling a razor perpendicular to the headliner and it worked pretty good but took a long time. A quick search showed that the best way to remove the old foam is with a stiff plastic or wire brush, that made life a whole lot easier.








    I went and grabbed the headliner fabric I had ordered 2 years ago and found that I didn't order enough, the colour was slightly off and the foam backing was too thick. I tried using the Dupli-Color vinyl and fabric dye I bought to see if I could get the colour to be a little better of a match but it didn't work, and I found when I used it on the B-pillar it made the fabric feel a bit crunchy. I just ended up ordering a new, bigger, thinner roll of fabric. The pillars use a fabric with now foam backing so I may, or may not re-wrap the A and C pillars but the B pillar definitely has to be done now.






    I also dyed the rear shelf with the vinyl and fabric dye and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, it's a pretty close match to the covered, non-faded areas. I originally was hoping to use SEM color coat but I couldn't find the flat black one at Auto Home Paints.
    "Exhaust gases go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster"

    ///M3 Journal | E39 540i Journal | Turbo Install | Carbon Roof Time-Lapse Install

    How to: edit posts | post pictures w/ browser | post pictures w/ tapatalk

  6. #246
    Premium Member test Nabs's Avatar
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    Re: Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

    I've been working on getting my pilot's license so I've been taking it slow with this the last little while, and I also wanted to just take a few days off from working on my cars. Anyway, I figured I give you guys some more pooping material to read

    I cleaned up and painted the battery area with rocker guard and left the areas where I was planning on welding uncoated, except for some weld through primer. It was an awkward and difficult area to weld but the battery tray is definitely secure now.






    I picked up a bunch of parts from Ryden's last week. I'm planning on slowly installing them in the next few weeks. A few of the parts were to replace the burnt plastic pieces in the trunk, as well as some other goodies for the exhaust, suspension and interior.






    ECS happened to have had a one day sale for 50% off their Ziza lights the exact day that I was looking at LED lights for the interior so I couldn't pass these up. These new LEDs are a nice crisp pure white, so no more blueish LEDs and no more mix of halogen and LED bulbs in the interior Unfortunately I had one slight issue with them, which makes no sense. So out of the 4 twist in bulbs, only one worked in the front dome light, yet all 4 of them worked in the C pillars. I found out that the one that worked in the front dome light (left in picture) had the LEDs soldered on the board 180 degrees compared to the other 3 that didn't work (right in picture). The little notch in the LEDs indicates the positive side. I called up ECS and they're sending out 3 new bulbs so hopefully one of those will work for the front dome light and I'll be left with 2 spares. I may just try and de-solder the LEDs, turn them 180 degrees then just re-solder them just to see if it'll work.






    The part I'm most excited for is the new Wavetrac LSD I picked up. I found a good deal on black friday and it was $250 off so I couldn't pass it up. Now I also have more of a reason to cut into my exhaust since it has to come out to get at the diff. While I'm at it I'm also going to tackle changing the trans output shaft seal.





    Tonight I finally finished welding the trunk and got everything seam sealed on the inside and covered with a rubberized asphalt coating. Tomorrow I plan on using crushable seam sealer on the entire underside of the trunk once I get rid of any remaining rust then I'll spray it with rocker guard.





    And finally I decided to work on the headliner. Unfortunately I ran out of spray adhesive with just a little bit left to do, but it's coming along quite nicely. The material I got this time is a completely different pattern than the original fabric on the pillars and even the other headliner material I had picked up but it looks cool and there's plenty of it so I don't really care. I decided I'm only going to wrap the headliner and the B pillars with this stuff and leave the A & C pillars with the original OEM fabric.
    Last edited by Nabs; 12-17-2017 at 02:52 AM.
    "Exhaust gases go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster"

    ///M3 Journal | E39 540i Journal | Turbo Install | Carbon Roof Time-Lapse Install

    How to: edit posts | post pictures w/ browser | post pictures w/ tapatalk

  7. #247
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    Re: Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

    Been a little while since I updated this. I haven't done a whole lot on this in the last few weeks. I finished up the trunk and got it painted, cleaned up the rest of the trunk and installed the new plastics.




    I also finished the headliner and pillars and got those back in the car. I'm quite happy with how it turned out. Unfortunately I didn't do the B pillars correctly so I had to peel those again and I had to order a little more material to finish those and the visors.





    I wanted to get rid of the stickers on the visors and messed up one of them so I ended up cutting the material off and I'll be redoing it in the same material as the headliner so it all matches




    On Christmas night I went to go open the rear passenger door and as soon as I grabbed the handle it broke right off. Ordered a new used one off eBay, just have to go pick it up.




    Yesterday I was supposed to go out somewhere and a few minutes after I left home the car was making a funny noise from the front driver wheel well. I got back home and found that one of the studs, not the nut, was loose but the wheel wasn't falling off. While I was in there I figured I would finally try and fix the front coilovers so that ride better by setting them properly, so the spring is preloaded and the shock body itself screws down into the lower mount.





    I found there was a 24.1mm gap between the spring and perch on the driver side and a 38.1mm gap on the passenger side, that's over a 1/2" difference! Whoever set this up is not the brightest. Losing almost an 1" off suspension travel on side and another 1-1/2" out of a total of 4.5" is not ideal. The instructions for these coils say not to adjust the spring perch for ride height since they're set for preload from the factory.





    I started by pulling the driver side coil first. Quite a few things wrong with it other than the spring perch. The dust boot/bump stop is pretty much nonexistent, the threads are all messed up, the spring isolators were all corroded together and the camber plate was loose and missing a bushing.






    Took me about 2 hours to get the spring perch set to the proper height, using an air chisel and a blunted bit. I figured I won't raise the vehicle for now, I'll just raise the spring perch and lower the shock body to gain back some suspension travel and see how it feels. While I have the lower shock lower loosened I cannot seem to move the shock itself using the top wrench holes so I may need to upgrade to a pipe wrench and see if I have any luck.





    I also cleaned up the spring washers. The nylon isolator ring didn't survive though.





    I couldn't find a pipe wrench last night so instead I decided to pull the passenger coilover to make sure I knew exactly what replacement parts to order. The dust boot/bump stop on this one was even worse.




    Here's the driver coil on the left and passenger coil on the right. While it's not much you can still tell there's a difference in overall height between the shocks and I still haven't lowered the body of the driver side coil.




    While I was originally looking for the cause of the sound in the wheel well I found that the ball joint on the front control arm had quite a bit of play. Since I had them on hand and the shock was out of the car I figured it would make life a lot easier if I changed them now. I pulled out the driver side arm first and while it came out relatively easy something looked off when compared to the new one. Turns out there's a "cup" that's pressed in the steering knuckle and is tapered on the inside for the ball joint, but it's stuck to the old control arm. Now I have to figure out how to get this cup off without damaging it or I'll have to buy a whole new knuckle

    Last edited by Nabs; 01-08-2018 at 02:55 PM.
    "Exhaust gases go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster"

    ///M3 Journal | E39 540i Journal | Turbo Install | Carbon Roof Time-Lapse Install

    How to: edit posts | post pictures w/ browser | post pictures w/ tapatalk

  8. #248
    Senior Member test Tremblay's Avatar
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    Re: Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

    so... rusty... Kill it with fire!
    ALL THE HONDAS!!!

  9. #249
    Premium Member test Nabs's Avatar
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    Re: Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

    Quote Originally Posted by Tremblay View Post
    so... rusty... Kill it with fire!
    I thought about fire but I've heard it'll explode. I wire wheeled all the threads then used a triangular needle file to clean up the smashed threads.

    I heard 50/50 ATF+acetone or even just ATF itself is a really good penetrating oil so I flipped over the coils and filled up the bottom with ATF then heated up the bottom mount to 200F a few times. There were some air bubbles coming up in the ATF as I was heating the mount so it seemed to be working. I also went back in the morning and checked on it and the ATF level dropped quite a bit, I had it filled to the brim. Hopefully when I get back to in next week it'll have worked its way all the way through.
    "Exhaust gases go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster"

    ///M3 Journal | E39 540i Journal | Turbo Install | Carbon Roof Time-Lapse Install

    How to: edit posts | post pictures w/ browser | post pictures w/ tapatalk

  10. #250
    Premium Member test Nabs's Avatar
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    Re: Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

    MAJOR UPDATE!

    I'm giving up on this car. No more money is going into it except for gas and maybe one more oil change. The shocks are so siezed that even with heat on the mounts and a 3ft pipe wrench I was unable to get the to budge. I ended up moving the perch back down on the one and just put it back in the car after putting in the new bump stops.


    Also since the fire there's a short somewhere in the wiring for the radio so I had to run another wire for the switched power to have a functioning radio again. I also upgraded the amp and the speakers. Just went with a decent amp I found at Max Pawn and some pioneer speakers from Amazon.


    The only other thing I did was finish swapping out the front control arms and the sway bar end links.


    I also bought a couple more BMWs while I was down in Chicago a couple weeks ago. I only brought one home right now and it's an '03 X5 4.4L. I'm going back down mid-February to pick up the other one. Those who have me on instagram or Facebook know what it is, and I'll start a new thread once I pick it up but for now here's a teaser
    "Exhaust gases go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster"

    ///M3 Journal | E39 540i Journal | Turbo Install | Carbon Roof Time-Lapse Install

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  11. #251
    I'm a HATER! test MiniD1CK5's Avatar
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    Re: Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

    525i touring, or estate for the British fans !!!!
    FUNCTION >FORM

    Randy Probst's take on the BRZ "it's like a BMW and a Lotus had a baby"

    "Adding power makes you faster on the straights. Subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere." -Colin Chapman

    "He who shall be last, shall be sideways and smiling"

  12. #252
    Premium Member test Nabs's Avatar
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    Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

    I found another one, same identical spec with only 36,000 miles in Denver and the VIN is 38 apart from the one I got!
    "Exhaust gases go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster"

    ///M3 Journal | E39 540i Journal | Turbo Install | Carbon Roof Time-Lapse Install

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  13. #253
    I'm a HATER! test MiniD1CK5's Avatar
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    Re: Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

    Buy it!!!
    FUNCTION >FORM

    Randy Probst's take on the BRZ "it's like a BMW and a Lotus had a baby"

    "Adding power makes you faster on the straights. Subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere." -Colin Chapman

    "He who shall be last, shall be sideways and smiling"

  14. #254
    Premium Member test Nabs's Avatar
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    Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

    It's not showing a price or any pictures right now. The only reason I know what the exterior & interior colour is that I ran the VIN. It's also showing an accident on the carfax, and there's no indication of how bad it was.

    Edit: just got an email saying it sold already
    Last edited by Nabs; 01-26-2018 at 07:58 PM.
    "Exhaust gases go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster"

    ///M3 Journal | E39 540i Journal | Turbo Install | Carbon Roof Time-Lapse Install

    How to: edit posts | post pictures w/ browser | post pictures w/ tapatalk

  15. #255
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    Re: Nabs' E39 540i Daily Driver

    I guess the cat's out of the bag




    It's a 2002 525it Alpine White with black leather interior and 220,000 km. Has a 2.5L M54B25 engine with a 5 speed automatic transmission, so it's slow. It's a Florida vehicle with absolutely no rust and 3 previous owners. It's carfax shows a rear end collision but the no airbags deployed and it still has a clean title and when I took a look at it the front and rear frame rails showed no signs of damage. They replaced the front and rear bumper with the M5 & M respectively which is makes it look a lot nicer. It also has self levelling suspension in the rear so pretty much factory rear airbag suspension.

    I'll be picking it up in 2 weeks and driving it back home. I'm planning to use it as a daily driver to replace the black 540i. I'll probably throw a bigger motor and manual trans in it since it weighs about 4000lbs and only has 182hp and a slushbox. I'm also planning on throwing in some KW V1 coilovers since they're one of the only options for coils on a wagon with air suspension and they keep the air bags, it also helps that they're also only $1000 and every other option is the same price or more expensive. I won't lower it as much as the 540, but it would be nice to lower it about 1.5". I'll also be swapping out the wheels immediately since I really don't care for them. If you know someone who wants some 18x8.5 ET15 TSW Circuit wheels let me know, I might know a guy...
    Last edited by Nabs; 01-28-2018 at 12:43 AM.
    "Exhaust gases go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster"

    ///M3 Journal | E39 540i Journal | Turbo Install | Carbon Roof Time-Lapse Install

    How to: edit posts | post pictures w/ browser | post pictures w/ tapatalk

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