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 Post subject: Free E39 - '97 BMW 528i
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:03 am 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 11:47 pm
Posts: 6068
Location: Philly
Year and Trim: 95 SLE
Over the summer a family member gave my wife and I '97 528i that had been sitting for a couple years. It really just needed a battery to be a working car but it needed a bit more to be a (hopefully somewhat) reliable car. It's 2.8l I6 with a GM 4L30-E and has roughly 170k on it. Now, it would have been cooler if it was a 540 and/or a 5-speed but the underpowered I6 and common GM trans makes things more realistic in terms of reliability.

I've had an affinity for the E39 for a long time.. Which is part of why I molded in it's headlights onto a Bonneville 2x. To me, the E39 is the quintessential M5.

I when through it on a lift, found all the common leaks, pulled on the suspension and starting adding up what parts would cost. To my surprise it really wasn't that bad even considering the car would be worth $2k tops. It was just going to be the time spent. I had some free time around the holidays so I went for it. It'll also help with my dropped G35 being completely unusable with more than a couple inches of snow..

Here's the list so far.

Complete:
Valve cover gasket and associated grommets
Oil filter adapter gasket
Oil filter and o-ring
New vanos oil line
Oil pan gasket
Passenger engine mount
Transmission pan gaskets + bolts. Helicoiled 2 bolt holes
Transmission filter
Transmission selector shaft seal (special tool made this not suck)
Both belts
Upper idler pulley
Power steering pump (the shaft walked out on the old one)
Rear ball joints and torque members
Front passenger door handle linkage un-stuck and lubed, vapor barrier re-seal. (this sucked)
Rear passenger door vapor barrier replaced with plastic and new butyl tape
New Tires 225/60R-15 General AltiMAX RT43
New wipers
Driver's mirror

To do:
Rear driver’s door regulator/motor and vapor barrier replace with plastic and new butyl tape
Rear wheel bearings

The result so far is a quiet 20 footer car. I'm going to look for another hood, Depo headlight lenses and maybe some other bits for it. I don't have any real plans. It'll just be a spare car, something new to learn and mess with.

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_________________
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95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
05 Suzuki DRZ400S
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:32 pm
Posts: 4535
Location: Dearborn, MI
Year and Trim: '93 SSEi
'05 STS-4
'97 Camaro
'97 LeSabre
That car is in great shape (interior looks anyway) for a free ride. I expected to see rust, but it looks like that's not an issue.

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Blow all the things! Wait, I meant boost. Boost!
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Runs:
'93 Pontiac Bonneville SSEi - Twincharged, manual, and lots more! Build thread
'97 Chevy Camaro - 3800 supercharged, T5, T-tops
'05 Cadillac STS - V8, AWD, her DD
'92 Olds Trofeo - Fair weather DD
'84 GMC Sierra Classic - Twin turbo 3800
'97 Buick LeSabre - L67 winter DD
'92 Pontiac Bonneville SSE future project

Doesn't run:
'87 Buick LeSabre T-type - future victim
'67 Buick LeSabre - future victim


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:21 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 6:11 pm
Posts: 9118
Location: Chicago, IL
Year and Trim: 2003 SLE
Nice! The E39 is my favorite 5 series as well. Looks like it's worth it given the effort, and for how long it's been sitting it looks very clean.

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-Car Guy Carl
"Penelope" - 2003 SLE - 193k Miles
"Sydney" - 2000 Honda S2000 - 67k miles
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 11:47 pm
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Location: Philly
Year and Trim: 95 SLE
I did vacuum the interior but that's really it. Aside from all the broken wood trim and missing pixels on the radio, the interior is definitely in good shape for the price and age. The leather held up real good.

The car sat really just do to a few simple things wrong and other priorities. It needed someone to put a fair amount of time in but that time would have cost thousands for a car that's worth maybe $2k in the end. For someone who has the ability and time, it's a very good deal.

I ended up getting a set of Depo smoked lenses and some new adjusters I'm hopefully installing soon.

I've got about 80 miles on the car now. I put the miles on to see what else it needs and get the computer inspection ready. So far the only surprise is the hamster wheels on the blower motor might be letting go. I'll need to redo the 15 year old twist and tape job someone did on the speakers too. It's like speaker roulette.

I did the rear wheel bearings with the help of a bimmerforums thread. It actually didn't go to bad.

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I picked up a hood and fenders for really cheap from craigslist. I was able to get the new hood on but not the fenders just yet. The new hood has about 5-6 little hail dimples I could probably correct with a little PDR. You can see the rust spots on the driver's fender in these pics. The passenger side has some rust but it isn't as bad.

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And I also made the key useable.
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_________________
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95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
05 Suzuki DRZ400S
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 11:47 pm
Posts: 6068
Location: Philly
Year and Trim: 95 SLE
I was able to get the new lenses on today. These pre-facelift lenses are a dream to take apart compared to pretty much anything else. The plastic adjusters were all in a million pieces, so I replaced those. The only thing that sucked was I spun one of the adjustment knobs off it's knurled shaft.. A drill and ground down screw fixed that.

Broken adjuster knob fix:

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Headlight upgrade:

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_________________
Image
95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
05 Suzuki DRZ400S
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 6:11 pm
Posts: 9118
Location: Chicago, IL
Year and Trim: 2003 SLE
Much better! Already shed some years off of her.

_________________
-Car Guy Carl
"Penelope" - 2003 SLE - 193k Miles
"Sydney" - 2000 Honda S2000 - 67k miles
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:35 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 11:47 pm
Posts: 6068
Location: Philly
Year and Trim: 95 SLE
^^ Thanks. Best part is the lenses were only like $100something bucks.

When I walked out to the car the other day I saw that there was a single tail light bulb stuck on, and must have been on all night. A mechanic buddy clued me in on the 12v bus and fuses under the passenger seat usually being corroded, so I started looking there. The passenger seat motors are tired and it took some extra finagling to get the seat unbolted and out of the way to take a look under it. Sure enough it was a mess down there.. And I ripped the soaked foam in the process of removing it.

For the water source, I'm banking on a sunroof drain issue. I've already resealed the vapor barriers. I'm going to take a look under the passenger cabin filter too.

I cleaned it all up, coated everything with dielectric grease, threw it back in and it didn't change the problem.. It probably fixed a future one though.

My buddy pulled the electrical diag up on Alldata and saw that the wire for that bulb goes directly to the light control module. Knowing this, if I unplugged that connector and the bulb goes out, I know that there's not a 12v short to that wire between the LKM and the bulb. It went out when I unplugged the respective LKM connector.

The other weird lighting things I have going on are the passenger high beam getting constant power and the PRNDL indicators staying on. I actually saw the high beam unplugged when I did the headlights and found that out then. I'm hoping a new LKM fixes both of these issues. I did find a post on bimmerforums mentioning early E39 LKMs known for having failing single high beam transistors. I found a numbers matching one on ebay with a warranty for $45 shipped. For now the highbeam is unplugged and that one tail bulb is removed.

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_________________
Image
95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
05 Suzuki DRZ400S
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:27 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 11:47 pm
Posts: 6068
Location: Philly
Year and Trim: 95 SLE
I've been putting a bit more work into this thing recently.

Whoever messed with the audio system in this thing replaced the amp, all the speakers, added a CD changer and twist and taped everything.. Considering the vintage of the Amp, (like 00ish, Alpine MRV-F407) the audio work was probably done 18 years ago. Listening to the radio was like playing speaker roulette. At some points I would be down to one speaker. A bunch of the twisted connections came loose and some of the wires actually broke.. I went through and soldered/epoxy lined shrink tubed everything at the speakers and from the stock harness to the amp.. it was a mess. But it all works now! I actually ditched the CD changer since I'll never use it and used the Peripheral adapter for an aux in.

I put on the new fenders I got and unfortunately, they're a shade off from the doors.. They're in better shape the the rusted ones that were on there so I'll just deal with it. I took effduration's advice and picked up smoked corner markers and tails. Those went on this past week.

When I originally went to look at the car it had a bad cabin water leak (re: fuse box in previous post). Reading here, one of the major culprits is the door vapor barriers. So I re-did all of the separated ones (3/4) with plastic and butyl tape. That didn't do the trick so I moved onto the sunroof drains. The front passenger side, where the majority of the water is, was completely disconnected. All the others were almost pulled off. I pushed them all back on and sinched them down with zip-ties what have a metal tab in them. I ran it through the car wash and the carpet stayed dry. I guess we'll see. There's tons more suggestions on here otherwise.

The only other plans I have for the car is loosing the rear tint, fitting a nicer front bumper and cleaning up the interior once it gets nice out.

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_________________
Image
95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
05 Suzuki DRZ400S
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


Top
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 11:47 pm
Posts: 6068
Location: Philly
Year and Trim: 95 SLE
This is likely going back to the family member who gave it to us in hopes it remains reasonably trouble free from them.

The 3 things I had/have left to do are the fuel pump, brakes and hopefully get the a/c working.

The fuel pump actually had good pressure but the internal check valve wouldn't keep pressure during prime or key off. It made for an intermittent hard start. Replacing the fuel pump was extremely easy since there's an access panel under the rear seat. It was easier than doing the pump in my Ducati.

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The brakes work but are in bad shape from sitting for so long. Up front I'm going with the same brand, Powerstop Z32, brakes I have on the Jag and G35 since I've been happy with those. For the rears I went with Powersport since they have good reviews as well. I plan on flushing the fluid too.

I'm hoping the a/c isn't working because of the faulty or MIA ambient temp sensor but I don't think I'll be that lucky.

_________________
Image
95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
05 Suzuki DRZ400S
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 11:47 pm
Posts: 6068
Location: Philly
Year and Trim: 95 SLE
The brakes are in and fluid flushed. Power Stop Z32s up front and Power Sports in the back.

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During the brake break in I noticed a low speed (dependent) vibration from the tunnel area that gets worse with load. I think driving the car more aggressive than usual aggravated something. The guibo (driveshaft coupling) and CSB (driveshaft center support bearing) are likely original at 169k. So, I'll shotgun those to try and fix it.

When diagnosing the a/c, I started with the ambient air temp sensor since I'm reading -40* at the dash. Apparently I got the wrong sensor since it still sees -40 with it wired and plugged in. I get +3.5v and ground at the leads and when I jump the wires the dash goes to 125*. That tells me the wiring is good. I ended up putting a 2.x Kohm resister in parallel with a jumper to get the dash to read 122 just to try and temporarily take it out of the equation. I vac/charged the system, it held pressure and the compressor clutch engaged but the compressor wasn't compressing. Both sides were the same pressure and it was blowing hot air. I used my buddies recovery machine and pulled the charge back out. It looks like a compressor should do it.

_________________
Image
95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
05 Suzuki DRZ400S
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:05 am 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 11:47 pm
Posts: 6068
Location: Philly
Year and Trim: 95 SLE
I did some more reading on the ambient air temp sensor and found out it takes a while for it to start reading correctly. That was the case for me too. It took about 20 mins.

The tunnel vibrations were definitely the center shaft support. The rubber connecting the bearing the bracket was completely ripped and disconnected. That and the giubo coupling were replaced today without issue. It was actually pretty easy.

https://youtu.be/6VmikORWRvQ

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The a/c compressor install was a total PITA. It was out in about 10 mins since the lower air dam is missing. Everything from there was uphill admittedly because I bought the cheapest compressor I could get my hands on. The connector was missing with an open crimp in it's place. Easy enough to crimp in the old connector. Then I noticed the clutch wire shielding was ripped and would likey ground on the case. Fixed that. The compressor said it was pre-filled but there was some oil in the packaging so I added some with UV die in it. When I went to mount the compressor the pressure relief port on the bottom that's c-clipped in place was leaking the UV oil. I pulled it out to find a torn o-ring and one completely missing on the bottom. After I replaced and added as necessary, the leak stopped. I went to replace the o-rings on the lines and found out that the top/center port had the alignment pin in the wrong location and the port hole was about a mm too big.. This port is on a plate that's removable so I swapped the old one in while the compressor was in the car. After that mess, I was able to pull a vacuum, I checked to see if it'll hold for 10 mins and I put in between 3 and 4 12oz cans in. I was borrowing gauges and they weren't in the best shape, so I couldn't get accurate readings after filling. The A/C seemed to work well after filling with no visible UV leaks. The compressor clutch engaged without issue. I let the car sit for a while and when I went to go home it took about 5 mins or so for the a/c to start blowing cold again. After I got home I let it sit again but lost patience about a few mins of it not blowing cold.

Clifs - my cheap compressor solution ended up taking up a bunch of time and might not be working.

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I ordered a set of gauges with no plastic bits and I'll check the pressures next week.

_________________
Image
95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
05 Suzuki DRZ400S
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 11:47 pm
Posts: 6068
Location: Philly
Year and Trim: 95 SLE
A/C gauges showed that my charge seemed good ~125psi but the compressor was only slightly compressing at idle. The low side would only drop to 70psi and the high would get up to maybe 200psi. However, if I drove the car around, the compressor saw more RPMs and the pressures would get to where they needed to be. Basically a weak compressor.

I ended up getting a new Denso compressor. It didn't need any soldering, port swapping or other b.s. The other good thing is I was able to swap the compressor at a dealership with a buddy that works there. This allowed me to use a recovery machine that recycles refrigerant, saving me that added cost. With the new compressor and a proper charge, the A/C is now freeeezing.

While there, I was also able to get a quick alignment on a newer Hunter rack. I've done about a dozen alignments on an older rack and this rack was an absolute dream. The setup took about 10 mins and it even guided you with pictures and tools required to make adjustments.

I may be passing this car on in a few weeks now that it's pretty well sorted. I might do a couple other small fixes but this could be it. It's come a long way and I learned a low while working on it. Hopefully it holds up.

_________________
Image
95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
05 Suzuki DRZ400S
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


Top
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