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General BMW Model Discussion
All non E46 BMW model questions in here. Look below for E36, E90 and F30 specific forum. For additional model specific forums check out bimmerfest.com!

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Old 06-17-2013, 08:05 PM   #1
and_e
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: St. Louis
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My Ride: 2003 E39 540i MSport
BUILD THREAD: 2003 E39 540i M Sport (updated 7/7)

So I have only been doing minor tweaks so far, but thought I would document it all and share it with you guys. I guess the logical place is to start how I acquired it.

I found this car for sale actually on this forum back around January. I was a 6 year owner of a 2004 is300 5 speed before this. I was never into the JDM I just wanted a reliable daily fresh out of college and the is300 suited my needs perfectly. I have always been a BMW enthusiast since very young as my dad has owned many BMWs growing up and my brother has also been through multiple BMWs.

I live in St. Louis but ironically the car was in Milwaukee where I grew up, only a few miles from my house. I bought a one way ticket home to hang out with my parents and see the car. Everything checked out and I bought the car as it sits below:




The winters in Milwaukee are harsh to say the least. My first concern was all the salt. The car was a southern car from North Carolina and was never winter driven in Milwaukee, so no rust. When I fly home, the first thing I notice is the roads closely resemble the salt flats,



I didnt have a plane ticket home, so my only way was to drive it back to St. Louis. I taped up the front end to protect from salt and rock chips.



I am itching to drive this thing how it was meant to be driven and of course half way down the roads are ****, DSC is flashing and I am stuck behind salt trucks. Once I hit Bloomington, IL the sun comes out, the roads dry up and I get to drive this machine how it was designed. Acceleration is smooth, responsive and it has endless amounts of torque in all gears.

Incredibly happy with the purchase, I instantly gave it a car wash and underbody flush to get all the salt off the vehicle once I got it home. I was ambitious and excited to start this as my first project car. I will keep updating this thread with the mods done so far and to come.

Please subscribe and follow me through the build!
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2003 540i M Sport
1998 M3 Dakar Coupe
1991 325i Coupe -SOLD-
Follow my personal BMW blog:
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Last edited by and_e; 07-07-2013 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:25 PM   #2
itscoo2pyopants
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looks nice, congrats on the find
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:27 PM   #3
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That is beautiful.


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^^^ do you spend all your free time on two wheels?
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:41 PM   #4
and_e
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My Ride: 2003 E39 540i MSport
My first order of business was to get rid of the "old man" wood trim. The wood doesnt really match my style, or the sportiness of the car. I did some research on some trim wraps. Having zero vinyl wrapping experience I thought I would just go for it and try it out. Worst case scenario, I could just rip it off and start over. I went on amazon and got 5 square feet of brushed titanium.

In all honesty, for my first wrap I think it turned out pretty well. The trick is definitely to use a heat gun. The vinyl stretches and conforms to curved surfaces very well when warmed up. Also, make proper relief cuts around the corners when wrapping the edges over the corners. The vinyl was awesome, it has an awesome texture and grain to it that really looks like metal. 5 square feet was the perfect amount to do my whole interior trim, just plan ahead and use the space efficiently. The whole process took about 2 hours.

Before:


After:







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1998 M3 Dakar Coupe
1991 325i Coupe -SOLD-
Follow my personal BMW blog:
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Last edited by and_e; 06-19-2013 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:11 PM   #5
ApexOnYou
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My Ride: E36S52/E39M52/E36M50
Man I miss this car! So thrilled this went to a good home though.
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:12 AM   #6
Snik
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Holy smokes. Damn good job guy


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Quote:
Originally Posted by rohde88 View Post
^^^ do you spend all your free time on two wheels?
______________________________________
The Snikster posted sexy wiminz here
Do you ride a sportbike?
Do you have a question about Jamaica? Ask?
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:52 AM   #7
Ka'alawalamena
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BUILD THREAD: 2003 E39 540i M Sport (updated 6/19)

Great job man! The car looks good.


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Old 06-20-2013, 11:33 AM   #8
and_e
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ka'alawalamena View Post
Great job man! The car looks good.


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Thanks!!
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2003 540i M Sport
1998 M3 Dakar Coupe
1991 325i Coupe -SOLD-
Follow my personal BMW blog:
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www.moardesigns.com
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:34 AM   #9
and_e
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snik View Post
Holy smokes. Damn good job guy



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Appreciate it, going to add a few more posts in the days to come.
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2003 540i M Sport
1998 M3 Dakar Coupe
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:38 AM   #10
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Very good looking car. Congrats.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:52 PM   #11
and_e
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My Ride: 2003 E39 540i MSport
ACS Type 2 wheels

I regularly check craigslist and found a set of 18" ac schnitzer type II wheels for sale in kansas city. the drive was 4 hours away so i got in my civic and headed west. I have never been to kansas city before, so it was a two part trip.

once I met the guy and looked at the wheels i noticed there was major salt corrosion on the inside of the barrels, the faces of the spokes were fine. there was alos little to no curb rash. this was not listed in the ad, he felt bad that i just drove 4 hours to find this out so we settled on a price of $350 for the set, with tires having about 75% tread left (245/40/18 all around). this is how i got them:





I washed off the surface salt and sanded the inside of the wheels to get the salt and chrome flakes off. i threw them on car. I am not really a fan of chrome, especially on a white car. there isn't enough contrast. the chrome is too flashy and not subtle enough for my taste.






luckily i knew a powder coat guy and a guy who works at a tire shop. i dropped them off with my guys and i couldn't have been more happy with the results.




Time to mount them!!




Final installation:


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2003 540i M Sport
1998 M3 Dakar Coupe
1991 325i Coupe -SOLD-
Follow my personal BMW blog:
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Old 06-21-2013, 02:03 AM   #12
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BUILD THREAD: 2003 E39 540i M Sport (updated 6/20)

Wheels look better, I hate chrome.


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Old 06-21-2013, 05:11 AM   #13
Snik
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Op is not fvkin around.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by rohde88 View Post
^^^ do you spend all your free time on two wheels?
______________________________________
The Snikster posted sexy wiminz here
Do you ride a sportbike?
Do you have a question about Jamaica? Ask?

Last edited by Snik; 06-21-2013 at 05:11 AM.
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:37 AM   #14
Dirty Mike
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Doin werk in a hurry man
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:17 PM   #15
and_e
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My Ride: 2003 E39 540i MSport
got new siding on the house and garage this week...

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2003 540i M Sport
1998 M3 Dakar Coupe
1991 325i Coupe -SOLD-
Follow my personal BMW blog:
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www.moardesigns.com
www.facebook.com/moardesigns

Last edited by and_e; 06-21-2013 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 06-29-2013, 11:18 PM   #16
and_e
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Valve cover gasket replacement, valve cover paint

Valve cover gaskets needed to be changed, so I decided to go ahead and get rid of the disgusting bubbling finish on the valve covers. This is how they usually look after 100k miles on the car.





Not with happy with how they looked in my engine bay I decided to strip them and repaint them with flame proof flat black paint. Once I took off the covers the internals looked clean as I had hoped...




Once I got the valve covers off I cleaned off the bubbling OEM paint along the gasket face...



I used some scotchbrite pads with my air tool to get the best results, along with some more beer of course...



let the long tedious process of grinding the face begin...



and more grinding....



and more...



luckily i get these pads free from work, you go through them pretty quickly...



finally, hours later I finished one side. i didnt clean off the internal part since it wasnt exposed fron the engine bay and would also be next to impossible to clean without a sand blaster...



i got some flame proof paint that sprays on super easily with a few coats...



You have to bake it a few times for the paint to cure in order for it to not scratch off and properly protect....on the grill it goes.



Final product:





Finally finished both sides and am very happy with the overall look. It makes the engine bay look much cleaner with the all black valve cover gaskets.

here is a before photo:



And after the painting:



__________________
2003 540i M Sport
1998 M3 Dakar Coupe
1991 325i Coupe -SOLD-
Follow my personal BMW blog:
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www.moardesigns.com
www.facebook.com/moardesigns
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:50 AM   #17
Snik
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Very clean motor.


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Originally Posted by rohde88 View Post
^^^ do you spend all your free time on two wheels?
______________________________________
The Snikster posted sexy wiminz here
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:47 PM   #18
///Mvious
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Nice work so far...definitely in for this build! I never owned a 540 - came close 5 years ago, but the guy wouldn't budge on his price. I loved it...gobs of tourqe down low that continued up the tach.

Looking forward to this one!
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Old 07-07-2013, 03:44 PM   #19
and_e
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My Ride: 2003 E39 540i MSport
Headlight Restoration / LED angel eyes

Although my headlights were not terribly fogged, they were a little yellow and full of rock chips that needed to be smoothened out. I got some wet/dry sandpaper from work and decided to refinish them.

I started out with 800 grit, then worked through 1500, 2000 and finally 3000 grit and then used some rubbing compound. Each headlight took about 45 minutes or so. Your arm definitely gets tired from all the rubbing but overall they turned out pretty good. They arent perfect but a lot better than what they were.







I wanted some brighter angel eyes for the car, It was really hard finding yellow ones. I wanted to keep the oem look for when the car was built and not go xenon like the newer models. I decided to go with some 6 watt LED yellow bulbs, they claimed they were 5 times brighter than OEM. Purchased for $60.

They came in a nice package. Installed in about 10 seconds. The first thing I noticed was the color, they were more orange than yellow. Although not what I expected, still didn't look bad. Unfortunately these things were not brighter than OEM at all. You cannot see them in the daylight. I am going to return them and figure something else out, but I snapped a few good pics of them installed.









OEM left / LED aftermarket right







Some photos with them both in:





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2003 540i M Sport
1998 M3 Dakar Coupe
1991 325i Coupe -SOLD-
Follow my personal BMW blog:
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:31 AM   #20
Whammy
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Love the E39. Great job. Not a fan of the rims however. Liked the OE's better.

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