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Old 04-10-2014, 01:15 PM
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My E39 530i Project Car

Having recently completed an E53 X5 3.0i project car [ Detailed here ], I went on the hunt for another E53 project. Going into the X5 project I didn't have much experience with the platform, but learned quite a lot. And really enjoyed working on it. So I was eager to find another one. A few weeks of searching didn't turn up any viable prospects, and then I found a 2002 530i Sport Package in an unusual color combo practically in my back yard. I've had three E39's and I really like them, so I decided to take it on instead of continuing to search for an X5.

It was part of an estate sale about an hour from where I live. Overall, it's a pretty nice car, but it does have some problems. It suffers from all of the common E39 maladies, including:
  • A faulty ABS module
  • Dead pixels in the instrument cluster and the radio display (MID)
  • Broken window regulators
  • Various oil leaks
  • A very noisy rear wheel bearing
  • Assorted cosmetic blemishes (including a very sorry looking steering wheel)
The elderly previous owner passed away recently and the car was being sold by her family. Judging by how the car smells inside, I'm guessing the cause was lung cancer. The car reeks of cigarette smoke. I've been leaving the windows rolled down (well, the ones that WILL roll down) to try to start airing it out. I have a plan for getting rid of the smell, but I'm definitely open to suggestions if anyone has a technique that's been successful.

An interesting side note is that this is first of my project cars in a long time that actually arrived at my house under its own power. I can't remember the last time I didn't have to scramble to find a trailer and tow vehicle! My wife went with me to get it and we made a nice little adventure out of it - even the part where I made a wrong turn and took us 30 minutes out of our way.

I've already pulled the ABS module out and sent it off to be rebuilt. And my buddy Chris at German Audio Tech in California gave me a great deal on repairing the cluster and MID. I shipped those off a couple of days ago. I wish I could fix those parts myself (I've tried), but I just don't have the touch for it. Besides, I really want to get this car turned around quickly so I can get back on the hunt for another E53. So I figured it would be best to defer to a pro on some items.

I don't normally like green cars, but this one is a somewhat unusual color that I had not seen in person before. And I kind of like it. I'm also really digging the two-tone interior. It's different from the black-over-tan or white-over-tan that I usually see. The M5 wheels are also a nice touch, although I strongly suspect that they're replicas.

Anyway, wish me luck on this project! And if anyone happens to know someone who's parting out an E39, please let me know. There are a few things that I know I'm going to need.

I'll post updates as various tasks are completed and document its progress from "in the rough" to diamond.







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Old 05-04-2015, 04:53 PM
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Love the interior color combo!
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2002 BMW X5 4.6is soon to be LSX swapped. Silver on Imola

2003 BMW X5 3.0i 5 Speed Manual, Sport Pkg, 190,xxx miles and counting. Black/ Black 20" 4.6is Wheels, OEM Stainless Steps, ZHP Shift Knob
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Old 06-10-2015, 03:28 PM
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BimmerM3, did you finish the project car? What's next?
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Old 06-10-2015, 03:51 PM
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Yes! Done and gone

New project is underway. I'll start a new thread once I get some decent pics. It's a 2002 X5 4.6is in Imola over black. I bought it from a dealer, so I didn't get a super deal. But it's what I wanted and they're a little hard to come by in this configuration. So I paid my money and will take my chances.

I just got back from a 250 mile trip and it performed great, but naturally it has some issues. I'm working on my to-do list now…

A little teaser pic:
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Old 06-10-2015, 03:55 PM
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That's great, Bimmer - be sure to post pix and start a thread on the E53 forum as you get into this project. Your thread on your first E53 provided some great info. The E53 looks great in Imola, and that one appears to have the nice wheels, too.
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Old 06-10-2015, 04:16 PM
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Thanks! I've been looking for a while for an Imola 4.6is with alcantara/black leather. This one was in Orlando, FL and I had to have it shipped up to me. I paid an extra grand in dealer fees, pre-purchase inspection (TOTAL waste of money, BTW) and shipping. But when one wants a rare-ish car, one pays what it takes to get it.

Fortunately for me, this one is in much better condition than the white one from the other thread. But it does have some weird problems that will need to be sorted. So hopefully I'll be able to provide some useful information to future forum members
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