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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 08-24-2012, 03:36 PM
delux718 delux718 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 bmw 540i
performance upgrades for a 01 540i

Hey whats going on guys? i just recently purchased a 01 bmw 540i and was wondering what upgrades ppl have done with them. i dont want to do nothing crazy like turbo or supercharger (not yet). something simple like exhaust and intake upgrades and maybe ecu programming. i just want to say in advance thanks for any info on this matter.
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  #2  
Old 08-24-2012, 03:39 PM
dvsgene dvsgene is offline
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  #3  
Old 08-24-2012, 03:48 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
If you just want to make noise, there are many variations of exhaust mods posted here. Do a search.

Many have learned that it's best to stick with the stock intake - it's already a "CAI," and the chances of ingesting water are much lower than with some aftermarket kits. Can you say "hydrolocked?"

Various posts have shown that ECU tuning is a waste of money. These engines are so well tuned that to get any significant increase of power requires supercharging or nitrous injection.

Best to save your money for a cooling system overhaul, before you have a catastrophic failure. Next up, suspension repairs and chain guides.

If you don't want to do nothing, you must want to do something.
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Last edited by edjack; 08-24-2012 at 03:51 PM.
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  #4  
Old 08-24-2012, 04:04 PM
ncseahawk ncseahawk is offline
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How much should be budget for a "coolant system overhaul"?
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  #5  
Old 08-24-2012, 04:05 PM
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540indiana 540indiana is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 540i Sport
Best performance upgrade? Maintenance. Zionsville heavy duty radiator and fan clutch delete. Knock out two birds with one stone.

It is said that the cost 1hp gain is equivalent to $10.

Just remember this. It is a 540. By the time you get the maintenance done on the car and ready to mod, the CEL will show up at gun point and rob you of your mod money.

Welcome to the insanity!!! When our cars are running good , is almost a serene experience. When they are acting up, it's still a great car but will give you grey!!!
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Last edited by 540indiana; 08-24-2012 at 04:07 PM.
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  #6  
Old 08-24-2012, 04:22 PM
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Albo Albo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
If you don't want to do nothing, you must want to do something.
- LoL! I love it! Can I use this in my signature?
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  #7  
Old 08-24-2012, 04:44 PM
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King 5 King 5 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW 528i
Suspension is a great performance upgrade that is usually over looked. Try searching for some nice coilovera or bilstein struts and h&r lowering springs. Eibach sway bars are also a great improvment over stock.
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  #8  
Old 08-24-2012, 05:01 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Albo, be my guest.
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  #9  
Old 08-24-2012, 05:53 PM
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DinanBimmer DinanBimmer is offline
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I'd say you save up for a proper exhaust system, say eisenmann or dinan I may be wrong in believing that a well made exhaust increases hp, but who cares when it makes the car sound way better. Eisenmann is my favorite exhaust for the 540i. The Dinan free flow exhaust is slightly more reserved, but can make some noise when you step on it. Skip the chip tuning and CAI's, they're worthless. Instead get your car in tip top shape mechanically.
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  #10  
Old 08-24-2012, 06:07 PM
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Topaz540i Topaz540i is offline
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As you have seen some here like to mod their cars other are so religious that they think there is absolutely no way the car produced by the bmw god could be improved upon. Obviously they are because everything can be improved. There is no perfect car except for ferrari's of course. Lol
Afe makes the best intake without any more chance of hydrolock than the stock airbox. I bout a really cheap obx catback that is actually really well made and is by far the best sounding bmw i have ever heard. The m60 eom intake manifold is a cheap upgrade to your stock m62tu manifold. Combine all this with software and the difference is night and day from stock. Yes i plan to dyno next time i get a saturday off so thx for asking for charts and pretending everything on earth is the effect of "butt dyno" in advance. I have been modding for years. I know the difference.
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ESS Tuning m60 version software
m60 intake manifold
a.f.e. c.a.i.
3" obx catback
full powerflex urethane setup
545 ssk
cdv delete
m5 rear sway bar
M5 chassis rods
M5 3.15 lsd
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Akebono=suck
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  #11  
Old 08-24-2012, 06:29 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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The software upgrade will make you throttle more responsive and increase the rev over limit by at least 300 RPM, which is useful if you are a redline shifting guy. The top end 155 limit it removed, but that's not really useful here in the US.
Dinan does have 1/2 price sales in the winter, so for the $250 it's a good deal.
You didn't say if you have a 6 speed or automatic. If its a 6 speed get yourself an M5 LSD diff and driveshaft. The manual has 2.81 gears while the M5 diff is an LSD unit with 3.15 gears.
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  #12  
Old 08-24-2012, 06:36 PM
dvsgene dvsgene is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topaz540i View Post
Obviously they are because everything can be improved.
That's right, everything can be improved for a price. Depends on ones' budget.

To take advantage of any bolt on requires remapping of stock software which has its limits on parameters. With any new bolt on, ECU does need to be reprogrammed to take FULL advantage of it. This is why Dinan has stages with a separate remap for each stage. While may complain Dinan is overpriced, it is the proper way to tune.

As with anything BMW, most new bolt ons are not cheap even years after the model is discontinued but cheap if you can find second hand bolt ons.

Unfortunately many people mistakenly equate louder with faster which is not always the case. Dynos are the only way to test improvements but also cost $$ for each run.

Expecting to bolt on a bunch of CAIs, mufflers and headers without a remap is a waste of money as any gains is not fully allowed from a stock ECU.

So OP, what's your budget after normal (preventative) maintenance is taken care of?
After all, what good is a mod if you are constantly seeing a CEL or coolant leaking in your driveway?
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  #13  
Old 08-24-2012, 07:22 PM
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Dking078 Dking078 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
Dinan does have 1/2 price sales in the winter, so for the $250 it's a good deal.
.

I thought they only do 15% off during Oct?

OT: If you have an auto, maybe try DINAN Auto trans SW. It's firmer shifting & no forced-shift when in manual mode.
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For Sale!
1 Set of E39 OEM Technical Graphite / Cubic Interior Trim set- $255 Shipped [Click]
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Last edited by Dking078; 08-24-2012 at 07:25 PM.
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  #14  
Old 08-24-2012, 07:46 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by delux718 View Post
was wondering what upgrades ppl have done with them
As others said, fix the broken or soon-to-be-broken stuff first:
Behr cooling system leaking
Plastic DISA valve breaking & destroying the engine
Cluster pixel tape lifting
MID pixel tape lifting
Hella PBT headlight adjusters breaking
Power steering cap & hose leaking
Trunk wiring loom fraying
CCV clogging
Bosch ABS control module frying
Cupholders breaking
I6 VANOS seals deteriorating
V8 valley pan gaskets leaking
GKR/BMW/Valeo FSU/FSR dying
Thrust arm bushings leaking
Ambient temperature sensor breaking
Window regulators breaking
Vapor barrier adhesive leaking
Jack pads falling off
Windshield cover molding crumbling
Driver's seat control switch breaking
Rear center brakelight socket melting
Seat cables fall out causing seat twist
Windshield washer tanks & pumps leaking
BMW roundel paint chipping
Vent trim corner cracking & wood trim varnish cracking
etc.

Then, worry about performance:
- CAI 101 should I do it or not (1) and which is better, stock or aftermarket cold air intake (1) (2) & a home-made CAI (1) & the general consensus on the effectiveness of an aftermarket CAI versus the stock BMW CAI (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & how to reduce the risk of hydro lock (1) (2) & what about a K&N oiled air filter over the stock air filter (1) & a forced induction group buy (1) and adding nitrous oxide to your E39 (1) & links to suppliers to improve performance of your E39 (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ncseahawk View Post
How much should be budget for a "coolant system overhaul"?
- How much should a cooling system overhaul cost & what should be replaced (1) (2)
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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #15  
Old 08-25-2012, 12:26 AM
BMWEFOlogist BMWEFOlogist is offline
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Mein Auto: BMW-E39-530i
Quote:
Originally Posted by delux718 View Post
Hey whats going on guys? i just recently purchased a 01 bmw 540i and was wondering what upgrades ppl have done with them. i dont want to do nothing crazy like turbo or supercharger (not yet). something simple like exhaust and intake upgrades and maybe ecu programming. i just want to say in advance thanks for any info on this matter.
Dinan has some pretty serious breathing modifications for the 540i. If you spend a good 7-10k on Dinan modifications which include multiple software modifications, intake manifold, MAF, and exhuast then it will put up over 320hp on the dyno and 350lb-ft+ which is a pretty significant improvement over stock. The most cost effective modification is probably getting a 3.15 LSD.

You can also program your ECU to advance timings a lot, but you'll need race gas or run at lower gears if you don't want detonation.

Either way, your car WILL have so many problems that modifications will be at the bottom of your priorities list. And regarding problems...its not a matter of IF, its a matter of WHEN, and with a 540i...that WHEN is SOON. You'll See
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  #16  
Old 08-25-2012, 04:57 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Mein Auto: 540/6, S60 Volvo, Tribeca
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWEFOlogist View Post

You can also program your ECU to advance timings a lot, but you'll need race gas or run at lower gears if you don't want detonation.

Either way, your car WILL have so many problems that modifications will be at the bottom of your priorities list. And regarding problems...its not a matter of IF, its a matter of WHEN, and with a 540i...that WHEN is SOON. You'll See
The Dinan intake manifold is nothing more than the OEM M60 intake that you can get used for ~$100.
With the Dinan engine software, their CAI, plus lots of my own engine mods I'm still waiting for SOON. I don't need race gas.
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  #17  
Old 08-25-2012, 05:07 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dking078 View Post
I thought they only do 15% off during Oct?

OT: If you have an auto, maybe try DINAN Auto trans SW. It's firmer shifting & no forced-shift when in manual mode.
Tranny software is a good thing too.

Must be dealer controlled, my local dealer is offering 20% off on Dinan items right now.
In the winter is usually when I've seen the 50% sales.
I picked up a Dinan CF CAI and software for $300 a few years ago.
No, I'm not worried about sucking up water, it would need to be at least 10" deep. I've got more brains than to attemp to go boating in a car.
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  #18  
Old 08-25-2012, 05:41 AM
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Topaz540i Topaz540i is offline
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Most tunes require 93 octane not race gas. Use should be using premium anyway so this really shouldnt be an issue.
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ESS Tuning m60 version software
m60 intake manifold
a.f.e. c.a.i.
3" obx catback
full powerflex urethane setup
545 ssk
cdv delete
m5 rear sway bar
M5 chassis rods
M5 3.15 lsd
Bc-r coilovers w/ swift springs
Akebono=suck
ss braided brake lines

coming soon:

Jb lwfw

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