Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-21-2010, 04:21 PM
zer0vette zer0vette is offline
Registered User
Location: Buffalo, NY
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 33
Mein Auto: 1999 528i, 2000 528i
1999 528i... Difficulty of auto to manual swap?

I'm wondering what the difficulty of an auto to manual swap in these cars is? I did it a couple years ago in my 1994 camaro z28, and it was not too bad, pretty straight forward.

Has anyone pulled this off on an e39? I don't need it as my dd, so i wouldn't mind a project. However, if it's too complicated to pull off on these cars, i woudl rather just sell my e39 and buy a manual.

Thanks
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
  #2  
Old 10-21-2010, 05:39 PM
borderchris's Avatar
borderchris borderchris is offline
Was ist los? Das hund!
Location: San Diego
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 630
Mein Auto: 335i E92
It's not worth it- the level of work, both mechanical and electronic would be quite a heavy lift from the get go. Here's a link that covers the swap for E28, E34 and E39:

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=566757

...as you can see, it's a monster of a job that involves some fabrication as well. Just go find a manual- it would be cheaper assuming you purchased a 1997-2000 car. Good luck!
__________________

2007 E92 335i . A52 . Steptronic . Sport . Premium . Comfort . Pilot Sport AS3 . Akebonos
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-21-2010, 06:26 PM
s140s s140s is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Schaumburg IL
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 168
Mein Auto: 2001 530i Sport AW
Its not as difficult and has been done before. Beside swapping the mechanical parts, running few wires for Reverse Lights etc. You will need to find someone to reprogram your ECU. Contact Mark at EACTuning , IIRC he has reprogramed his stuff for the manual swap. If you are willing to go for it, make sure you got someone to reprogram the computers.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-21-2010, 07:43 PM
borderchris's Avatar
borderchris borderchris is offline
Was ist los? Das hund!
Location: San Diego
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 630
Mein Auto: 335i E92
Quote:
Originally Posted by s140s View Post
Its not as difficult and has been done before. Beside swapping the mechanical parts, running few wires for Reverse Lights etc. You will need to find someone to reprogram your ECU. Contact Mark at EACTuning , IIRC he has reprogramed his stuff for the manual swap. If you are willing to go for it, make sure you got someone to reprogram the computers.
You're being very simplistic in your approach. If you want your E39 to even turn over after a transmission swap, you'll need a manual dash cluster, the DME, and ROM-trick the car into thinking the late transmission computer is still spewing signals. You'll need a whole new pedal cluster with fabrication of the pan and frame to allow for a pedal, and all of this stuff:

5 - speed transmission (msrp - $3500 or $1000 used)
Clutch master and slave cylinders
Clutch Kit - $300- $400
Flywheel ( msrp - 500 )
Driveshaft ( msrp - $700-800 )
Pedal cluster - big bucks or find one used
Shifter and linkage
Instrument cluster new or from manual used car
21 52 1 159 350 fluid hose ( $37.50 )
11 14 1 729 836 gasket ( $5.90 )
11 14 1 710 247 crankshaft seal ($52.25 )
25 11 1 221 822 (2) shift bushing ( $12.40 )
23 70 1 092 201 cross member ( $37.11 )
23 70 1 141 614 (2) trans mount ( $34.20 )
11 21 1 720 310 pilot bearing ( $18.06 )
18 21 1 178 340 (2) exhaust hanger ( $17.00 )
26 12 1 226 657 center support ( $100.20)
25 11 1 222 651 mounting ( $19.37 )
25 11 1 222 365 shift a ( $23.26 )

Installation will require advanced fabrication techniques and full system reprogramming. If you think this is simple, well, it's not. Not even close. On an old E28 it's pretty basic. But E39? It will be a heavy lift- trust me.

Back to the original question, you're conservatively looking at $4000 to do the job right, with USED parts. And then- squeaks and rattle city. It's really cheaper just to buy a '97 or '98 3-pedal 528i. Good luck!
__________________

2007 E92 335i . A52 . Steptronic . Sport . Premium . Comfort . Pilot Sport AS3 . Akebonos

Last edited by borderchris; 10-21-2010 at 07:48 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-21-2010, 07:58 PM
s140s s140s is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Schaumburg IL
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 168
Mein Auto: 2001 530i Sport AW
As far as I know , Mark has reprogramed his computers and has an automatic trans cluster which has the PRND lights off after the reprogram. As far as I remember he even took out his trans ecu. Parts will run you 2-3k, used parts whenever possible except wear items.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-21-2010, 08:13 PM
borderchris's Avatar
borderchris borderchris is offline
Was ist los? Das hund!
Location: San Diego
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 630
Mein Auto: 335i E92
Quote:
Originally Posted by s140s View Post
As far as I know , Mark has reprogramed his computers and has an automatic trans cluster which has the PRND lights off after the reprogram. As far as I remember he even took out his trans ecu. Parts will run you 2-3k, used parts whenever possible except wear items.
As far as you know, huh? You haven't even done the job before!

You keep mentioning someone else who's done this. Perhaps I should simply tell you that I've done a swap (on a simpler e34, mind you); it was a very complex job, especially the fabrication of the pedal system. It's not simple, as you seem to think.

In case you're wondering, I've worked (relatively) competently on cars for 20 years and helicopters (UH-60s) when I was in the Army, for half of that.

An e39 (I am quite familiar with it's systems as well) will be quite a bit on top of the e34 procedure. And trust me, it won't be $2000.

Whatever. I'm done.
__________________

2007 E92 335i . A52 . Steptronic . Sport . Premium . Comfort . Pilot Sport AS3 . Akebonos
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-21-2010, 08:17 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 13,203
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
It is already a challenge swapping a MT into an E23, E30.

Doing this swap in an E39 is suicidal.

Go to ebay, craigslist and look for a MT car.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-21-2010, 08:42 PM
s140s s140s is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Schaumburg IL
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 168
Mein Auto: 2001 530i Sport AW
Here is some reading on manual swap.

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...php?p=19813329
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-22-2010, 06:50 AM
zer0vette zer0vette is offline
Registered User
Location: Buffalo, NY
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 33
Mein Auto: 1999 528i, 2000 528i
yeah ill sell this one and buy a manual. LOL Thanks for the info guys.

Last edited by zer0vette; 10-22-2010 at 06:54 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-22-2010, 11:44 AM
Mark@EAC Mark@EAC is offline
Past Sponsor
Location: NW Indiana USA
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 2,563
Send a message via AIM to Mark@EAC
Mein Auto: e39 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by borderchris View Post
You're being very simplistic in your approach. If you want your E39 to even turn over after a transmission swap, you'll need a manual dash cluster, the DME, and ROM-trick the car into thinking the late transmission computer is still spewing signals. You'll need a whole new pedal cluster with fabrication of the pan and frame to allow for a pedal, and all of this stuff:



Back to the original question, you're conservatively looking at $4000 to do the job right, with USED parts. And then- squeaks and rattle city. It's really cheaper just to buy a '97 or '98 3-pedal 528i. Good luck!
Lots of bad and wrong info in this post. Sorry but if you dont know, dont post. That is a real pet peeve of mine. There is no "rom trick" in a proper e39 manual swap. When done correctly and programmed accordingly the car retains all original modules, with the auto trans module being removed and discarded. Every module of the e39 can be coded multiple times and can be configured as you wish.

Existing cluster can be reprogrammed after the swap with 0 errors, and 0 additional cost.
DME is reprogrammed after the swap with 0 errors, and 0 additional cost.
the pedal brackets are the same for auto or manual as well as the master cylinder. All you are doing is switching the brake pedal to the slim manual version and hanging the clutch pedal and hydraulics to the existing bracket.

There is not a single element of "fabrication". I swapped my car using all OEM parts off the shelf. 100% OEM, error free and perfectly operational. Drive it cross country no questions asked.

Since I have swapped my car I have assisted in the programming of several others. See for yourself. http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...&postcount=202

I've never touched that guys car in person by the way. Knowledge is power. I wrote the coding info for his tech, and as you can see he is pleased.

Last edited by Mark@EAC; 10-22-2010 at 11:49 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-22-2010, 11:50 AM
zer0vette zer0vette is offline
Registered User
Location: Buffalo, NY
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 33
Mein Auto: 1999 528i, 2000 528i
hmm interesting. Project back on!
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-22-2010, 11:53 AM
zer0vette zer0vette is offline
Registered User
Location: Buffalo, NY
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 33
Mein Auto: 1999 528i, 2000 528i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark@EACTuning View Post
Lots of bad and wrong info in this post.
waitttt a min...

So you're saying it IS pretty straight forward in an e39? Like i mentioned in the OP, i did an auto to manual swap in my 94 z28 camaro years ago and i had no problem. In my camaro i had to cut a hole in the footwell, for the clutch master cylinder and to mount the pedals, and then a hole in the floor for the shifter. Are you saying i would not need to even cut holes like this?

Last edited by zer0vette; 10-22-2010 at 11:58 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-22-2010, 11:55 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 13,203
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
I am glad I went straight for the Manual Trans in 2006, looked around and found the MT in Kansas city.

Driving a BMW with Auto....I rather ride a horse...LOL.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10-22-2010, 12:00 PM
Mark@EAC Mark@EAC is offline
Past Sponsor
Location: NW Indiana USA
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 2,563
Send a message via AIM to Mark@EAC
Mein Auto: e39 5
the "holes" are already present for the clutch hydraulics, you just have to punch them out with a hammer and chisel, etc. They are stamped in but since the auto cars never needed them, they were not opened or used. There is one near the master cylinder under the drivers side cabin filter and another behind the carpet at the bottom of the firewall. Shifter hole is already there too, just take the old auto selector out and remove the insulation covering the hole. The shift linkage bracket is on all e39 shells, you just snap a bushing into it and away you go. That is the thing to remember here- these are BMWs and they are all based on the same shell. They are built one way or the other but the body is the same.

Running the line to the trans from the cabin was sort of a pain, but it's all factory looking when done.

Last edited by Mark@EAC; 10-22-2010 at 12:03 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-22-2010, 12:06 PM
s140s s140s is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Schaumburg IL
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 168
Mein Auto: 2001 530i Sport AW
E39 was released in 96 for god sake, it has electronics and so on but the "Bmw diseased know it all heads" know better that the car is too smart and swap is nearly impossible. I would not attempt a swap on a modern Bmw but e39 is not that complicated after all. Mark Thank you for proving Mr.20 year experience working on cars being wrong on his info.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10-22-2010, 12:08 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 13,203
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
Cars.com and ebay have quite a few MT E39 for sales.
There is one with 67K miles, listed for $13K:

http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail...5&aff=national
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 10-22-2010, 12:15 PM
zer0vette zer0vette is offline
Registered User
Location: Buffalo, NY
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 33
Mein Auto: 1999 528i, 2000 528i
There are quite a few in my area... but... i have one, that i don't need as a DD, and it will satisfy my project bug.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 10-22-2010, 02:06 PM
borderchris's Avatar
borderchris borderchris is offline
Was ist los? Das hund!
Location: San Diego
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 630
Mein Auto: 335i E92
"Lots of bad and wrong info in this post. Sorry but if you dont know, dont post. That is a real pet peeve of mine"


And who are you, other than yet another vendor trying to sell more parts and services? I do know, and I find your self-serving response insulting. Thanks for reminding me never to order anything from you. With your level of rudeness to forum members, I wouldn't buy a freaking roundel in a plastic bag from you.

The fact of the matter is that it's cheaper to buy a '97 or '98 manual 528i than it is to convert an existing automatic. There are plenty of '97s out there for $4000 or so. And no, it's not a simple job- it requires advanced mechanical skills and a ton of parts. Period.

Why don't you try calling an indy, ANY indy, and get a quote for the job. Oh, I'm sure they'll just slap it together for you in a few hours. It's simple, remember? And in a home garage with some basic hand tools and a a couple of jacks? Oh, no problem!

That said, Zero, it's not your daily driver, and you want a project car- if you feel up to it, handle your business!
__________________

2007 E92 335i . A52 . Steptronic . Sport . Premium . Comfort . Pilot Sport AS3 . Akebonos

Last edited by borderchris; 10-22-2010 at 02:10 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 10-22-2010, 02:19 PM
s140s s140s is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Schaumburg IL
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 168
Mein Auto: 2001 530i Sport AW
Hey GOOOOFY, OP NEVER SAID HE WANTS AN INDY TO PERFORM THIS JOB!!!!! Learn to read because 20 years of your mechanical experience didnt teach you to read. Mark is one of the nicest and knowlegeble Bmw guys I met. He proved your facts wrong and you make a huge deal out of it. He wasnt even rude to you but your experience probably made the assumption.

Last edited by s140s; 10-22-2010 at 02:20 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 10-22-2010, 04:43 PM
jetpilot10's Avatar
jetpilot10 jetpilot10 is offline
JETPILOT10
Location: Frisco Texas
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 197
Mein Auto: 2000 BMW 540I
Wow...I am Just Floored

Wow, you guys crack me up with the goofy banter back and forth.

Mark, many thanks for the info. I have been considering this project for some time now, and each time I dig, I get a bit more CREDITABLE info. Sure, there are a ton of guys on this board that will tell you right off don't do it, and can only spout "I know a Guy who tried it and failed". We never seem to find out why it failed other than it the pat answer of Electronic Wizardry that will be needed.

I have been wrenching on my own cars since I was a kid, and I too worked on and flew helicopters in the military, UH-1's...lol it doesn't make me a BMW expert by any shape form or fashion... but I continue to work on and fly aircraft to this day. But I do believe that the swap can be done economically and in a somewhat straight forward manner. Everyone makes the BMW out to be this "Don't Screw with it or you will be sorry" automobile. Its a car....a piece of man made machinery, and if the guy on the BMW assembly line that barely graduated from high school can put it together, so can the rest of humanity... its a car.

I have done the homework on parts needed, and quite honestly, having a donor car available, which can be picked up for way less money than a running vehicle, seems to be the cheapest way to go. You will have all the small hard parts, lines and the most important piece, "A reference of how the parts are attached and routed".

I am sure the GURU's at Dinan were told they would be insane to screw with the electronics in the car, and look where they are today. The Naysayers should just let it be, unless they can provide hard facts and proof as to why one should not attempt the swap.

Short of that, I say if anyone is going to do the swap, document the steps, with Photos and Narrative, outlining issues and solutions and lets put this one to bed for good! You will answer all the questions everyone has and kill the MYSTERY surrounding the MT swap.

Cheers
__________________

Jetpilot10
2000 540i Sport
Corporate Pilot / Aerobatic Instructor
Competition and Airshow Pilot
WestWind II (IA-Jet) & King Air 350 (BE-300)
www.tail-wheel.com
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 03-14-2011, 02:37 AM
refatb refatb is offline
Registered User
Location: Queens
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 53
Send a message via AIM to refatb
Mein Auto: 1998 528i
Okay i need some help, i have a 1998 528i Automatic, the engine went bad, s0o i replaced the engine and swapped to 5-speed manual transmission which was attached to the motor already, i also swapped the DME, EWS, and Transponder chip from the key, and the Drive Shaft and Differential from the donor vehicle, My only problem is how can i bypass the clutch switch/start lock if i have the wiring for Automatic? i need to fool the DME to think the clutch is engaged.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 02-14-2012, 12:29 PM
jj86gn jj86gn is offline
Registered User
Location: Pittsburgh
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 43
Mein Auto: buick grand national
Hmm,

Looks like someone did it.

http://www.performingimports.com/custom_6speed.php
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 08-12-2012, 06:20 PM
s85b50 s85b50 is offline
Registered User
Location: Melbourne, VIC, Australia
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: BMW 530i
Hi There,

I had to join after reading this post and seeing what some people seem to think they know.

I recently completed a manual swap on an E39 530i because we can not buy manual e39's here in Australia. I bought all the necessary parts from the US/UK and everything is genuine BMW either new or used and spent $3500 AUD including crazy shipping charges, so would cost alot less if you were in the US, that and the fact RHD parts in some case are much more expensive then LHD (clutch master cyl to slave line, $12 from pelican parts for LHD, $375 from BMW Australia for RHD part). Contrary to what some people have said there is zero, and I mean zero custom work required, like has been mentioned all the pedal box is the same so just clipped the new pedals on and all the clutch lines have provisions in the firewall and the shifter goes in the same location and hole as the auto shifter and even the brake master reservoir just needed to have the end of the moulding cut to pug in the clutch line. All very easy.

Computer just required programming to get rid of some codes and got rid of the auto trans computer altogether, kept the same cluster and all. Just had to make my own wiring for the reverse lights etc and it all works fine.

BMW is not stupid when they make their cars and the keep all the body shells the same between manual and auto to reduce complexity and cost, as mentioned the only bit that is different is the ECU but that is not a huge deal.

Hope this sheds some light on the matter. And bare in mind I would obviously cost more if you got a mechanic to carry out the work but I did everything other than the ECU work myself.

Cheers
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 05-20-2013, 12:29 AM
Matt J Matt J is offline
Registered User
Location: Australia
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: e36
Thanks s85b50

I had to join after reading your post!!

As a fellow Aussie I was very excited to see that someone else down here has done this mod. Ive been wanting to upgrade from my E36 323 to a E39 for some time - but couldnt stand the idea of driving an auto around. (and couldnt come at the $$ for an M5 just to get my hands on a manual!!)

Looks like a new car is back on the cards!! Thanks for your post!

Matt
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 05-20-2013, 01:00 AM
s85b50 s85b50 is offline
Registered User
Location: Melbourne, VIC, Australia
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: BMW 530i
No worries Matt, I was also able to figure out the ecu work myself and saved even more. Its a bit of a big job but if your up for the time and effort it was well worth it. Good luck on deciding on a car.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:35 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2015 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms