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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

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  #1  
Old 01-26-2017, 01:24 AM
Adrian__sb Adrian__sb is offline
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Mein Auto: E39 530i 2002
E39 simple mods

My parents handed me down a 530i e39 02 and i wish it was a 240sx but jesus this 530i has amazing steering so i cant complain. I was looking to do some things to it to make it more reliable and a bit more powerful. I heard about replacing the vanos seals and Deleting the resonator. I was also wondering if i could somehow improve the stock intake box. I have a Broken converter and i dont plan on replacing it with a high flow one since i heard the stock one flows efficiently (plus i live in cali so i have the most expensive cats). What im asking for is what do you guys reccomend for better steering, braking, reliablity, and power. Im not looking for 50+ hp gain either
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  #2  
Old 01-26-2017, 04:00 AM
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TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is offline
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Welcome to the fest!
Sounds like you inherited a great vehicle!
You gave yourself a great list but I would likely arrange it like this:

Reliability: refresh the cooling system if it hasn't already, CCV refresh (or replace with catchcan or GAS solution)

Braking: fresh rotors and pads, flush brake fluid, steel brake lines, brass pins (?)

Power: vanos and intake repair

Steering: flush steering fluid, tires, suspension inspection and replace as needed
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  #3  
Old 01-26-2017, 05:10 AM
Barracuz Barracuz is offline
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>California...
>Power Mods...
>...
>...
>...
>...
>California.



How do you guys muster up the will to live!!!!

Also what do you mean by broken converter? Is it clogged? Or legit broken as in cracks and what not?

First thing to always do is maintenance as TAB pointed out. No point in buying cool ramz or intakez if the car will sitting on the side of the highway.
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Last edited by Barracuz; 01-26-2017 at 05:13 AM.
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  #4  
Old 01-26-2017, 05:29 AM
frknvgn frknvgn is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 530i Sport Pkg 5spd
The 530i is pretty well massaged from the factory, so the general consensus is to put your money into the Vanos seals, and any other maintenance (as described above) before spending the large sums required for modest gains out of the engine. And if you were to do that, the general consensus is that some method of forced induction is the way to go. Keep in mind that any mod that offers a HP gain might negatively affect the HP and Torque curves in the RPM range that you'll be in 95% of the time, making the car feel slower. These cars need attention to be reliable, so throwing money at performance before maintenance is a good way to have a slightly faster car that is sitting on the side of the highway or in your driveway with a major repair need.
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  #5  
Old 01-26-2017, 05:30 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAngryBear View Post
Welcome to the fest!
Sounds like you inherited a great vehicle!
You gave yourself a great list but I would likely arrange it like this:

Reliability: refresh the cooling system if it hasn't already, CCV refresh (or replace with catchcan or GAS solution)

Braking: fresh rotors and pads, flush brake fluid, steel brake lines, brass pins (?)

Power: vanos and intake repair

Steering: flush steering fluid, tires, suspension inspection and replace as needed

+1, All good recommendations. Some of the things you can do are very expensive, others not so much. Assuming everything on the car is original parts and it has 100K+ miles on it:

Keep in mind that suspension performance is a system. Improving one thing without improving another can reduce the benefit or accelerate wear. To make a noticeable improvement in your steering, you would need to replace your entire front suspension (~$1,200 in parts) to replace worn bushings and ball joints. This would restore the original steering and handling qualities.

Brake pads have a huge noticeable difference in braking "feel". OEM pads have the best feel but are very dirty. Ceramic pads are very clean but have poor feel. Due to ABS, probably not a huge difference in stopping distance.

There is little you can do to increase power short of some form of forced induction, which is very expensive. Subjectively, replacing Vanos seals is highly recommended. Objectively, the benefits are somewhat debatable. And there is also little you can do to improve reliability, short of replacing everything. These are old cars and parts break down. Simply stay on top of preventive maintenance and hope for the best. If money is a factor, learn to DIY. This reduces maintenance cost by over half.
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  #6  
Old 01-26-2017, 11:08 AM
Adrian__sb Adrian__sb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barracuz View Post
>California...
>Power Mods...
>...
>...
>...
>...
>California.



How do you guys muster up the will to live!!!!

Also what do you mean by broken converter? Is it clogged? Or legit broken as in cracks and what not?

First thing to always do is maintenance as TAB pointed out. No point in buying cool ramz or intakez if the car will sitting on the side of the highway.
The car still runs but the O2 sensors basically detect that the converter isnt efficient and it rattles. My brother crashed it and messed it up somehow (he cost my dad 1300 in cosmetic fixes and about to cost me 1000 in mechanical issues). Would it be worth a high converter or is the normal converter fine
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  #7  
Old 01-26-2017, 11:49 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Normal is fine, a used one will work if $ are an issue.
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  #8  
Old 01-26-2017, 12:00 PM
Adrian__sb Adrian__sb is offline
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Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
Normal is fine, a used one will work if $ are an issue.
Well the high flow one is only like $100 more since the 50 state legal one is already 750. But I heard i would only need one if i have power upgrades in which the normal one will be too restrictive. So my question is if the normal one is fine or is it restrictive enough to get a high flow one
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  #9  
Old 01-26-2017, 12:28 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Do you have power upgrades? If yes, what do you have? Your original post suggested that your engine was stock. If yes, stick with the normal one. If you have upgraded to FI, get the high flow cat.
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  #10  
Old 01-26-2017, 01:27 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian__sb View Post
Well the high flow one is only like $100 more since the 50 state legal one is already 750. But I heard i would only need one if i have power upgrades in which the normal one will be too restrictive. So my question is if the normal one is fine or is it restrictive enough to get a high flow one
The only issue with aftermarket catalytic converters is that often times the Motronic will not like them, and throw a "service engine soon" light for "low catalyst efficiency". It also may not pass a visual emission inspection if you are subject to those in your state or community.

While there are certainly work arounds with using aftermarket catalysts, a new or working used oem catalytic convertor is guaranteed to work fine. I have the original cats on my car...16 years and 262k miles.
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Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 01-26-2017 at 01:45 PM.
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  #11  
Old 01-26-2017, 01:54 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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BTW, assuming your baseline is a sport optioned 530, some fun mods that are not terribly expensive would be replacing the rear anti roll bar for one from the M5 (you will also need the two rubber bushings). You can find used ones on Ebay or from a wrecking yard. (If your car is not a sport model, then also buy the 530 front Sport anti roll bar and bushings). Also, 15mm wheel spacers and new, 15mm longer wheel bolts can improve handling and appearance.
Both of these I did on my 540, and only wish I had done them much earlier in my ownership.
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  #12  
Old 01-26-2017, 03:50 PM
Adrian__sb Adrian__sb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
The only issue with aftermarket catalytic converters is that often times the Motronic will not like them, and throw a "service engine soon" light for "low catalyst efficiency". It also may not pass a visual emission inspection if you are subject to those in your state or community.

While there are certainly work arounds with using aftermarket catalysts, a new or working used oem catalytic convertor is guaranteed to work fine. I have the original cats on my car...16 years and 262k miles.
Well the cat already needs replacement but because i have no mods and dont plan on adding a turbo/super charger kit i will just get a 50 state one that isnt high flow
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  #13  
Old 01-26-2017, 09:15 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian__sb View Post
Well the cat already needs replacement but because i have no mods and dont plan on adding a turbo/super charger kit i will just get a 50 state one that isnt high flow
Just be aware it may (likely) throw a "service engine soon" light. The efficiency of many aftermarket catalysts do not meet oem specs. The work around is an O2 sensor "spacer" and other such tricks to fool the Motronic. The problem with those is if the catalyst ever fails again, the secondary O2 sensor won't be able to detect it either because you are moving the O2 sensor out of the exhaust stream
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  #14  
Old 01-27-2017, 10:32 AM
Adrian__sb Adrian__sb is offline
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So cant i just get an aftermarket converter that has the spacer after the converter for the O2 sensor? And would the high flow one save me this trouble? Because im sure the high flow one is a lot cheaper than the oem cat


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  #15  
Old 01-27-2017, 10:55 AM
JaxPlanet JaxPlanet is offline
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Congrats and welcome to the forum!

As mentioned above, get the maintenance up to date. Bavauto.com's tech info section has downloadable maintenance schedules.

Here are my performance mods, which will also work on your 530i:
Viton VANOS o-rings (http://www.beisansystems.com/)
Stewart Water Pump
UUC Power Pulleys
K&N filter in the factory CAI
Shark Injector tune
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  #16  
Old 01-27-2017, 11:27 AM
Solo12 Solo12 is offline
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Welcome to the forum and congrats on a nice car.

You have gotten a lot of great advice so far.

I just wanted to make something explicit that others have mentioned in passing regarding your comment about improving the stock intake box. These cars have CAI from the factory. The consensus is changing the intake to an aftermarket setup will change the sound (some people do like the change in sound), but not give you a performance gain.

Changing the stock filter in the factory CAI to a performance filter like Jax mentioned may give you a little performance bump.

I would save your money for other repairs/improvements and maybe add a performance filter when your stock filter needs to be replaced.
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  #17  
Old 01-27-2017, 11:37 AM
Adrian__sb Adrian__sb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo12 View Post
Welcome to the forum and congrats on a nice car.



You have gotten a lot of great advice so far.



I just wanted to make something explicit that others have mentioned in passing regarding your comment about improving the stock intake box. These cars have CAI from the factory. The consensus is changing the intake to an aftermarket setup will change the sound (some people do like the change in sound), but not give you a performance gain.



Changing the stock filter in the factory CAI to a performance filter like Jax mentioned may give you a little performance bump.



I would save your money for other repairs/improvements and maybe add a performance filter when your stock filter needs to be replaced.


Yeah i was also thinking about replacing some of these parts only when the stock ones break down. It would be a waste of money to replace the stock CAI if its already a CAI. I can not get the shark injector tune since i am in cali and im still trying to keep the car legal. But yeah i am thinking about replacing the vanos seals and getting the uuc pulley. I just need an answer on wether i can delete the intake silencer.
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  #18  
Old 01-27-2017, 04:03 PM
flyride flyride is offline
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Most performance filters are oiled which will eventually screw up your MAF.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo12 View Post
Welcome to the forum and congrats on a nice car.

You have gotten a lot of great advice so far.

I just wanted to make something explicit that others have mentioned in passing regarding your comment about improving the stock intake box. These cars have CAI from the factory. The consensus is changing the intake to an aftermarket setup will change the sound (some people do like the change in sound), but not give you a performance gain.

Changing the stock filter in the factory CAI to a performance filter like Jax mentioned may give you a little performance bump.

I would save your money for other repairs/improvements and maybe add a performance filter when your stock filter needs to be replaced.
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  #19  
Old 01-27-2017, 04:58 PM
Barracuz Barracuz is offline
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Originally Posted by Adrian__sb View Post
... I just need an answer on wether i can delete the intake silencer.
You mean the little horn after the maf? Supposedly its there to absorb resonance and help with low end torque. Will get a power boost if you delete it? Yes, exactly .0000000001hp. Will get some nice M intake growls? No.
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  #20  
Old 01-27-2017, 05:29 PM
Solo12 Solo12 is offline
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Originally Posted by flyride View Post
Most performance filters are oiled which will eventually screw up your MAF.
Good tip. I did not really want to get into that as I think there are differing opinions on the oiled performance filters. Personally I would err on the safe side and steer clear of them.

There are a couple of oil free performance filters out there for the e39. I have no idea if they are any good in terms of filtering ability, quality, longevity, and "performance increases" vs. the oiled ones.
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