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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 04-09-2014, 02:05 PM
negev negev is offline
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Mein Auto: 1996 E39 540i 6speed
E39 540i sway bars and bushings questions

I've been told that replacing the front sway bar on an E39 540i is a pita to do, 6 hours labour or something like that. Is the same true for replacing the bushings on it? I want to do all the bushings on my car with polyeurethane ones, and I've also bought M5 front and rear sway bars for it. Because the front is such a nightmare to do I was planning to do the rear one first and then see how it goes, but if it's the same labour to replace the bushings then I might as well do it all at once. So I guess the choices are:

- Just do all the bushings (no idea how much labour)
- Do all the bushings plus the rear M5 sway
- Do all the bushings plus both sways

The downside of not doing the sways at the same time I guess is that I'll need to buy the bushings again when I want to put the sways on, but I really don't know whether I'm going to like the sways as I've seen many conflicting opinions, i.e. some people like just the rear M5 sway and stock front, some people like both etc. Also depending on whether I do the bars at the same time changes what bushings I need to order as they're slightly different sizes.

For clarity I have the M-sports suspension and my car is a 1996 model, one of the very early ones. Any help appreciated
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1996 pre-vanos E39 540i/6, remapped, sport cats & high flow exhaust, limiter removed, K&N air filter, Quaife LSD, M5 rear sway
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  #2  
Old 04-09-2014, 03:33 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Mein Auto: 540/6, S60 Volvo, Tribeca
Just doing the front bushings are easy, shouldn't take you more that 30 min, same for the rear.
The rear bar is very easy to replace, just have both the rear tires off the ground or on blocks so you have enough room to get under it.
One tire up in the air and the other on the ground won't work.

I've done the front bar on 2 540's, one jacked up off the ground about 2 feet (my car) and the other on a lift. Both were a PITA.
6 hrs is about right, the engine has to be lifted and the front subframe needs to be lowered to replace the front bar.
All the suspension arms need to be disconnected at one end to lower the subframe.
Well worth it IMHO. Go for it.
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  #3  
Old 04-09-2014, 11:17 PM
negev negev is offline
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Mein Auto: 1996 E39 540i 6speed
Oh yeah? Did you put both the M5 sways on then or use new branded ones? If it was the M5 sways did they make any difference to ride comfort? I want to keep the comfort but make the car more stable at cruising speeds. Since you have the same car as me is there anything else you think is worth doing?
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1996 pre-vanos E39 540i/6, remapped, sport cats & high flow exhaust, limiter removed, K&N air filter, Quaife LSD, M5 rear sway
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  #4  
Old 04-10-2014, 12:23 AM
negev negev is offline
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Mein Auto: 1996 E39 540i 6speed
This is confusing:

http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...64&hg=31&fg=05

It shows the control arms *without* rubber mounting, does that mean they don't come with bushes? Part 06, which I assume is the bush, lists the quantity as 1 but is prefixed with "Set", does that mean it's a set of 2?

If I want to re-do all the bushes do I just need new arms and all the bushes on the car or do I need to replace the wishbones and/or other stuff as well?
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1996 pre-vanos E39 540i/6, remapped, sport cats & high flow exhaust, limiter removed, K&N air filter, Quaife LSD, M5 rear sway
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  #5  
Old 04-11-2014, 03:56 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by negev View Post
Oh yeah? Did you put both the M5 sways on then or use new branded ones? If it was the M5 sways did they make any difference to ride comfort? I want to keep the comfort but make the car more stable at cruising speeds. Since you have the same car as me is there anything else you think is worth doing?
I bought new M5 sway bars, front and rear. For the bushings I used polyurethane. It doesn't effect the comfort, it just limits the body leaning as much while cornering.
Then last year I replaced the rear M5 bar with an Eibach 18mm bar, the M5 was 16.5mm thick IIRC.
More stable? Maybe replace the struts and shocks if they have more than 90K on them.
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  #6  
Old 04-11-2014, 04:03 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by negev View Post
This is confusing:

http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...64&hg=31&fg=05

It shows the control arms *without* rubber mounting, does that mean they don't come with bushes? Part 06, which I assume is the bush, lists the quantity as 1 but is prefixed with "Set", does that mean it's a set of 2?

If I want to re-do all the bushes do I just need new arms and all the bushes on the car or do I need to replace the wishbones and/or other stuff as well?
The arms don't come with bushings, #6 is the bushing. You will need a press and the correct size cups to press the bushings into the arms. If you are using your old arms the same cups are used to press your old bushings out.
You will need 2 bushings. The pic does indicate you get 2 bushings and a "set" does mean more than one.
Make sure the bushings are pressed in with the little arrow pointing correctly.
The wishbones come with the bushings already installed.
You do know that you will need a ball joint tool to get the arms out of the wheel carrier. The wheel carrier needs to be lowered by loosening the pinch bolt so the carrier can slide down for access to the strut arm nuts and for the BJ tool.
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Last edited by JimLev; 04-11-2014 at 04:11 AM. Reason: Typo
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  #7  
Old 04-13-2014, 11:59 PM
negev negev is offline
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I have the M5 rear sway in now and I really like it! Cornering is much more fun and the annoying understeer is done, I can U-turn into my street without nearly hitting the kerb now

I'm not sure whether to do the front one as I've read that it brings back the understeer. What's the advantage of doing the front one too?
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1996 pre-vanos E39 540i/6, remapped, sport cats & high flow exhaust, limiter removed, K&N air filter, Quaife LSD, M5 rear sway
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  #8  
Old 04-14-2014, 10:42 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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The bigger front bar will keep the front end from leaning as much as it does now when you corner quickly.
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  #9  
Old 04-14-2014, 11:22 AM
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DJ63 DJ63 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
The bigger front bar will keep the front end from leaning as much as it does now when you corner quickly.
+1; The rear replacement was so huge, it just makes the need for the front bar replacement that much more noticeable. I hope I get around to it someday!
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  #10  
Old 04-14-2014, 11:57 AM
dvsgene dvsgene is offline
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If you plan for a front suspension overhaul, the time savings overall is worth it. When my center tie rods ball joints started to have play, I decided to overhaul the front suspension all at once including the M5 Front Sway. While the control arms can be replaced relatively easily by itself. I would suggest if you upgrade the sway bar, replace the tie rods and anything else that has play and while the subframe is down, the engine mounts too. This too is easy by itself but if cracks or leaks appear on the original, just replace anyway.

May be more costly up front but saving 3-5hrs from having to do it again down the line is worth it. Especially when 90% of the front suspension is removed to get the sway bar in. Yes, plan about 5-6 hrs for a sway bar swap.

Last edited by dvsgene; 04-14-2014 at 11:58 AM.
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  #11  
Old 04-14-2014, 12:15 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Mein Auto: 540/6, S60 Volvo, Tribeca
Here's some info on the last car I did the front M5 bar on. Also changed the motor mounts at the same time as they need to be unbolted to raise the engine.

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...y-bar-in-a-540

Last edited by JimLev; 04-14-2014 at 06:06 PM.
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