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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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Old 01-23-2013, 06:08 AM
mav99 mav99 is offline
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Location: massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 29
Mein Auto: 1995 525i
1997 540i sport Upgrades SUGGESTIONS !!!!

Hello ALL!!!!

My Winter project has arrived !!!!!

1997 540 sport six speed with 73k just shipped from California. No snow, no rust !!!!!

Bumpers and roof need to refinished, paint and clear coat fading. Window motors and regulaters need to be replaced along with MAF. Parts are already in the garage. Car is black - black. Wood interior in great shape center console has minor cracks. Tires and wheels are in great shape !!!

M-5 bumpers?
Chip it?
Exhaust? Car is in MA now so no smog or emission issues to worry about
Dash pixels come and go but everything functional.
Mechanical upgrades ??

This vehicle is my second BMW along with my 1995 e34 117k.

Neither car is a daily driver, stored in the winter and driven 5-7k per year.

Suggestions, upgrades and opinions welcomed !!!!!!!!
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:31 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Location: Sudbury, MA
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,823
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
Inspect and possibly replace the cooling system. Then enjoy the ride.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:21 AM
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DHoang DHoang is offline
Location: Austin, Texas
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,096
Mein Auto: '98 528i, '82 323i
Rare find! Usually, 75k mile 540i are found in last yrs 2003, not the 1st yr release,which imho, make for a better 540i to buy used b/c they have a far better reliability record than the facelift ones. You give up this and that, but you get a rock solid reliable 540i platform that will go 300k-400k miles w/ normal upkeep.

Since your paint is faded and clearcoat gone, it sounds like money put into a fresh coat of paint would be high up there in the things to do? IF so, then by all means, go ahead and get your M bumpers. And w/ M bumpers, you have to have some nice chrome tips protruding out the back. So go ahead and get a new muffler or tips too THat'd be my first order of business. THis is assuming that you also have spare cash put aside for repair on the smaller items like broken window regulators, dead pixels, etc...

Last edited by DHoang; 01-23-2013 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:55 AM
mav99 mav99 is offline
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Location: massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 29
Mein Auto: 1995 525i
thanks for the response and kind words.

The regulators and motors are paid for and await installation. My new BOSCH MAF is also in its box (under $90 delivered) by the way.

M5 Bumpers front and rear diffusser ? Any aftermarket sources anyone would suggest ???

The paint will be done in the spring. Should I upgrade to a dual exhaust? Since the car is 15 years old I do not have any emissions to worry about going forward (Massachusettes) Something custom built with no catalitic converters etc.

Stock airfilter or cold air intake ????

Performance chip ?????

I love the look of my original e34 but this 540 is on a different performance level !!!!

I cant wipe the smile from my face !!!!!!
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:49 AM
mav99 mav99 is offline
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Location: massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 29
Mein Auto: 1995 525i
Thumbs up elaborate please


Could you provide more info on the benefits of the year and platform you mentioned?

Is the 97 less expensive to maintain?

Any feedback is most welcomed.

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Old 01-25-2013, 07:24 AM
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DennisCooper! DennisCooper! is offline
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Location: West London / Heathrow UK
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,477
Mein Auto: 03 Ex Cop 530d Touring
Hi Mav,

Congratulations on the car!

As is the usual response to the post you made, check the car and it's required or soon to be needed mechanical/oily bits and then turn your thoughts to modifying etc. Once you are at that stage, then every item you've mentioned you are thinking of upgrading has been discussed hundreds if not thousands of times already. This forum is more 'oem' only biased and tends to look at mods such as dual exhausts etc with much less enthusiasm generally. You'll find more information on oem+, oem ++ levels of modifications on other forums, including recommendations on where to buy etc. In short, only you can decide what to upgrade and modify on your car, pretty much everything that's possible to do, someone somewhere on an E39 has done it

Cheers, Dennis!
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:56 AM
mav99 mav99 is offline
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Location: massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 29
Mein Auto: 1995 525i
Thanks for the response !!!

I think I understand your point regarding this is an OEM forum. So would the benefits of a cold air intake system, upgrading the exhaust vs keeping it all stock discussion take place here?
And performance chip info as well?

I agree the cosmetic, appearance suggestions can take place elsewhere.
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