You Need This: E39-Chassis BMW M5 for $6000?

With two days left to go, this 2002 BMW M5 is sitting at $6000 over at Bring a Trailer. It’s the perfect color, too.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more BMW news.

Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/22/17 2:39 p.m.

The perfect color is black, but the blue is a good second choice.

Looks like a good option for someone. Buy now, they're not making any more of these and they're a high water mark for the M cars like the E30 M3.

trigun7469
trigun7469 SuperDork
8/22/17 2:56 p.m.

So are they extreme exotic maintenance or just normal BMW performance maintenance $$$$?

dannyzabolotny
dannyzabolotny New Reader
8/22/17 3:02 p.m.

They're pretty modest when it comes to maintenance. The main issues are usually related to the suspension/driveline components— the engines themselves are fairly stout. I had a 2000 M5 that I bought for $7000 last year, and while it needed a fair bit of work it was all quite affordable. The trick with these cars is to DIY as much as possible, because while their purchase prices have gotten cheaper, BMW mechanic rates haven't gotten any lower.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/22/17 3:08 p.m.

It varies. The E39 parts are reasonable. The M5 parts, not necessarily. The dual VANOS service, for example, is a serious piece of work that requires an experienced mechanic and quite a collection of parts. But front control arms and bushings are quite attainable. Don't even think about replacing one of those rear wheels.

I'm glad I don't pay someone else to care for mine. But I don't begrudge the work, because they're special cars. Far different from a 540i Sport, no matter what people try to tell you.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/22/17 3:29 p.m.

What do we think it will sell for? Less than $10,000?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/22/17 3:35 p.m.

It'll crack five figures. I'm gonna say $12-14k.

dannyzabolotny
dannyzabolotny New Reader
8/22/17 4:24 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: It varies. The E39 parts are reasonable. The M5 parts, not necessarily. The dual VANOS service, for example, is a serious piece of work that requires an experienced mechanic and quite a collection of parts. But front control arms and bushings are quite attainable. Don't even think about replacing one of those rear wheels. I'm glad I don't pay someone else to care for mine. But I don't begrudge the work, because they're special cars. Far different from a 540i Sport, no matter what people try to tell you.

Eh, the Vanos on an M5 isn't that hard to deal with. I've taken it apart in my M5, it's quite simple. I also re-soldered the Vanos circuit board to fix a non-working solenoid.

But then again, I have a lot of experience with this stuff... I've rebuilt the chain guides in 10 M62/M62tu engines, as well as replacing rod bearings in an S62. All you need are the right tools and some patience.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/22/17 4:57 p.m.

Did you do the full service? Just popping out the circuit boards and soldering isn't that big a deal, but getting into all the various seals makes it an approximate 12 hour job. That's a fair piece of work by most standards. And maybe I'm just some hack, but I found the packaging to be tight and access limited. Not a job for a novice.

I'll call you to do it if I ever have to go in there again

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
8/22/17 4:59 p.m.

I've got m62tu timing guides in line to tackle. Looking forward to conquering another thing people say is 'hard'. I watched a youtube video of it and it only seemed 20-25% stupider than 'normal' engines. I have no friggin idea how AllData came up with a labor estimate of 35 hours... but i sure wish i could get away with billing for it! lol

dannyzabolotny
dannyzabolotny New Reader
8/22/17 6:12 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: Did you do the full service? Just popping out the circuit boards and soldering isn't that big a deal, but getting into all the various seals makes it an approximate 12 hour job. That's a fair piece of work by most standards. And maybe I'm just some hack, but I found the packaging to be tight and access limited. Not a job for a novice. I'll call you to do it if I ever have to go in there again

Yeah, the full service. Beisan Systems had a guide that made it pretty easy to do. Access really isn't that bad if you remove a few things first, like the cooling hoses and whatnot. I've also rebuilt about a dozen M62tu Vanos units, that's a lot of fun too, involving 300-400ft-lbs of force to press the new seals into the units.

Vigo wrote: I've got m62tu timing guides in line to tackle. Looking forward to conquering another thing people say is 'hard'. I watched a youtube video of it and it only seemed 20-25% stupider than 'normal' engines. I have no friggin idea how AllData came up with a labor estimate of 35 hours... but i sure wish i could get away with billing for it! lol

It's really not a hard job, just very labor intensive. The time estimate is actually not too far off, based on my experience. It's a lot of disassembly and reassembly— valve covers, upper timing covers, cooling system, water pump, alternator, lower timing cover, crank bolt, chain guides, Vanos units, OSV, etc. And all the "while you're in there" stuff adds up too, like resealing the valley pan gasket and intake manifold. Timing the M62tu can be quite tricky too, you need the correct tools and a high level of precision or else you'll get the dreaded P0011/P0021 timing codes after the job is completed.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/22/17 6:33 p.m.

That would be the guide that was in my link that you quoted I did remove all desired cooling hoses and whatnots, but things like R&Ring the driver's side valve cover made it clear that this was not a chassis designed to house that engine - and this is from a guy who built an LS1-powered MGB. It was one of those deals where you have to twist the valve cover through four dimensions.

You are a BMW service superhero by your accounts, so you may want to take that into consideration when discussing how difficult jobs to people who have not bench-pressed an entire drivetrain into a BMW before breakfast

dannyzabolotny
dannyzabolotny New Reader
8/22/17 7:18 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: That would be the guide that was in my link that you quoted I did remove all desired cooling hoses and whatnots, but things like R&Ring the driver's side valve cover made it clear that this was not a chassis designed to house that engine - and this is from a guy who built an LS1-powered MGB. It was one of those deals where you have to twist the valve cover through four dimensions. You are a BMW service superhero by your accounts, so you may want to take that into consideration when discussing how difficult jobs to people who have not bench-pressed an entire drivetrain into a BMW before breakfast

I guess because my wrenching experience started with the 540i, I have no idea what it's like to have a lot of space under the hood, haha. Tight valve cover clearances are the norm for me. Last night I R&R'd a driver's side valve cover on a 740i in about 30 minutes.

I'm no superhero, just a guy with some free time, not much money, and a weird sense of confidence when it comes to wrenching on old German cars. For example, I've never really serviced a transfer case before, but it hasn't stopped me from cracking open the one on my X5 4.6is to replace the chain and front output spline. Now that I've done it, I know how it all works. That's how I learned everything, just by doing it. I'm a web developer by trade, so I had almost zero mechanical experience prior to buying my first BMW.

yupididit
yupididit Dork
8/22/17 7:27 p.m.

I test drove that actual car last year when it was for sale.

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
8/22/17 7:28 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: It'll crack five figures. I'm gonna say $12-14k.

Double down. I'll go $25k.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/22/17 7:51 p.m.
dannyzabolotny wrote: I guess because my wrenching experience started with the 540i, I have no idea what it's like to have a lot of space under the hood, haha. Tight valve cover clearances are the norm for me. Last night I R&R'd a driver's side valve cover on a 740i in about 30 minutes.

I could probably get the one off the MG in about 5 minutes. You need to work on other cars

rslifkin
rslifkin SuperDork
8/22/17 8:27 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: It was one of those deals where you have to twist the valve cover through four dimensions

Welcome to my life working on the Jeep. That chassis was never meant for a V8 and I like doing things the easy way sometimes...

Heck, most of the internet says it's impossible to get the oil pan off without dropping either the front axle or the exhaust. BullE36 M3. Front axle at full droop, lots of careful wiggling and it goes in / out fine with the exhaust still attached.

dannyzabolotny
dannyzabolotny New Reader
8/23/17 2:04 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote:
dannyzabolotny wrote: I guess because my wrenching experience started with the 540i, I have no idea what it's like to have a lot of space under the hood, haha. Tight valve cover clearances are the norm for me. Last night I R&R'd a driver's side valve cover on a 740i in about 30 minutes.

I could probably get the one off the MG in about 5 minutes. You need to work on other cars

Have you ever tried to remove the valve covers on a BMW M73 V12? That's a whole new level of masochism. You have to remove the intake manifolds to gain access. But first you have to remove half a mile of vacuum lines and a bunch of wiring. It's brilliant!

... and don't even get me started on changing the spark plugs.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/23/17 1:19 p.m.

Now it's up to $7700. When these were new, I drove one of these all over Denver and the surrounding mountains. It was perfect: fast, comfortable and lots of space.

TxCoyote
TxCoyote Reader
8/23/17 4:38 p.m.

I wonder if that is my old one I sold two years ago. Great car, fast, reliable and comfortable. Sort of wish I still had it but racing takes all my money for extra cars.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/23/17 4:44 p.m.

They're such great cruisers that it's a bit shocking when you let them off the leash and you discover the beast lurking inside. That's what they're known as in the BMW community - Beasts. Also the original car with angel eyes and the first car with a Sport button, I believe.

Obligatory YouTube link.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/m9fgiE1JU9o?rel=0

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
8/23/17 5:12 p.m.
The time estimate is actually not too far off, based on my experience.

Well, I usually charge $60/hr, so that'll be.. $2100 in labor. Too bad a 'bmw mechanic' already offered to do it for $800, eh? I could use that extra grand! I've done many, many engine replacements in shops where billed labor was under 20 hours. "According to the labor guides it'd be cheaper to swap this engine out than fix it in-frame". Let's see how the customer takes it.

dannyzabolotny
dannyzabolotny New Reader
8/23/17 6:50 p.m.
Vigo wrote:
The time estimate is actually not too far off, based on my experience.
Well, I usually charge $60/hr, so that'll be.. $2100 in labor. Too bad a 'bmw mechanic' already offered to do it for $800, eh? I could use that extra grand! I've done many, many engine replacements in shops where billed labor was under 20 hours. "According to the labor guides it'd be cheaper to swap this engine out than fix it in-frame". Let's see how the customer takes it.

Sure, you can just swap in another engine, however that isn't a permanent fix by any means unless you buy a rebuilt engine. All of the BMW M62tu's are prone to the timing chain guide failure, so swapping in a used one is a temporary fix at best.

rslifkin
rslifkin SuperDork
8/23/17 7:25 p.m.
dannyzabolotny wrote: Sure, you can just swap in another engine, however that isn't a permanent fix by any means unless you buy a rebuilt engine. All of the BMW M62tu's are prone to the timing chain guide failure, so swapping in a used one is a temporary fix at best.

Unless you get lucky and find someone who had the guides replaced and then totaled the car 5k miles later.

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
8/24/17 11:28 a.m.
Robbie wrote:
Keith Tanner wrote: It'll crack five figures. I'm gonna say $12-14k.

Double down. I'll go $25k.

Woof. 4 hours left and only at 9k right now.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
8/24/17 12:19 p.m.

I was just joking about replacing the engine. I was just being facetious and making jokes about the labor time.

ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) Reader
8/24/17 2:25 p.m.

I know all the BAT auction action seems to happen right at the end, but I'm surprised that it's at "only" $10k with about an hour left.

Harvey
Harvey Dork
8/24/17 2:54 p.m.

There is also the carbon build up issue that can occur in the cylinder heads, but you usually have a code presenting itself when that happens unless the person has altered the software to hide it.

https://www.turnermotorsport.com/t-tech-E39-M5-Carbon-Build-Up

At 137k miles I'm thinking no more than $15k at most.

chandlerGTi
chandlerGTi PowerDork
8/24/17 3:50 p.m.
Vigo wrote: I was just joking about replacing the engine. I was just being facetious and making jokes about the labor time.

Feces fish? There's no room for that on the internet!

I really wish I had bought one when I got the e55, there was a 36,000 mile one in red on the same lot for about the same money. What a car.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/24/17 4:05 p.m.
Harvey wrote: There is also the carbon build up issue that can occur in the cylinder heads, but you usually have a code presenting itself when that happens unless the person has altered the software to hide it. https://www.turnermotorsport.com/t-tech-E39-M5-Carbon-Build-Up At 137k miles I'm thinking no more than $15k at most.

I'm surprised it took until the second page for this to pop up. Turner Motorsport has done their damndest to keep the price of used E39 M5s low with that page.

My car pops that code a couple of times a year. I turn it back off, it's happy.

oldtin
oldtin PowerDork
8/24/17 4:14 p.m.

$13,750

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/24/17 4:17 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: It'll crack five figures. I'm gonna say $12-14k.

Woo! What do I win?

dannyzabolotny
dannyzabolotny New Reader
8/24/17 4:22 p.m.
Harvey wrote: There is also the carbon build up issue that can occur in the cylinder heads, but you usually have a code presenting itself when that happens unless the person has altered the software to hide it. https://www.turnermotorsport.com/t-tech-E39-M5-Carbon-Build-Up At 137k miles I'm thinking no more than $15k at most.

The carbon buildup doesn't actually affect performance... it's mostly an emissions thing. The best thing to do is to get a tune that completely removes the whole secondary air system. Then you can remove the stupid secondary air pump and all the associated piping and just install the SAI blockoff plates. Weight reduction + less clutter under the hood + it's the cheapest solution = win/win.

Also, you can minimize carbon buildup by beating the crap out of the engine. A redline a day keeps the carbon away!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/24/17 4:37 p.m.

It's actually illegal to leave an on-ramp at less than triple digit speeds in an M5.

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
8/24/17 5:55 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote:
Keith Tanner wrote: It'll crack five figures. I'm gonna say $12-14k.

Woo! What do I win?

More than me!

Harvey
Harvey Dork
8/25/17 8:08 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote:
Harvey wrote: There is also the carbon build up issue that can occur in the cylinder heads, but you usually have a code presenting itself when that happens unless the person has altered the software to hide it. https://www.turnermotorsport.com/t-tech-E39-M5-Carbon-Build-Up At 137k miles I'm thinking no more than $15k at most.

I'm surprised it took until the second page for this to pop up. Turner Motorsport has done their damndest to keep the price of used E39 M5s low with that page.

My car pops that code a couple of times a year. I turn it back off, it's happy.

dannyzabolotny wrote:

Harvey wrote: There is also the carbon build up issue that can occur in the cylinder heads, but you usually have a code presenting itself when that happens unless the person has altered the software to hide it. https://www.turnermotorsport.com/t-tech-E39-M5-Carbon-Build-Up At 137k miles I'm thinking no more than $15k at most.

The carbon buildup doesn't actually affect performance... it's mostly an emissions thing. The best thing to do is to get a tune that completely removes the whole secondary air system. Then you can remove the stupid secondary air pump and all the associated piping and just install the SAI blockoff plates. Weight reduction + less clutter under the hood + it's the cheapest solution = win/win.

Also, you can minimize carbon buildup by beating the crap out of the engine. A redline a day keeps the carbon away!

Yeah? Good to know. Appreciate the info. I'm not one to spread Internet scares necessarily, but I could never find anything I trusted that confirmed it doesn't affect the car's performance.

$13750, final price. Hm, gonna take a look around and see if I can find one of these. I had the 540i Sport and that was a real nice car to drive, but this is something else.

Harvey
Harvey Dork
8/25/17 9:25 a.m.

Different car, but how does it rust at the plate area like that?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/25/17 9:31 a.m.

The low pressure area at the back of the car gloms road salt on the trunklid. Plates may have eroded away the paint, giving it somewhere to start. Remember that the newest of these is about 15 years old now.

docwyte
docwyte SuperDork
8/25/17 3:30 p.m.

I love these and would die to have one, but that whole, space/money thing is getting in the way

Tyler H
Tyler H UltraDork
8/25/17 8:33 p.m.
Harvey wrote: Different car, but how does it rust at the plate area like that?

That's the last place it rusts, so if you tap it with one of those keychain hammers it will turn into dust.

J/K...what is rust and why would anyone endure it?

Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More
WcsbzjUGivxyTBRC8ykbbjOSfrXK1xl4