Chapter two: The interior of our E39! Intro & Clean

AN EXERCISE IN BEAUTIFICATION.


It's finally time to start on the interior of our beast! But before we commence with any of the mods, a thorough cleaning is in order. Now, the previous (and first) owner of our e39, specced the car particularly well, with electrically adjustable, heated Aubergine leather sport seats, sport steering wheel, sunroof, and rear sun-blind. It is truly a joy to be inside the cabin.

However, as with many cars that are acquired second hand, the interior is covered in a thick layer of years and years of use. Especially the steering wheel is a real eyesore, and looks very greasy, grimy and slimy. It also appears to have some harsh skin oils induced damage.

Mömus bmw e39 aubergine leather interior sport seats M steering wheel before 2
Mömus bmw e39 aubergine leather interior sport seats M steering wheel Before

In my experience, the most (cost) effective way of cleaning leather surfaces like these are with a magic sponge, a very dense, soft foam sponge that only requires lukewarm water. No soap is needed, unless actual oil has to been cleaned of the surface. Softly wipe it (not rub) over the leather, and dry it off with a microfibre towel. The transformation is unreal!

Mömus bmw e39 aubergine leather interior sport seats M steering wheel after
Mömus bmw e39 aubergine leather interior sport seats M steering wheel after 2
Mömus bmw e39 aubergine leather interior sport seats M steering wheel after 3

Especially the colored stitching is popping again.

Gone is the shiny, nasty grime. The leather once again has factory like, matte finish and looks and feels soft to the touch. Of course, the damages have not been repaired using this method. But they are way less visible, having removed the dirt that was filling the low spots, and the greasiness on top of the high spots.

Mömus bmw e39 aubergine leather interior sport seats cleaning.jpg

The rest of the leather interior parts were also cleaned with the sponge, to match the now clean steering wheel. The seats were then gently cleaned, again using only lukewarm water, and soft bristle brush. This way the cleaning was not to abrasive on the top coat of the leather, since the last time these seats received any care or protection was unknown to me.

Mömus bmw e39 aubergine leather interior sport seats Before

Here the front of the seat has already been cleaned, and reveals a more matte surface. Even the color pops more.  After all the of leather surfaces were cleaned, a natural care product was applied.  

Mömus bmw e39 aubergine leather interior sport seats After

Now in my opinion, vacuuming the carpet and the over mats is one of the biggest transformation to the cars interior. Especially with Harvey, our cocker spaniel, leaving white hairs all over the place. 

Mömus bmw e39 aubergine leather interior sport seats Carpet After

We made a little video introducing the interior and thoroughly cleaning it:

We are currently working on refinishing a whole lot of trim, and taking headliner and pillars out.

Mömus bmw e39 aubergine leather interior sport seats next time

Paint and re-finish, the e39 reborn!

AN EXERCISE IN BEAUTIFICATION.

 

After a lot of work the exterior of our beast is finished! The m-sport style bumpers have been repainted, and a whole lot of body trim was refinished to match the general facelifting that has been happening.

Starting with the mirrors, these were masked off together with the window trim to receive a fresh coat of gloss black. In my opinion, the e39 has aged rather beautifully. But the mirrors didn't. They look big and clunky. Gloss black should make them disappear and blend in with the side windows nicely.

Mömus BMW E39 Bumpers M Sport Paint and Finish process Gloss Black Mirrors

The window trim was already matte black, as part of the sports package, from the factory. However, a fresh coat of gloss black will give them a nice update and will make the car look and feel more modern and upmarket.

Mömus BMW E39 Bumpers M Sport Paint and Finish Gloss Black Mirrors

Sticking with the gloss black as our new design theme for the car - gloss black on aspen silver - the rear diffuser and exhaust tips were attacked next. The exhaust tips themselves are actually adapters for toilet piping. However they fit really rather nicely and DIY is life. I love little mods and adaptations like this.

Mömus BMW E39 m sport package body trim exhaust tail pipes tips

The facelift style tail lights were chosen, as explained previously, so that no modifications to the body were necessary, yet still updating the look. However, I wasn't very pleased with the way they look: a bit plasticky. Looking for a solution, I decided to go with a black tint. First of all, it would match the rest of mods nicely, and on top of that hide some of the plastickiness that was going on inside the tail light housing. 

Mömus BMW E39 Bumpers M Sport Paint and Finish Aspen silver Lights Re-install

The side markers were matched to suit. Then on to the big job. The bumpers needed to be painted. Unlike the experiment on the doors, these needed to be done properly. So without thinking "They're replaceable anyway", I got to work. We're talking compressor and spray gun here. The rear bumper of Chinese make was unfortunately not primed, so it was thrown in with the batch of side and bumper moldings to receive various coats of primer.

Mömus BMW E39 Bumpers M Sport Paint and Finish Aspen silver spray gun primer coat

"Side and bumper moldings?", I hear you ask. Why yes, this car is getting facelifted and how! Color coding these will make the car look a lot younger. After the primer, a couple coats of base went on.

Mömus BMW E39 Bumpers M Sport Paint and Finish Aspen silver spray gun base coat painting v2
Mömus BMW E39 Bumpers M Sport Paint and Finish Aspen silver spray gun base coat

To seal them off and achieve factory levels of shine, three coats of clear were blasted on top of the base. 

Mömus BMW E39 Bumpers M Sport Paint and Finish Aspen silver spray gun clear coat

And after a curing time of 2 days, they were finally reinstalled back on to the car.

Mömus BMW E39 Bumpers M Sport Paint and Finish Aspen silver Re-install

Along with all the trims.

Mömus BMW E39 Bumpers M Sport Paint and Finish Aspen silver trim Re-install

Quite the transformation:

Mömus BMW E39 Bumpers M Sport Paint and Finish Aspen silver Final results Front
Mömus BMW E39 Bumpers M Sport Paint and Finish Aspen silver Final results side
Mömus BMW E39 Bumpers M Sport Paint and Finish Aspen silver Final results Rear

We made a video of how we went about tackling all this work:

Currently we are working on taking the interior apart to go through a bit of a facelift too:

Mömus BMW E39 Aubergine interior facelift updateupgrade wood trim removal

Dialing in the stance. And some much needed wheels.

An exercise in beautification.
 

Having always been a stance enthusiast, the wheel gap on our E39 has annoyed me from the start. Even though the car was equipped with the factory sports package, which offers a modest 20 millimetre lowering, the wheel gap is so immense it seems like the car is riding around on a lift kit (had a look, none was found). 

Mömus BMW E39 wheels and springs lowering wheel gap

In my original vision for this car, the replacement rims were a multi-piece set with a nice staggered lip. Somehow this fits incredibly well on the E39. However, refining the end results more and more in my head, the wheels were to be of a more modern design, in an anthracite or gloss black finish. This decision came along to tie in with the rest of the mods that were installed to give the car a bit of a facelift.

Mömus BMW E39 wheels and springs lowering wheels style 238 styling 238

A set of original BMW Style 238`s in 19 inch were found. The wheels came with the winter tyres still mounted, in a for an E39 rather oversized 245/45/19. This was great as the nights over here still reach and exceed freezing temperatures. The gearbox has not yet thrown any faults, and apart from the occasional rubbing in tight turns, they are actually not that bad.
However, I'd like to save my fenders for once, so come the warmer weather they will be replaced for some 245/35/19's in summer attire.

Mömus BMW E39 wheels and springs lowering comparison

On to the suspension. Through time my preference for cars that sit so low, the belly scrapes during normal driving, has changed a little. In this case, a set of lowering springs will suffice just nicely. The chosen springs were designed for the E39 with the sports package, and are supposed to lower the car another 30mm, for a total of 50 milimeter compared to a standard, non-sport 5 series. 

Mömus BMW E39 wheels and springs lowering removal
Mömus BMW E39 wheels and springs lowering install

Unfortunately for us DIYer's, the E39 has multilink suspension with Mcpherson struts, so the spring replacement has a little more to it than average. Especially in the rear, where half the interior has to be dismounted, the job presents a bit of a struggle. However to me, once everything was back together, the results were certainly worth it.

Due to the e39's odd centre bore, some hub adapters were needed. They also nicely space out the wheels 15mm.

Due to the e39's odd centre bore, some hub adapters were needed. They also nicely space out the wheels 15mm.

Mömus BMW E39 wheels and springs lowering wheels style 238 styling 238 overview
Mömus BMW E39 wheels and springs lowering wheels style 238 styling 238 bumper fitment

We made a little video capturing the work we put in to this part of the build:

And so it finally time to attack those bumpers and a few other bits with some paint!

Mömus BMW E39 m sport package body trim mouldings paint DIY next time

Updating the lights! + Cheeky quad-projector mod.

An exercise in beautification.


Have I been waiting for this! The old-style, dull looking, pre-facelift headlights have finally made way for some updated, clear lens units. The new headlights started life as original halogen equipped Hella's. Before I took command of them, some LED bulbs had already been installed to give the angel eyes some more brightness.

Mömus BMW E39 Comparision facelift Quad Projector Mod Headlights Facelift

That's a cute mod, but nothing like what was in store for them. I'm a sucker for projector headlights. They can really make or break a (modern) car for me, just like a set of wheels and springs can. The by now 30 year old BMW 325i E30 had these things fitted as standard, so why are reflector headlights still around today?

I don't know either, but I can get rid of the dated look of these main beams by high-jacking the projectors out of the old units and refitting them right in here.

Mocking up.

Mocking up.

After some struggling around, and getting everything to fit nicely, the lights were ready to be sealed and mounted back together. 

Mömus BMW E39 Making Of Quad Projector Mod Headlights Facelift

To me, this takes the car to a whole new level. Mind you, BMW chose to only offer quad projectors from the F10 5-series on. 

Mömus BMW E39 Front Quad Projector Mod Headlights Facelift
Mömus BMW E39 Front Quad Projector Mod Headlights Facelift close up

To match the front, some "facelift" replica tail lights were installed. Unlike the pro's of choosing originals for the front (such as the shroud and halo design), the con's of original facelift tails were mighty. To me, hammering out the body to make them fit, was not an interesting proposition. 

Mömus BMW E39 Facelift DEPO Rear Tail Celis Replica Lights

These replica's do look a bit plasticky in real life. I'm currently looking into a way to hide that, such as a tint spray or foil. The side markers were also swapped for some clear ones, to match the clear indicators in the headlights and taillights. 

Mömus BMW E39 Pre Facelift Orange Amber Indicator side marker blinker
Mömus BMW E39 Facelift White  Clear Indicator side marker blinker

Finally, the license plate lights were updated too. I went with some LED versions that have a relatively subtle blue-whiteish hue to them. 

Mömus BMW E39 facelift tail light led license plate light

To see the modding of the headlights and the installation of all these parts, we made this little video:

I started work on getting the wheels off and to see how we can get this thing to sit a bit nicer.

Mömus Bmw E39 Next time styling style bmw 238 wheels and springs

An exercise in beautification, part 2.

BMW E39 - Bumper and body upgrades

Starting the mods

Right from the get go, I was set on replacing the bumpers with some M-package units. The reasons for this desire were manifold, but the two most pressing ones were as follows: to me, the E39 seems to be designed with and for the M-sport bumpers, as the lines flow so much better. And secondly, they freshen up the car enormously.  

Mömus BMW E39 Pre Facelift pfl bumper front headlights
Mömus BMW E39 m sport pack Facelift fl bumper front headlights line flow

As with most M-sport designs, they remained basically the same throughout the entire run of production, and do not receive a major facelift somewhere in the middle, like it's more everyday bumper-siblings. This makes the car look a lot fresher, as the design was still current in early 2004, instead of late 1999. Also, the sport bumpers give the car a bit more edginess and sharpness that I have come to appreciate in contemporary designs. 

Mömus BMW E39 remove replace take off pre facelift front bumper pfl

And so, the normal, pre-facelift bumpers came off and were to make way for the new ones. As I'm sure you all do too, I scoure the online-listings to look for upgrade parts for almost every car I think of buying. For the E39, it's like hitting a gold mine. Endless pages of parts are available. However, trying to find original, good condition upgrade parts such as the M-bumpers, can present a real challenge. I therefore sprung for some replicas, made by a reputable company in Germany.

Mömus BMW E39 comparison compare comparing pre facelift front bumper pfl to m sport pack facelift fl

At least, I though I did. The company I bought the bumpers from, informed me the rear units were out of stock. Next delivery would be in a month. So I scoured again, and amongst the many listings I found a matching rear unit. However, the company selling it was unknown to me. I did some investigating, and what did I find? The bumper was on sale at a discount on yet another listings-website. I went ahead and ordered, and got this:

Mömus BMW E39 chinese replica rear bumper facelift m sport pack

It turns out the ad for the bumper with discount was not the same as the one I found earlier matching the front, but for a Chinese unit. Oh, well. In fact, after some doubts about how flexible this thing was, and how bad the fitment was at first, the bumper was easier to get sitting right then the German one on the front.

Mömus BMW E39 remove replace install facelift sport m sport front bumper fl
Mömus BMW E39 remove replace install facelift rear m sport pack bumper fl

I decided to fit everything up first, including trim, and see if they actually line up right, prior to any painting. With this step of the facelift complete, I turned my attention to the pre-facelift grills. Every small part seems to make such a huge impact, yet they only work when done all together. I therefore ordered some facelift grills, in a piano black finish. Not a huge chrome-enthusiast to start with, but to me these kidneys contrast a lot nicer with the Aspen Silver finish then the originals.

Mömus bmw e39 piano gloss black kidney grills front
Mömus bmw e39 piano gloss black kidney grills front 2

I then turned my attention back to the rear of the car. Again, I wanted to give this car a bit more of the edginess and sharpness that I've come to like in modern car designs. The rear bumper and its diffuser already go a great way to achieve this, but I felt more could be done. A modest spoiler lip would make a world of difference here, wouldn't it?

Mömus BMW E39 Rear Facelift M sport pack spoiler lip

The spoiler is awaiting its paint treatment, together with the new bumpers. Speaking of them, with the front now looking so clean and smooth without the plates ruining any of the lines of the car, the rear was attacked too. Sadly, I don't have the minerals to run without any, so I removed the frame to clean it up just that little bit.

All of that can be seen in this video we made of our progress:

 


We are currently doing something with these.

Mömus bmw e39 next time facelift halo headlights angle eyes quad projectors