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      01-14-2024, 10:25 AM   #1
DJ Syxx
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E60 545i Project Headache

Sharing my build thread of my 545i on here. Enjoy the long read. Here goes.....

I was on the lookout for a V8 but that didn't work out as finding an E39 in that guise was a little difficult. They are also at an age where the engines need quite an overhaul with timing chains along with the usual oil leaks.

So since owning the E39 and loving the feel and becoming a recent convert of the 5 series I did research into the E60's. The E60 is quite a popular generation with a big following like its predecessor. Although they are little controversial with the Bangle styling, they have grown with me over the years.

I had been keeping a lookout for the V8 powered variants. The reason I wanted a V8 powered car is for a number of reasons. With this draconian push from governments around the world including ours telling us how bad ICE cars are, we really don't know what the landscape will be like later on with availability of petrol. I have never ever owned a V8 powered car and it has been on my basic must do check list of car ownership. I figured if I don't do it now, I never will. Then there is the sound of a V8 which is hard to beat.

After extensive reading on the V8 powered E60's, they have plenty of power on tap but like the E39 and practically every BMW out there, they have their inherent issues. This ranges from failing valve stem seals, and common oil leaks from the rocker covers, alternator bracket and so on. The plus side is there is zero issues with the timing chains on these unlike the previous M62 engines. Either way it can still be a money pit which ever way you look at it.

This of course meant the V8's were ranging in price from cheap to top end depending on the condition and history. When the E60 was first brought out with the N62, this was a 4.4 litre producing around 329bhp. Then some years after, it was discontinued with the N62TU with two variants, 4 litre making 302bhp (540i) and a 4.8 litre making 360bhp (550i).

I kept my search going and was nearly going to pull the trigger on a few but after finding out what the history was like in terms of taking care of the common issues, none had actually had the oil leaks or valve stem seals adressed. I knew if the valve stem seals hadn't been done then its something that would need to be done at some stage and its not a cheap job.

I then decided to stick with finding a 545i for a few reasons. One because they were slightly more available on sale even though there wasn't many made and in terms of parts that need replacing engine wise, the 4.4 in my view is the better buy.

So this brings me on to the car in question. This came up for sale last year and was in two minds about buying it as bids were low. I kept a watch and it then finished up at a price I wasn't willing to pay.

I messaged the seller a few weeks after and asked if it sold and as it happened it didn't and the buyer no showed. I got his phone number, spoke with him to find out more about it and arranged to view it. So one of things that mildly put me off was no service history with the car. On the other hand, it had been through successive MOT's so I figured it would have had some type of maintenance done to last this long.

So after viewing it and noticing the classic signs of the valve stem seal failure and the bodywork having issues on virtually every panel I chewed the fat over for a week. In that time I found out from BMW UK every visit it had made. I was able to speak to each dealer concerned with the recorded mileage which helped in tallying up the MOT history with the mileage. I carried out a Vcheck which not just checks for HPi write off etc. but also if it has been at salvage. Thankfully no records of it being clocked and most importantly a clean title.

So in a unusual uncharacteristic decision back in August, knowing this car could have potential pitfalls and with no history I made an offer. After a little negotiation, we settled on a price we were both happy with taking into account the work it was going to need.

So here it is, a 2003 E60 545i with a 6 speed auto in sapphire black and Dakota beige interior. 107k miles on the clock with Special feature is the tow bar but that will be getting ditched at some point lol.

Plans for this car is general tidying up, sorting out the mechanical issues and once its at a stage where I can rely on it to take up daily duties, it will start munching up the miles as the daily.

Spec list from Vin Decoder.


Code / Type
E60 / NB32
Chassis
Sedan (4 Doors)
Market
Europe (right Steering)
Engine
N62 (4.40 l / 245 kW)
Drivetrain
Rear-Wheel Drive
Transmission
automatic
Color
Black-sapphire Metallic (475)
Upholstery
Leder "dakota"/beige (LCBA)
Manufacturer
BMW AG / Dingolfing, Germany
Production Date
2003-09-15


Options

1CA Selection Cop Relevant Vehicles
205 Automatic Transmission
302 Alarm System
428 Warning Triangle
430 Interior And Exterior Mirror Packa
431 Interior Rr Vw Mirror W Aut Anti-d
441 Smokers Package
442 Cupholder
459 Seat Adjustm., Electr. W. Memory
494 Seat Heating F Driver/front Passenger
502 Headlight Washer System
508 Park Distance Control (pdc)
522 Xenon Light
534 Automatic Air Conditioning
540 Cruise Control
563 Lights Package
587 Lt/aly Wheels/double Sp. 116 W Runflat
606 Navigation System Business
644 Prep. For. Mob. Ph. Bluet. Interf.
672 Cd Changer Bmw For 6 Cds
698 Area-code 2
785 White Direction Indicator Lights
812 England Version
850 Add Fuel Tank Filling For Export
853 Language Version English
863 Europe/dealer Directory
877 Deletion Cross-over Operation
880 English / On-board Documentation
8SA Country Spec. Release Of Navigation
8SB Country Spec. Release Of Telematic
8SC Country Spec. Release Of Teleservice
8SP Cop Control


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      01-14-2024, 10:26 AM   #2
DJ Syxx
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First of many faults with the car. After a successful drive back home and leaving it parked up for a bit, I had an issue starting it up. So jump leads and started it up no problem.

The problem started getting worse and was finding it was needing an assist more and more. So I hooked up the CTEK to rule out battery or alternator. I used the reconditioning mode and on the level indicator on the battery it was showing green. After a couple of days, unhooked it and went to start again and it struggled to start. I then disconnected the IBS sensor which didn't make much of a difference.

Got INPA on to check for battery voltage and noticed voltage was low while the car was running and was around 12v. I also had a fault for the IBS sensor. Its a common fault for the IBS to play up and this can cause all sorts of weird voltages.

So I found out via this thread on the 5 series forum https://forum.bmw5.co.uk/topic/13134...t-on-a-budget/ on how to replace the IBS with the updated one.

Here's the old and new:


New one needs one of the wiring loom adapted


Part number for reference:


This had cleared the issue of the IBS failure but still not solved the issue. What was even more stranger was the fact the OEM battery was showing a green on the indicator meaning it was good. I disconnected the battery entirely and charged the battery up so it could rule out any parasitic drain.

After charging it was connected and after cranking it, was now showing 9v. I got the jump leads on to start it and while it did, the voltages were low while the car as running. There was no strange noises from the alternator so I thought it had to be the battery because as soon as the car was turned off, the battery voltage was low.

I went and got a new one from Halfords and avoided getting a Bosch. Fresh Yuasa battery was installed with the same AH rating as the OEM battery. With this generation of BMW, the battery needs to be registered. No coding required as the AH value is the same. If you do put one in with a different AH, it needs to be coded. After registering it succesfully with INPA, turned the key and it came to life straightaway no issues with a steady and healthy voltage when running.

New battery:
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      01-14-2024, 10:28 AM   #3
DJ Syxx
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As mentioned it was exhibiting some smoke when it was idling. The main culprit is the valve stem seals. There is a design flaw where these eventually start to shrink and it fails to seal properly. One of things that also gives the same symptoms is the CCV. So off came with the beauty cover and inspected them. There is one on each bank:

Location:



If they are clogged up with a bit of sludge then they needed replacing. Sadly they were in excellent condition with no sludge build up and this confirmed the valve stem seal issue. Having looked into the job, its not as simple as you think and requires removing the head.

A company named AGA have made a special tool that allows you to remove and install the new seals without taking the head off. This is found here with all the info: https://agatools.com/products/aga-n62-vst-k-vk

The only issue is of course its time consuming with the tool but cuts down the labour rate but you need compressed air and having no access to a compressor I decided to take it to a specialist who does them. Prior to buying the car I did research on who could do the job and PMP Cars in Nuneaton came up regularly as recommendations and they don't charge the earth to do it. So I got the car booked in and took it there to get the job done. While it was getting done I got them to also sort out the infamous alternator bracket seal and they replaced the rocker cover, timing cover gaskets etc. as it had an oil leak. As a peace of mind all the common failing oil seals have been replaced. While it was there they found the waterpump was on its wayout and that was replaced along with a gearbox service.

Since getting the car back the excessive smoke on warm idle has gone. What I've found from researching these cars is very few actually get it done and you usually find many being sold on which I think is a shame but hey ho.

After the car came back, there was another issue I wanted to tackle and that was the drive belt system. What I noticed when the engine was running was a noticeable wobble on the harmonic balancer. With the mileage and age of the car it was likely that the idler pulley and tensioner has never been replaced.

What I also found is they done away with a idler pulley for the AC system and it runs with a stretch belt. The advantage of running a stretch belt system is it requires less maintence and one less wearing part. The downside is if you need to remove the belt, they are one time use and need replacing. You also need a special tool to install them. Luckily on the N62 engine they still kept the original mounting position for an AC tensioner pulley and the only thing you need to retrofit is a mounting bolt and a tensioner.

So I ordered some parts and started the work so out came the M3 from its home and the E60 in my garage. First hurdle was getting the car jacked up and found two problems, the jack fixture for the subrame was missing and the jacking point plastic pad on the side sill was missing on the passenger side. Thanks to Rybrook our forum sponsors I placed an order for new ones:


Missing:


Fitted:


So first thing first, take a picture of the orientation of the drive belt so you know the correct routing:


Then its off with the belt which was dated 2003 so was the original:


Old AC Belt:


And off and there is the mounting hole to retrofit the AC tensioner:


And then it was off with the harmonic balancer which has eight bolts:


New Febi Bilstein balancer and the old one which was showing degradation. Note there is a spacer that is fitted to the balancer. Don't forget to use it with the new one:




Carefully mount the new one and hand tighten the bolts in. Got my digital torque wrench and they are torqued to 22nm:


New Febi Bilstein tensioner and deflection pulley with the old. The old ones were making a skateboard noise so were worn:



New AC tensioner for the retrofit:


Now installed:


Brand new drivebelts:


And the rest was fitted back together. All that was required was releasing the tension and pulling the pins out to get the tension.

And what a difference it has made. The drivebelt system is so much smoother and most importantly the harmonic balancer is running as it should. Still not out of the woods yet with this, more to come soon.
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      01-14-2024, 10:29 AM   #4
DJ Syxx
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Kind of a long overdue update but due to the cold weather and rain, its made it impossible to do any work on the car until as of late. This is quite a read and picture heavy so have a good mug of tea or coffee.

Since owning the car, there has been a fault codes stored relating to a DISA failure with error codes 2820 and 2821 in INPA. On the M54 engines, DISA is the flap that tends to fail and worse case bits get sucked in and the engine is goosed. On the N62 they refer to it as a DISA but is nothing like the one in the M54. The DISA on the N62 is a motor which is attached to the back of the intake manifold. This motor in basis terms adjusts the variable intake runners depending on engine load. When they fail, they do not give an EML. Instead a permanent fault code is stored. What does happen is the car loses low down torque and can suffer from some rough idling as the variable intake fails in one position as a fail safe. What I also noticed was a high pitched rattle once the car was warmed up and the noise came from the back of the intake manifold.

So to remove this motor, there is conflicting info on removing it without taking the intake manifold out. On the E60, there is very little space and room where the firewall is and in order to make the car drive with less issues, I decided to remove the manifold to take care of a few other jobs as it was coming out anyway.

Now I'll be honest, this was a little intimidating for me because of the fact there is so many electrical connectors that need to be unplugged due to the wiring harness being in the way. I'm in no way a mechanic but just a humble DIY'er, but boosting my confidence in the knowledge of working on my M3 and previous cars I pressed forward with it.

I found a good guide on how to remove the intake manifold which is found here: https://bmwrepairguide.com/bmw-n62-i...and-x5-series/

So I'm not going to go into huge detail of the steps but you will see from the write up, it does look complicated. After reading it a few times and digesting it I got on with the strip down. Anyone attempting this, a piece of advice regarding the guide. You cannot remove the manifold without either removing the injectors or the valvetronic motors. If you remove the valvetronic motors, they will need synchronising with the laptop and there is a specific way to remove them. I went down removing the injector route which takes longer but if its the first time removing the manifold, its worth doing. The amount of grime and dust that is stuck in the recesses is unbelievable. More on that later.

The strip down starts:


And she's out! I had to use a little ingenuity to remove the manifold which involved using a screwdriver and little block of wood that was slipped underneath the manifold to raise it so I could then tilt it out from the back. It's not the most heaviest thing in the world but its quite awkward to lift out on your own. Anyway I got it out and was greeted with this, years of grime, dust and dirt.


Removed the old gaskets which were past their sell by date:


I got the vacuum cleaner out and sucked up the dust and muck from the intake ports and around it. Gave the surface a clean and covered the ports:


The intake manifold is not the most prettiest thing to look at. Apparently its made of magnesium:


Here is the offending item:


I took off the 3 torx bolts and was greeted with a lovely oily gunk of a mess. Plenty of brake cleaner was in order to remove the crud:




On either bank sits these secondary air valves. These are designed to warm up the car quicker for emissions in basic terms. The valves themselves do tend to suffer from carbon build up and can fail with the valve being stuck. As I wanted to eliminate rough idling, I decided to replace them. BMW do sell these but they are not cheap. They are simply bolted on to a metal hose bracket:



And its out along with a breather hose which is connected to the air pump. This hose also fails and goes brittle and snaps. More on this later.


I decided to go further and remove the intake bracket pipes that connects to the valves.


Now this was an absolute pig of a job because the access space is incredibly limited. I had scratched knuckles, fingers you name it. It took an eternity to remove them with the passenger side being the hardest of the two. On the passenger side, there is an aluminium spacer so be careful when removing it. The intake brackets are bolted on using two 10mm bolts. I got creative and eventually they came out and was greeted with this:



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      01-14-2024, 10:30 AM   #5
DJ Syxx
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Not blocked up, but had carbon build up so again, some brake clean came to the rescue to clean it up:



New O rings for the intake bracket pipes:


Fitted:


The secondary air valves were a different story. They were heavily caked in carbon. You can't strip this down from what I have read so its better to buy new ones.



Brand new ones. Part number is 11727553101 or save yourself some money and buy the genuine Pierburg one from autodoc which is half the price. These come with a gasket.


I wanted to give the injectors a clean up but these needed to be removed from the intake manifold. These were quite literally stuck. With some persuasion and WD40 sprayed down to aid with lubrication, all 8 came out. Years of dirt and grime:


Much better:


New O rings:


Fitted:


Injectors installed back on the fuel rail:


The intake bracket pipes and the secondary air valves were then reinstalled back in the car and the breather pressure hose needed to be fitted. As mentioned these do go brittle and can crack. I ordered one from Autodoc on the basis this may have happened. My original one was in fact fine but not wanting to risk this, I wanted to install a new one. This new one from Autodoc was an Abakus branded one pictured below:


The hose itself was exactly the same in dimensions and shape. However the fittings on the ends are where it falls short. I attempted to push fit these in and and while trying to get these to clip in and hear that click sound, well there was a sound of a break:


Yes the copy part had failed. I wrote up a review on Autodoc to avoid buying it. As it happened they emailed me a few days later asking for further info on this.

So I explained why their copy part was inferior and even sent them a video via youtube where I demonstrated my old original part being able to click in properly to the secondary air valve and this one while it did go in, was not properly secure and would cause vacuum leaks.

To be fair to Autodoc, without me asking for a refund they have kindly gave me one and I don't need to send the part back so fair play on them. I have bought plenty of parts from them in the past and will continue to do so.
Anyway so I bought a genuine breather pipe from Rybrook which took a while but finally arrived.
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      01-14-2024, 10:32 AM   #6
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So before fitting this on a little accident occured but was a blessing disguise. A coolant hose that feeds both banks suffered a failure. Apparently a common problem on the N62 with the Y piece failing. You can see the coolant leaking:


Removed and you can see the brittle plastic has snapped:



New coolant pipe ordered original part number is 17127519254. I bought a febi bilstein item which fitted fine and was much cheaper:


Fitted:


Pressure breather hose fitted and being a genuine item fitted like a glove:


New intake manifold gaskets:


Fitted:


Intake manifold was cleaned and prepared for fitting back in the car:


New DISA motor from BMW. This part is very expensive and even with my favourable discount from a family member it came in just under 300! Part number is 11617505805.


Fitted:


Fitting the intake manifold back in by yourself is difficult. However, a trusty 2 by 4 came handy as a helper. I simply placed it in the centre, dropped the manifold down to rest so I could line it up with the mounting holes, tilted it up and carefully lowered it down and it was fully seated in place.


Then it was a case of bolting down the ten 11mm nuts torqued to 17.5nm, connecting all the wiring plugs back in the right place etc. Some of you watch Streten on M539 restorations. He has put together his Alpina back together and that particular engine shares the same intake manifold. He had a helpful tip with regards to fitting the injectors back into the intake manifold which I found useful and that was using vaseline. So I used some vaseline to insert the injectors back in which worked a treat.

I got a new gasket for the throttle body and gave that a clean as well for good measure:

Gasket:


Cleaned up:



And she's back together:


After connecting the battery back I gave it a few times for the fuel pump to prime, gave it a start and silly me, didn't properly connect the fuel hose. After a brief booboo and throwing away about 3 worth of super unleaded and clipping it in properly, I gave it another crank and it started up without much fuss!

On first impressions already, the idle is smoother and quick blip on the throttle seems to rev a bit more freely. Most importantly, no more error codes from the DISA motor now. Next stage will be to getting the car back on the ground and taking it out for a good drive. It will be interesting to see how it performs as it should respond a whole lot better.

Vid of her running and thank you for reading.
[MEDIA=youtube]NWhnO3Mn55I[/MEDIA]
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      01-14-2024, 10:37 AM   #7
DJ Syxx
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Neglected the thread for a bit and I've done some work on the car, some small upgrades along with a few other maintence items that needed doing.

First thing first, sorting out the seatbelts. I'm used to my seatbelts being black. These came with beige which tie in with the beige dakota leather. It really isn't my cup of tea and they got heavily discoloured. They are fairly straight forward to replace only requiring the B pillar trim to be unclipped and the rear parcel to be removed to access the bolts to undo the Torx bolts.

Before:



After:




Next up was the first of many oil changes with old filter housing removed and fresh oil. The N62 needs 8 litres of oil:


The oil filter is located under the car and has a screw plug in the centre when removed releases the rest of the oil that is contained in the oil filter. Unfortunately, the numpty who last done the oil change had stripped the screw plug. Thankfully they didn't round off the oil filter housing.



I've sourced a new oil filter housing with a new screw plug so will be installed on the next oil service.

While the front end was up, there was two things to address. Firstly, my power steering reservoir has been sweating since the car was purchased. I wasn't concerned over it as it was a sweat but needed to be changed as it had failed. These also come with a built in non replaceable filter. Second was this high pitched white noise that would come up whenever you turned the steering wheel. The sound had been coming from back of the firewall of the engine bay when you were sat in the car and I had always thought it was the DISA motor. Upon opening the bay it came from the rack.

I had thought the worst and assumed maybe the rack was needing replacing but thought lets try a cheap fix first before going down that route. I had remembered the previous owner mentioning it had a new power steering pump fitted during his relatively short ownership. I then thought maybe it wasn't bled properly.

So I pulled off the mainline hose and before the fluid came out was a lot of trapped air escaping from the pipe. I also noted the fluid was red which is ATF and from what I have read, the E60 uses CHF green fluid. I got rid of it via turning the steering wheel lock to lock to push all the old fluid out:


Old tank which was the original from factory:



New tank which is a Lemforder item and is also the OEM one that they supply to BMW with the roundel sanded away:



Installed and fresh fluid dropped in:


After properly bleeding it, I found the high pitched white noise from turning the steering wheel had completely gone and was nice and quiet as it should be.
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      01-14-2024, 10:38 AM   #8
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Next up back to the seats again. The E60 comes as standard with normal fixed seats and you can option to have split folding seats. As it happened, I found from a breaker, split folding seats in the same Dakota beige with everything needed to retrofit. Didn't do a DIY on this as there is info out there on this already but here they are now installed:





Next up was something I should have done at the time of replacing all 8 ignition coils and that was the spark plugs. Again there's plenty of info on this out there on a DIY. The hardest part is removing the spark plug on cylinder 4 and cylinder 8 due to the bulkhead either side giving limited access room. On Bank 1, the AC line bracket needs to be undone and moved away to gain precious few cm of space. Bank 2 is a little better only needing the power cable bracket to be undone and moved out of the way. You also need a swivel joint and a few extensions connected together.

You can either go with Bosch or NGK. Realoem highlights which particular plug part number you need. I went with the Bosch ones and part no. FGR7DQP+. A set of 8 were purchased from GSF:


Old bosch ones removed. No record of when these were replaced but safe to say, it was a good time to replace:




These are then torqued down to around 25nm.

Next up which was a bit unexpected, the alternator decided to cause havoc by not behaving properly and not running the correct voltage. So after nearly falling off my seat seeing a recon unit from ECP being over 500, I found this company which I think a few on here have used before:https://www.startermotor-alternator-store.co.uk/

So one was ordered and I got on with removing the old alternator. This was the original and had the BMW logo on the label. Old and new:



Installed:


Hardest part is installing the replacement as it is a heavy unit and having to wiggle it in until the mounting holes line properly so that the bolts can be inserted and started by hand.

Voltages with the car up and running back up to the normal 14v.

Next will be looking into a potential suspension refresh with replacing the control arms given the car is on 110k miles. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.
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      01-14-2024, 10:39 AM   #9
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Been nearly a year since I've last updated this thread. So if anyone is curious, the car is still in my ownership. As you all recall, we had a harsh winter early this year. I wanted to also keep the miles off this for a bit due to the fact that the suspension components although not at a stage where it needed replacing ASAP, it would need attention soon. Unfortunately I ended up having to use the car to get to work as my wife needed my cheap daily due to her car needing fixing which in the grand of schemes wasn't a bad thing. Despite the minus 6 temperatures early in the morning, it got me to work in comfort and although not a feature I was ever bothered about, heated seats had kept my ass warm!

This year was the year I wanted to start addressing all the issues and niggles I wasn't happy with. First things first, my usual oil service and also sort an issue I had last year and that was a new oil filter housing.

New filter:


New housing: I'm not completely happy with the fitment as this is an aftermarket item but it will do for the time being and no leaks and no rounded off bolts!


I invested in a pair of Sealey ramps last year and really happy with these as it saves getting the jack and axle stands out.


Next up is wheels. I had the original 18's on this car which surprisingly have held up. However, they are quite corroded with brake dust and on an inspection from BMW when it went in for a recall, the tech had found two wheels had a little deformity. Its likely from the run flat tyres and I have never liked them from day one. I also started having a slow air leak and found one of the front tyres having a bulge in the sidewall which eventually failed! Luckily the car was on the driveway.

Anyway, I wanted a set of OEM style 172's or commonly known as Spiders. The biggest problem with these wheels is many sets that are for sale tend to be buckled or have had repairs for cracks. I came across a set which were refurbed and no cracks and had been refurbed well from what I inspected. So I bought them and put fresh tyres on.

The OEM 19s tyre size setup is 275/30 rear and 245/35 fronts. However, I opted not to go for this size as I felt the low profile of these tyres doesn't protect the integrity of these wheels enough. I had no plans of running run flats anyway but looked at what I could run. I decided to run a tried and tested tyre size setup copying and pasting the E46 M3 setup.

Here they are with Avons with 255/35 rear and 225/40 front:


Back of the wheels and anyone curious what the part numbers are:



And mounted on the car:



First impressions with the Spiders on was like night and day. The ride was much nicer and noticeably quieter too. They also look the part on the E60 chassis and a great everyday wheel. One thing to note with the spiders is the weight. They are very heavy! I weighed them at home and they came in at a whopping 15.9kg for the rear and 15.1kg for the front.

Needed fresh badges and not wanting carbon fibre style ones I went for black and white ones which are of course aftermarket and not genuine.



On to the next post.......
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      01-14-2024, 10:40 AM   #10
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I had started to gather up parts needed for the exterior. Being an SE model, the bumpers and look of the car is very average. The sport models do tend to look a lot more beefier and complete. For me, they make it look like a proper BMW.

So I got on to sourcing some bumpers a year ago. A lot of the second hand front bumpers tend to have crack damage and even the one I purchased needed some work. It is what I would call as good as it gets although I did pay a fair bit for this and the rear bumper. I did make it up by winning a set of sport side skirts on ebay for cheap so guess it balances out.

From what I read on the subject of fitting bumpers, the problem with platforms like facebook is people tend to say yeah it fits but don't mention there's a whole host of things that need changing or modifying before you can actually fit them on.

So one day I started to get the front bumper prepared. While I was in there, I wanted to remove the flaps that stay closed and open when air hits it as you're driving along. This is located behind the bumper and is known as the air flap control below:


Many years of crud and dirt was stuck to it so gave it a clean after removal of the flaps.


I then trial fitted the front bumper to the car. Despite having heavy wear and tear, it just looks so much nicer:


While I was in there, a controversial mod but I think it looks cool is the coloured V bars. There's a few options you can go down which involves either removing it and powdercoat or paint, wrap or you can plastic push on covers. I opted for the push on covers and they work great. I had to trim them down to size but its pretty self explanatory. I went with orange for a specific reason which will make sense later on.


And with the bumper back on:


Anyone wishing to fit sport bumpers to the E60, here is a breakdown of what you need to do along with the part numbers.

The front bumper itself is straight forward to remove and uses 10MM bolts either side on the inside of the wings. You will need to unbolt the 8mm bolts holding in the arch liner to access them. There is some Torx 25 bolts located at the lower front grill of the bumper, 4 in total. Top of the bumper you have 5 T30 bolts. Once these are all removed, it should come off by simply pulling away.

Now to prepare the Sport bumper to fit on to an SE car you will need the following if your replacement bumper hasn't got it already.

Foam-polystyrene blocks M sport versions.
Part numbers 51117896589 and 51117896590.
Headlight washer covers left and right.
Part numbers 51117897211 and 51117897212.
Lever for headlight washer covers if equipped.
Part numbers 51117896601 and 51117896602.
Spring for the headlight washer x2.
Part number 51117061659.
Dummy lever if your car doesn't have headlight washers.
Part numbers 51117896597 and 51117896598.
Front brake ducts.
Part numbers 51117896587 and 51117896588.
Lower front grill.
Part number 51117896586.
Grill piece either side.
Part numbers 51117897186 and 51117897184.
Support brackets x2. These are screwed to the front crash bar.
Part number 51117896611.
Bumper brackets left and right. You can use your existing ones unless they are broken.
Part numbers 51117033705 and 51117033706.
Front lower covers left and right aka pork chops. The SE ones are not compatible with the sport bumper.
Part numbers 51717896607 and 51717896608.
Front lower duct. The M sport version is shorter. However, you can still retain the SE duct and trim down the front so it doesn't foul the lower grill which is what I did.
Part number 51717897173
Front arch liners are slightly different on the M sport. However you can trim off the lower side of it where it meets the side and bottom of the bumper. A dremel will make quick work of it. Trim until you're happy with the fit.
Fog lights are slightly different. You can reuse the ones off the SE model but would require a little modding. I went for the M sport specific ones but aftermarket.
Part numbers 63177897187 and 63177897188.
Fog light covers left and right.
51117896603 and 51117896604

With that, you will be able to fit this bumper on comfortably without much issue. Ideally if you're doing this upgrade, try and make sure the bumper you buy has as much of the above as possible. I did all the ground work on this in order to make it easier once the bumper was painted. Fitting is straight forward using the same mounting points along with the two additonal ones located under the grill. The parts you can use from your old bumper is the wiring loom and PDC sensors.

Rear bumper is a doddle to remove with 4 torx bolts in the boot area, then its a case of removing the 8mm nuts located the wheel well that hold the bumper in.

Parts wise, its not as involved but you do need a few things as follows.

Rear bumper brackets as the SE ones are not compatible.
Part numbers 51127896615 and 51127896616.
Bottom guide piece. The SE ones protrudes a great deal. You can trim it or remove entirely.
Part number 51127897144.
There is a rear rubber trim piece that needed trimming down as the diffuser fouls it. I would imagine there is a sport version but again not needed.

With these, its simply a case of swapping out the wiring loom and PDC sensors.

The sport sideskirts are the only thing that don't need any additional bits and clip straight on.

Next post, dechrome.
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      01-14-2024, 10:41 AM   #11
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The SE's come with chrome exterior trim as standard. Again I'm not a fan of these one bit and prefer these in black for a cleaner look. I bought a set of shadowline trims and got on with swapping these over. You can also wrap these as well with decent gloss black 3m tape but me being me, I prefer doing this the hard way!

The trim that goes round the top of the doors can be difficult to remove. However, all you need a rubber mallet and 2 by 4 block of wood to get these off.

Wood in position:


Give it a smack:


And it comes away:


Off:


Then its a case of fitting the replacement one on. Using a rubber mallet carefully tapping it back in.


Rear door is much the same and I found it easier starting from the back:


Off:


Replacement on:


On the doors is matt black trim piece. I found these were easier to remove with the top trim pieces off or partially out. This was swapped over for the gloss version. You need to pull the inner rubber trim away to expose the 3 phillips screws:


Off:


And its the same procedure with the rear door:


The lower door trims are easy to remove by using a trim panel tool to lift them out and push the new ones. Here's the after:
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      01-14-2024, 10:42 AM   #12
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Now the next big updates on this car. The bumpers and bodywork.

Its fair to say it was fairly rough with virtually every panel having a defect. I knew I was going to have to sort the inevitable out one day but needed to ensure I had as good as panels as possible. The worst was the bonnet when I first bought the car which had a fair few dents. I managed to find a replacement in the same colour which had virtually no damage but was of course used. I got that swapped over a few months after originally buying the car from a breaker.

The front passenger side wing was also dented and again I did the same thing by swapping that over. So I had a car with various scratches and the body looking tired which didnt help by the fact it had SE bumpers.

The plan was to get the bumpers and skirts sprayed up and fit them on, machine polish as much as I could while filling in any deep scratches using touch up, laquer, wet block and machine polish some more to make it semi presentable and call it a day. I found a local bodyshop round the corner who were very reasonable from feedback I had seen. I wasn't particularly fussed on the finish as long as the paint was layed on and matched up reasonably well. After a long chat with the bodyshop and what it would cost to do a full respray, I got a very good quote and I decided to get the car painted. This was in part with myself already doing the ground work by preparing the car pre hand with the bumpers and dropped the car off looking a little like a mad max car with no bumpers. I had all relevant parts, screws etc. labelled which made his life easier with putting the car back together. This by no means was a full inside and out with windows out but it didn't need to be as it was just the exterior that was a let down.

I left the car with him and after I got back from a holiday, he called to say the car was ready to collect on the day I came back! Here are the pics after the respray. I haven't quite finished with the exterior as I do want to go over it with the machine polish using a light compound before applying a ceramic coat. I'll let the pictures do the talking but it really doesn't do it justice. I was completely over the moon with the end result and even now after nearly 2 months from the spray job, it just looks so much better.











Next post is the mechanical side.....
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      01-14-2024, 10:43 AM   #13
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Parts used.

Full Track Rod Ends:
Lemforder 27090 01 / OEM 32106777479
Track Rod Gaiter Boots: Lemforder 33615 01 / OEM 32102454428
Front Thrust Arms: Febi Bilstein 40314 & 40313 / OEM 31102348046 & 31102348047
Front Rear Control Arms: Febi Bilstein 40361 & 40362 / OEM 31122347951 & 31122347952
Front Hub Carrier: OEM 31216760953 & 31216760954
Front Drop Links: Delphi TC1389 & TC1388 / OEM 31306781547 & 31306781548
Front Pinch Bolt and Nut: OEM 33176760343 & 33326760668
Rear Upper Control Arm: Febi Bilstein 28291 & 28292 / OEM 33326754561 & 33326754562 (There is two type of ball joints for this arm. Ball joint and Conical. Supposedly early cars came with conical which mine did.)
Rear Drop Links: Febi Bilstein 26130 / OEM 33506781540
Brake Dust Shields Front: Febi Bilstein 174920 & 174921 / OEM 34116767647 & 34116767648
Heater Control Valve: Febi Bilstein 171944 / OEM 64116906652
Rad to Water Pump Hose: Febi Bilstein 100691 / OEM 17127508011
Expansion Tank to Rad Breather Hose: Febi Bilstein 100692 / OEM 17127519247
Expansion Tank to Rad Main Hose: Febi Bilstein 103374 / OEM 17127545653
Engine to Water Pump Hose: Febi Bilstein 103912 / OEM 17127519251
Rad to Water Pump Main Hose: Febi Bilstein 45818 / OEM 17127519248
Auxillary Water Pump: Borg & Beck BWP3001 / OEM 64116988960
Hose Clamp: 11-16mm for Febi Part 100692.
Rear Anti Roll Bar Bolts and Nuts x4: OEM 07119905374 & 07119904137

The mechanicals.

Covering over 100k miles, the suspension components had done well to make it this far. The front thrust arms were in need of replacing because of the bushes showing signs of perishing along with a few parts including the track rod ends which were quite rusty.

Over the course of winter, I started to gather parts ready for the summer to start the overhaul. Along with that, I managed to bag a set of Bilstein B12 Sportline Kit for a steal. So here's how it started with the issues I had along the way.

First thing was removing the covers that shield the track rods:



Drivers side, you have the headlight level arm which needs disconnecting from the arm:


Bilstein Sportlines. Gave these a clean to remove the old grime. So supposedly they lower up to 50mm and the person I bought it off reckoned they went pretty low.






The strip down starts:


Drop links out and these were completely gone:



The front pinch bolt came out relatively easy on the passenger and the first thing I started to work on was the front thrust arm removing the nut with the ball joint end. Here is where the problems start. I managed to undo the nut to a point where the ball joint starts to move with the nut. So you would use a torx socket, insert in the thread to counter hold it. Unfortunately, being as the arm was old, the thread was corroded to the point of rounding off which meant I could not counter hold the ball joint. Not a great start:


Drastic measures meant having to use an angle grinder to slice through the threaded part of the bolt which is what I ended up having to do. The drivers side luckily didn't require the same treatment. Here's the old thrust arms showing signs of wear:



Front rear control arms removed and yet more angle grinder action on one side:


Next was the track rod ends. Again the same issue with the nut not coming off and seizing up tight once it got to a certain point. The angle grinder had become the tool of choice:



Then it was on to removing the track rods from the rack:

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      01-14-2024, 10:46 AM   #14
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As a side note for those curious, Lemforder are the suppliers for the track rod ends for BMW.
Here's the old rod. Notice the logo:


And on the new one:


Then things got worse. The drivers side front pinch bolt was quite literally frozen stuck in the hub. No amount of smacking it with a hammer, use of the impact gun etc. was going to make it move. To the point it made it very difficult to remove the shock absorber from the hub. The only way again was with the angle grinder where I had to cut the head part of the bolt so that the bracket for the anti roll bar link could be freed. At this point, a replacement hub was going to be needed. The wheel bearing was in perfect working condition so had to be salvaged. On the E60's, the wheel bearing is held in using 4 bolts and to access all 4 properly, the shock needs to be moved out of the way or removed. So a cut was made on the threaded part to enable the hub to be spread open.

Scrap:


Luckily, the front hubs are exactly the same on all E60 models including the M5 which meant findng a replacement was very easy and not expensive.

I then had to wait for parts to turn up so I turned my attention to the engine bay......

Draining the coolant. On the radiator, the there is a drain plug which simply needs undoing with a flat head screwdriver:


The old main hose had started to brown. This is plastic and is meant to be black:

View post on imgur.com


Waterpump being prepared to be removed and there is a reason for this:


More pipes being disconnected:


And to deal with a problem part. This is the coolant control valve. So when these fail, you will notice irregular heat coming into the cabin from the fans. With the heaters on, the drivers side was blowing cool air while the passenger was blowing warm. This was not ideal during winter.


You can replace this part without having to do a coolant drain but I was doing an overhaul anyway. In order to remove the hoses attached to the coolant valve, you will need a hose clamp plier to squeeze the clamps to loosen up and then pull the hoses off.

Old valve out:



New valve from Febi:



Installed:


Main hoses out:


Engine bay empty of coolant hoses with the waterpump and thermostat out:


New hoses from Febi:
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      01-14-2024, 10:47 AM   #15
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Side by side:






On the N62 engine, it is known that they run higher degree thermostats around 110c. This was done for emissions and so called efficiency round town which is great but has a huge downside. Due to running hot temperatures, it has an effect on engine seals and anything plastic or rubber. If you look at other BMW models, prime example E46 M3, they do not run a thermostat that high. Other car makers don't tend to use a thermostat of that nature.

With the N62 platform, you can buy calibrated 90c thermostats. So what are the benefits? Lower temperatures mean less pressure on the engine, seals and gaskets will last a lot longer, coolant pressure is reduced etc. After much searching on forums and groups, this particular one was recommended by a few that said it works right out of the box with no coding or mapping required. Simple plug and play. I bought it from https://electrorefit.com/product/col...ol-engine-bmw/

These thermostats are genuine Wahler ones suppled to BMW with the logo grounded off:




So to install the thermostat, it was a case of remove the old one. I removed the waterpump to make it easier to separate but isn't strictly required but there is a reason why I had the pump off which will be explained later.

So I got on to fitting the replacement hoses but stumbled upon a roadblock with one of the hoses refusing to clip on properly to the radiator. So I removed the rad to see what was going on. I'm glad I did as it was full of crap!


I got a hose pipe and soft brush to remove all the debris:


So this was the problem hose trying to get it to clip in. I lightly sanded down the outside of the pipe that the hose clipped into as there was a little bit of stuck crud on there which seemed to do the trick:


Then it was a case of fitting the new hoses in and everything back together:


Fresh coolant ready mixed:


Now, to bleed the system, fan speed has to be set to minimum, temp set to max, then start to slowly pour in coolant until it you get to the max. Leave the cap open and start the engine. That will enable it to bleed off any air. If the level drops, top it up. After a few minutes, close the cap and get it up to operating temperature. Let it cool down and then check level and top up if required.

I had checked the cabin for warm air as the heaters were set to max heat on low speed but for some reason, was blowing cold air. The car didn't overheat so ruled out an airlock. So I plugged in the laptop and scanned with INPA and found an error code stored for the auxillary water pump stating it was not working. So yet another part was ordered to address the problem. Luckily its very easy to access as its located on the front passenger side connected via 2 hoses. Here's the old and new:



Upon fitting the new pump, you could hear it working with the ignition on. So coolant was able to properly circulate and finally got proper heat coming out of all the vents in the cabin!
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      01-14-2024, 10:48 AM   #16
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Care package delivered from Parks Hamilton.


And along with some other parts needed, they arrived from Autodoc and I got to work in putting the front suspension back together.

New brake dust shields as one was missing and the other was rusty:


Track rods measured up with new boots:


Febi thrust arms:


Febi front rear arms:


I sanded the inside of the hub carrier to remove corrosion and the shocks were able to slide in and out more freely than before. I then applied some copper grease to aid with sliding them in.


Bilstein sportline in:


Hub:


Brake dust shield:


Then it was a case of torquing the bolts up. For the front thrust arm and front rear arm, the suspension has to be loaded. Otherwise if you tighten them without doing so, it could twist the bush. As I hadn't got ramps, there is another way you can do this and that's by loading the suspension with a trolley jack.

In my case here, as I had fitted lowering suspension, I had to get the car back on the ground, move it back and forth so that the suspension was sitting at its normal ride height. I then measured the centre line from the middle of the wheel to the top edge of the wheel arch, got the car back up on stands, wheel off, load the suspension and match it to the centre line to simulate pre load.

Torque figures. These are the important ones for the control arms, track rods and front pinch bolt that clamps the suspension leg. The rest like the inner tie rod to rack, drop links etc. Just give it a guten tight.

Front Thrust Arm Ball Joint to Hub: 165Nm.
Front Thrust Arm Bush to Subframe. 100Nm, then 90deg turn. MUST BE DONE WITH SUSPENSION LOADED.
Front Rear Control Arm Ball Joint to Hub: 165Nm.
Front Rear Control Arm Bush to Subframe. 100Nm, then 90deg turn. MUST BE DONE WITH SUSPENSION LOADED.
Front Track Rod Ball Joint to Hub: 165Nm.
Front Pinch Bolt: 81Nm.
Top Mount Bolts x3: 34Nm.
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      01-14-2024, 10:50 AM   #17
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On to tackling the rear suspension. This wasn't as involving as I was only replacing the rear shock and spring setup and the rear upper arm. I was looking into replacing the front rear arm, but seeing the ball joints being intact and no play as well as being an eccentric bolt, I left it.

So I started with the drivers side. This also has the xenon level sensor arm. The rear trailing arms have bushes as well. I gave them a check over and found they were fine too so again so I left it. Plus being the fact I have no access to a bush press and the saying if it ain't broke why fix it:


Started to get the drop links off for the rear anti roll bar but one side was difficult to get a socket on so I opted to remove it completely and deal with it on the ground:


I removed the rear upper arm which was in the way of removing the shock. This was quite tough and I had flashback nightmares of the front ball joint nuts refusing to come off. I invested in a blow torch which came in handy to expand the metal so that the nut can be undone while counter holding the ball joint. It was then on to the rear shock removing the 3 top mount bolts inside the boot area and the long bolt at the bottom. You would have thought this would have been easy. It wasn't......


With the bolt out, the shock was stuck to the hub:


Tried prying it out to no avail and even heating up with the blow torch. Did not want to move:


I wasted many hours trying to get this bloody shock off, using a heavy hammer, ball joint splitter, soaking it in WD40, not a thing. I then did a bit of research and invested in a two arm jaw puller. If I had known about this earlier, this would have saved me so much time!


And it was finally off!


Now ready to fit replacements:


New rear upper arms:


New drop links:


Fitted back up with the shocks in:


While taking off the passenger side and unknown to me, a snapped coil spring!


So again, with the rear upper arms, the long bolt going through the bushes have to be tighened up either under its own weight or simulate the ride height by jacking the suspension up. Torque figures as follows:

Rear Upper Control Arm Ball Joint to Hub: 175Nm.
Rear Upper Control Arm Bush to Subframe: 74Nm then 90deg turn. MUST BE DONE WITH SUSPENSION LOADED.
Lower Shock Bolt to Hub: 165Nm.
Top Mount Bolts x3: 28Nm.

With everything fitted, it was time to get the wheel alignment. Unfortunately, my luck and is why this car is called Project Headache! Brand new front thrust arms on the passenger side decided to do this!



Thankfully, new part and under warranty, I had this sorted out with the seller I purchased this off who I have used regular and that's Parts In Motion. So new one purchased from them and the defective one refunded back.

I was then able to finally get this aligned. Results before and after:


And an obilgatory shot of it having the alignment done.


Gave it a little drive and it feels nice and straight like an arrow now. The new suspension feels real good and did notice a hint of firmness. Be good to see what it will be like on those B roads. A few more updates to come yet though as this car like to keep giving!
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      01-14-2024, 10:52 AM   #18
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So yet more work but nothing too major but something that needed to be done soon as. The gearbox.

My rear undertray which covers the gearbox and the oil filter housing had seen better days. I had accidently ripped it off the mounting points but was a blessing disguise as it had been saturated in oil and I found a concerning issue, a small leak/sweat coming from the sump plug. This was pretty strange as I had the gearbox serviced 2 years ago. I did notice the sump plug had looked a little chewed.


So thought simple fix and tighten to stop it. Well it didn't fix it and after a few turns, the plug had started to continually turn. Thankfully it wasn't leaking heavily as there is an O ring seal but would need addressing. Ideally need a ramp to do this job or some sort of quick lift jacks which I will be investing in one day, I took it to a local garage to replace the lower sump and fresh fluid.

Gearbox service kit:


While it was in, the MOT was due and I'm always wondering what could the car be failed on. But trusting my instincts, thought there's nothing really it could fail on. It passed with only a few advisories which were rear brake hoses and front brake discs. The garage had said everything with the car was spot on so I'm really pleased it's had good praise. So the plan next year is to overhaul the brakes with new discs, pads, hoses, small caliper upgrade and refurbishment.

So that just left me to sort the rear belly pan undertray. Looking on RealOEM, it is specific to the V8's and there is at least 4 part numbers. When I looked up prices, it was over 100 and some 200. So I tried to find a secondhand one but breakers tend to be far out from where I live. I studied the belly pans off other models and found they all looked the same in terms of shape and mounting holes. The only difference on 6 cylinder models is they have an extra bit one side that covers a bit more. So I decided to order one new from BMW directly which was pretty cheap at 60 and the part number is 51757154142.

Once it arrived, I got on to modifying the new one to match the old. Here's the new:


Old, this was also missing the cover for the oil filter drain and filter:


So with the new one, it was a case of dremeling and cutting the excess bit of the pan on one side where its not needed along with shaping the edge and swapping over the aluminum shields from the existing ones which are held in by staples. On the new pan, you just make small holes for the staples to secure the shields.


All done and ready:


And fitted:


She was looking mean so I took a pic before taking her out the garage:


So where are we at now with this build? Well so far I am really happy with everything I've done on the car. Some of it hasn't been plain sailing but I have now reached a decent goal where I've replaced a lot of common wear items. I didn't think I would have gone this far with it but as a car enthusiast, once you start, it doesn't stop. What has been a surprise is how much I have spent on this. This was a bit of a neglected E60 with the previous owner looking to give it to webuyanycar and get whatever if he could if he was lucky. Other than that, it would have been destined for the scrap bin. So far, this car has just reached 10k in terms of spend and that is not including what I paid for it. I do look at that figure and think its quite a whopper and what was I thinking as I would never get this money back. On the other hand, its what you do when you have a love and passion for a car. This would have cost much more had I not done a lot of the jobs myself. Thanks for reading guys and will post up the next update soon.
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      01-14-2024, 10:53 AM   #19
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Last update for this year and a great way to finish off with a nice addition (in my opinion). I had plans to run a different set of wheels and while the OEM spiders look fine on the car, I've never been one to keep to the stock look aside from my old E39.

Liam at CM Wheels was doing a black friday sale. Big thank you to him for doing an excellent deal on these. The wheels I've chosen were something I had taken a liking to and after seeing it on a few other E60's, I felt it would work great. These were also a set of wheels I wanted to replace the spiders permantly.

I decided and went ahead with Strom STR3 in a bit of a bold finish opting for the satin bronze finish. This may split opinions on but I feel it works well against the Sapphire Black exterior.

There is a few different specifications you can order these in with an 11J rear. I wanted to keep my tyre setup to avoid having it more stretched so I kept went with the sensible option as follows.

Front 19x9 ET31 and Rear 19x10 ET25. I think this setup works great on the E60 and plenty wide. The concave really makes these wheels too. I was impressed with the wheel weights. I weighed them and the fronts came in at 11.7kg and the rear 12.6kg. Compared to the spiders, they a good few kilograms lighter per corner. These do need spacers for the fronts with Liam recommending a minimum 12mm but I went for a 15mm which is just right in terms of spacing. I also fitted a 12mm spacer for the rear which looks spot on.

So off to the tyre shop and got them swapped over. The wheels didn't need much wheel weights and balanced up perfectly. Gave it a wash and took a some pictures.











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