Attempt at e39 m5 touring project by aw/ir02smg

By stevegolf
( 2 )

Attempt at e39 m5 touring project

Compliments of aw/ir02smg @


hello all. 

after 180 (yes, one hundred and eighty days) i believe i can call it a wrap. there are a few very minor wrap up details to be sewn up (by the doc, of course).

very briefly, on 2/1/2006, i first posted (on the m5board) my then **hypothetical attempt** to end up with an e39 m5 touring, or something very close to it. i started with an 03 m-sport 540it. 6 months, almost 600 posts, and $$$$$ later, here we are.  

over the course of the next few weeks i'll be giving a blow-by-blow (or shld i say "mod-by-mod") review. the format will be as follows:

1. mod

2. bmw part numbers (main ones)

3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out )

4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)

5. review/ complaints!!!

6. as a mod, was it worth it?

7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck?

8. would i do it again?

there are at least half-an-inch worth of associated receipts associated with this bit of financial carnage, so some days i'll burp out a few items, and some days just 1. 

btw, even the lemons, or cancelled options will be revisited. just with me simply going through the beginning has been enlightening. 

this part of my project is like the credits rolling at the end of the movie. a few surprises are in store. kind of like my daughter and i sitting through the entire credits roll of 'cars' when everyone left. 

the mother thread link is here...

once again, just wanted to thank you all for the interest, support and often helpful feedback along the way.



and now, the reviews begin...

1 minor change- i'm OFFICIALLY stopping the day counts. DONE! :checkeredflag: 

however, we now have EPISODES!!! (didnt know what else to call them, but in view of the soap that this has become, why not episodes???) 

so now we start what is tantamount to the rolling credits at the end of a movie 

episode 1: and this is how it all began...sniff...

it was january 22, 2006, a nice sunday afternoon like any other. i had been looking for an 03 e39 touring with the m-sport package. most important preferences were color: alpine white was top, and titanium silver (or sterling) was second.

leather: beige was #1, gray was #2. NO black.

options: preferably loaded with everything, with nav, dsp and cwp as requirements. 

mileage: had to be 30k or less.

in 2 weeks, only 2 cars had shown up across the country - a florida silver with 45k miles asking 45k, and a new york alpine white with almost 50k miles for $42k. i dont like buying sight unseen, except for brand new cars.

that fateful afternoon, around 2pm, i refreshed my bookmarked online searches, and...

i dont even know why i bookmarked and saved the screen shot, but i'm glad i did now. understand, at this point, there were NO thoughts of mods or anything. 

after 5 cel phone calls, i take my 2 daughters with me and head down to corona del mar. cant believe it's that close to me. 

my first shot of the car. 

although it didnt have the dsp, it was pretty much love at first sight. lovelove :15: we settled on a price of $37k. left that night without even leaving a check, but a simple gentlemen's handshake and word of honor.


Originally Posted by the jack report 

1. mod - the CAR purchase. 

2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - how about vin #GN92355
2003 540i Touring
Titanium Silver with Gray Montana Leather, PDC, Navigation, CWP, Premium Pkg, M-Sport Pkg,
Euro Delivered, First Aid Kit

3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) - $37000, private party

4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)

5. review - 1st impression - it was a gorgeous car. seeing it in person vs online pics was something else. there were a few minor blemishes - dent behind the driver's side rear taillight, a few scratches on the black trims on the bumpers, but as he said - i was buying a used car with 26,500 miles.

on the plus side, because it was euro delivered, it came with the first-aid kit! $FREE MOD$

complaints - it felt a little slower than this. 

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - well, i think in the last few months a few other guys - like brian (redshift) and another guy on the b'fest board have gotten better deals than i had. for what i was willing to spend ($105k for an e60 m5 hiha ) and all things considered, i am happy.

7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - yes. especially BEFORE i started this project. hiha as i recall, the ONLY mod was sawpping my acs type 2 from my e46 m3 to this car. and that was IT! famous last words.

8. would i do it again? yes. maybe with a few, just a few changes.

9. p.s. as will happen quite a few more times, beyond the car purchase, i met a gem of a gentleman and his wife. we have since met up a few more times, as he has now purchased an interlagos e60 m5. :M5thumbs: aanother visit in early sept is probably in the works. we may go hang out at the crystal cove sat am event soon. the acquaintances and friendships that have come to pass between pple on the m5board and b'fest forum are by far the most rewarding part of this ordeal.  

golly. i sure hope the following episodes are NOT this long!!! but this is like the season opener, and any self-respecting tv series starts up with a TWO-HOUR rehash!!!

enough for today. :byebye: 1145a 

episode 2: "taking delivery..."

on jan 24, 2006, this was the last shot of my e46 m3 as it was driven away.  

the prev owner of the touring (let's just call him 'mr ol bat' since you all see the plate anyways) and i made arrangements to meet up the next day, 1/25/06, 930a.

he drove up in the 540it to pick me up at my house. we then headed to the credit union to do all the dmv paperwork. by the time i dropped him off at his home, it was about 1230p. we had a great time in the car, got to know mr ol bat a little better. he asked a bit about what i thought of different bmw models...and from those questions we certainly had an entertaining time for a few hrs. before i drove away from his home, he reminded me that he did not intend for his comment about "keeping in touch" to be one of those cliched meaningless ones, but for us to actually do so. for someone twice my age to extend such an invitation was an honor to me. (it was funny how he told me his wife had been out with their friends, and the topic of conversation was my 2 daughters. forgot to mention that the first night i drove out to check the car, my 2 girls were with me. while we were out driving and talking, his wife was being chattered about non-stop by my girls, esp the 7 yr old one.)

on the way to grabbing a quick lunch, i actually parked by the south coast plaza parking garage and effectively did the VERY FIRST OFFICIAL mod...


Originally Posted by the jack report 

1. mod - front license plate and holder delete!!!
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - who knows?
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) - $FREE$, and i did a good job. i was smart enough to find the screw driver in the tool kit (after 5 minutes of wondering).
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)

5. review/complaints - well, there are 4 holes on the bumper. grrrrrrr oh well. but from about 10 feet, as bad as my eyesight is, it looks a lot better without the front plate.  
6. as a mod, was it worth it? - yes. it is one of the simplest things to do to enhance the front fascia of any car, especially one with the presence of an m-sport front bumper. 
7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - YES.
8. would i do it again? - yes...even my beater corolla has no front license plate, although it has 2 very BIG holes!

the second official mod was done the same pm, but i'll do it for the next installment (too long.)


Originally Posted by station manager 

************* NEWS FLASH*******************
:reporter: we interrupt this mindless program with some exciting news. maybe.

1. the squealing reported yesterday has apparently been resolved. i took chris' suggestion, and spent half an hour yesterday afternoon pounding the brakes on an open stretch. i braked hard from 40 mph, all the way up to xxx mph. boy does it stop. :M5thumbs:

2. now THIS one is exciting...i emailed someone who probably did the 1st dinan s/c'd touring. to my surprise, he responded, and that made my day. really nice guy, more details to follow!!! 

3. i had mentioned that i was planning to join that norcal dinan hq meet. as it stands today, there won't be any other socal guys heading up. as far as time, i am available (i just need to get permission from my boss, who i happen to know rather well. ) BUT i will be calling dinan for some specific "issues" - if it works out, i will make that drive. if not, i'll stay home this time.

************* END OF NEWS FLASH ***************

:reporter: we now return to regular programming. :hihi: hmmm 

the 3rd mod was done that evening...


Originally Posted by the jack report 

1. mod - removing the invisibra (more like tug-o-war!!!)
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - n/a
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) - $FREE$ 
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)
:hihi: don't have one!
5. review/complaints - cost me a lot of sticky junk on my fingers and over an hour of hard labor! the areas affected were the lower part of the hood, the front part of both fenders, the flat sides of the side view mirrors, most of the front bumper, even the t-bar inside the grille, the foglights. (i missed the headlights, and did not realize that until they were taken off to be sold.) i used some diluted goo gone.

i've never been a fan of the invisibra or similar products, or even the car bras. i understand the protective part of it, but it just detracts so much from the look of the car. it's either i get the requisite stone chips all over the place, or have this 2-colored panel over time. even with the m3, i opted for the badge of honor - the sandblasted fascia. 

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - yes. i like it clean.
7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - YES, free is always good.
8. would i do it again? - YES.

 until next time.... 1245p sunday 

Episode 3: the 'HAND ME DOWNS..."

as had been briefly alluded to in episode 2, this actually happened 1/25/06, between ditching the license plate and coming home. When mr ol bat came by to pick me up, I also loaded my 2 rear acs type 2s from the m3. 

when I was told the fronts would not fit, and how much they were, I forced myself to consider other designs  could've had several styles for the same money!!! Hartge classic, bbs ch, volk le-37. in the end, I just couldn't peel myself off the acs type 2s. after a lot of soul-searching, I bit the bullet and bought 2 new fronts, as the m's wouldn't fit without some horrendous machine work. At least the tires were useable. 


now for a featurette...

the tires were a little story by themselves. i had **felt** that visually, the rubber was a bit thin on the 19s on this e39, a bigger car than the m3. i was probably more a mental thing as my 19-in rims were just fatally attracted to the lowlife potholes that would beguilingly wink at it. grrrrrrr 

the fronts were 245/35, and the rears 275/30. i considered upsizing the sidewall - to 245/40 and 275/35. mike at bms thought they'd clear. btw, those sizes are available in the mich ps2. in the end, i decided not too, and just stuck with the reco'd sizes.

it's a 'technicality' mod, bec the rears were worn out.


Originally Posted by the jack report 

1. mod - bridgestone so3, 275/30/19, x2
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - n/a
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) - $294/ tire, Total Cost $674 (thanks to Eric at Supreme Power)
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3) - complete with the yellow dot still 

5. review/complaints - see 6 & 7. also - having now looked at the mich ps2 in person, and the s03, i have to admit the tread pattern on the so3 is much nicer/prettier than the ps2. :hihi: yes. just nitpicking. :7: 

satisfaction factor: (   out of 5, slight hit for the road noise)

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - well, i did NOT have a choice!
7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - so-so, only because i had been planning to switch to the mich ps2, which were rated better by quite a few folks, and not to mention 4 lbs lighter than the so3. unfortunately, the fronts were still pretty beefy on the treads, and i had no pressing reason to ditch them.
8. would i do it again? - no, unless the rears run out and the fronts are still full of tread life!
9. OVERALL RATING (1-lowest, 5-highest):     (4.5)


please see next post - truncated bec of exceeding limits of something. back to the main story... :reporter:

ever since i first saw these acs type 2s, something inexplicably drew me to them. i've always adored bold and clean 5-spoked rims - strated with the old amg ones - both the older and mono-bloc ones. not a fan of the newer two-prong per spoke design. never wanted rivets, nor chromed, but painted. plain old silver, please. and a lip. no fwd-looking rims for me. (i've even gone so far as to play with the acs website wheel program, and stuck these type 2s on the e60 body. still looks good, imho.) yep - pretty boring by some quarters - but then again, those who know me know i look the same almost everyday, no matter what the occasion just about - white golf polo shirt, khaki slacks, and some pair of cole-haans. 

so here we go.


Originally Posted by the jack report 

1. mod - AC Schnitzer Type II, 19 x 8.5 fr, 19 x 9.5 rr
(new fronts, rears 'handed down' from the m3. and speaking of hande me downs, so were the tires 
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - n/a
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) - fronts: $989/rim, Total Cost $2232 (thanks to Eric at Supreme Power)

oh, ouch, there's more...
acs Hub Rings (lost and replaced) $12/piece, Total Cost $38 ($14 shipping :sad2: )

and the rear rims were refinished and repaired for pothole improprieties!!! cant find the reciept, but i remember it had to be $100/piece, so $200.

4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3) - it took everything for me NOT to post 799 of these.  

5. review/complaints -well, for me, they are the most beautiful rims i've ever seen, at least for the cars i've owned. 

i love the ...
1. classic 5 spoke design
2. different, but still retaining that oem-feel to it
3. dont see too many at all
4. easy to clean
5. has a lip
6. made by a german bmw tuner, so semi-oem in that regard.

the ONLY complaints are that it is NOT super light, but for a 19 in rim it is not bad - with the so3, it is about 48 lbs front, 52 lbs rear.

satisfaction factor: (    out of 5, honestly speaking)

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - YES!!!!! if i was only allowed ONE mod, this would have been it. THAT worth it.
7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? -probably not. wheels are like shoes for the ladies. and as much as we may give them grief over the marc jacobs and jimmy chus, those are no match for just ONE set of rims we might decide to splurge on. a cheap set will run $500 a rim, and that's BEFORE tires!!! 

1. couldve bought a different set for about what just 2 of them cost;
2. now have 2 vestiges hanging around in my office. understand - had i decided to go with another wheel, i had a buyer of the rims for at least $1k, before the repair and refinish, as is!!! so...

(  out of 5, honestly speaking)

8. would i do it again? - YES!!! isnt THAT the definition of insanity???

9. OVERALL RATING (1-lowest, 5-highest):      4.9
(despite the dismal 2 star financial rating, the final score was intentionally skewed to reflect a 95% weight rating to the satisfaction factor. after all, i make the rules, and i cant make myself look too stupid for too long. :hihi: 


fyi, since i've just added that 'overall rating' grade, here are my grades for the previously-covered mods:

1. stock e39 540it -     (4.5)

2. license plate delete - (5.0)

3. invisibra removal - (5.0)

10a. later!!! 

episode 4: patient meets "doctor" 

the date: feb 16, 2006

( obviously no update for yesterday. way too busy working!!! to make up for my negligence, check out some exciting updates at the end of the episode )


the very first set of 'official' mods, as in something new, specifically to my car. here we go...


Originally Posted by the jack report 

1. mod - aftermarket audio upgrade
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - n/a, all aftermarket
a. rears: infiniti kappa 52.7i, 5 1/4 " two-way, peak power 165 watts 
b. fronts: infiniti kappa 60.7cs, 6 1/2 " 2 way component system, peak power 270 watts 
c. directed a404 amp.
d. mtx audio thunder 5500 8" subwoofer, enclosed in a compact box, gray colored.

3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) - $750 parts, $500 labor
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)

5. review/complaints - 
where do i start??? grrrrrrr 
i went with this guy from an honest referral. i had no reason to doubt the referrer - who is still a friend. had no reason to doubt the referral - since the referrer's car was a dsp 540 sedan, and his car sounded unbelievable. it was MY fault for not checking a little bit more. now i would not hesitate to post questions about any outfit BEFORE i hand over anything - my car or money.

in hindsight, this shld have alerted me to the 'beginning of the end...'

anyone who hacks up anything shld at the very least inform the owner that he's about to do so. in the back of my head, i always wanted the oem look. i was NOT warned that he was about to hack up the speaker housing. when i saw the 1dt one, i had this sinking feeling in my stomach, but he reassured me that it'll be just fine. 

this next observation shld have sent me packing for the hills. remember - i had a NON-dsp car. shld've been a piece of cake, relative to dsp car aft mkt installs. he had repeatedly told me he's done 'a few' 540s, even maseratis. after 9hrs the 1st day, and 6 1/2 hrs the next day, things were NOT working up to snuff. 

he promised that he'd make it good. 3 months later, and 20+ phone calls, all left with a very nice and understanding message, were never returned.  

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - NO. be forewarned - make sure you choose a reputable dealer. although money was not an issue for the project (within certain limits) - to be honest, when the project started, i was still in semi-cheap mode, and steeped in ignorance. unfortunately, i got what i paid for.
7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - not this one. no redeeming value. IN FACT, IF ANY OF YOU CAN USE THE ABOVE MENTIONED PARTS, esp the kappas which all have their original boxes and parts, make me an offer, and it's yours.  still have the 'koala' too. (8" woofer) pm me if interested. 

here is 1 never-before-published pic from my archives!! here's the guilty one working on the trunk with the directive amp in place.

let me stress that this was really the one pock mark on this whole project. it was irritating only to the extent that i didnt know what to do, and throwing away the money was no fun either. a great learning experience for sure. i also chose to swallow my pride and not exact vengeance by blasting his name and deed across a few forums. in the bigger scheme of things, it was a non-event. :hihi: 

8. would i do it again? - NO. did i say NO????
9. OVERALL RATING (1-lowest, 5-highest): (-5. NEGATIVE 5) (i like the rating system. )

so in case you're all wondering, my car met the quack doctor in this episode. :hihi: 



1. here are some pics of the brakes - the rotors in particular...they're still squealing on low speed stopping. i noticed this...

front driver side

front passenger side

rear driver side

and now pay attention to the rear passenger side patterns on the rotor...could this be the squealing culprit? i hope to get my girls to do the listening test to see which corner is the piggy.

what do you all think? hope to find som etime to get over to bms to get that fixed.


2. finally had a chance to take some 'official' pics with the stoptechs. saving them for the bbk review. 


3. got another bit of very interesting correspondence from the guy who built the royal red s/c'd touring. again, for a future installment.


4. best for last. some of you know i sent a letter to steve dinan. it was emailed to his secretary, robin. never got there. she told me yesterday she remembers our conversation, but now tells me i missed a '.' in the email address. it has been re-sent. i won't yet let the cat out of the bag, but let's just say that i'm now in touch with thomas - one of dinan's main tech guys. i made 3 'requests/inquiries,' and he has promised to take them up with steve himself. :M5thumbs: if **it** happens, it will take this project up one very nice notch. :M5launch: if not, oh well, i'll spill the beans in some later episode. 

9a. back to work.

let's make this episode 5...

(intraday update on the squeals) long and not a cheerful one

for me to post a second on any day either means i've got nothing better to do, or i'm really  . it's not the first choice. i've chosen sarcasm over invectives at this point to vent my frustration. 

presenting my bbks - the STOPSQUEAKS. or stopsqueals. STOPYECHs??? who said they were BBKs? how about BBQs? pork squeals!!!

to everyone who has responded: thank you  - so a few comments from me...

1. as to whether or not the brakes were properly bedded, i think i can say they were. if i had ventured to do it, then perhaps all kinds of undesired side-effects might be due to error. willing to bet herm did an awesome job bedding that thing.

2. if i paid a few hundred bucks for a set off ebay, i wont complain. when i shell out almost 6k for the stopsqueals, i expect it to be worth the 6k in function and form. 

3. i've been told that a squeak here and there is the price you pay for hi-perf brakes. you've got to be kidding. havent heard an amg e55 squeal beside me. or a porsche tt. and i don't have a squeak. i have the equivalent of a hog being slaughtered without anesthetics.

for your listening's only 9 seconds long. (757 kb small!!) please turn UP your volume to fully take in the sloptech experience.

possible bystander comments...

1. nice car. need some money for the brakes running metal to metal?

2. nice brakes. how much for the slotted option? - FREE 

how much for the silver FREE

how much for the 300 decibel squeal? 6k, with labor  

4. Quote:

Originally Posted by dave z 

Squealing is a function of the type of pads used (the problem, i think, in this case.) and whether or not the brakes were bedded properly (well, i left it to the pros - they bedded it correctly i'd say.). There's nothing about the  of a 4-piston, fixed caliper that causes brakes to squeal. unfortunately, my REARS are not that. it's the 2-piston 13.6 rotor with the smaller caliper.

5. about the interesting pattern, herm says all the rotors are hand-finished, so that one might have been just finished a little deeper.

got there about 145p today. 

as herm made the car squeal, i was able to pinpoint the sound was coming from the rear brakes.

so we go out for a drive, herm at the wheel, and that's how i recorded the wonderful soundtrack above. you think i-tunes would want it? hey - if herm starts cussing and saying it's *&^%$#, you know i wasn't over-reacting.

herm throws the car on the rack - and proceeds to inspect everything. he decides to take out the pads - axxis.

he thought filing/sanding off the edges of the pads might do the trick. he did say that the glue they normally use to stop the vibrations (which cause the squealing) did NOT work in my case. 

slaps the wheels back on - and the test drive confirms it's still there. on the way back, chris met us outside.

chris had **thought** maybe i was being a little sensitive to some little sounds. (i confess i HATE any sounds emanating from the car.) as we drove up, chris was about to give me a little lecture when herm stopped him and told him - "hey - it IS THAT bad."

then chris has a spin. comes back - same cheerful review. this is @#$%^&. (on the positive side, as chris nailed the car driving off, it sounds amazing - not loud, but still awesome.)

the there's problem #2: check this out.

you guys see that gold chain around the inner part of the rotor? that's also a no-cost option. (needs a rolls-royce emblem - to stand for 'rusty ring'.) chris made the observation that the way the rear pad was NOT running all the way to the center was probably causing the squealing. and also responsible for the 'gold chain.' 

(bystander comment #c: (in whispered hushed tones to his buddy) wow-look at that. special gold edition floptechs. those are rare, man.  


i'm driving home mulling these options over.   

i decide to look up steve ruiz's phone and call him myself. (chris didnt have time to call him today either - although i venture as ticked off as i am i **might** be a little nicer than chris when he calls stopyech.) slopyech?

i consider myself demanding, but reasonable. i'm also very patient. but sometimes, i do run out of it.

got steve on his cel, and regurgitated the lurid details. he did say that noise was always an issue, that the rears dont get heated up enough, etc.

bottom line: he would (and did, despite it being 335p and in the middle of a meeting) overnight some organic pads that though slight less aggressive, would suit me well. 

we'll see.

now let me think through chris' suggestions:

(he had no chance to do them today, as he's swamped.)


Originally Posted by [email protected] 

1. replace the pads.
-that's simple enough - hope it works...
2. get some custom pads made up to go all the way to the center.
-you've got to be kidding. enough of that. 
3. file down (forgot the proper word) the rusty part so the brake pad doesnt barely grind against it to squeal. 
-i am not very happy with this either. i didnt buy a piece of junk that needed to be pounded a few times to fit. or did i???

(seriously - driving this thing with the brakes is like just buying a brand new s65, at full price after waiting for 4 months, with a big dent on the hood from the factory. it is irritating.)

i also took dave z's reco to call matt weiss. got him at about 450p. for everybody's info, they say they dont have the time or are equipped to inspect or replace anything. (understandable i guess.) he did suggest a plated rotor...

what got to me was when i asked about the stupid golden ring of rust. he was well aware of that. (i dont remember who made this comment, but either steve or matt..) - 

"very few people really buy the 4-wheel bbk. there just insnt enough that is done for the rears..."  

bottom line: 

fixing the squeal is one thing, but that stupid rust ring is unacceptable by my standards. how about an unpainted rusty strip under your door for an accent piece? or your new e60 m5 with 1 door unfinished???

matt has offered to do research into the compatibility of the rear 14" 4-piston with the front 14" inch. i've pretty much had it, and the rusty rears have to go!!! 

if that doesnt work, i'll take my money back and slap on some oem rears. 

620p thanks for allowing the volcano to spew out some lava.

episode 6... 

another detour today to a temporary venue. this is more like episode 5 going into the 2nd hour...

dave, (and to any of you who have misconstrued my intentions...)

i respectfully ask you to re-read my post. while i was not happy, please check my opening line, 


Originally Posted by jack 

for me to post a second novel on any day either means i've got nothing better to do, or i'm really  . it's not the first choice. i've chosen sarcasm over invectives at this point to vent my frustration. 

i do use the smilies deliberately and intentionally. i wasnt a happy camper, but i had some fun expressing myself. now allow me to answer your points - obviously not looking to start a online fencing point for point match, but you raise some valid and important points.  


Originally Posted by DZeckhausen 

I have the same brakes (4-piston front & 2-piston rear) on my own car and nary a squeal since the day I put them on. 

dont know when you put yours on - but were your rears the ones that brembo made? afaik, stoptech only recently came out with their own 13.6 rears - that's the one i have.

Some of the off-the-wall suggestions by BMS have convinced me you really should go over to Lomita BLVD and see Matt to get to the root cause of this.

love to, but if matt made it clear that they're not equipped to do so, or was unwilling to, any suggestions?? 

StopTech is a company that will bend over backwards to fix a problem without having to hold their feet to the fire. 

i did mention and THANK steve for being quick to suggest and ship out a second set of different pads. i dont doubt that. see later what i've put up with, and still decided not to dump them.

That being said, to fly into a rage on the forum before you've even given them a chance to look at your brakes, 

i've already answered the fly into a rage issue. at this point, i am unhappy. from someone (me) who used to have a very VERY bad temper, there is quite a difference between UNHAPPY and RAGE. up til about 10 yrs ago, i was a godzilla almost everyday. i have been gratefully reduced to puff the magic dragon a few times a year. UNHAPPY would make me poke fun verbally at this whole issue as i did, and smiling as i whipped this thing out. RAGE would be to drive over to stoptech, yell at steve, or the first guy i can get a hold off, eyes bulging, spit flying, both middle fingers swaying to the rhythm of the percussion of my obscenities, losing all sense of control and decency. in my fit of rage, i would never be this lucid or articulate. my intellect and my sorry sense of humor have to fully function to write as i did.  i like being mad and yet to have all my wits about me to poke funat it. 

calling them "FlopTechs" and "SlopTechs" 

perhaps we might disagree here, but AFTER i pay for something, i can call them anything i want. when someone pays for an e60 m5 that is in the shop every week, i assure you he wouldnt refer to it as the "ultimate driving machine with the 500 hp and lightning fast smg shifter." this same forum will attest to the fact that those cars have been christened with 4-letter names. i have NOT called them by those hallowed terms. i wont. i admittedly had fun thinking of the various silly names i've slapped on them. and until the rears perform, will remain designated as such.  and i'll keep you all posted if i think of any more. 

and i'll go ahead and apologize for this one. couldnt help it now that you got me going. it does look like a rotor too.

and making a bunch of other negative remarks 

let's clarify something here. there are generally TWO kinds of negative comments. we have factual observations that can be negative, such as the FACT or OBSERVATION that those SQUEALTECHs are doing so, and then there are those statements that are absolute fabrications of things which could not be observed or at least logically inferred. i have NOT included any negative remarks that were not direct observations of the problem confounding me. if i've stated something factually and happens to be negative, that's the way it goes. and thanks to my ignorance, all i can do is post pictures of what i observe, and statements of what i hear and observe. even if they're negative remarks - they are TRUE.

is not the most effective way to motivate someone to help you. 

, i understand that very well, having noticed in my earlier years that direct confrontation with maximum aggression does not usually work. let's get this straight - the one thing i appreciate about unfortunate things like this is that i usually get to deal with someone in a higher position. in this case, it has been great to have direct contact with steve ruiz. even ran into him (and met him) for the first time at the irwindale speedway a few weeks back. you can ask him, if despite my disappointment, if i've EVER been verbally caustic or abusive or said anything not suitable for print. i got my dissatisfaction out in the most cordial and respectful way - getting across what was wrong, but with the attotude that i appreciate very much his willingness to go to bat for me.

This is their "baby" and to go after it the way you did is discouraging and demotivating. 

their 'baby'? i did lavish praise upon the fronts - silent, gorgeous, brutally effective, and not sullied by that gross looking ring of rust. i think the FRONTs are their pride and joy. the rears are not their baby - as he himself has admitted that less work has been done on the rears, due to lesser demand and more technical and engineering difficulties involved. and yes, for now, i'm going after the rears with this like a vengeance... 

I strongly suggest you go over there and work with them as a partner to solve the problem, rather than setting up an adversarial relationship from the start.

now allow me to lay out more details about my SLOOOOOWTECH ordeal.  

the brakes were ordered 3/29/2006. i understand it takes 3-4 weeks. no problem - after all, i was prepared to wait out my dinan s/c and diff which were not showing up for more than 2 months at least. 

mishap 1: it does NOT show up 1 month later because for some unexplained reason even though they swore the kit was assembled, it did NOT get on the shipment in time.

mishap 2: 3 weeks later it does show up, in the WRONG color - black, instead of the silver.

mishap 3: now with the internal changes stoptech is going through, bms is getting called and told 'it'll be there monday" every few weeks with no success. no one knows when it's showing up. middle of july i get a hold of steve, and he promises an eta of end of july through mid august.

there is NO adversarial tone on my end. from the start? this did NOT start a week ago. it has dragged on for four full months, 145 days from order to install, and now it happily continues on, the way a soap opera shld. (sorry dave - inside joke.  my touring thread has been branded as such, and i'll do my best to live up to that 'lofty' ideal.)

definitely working with them as partners. it is a partnership, a medical one. they're the physician with a new cure, and i'm the guinea PIG. 'SQUEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAALLL."

kidding aside, while i did throw the brembo thoughts a few weeks ago around BEFORE they finally showed up, i have NOT even considered them once in these last weeks with the brakes, neither to the bms guys, nor to steve ruiz.

so - that takes care of the squeal part of the problem. 

NEXT: i'll be 42 in a few weeks. midlife crisis shld be around the corner. no intentions of donning the unbuttoned shirt with a big nasty-looking 200 karat gold chain around my neck.  why shld my $2500 rear rotors look like that? 

would anyone like to defend the intricately-laced bronzed circular accent round with a hint of tangerine specks? (better known as the stupid ring of rust???)

thank you, all.   

 alright, time for me to go to work.

324p....worked the whole day, and i think this is same-day update worthy !!!

********* BRAKING, err, i mean BREAKING NEWS**********

(please be forewarned - as usual, this is half serious and half  relief. it is for me.)

update 1:

there's another guy who had his bbks installed, exactly like mine, except they're black, also on a 540 touring. the first thing tyrone heard when he drove up was THE squeal.

(by the way, in case some of you who visited this post didnt check it out, here's the link again. please listen to it BEFORE you comment  you usee, there is a 'squeak', there's even a 'squeal,' then there is 'THE SQUEALLLL!!!!!'.

presenting..."THE SQUEAL" Rated nc-17, for strong and violent sounds not suitable for little ears. 9 seconds of pure auditory terror! bring a friend!!!

and he's already related a few instances along the lines of my silly bystander comment vignettes. 

anyway, he's got the same thing going. herm was quick to even tell me - hey - it only means there's something up with both your kits somewhere, or they're both my fault. i respect guys like that.  


update 2:

just spoke with herm, and i shld be at the shop sometime tomorrow. i'm supposed to bring my wife and girls to this open with all kinds of there's some juggling to do.

anyhow, herm mentioned that matt (appreciate the contact there, dave :M%thumbs will even be there when my car gets there. matt still thinks it has to do with the bedding, although he is NOT 100% sure, nor is he being dogmatic.

as far as the ring of rust, herm suggested a solution in his typical deadpan fashion:


Originally Posted by [email protected] 

hey jack, i know just the thing to remedy that. all we have to do is PAINT that area silver or black! whatever the pad doesnt scratch stays painted. that shld work. (expletives deleted, of course. ) 

i guess i can live with that. we'll see.


update 3: 

this is NOT my original idea. it's my friend's. so i had to run out this pm. 

at costco...

at the gas station...

the nice gentleman driving the s430 in front of me turned around with a look on his face as i drove up with THE SQUEAL. made me feel special driving my eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee39. (to the tune of my, well, you know.)

here's what the sign on my window said...


gone for a family photo shoot. LAUGHTER is the best medicine. i realize there's not much i can do, so i've learned to catch myself - b4 i mope or get all riled up, i try to look for the stupid and silly.  

good day! later.

episode 7: the third installment... 

of "The StopTech Trilogy," concluding the smashing and controversial 3-part mini-series!!!


i'm sitting in traffic at 915a, and i call chris to let him know i am on my way.


Originally Posted by chris 

dont worry jack. i have nothing planned this am except to make sure we have a solution for your car. 

here's the herm driving the patient in.

what's puzzling is that the dreaded rusty ornament is also on the inside. at that point i burst into tears.  no - i'm just kidding. who cares what it looks like from behind? well, for $6000, i think i would. for that kind of money, they better be works of art!!!

who ever thought a car on a lift could be an artsy moment??? (alright, my fingers were idle.)

herm takes this...

and gives the rotors a little minor resurfacing...

and more 'custom' job from 'the herm'. even on the back side that he claims 'nobody gives a %$#@!.'

the new pads to be tried on were hawk hps pads. again, a big THANK YOU to steve ruiz for the quick response and overnight. :applause: 

a coat of nutella...

lovingly spread on...(just kidding. it's some anti-squeal glue whatever.)

new pads going in...

the 4 suspect axxis pads being hauled away by their executioner, in the hawk box to brake hell, where the 'eternal squealing is never squelched.'

another round of custom work. remember the ring? i had wanted silver paint, but since there was no silver hi-temp paint on hand, and the black one was more hardy accdg to herm, we (well, he) decided it would be best. some beautiful masking on exhibit.

the car is started, gentle gassing, and round and round go the rotors while herm just stays in one spot, tagging, well, painting my rotors.

a few gentle runs to scuff off the paint where it shldnt be.

the result...almost ready for the bedding process. 

how about a vid of herm doing the honors?? he actually went on 2 rounds of the bedding. when my wife and girls did not arrive yet, he went out for another round. even from the get go, no SQUEAL, nor even a 'squeal.' later this afternoon, there was a 'squeak.' more like 'squeak.' i can live with 'squeaks.'

THE vid.  

and unfortunately, i wasnt able to record the squeal, because there was NOT one anymore. :woowoo: apparently chris' first off-the-wall suggestion was dead on the money. chris has basically fired the axxis pads. of course, i quickly called my buddy thaichi808 with the good news, as he's my squeal-buddy.

btw, matt (stoptech guy) wasnt there. i can say this: on more than a dozen occasions, matt has called chris when there are issues, and it seems that chris' suggestions have helped them. 

this is how it looked when all was said and done... :M5launch: once again, the guys at bms did not disappoint. i'm glad and grateful i got a bunch of guys like that to counter my absolute lack of car know-how. 

end of a LOOOONG day. nite everyone. quite a bit more transpired between the brake job - on different topics. fill you all in over the weekend. 1021pmzzzzz 

before we do episode 8.... 


Originally Posted by assang 

Jack, congrats.

thanks, assang! no kidding - i was there when chris was cursing at your car to exorcise the demons it had.  glad it's running again, and well too!


Originally Posted by grcygtr 

which in turn i have to thank touringdude for making this friendship between Jack and me..

thanks, grcygtr. as i've stated many times - the cars are wonderful, but pale in comparison to the friendships and relationships made. and i know i'll see you around 


let's wrap up episode 7: 'look ma, no more squealing!'

 now i feel like there's this constant ringing in my ears. tinnitus, anyone???

but just wanted to thank everyone for hanging in with me on that ear-splitting issue.  


well, before we go into episode 8, let's might as well do the review for the, what else, the bbk!!!


Originally Posted by the jack report 

1. mod - stoptech big brake kit: slotted rotors, silver calipers, 14" front with 4 pistons, 13.6 rear with 2 pistons
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - n/a
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) - $5888, taxes and labor included.
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)

rears...(this one was the axxis suealer with the rusty ring...)

and a world premiere, the FIRST shot of the full side of the car with the bbk. have to admit i love this shot, taken just b4 sundown...

5. review/complaints - hmmm , enough said, right? (check last 3 full episodes for the fabulous facts!)
6. as a mod, was it worth it? - i wont get into the difficulties here. functionally speaking, the oem rotors were not THAT wimpy. after the new quieter hawk pads, herm was happy with the lack of squeal, but did remind me that it wasn't up to full braking gforce yet. i'll say that i gave it a go a few times yesterday and today. perhaps a fraction short of the super squealing axxis, but adequate, nonetheless. so YES. visually, the fronts are drop dead gorgeous, while the rears remind me of cinderella's step sisters.

7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? -the overall consensus might split hairs over the percentage of functionality of the front vs the rears...some say 80% front to 20% rear as far as actual work. hence many board members, a few who have become great forum friends, dont even sport rear bbks. i would give the fronts an easy      

the rears, are a different story. HAD i rims that were NOT that open, i probably wouldn't even have spent the same amt for them. in my OPINION the rears are 20% function, and 80% BLING. taking into consideration the very open design of my preferred main wheels, the acs 19s, and even the fairly open bbs rc design for my spares, i was 'advised' to blow the $ on the rears. the other reason for my expenditure on this item was the reality that i had spared no expense in building this little monster. it'd be like ordering an ///m5 with leatherette.  :hihi: (and dont get me wrong - i do like the bmw leatherette!) add to that my decision to go with the smaller 13.6 rear rotor for the unforeseen spare requirement - BEFORE i made the decision to sell off the oem 17s and run a set of 18s for spares that would have cleared the full 14 in the rear - it is visually not the stunner the fronts are, especially when it's a bling purchase. so the rears get ...  

8. would i do it again? - not so much YES. but HAVE TO if i'm running a nice amt of power. 
9. overall rating: -     


cut short due to posting limits. please continue to next post for episode 8!!! 

and now, a brand new topic! (my daughter reads this series of stories where the titles alliterate, so i've given myself the stupid challenge of doing the same.)

episode 8: the 'woofer woes...

it's actually not a sad story. the grrrrrrr part of it was handled in episode 4 with the 'quack doctor.' :hihi: i'm still intrigued by the thought of adding a subwoofer of some substance. the dsp one is, actually fine. i also promised jgentle this bit of info, as i had the opportunity to take some nice shots of a fellow touring owner's setup. we had a mini-meet today at the carbon canyon regional park. 

a few miles from the location, i got the dreaded, but welcomed, tire failure message. probably from the last time at the 1/8 mile strip where i let a little air out the rear, refilled, and didnt reset...

got there at 8a. i was the 1st one - as i had to leave early.

very quickly, socale39 (mr organizer) - driving the black 540i6, and thaichi808, with his black 540it loaded with the goodies showed up.

here's his new mod...

and these very nice carbon fiber pieces to sport up his black interior - 

and these newly-powder-coated 19 inch radenergies. 


10-inch wide rears, whole car dropped on full dinan stage 3 suspension.

and, not to forget, my fellow squealer - (park attendant suggested he check his brakes - true story!!! :hihi: )

and now to the main feature, his awesome custom rear audio set-up. wait - a better title...

"Wonderful Woofers!"

step 1: approach the trunk.

step 2: lift the gate. notice how NOTHING is hanging out? no koalas, boxes, or loss of usable space. in fact, he came with his bike, lawn chairs, bbq stuff, duffel bag, and God knows what else he yanked out of that trunk. almost forgot - i believe he has TWO subwoofers!!!  

step 3: comparison of left side compartment. (jgentle - we HAVE a problem. i'll start by saying his car does NOT have dsp, does NOT have the 6-cd trunk changer, does NOT have navigation.)

here's HIS very neatly done left side. that ENTIRE cover piece was custom fabricated.  the woofer takes up all that space.

now here's my left compartment shots (and yours too)


and inside we have...stuff.

step 4: comparison of right panel

his...with another woofer.

mine covered...

inside is the woofer box that house the cute little dsp 5.5 inch (yes, microscopic!) woofer.

step 5: the trunk panel...

his (all his...)

lifted to show the two jl audio amps...

a close up, of the amps, that are sitting on a board that is easily removable. (he should have had the spare wheel detailed too!!! :hihi: )

detail of cutout of left corner...

right corner.

and to demonstrate how to remove (or MOVE) the amps out of the way in case you need your spare, thaichi808 has graciously modelled that important function.  

and the board with the 2 amps out of the way with minimal effort.

there you go. btw, his best 'guess' of the WHOLE job (he had a cd changer under the front glove compartment, and a new radio installed, etc) came to around $6000.


AND...he also had his car detailed last night. how shiny? how about this reflection test?

926p end of a long, but fun day. left the park about 10a, and ran into another fleet of bimmers coming in.

so much more stuff to cover and bring up. will try tomorrow!!! 

episode 9...woo! woo! i mean... wood! wood! 

episode 9. 

(btw, thanks to all the pple's pics that i've linked to, whether i know you or not.)

my car came with the wood trim. the primarily grey interior with black contrast pieces was fine. the brown just didnt do it for me. i'm old, but it made the interior TOO old. felt like it lost a few hp looking at it.


1. the aluminum interior trim was a favorite visually. the physician however, advised against it, since it was painted plastic, prone to easy chipping. (esp with my 3 girls who are allowed to do anything and bring anything in the car. )

2. i loved this light poplar trim in our x5, but decided against it.

3. then i had the outrageous idea of the blue birch!!!

ashok was very helpful (and lightning fast at that) to have provided some pics. it is a lot bluer than i was willing to go with.

4. birch anthracite:

i had seen this in another car - a beautiful highly-retrofitted e46 touring. the owner, terry, was even kind enough to correspond with me, as this is a very hard grain and color to capture on film. now that i have it - i understand why. in low light, it is balck. in strong light, you can see the grain of the grey and brownish hues, and a very subtle tint of bluish grey.



Originally Posted by the jack review 

1. mod - bmw individual birch anthracite wood trim kit (complete)
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - 
Birch Anthracite Wood Trim Kit 51-41-2-423-308 $670
(this includes all the door trim and dashboard pieces)
Wlk-Napp Handle 25-16-2-243-318 $154
(the gear shift knob)
Center Console Kit 51-16-2-423-314 $225
(the big piece along the middle of the car)
Handbrake Ring Piece 34-41-8-009-942 $75
(the handbrake handle piece)
Handbrake Lever 34-41-7-894-571 $57
(unfortunately, the ENTIRE handbrake lever had to be replaced to do this, because the leather oem one is NOT removable.)

3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) - $1273, plus doc's labor.

4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)
some b4 and afters...
center console piece...


one of the doors...


the grain (exaggerated shot to show it)

5. review/complaints - this mod involved a little few mishaps. i was warned by the doc that it would take a while, as it was a bmw individual piece. apparently, this whole kit had NOT been ordered, so it took some time for the bmw ordering system to register it, then took another month for it to be shipped out from germany. when it got here, the 2 pieces right by the steering wheel on the dash were WRONG. 

the piece WITH the hole shldn't have had one, and the piece without shld have HAD one. it was for the tire pressure monitor. i told tyrone just put the tire pressure monitor switch on the wrong side, and cut through the foam on that side of the dash to squish the switch assembly in. it would have worked, but doc tyrone said... you guys have no idea how thorough and uncompromising he is. so i drove around another month or so with multi-colored wood grain!

few weeks later, tyrone tells me for some reason nothing happened. so it was re-ordered a third time. finally got here!!!

and for you diy'ers, be warned. most of the pieces were trivial. the center console was ok, but the work required to replace the handbrake lever itself was NOT trivial. of course, i couldve left the leather-wrapped handbrake alone, but tyrone happened to mention that it was available, too. 

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - YES. it is drop dead gorgeous. i love it. it just gives the interior such a step up in feel and elegance, without giving up any sportiness. i've gotten nothing but compliments on it (not that it influenced my decision.)      

7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? -honestly, almost $1300 for some pieces of wood - 10 pieces and a handbrake lever - makes it rather dubious, esp for a NON-hp gain mod. so i have to award it TWO THUMBS (once again, used too many smilies/images. grrrr) (NOT cheap)

8. would i do it again? - YES. of the non-hp interior mods, thisis probably the one change that gives the cabin a most unique look and feel.
9. overall rating: -     and a HALF!!!

4p alright folks. 

episode 10 - the cute cubbyhole 

let's consider another non-hp mod. 


Originally Posted by the jack review 

1. mod - Montana Leather Sliding Armrest
(went for the full leather as it wasn't too much more from the non-montana one.
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - 
Armrest 51-16-8-190-200 $279
Sliding Unit 51-16-8-196-965 $96
Tray 51-16-8-196-967 $16

3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) - $391 + tax, and doc's labor
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)
before: oem - 

after: closed...

after: opened...

5. review/complaints - the oem armrest was a rather useless piece, in my humble opinion. what little you could put in it would fly off under the gentlest of spirited driving. 

the **only** complaint is that it's still kind of small, measuring about 6 3/4 in by 5 1/2 in at the top of the container opening, 2 inches deep, but the are at the bottom measures 3 1/2 in by 4 in.

and it slides back and forth too!!! whooppeee!!  

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - YES - i have stuff in it.
7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - - not horribly expensive, but not cheap.    
8. would i do it again? - YES!!
9. overall rating: -     

630p. shortest one i've done so far?? 

episode 11 - it's a no-go.... 

technically speaking, it's not a mod, but where money is being dispensed, it is to me. 

recap: 2 or so posts back, there's the link about me having the opportunity to have my car hand-tuned by dinan.

here's the conclusion, in the now-familiar format.


Originally Posted by the jack review 

1. mod - custom fine-tuning by dinan
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - n/a
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) -
20 hrs of labor, around $2500 (more on cams, headers, etc in the review section.)
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3) - just a fleeting vision in my feeble mind at this point.  
5. review/complaints - 
i was advised that chris chandler would be out til today (tuesday). i left a message for him early this pm. he calls me back. between 2 conversations, he spends more than 1 hr with on the phone. (he's the vp and big cheese of engineering.)

my comments will be makred by the :reporter:.

on the hand tuning: 
Originally Posted by [email protected] 
we normally hand tune cars that are throwing codes. let me give you a little background on how we tune the cars. say we have the first 1 or 2 cars. we take the measurements. then we apply them to the next 8 cars, or so, so now we then hand tune each car, and use that as our fleet average. granted there are differences from car to car, but we're very meticulous on this, so it'll be very close.

to be honest, even though we'd love to hand tune your car, knowing who did it, and if they did it well, then your money would not be wisely spent. i wouldnt do it if i were you. you are not going to see any meaningful gain in power.

(:reporter: once in a while, i get a dose of my own medicine - i'm reminded of how good it feels to talk a client out of a piece of (high commission but worthless) junk he wants me to sell him. while the tuning was not junk of course, it carries a lot of weight with me for him to say it's not necessary. 

on the camshafts:
Originally Posted by [email protected] 
this is a very invasive operation. the guesstimated gain for a more radical camshaft is not as much as pple would like to think. probably 10 hp. but what will get you is the 50 - 60 hours of labor, at the minimum, to take out the head, fit softer springs, fabrication...(:reporter: a lot of other detail that whooshed over my head.) really, the cams in the 540, though smaller, are not so inefficient.

btw, that's part of the reason why unless it's worth doing, we try to stay away from the one-off projects, because we cannot amortize our r&d and engineering time.

on the air fuel ratio: 
(:reporter: i told him of my 3 dynos where i was getting the 'richer' mid to high 10s.)
Originally Posted by [email protected] 
the cars have been tuned to 11.0 to 10.9. further optimization that is safe would only yield performance gains that are minimal. your car has been tuned for max dyno from our factory. if you've seen pics of our dyno room, i'll be the first to say that there is no way that can be replicated, primarily, direction of the air. so when we drive the car in the real world, we need to retune to dyno numbers. so even with what is perceived to be a little rich on the dyno, on the street, it actually comes out to about 11...

but even a high 11 to low 12 ratio can cause the engine to begin to detonate. the knock sensors will want to protect the engine, so it will throw extra fuel to slow the engine even more. the way we tune the cars is that they never have to worry about being awkward under any normal conditions. 

about the headers:
Originally Posted by [email protected] 
assuming it fits, the m5 headers will render your car not smog legal anymore. 

what most car mfrs do is they make a large portion of their fleet very clean, so few cars be dirty (as in emission). the 3er and 5er, (big volume sellers) are very clean, so **a few** (like the v12, ///m3 &///m5 can be a bit dirtier). the govt sees 95% of their production super clean, and **allows** 5% to be dirtier. 

on the standard 5, the catalytic converter is very close to the motor - it gets hot fast, so exhaust emissions get eaten up inside. if you put the headers, then it wouldnt pass smog initially, esp when cold. (besides flunking the emissions test, it would fail the visual, too) 

the potential gain: about 15 -20 hp at the crank, max. but there's a need for fabrication, not to mention the $3-4k in testing fees just to have it pass, which we will not do just for one car. in other words, no carb cert. 

(:reporter: hey chris (at bms) - looks like he hit it right on the head as far as the potential headers gains. not a whole lot for the money to be spent.)

:reporter: we ended the conversation with me asking about one of herm's wild ideas. shoving the z8 alpina engine and drivetrain into the touring, and then adding all the s3 s/c goodies. doable, but bec their carb certs were not tested on THAT particular engine, NOT street legal.

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - i'll never know!!!
7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - - if it went through, probably really bad.  (1 out of 5, at best)
8. would i do it again? -  but it would have been nice to have a 500 hp touring!!!
9. overall rating: -      , and that's for chris chandler.

he actually mentioned how he's trying to talk his wife into getting an e39 touring, but she has no intentions of doing so for now. :hihi: 

i was going to drive up to dinan this thursday and probably be there a few days. so in light of this turn of events, i will NOT be going. (actually, i had pretty much decided not to go, because that'll take a good 2 or 3 days away from home, and my baby (well, 17 yr old baby) is going off to college. the car can wait, by a long shot.

441p :kaffe: (just had a very nice homemade strawberry shortcake as i was typing this.) 

whoa - no pictures!!!

episode 12: really short review, and a long featurette  

straight to business here...


Originally Posted by the jack review 

1. mod - ///M Door Sill Strip 
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - 51-13-2-695-681/2 (one left, and 1 right)
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) - $32 each
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)
the doc removing the old piece (plain black)

and new one on...

up close...

5. review/complaints - it was a really easy removal and install. for a bit of trivia, this was the FIRST mod that doctor tyrone did on the car. the date, mar 5, 2006, about 2 or 3 in the afternoon. FIRST time i meet him, too. more on him in his OWN episode. mini-series?? or more like a full season!!!

a lot of thought went into the ///m badge/emblem related retrofits. fortunately, having owned a real ///m car (e46 m3), i pretty much knew what was perfectly acceptable, what was taboo, what might be ludicrous, and what would be outrightly deserving of permanent censure.

since the car came as a factory m-sport vehicle, i did not see any controversy in swapping out the plain black ones for these euro pieces sporting the ///mblem. (of course, i make that distinction between the //m and the ///m5 badge.)

despite the bright colors up close, because of its size, as you can see from the above pic, it is a rather subtle addition. it doesnt call attention to itself - but the sharp and knowledgeable eye would pick it up. 

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - yes, love the very understated announcement.      
7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - absolutely. one of the few truly inexpensive mods!      
8. would i do it again? - YES.
9. overall rating: -      


and now, for our featurette. for once, i won't say much. i'll let the pictures relate what happened this morning.


alright. i have to say something. 

1. i immediately noticed all the road noise, just a very slight shimmy/vibration/tramlining going over ugly patches of freeway.

2. putting the bbs rc away, i could feel its lightness, especially against the acs rears.

3. it was a royal pain to clean the rc.

4. i have discovered a new unfortunate propensity. i've previously confessed to wiping down my wheels once every 2 days. now with the stupid bbks installed, i also like keeping them rather shiny and spotless. 

5. with the rc, it was almost impossible to get even my little fingers to wipe them down. worse, i couldnt even get to the inside of the wheels to clean them once every few weeks.

6. #5 was a piece of cake with the acs.

7. additionally, i found out my cute little fingers can reach the bright yellow front dinan (koni) struts. witness this flashed pic to show the shiny yellow!! hiha 

i'm not obsessive about it - but just the fact that i do it, even though it takes but a few seconds, is sad!!!  iirc, brian (redshift) and i had posted some silly (but very telling and very true to life) comments about forums having some sort of internet 'modaholics anonymous.' 

who said i'm in denial? i know when to stop. see? i'm not doing anything anymore!!! (because dinan won't let me!!! waaahhhhhhhhh!) j/k 

i'll have some pics when i have time to take some proper shots of the new partners in crime - stoptech, meet type 2. :M5thumbs:

it's SO nice to have those heavy, over-priced, antiquated, harsher riding, noisier, 19-inch pothole poking, but magnificently gorgeous acs type 2s on again! 

637p signing off for dinner 

episode 13: mobile mobility! 

first, a letter from one of our faithful readers...

(God forbid, you think i shld have a 'dear awwy' column? 'awwy' of course, since yours truly is stuck on the aw/ir handle. )

apparently, my 4 picture collage did not quite convey the message i had intended, thanks to me forgetting a crucial picture...that off the bbs rc neatly bagged and stacked in my office.


Originally Posted by touring dude 

I'm intently following your Soap (Mod?) Opera like my wife does her's on TV, but I'm confused about today's episode......
Did you get new tires or something for the Type 2's? I see that you are in a shop of some sort. Are you dumping the 18's (Do the 19's really ride that much worse? I love my 18's (ceptinfer the color) but have my eye on a set of 19's that I REALLY like) Or you just switching back (for ease of cleaning, etc) and keping the 18's for your SF set?
Can't make the Cove this Sat, we'll have to do it again in a couple of weeks......

Sport Wagonly yours.

Oh and I think I figgered out the turn signal/ Euro lens thing.....But I'll keep you in suspense until I make it happen!

dear touring dude,

1. i did get new tires for the rear type 2s a month or 2 ago, as the rears were worn out, and one had a real big screw screwed into it.

2. no, not dumping the 18s. they are my spares.

3. the 19s do ride much worse, now that i got used to the 18s with the mich ps2. prior to the mch ps2, b/w my e46 m3, x5 on 20s, and 19s on the wagon, i never knew any better. the 18s on the ps2 was really, REALLY cushy and quiet.

4. i switched back since i wasnt going up north to the dinan hq. they'll be my sf rims, you're right. 

5. switched back for lots of reasons, the main one? i REALLY love the type 2s. for me, it just makes the car.

and please let me in on the turn signal secret!!!


jenner, earl,

i got an answer you may both find interesting. later tonight or tom.


and now, back to regular programming.


Originally Posted by the jack review 

1. mod - ///M Mobility Kit 
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - 82-11-0-134-558 
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) -$136 + tax
(labor was figuring out WHERE to put the poor thing.)
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)
nice and snug under the main wagon rear trunk panel.

contents - the exploded view...this is such a beautifully crafted piece. where the goo goes, i'm planning on hiding a small bottle of water!!! it even has a little pouch with a piece of napkin and a plastic glove.

the artsy shot 

the 'unloved' part of it...the goo.

5. review/complaints - this is an absolute must for any of you who run 19s with rubber bands. it has saved my life at least 5 -6 times now, working in conjunction with the retrofitted ///m5 tire pressure monitor. i realized i could have bought the much cheaper costco alternative, for 1/3 the price, but 10x BIGGER. but this looks way cooler, has an ///m embossed on it, and packs such a big punch for being a mini-compressor. 

so easy to check the tire pressures, and even inflates my daughter's bicycle tires.

of course, even back from the m3 days, i remembered pple just hating the ///m goo that comes with it, so i never plan to use that. any of you need it, pm me!!! hahahahaha.

i love this little gadget.
6. as a mod, was it worth it? - YES!      
7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - not only was it not very expensive, but from the cost of what it has allowed me to avoid, i can say it has saved me even more in $ and time & aggravation.      
8. would i do it again? - YES!!! (in fact, when we travel in the x5, i bring it with us.)
9. overall rating: -      



little side blurb: i have decided to control myself, and NOT use my paddles or even the sport mode, just to see exactly what kind of mpg i'm getting. although good gas mileage never was a goal or thought of the project, having heard pple rave about increased mpg with a s/c, i find it interesting that i do NOT see that in my case.

my guess is what the s/c gave, the lower-geared diff has taken away...

:read1: from the american medical association's secret files...

my fingers are suffering from 'hypopaddlelitis.' half tank gone. my physician has also pointed out it is more than a physical situation, but also a severe mental malady. can only be cured by 2 rather toxic substances: some lead (foot) and highly flammable fluids, available without any prescription from the nearest gas station. also lookup 'speed deprivation,' a condition far worse than sleep deprivation, which is curable.

5p hiha :flag: out with the 4 girls of my life. or 5...including frau touring?

episode 14: a trunk liner fit for a.... 


the dinan 'D' is actually attractive...

although when i first googled for an image, i got this!

sounds like a city in france...

it crossed my mind, but that's going to take some the end, (or for now) i'm on the same track as jenner...

Originally Posted by Jenner 
naa he should keep it the way it is.

If he someday decided to drop a S62 and 6 speed manual gear box into it I'd say go nuts with the ///M5 and/or Dinan badges. But right now the lack of //M5 and Dinan badges and the subtle, ///M badges are a perfect fit for this awesome supercharged 540i Touring/Estate.

btw, the silberfrau says 'thank you' for your compliment. and even **if** an s62 mit 6 speed finds its way into it, the MORE the ///m5 badges won't go on, as much as i like them. it's good enough that it's got an ///m attitude!

on to business...

"a trunk liner fit for a...150 lb golden retriever!"

Originally Posted by the jack review 
1. mod - Euro Heavy-Duty Trunk Liner
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - 82 26 9 408 290
(interestingly, someone has copied that item number down, and tried to order it with bmwna with no luck!!)
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) - $FREE$, came with the car! story is car was euro-delivered. the first owner inquired (since he has a big dog) and was shown it. he promptly purchased it in germany.

4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)

5. review/complaints - pros: when i pick up kids and their wheeled backpacks have mud stuck on them, it's not an issue. when we go to the oriental market and buy stuff that drips (as in dead animal fluids...hiha ), no worries; if i had to transport our other beast - a little 4 lb miniature lop-earred bunny - piece of cake. 
cons: short of an anvil weighing 500 lbs, everything slips and slides all the time; if i need to get to the ///m mobility kit, it's a pain.
6. as a mod, was it worth it? - i got it for free, so it gets...
7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - why, YES!      

8. would i do it again? - actually, i tried. tyrone ordered what he thought were the flatter rubberized trunk liners, and we ended up with these, which were summarily returned!

i had wanted some kind of a rubberized trunk tray, similar to the black rubber floor mats inside the car. i guess we're fine for now.

9. overall rating:     
(4 out of 5, for the stuff that sloshes around.)

p.s. speaking of dogs, check out the e60 m5 setup for our furry friends...

321p :byebye:

p.s.#2: spoke with [email protected] today. 'something' arrived. even better...
Originally Posted by [email protected] 
jack, would you like me to request a XXXXXXX for your car? oh, and btw, mike is ???????? your car right now!

to which i said.."absolutely! didnt know i could do that!!!" stay tuned. this little trinket will get ON the car. :woowoo: as to what mike is up to, even i have to wait and see.

episode 15: missed dinan, but went dinin' 
at the risk of sounding self-serving, i like this has nothing to do with the mod review, so we'll save it for the end.

can only do a short one today, as new york is calling, and i still have a BIG pile of paperwork  (had originally hoped to make it down to crystal cove with a few other touring guys...but simply cant)

Originally Posted by the jack review 
1. mod - TEC Cup Holder 
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - 51-16-0-394-760
(i couldnt believe THIS had a bmw part number, at least through crevier.)
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) -$72, and I PUT IT IN. granted, tyrone could've done it in 2 minutes blindfolded AND handcuffed to the exhaust - it took me 30 minutes sweating in the garage! 
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)
hiding inside the really small enclosure.

cover retracted...

the mechanism is engaged by pressing against the base part of the cupholder.

finally out!

this underlit shot shows the fine bmw letters that give it that oem look.

and for those of you who want to see how a $72 cupholder works...a world premiere let's 'tec' it away!!

7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - little pricey, relative to the other one (forgot the name) that slings over the side. but it does look the part.

8. would i do it again? - not sure, actually...i wouldnt get rid of it, but may not do it again.
9. overall rating: -    

(now that i'm evaluating these mods one by one, i canNOT believe how much i've done, especially once they're numbered!!!)

about the title...

back in episode 11, 'it's a no-go' - i ended up not going up to morgan hill - primarily due to not really needing the hand tune. part of me wished i made it up there to meet up with the guys from this (m5board) forum to check on the progress of a couple of full-monty s3. 

ended up going to lunch with a thaichi808, who graciously invited me. i was pretty sure we were the only 2 asians in the persian restaurant - awesome food.

sharing a mutual enthusiasm for tourings is great, but building a friendship runs circles around that. thanks thaichi808. 

the one detrimental possibility - the ever-present danger of a fellow nut popping up his trunk and saying - 'lemme show you something...' did happen.

i was too enamored to even take a shot of the whole thing. this is all i have for oem piece to boot!

as we speak, he's got it on his touring. he's finally done, at least that he says.  i've appointed myself his official paparazzo, so waiting for the next opportunity to meet up.

************* NEWS FLASH *************

big enuf? for you touring owners...we're planning WAGONFEST II! please check in at the main thread over at bimmerfest.

317p thanks  jack

episode 16: mired in mirrors miswired!! 
I'll admit I've been skating on the easier to review items. Lets do something pricey and nice

Originally Posted by the jack review 
1. mod - OEM ///M5 Factory Pre-painted Retracting Side View Mirrors 
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - 
Mirror Housing 51-16-0-002-681/2 $529/per side
Aspheric Glass Euro 51-16-2-694-895/6 $234/per side
Switch Unit 61-31-6-909-903 $145
Door Module 61-35-6-904-243 $150

3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) - (see above) total came to: $1962 with tax (no labor)
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)
the pre-painted housing

the aspheric lens

door module

5. review/complaints - on mar 14, the first bits came  the aspheric glass, switch unit and door module. Tyrone had **warned** me that since I was the FIRST one to ever order it pre-painted from the factory, to expect a delay, barring any additional barriers. to commemorate this momentous occasion, even the package had its picture taken!

The mirror housing finally showed up may 3rd. it was an exciting afternoon, as this was going in. while not difficult, it was laborious in that the door panels and all the corresponding switches etc had to come off and on. It was to be fairly clockwork UNTIL every thing was in, and given the first test run reminds me of the thai or egyptian dances where your hands swivel in opposite rotations! nothing beats a video for this!

thinking it through logically, it shldn't have mattered.

Tyrone of course never ceased to amaze me, as he calls just 2 days later with a surprise for me. he analyzed the wiring diagrams and caught the reversed white and blue wires, straight from the factory.

[:reporter: just this past Friday afternoon, thaichi808 called me with the same symptom, which the guys at bms were admittedly stumped. I felt useful as I emailed the guys the above pic and gave chris a 2-minute explanation. I knew my insanity wasnt in vain!!!]

heres the finished install. That beautiful contour, framing the aspheric lenses

a before frontal shot (didnt realize how LITTLE I took of this profile pre-mods.)


6. as a mod, was it worth it? - this is probably the one outside mod that made the most difference. It has totally changed the character of the car. I actually had a practical reason for doing it our home is a little hamlet with a traditionally tight 2 car garage. The retracted side mirrors allowed a bit more space between the cars. It looks unbelievable  and my kids were enthralled (at least for the first few days) with the peculiar retracting mirrors.


7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - 
once again, this is admittedly not a money-wise option. I could have saved perhaps even $150 a side had I ordered the unpainted one, but after factoring in my time to shuttle around the housings to the paint shop, and go back, and worry about paint matching, etc, it was worth it to me to just get it done from the factory.
3  out of 5.

8. would i do it again? - in a heartbeat!!!
9. overall rating: -     

epilogue on june 9th, while tyrone was fiddling around with my amp over at m5boys home, he made the comment about seeing how **strangely** my side view mirrors were angled. Then he remembered the whole right hand drive thing  my lenses were made to be angled in reverse this is what he was referring tothe weird angle is most accentuated on the drivers side, as I have gotten used to pushing it out to the maximum for best peripheral visibility. 

Drivers mirror

Passengers mirror

further, tyrone actually thinks the housings themselves are NOT mirror images (pun intended) of each other, due to the amount of swivelling on each side. 

230p sun.

episode 17: booted the red for the clear in the rear... 
since this mini-series (the summary part of it) is being broadcasted simultaneously on 2 channels (b'fest forum is the other), the doc chimed in on the other side about the side view mirrors...

Originally Posted by tyrone 
Actually it was M5Boy who first noticed that, but that's how they're supposed to be. The mirror opposite the driver is supposed to be angled more inward. It's just backward in your case due to the RHD parts 

so on to today's installment of..."as the wheel turns, and as the cash burns" hiha 

Originally Posted by the jack review 
1. mod - Euro Clear Tail Light lenses
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - 63-21-6-902-531/2 
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) - $107 per side + tax
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)

5. review/complaints - i did not know this was available. it was this pic that started it all...see what google can do to your money?

it doesnt help that tyrone confirms the existence of this part. on 3/13, i was given the good news this showed up. 

the bad news is it was the ONLY side that came. its partner doesnt show up for another 2 weeks. 


halfway done ...


this is another visually striking, but subtle mod to the outside. most of the bmw sport packaged vehicles have clear lenses for the sedans, and even the x5, but NOT for the wagons - as our old e46 325it did not. 

compared to the regular usa clear lenses, this one shows the reflector a bit more - almost a brighter look than the more white looking sport package lenses.

the other difference is the blinking, although it is the case for the e39 tourings - the signal marker does NOT blink separately from the brake light. there's a guy who's pretty close to figuring out how to separate the blinking. 

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - YES!!!
7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - really another good bang for the buck mod.
8. would i do it again? - in a heartbeat!
9. overall rating: -     


dont know if you guys picked up on the pics, but i realized the whole uproar over the 'egg yolk' issue. because the lenses were SO transparent, the 'clearness' is pretty much drowned and overpowered by the egg yolk. nothing that throwing a few bucks cant fix. 

625p :byebye:

episode ummm, well.... 
b4 we tend to our un-episode, a few comments from the mail bag....

Originally Posted by Richard in NC 
Was this mod "The Guiding Light"?

i was saving that for the hellas.... (actually, i dont know much about soaps. richard???? hiha is THAT what you do when you're not on the boards?)

Originally Posted by ketchup 
hahaha you have right-hand-drive mirrors?! did you get a discount for that jack?!
I want the aspheric mirrors/auto dimming but I haven't got the funds for it 

Oh how I envy thee..

well, ketchup, as a matter of fact i did. i believe i got about 30% off. you think i might have gotten the lhd version if i paid full price??? 

you gave me an idea - i shld reserve one episode to everything that went WRONG!!! hiha 

ok everyone, i'm signing off for the next full week. gone to new york, my baby is going off to college...

i **might** be able to leave you guys with 1 short video...maybe later tonight or tomorrow if i get to do it. gruesome. that's all i'll say for now.

so please read other more worthwhile and educational posts while i'm off the air. :flag: or...

you might decide to go back to post #1, read about 90 posts a day, and you'll be about ready for a new one 7 days later!!! haven't you heard of syndicated re-runs??? :hihi: 


and yes- the werewagon is off to the secret lab of doc tyrone for the finishing touches. 

kidding aside, bec of the time change, if i'm up at 6am and no one to talk to, i may very well throw in an episode or 2.


730p addendum to the ///m5 side view mirror info: i FORGOT to put the total out the door with tax for the whole setup = $1963. 


i felt like i could give alfred hitchcock a run for his money. after all, i've brought you 9 seconds of pure aural terror in "The SQUEAL," and **almost** premiered my next horror thriller, "The SHIMMY of SHAME!"  (i made the mistake of recording it on high res, so 20 seconds of footage ended up being 51 mb!) once resized, i'll post it. it is rated R, for non-stop scenes that could induce nausea. not recommended for folks with bad eyesight.

some other miscellaneous comments since i've had the type 2s back on:
1. seriously, i'm hoping a rebalance next week can fix this malady. beginning to worry just a bit.
2. regarding the road noise: with the bbs rc (or more accurately, the mich ps2) i CAN hear the exhaust. now, even at wot, i do NOT hear the exhaust. in fact, to drown the road noise, i do have to turn the volume up, i mean UP!. hey - wait - it's not the acs' fault - it's the so3s!!!
3. aside from the shimmy, it likes to pull to the right a bit. again, note that NONE of these were happening with the bbs rc/ps2.
4. although none of this was happening either b4 i swapped them out the last time.
5. only thing i could blame it on (in ignorance) is the last guy who managed to slam the type 2s on the pavement... 

episode 18: jovial over the oval 
Originally Posted by Richard in NC 
several things:
I don't watch soaps but I know plenty that do. I'm sure there are plenty of plays on words of their titles if I thought about it. (i'll let you slide on that one. hiha )

Do your acs wheels need shims? They may not be mounted properly on the hubs and cause the shimmy. (they're hubcentric - each comes and needs a little aqua-coloredplastic - YES - PLASTIC piece.) If not, the wheels themselves could be on the hubs off center but thats unlikely. I would have them balanced and re-mounted on their nickel since it didn't do it before. (they're getting a call when i get home..)

Finally, it's your duty to post while in NY. We hate reruns, especially real TV reruns since we won't have this entertainment. Simply take your laptop, find a coffee house with WiFi,(well...dont even need that, as i have my wireless card with me all the time anywhere...) and use the excuse to fetch some coffee for all in the mornings.

here's my great discovery...

we had to drop off our lovable 6th family member at a friend's house b4 leaving.

on the way, i could hear the cage jiggling hard. then my memory got juggled. i remembered having to have the rears rebalanced within the 1st week of having the acs on it - and thr FRONT shimmy disappeared! the fronts were checked back then , and were balanced, so that was perplexing. i hope that works.

anyways, sitting in the first cab, all i could see was the rear view why not talk about the....

sorry - have to leave for a long ride to fire island to see some friends. promise - will post the review!

Originally Posted by the jack review 
1. mod - M5 Oval Rear View Mirror 
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - 51-16-7-892-263 
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) -$394 plus tax
(watching tyrone pop the old one out and plop this one in made me think (only for a second) that everything was a piece of cake.) 
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)


5. review/complaints - iirc, this was the second mod done by tyrone, mar 5. this also falls in to a category of mods i'd group under the heading "bad habits acquired from 48k miles of driving an e46 m3." part of this undertaking was not simply to achieve a nice amt of performance, but to also replicate an ///m driving cabin experience. 

i will say that i did marvel - the more i saw him take and swap out other parts) that such a tightly-engineered car could have so many pop-off parts!!!

this part i like a lot. nothing like viewing what's behind me from an oval-shaped mirror. it's subtle- often missed by pple who've sat in my car and looked around for mods. 

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - yes! visually, it is a stunning piece of german engineering, and one of those touches that complete the ///m package.
7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - yes, is a bit pricey. so what's new???  especially when all it does is hang there and look pretty. (wait - doesnt THAT describe everything our wives buy???)
8. would i do it again? - yes.
9. overall rating: -    

finally, here's a parting shot of our 'patient' before going into icu. 

1025a, from the long island railroad ride!!!

episode 19: felt the PAIN, on the TRAIN, when it started to RAIN!!! 
well, yesterday we took an hr plus train ride from the penn station to the babylon station. once we stepped out, my wife (who is the consummate vacation planner), realized we forgot the 2 umbrellas packed into our suit cases. we jumped in the cab, then on to the fire island ferry. halfway through, the pitter-patter rain turned into a full-blown pounding. THAT inspired today's episode.

it's 11a here- wife and eldest daughter out destroying me at h&m and other such places. 2 little ones sleeping beside me. enough time to whip something quickly.

Originally Posted by the jack review 
1. mod - BMW Mini-Umbrella and Case
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - 51-47-0-306-529
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) - $48 + tax 
(the labor part was interesting. part of the instructions included a template. here's a pic of what came in it. note the holes on the umbrella holder.


the holder is basically screwed into the side of the leg compartment area of the passenger side. there are 2 little holes. now think of that for a second. the way it's done is the holder is aligned against the 'wall' where you want to position it, the template is inserted into it. the holder is pliable enough to allow the screwdriver to bend the opening to screw in the first bolt. NOW how about the second one about 6-7 inches INSIDE the holder???

iirc, tyrone had to use a really skinny screwdriver to poke through the mesh to get to the bolt to screw it in...)
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)
this is proof that it IS oem!

here are the parts...


up close...

5. review/complaints - again, another item i saw on another european individual i really need another umbrella? no.. but i dont have one that looks this nice, and isnt sloshing around the car.

sadly...() i have NOT even popped the thing open, for fear of not being able to re-fold it in its original way. what's new - my mean looking 4.4 x5 will probably NEVER see dirt!!! ouich 

i will promise to take a shot of it opened up. hopefully it's not too cute to only cover half my head!

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - i guess so - 
7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - not bad for the money. 

8. would i do it again? - perhaps...
9. overall rating: -     

1140a the shoppers are back, and we're off to payard!
(speaking of food, forgot to mention the unbelievable dinner we had 2 nights ago...the clue is: it hasthese 2 bluish green doors that do NOT open, but rather the side glass doors that do. :lightbulb: )


episode 20: the doctor and his emergency!!! 
sunday night in new york...just enjoyed some very good desserts from room service. checking my e-mail - i can't believe the adventure tyrone's been through. so before all that...checking the 'mailroom'...

Originally Posted by Richard in NC 
I think that is the same BMW umbrella I was given as a present. I didn't get the holder. The umbrella works well and covers well. It's been the most reliable folding umbrella I've owned. BMW engineering without the BMW electronics. 

i just have to see if it TOO is made in china, as my 7 yo daughter seems to think everything is now manufactured nowhere else. 

Originally Posted by palantirion 
When did you add the umbrella? We added that to our 540iT some months back. Chris did our install. Did Tyrone do yours?

Originally Posted by tyrone 
Yup, that was one of the first things I did, right after the ///M door moldings I believe. 

And Jack, the pre existing holes were suitable enough to get a screwdriver through, so the mesh didn't need to be pierced.

that went in the first day of mods, mar 05, 2006.

now to the gripping tale at hand (with a few updates interspersed by the doc himself on the aps.) (aps=attending physician's statement!)

(i'll be in blue)

Originally Posted by tyrone 
Sun, 27 Aug 2006 17:10:26 -0700 (PDT) 
Hi Jack,

I hope your trip is going well. I have been taking pictures, but didn't have
time for the interim updates, so you'll get those all at once later. I hit
another snag with that stupid blue wire, so I need to go to the electronics
store tomorrow to pick some up. First it was mislabeled and now there just
wasn't enough on the spool! I thought 25ft was enough. Oh well.
(:1zhelp: out of 5 on the 'help' scale.)

The front bumper is done, (alright - the t-bar IS gone. you'll have to just use your imagination for everything now.)

and the oily shade has been replaced, (awesome!)

as well as the temporary screws for the hooks. (when i got my rear shades, the doc had to make do with some other screw. frankly - i've never even looked at it, and don't remember. but you all know nothing but THE correct part, even for something small and unseen, is good enuf for the doc.)

(the following comment lets another cat out of the bag, so to speak. so consider it my little present for all you faithful fans while i'm slacking off in new york. )
One bit of good news is that the sharkfin antenna fits right over the old one when the top part is unscrewed, so we do not need to completely remove it and compromise that seal or use any glue. There is a slight difference in contour between your roof and the sharkfin, so I will see if there is any way to "bend" that evenly so the adhesive is less visible in that part.

(and now, on to our episode of terror!!!)
Also, one unfortunate thing happened on Friday. I heard a strange pop while
driving on Lambert after picking up your car. Everything felt fine so I
thought it was something that shifted in the back. Then as I got on the
freeway the trusty tire pressure warning came on and I pulled over to a gas
station. Right front was flat! I tried filling it with air, but it was
hardly doing any good, so I limped to another station in Fullerton with a
service center that could hopefully repair the tire. The guy starts taking
the wheel off and then I noticed a ~4" section of the sidewall had
separated. I must say you have the worst luck when it comes to wheels/tires!
This is a notorious problem on the SO3s, and the same thing happened to
mine--same wheel even. So fixing it was not an option (may want to order
another one now--245/35/19). He asks if there's a spare and I said I don't
think so. Keep in mind this whole time I did not even know you had a spare,
or I would have put that on myself. For some reason I assumed you didn't
because I knew you had the M-Mobility kit, and I asssociate that with "no
spare" in my head. Anyway, after checking, sure enough there's the spare and
he puts it on and puts everything away nicely. I gave the guy a 20 and went
on my way.

Now, this is the interesting thing..with the ACS on the left front and the
RC on the right front, the shimmy was gone. I only got a brief glance, but
the inner tire wear looked strange on your ACS, so maybe that was a source
of the shimmy. Perhaps there is something wrong with that tire or wheel in

Despite this sidewall separation issue, the SO3 are good tires. It was the
same one that went on my car and I didn't even notice it driving until after
a while. They keep their composure very well. I guess you really got your
money's worth out of that tire pressure monitor :-)


:ooohhh: what can i say???

so i wrote him back with a few comments. stay tuned.

Originally Posted by jack in new york 

wow! exciting events for you - glad YOU are fine. the car's always replaceable. hmmm - curious if you saved the culprit tire by any chance. here's my elementary guess- i know that ever since the dinan susp went in - the front tires have a different squat - is camber the right word? it basically makes the tire's inner side sit closer/lower to the ground than the outside sidewall. wat do you think? or do you think it could've been a balancing issue?

speaking of a new tire - just my luck. i DO have a spare front so3 tire- last time i had a flat in the m3the front right tire was thrashed!!! so i replaced both and kept the good left. awesome! never thought some good would come of it.

would you mind taking a look at the other front to make sure nothing is wearing out strangely or prematurely?

thanks again. 

as for our trip, it's going great, been wet the last few days, and we just dropped off ashley today at her dorm. 

see you soon.

there you have it folks. who said it was EVER going to be boring and uneventful???

915p sunday. later! 

episode 20: the gory details  
well, hello again to everyone. got back to socal 1 am 8/30. came down with cardiac condition - hole in my heart - shaped like my daughter.  for you dads that have done it - it's hard to forget that last snapshot - it was about 430p in new york, on 23rd st, dark grey clouds overhead just beginning to sprinkle again on the already damp streets, as i let my daughter free from my arms to get back in the cab, i leave her standing in the misting rain, as she pulls out her little umbrella from her purse, and before i know it, the taxi driver steps on the gas as only a new york cabbie can.

if i have to describe myself at this point, as much as i miss her, i am not sad at all, but very happy for her. (it helps tremendously that i've worked form home all her life - and have spent a ton of both quantity and quality time with her.) 

and the wheels roll on...well, stopped temporarily. just wanted to fill in the juicy and controversial pics from the doc's little mishap.

among the first things i checked when we got back from the airport was exactly what spare tire i had...

i was right. my failing memory did not fail me this time. looking at the culprit, sitting serenely in the spare tire well...looked pretty peaceful. 

by 850a, i was already at america's tire to fix the little problem. 

it was also the first chance i got to survey the damage...

a closer look at the hideous 4 in gash...

now here's a picture to show the tread wear on the inner side of the front passenger side tire...

among other things, the guys at the tire shop surmised that it had to do with the more aggressive camber that i had. we checked the other front tire, and here's how it looks...

the driver's side looks fine.

good news is the shimmy is absolutely gone.

bad news is the guys broke something else...

here's the mgr who was at least nice enough to get a new one for me. let'se see how that one goes...


the highlight of the day was a few guys had gotten together to drag me out for a little birthday dinner. i was very humbled - and we had a blast at the brea cheesecake factory. in lieu of posting who showed up, i thought a pic of the little gathering would be more interesting!

all that because i happen to own a bimmer that i was nuts enough to turn into a project, and in the process run into a bunch of the nicest folk around. really, really floored (not the gas pedal). so to all who showed up, and the ones who didnt, just a very big THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. lovelove your camaraderie and friendship is worth heck of a lot more than any mod or car we can ever have. :1:

episode 21: probably the BEST*** mod... 
Originally Posted by kevm5 
I beleive OZ is the manufacture

good try, kevm5, but not oz. here's the answer - never knew it until i flipped it around..,


what did you all have in mind with THAT episode title???

Originally Posted by the jack review 
1. mod - M5 Tire Pressure Monitor 
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - 61-31-8-375-413 
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) -$17 + tax
(i believe the labor part of this was a bit involved. it was one of the few that i never got to witness)
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)

5. review/complaints - actually, this did not start off on the right foot. back in the birch anthracite episode...rem this pic??

because of the wrong (reversed rh drive wood parts) the hole for the tire pressure monitor switch ended up on the left side of the steering column. i did not have a problem with it - in fact i told tyrone to just etch a bigger recess into the foam to do it. well, he said 'no.'

it wouldnt be til 4/24 when it's finally installed.

btw, i also had to be eductaed as to how this thing worked. i thought it actually had a way of measuring the actual air pressure in the tire, since the part was a 'tire pressure monitor.' thinking it through, the word 'monitor' shld have told me. it's like inspection II- for a thousand bucks, the lovely and concerned dealer will change your oil, and basically perform a zillion other 'inspections' and 'check fors'. it turns out that it really observes any changes in the number of rotations of the tires. either way, it does work.

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - from a visual standpoint, it really isnt anything dramatic. but again, it is a very subtle part of the ///m package - as only ///m cars had that little doodad.

from a functional point of view, for $17, it has saved my life (and tyrone's) at least 7-8 times by now. a mod that increases comfort or power or bling is great, but nothing like something that saves time, aggravation, and prevents what could have been serious mishaps, especially when running 19s. while its now familiar chime and subsequent bright orange greeting on the obd: 'tire failure.' ouich are not initially welcome, it is very much appreciated. like the doctors say, pain is a sign that alerts you that something is wrong.

that's why i award the tire pressure monitor one of the TOP honors as far as my mods go. 

7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - are you kidding? $17 bucks!!!
8. would i do it again? - absolutely.
9. overall rating: -     

11p fri

episode 22: inspired when i perspired.... 
Originally Posted by Tyrone 
Jack, you are forgetting the main component 

61-35-2-695-675 CON UNIT DWS 

So in total it's more like $300, but still well worth it!

well, so much for THAT cheap mod. thanks, tyrone. and definitely still worth all $300 of it. believe it or not, i did have a pic of it. but i'm hoping some of you will agree it looks NOTHING like it's a part of it, not to mention the MAIN part!


it was only a cool 106 degrees in socal today, prompting the next item to be reviewed...

Originally Posted by the jack review 
1. mod - Rear Door Sunshades, Ashtray Delete 
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - (missing receipt.) so in lieu of a whole bunch of numbers, how about a group shot?

3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) -$1914 + labor

4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)
now you don't see it...

now you do!

tyrone did ask me if i wanted to ditch the ashtray - since it has basically degenerated to an oem bubblegum and trash holder for the kids...


more shots at...

5. review/complaints - this project started with a few minor hiccups. some missing little brackets/parts - little plastic bolts that held the part that holds the sunshade up. minor stuff. except for this...

it was a big ugly grease/oily spot on the shade itself of the rear driver side door. it was put in on jul 11, and while we were in new york tyrone got the replacement roller, so now...

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - it was on a really hot day when it was decided that i was going to do this. it was NOT part of the original BIG list of goodies ordered from crevier. i see my girls in the back - and THAT was worth it, their skin a darker shade of grey instead of looking like orange chicken under the heat lamp. what i did try out was sit in our x5 that has it, and then my car which did not have it then. before i knew it i was emailing tyrone to go place the order.

then there was that 5% of insanity in me that thought about this as the LAST significant oem option that i dont have. (along the lines of doing the bbk in the rear kind of 'worth it.' although admittedly the rear sunshade probably does more than the rear bbk.) 

further, it does look good. 

i've elected to do dumber things (you'll see). so in light of both sensible and insane motivations, this mod earns a 4 out of 5.

7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - this is where all vestige of sensibility gets run over. as an option, it was but a measly...i can't even bring myself to post it. anyone care to guess??? i'll save face by posting the answer in the next episode.  here's a hint. 1 out of 5! if i had a bird brain, it'd be smaller than a hummingbird's at this point!

8. would i do it again? - in 106 degree weather on a long trip or sitting in traffic for 2 hrs with my daughters in the back, absolutely. despite the high dummy factor, i'd say i'll still do it.
9. overall rating: - how about a 3.9??

episode 23: grilled by the grille 
 well hello everyone! for 1 sec even i thought i had quit. on top of real work, my daughter in new york has been on yahoo msgr with me. 2 hrs last night. i've never appreciated webcams and ym like the last week! 

on with the show!! this next mod was probably one of the very 1st ones i wanted to do cosmetically on the outside. in fact, if i only could do 2, the m5 mirrors would be tops, and this would be it. recently completed while we were in ny.

Originally Posted by the jack review 
1. mod - M5 Front Grille Grid 
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - 51-11-2-496-285 
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) -$45
accdg to tyrone, it isnt that hard, except the WHOLE front bumper has to come off, and it's not simple if done by 1 person.
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3) technically, here's the piece.

or a much more technical looking pic of the parts removed and new one going in (courtesy of the surgeon)

5. review/complaints - i just realized the original post of this thing has lost every pic. this was one of those mods that i agonized over. had quite a few possibilities. even had a poll on another board.

1. stock, m-technic bumper had the t-bar.

2. my lame idea -cajun t-bar (blackened with tape)

3. another variation: just the little bottom part in black, exposing the middle bar.

4. and finally, after changing my mind a million's in.

4a. a shot to expose the mesh detail a bit...

some trivial details...
as had been pointed out to me, if i go with the (m5 mesh) the area where the brake ducts are are blocked...note blackened left & right panels. 

so....thanks to this

and hrs of manual labor, here's what i did:

the circular holes came like that, only on one side though.

holes were drilled with ***189; inch bit. THAT was the easy part. The painful part was using the files to file it down to the edges 

throbbing thumb and big mess later, 

more trivia...

this is one of 3 responses from the big guy himself, mr, gustav!!
Originally Posted by gustav 
Without t-bar is my vote! t-bar was never on any M5 and in Europe it was on regular 5-series on sport package.

post #158!!

have to say it makes big difference, for me, comparing the progression of the 4 pics. 

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - absolutely.

7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - not bad at all for the money.
8. would i do it again? - YES!!!!!
9. overall rating: - got a winner here, a perfect 5. well, except for my sore thumbs. 

good night!
ps...TODAY, sep 6, marks a milestone. it is now 60 days since my rebate request was logged at dinan. robin reminded me that ill-fated day that it would be 6-8 weeks. i left a msg with jeff lutjens this pm. i think i know what that rebate can's good for at least 5 visits to my little princess in new york, airfare and semi-cheesy hotel included!!!

an un-episode of updates...and a tale of two companies 
mailbag first...
Originally Posted by touring dude 
Damn - that's the worst picture of myself I have ever seen......I knew it was going to be bad when you snapped it!.......Oh Well.

Jack you going to Scarantino's on Sat night??? See:

And - Did I hear something about a Napa Valley run at your party? Mentioning Napa was enough to get my wife interested in a BMW run!


1.  sorry for the pic. 
2. nope - one of these saturdays, perhaps? normally out with 4 girls somewhere. oops, down to 3. 

3. the napa valley run....this was actually thaichi808's idea. he went to high sch there, and thought of just blasting up there for a weekend. i spoke with him today - and since i wont be here next weekend, asked him if he might do it the weekend of 9/22-9/24. he was definitely open to it. while i cant say i'm a 100% at this point, i'm definitely very close to a 90% possibility. (which means i may have to switch to my 18s for some long distance driving...) no real agenda, just a laidback long distance cruise of sorts...

speaking of napa, in this month's bmw magazine, it features culinary demigod thomas keller himself, of french laundry fame. (**if** we can snag a reservation, it will be a delicious way to digest some wads of money quickly - well, over a 4 hr period of delicious degustation!!!)

here's a scan of it...

mainly, i was inspired by him keeping his gorgeous 30 yr old car, restored recently. i know that my touring is certainly one car i wouldnt mind maintaining and still driving decades from now!

today was a very interesting day. it has to be for me to come in from work this late and stay up to post this!!!

company #1: dinan...

september 6, 2006...marks the 60th day since my dinan rebate was officially, (at least by robin jacques' message on july 6), logged on to the dinan system. i left a message yesterday with jeff lutjens,who apparently forwarded it to robin, who answers the dinan trunkline, among other duties.

i received a phone call from her about 9 am, without any specifics. i call back, and am told:

Originally Posted by [email protected] 
sorry to tell you, but we do NOT have, or can NOT find your paperwork in our system.

honestly, grrrrrrr. in my most subdued tone, i told her she has 1 week to get me the check, or the ftc and bbb get a complaint from me. i think i've been pretty patient, and i also said i've never spent over $30k with any business to get treated like i've been the last 5 months. she puts me on hold, and asks if i can re-fax or email my paperwork. 


by about 1230p, i get another call. i'm having lunch so the message is left on voicemail. it is jan, steve's wife.

Originally Posted by [email protected] 
i've been talking to robin-sorry, we've had over 1000 submissions, processing them all myself, as this is the first time we've done this. it's been a challenge for me, working off a spreadhseet, as i have to physically cut each check, enter the info, matching it to each receipt pulled up individually. 

i handed a folder to robin, and there on top of the pile was your pprwork. it was my fault i didn't put in to spreadhseet. i'm really sorry for confusion, as even though we have misplaced a couple, yours being one of them, we have not lost any rebate submission. we've never done rebates b4. i've been cutting checks almost 2-3-4 hrs a day, so for now i cut them every saturday. yours will be cut by next week. 

i hope you're at least enjoying your 'dinanized' car. please call me back personally. i know robin has shielded me from calls, but i feel i had to address you personally and directly.

well, i did call her. she mentioned she had probably spoken to no less than 50-60 pple at this yr's bimmerfest, and when she saw my name, she actually remembered speaking with me, putting together my car's details, along with the letter i had sent to steve. she actually knew exactly who i was.

bottom line: while i was initially really ticked, i did tell a friend that i promised to just smile the whole thing off. in the bigger scheme of things, this is really trivial. as brian (redshift) has posted about his positive dinan experience, i have to concur, despite the issues. for her to handle the problem directly, and take responsibility as she did, has certainly earned my respect. :M5thumbs: :applause: thanks a lot, jan. dinan's reputation owes you a big one on this.


the second incident has been dragging on. i've been busy, out of town, and wishing it would go away, and partly in denial. well, i finally had it and emailed chris at bms about the stoptechs.

yes, the 'squeal sequel' is here.

on a scale of 1-10, the first time around was an 11. right now, it is about a 3 or 4. my wife drove my car today, and my daughter remarked how she could hear her squealing as she drove into the school lot to pick them up.

the 3-4 is irritating, especially the fact that it does it every 2-3 braking applications. 

chris suggests i leave a msg for matt weiss at stoptech, and steve ruiz. left a msg for steve.

Originally Posted by jack 
...(all the above about the brakes...)
i think i've been really patient. i've about had it. i have a few options i'd like you to consider. 
1. take the rears back and replace whatever needs to be so i have the 4 piston setup all around, as my fronts dont squeal. (bear in mind, i find out later that just bec it doesnt squeal up front doesnt mean it wont behind, as the use of the rear rotors, since it is sized disproportionately bigger more for looks than it is function still presents significant cooling/heating and hence potential squeal issues)
2. take the rears back and gimme my money. i dont want to be anyone's guinea pig (in the sense of not knowing what the next step would be in resolving a problem.)

(fyi, even when i'm really mad, i'm still smiling and my tone is pleasant. i enjoy venting humorously, as most of you shld know by now from the whole squealing incident.)

after i listened to jan's message, the phone rings, and lo and behold, it's steve.

Originally Posted by [email protected] 
got your message, and i can absolutely understand. (he proceeded to explain a whole bunch of stuff that sounded very sensible that my feeble mind promptly forgot...)

jack, we will do whatever it takes to resolve it. but first, let me try this - next step is to go with some oem pads with close to zero sound, but perhaps giving up a bit on the bite, which shld be fine for regular driving. you can keep the set currently on it, if you ever feel the need to swap it out.

additionally, i will also ship out new rear rotors, just to make sure we eliminate any other variables. we'll use yours for testing.

i want you to keep me posted - whether it makes any sound a day later, or a month later. i want your feedback.

if it comes down to it, (hopefully not) - i will take the rears and refund your money.

i certainly appreciate the guys at bms absorbing the time and aggravation to do this, through no fault of theirs. i need some brake work done on my car anyways, so i will have them do mine, just so i can pay them in some way.

:applause: :M5thumbs: thanks a lot steve. i'm willing to see how we can resolve this. 
dont get me wrong - certainly both issues are still open and unresolved. but the way things were handled by both companies speaks volumes. and as hard as i bring unpleasant matters to the fore, i am also the biggest cheerleader of a full on honest and effective response to the issues at hand. 

so for you reading this, inspite and despite the numerous difficulties so far, both dinan and stoptech have once again proven their first-rate service, beyond the products.

110a. :snore000:

episode 24: flustered by the cluster... 
b'fest buddies...

if you all dont mind, i thought i'd take some time today to just unwind from an extremely busy work week, and another insane one coming up. what that means is THIS episode will be long, as in LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG.

there's only a 1 mod review as b4, but there are some loose ends from previous ones i need to post, and some 'bonus footage' of more trivial and useless bits of information to brighten up your weekend! so sit back, relax, stick your smelly feet on your coffee table!

from the b'fest board...
Originally Posted by ken21 
jack....any epsiode for the m5 cluster ?? the pics on the m5board is dead

well ken, looks like THIS is your lucky day. 

Originally Posted by m5q8 
You replace the M5 diff ?
how ??? I have one and i want to put it at my 540 did it do things ??

my car came with a 3.15 diff, and it was replaced with a dinan 3.45 ltd slip diff that came with that finned end cap looking thing. review soon.

first off, how about a new 'mod'???

in general, i'm not a fan of stickers, emblems, doodads on the car. hence, it is debadged (540i), will not be dinan-badged, obviously un-///m'd on the rear deck lid. i only make very rare exceptions, such as my license plate holder which states my religious convictions that i hold dear, and this...

just a little reminder of where a piece of my heart is right now. 


the grille episode update...

the 540 came with brake ducts, and tyrone ended up doing something so it all lined up. in fact i do remember what is normally done is either get the grille with the aluminum/silver inserts, or plastic tie wrap. this is how it looks. once again, an awesome job on something i was completely clueless on.

and a clear close up of what's in there through the holes...


the umbrella episode update...

i finally broke down today and decided to open it up. i was afraid not being able to put it back nicely.

b4 the disturbance...

here it is...

the other side, complete with instructions tucked in.

the idiot's guide to bmw umbrellas

the fastening strap unbuttoned...

i didnt realize it was an automatic one!

one press, and it just opens up. motion shot!

fully opened.

here's the BEST part. (incidentally, i lost my umbrella in new york. i loved it because it was not only a one-push to open umbrella, it was also a one-button press to close it..) press the button again and it closes!!!

press down the top to shorten it...

and thanks to a lifelong addiction to origami, the flaps and folds are all crisply tucked in, as though it had never been opened...(and no, it's not just a repost of the shot b4 i opened it.)

a true testament to german engineering, down to their mini umbrella...


got 2 featurettes for you all.

first one is a detour to a little collection of my most prized (and worthless) brochures. this diversion happened thanks to someone's request to want to see a 2003 sport wagon brochure, which is in rather short supply.

1. the 2003 m brochure. this is part of my keepsake (!) from my mementos of my former car, an 02 e46 m3. 

the other reason i have it is because this was the last year a certain car was made. from the looks of it, i'll probably never get to buy one, not because of financial reasons, but bec of space, and...(later). it's one of my all-time favorite cars.

2. again, from owning the m3 are 2 more special publications, one was a promo piece, and the other a seldom-seen smg brochure that my sales guy was kind enuf and resourceful enuf to get for me. (that would be dave fritsch, fleet guy at shelly bmw - a class act!!)

3. and then there are the sport wagon brochures, which i happen to have both 02 and 03. the 02 i got back in, well 02, since for about the same money, around 65k, it was either a loaded 540it, or a loaded m3. went for the m3 at that time. when i bought the 03 540it this jan, i just had to see if i could still get one. calling bmwna, i was told they normally pretty much dispose of older ones. somehow, one resourceful young lady decided to go dig somewhere, called me back the next day, and happily announced she was about to send me what could be the last one in existence. so there it is!!!

4. finally, my other favorite. again, i believe it was dave at shelly who fished this one out of thin air for me. the z8 is the reason i wont get an m coupe.  i remembered even getting ready to go into a bidding war on ebay for one of the z8 owner's books - i think it started at $300...and next thing i know it was withdrawn, and havent seen one since. so this is the closest thing.

got **my** alpina picked silver (too bad no alpine white)

and in this interior, please.

for further details...

the second short feature is a collage of 'what was wrong with the car when i got it.' i understand i bought a used car. i'm just nitpicking. buying a used car with faults and all is like choosing a wife. you have to love them as they are. (compared to my wife, i'm the one with more of the pockmarks and dings by far. )

1. the driver side rear taillight had a crack, although it is SO hard to see it. in this pic, it is in the lower right quarter area of the taillight. (oekundar, this is for you.)

closeups of the cracks..

and of course, the matching dent on the body. accdg to the owner, he wasnt even aware of it. my guess is the garage door probably got it some tmie in the past. 


and from a little distance...can barely even see it.

2. the piece that used to be here had a nice hole...(cant find the b4 pic...) it's the plastic part under the front bumper on the passenger side. now this new piece is already scratched too. 

3. the next is a sublesson in astronomy - craters, but not on the moon. 2 of these deep ones...

and 2 of these shallower ones...

they're actually the front plate holder bumper holes....they dont quite that bad from a few steps away...

4. more astronomy. how about some asteroid collisions? this one is on the top left kidney...

this is below the left kidney - big hit.

the perspective shot - really only see it washing the car.

5. i think a bear did these...a swipe from the claws...

and a bite from the same bear.

stepping back...

this was probably from an encounter with the poles that are sometimes in garages...

6. the right side of the rear trunk window - the grommet was loose (actually broken) which my dealer kindly replaced free of charge. , didnt realize there was belly-button fuzz-like stuff in it.  

7. some minor yellowish stains behind the front seats in the carpet area by the rear seat footwells. hopefully i can easily clean them.

8. now the dermatological challenges. is this the average hollywood has-been's facial crevices magnified??? i wonder if my wife will share a few little dollops of her 'la mer' with me....THAT product costs an arm and a leg and does do wonders.

the cracks or creases in the leather on both the front seats seem to be a bit more than what i've seen. yet the car has been really well-taken cared of by the old owner. obviously these close up shots make them look a lot worse, as compared to what they normally look from a distance.

9. the car came missing one of these. easy fix at the crevier parts dept.

10. a few little scratches on the fender just above the front passenger wheel. now you see it...

now you kinda dont.

11. a scuff over here by the driver side rear bumper...

that's not too obvious.

having pointed all that out, would i have still bought it? or am i still just as pleased with it? absolutely. those of us who are happily married know that one secret of true love is to learn to overlook your mate's imperfections!

and now, finally, to the business at hand. this episode is dedicated to ken21. 

Originally Posted by the jack review 
1. mod - M5 Instrument Cluster 
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - 62-11-7-835-694
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) -$690 + tax, labor (doc) and dealer coding (1 hr= $92 discounted. thanks savage bmw.)
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)
the m5 cluster still in its factory plastic bag..

5. review/complaints - this was part of the first batch of stuff that came. this was also the first mod i spent money on that would probably fall in the 'i cant believe i just spent ???? for this!' category. it really started innocently with me wanting the titanium surrounds on the different dials. well, doing this did get me those titanium surrounds!!!  

so out came the old one.

the master at surgery.

and this is what the inside looks like!

the m5 cluster is in! looks awesome even though....

it does NOT work!

tyrone did warn me - while it was not a hard thing to physically put in, there's a good chance it had to be coded by the dealer to work...fortunately, it was a piece of cake at the dealer (as compared to another coding incident which will be covered in the future.)

so why did i do this, seeing there was nothing wrong with the original one, and add to that the fact that even with the big discount (was 900!) there were NO hp gains???

may i blame my e46 m3? there is somehow nothing like the orange glow of an ///m instrument cluster!

just look at this! this is the lighted original cluster..

and THIS is the lighted ///m5 cluster.

a daytime shot of the unlit speedo...

and when it's lit.

on top of the utter lack of logic & sense in my choice to do this, i knew going in that:
1. the oil temp gauge will NOT work, as in the 540 it was the fuel economy (or lack of it) gauge;
2. the tach lights will work, but NOT correctly. they're just lit, and do not move to the revs as it does in the m5 (and m3)

here's a pic of the tach lights lit incorrectly and the oil temp absolutely off!

but what do i care???  

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - believe it or not, YES!!! everytime it gets dark, i am reminded of both my old m3, and the fact that this little wagon does have enough juice to wear that cluster, and was not simply a poseur's ornament. logically, it was a very important piece in bringing the interior up to an ///m cabin's standard. absolutely love it.

7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - absolutely NOT. on the performance gain scale it is at the ocean's bottom. on the aesthetic and satisfaction scale it is through the roof. but i have to honestly flunk it in terms of money spent.

it gets NO thumbs!!! (0 out of 5)

8. would i do it again? - hahahaha...YES!!!!!
9. overall rating: - to preserve some semblance of objectivity, i will only award it a 4 out of 5.      

phew. long enough?

episode 25: silvervisions on a silver vision. 
Originally Posted by oekundar 

THanks for the picture...and I can't believe or rather...I do believe the cluster cost $900, the lack of operation of several gauges would get me though...even though it looks sweet.

oekundar, i warned you it was an awesome mod with very little logical justification. :haha: 

Originally Posted by ken21 
thanks for the cluster info jack 

$690..... i need one from you lol

ken - that's because i was **dumb** enough to drop a decent order of over 50 part numbers in 1 shot. hmmm :byebye: to both common and financial sense.

had the opportunity to catch up with guys from both the m5board and b'fest last saturday. i absolutely loved drm64099's chiaretto, and gbogh3's full caramel interior. 

i think i was a bit off mentally that day - a few nights of working late does that to one over 40 - at least to me. alas, thinking back introspectively now, i was guilty of at least 4 senior moments (much apologies to you sharp seniors...)

1. i left gbogh my cel number, and proceed to leave the cel phone in the car, so i never get his call back. 

2. after dropping of earl (palantirion) and his wife, i just drive off. i literally left thaichi and roadwarrior (and God knows who else) waiting for me, as i had said i'd be back.
2a. not seeing anyone at the lot, i just left. granted i did not have phone numbers with me that day, i did have thaichi's all the time. 

3. earl wants to compare my ride to his full s2'd touring. i was meaning to just let HIM drive it so he can compare them, as he has a more astute sense of observation of subtle differences. i just enjoy driving the heck out of my car. well, i didnt. so remind me next time i see you, earl. 

the last one tops them all.

4. i was walking away from touring dude's touring (an individual japan red 525it 5 spd!) just checking out the progress on what he was doing. standing by gbogh, he says: "gee - is THAT the thread that wouldnt die???"

earl goes, "no - it's the silver one there." i thought THAT was funny, THEN about a half a second later, it hits me - **I** am the dodo with the thread that doesnt want to die. 

i wished i showed up a little earlier. hopefully the next early meet is on a saturday!!!

a big bunch of thanks to the guys at bms, and stoptech too. i had to once again visit the nursery (bms). while they jokingly say they dont want to see me anytime soon, i can appreciate that, as it costs them everytime i show up for them to fix a problem on their time and dime. 

got there about 3p.

a familiar face in the driver's seat....

a quick inspection of the stuff that came in..

the brake pads..

they're oem pads, whic accdg to chris are thsame as the nissan 350z rears.

the rotors...which curiously came with a splash of black paint of some sort...

once my rear rims came off, it was interesting to note that the rear rotors have not completely bedded. it's just the nature of the beast of having functionally oversized rear rotors that never seem to get enough action, especially with, depending who you ask, the front getting 70-80% of the load, and the rest to the rears.

another familiar sight...

after a few hot laps with 'the herm' - too bad i couldnt capture what i saw - the brakes were literally smoking!!!

if any of you remembered the front passenger tire blow up with tyrone, i had a chance to get herm's thoughts after letting him see it...

not camber, because too much of it, while it can be a problem, would cause a significantly different kind of wear. it was more probably due to under inflation.

bottom line was, the thing's gone. so i thought i'd take some shots of the inside edges of both front tires...

the front passenger looks good of course, as it just went in.

i was almost bracing myself for some questionable wearing on the front driver's side, but thank God it looked just fine!

so thanks - herm. as usual, a great job done. as i left, i told them i'd be back in a few weeks. i wasnt clairvoyant, but it's about 3 months - going to vegas this weekend with my wife, and shld be due for an oil change on our return.

and today's episode 

Originally Posted by the jack review 
1. mod - Rear Silvervisions 
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - n/a
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) -$28, easy???
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)
hmmm, can't find the pic of the bulbs! 
5. review/complaints - this is probably more the continuation of episode 17...

but for the summary in pics...

before (stock)

after - euro clears, with egg yolks

final - euro clears, with silver visions.

6. as a mod, was it worth it? - yes - since there was some color in the rear, from the red of the taillights, the orange actually conflicted with it, and with the euro clear lens being more transparent/translucent than the typical white lens (not clear) in the rear tail lights of usa sport pkg cars, the silver visions were a logical and aesthetic mod. 
5  out of 5!! 

7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - and cheap!  (bulbs thanks to evosport, and tyrone for picking them up for me. )
5  out of 5!

8. would i do it again? - when they burn out??? 
9. overall rating: - 5  out of 5!


as a little postcript, here are 2 pics i took recently at craig park, brea, right by a lake.


episode 26: emergency! first aid kit to the rescue! 
Originally Posted by Benedek 
Jack, can you please upload your (not all, but some best ones) full-size pics somewhere like flickr for example. They're just so beautiful that I want to have them for my desktop =)


thanks for your kind comment. definitely wouldnt mind doing that - i'll have some time that i'll be on a plabe for 6 hrs total and i can sort through my pics. i've been meaning to organize that for some time.

Originally Posted by palantirion 
"for i have learned in whatever state i am, to be content." 

...because my silver S3 wagon ROCKS!

hey earl, 

thanks for reminding me of my sig line on the b'fest board. truthfully, had i never goosed up this wagon, i was STILL contented. maybe just a bit more now. :M5thumbs: that's probably one Bible verse that has seen me through a lot of life's ups and downs... :1: i do my best to think of it esp when some goofy thing blows up, and just smile and squeal through my predicament. 

btw, the doc was around thursday doing more final touches. (sorry - no pics - havent uploaded the pics yet)

1. re-wiring the checkcorp massager wires that were exposed to be now under the carpet. i thought that was it, until he pointed out how he even integrated the wiring into the oem seat wire harness because there happened to be 2 unused terminals (or a place to plug some wire in - cant remember the right term.) i coulndt believe it. ridiculous shots will be part odf that episode.

2. more final wires for the rear warmers. still waiting for a few more teeny-weny parts from bmwna. 

3. i had complained about some strange sound emanating from the front speaker on the door area. after driving it around, he figured it out - my front driver side view mirror case is rattling, which shld be replaceable under warranty. :hihi: didnt get what tyrone was smiling about until he pointed it out, and explained how we can now order the CORRECT drivers side mirror housing!!!! we'll see how this goes!

i'm in vegas, so a really lame episode is in order. i found the easiest thing i could do!!! (i'll say the car drove and rode like a dream. it was simply awesome the few times i paddleshifted from 5th down to 3rd at about 80 mph, floor it, and hit triple digits upshifting in no time. :15: just a nice synergy of almost every dinan part slapped on the thing.)

Originally Posted by the jack review 
1. mod - emergency first aid kit
2. bmw part numbers (main ones) - tyrone knows. 
3. price and labor (if it's easily figured out ) - free for me, i've seen it for about $65?
4. the obligatory pic (or 2 or 3)
this is the kit in place, below the front passenger seat.

taken out

and the gory contents!!!

5. review/complaints - well, lucky me. the old owner had the car euro delivered, and so the kit was installed, and came with the car!
6. as a mod, was it worth it? - YES!!! nice to have.
7. from a money spent perspective, was it a good bang for the buck? - FREE!!!!
8. would i do it again? - YES!
9. overall rating: - it is a nice touch - not obvious, but a mod nonetheless.

till next week.

episode "the end" (long) 
as 'reprinted' from the mother thread on the m5board...

In the interest of some kind of closure, I will just wrap this adventure up with a **few** comments. It's not that I now have all the time in the world, but I just happen to have some time tonight. My dad's a bit better health-wise, but we'll just say he's putting us under a different sort of challenges at this point. Again, thanks for all your thoughtfulness and prayers during this difficult time for us.

To post again on this thread feels like a post-mortem, or a dog digging up some bone in the yard that's been buried for sometime. I'm sure a few folks will go 'good grief- I thought THAT thread finally died!!!' (by the way, just for the heck of it, I found it tucked around page 14 of the threads!!!)

Believe it or not, and to my own relief, there aren't too many mods left to review, although I've obviously saved some of the best ones for last, and will probably not do them justice. This post will be more philosophical than it will be pictorial, so advanced apologies. Fortunately, I probably have pics of just about everything somewhere in this thread. Of course, if there's any specific requests for pics of some sort, I will be happy to comply. In no particular order.

1. BBS RC, 18 x 8.5 all-around
Tire Rack, $442
Michelin Pilot Sport 2, 245/40/18 (incl. Spare)
Tire Rack, $248
Total: $3555 (with shipping)
(Thanks, Luke!)
- as my spares, it has been a love-hate relationship. Thank God I've never felt like this about my wife in the almost 20 years we've been married!!! 

the reasons i don't like them are really dumb. 
1. because i'm so used to the bigger 19s, they just look small when they're on the car. 
2. the beautiful brilliant 'silber' finish is a hair too bling for me, as i thought bbs brilliant silber meant the regular silver painted oem look. it's more of a brilliant aluminum color, much shinier than painted silver.
3. the rears are visually wimpier because my 19s are 9.5 in the rear.

however, i do realize i must have a set of 18s for sensibility's sake as far as spares. it would be absolutely stupid to have TWO sets of 19s. with my luck (since this is my daily driver) i could just pothole both sets and end up with mix and match or no wheels at all!!! 

visually, there might be just a handful of 18s i'd go for, but only because of aesthetics - as in the oem m5 rims, and even the acs type 2 in 18. (wouldnt that be something - have the type 2 in both 18 and 19??? Would've done it, except that the type 2 is a fortune, and not quite as light as the bbs rc.)

but as far as performance (as in weight) - i'd be hard-pressed to find anything better. 

2. SMG ///M-Stitched Steering Wheel with Black Trim 32-34-2-282-222 $485
(Mr. PaddleShift Adapter Kit) $380
-pound for pound, this is one really worthless (hp-wise) mod that is worth it's weight in gold as far as entertainment value is concerned. Although the dinan s/w for the tranny is such that the shifts are nowhere near what my smg was, it is truly fun to use everyday. (the catch is while the m3 would of course shift the moment the paddle was flicked, the slower-reacting auto tranny would lag by about 500-700 rpm before shifting, thus not really allowing redline shifting as I got accustomed to especially in spirited driving with the gas pedal all the way down.) For spirited driving it is great. For maximum speed delivery the car is better left in sport mode where the s/w does allow maxxed out redlin shifting. Love it- doubt I'll get tired of it.

3. Euro Clear Front Angel Eye Xenons (Hella) $941
-honestly, I catch myself asking, 'what was I thinking??' once in a while. Got it with the m5board group buy (thanks clem). The only positive was that I sold my old ones for $400. so not that bad. It does however make the car even more stealthy with just the amber egg yolks that I left on purpose.

4. DSP Sound System 
Wiring Harness 61-12-6-931-825 $428
Support Tape 51-47-8-136-450 $5
Subwoofer Box 65-13-8-362-176 $219
Amplifier 65-12-6-940-977 $893
Speaker Box 65-13-8-369-065/6 $93 each
Insulation 65-13-8-369-578 $7 

-This is probably the one retrofit I have taken the most flack for. While I occasionally question my wisdom in doing the euro angel eyes just to get the clear side lenses, I've never questioned my decision to do the dsp retrofit. I'll admit it'd be nice to have the bass thump a little bit more, but as this is the best the oem can manage, I'm very pleased with it. Additionally, the touring presents a different set of issues as far as aftermarket possibilities if one wants nothing in the trunk, so boxes (koalas) in the rear were not an option. Realistic estimates put numbers in the $8k and up to achieve what I wanted, so in the end I decided I'd rather blow that on the engine, than than my ears. 

5. BSW Rainbow Speakers (all) $430
-This was a great complement to the dsp upgrade, as it was a relatively easy install (for tyrone, of course.) very highly recommended, if that's all the audio upgrade one does.

6. 4-Stage Front Seat Massagers (Check Corp, Aftermarket)
$250 each, labor $900
-this was a great non-oem mod that was integrated tastefully by the bms guys, thanks to earl for allowing me to see what this was like in his touring. While the heaters are not as warm as the oem ones, the massagers by themselves were worth the price of admission. Oem heated seats  free.
Massagers (with unused heaters) - $1400
Heated seat, with a back massage from vegas and back  priceless.

(incidentally, in the original install, there were 2 wires hanging out discreetly from the seats. Tyrone, working on the seats, decided to tuck both wires under the carpet!!)

7. Rear Heated Seating for 3
8-Heat Element 64-11-1-388-595 $59
Heater Element 64-11-1-378-522 $59
Switch Heater Seat 61-31-1-387-917 $76
Seat Heating 64-11-7-005-823 $118 x2
-This is being completed by tyrone in the next few days. While no e39s ever came with oem rear seat heating, much less for all 3 spaces, this will be the closest thing. Per tyrone, short of the wires, every harness, switch, clip and hardware and heating element is a genuine bmw part. Cant wait (well, more like my girls cant wait) for this to be completed.

8. Silver-Painted Kidney Grille Inserts ($5 Hi-Temp Paint)
9. Debadged
10. Rubber Mats (Rear) 82-55-0-151-197 $24

8, 9 and 10 were the only things I could claim I did. Hahahahaha.

11. Shark Housing 84-50-0-153-131 $84
-well, as simple as I thought this was going to be, tyrone wasn't happy with the slight difference in the angle of curvature of the base of the shark fin and the roof line of the touring. Add to that bmw discontinued making the contoured adhesive. But he assures me that this piece will not join the removed parts bin nor be a vestige. Should also be in this week.

12. and now, the laundry list of dinan mods.
Front Strut Brace 
$549, Labor 0, Rebate $108
-no complaints here, visually a nice addition to the already crowded engine bay. Just wish it was a bit easier to take off for the 1/8 mile days to get some better cooling. But oh well.

Single Oval Free-Flow Exhaust (with Custom Welding)
$999, Labor $400, Rebate $200
-before the s.c went in, it produced a wonderful growl. Not the in your face kind that woke up the neighborhood, but more like the subdued roar of a powerful engine. Post s/c, it was ostensibly muted, but still audible. I can hear it better with the quieter mich ps2 on than my noisier 19s riding on s03s.

High-Flow Throttle Body
$599, labor 0, Rebate $199
-I guess this contributes to the higher gas consumption rate while the computer wants me to think my mileage has improved. Hahahaha.

Stage 3 Touring Suspension (with matching Rear Konis custom ordered)
$1723, Labor $1230, Rebate $344 (suspended in suspence over the suspension)
-bang for buck, a definite must do on anyone;s mod list. The only drawback is the camber plates which have at this point eaten away at 2 front tires pretty quickly. It is also in the next few weeks (if not this week's) agenda to have those camber plates from dinan removed, and replaced with the stock ones. Everything else  from ride height to response to reducing body roll to ride quality is top-notch!

3.45 Limited-Slip Differential
$6529, labor $550, rebate $1305
-never had the before and after to quantify this mod, so I'll have to cross my fingers and say it is good. Until I can line it up nose to nose with another simlarly s/c'd car without it I'd never know. Last I know dinan is no longer offering this upgrade for the e39 (non-m5).

Stage 3 Supercharger System
$15999, labor $2760, rebate $3200
-well, the heart of the saga. Did I need to do it? No. was it worth it? Yes. Do I regret doing it? No! would I do it again? I'm not sure. Had I been looking for a sedan, I wouldn't have gone this route of course. But silly me was hunting down a touring! It's been s/c'd for about 4 months or so, and I've probably piled on no less than 6k miles at least. It is absolutely a blast to drive. No doubt about it. It has made me not miss my e46 m3 too much  there's only about 10% of me at this point that tells me I should have picked up another m3. dinan has definitely delivered the goods on this one. So far so good.

-if and when my badges ever come in, it's not going on. J


if any of you dare do the math, there is no doubt a bit of money was blown, figuratively and literally. Let's see..

car cost $36k, with taxes and reg about $40k.

total bms parts (dinan) $26.6k, labor $4.4k, taxes another $2k, totals $33k
crevier parts (all those retrofit goodies) $9.4k (tax included)
TOTAL MOD COST = $42.4K (as previously mentioned, tyrone's surgical fees will remain confidential.)

parts taken off and sold came to $3k
dinan rebate was $5k

so NET MOD COST = $34.4K.

let's be brutal here. For about $75k, I could have actually purchased….
1. a used e39 m5 for less money
2. even a used e60 m5 for the same cash
3. a new e61 530i touring (66k out the door, with only 255 hp though. )
4. a used amg e55 touring for the same

now I ask myself, would I do it all over again  and I would probably lean towards NO. from a financial perspective, it is obviously a total loser, with the near impossibility of ever recouping the cost of any mods, no matter how oem they get. Of course, I knew that going in. another factor for the 'no' is the probability of the availability of either the e61 m5 touring in a few years. Not to mention the e55t or even e63t amg not being any slouches.

Do I regret doing this? Not a bit. My wife and kids have grown accustomed to getting stared down by people. We were recently looking for a spot to park for dinner. The only one that opened up was right by the front door, where a sea of people were waiting. As we pulled up, my girls went  'daddy, I think almost everyone is looking at the car.' Those of you who know me know I didn't do it for the attention. My wagon has been made to be as much of a sleeper as it can get, except perhaps to a few nuts who might be wondering 'is it or is it not?' no badges, single tip exhaust. Silver calipers!!! No chrome or even polished rims!

(fyi, on the other hand, if i had to do it all over again, here's my very short list of must do mods:
1. suspension
2. wheels, 19s of course
3. ltd slip diff
that's it. surprise!!)

It puts a really big smile on my face everytime I get into it. Even the 75% functioning m5 instrument cluster is a source of joy – love the orange glow.

For me, it is a very special car. I know a lot of people don't really care for wagons. But I like them. And chances are, I wont run into another one like it, anytime soon. There is something about dropping $150k on a car that you would think buys you a bit of exclusivity. In socal, everyone in newport or beverly hills has an sl55 or a 911 turbo. I do like being 1 of just 2 (that I know of). (My 'other' twin is a 97 540 touring in texas (not sure) somewhere, that was the original s/c mule for dinan. While I've unbelievably connected with the tech who originally worked on that car, I have not heard back from the car's current owner. And while it is also s/c'd, I will humbly add that it is nowhere as extensively retrofitted or dinan'd out. Don't know if I've crossed the line from being exclusive to being stupid. Hahahaha.) 

The best part is driving up in 'grandpa's'wagon doesn't scare any of my clients, too. 

Lastly, regardless of the outcome, the absolutely best part of it all was making the acquaintances and friendships across a few boards, lurkers, readers and posters alike, all because of a relatively silly project. THAT is without a doubt the most meaningful, and frankly, the only lasting part of this. 

So with that, the 'buildstory' as gustav calls it, comes to a close. (thanks too for the admins for allowing me to 'squat' on this thread.) What's left is to drive the living daylights out of this beast, and hopefully continually get a chance to meet up with the rest of you all on some get togethers, drives, or even bimmerfest.

Be safe everyone, and a very heartfelt thanks from your fellow ///m nut.