phenryiv1's 530xiT Thread - 5Series.net - Forums


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Old 01-29-2017, 05:28 PM   #1
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I like to chronicle everything, down to the smallest process, so fo rthose who enjoy reading highly complex build threads, this is not for you. For the forseeable future, this new-to-me E61 will be my daily(-ish) driver, though I tend to drive one of my other Bimmers in nicer weather and leave my "daily" in the driveway.

While this is my first 5 series, I have had a slew of other Bimmers in my driveway, now and in the past. I currently have a 1989 325iC (lots of mods, 33+ page build thread here: phenryiv1's 1989 325iC Project - SETA 2.7i Swap Complete and Running! - R3VLimited Forums ) and am building/readying a 1997 328iC (Build thread: My 1997 328iC - New Acquisition ) as well. After driving a passed-down 2008 TL that I inherited from my wife when I traded my 2011 WRX in on a new 2016 MDX for her, I finally got rid of the soul-less TL and bought an E61.

I had wanted a 5 series for a while but was stuck on wanting a 5MT version, yet for years I needed AWD for my commute (100 miles per day to the top of a mountain in the MidAtlantic region) and recreational activities (snowboarding). Last year I had to have knee surgery and while I can still drive an MT, the doctor recommended at least one automatic in my car rotation, thus I traded in the WRX and took over the TL as a daily driver. I made it 10 months of bland driving before I finally decided on the 530. With the option of an automatic on the table the 5 series was back in play.

I originally considered an E90/91 but it was no larger than the WRX and smaller than the TL and with growing kids, that was an issue. The E61 checked every box. I also considered a 535 model but after talking to a lot of owners and some well-respected mechanics, I decided on the 06-07 530 models. This made it necessary to look at older cars than if I went with the 535, but in the end getting the N52 was the best option for me.

Since I still have the E30 (with significant mods, including a stroked 2.7L motor) and with the E36 coming to the road soon, I wanted a car with practicality but a soul and the E61 was it. I loved the look of the E61 (far better than the E60) from the beginning, and when I found my desired color combo with high miles, I was hesitant but excited. In typical BMW-enthusiast fashion, I reached out to my E30/36 experts for guidance and they referred me to the regional expert on E60/61s for guidance on the chassis. Of course, that would turn out to be the same guy selling the E61 that I desired.

Despite it having about 20-30K more miles than I wanted, the car was very, very clean and drove better then ones I had tested that had far less miles. The deal was solid, so I pulled the trigger yesterday.

The car has a few small issues, but nothing that I can't fix with DIY and a couple afternoons.
















First "mod" installed:





Obligatory gas pump shot:





A few family portraits:












After a few days I realized that the hood struts were going. Not necessarily a place where OE or OEM parts are necessary, so eBay to the rescue:



Much better:



Next up was a hatch mat. Nothing really stood out, and the FH Group F16400 mat seemed like it would do the trick for inexpensive protection. It only took a few minutes to trim to fit.



Next up was the grille. I have been a purist about my chrome grille in the E30 but the E36 and the E60/61 both seem to look better with black. As easy as this should have been, the inner tabs were a total pain to release. I ended up breaking both inner tabs on the stock grilles.











Next up are yellow fog light bulbs (arrived but not installed), tint on the windows, and maybe some way to carry snowboards. I also have plans to refinish some 18x8 ET 40 wheels, but that will be a few months down the road.
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Old 01-30-2017, 03:02 AM   #2
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I like your M Tech 2 cab. I'll have to post a couple of pics of my E30 as well. good luck with the E61.
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Old 01-30-2017, 03:37 AM   #3
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I like your M Tech 2 cab. I'll have to post a couple of pics of my E30 as well. good luck with the E61.
Thank you for the compliment!

It is actually a poor man's M-Tech. I removed all the moldings for the repaint and ordered euro trim, plus properly executed the plastic bumper conversion. When the car was painted, all of the moldings were painted off of the car. The rear valance is some no-name fiberglass replica that came on the car. When it was all back on, the car looks similar to an M-Tech car until you look closely.

Nothing about it really adds value but that car is a driver. I have somewhere between 12-15000 miles on it in just over 2 years. If the weather is nice, that car is on the road so I went for a look that was appealing to me and was not hung up on adding or maintaining value so going with an OE appearance package was not justified for me.
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Old 01-31-2017, 04:03 AM   #4
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Congrats on your E61. I have been daily driving mine since May '14 when I drove from Atlanta to Albuquerque to pick up a pristine 30kmi 07 with sport, winter and premium winter packages....same auburn interior as yours but Black Sapphire exterior. Im now at 82Kmi. I too specifically wanted a NA motor, so far so good. That being said, the hydraulic lift gate is acting up, probably needing the fluid refreshed/topped up.

Both the E60 and E61 forums here have been helpful for DIY and self-diagnosis. So far, I've done some things myself and had to entrust my friend that owns a Indi shop to do others.

My other bimmer (wife's daily) is a 05 ZHP 6mt vert.

Welcome to the forum and look forward to seeing your future posts!
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Old 01-31-2017, 04:14 AM   #5
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Congrats on your E61. I have been daily driving mine since May '14 when I drove from Atlanta to Albuquerque to pick up a pristine 30kmi 07 with sport, winter and premium winter packages....same auburn interior as yours but Black Sapphire exterior. Im now at 82Kmi. I too specifically wanted a NA motor, so far so good. That being said, the hydraulic lift gate is acting up, probably needing the fluid refreshed/topped up.

Both the E60 and E61 forums here have been helpful for DIY and self-diagnosis. So far, I've done some things myself and had to entrust my friend that owns a Indi shop to do others.

My other bimmer (wife's daily) is a 05 ZHP 6mt vert.

Welcome to the forum and look forward to seeing your future posts!
Very nice ZHP. My wife wanted me to skip the E36 and get an E46 (okay, she really wanted me to skip another convertible altogether but she is not a fan of the E36) but I had wanted another E36 for a while and the deal was hard to pass up at the time. I do wish that I had an E46, from time to time. A neighbor down the street has an E36, an 06 (I believe) ZHP sedan, and an E39 540/6. He has tried to sell me the ZHP for a few months but I wanted at least one AWD in my rotation.

I was really on the fence about the miles on my E61 but I had never seen another Auburn/white combo. Finding any E61 in good shape was actually a challenge, so finding one in my preferred combo was welcome occurrence. Of course, right after I put a deposit on this one a local dealer (from whom my family has bought 7 or 8 cars over the last 5 years) found me a lower-miles 07 E61 in black sapphire with grey interior after striking out for a few months.

Right now I am anxious to get the windows tinted (the car feels like a fishbowl) and to get going on refinishing some wheels that I scored. After that, RSB and maybe some H&R springs up front.
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Old 01-31-2017, 05:10 PM   #6
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I've wanted to put a stiffer rear sway bar on but I've been slack...it's a DD....does almost 80mi of highway each day....so I just let it be. I don't suppose you've seen what the e61 sport seats look like eh?
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Old 01-31-2017, 05:21 PM   #7
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I've wanted to put a stiffer rear sway bar on but I've been slack...it's a DD....does almost 80mi of highway each day....so I just let it be.
I might try an RSB just for fun. An OEM M5 one or the Dinan RSB are pretty inexpensive to try them out.

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I don't suppose you've seen what the e61 sport seats look like eh?
I have not.
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:58 AM   #8
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I might try an RSB just for fun. An OEM M5 one or the Dinan RSB are pretty inexpensive to try them out.

I have not.
Sorry this is slightly blurry.....

IMG_1225 by oclvframe, on Flickr

But yeah...I probably should try the M5 RSB....there's no doubt it'd be an improvement.

-r
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Old 02-01-2017, 03:26 AM   #9
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Sorry this is slightly blurry.....
-r
I should not have looked. Now I want some.

I'll have to suffice with the sport seats in my e30 & e36.
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Old 02-01-2017, 03:53 AM   #10
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I should not have looked. Now I want some.

I'll have to suffice with the sport seats in my e30 & e36.
I guess I shouldn't mention that the side bolsters snug up to you (to the pre-set) when you sit in the car and crank it up. Always takes passengers by surprise...I tell them it's so that they don't fall out around a curve

It was the color and seats alone that made finding the exact wagon I wanted take almost a year and a half.

-r
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