Year got a slow start with the lock-down. 2021 auto registration only arrived at end of June, almost 4 months late.
Much needed oil change after Autobahn runs. I was worried the Liqui Molly 10w60 oil will be cooked and lost its lubricating properties, due to extended hard runs on the Autobahn and over 10,000km on the oil. Turned out the oil was looking surprisingly good for the km/miles driven and the oil filter (after careful examination) was empty of debris or metal particles.
Getting the machine ready to install ESS Supercharger @Driftdarbnīca, Riga, Latvia. ESS install means first doing rod bearings, and major engine overhaul. To get understanding of before and after Supercharger results, went and Dyno’d the machine at Dyno Systems, Riga Latvia on a Superflow Dyno, showing 379HP DIN @ crank (full info on the bottom of the page).
S62 Motor build for M5 E39 Touring Wide-body ESS Supercharged
Meanwhile @ Driftdarbnīca, Sergej Ananic was busy assembling his S62 for his BMW Individual “1 of 7 Atlantis Metallic” M5 E39 Touring Wide-body ESS Supercharged. The engine was completely apart to lowest common denominators just two weeks ago, and in 15-16 days of work, Sergej with help of Maris Rungis @ Driftdarbnīca, managed to fully assemble the newly sleeved, balanced crank/pistons/rods motor, ESS Supercharge & Dyno tune.
I showed up (late as always), but at least managed to film (and catch some of the emotions) of the final assembly, first start and dyno tune.
Note that the dyno was to check AFR’s, etc., and tune, not for power output testing. That will come later once the engine has been broken after the road trip.
M5 E39 Dyno test before ESS Supercharger install
Dyno’ed the M5 E39 before supercharger install. The car has 182,000 miles or 292,000 kilometers on odometer.
The motor dyno’ed at 379hp on Superflow Dyno.
In regards to WHP, the machine dyno’d at: 318.72 SAE (USA) WHP 323.15 DIN (Euro) WHP
The video shows max power moment @ 6580RPM, the Wheel Torque @ 344.9NM which is 254.4 ft lbs. Then taking the imperial measurement system (ft lbs) way of calculating WHP from Wheel Torque and RPM: EngineTorqueFootLBS times RPM divided by 5252: 318.72 HP SAE SAE HP to DIN HP = x1.0139 318.72 SAE WHP x 1.0139 = 323.15 DIN WHP
The only sensors replaced in last 150,000 miles are MAF. Everything else is original and no other performance improving mods have been done to the motor.
The oxygen sensors were reading a perfectly steady 1.0, meaning no compensation was necessary and engine/systems were working perfectly on all 5 dyno runs.
The 379hp max power were achieved at 200.5km/h @ 4th gear and on 5th dyno run, as the stock cats needed to be heated up and each consecutive run gave better readings. The ambient temp outside was 16c and inside Dyno shop about 20-22c.
The car lost ~20hp in last 182,000 miles/292,000km- down from 400hp to 379hp. 5% loss in almost 300,000km of hard driving.
Overall I’m satisfied and right in-line with what my M5 mechanic Maris Rungis @DriftDarbnica predicted (378hp, when I asked him to place the bets) before the Dyno run.
End of video shows clip where we did a €2 coin balancing test on the M5 motor to check for vibrations. Stands still and the minimal €2 sway is from the belt-fan air passing by.
Next up is crankshaft balancing, new rod bearings & chains/guides, sensors/grommets/gaskets/o-rings/et. al. replacement and refreshment before charger install. After refresh probably will have PedM5 from M5Board tune the ESS supercharger to perfect tune. Also I’m not doing myself the M5 rod-bearings & ESS install, but two ladies @ Drift Darbnica. Will film for viewing pleasure.
2020 events took the wind out of traveling. Stuck with the machine in a small country while all the borders are closed. No chance of re-building the motor and installing ESS Supercharger as the lock-downs rage, suppliers and shops are closed. Spring time came and finally had a chance to do a photo-shoot of the new paint job.
Enjoying the new wheels. Made a mistake though, it was pouring rain outside the day I was to mount the wheels, brought all tires laying around, told the shop to put on the ones with good thread/best shape. Little did I know the rears they mounted were 265’s because that was the deepest threaded tires. 265’s bother me, since M5 E39 comes with 275’s.
The M5 was in dire need of something to do with paint and this is the story.
8 years of wear on satin black paint
In 2011 the M5 had the matte/satin black wrap removed and was instead painted satin black with the paint “Hot Rod Flatz” by TCP Global in San Diego. The paint was a single stage polyurethane paint that withstands small scratches and such. The car was street parked for next 5 years and endured countless hours of California scorching summer sun, road trips to Salt Flats for drifting purposes, runs across the South West United States deserts, Death Valley trips, inter-continental road trip across United States and Europe, 1000’s of KM at 250km/h on Autobahn, Nurburgring, Laguna Seca, various containers it was shipped in and other boat trips, and can’t forget the Eastern European dirt roads, among many other encounters. The Hot Rod Flatz paint held up, surprisingly well, the paint full-filled its purpose of staying on the car, but any paint put through all this would have suffered severely. The beauty with a satin flat paint job is that there are no swirl marks and the Hot Rod Flatz was super easy to take care of, high pressure washing all the way, every time and looked great afterward.
@Painter for Quick Sticker Removal
Initially the intention to visit painter Ainars Valdmanis was to only remove the stickers from the car. The painter was to paint the roof of the red Volvo when he said he won’t get it done before summer solstice and instead to bring the M5 in for decal removal, because that will be faster than painting a 3.8 square meter roof of a Volvo.
Los Angeles body shop shenanigans
Suffering 2002 through 2011 from restless repeating oncoming storms of Carbon Schwarz swirl-marks, the car was painted Hot Rod Flatz in 2011 in Los Angeles. While the paint looked and held reasonably well for the years of beating it took while being #streetparked… after sticker removal it was beyond repair. With sticker removal it was revealed that the paint’s primer was sanded and prepared at various locations with 1500 to 2000 grit and by so the Hot Rod Flatz polyurethane paint had nowhere to bite and came off with the stickers at various places. Problem was that the stickers only covered a relatively small portion of the car, what else primer shenanigans is below the Hot Rod Flatz paint?
I forget the name of the shop in San Bernardino, CA where I painted the car in 2011 in Hot Rod Flatz, the owner seemed very reasonable and forward coming, but obviously years later it reveals that there was no skill in the trade. The primer was so smooth that by looking at an angle on the primer, one could see a clear reflection.
Little story why hood is little different reflection tone than rest of car: The hood was replaced and re-painted in 2014 at Century Collision Center in Orange, CA. It took Century Collision almost two months to paint hood and bumper. After running over car tire back in 2014, I was trying to tell Century Collision owner that the paint used is Hot Rod Flatz, but the owner showed some arrogance and told me “We know how to mix paints”. After 2 re-sprays by Century Collision, then bringing a lawyer, 1 more failed attempt I said “fuck it” and took my car out of the body shop. They still would not listen where I bought the Hot Rod Flatz single stage polyurethane paint and insisted mixing their own. That said the hood never really matched the car, but very few noticed, and those who did where mechanics/and painters examining the car at their shop, but still it bothered me that I know. The M5, “fully repaired by Century Collision”, left the body shop first with lights pointing into the ground 5 feet ahead, then after me demanding they fix the lights so they point right, they got insurance to replace both headlights, and upon leaving the body shop the lights were tilted up about at 20 degrees from a horizontal plane, shining at tree-tops. Obviously, the paint was not matching. The Dinan splash guards for cold air intakes that were bent due to running over tire, were not replaced or removed, i was not consulted, but instead straightened with pliers best they could in 20 seconds, and various other ‘ fuck this shop ‘ type of errors. So that’s for Century Collision in Orange, California, which was recommended by M5Board, quite disappointing. I have only gotten terrible paint jobs and experience in California. Seems like no one knows how to paint anything.
Some of Details That Need Attention
Initial Plan of Quick Re-Spray
Having removed the stickers, it was clear that the car will need touch-up of areas where primer is showing through slightly, fix the dent on the fender and rear bumper crack. I then instructed the painter also to remove hood and trunk emblem. Let’s do quick re-spray of fenders, hood, trunk, rear bumper…oh yea the roof also been scratched from when car was in container from NYC to EU. Rear fenders too, and then what we got left? The front bumper? Slippery slope we got here.
Total Paint Removal/Stripping
Realizing it is not wise to re-spray the Hot Rod Flatz with new layer, when the existing Hot Rod Flatz polyurethane paint sits on a very poor primer layer, that is too smooth for the existing paint to grip on… realizing all that I went to help the painter sand the original layer off and scuff the smooth primer. Problem with the Polyurethane paint is that the 800 grit paper turns smooth real fast even wet sanding due to the urethane catching the sand paper. I tried using a 800 grit rotation sander and the sand paper lasted 4-5 seconds before turning perfectly smooth. Same with 400 grit. Realizing that getting that polyurethane paint off will be some challenge I went for the paint remover against the painters wishes.. he was like “Oh no, just not the paint remover” but I told him “Fear not, let’s do this”.
When totally removing the paint around the fuel tank area, it was revealed that E39 chassis has a hidden drain hole in the fuel tank area, seen on the right, where it was intended the water would run off and not accumulate and start rusting. This drain hole (which has no piping inside the chassis) drains straight into the metals between the chassis and accumulates there, which is not a good solution in any way so apparently BMW gave up on this idea and sealed that drain hole with some rubber compound and painted it over, and apparently on every single car this “mistake” exists.
Seeing the meticulous work the painter is doing on the fuel tank area and roof rails, it became clear that it will be a shame to paint the car Hot Rod Flatz after all this work put in, and that what needs to be done is to rather have the car painted the original color, which is BMW Carbon Black. Another push that tipped toward repainting the car in original color is that Hot Rod Flatz, no matter how decent the paint is out the box, matte black paints can not be repaired and polished when scratches occur. Unless the car is a show-car only, or total garage queen, then it will be driven, and then you will get scratches. The facts in front of me, I realized that I do not want to fly to San Diego to pick up Hot Rod Flatz paint, then ship it as hazardous materials to wherever the car is, and have exactly the same spray-gun with me (in order to get the matte texture to match) and try to match exact same paint/drying temperatures in order to get same shine, just to fix a scratch on the fender that could just be buffed out on regular shiny paint.
Layes of Primer
The M5 Paint Process
M5 E39 replacement parts & details
E39 fuel tank door rust problem fixed forever.
As mentioned earlier in this post, the E39 has a design fault that leads to rust in the fuel cap area.
Once the paint was totally stripped, a small water-run-off outlet was revealed below the paint inside fuel cap area, sealed by rubber from the factory. Turns out that BMW initially had intended to do a proper solution so the water can run off and the metal seam between the panels would not rust from water accumulation. BMW ended up apparently just sealing the small hole with some rubber and painting it over, cutting corners. The water would have nowhere to run off once inside both panels, and would continue to accumulate there and eventually rust. Proper way would been to install a drainage channel that goes to bottom of car, but apparently considering the tight spaces and volume of E39 mass production most likely this option was deemed too expensive, resulting in rust accumulation on almost all E39’s in the fuel cap area.
I told the painter Ainars to clean everything out and bondo the area, so there is seam visible and nowhere for the water to catch and can run freely out from the fuel cap area.
The painter spent couple days creating a properly designed drainage channel with funnel and piping. Parts were sourced from other manufacturers that have something like this in their vehicles.
E39 M5 mirror mechanism repair
The driver door mirror became ‘loose’ with a minor wobble at any time, after being hit by someone in a Las Vegas parking garage.
The problem is OEM mirrors are quite expensive, often in wrong color and mechanism is often worn or also compromised somehow.
I bought an Amazon after-market repair kit for E39 M5 mirror for $50, from China. I must have taken the mirror apart about 35-40 times myself, 20 times to begin with at home, and another 15-20 times at the painter. Then the painter, spent another full day disassembling and assembling another 20 times. We really learned how to take the mirrors apart and put them together really well. We simply could not get it to work properly with the repair kit.
The M5 mirrors are quite an engineering feat. Very complicated for the very simple function of rotation. Apparently totally over engineered and complex, but when working properly, it is a beautiful mechanism.
On image two the difference between Chinese aftermarket (bright metal) and BMW OEM (dark metal) parts are clearly visible. The original parts are far superior in precision, and these parts are very tiny as noted by the penny in background for size reference. The original parts have corners so sharp them 90 degree turns catch the finger like a knife’s blade would do.
Initially put in the aftermarket gears and housing, put the mirror fully together and it would not move what so ever. Then proceed by taking everything apart and examining what is wrong and re-assembling, again. Again and again. Then the gears were removed and replaced with original gears, since the difference in precision was noted and lack of precision prevented gear mechanism from turning properly.
The mechanism was assembled with aftermarket motor & housing, but OEM gears, and still would not turn over. The mirror was then again disassembled, aftermarket motor replaced with OEM motor (aftermarket motor’s spiral gear at end was less precise than OEM motor’s). Still would not turn over, and to make matters worse, the mirror still was wobbly with new aftermarket housing with pins that are not broken, although less wobbly.
Then mechanism was disassembled, and only motor plugged into the car mirror controller, and the rotation function tested, at each step, with bare motor (spinning), then adding the OEM gears, spinning, adding aftermarket housing, still spinning, tightening down the aftermarket housing, then stopped spinning.
Turns out the mechanism was loose/ wobbly with new aftermarket housing because the aftermarket housing has lower precision/tolerance, and the pins are couple microns less in diameter, and that tiny tiny little difference transfers to significant wobble in rotational mechanism once mirror is assembled. We ended up making new tiny spacers from tiny copper pipe that we shaved down, to be worn as sleeves on the aftermarket housing’s pins.
Once assembling the mechanism, and tightening everything down, still the mechanism would not work properly. There is a spring not clearly visible in the images above, that once removed would let the mechanism spin, but needed to be there to keep everything tight. We compressed the spring with 10 ton press in order to make the mechanism spin easier, and it still worked poorly, hearing motor struggling, but things were tight (looseness and wobble gone). I gave up for the night but the painter proceeded the whole next day to disassemble and assemble the mechanism in order to figure out where the friction was coming from. Turned out that the aftermarket housing for which we built the copper sleeves, was (less than) 1mm too tall, and since in the OEM mechanism everything is near micron precision, that little tiny sub one millimeter difference (even though there is a spring of 5-6mm height there as well), was enough to stop the entire mechanism from functioning. The painter spent the days grinding of microns and re-assembling, disassembling, and so on.. until housing was shaved enough for mechanism to start turning.
Conclusion is that the precision is insane on these OEM mirror mechanisms, and the only way to repair a broken mechanism is to have one or two other donor mirrors in OEM form. The aftermarket repair kits selling for ~$50 are totally useless since literally every single piece (except housing that we shaved) in the repair kit was useless, and the sole reason is lack of precision on the parts. So if you ever decide to repair one of these mirrors, there really is no way of repairing without sourcing OEM donor parts.
We got the mirror working, properly enough, it is nowhere perfect but good enough for the future. The amount of time does not justify the repair. It would been much smarter in retrospect to just order a donor mirror and assemble 1 working from two broken.
Over the winter, the paint will fully harden, then next plan is to paint the whole car with Autoflex matte black liquid wrap coating, which has been showing some amazing results on YouTube. The idea is that coating will protect the original paint and is peel-able, making scratch repairs easy.
The speed demon in us needs to be occasionally tamed. There is some beautiful curiosity about pushing the gas pedal all the way to see what the car can actually do. Constricted by the speed limits in 99% of the world we never get to let it go, never get to just let loose and drive as fast as you want,. We humans, we are unknowingly addicted to emotion, search for the next emotion that gives us butterflies in the stomach, and makes us feel again like a kid on a roller coaster.
Autobahn is such a place that gives butterflies.
This trip was in the making for the whole spring, but because it was surprisingly hard to collect a good set of friends (everyone is busy with life) to go on the trip, the trip was postponed from summer to autumn- specifically early November, the last moment before winter sets in. The weather in November is unpredictable, sunlight is down and rain is up. Obviously the Autobahn requires dry asphalt and no traffic. We made the plan to arrive in Germany and then just map out where the sun shines and there is no traffic and just head that direction, no other plan than chasing the sun. One one of the days the whole Germany was forecast to be rainy so we drove to Amsterdam to wait out the rain, where it was sunny… and as Germany started clearing up, we headed right back to Germany.
This is our full route, as tracked by GPS systems in the cars.
The GPS system is designed for fleet management and considers everything over 200km/h as an error, hence we had a significant distance that is not reported by GPS where we stayed above 200km/h.
Filling up in Riga, Latvia before leaving to Klaipeda, Lithuania. The M5 has stickers inspired by Alex Roy’s Team Polizei 144. The stickers were added for a photoshoot. Also, I figured it would be fun to go with the stickers on the Autobahn, chase the M6 with the M5 and confuse everyone. The POLIZEI, text original livery on Alex Roy’s M5, on the side of car, was replaced with INTERCEPTOR because it is not too smart to have POLIZEI written on the side of the car in Germany.
The DFDS ferry sucks, especially for a vacation trip. The accommodations are Ok, the rooms are Ok, there are only few amenities… but what is expected on a transport ship? What made the ferry suck was the other travelers: only miserable truckers, all of them. Swollen faces and beer bellies from plenty of drinking, and they continued to drink all night. I wonder how they get off the ship in Kiel without getting arrested. It appears pretty certain that the German Polizei does not do breathalyzer tests on the sea faring truckers as they leave the ship. I would suggest Stena Lines or other shipping line.
Fuel. First stop of many. The cars consume fuel at a significant rate during high speed runs. The M6 has a smaller tank and higher fuel consumption than the M5. It really showed because M6 ran out of fuel just as M5’s fuel tank went just below half tank. M5 ended up waiting for M6 quite a bit.
Make sure you have everything with you when entering the Autobahn. Everything costs a lot more at the Autobahn fuel stations, also the fuel stations on Autobahn are not accessible from side roads. The bottle of windshield washer fluid cost 25 Euro!
We AirBnB’d with some hosts that were brand new, so it was kind of sketchy but after hassle of them picking up phone and accommodating us, we woke up in the morning and realized that we are staying right next to a castle.
We really never have a plan where will end up or where to stay at night, we figure it out towards the evening. This night it turns out it was impossible to get a booking on AirBNB and once we gave up on AirBNB, then also the last hotels (in rural Europe) were closed. AirBNB banned my host right after I had booked and then it was too late to book another one, they obviously would not tell me, but after 3 hours on the phone with them I had figured it all out. AirBNB banned him for offering to circumvent AirBNB fees in his profile or some sketchy thing like that, because of this AirBNB bann move we ended without a place to sleep.
We ended up sleeping in our cars outside the hotel that we had reservations at but clerk had gone home at 23:00 when reservation on Booking.com said midnight. They were all apologetic in the morning as they discovered us leaving and offered us free breakfast.
Amsterdam. Parking is about $100/night in the parking structures around Amsterdam centrum. The GoogleMaps reviews of parking structures are full of bad reviews where people say their cars have been broken into. We got lucky after 2 hours of searching for decent street parking, found a place in upscale area right in front of hotel that has reception clerk 24/7 and has low day rate of 35 Euros per day, per car.
We left Amsterdam since the rain was coming to Amsterdam and head for the Nurburgring. We knew that the possibility of rain is huge on the Nurburgring, but we knew also that tomorrow is the last day of the season and we can’t go there the day after tomorrow, we decided to go and risk it with the rain.
Leaving the Nurburgring. It was rainy. Nurburgring was having a classic race in the morning and the track would only open after 2:30pm for an hour or so, before season close. We decided against waiting to get a lap or two in before they close, if they even stay open at all due to weather.. So we got back on the Autobahn and drove away from the rain and headed to Munich, where it was forecast to be sunny.
We encountered an Audi A8 wide-body on the way to Munich. The car was from Romania. The guy was the most aggressive driver we came across on the Autobahn during the whole trip. The car was a diesel and did not really stand its ground against the M5 or M6 over 250kmh. After 1 hour of runs, the Audi driver pulled over at the same fuel station we pulled in to (due to G-Power running out of fuel again). The Audi driver asked how many HP the M5 has. I told him 400HP and he replied that the Audi has 500HP but the M5 is faster. I believe the diesel part is what was slowing the Audi down. The G-Power got an engine fault (that neesd the car to restart in order to remove) mid-way on this run of this fuel tank and was limited to 250kmh until fuel station, and could not really show the Audi who up…
The M Power room was void of E34 M5 and E39 M5. I was really looking forward seeing these two in pristine condition. When I realized they don’t have a single E34 M5 or E39 M5 at the museum I became disappointed and put a 1 star rating on the museum on GoogleMaps. I rather see a warehouse full of entire BMW production line than some select fancy rooms and stuff, where a lot of machines I wanna see are missing.
It is quite amazing to see these old machines in pristine condition. To see an old 3-series how it was, when it was brand new. Surprising was most of the cars at the museum had plenty of miles on them, they were never set aside for museum purposes, but most likely later re-acquired from private market for museum purposes.
BMW M5: The Complete Story. That’s my book!.. That’s what I said anyway. I told everyone to hold because I need to find my car and started flipping through the pages. I was joking with them, but then it became true. My car was in the book. The pictures from years ago that I took and uploaded to Wikimedia were published in the book.
After visiting the BMW Museum and now on the road for a week, we initially had a plan to drive to Italy and then Santorini. Italy had had torrential rains for a month and no sign of letting go, so we decided against trying to cross the Alps while it is snowing and Italy looking increasingly like a disaster zone. This is where we decided to head back to Latvia.
At this time I was actually getting tired of driving on the Autobahn. It is exhausting to drive over 250kmh, the amount of concentration required wears one out fast. Anita was just sleeping in the passenger seat at times, at 250kmh. The brakes on the car were with US Spec standard rotors, that are not of the floating-type design. They had begun warping toward the end of the trip, due to uneven heating (delta) on the brake rotor center cone/dome and the rotor itself and heat expansions doing its job.
The speedometer was also shot. It broke in Munich. I was getting no speedometer and after inspection the conclusion was that the rear left drive axle’s boot/cover had started to come loose at the seam and spilled grease everywhere in the wheel hub with centrifugal force, clogging the speed sensor. Numerous attempts were made to try to clean the speed sensor but it only worked for couple km and then failed again. When using a high pressure washer and hitting the speed sensor, we got it to work for 100km or so.. Then fail again due to the grease getting everywhere.
Numerous attempts were made to clear the speed sensor from grease from rear axle. This time by removing the rear wheel and spraying brake cleaner to unclog it. The service shop across the street were idiots and would not lend me the jack stand for 10eur for 10 min. I had to use the BMW road-side jack stand, which worked fine.
After days on the Autobahn and high speed driving I had actually gotten a little tired from unlimited speed and just wanted to relax and sit on Instagram for a change. A funny feeling, because I never thought I would get enough of the Autobahn, and that I will want to just go fast forever, but such is not the case in life. One actually gets tired of it eventually. I remember a M5Board member from Germany once saying “high speed driving gets boring” and I could not believe him. Now I know what he meant by that. I was finally full of the emotion “driving really fast”, ready to go home and relax for the winter.
The speedo was broken so I plugged in Bluetooth OBDII reader and setup the Torque App on phone to be a speedo and tacho HUD. Torque App has bunch of settings to work as a HUD, mirroring the image so it would look correct on the windshield and hiding all the Android icons, etc. The HUD speedo data is sourced from GPS speed instead of speed sensor and Tacho is sourced from OBDII link.
The M5 and the M6 were both driving behind a semi truck in the darkness of 4AM in Lithuanian nowhere, when a dead deer suddenly appeared behind the center of rear end of the semi truck and before the M6 had a chance to react, the M6 ran over the dead deer. The M6 has specially designed kevlar undercarriage panels, same form as regular but really durable. The M6 jumped on the deer and crushed it some more. Then came the M5 right in the heels and splattered it all over as well. There was no damage to the cars surprisingly, but the M6 front wheels were all red with blood splatter and the M5 had the whole undercarriage in red. I had to take the car to a specific shot that washes the undercarriage. The car was smelling like BBQ for the rest of the trip to Riga and then started smelling burnt as the meat was roasting on the exhaust pipes. Footage of the deer incident can be found in the 20 min YouTube video posted at end of this post.