M5 E39 in 2019 in Pictures

Stood in the shop whole year. Got a new paint job, though.. still not done, more to come….

Photo by Kriss Abens
Photo by Kriss Abens
Photo by Kriss Abens
Photo by Kriss Abens
Photo by Kriss Abens
Photo by Kriss Abens
Photo by Kriss Abens
Photo by Kriss Abens
Not very clean. Due to just being the shop all year and few pics, this will have to do.

Didn’t have a chance to take decent photos after paint job in the wild this year, by the time I got the car back from paint it was late October and car went into winter storage.

Carbon Black color, washed on wet asphalt in the dusk does not show much at all.

That’s it. Not a whole lot of pictures this year.

M5 E39 Paint Restoration

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.

Paint Wear Exhibition: El Mirage Dry Lake
Paint Wear Exhibition: Gone in 60 Seconds in Los Angeles
Paint Wear Exhibition: BMW full of bugs on I80 in Nebraska.
Paint Wear Exhibition: Nurburgring
Paint Wear Exhibition: Running the fishing expeditions on Eastern European dirt roads.
Paint Wear Exhibition: On the Autobahn waiting for Porsches to get out of the way. :-))




@Painter for Quick Sticker Removal

M5 arrives at the painter for decal 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.

The Autobahn sign on the hood.
The residue left from removing stickers.
The visible white spots is where the painter in Los Angeles did a poor job.




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?

Note the white spots

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.

Hood has slightly different reflection than rest of the car.

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

Images of other problems with car:
The front fender was dented and scratched while parked, plastic pieces destroyed from California summer sun/heat, rubber grommets and seals hardened and need to be replaced.
Rubber pieces worn or falling apart, roof rail pieces missing, fuel tank door lock broken.
The classic E39 problem, where BMW screwed up in their design. The fuel tank area is always wet and there is a seam in the metal that wants to corrode right in that spot.




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.

BMW now labels everything with BMW roundel and ///M logo.
I am removing these over-used marketing propaganda logotypes from the machine.
The plan was changed from sticker removal for a quick full re-spray.
Trunk badge deletes.
The painter repairing the old bumper. I stopped this process by giving him a brand new bumper to re-spray instead. Funny fact: The repair piece comes from an Audi, but the very tip, from a BMW.




Total Paint Removal/Stripping

Paint remover on the machine. No turning back now.

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”.

Driver side getting treated with paint remover.
Closeup of paint remover eating the paint through. All paint removers are not equal, we tried numerous brands before getting decent results.
Hot Rod Flatz paint is gone.
Hidden E39 water drain hole in fuel tank area

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.

The roof rails completely stripped from paint, and old original rubber compound that seals everything also being removed in order to be replaced with fresh.
Details pictured with Canon 6D

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.

After ordering original paint on the whole car, doors removed to apply paint remover.
Clean to the bone. Ready for primer.



Layes of Primer

Fenders clean to the bone.
Fenders getting first layer of primer.
Acidic primer
Urethane primer
Base primer
Colors of the rainbow
Guide coat applied, to properly scuff everything up.
Front windshield removed in order to properly get to everything, and put new paint where it belongs.
Nice acidic primer to protect from rust around the window frame.
Fixing the dents.
There was curb rash from original owner, it had been re-sprayed but after total paint removal the rash was revealed. Nothing of significance, though.
The doors getting all the Los Angeles parking lot door ding dents removed with help of control layers.
Final primer layer on the car before paint.
I was contemplating just leaving the car Nardo gray ha ha.



The M5 Paint Process

The paint factory matched bucket of color, new paint gun, etc.
Underside of hood painted.
The decision was made to strip the inside of the doors to lowest common denominator in order to fully paint everything without missing small detailed areas.
Doors stripped to lowest common denominator.
The door has guide coat added, now to make sure everything is nicely scuffed for the paint to grip before final layers.
Shiny.
The trunk with badge delete.
Front bumpers enjoying the sunshine.
Door handles and mirrors getting individual treatment.
First paint coat on the chassis.
First shots with new paint.
This would make a good Mad Max machine.
The benefit of pulling the front window was that we got to clean up the frame behind the windshield, put numerous primer layers to seal everything, since those are prone rust spots.



M5 E39 replacement parts & details

From a donor E39 that even had the driver door rubber seals intact, i took most of the interior, including all rubber seals, carpets, all 4 doors, and much more the the painter, in order to have good replacements for most rubber pieces that been burned out in the California sun. It was a van full, and another Volvo 940 5-door full of BMW parts from donor car that arrived at painter’s shop.
New LED projector fog lights arrived from San Diego from Evan Patak.
Doors about to get new window rubber seals replaced.
Old worn rubber seals going out and new to me seals coming in.
Replaced all 4 rear sun shades, since all of them had broken during the years.
Door panels were all restored and repainted to bring them to new level.
The doors getting re-assembled. Everything cleaned and oiled up.
Looking fresh like it did from the factory.
Closeup of the paint on the seams.
The rear area had all the sound dampening carpets replaced since the originals, much like everything else with interior, were totally worn out from California sun.
The hood fastener and opening mechanism looks out of place with new paint.
Ainars Valdmanis went the extra step to restore the hood fasteners and opening mechanism.
Door hinges, trim pieces below head lights and windshield wipers getting painted.
The painter wanted to install the windshield installed in a way where there is constant pressure on the windshield so the rubber glue can dry tight.
New OEM factory rubber seals for all windows.
Cleaning off the dust before assembly.
Testing out the new projector LED fog lights.
New trim pieces, new hood and door pressure cylinders, painted hinges and replaced rubber.
Inspection and continued assembly of undercarriage panels.



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.

The fuel door area was sandblasted to remove all traces of rust, but only after removing all trim from trunk and sealing all doors, etc so the sand would not get around in to the interior.

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.

Drainage channel properly added, with no more edge for water to catch and start rusting.
The drainage channel details, it was routed along the back tire out under the bumper, as shown in images above. .
Final layout of the drainage channel, after paint.




E39 M5 mirror mechanism repair

Mirror disassembled, with new replacement parts on lower end of image.

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.

OEM housing above, China aftermarket motor & housing below.
There is a controller sitting at end of the housing, the way it is assembled you must solder wire to move the mirror controller over to new housing.
The aftermarket housing (foreground) and original housing (background).
The small pin was broken off by someone hitting the mirror hard while walking pass the car and since one of the pins was loose, the mirror was always slightly loose/wobbly and did not want to rotate properly without making a clicking noise.

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.

Collage showing custom built microscopic spacer for mechanism.

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.

The sleeve spacer installed on the pin.
Making two sleeves like this prevented the mirror from wobbling.

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.

M5, almost ready to come back home.
Final pick-up day. Since it was dark and raining outside, decided to take some before leaving the shop pictures. #Nofilter #NOphotoshop #Original
#Nofilter #NOphotoshop #Original
#Nofilter #NOphotoshop #Original
Picked up the M5 with another restored car, the Volvo 740.
Read more about Volvo restoration here.
Wet and gloomy outside, still wanted to give first after-paint wash for the machine.
First day light pictures. Can’t tell much of the paint in cloudy wet environment.

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.

M5 E39 & M6 G-Power High Speed Roadtrip on Autobahn 5000km

The Roadtrip in full video:

5 Min video of road trip. Plenty more videos at bottom of this article.

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.

M6 G-Power has a modified speedometer.
Some photos of the November sun. | Photo: Kaspars Daļeckis
Photo: Kaspars Daļeckis
Cleaning up before boarding the ship to Germany.
DFDS Ferry from Klaipeda to Kiel. This is done so we don’t get exhausted driving the 2000km to Germany from Latvia. We wake up rested next to the Autobahn, with fresh oil in the car and ready to drive to max speed on Autobahn.

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.

Waking up somewhere in Germany at our AirBNB host, just outside Kiel, Germany. Ready to go to Autobahn.
Warming up the G-Power.
Finally on the Autobahn, moving along at high speed.
Cruising through Hamburg port on the speed restricted Autobahn section.

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.

ptr

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!

Random hitchhiker on the side of the Autobahn. We could not really help him since we had no direction where we heading except where there is no traffic.
Slow down pause on the Autobahn.
In Germany, it is all sunny and nice and then out of nowhere thick fog starts, so thick that one realizes why the European cars have a special rear fog light.
Daylight of Day 1 on the Autobahn coming to a close.
Fuel stop before hotel.

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.

Photo: Kaspars Daleckis
If you need to pee on the German countryside, there are few places to hide.
Photo: Kaspars Daleckis
German advanced society going backwards, they now have instructions how to poop in the toilet. Things we had taken for granted for 100+ years.
Rain was coming to most of Germany, so we decided to run where the sun shines and the next location for sunshine happened to be Amsterdam.

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.

Entering the Netherlands.
The speed started to glitch, go little wild, then drop to zero, then go a little wild…then stayed at zero. I broke the speedometer on the Autobahn.
Mandatory photo of M5 by the Amsterdam canals. It is one of the most car-unfriendly places on earth. I do not recommend taking a car to the center of Amsterdam, but I had to do it for the photos and the bucket list!

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.

Amsterdam centrum.
A lot of Amsterdam centrum looks the same, can’t tell what street you are on, but the signature is one- canals with small side streets.
Getting Coffee at the Coffee Shop
Coffee Time
A lot of houses in Amsterdam are crooked due to sinking foundations…
Tourists being tourists. Everyone got to get a photo of the posing bird, that posed so perfectly that it appears to be a NPC character in a Matrix simulation.
One of the bicycle stalls by main train station in Amsterdam.
I have the non-drivers a cookie each before we leave Amsterdam in order to make their passenger time on the Autobahn extra exciting.
Came across an 928.
Photo: Kaspars Daleckis

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.

Fuel station in Limburg.
AirBNB place around the corner from Nurburgring. Rainy. Looks bleak for Nurburgring track day.
Outside Devil’s Diner at Nurburgring Nordschleife.
Inside Devil’s Diner at Nurburgring Nordschleife.
Photo: Kaspars Daleckis

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.

Photo: Kaspars Daleckis

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…

Photo: Kaspars Daleckis
We AirBNB’d again and found a nice random place not too far from Nurnberg in the countryside. Beautiful, as always, always with a lot of history. All of Germany is a lot of history. This house was a bar converted into a home.
Drone view of the area.
Heading to the BMW museum and HQ in Munich.
There was something really odd going on with this roof.
At the BMW factory, headquarters and museum in Munich. After 17 years and 180,000 miles the M5 is back home, visiting its birthplace.
Parking at BMW Welt/Museum.
It turns out that a yellow dress pretty much matches everything they have at the BMW museum.

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.

We ended up at the BMW Museum bookstore. Started searching for an M5 book.

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.

Was an honor to go to the BMW factory and museum, find and open the M5 Complete Story book and find myself in it.
nor

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.

Prague train station.
Downtown Prague.
Morning in Prague, getting ready to leave.
Photo: Kaspars Daleckis

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.

Gave the wheel to Anita, got in the passenger seat and got on Instagram. Next, I look up and she is pacing the G-Power M6 at 200+ km/h.
Heavy Industries, somewhere Lithuania.

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.

Back in Riga, Latvia.

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.

Getting the undercarriage washed off properly.

The Videos of the Road Trip

Road trip in 20 minute edited clip
Autobahn raw footage from GoPro in G-Power M6
Autobahn raw footage from GoPro in M5 E39
Summary of M5 E39 on Autobahn 300kmh in 1 minute (short version)
Summary of M5 E39 on Autobahn 300kmh in 6 minutes (long version)

M6 G-Power Autobahn 330km/h

Hello fellow drivers, I usually post about the M5 E39 but this time I will let it slide and post about the M6 G-Power.

On late Thursday evening I was biking past a good friend’s apartment building in Riga, Latvia, when I unexpectedly see him outside, unpacking stuff from his M6 into an Opel. He immediately tells me he’s packing for TransAlp mountain bike race and that he is heading to the Alps in the morning. He asks me to come along. I ask him about the transportation– It would be the Opel and I’d be riding bitch (the rear middle seat) all ~30 hours to Austria. I tell him “Hell NO, but I tell you what– I’ll go if I take your M6.”…. He asks “Why not your M5?” … I reply “Because I’ve already gone 300km/h with the M5, and now I wanna go 350km/h”. With M6 keys in my hand I start making next day preparations.

I called Elina at midnight and convinced her to drop work for a week in the last minute, and come with me in the morning on the spontaneous road trip.

The route to Italy through Autobahn and Alps.

Next morning, I take the car to the tire shop for inspection because when on the Autobahn, for extended periods of time we’ll be holding speeds greater than airplanes take off from. I had them replace the rims/tire setup– install back the G-Power rims and 300km/h+ rated tires. The existing “winter” tire setup was W-rated, only allowing 270km/h, plus it’s summer.

I was a little anxious there might be some issues with the M6 found during inspection that prevents me from the last minute road trip, but better to be safe than sorry. Everything checked out nicely.

Elina & I was skipping work to go on Autobahn adventures.
Cruising through Lithuania to Poland

While passing trucks on the Polish highways the machine went into fail-safe mode with reduced power. Initially worried, to check in on the situation, I pulled off the polish highway and let the car sit for a bit while I Google’d the Forums of vast BMW M6 knowledge. With no clear explanation in sight, and appearing that it’s idling and driving quite fine with the reduced power due to Engine Fault Mode, I made the decision NOT to turn around, and keep driving towards the Autobahn. It later turned out the G-Power air filters were fairly clogged and were causing the errors, but I only got that settled once I got back home many thousands of km later.

Fueling up in Warsaw, Poland. Just got to the Polish ‘bahn and now getting ready for some nice cruising to Berlin. The stretch from Riga to Warsaw is a slow one going through many Polish towns and construction sites– the highway is coming soon, they are building it now, but from Warsaw to Berlin it’s good cruising.

We crashed at a friend’s place in Berlin and next morning we were on the Autobahn heading towards Munich.

I was told the M6 eats oil and although I topped it off in Latvia, I got the Low Oil indicator on the Autobahn and was forced to pull off in search of fuel and oil.

The oil stock at the Jet fuel station off the Autobahn. The BMW service down the street was already closed. The prices are impressive on the better oils.
If a bottle of any liquid is more than $30 for 1 liter, I let girls enjoy popping the bottle.

Quite mediocre picture and speed. Moving about half speed, half rpm, half temp, only halfway there.

Munich 332KM with the “speed limit cancelled” signs coming up. These white signs with 3 lines across means that the speed limit is lifted (or dropped?) and you can floor the pedal to the metal, legally. It’s a very liberating feeling to be “released” into the open.

There was intermittent rain and traffic that was preventing higher speed runs over 300km/h.
Sunset coming up.

Drove all evening on the Autobahn to Munich. The Autobahn is much more of a dream than a reality. For most, who have never been, it’s a place in a fairy tale land where one can drive all day as fast as one wishes, but that’s quite different from the truth.
Truth is that the Autobahn is full of traffic because Germany is very densely populated. The usual situation is that traffic slows you down by getting in the left lane in order to pass other slower drivers, but passing so at 200km/h or even as low as 150km/h, while one is coming up on them (in the left lane) at 280km/h+ while slamming the brakes.
Weather kills the joy, too. During rain (logically so) the speed limit is raised on most unlimited stretches, forcing you back to reality.
Construction is another thing no one imagines when thinking of the Autobahn. Large sections are always under construction, causing heavy traffic and long waits, while slowing everyone down to 50km/h vmax.

It’s quite impossible to enjoy the scenery and drive at 300km/h. At 300km/h the eyes have laser focus on the road, and everything around seems like a blur while one keeps searching the horizon for cars that might get in the way. After hours at 250km/h (150mph) one welcomes a construction zone, because finally one is forced to go 50km/h and can finally relax, take the hands of the wheel and move around, read up on any instrument panel Christmas tree stories, etc. It’s welcomed after a good sprint. The problem is that construction zones are too frequent.


Passed through Munich, filled up the tank, got lost for 30 minutes (with navigation) in the confusing tunnels downtown, where the roads run above and below ground in parallel. Took to the Autobahn 95 out of Munich towards the Alps, specifically Nauders, Austria. The A95 is quite twisty and there’s no street lights, yet numerous cars are driving at 250km/h into the darkness. The light high beams don’t reach far enough at 250km/h. It’s quite dangerous, and it baffles my mind that Germany lets people move at these speeds at nights. A lot of responsibility is required by the people to allow such speeds.

Nauders, Austria. What a beautiful place.

Nauders really impressed me, it is beautiful, rural and yet civilized. Hens and chickens run around historic apartment buildings on the Alpine hillside, while farmers drive their tractors and mow all the grass on all the surrounding slopes. Here people don’t waste a single square meter, everything is cultivated. The tractors can’t turn around on the slopes or they’d tip over so they are driven up and backed down in same tracks.

Nauders is one of those tranquil places that left a good impression.

High above Scoul, Switzerland, overlooking the Alps during sunset.