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Thread: E39 540i Touring - rebuild/replace M62 or LS swap?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Surrey, England
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    None at present!

    E39 540i Touring - rebuild/replace M62 or LS swap?

    Hi! I have a 2001 E39 540i Touring. It has a mega spec (it cost £52,322 new, equivalent to about £85k now), including the lower sports suspension, lower final drive ratio diff, and a high-stall torque converter in the ZF 5-speed autobox (which also has an adaptive mode when in sport or manual override, unlike my January 1998 535i). Unfortunately, after 225,000 miles (the last 10k under my ownership), the header tank let go at 70mph and the coolant evaporated instantly. My independent BMW specialist mechanic has advised that the engine is irreparably damaged (although I am not aware of precisely what the damage is). M62s don't grow on trees here in the UK, and while we had identified a donor X5, its owner has now decided not to break it. I am beginning to wonder if an LS crate motor isn't a good idea. Can an LS3 be mated to the existing ZF autobox? If not, what transmission would I need to source? I want to retain the factory functionality of the manual override. Unfortunately, a manual swap is not an option due to a knee injury which precludes me from operating a clutch pedal safely, never mind comfortably. Bear in mind also that I am in the UK and so this is a right-hand-drive car...

    I know that either an LS swap or a rebuild/replacement of the M62 is going to cost considerably more than the £1500 I paid for the car a year before the engine failure (less than 2% of its original price adjusted for inflation!), and that the most prudent thing would be to break the car, but I really don't want to! This car is worth more to me than money (not that I can afford to throw unlimited amounts of cash at it) and I am never going to be able to find another example with that spec, let alone so cheaply.

    If I need to source another transmission and spend a fortune on making BMW and GM ECUs talk to each other, I might just try to find another M62 (or, if possible, rebuild the existing engine) and supercharge it. Does anyone know if the later N62B48 can be installed in an E39?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    190
    My Cars
    BMW 525i
    The bmw transmission will not work. If you google cost to ls swap e39 there are a couple good break outs people have posted.

    There is no one that makes a package kit. You can buy mounts from forum members but you will need to look at other threads and search for things like power steering connections.

    No one makes a plug and play harness. You can buy a standalone but still need to make some connections on the bmw side. There is a e39 wiring thread some have struggled with the wiring.

    I would suggest you start figuring out goals. How much power do you want, auto/manual, lsd, power added ect. Then start pricing things out and looking at the threads about cost. Then decide if you are in over your head from a technical standpoint. Itís not impossible but if you donít know anything about wiring or their schematics you will have a steeper learning curve. Even for people with experience, this is not an overnight swap. You should plan on having a backup vehicle.

    Hope that helps.


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    190
    My Cars
    BMW 525i
    And the N62 swap would be more difficult then the ls.


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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    635
    My Cars
    LS E46
    There are adapter plates to use a BMW trans on an LS however they have flywheels for a clutch, nothing to bolt a torque converter to, so you're on your own for that. You don’t want to waste time with that anyways plus it will never work properly - getting the auto BMW trans control unit to communicate with the LS PCM will be a nightmare. If you’re not looking for crazy power numbers, a GM 4L60E will be fine but I don’t know what vehicles offered a full manual mode that could switch back to full auto. That will be something you need to ask on GM forums - I suggest signing up on https://ls1tech.com/ and do some searching.
    Last edited by Liquidity; 05-21-2019 at 10:59 PM.

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