NOTE Perform these steps at your
own risk. All P/Ns listed are a "best guess", so please double-check with your
local dealer. These mods and repairs were performed on my US-Spec 1997 540iA
(11/96 prod date, M62 engine) but there is no guarantee they will work on other
E39s. These instructions are provided for entertainment purposes only!
BACKGROUND: Upgrading to M5 liners is a possible solution for some of the rear
wheel rubbing issues associated with lowering your E39 or adding wider wheels,
especially in a staggered configuration. Having your fenders rolled is generally
the first step, but many folks have found M5 liners a good second step. I
haven't rubbed (yet), but decided to do both as a preventative measure against
ruining expensive rubber.
P/N 51 71 2 496 657 Left M5 Liner - Wheel Housing Covering (~$50 at
P/N 51 71 2 496 658 Right M5 Liner - Wheel Housing Covering (~$50 at
Required Parts for vehicles with integrated Deflector Lip
(see Step 2 below):
P/N 51 71 8 222 167 Left Door Sill Cover Deflector Lip
P/N 51 71 8 222 168 Right Door Sill Cover Deflector Lip
(Qty 2) P/N 51 16 1 881 149 Expanding Rivet (center pin has no head and
you might need to drill hole a bit wider to fit)
(Qty 4) Longer Mounting Screw (unsure if required)
Here you can
see how the shape of the M5 liner (left) differs to allow more clearance than
the original liner (right).
1. Remove the rear passenger-side wheel using the appropriate wheel service tools. Since you'll be working in the wheel well,
be sure to work on level ground using a good jack, jackstand,
and wheel chocks.
2. Remove the (2) 8mm screws towards the front of the wheel well (upper left
pic). Notice that my original wheel liners had an integrated, small
mudflap-looking extension off the front edge (see blue arrow). It's called a
"Door Sill Cover Deflector Lip" and newer model E39s have it as a completely
separate piece. You should examine your current liners and possibly order the
respective P/Ns listed above since the M5 liners don't have the integrated
extension piece. Remove the (3) expanding rivets towards the back of the wheel
well by using the flat-head screwdriver and pliers to pull out the center pins
(upper right pic). Remove the (2) 10mm plastic nuts in the middle of the fender
liner next to the shock (bottom pic).
3. Remove the 8mm screw on the underside of the liner.
4. Remove the liner by releasing the lip, working from back to front. It's
usually very dirty, so that's where the rubber gloves come in handy. Use
careful navigation and some strategic tugging to release it.
5. Pay special attention to the black plastic hose clipped to the fender liner
(see Pic 1 arrow) and leading to the fuel filler overflow (see Pic 2 arrow). It
should detach on its own from the fuel filler area.
6. The original passenger-side rear liner had a metal clip (see left red arrow)
and exit hole (see blue arrow) to guide the overflow tube. Since the M5 liner
doesn't have this, I removed the metal clip and hot-glued it to the M5 liner so
the tube will be secure and follow the original path (see right arrow). Connect
the overflow tube back up to the fuel filler area and move it off towards the
rear of the car for later installation.
7. Now comes the fun part - fitting the new liner in place. It is somewhat
easier than trying to install a stock liner because it only needs to tuck into
the rolled fender at the left and right edges, not in the middle. The first step
is to guide the portion that goes into the shock tower as evenly as possible
into position, while bending the bottom of the liner around the brake
components. If the plastic edges catch part of the spring cap or something else
up there, it won't seat properly. Once that is in place, it should be fairly
trivial to get the center 10mm holes to line up and hang the liner on the two
threaded bolts. To aid in centering on the bolts, I pounded upwards against the
liner with my fist to be sure the liner was seated as high as possible. If they
aren't lining up, you might need to pull it out, reseat, and try again.
8. Roll the front portion of the liner into place and tuck the screw hole clip
plate above the body piece.
9. The shape of the M5 rear bumper's leading edge must be slightly different
than the standard bumper because the rear of the liner is close, but doesn't
quite fit. I used a Dremel tool to grind away some of the plastic from the edge
and underside for a perfect fit.
10. Roll the rear portion of the liner into place and tuck the newly trimmed
portion into place. There is a small tab on the M5 liner that can be bent and
tucked into the fender roll right where the metal body meets the plastic bumper.
The red arrow shows where the tab is tucked into the metal roll.
11. Install all (3) 8mm screws. Please note that the bottom solo screw didn't
fit quite right on the two non-M5 E39's I've installed these on. I had to push
up a bit to get the screw to reach the hole, as you can tell by the slightly
bent plastic pictured below.
12. Install the (2) 10mm plastic nuts, but don't over-torque and strip them.
Double-check to be sure the overflow tube is still attached properly up top and
install the (3) expanding rivets. Fasten the overflow tube into the glued metal
13. This completes the passenger-side install. Check to be sure no part of the
liner is touching any of the suspension or braking components. In the pic below
you can see the view from inside the fender. Notice the extra clearance?
Reinstall the wheel and torque to 88ft-lbs.
14. The driver-side liner has the same attachment points, with the addition of
(1) expanding rivet pictured below.
15. The driver-side liner has a heat shield to protect from the OEM muffler. It
is normally attached via clips and slots (see red arrows), but the new liner has
no such provisions. The only common mounting point is a hole (see blue arrow)
that one of the expanding rivets fits thru. I used the hot glue gun to affix the
heatshield to the new liner in multiple places. I know high heat might melt the
glue, but I don't think it'll get quite that hot. Besides, I don't really need
the heat shield (see next Step), but those that do should inspect it on occasion
to be sure it's holding up. Use the hole to line up the heatshield.
16. The rest of the driver-side installation is identical to the passenger-side.
17. This picture shows the heatshield and liner to the right of it. Normally,
with the OEM exhaust, there would be one of the double-barrel canisters right up
against the heatshield, but my black aftermarket muffler completely avoids that
area, so in actuality, the heatshield is not really needed in my application.