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530i Automatic -> Manual Conversion

Discussion in 'E39 (1997-2003)' started by kotodama, Mar 18, 2011.

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    kotodama

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    I'm in the market for a 2002 - 2003 530i with a manual transmission and sport package and am disparing of ever finding one in decent condition. I'm wondering if anyone has converted a 530i from automatic to manual transmission, if they have how hard it was, and what basic parts are needed? I'm assuming a different computer is necessary but I'm worried that there may be transmission specific wiring needed. Anyone have any thoughts?

    David
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Not on the conversion, but I'd say open up your search parameters as much as possible. Shipping a car from Alaska to the Florida Keys might cost as much as converting an automatic to manual (don't know specifics for your car, but typically you need the transmission, flywheel, clutch & clutch parts, a different driveshaft, the pedal box, possibly a different brake booster, a variety of lines/plumbing/brackets, clutch master and slave, plus the wiring and whatever it takes to incorporate it all and make the car's electronics happy, & maybe even a different differential).

    You can search Craigslist ads from different areas more quickly by doing a search (don't make it too specific, perhaps just 'BMW' or maybe 'BMW 530i', and then from the search results url that comes up in your browser's address bar, (1st page of the search results) cut & paste in a different area. IE, if the url for a search in the Miami area is: http://miami.craigslist.org/search/cta?query=bmw 530i&srchType=T&minAsk=&maxAsk=

    Just substitute "Chicago" for "Miami" in the url so it shows: http://chicago.craigslist.org/search/cta?query=bmw 530i&srchType=T&minAsk=&maxAsk= ; in Mozilla and Explorer, once you edit the url to be Chicago instead of Miami, you can just hit the enter key to go to the new address, which will be your search results.

    With mapquest, google maps, or a map in hand, you can pretty much search all BMW craigslist ads for all major metropolitan areas in fairly short order, without having to click through the menus and re-enter the search criteria for each time. If anyone knows how to get google to search current craigslist ads from all across the country in one fell swoop, I'm all ears, but I haven't had luck trying to use google to search current craigslist ads and get comprehensive, current listings.

    Try a nationwide search on autotrader.com, plus there's cars.com. Google up car sale websites, presumably you'll find more sites to search that way.

    Here's one in black, the 6th I opted to look at out of the top 21 listings for a Miami-area craigslist search for 'BMW 530i'

    http://miami.craigslist.org/mdc/cto/2264492298.html

    Craigslist ads can disappear at the drop of a hat, if you find a car you want to follow up on, don't just bookmark it, either note the pertinent information, or prtscr (or alt-prtscr, or ctrl-prtscr, depending what you want to capture) a screenshot of the ad and save it as a graphic image for reference later; (open ms Paint, or another graphics program, and paste the screenshot into the program, then save).

    Don't forget to search ebay. If you're willing to pay for a clean one, if you do enough searching, I imagine you'll find one before having to resort to converting an automatic.

    tspringy guest

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    I don't know about conversions with BMW but from the talks I have had with friends when I had a Celica I wanted to convert to manual it would be difficult for weekend mechanics mainly because the amount of work involve with the conversion. But if you wnat to do it more power to you.
    • Member

    kotodama

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    The best search for cars I've found so far is Autotempest. With it I can search all the major car sites like cars.com, ebay.com, and craigslist plus on craigslist it will automatically search all the city listings. I just recently found a car in my own town so I had my mechanic check it out. It wasn't up to his standard so I passed. I keep my cars for a long time so if I'm going to buy I want to get exactly what I want. At the very minimum 2002-03 530i, sport package <100,000 miles and manual tranny. If I'm lucky add in navigation and no black interior or exterior colors.

    Any car I buy I want to be checked out by a good BMW mechanic and that makes the out of town cars more problematic. Going through the club I can probably find a good mechanic in x locale but the shipping and logistics of that kind of deal make it harder. Oh, add to the above wish list no cars from states that use salt on their roads in the winter and preferably a southwest car.

    I'm still looking.
    • Member

    granthr

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    Don't forget to check www.cars.com and www.autotrader.com

    You will find the car you are looking for, just be checking every day and all the websites.
    • Member

    kotodama

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    Yes, Autotempest searches about 7 used car sites, ebay, and every craigslist city simultaneously. There just aren't that many cars that fit my specs. Autotrader usually has less than 20 cars nationally and that includes cars that don't have sport package, have high miles and/or have some other undesirable feature. I'm still looking.

    David
    • Member

    Deutsch Marques

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    Wait, I thought there was no such thing as an E39 530i manual in the US. If you wanted a stick, you had to go with the "base" 528 or the top-end 540.
    • Member

    granthr

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    Repeating here, but I think you could get a 530i SEDAN with manual trans and sport package.

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