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E39 Exhaust upgrade questions...

Discussion in 'E39 (1997-2003)' started by drummerfc, Apr 29, 2010.

    drummerfc guest

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    Hey all...

    I would like to "upgrade" the sound of my 525i exhaust to a more "high-performance", "throatier" (is that even a word?? :p) pitch, if you will...without turning it into a "tuner". I love my car to death :D but to be honest, the factory exhaust sounds a little....ummmm...weak.

    Questions abound:

    1. Is this even possible on the E39?

    2. If so what are the options?

    3. Are we talking BMW parts, aftermarket, factory?

    4. What kind of "clamolas" should I expect to shell out for this kind of work?

    5a. Is it even worth it?

    5b. Have any of you fellow E39-ers out there attempted this? If so, post-on - I'd be very interested in hearing about it.

    Thanks in advance!!
    • Member

    E92Dreier

    Post Count: 169
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    Answers:
    1. Is this even possible on the E39?
    Of course. Any car can be fit with an exhaust that enhances the factory sound.
    2. If so what are the options?
    There are many, many options. Some include Dinan, Borla, Remus, Magnaflow, SuperSprint, BillyBoat (TriFlo), Ansa...et cetera...

    3. Are we talking BMW parts, aftermarket, factory?
    That's up to you -- you could try to find a 'sport' factory exhaust through BMWs parts database (with the help of Realoem.com or your friendly parts advisor). I would recommend contacting Bavarian Autosport, Turner Motorsports, and other reputable vendors: they can offer expertise in a wide range of products.

    Also, google is your friend -- I just searched 'E39 525i exhaust' in the videos section...there are dozens of homemade videos shwoing off a variety of exhaust systems (with sound).

    4. What kind of "clamolas" should I expect to shell out for this kind of work?
    A simple cat-back exhaust could run you anywhere from $400.00 (OEM) to triple that for a quality high-performance exhaust with an aggressive note.

    5a. Is it even worth it?
    That depends -- are you looking for Horsepower? Then it's not worth it. If you're looking for a more satisfying grunt from your car, it might be.

    5b. Have any of you fellow E39-ers out there attempted this? If so, post-on - I'd be very interested in hearing about it.
    Sorry, never had an e39. But, my E36 325i with no cats and a headers back system (Borla) would routinely set off car alarms (oops) and wake up the neighbors (oops). But, it had no drone on the highway, it sounded insane at WOT, and it had a pleasant rumble around town. But, it was loud enough to attract negative attention (red and blues in the mirror), especially late at night...it also offered about 0% performance increase.
    • Member

    bcweir

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    I agree - if you're looking for more HP from M52/M54,be prepared to spend some real $

    Luckily, that engine is a pretty popular motor, but in terms of power, it's time to look beyond the piecemeal approach, and not point any power-robbing accusations at any one part.

    That 2.5 is creating around 200 hp.

    Engine swaps (an S52 or S54 engine would fit nicely), chip changes, intake, head, valvetrain improvements. All are possibilities.

    Or if you're just looking for an improvement in your exhaust note, you should also consider other factors as well, such as corrosion resistance. Your exhaust system will be living in a pretty hostile environment (it gets very hot under your car, and has to deal with exterior threats like the elements such as snow, wind, rain, dirt, roadsalt, as well as interior threats such as high temperatures, the water vapor byproducts of your exhaust system as well as some trace exhaust gases also.

    You're already asking a lot of that 2.5 to haul around a 3,500 pound car. Get a lot of input on your exhaust system choice, and not just what it sounds like from the exhaust tips.

    Cheers.

    Question for E92Dreier:

    If you're not running catalytic converters, you're not driving that car on public roads are you? Not to make this anything political or anything, but you're breaking the law if you are. Without a catalytic converter, there's nothing preventing harmful hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides from polluting the rest of the air around us, not to mention creating a health risk for anyone in or near your stationary car while the engine is running. Carbon monoxide KILLS, and it forms a stronger bond with the hemoglobin in your bloodstream than oxygen does. It's an invisible, odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas, and asphyxiation occurs within minutes.

    The Federal Clean Air Act of 1975 prohibits the disabling of any pollution control device on any car made on or after 1975 model year that operates on public roads.

    Cheers.

    drummerfc guest

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    Thanks for the info...but I'm actually happy with the HP/power from my 2.5 (Christ, one can only go so fast in NJ anyway!! :cool:), so I'm really only interested in improving the note at this point in time.

    Down the road, when the kids are up and out of college....then we'll talk :D !

    drummerfc guest

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    I love the use of a disclaimer here, saying "not to be political" and then following it up by being political!!

    :D:D

    I will agree with you to a point...carbon monoxide IS indeed a killer if one is exposed to prolonged or high doses of it. And yes - it IS the law - one must not tamper with or disable the pollution control device on our cars made >= the 1975 model year if driving on public roads.

    That said, many of us here have managed to survive after living for several years prior to the point where the government tree-hugging nanny-staters started putting environmental shackles on our vehicles.

    As for myself - I was 17 in 1975 and the years of inhaling non-controlled exhaust prior to 1975 has had little/no effect that I have noticed....

    As for myself - I was 17 in 1975 and the years of inhaling non-controlled exhaust prior to 1975 has had little/no effect that I have noticed.

    :D

    drummerfc guest

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    • Member

    bcweir

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    Is it political to pick and choose which laws to keep and which ones to break?

    Lets take politics off the table, and replace it with simple common sense:

    Suppose some idiot T-bones your car at an intersection. You have the green light, he has the red light, and he simply plows right into the door either because he was texting, on the cellphone, not paying attention, drunk, etc. Meanwhile, your car is probably junk, and you and any passengers may need medical attention because of the other idiot. Is that fair? Remember, you had the green light and he had a red one, yet that clown disabled and ruined your car. Is obeying the law still a matter of opinion, or does it matter at all?

    Meanwhile your car is junked and possibly put your safety and those of your passengers (if any at risk).

    Same for weaving in and out of traffic at plus 60 mph (reckless driving), speeding on the highway, etc.

    Is it fair for you to walk past a car with its engine running with no cat, then YOU need a trip to the emergency room just because the operator of the car had no regard for your health and safety?

    What about the rest of us? Don't we have a "right" to be able to enjoy our lives (and our cars too)?

    Nothing political about that. I'd like to hope everyone else respects MY right to live as much as they'd expect me to respect theirs.

    There's nothing "mythical" (or political) about the dangers of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, or nitrogen oxides as a threat to human health. It's a fact, and it's the reason you're not supposed to shortcut, skirt around, or disable the catalytic converter on a public road. Those airborne gases don't care WHAT your political beliefs are, and they don't pick and choose which human life they endanger.

    By the way, I get a kick out of everyone who flaunts their ignorance of what trees do when they use the statement "tree hugger." The natural exchange of carbon dioxide (we expel this, trees take it IN) for oxygen (we take it IN, trees expel this) is responsible for the vast majority of free oxygen on this planet, and trees provide a big portion of that. The whole process powered by sunlight.

    If you knew (and appreciated) what trees actually did, you'd probably hug them too.

    If you're able to see sunlight, blue sky, and breathe air that's not poisoned, think for a moment how and why that's possible.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_poisoning

    Observe the following table, and note how little carbon monoxide by volume it takes to kill someone in less than ten minutes of exposure. Then tell me if "it's not that big a deal" to be at risk from someone else. Parts per million are measured in FRACTIONS of a percent.

    Concentration Symptoms
    35 ppm (0.0035%) Headache and dizziness within six to eight hours of constant exposure
    100 ppm (0.01%) Slight headache in two to three hours
    200 ppm (0.02%) Slight headache within two to three hours; loss of judgment
    400 ppm (0.04%) Frontal headache within one to two hours
    800 ppm (0.08%) Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 min; insensible within 2 hours
    1,600 ppm (0.16%) Headache, tachycardia, dizziness, and nausea within 20 min; death in less than 2 hours
    3,200 ppm (0.32%) Headache, dizziness and nausea in five to ten minutes. Death within 30 minutes.
    6,400 ppm (0.64%) Headache and dizziness in one to two minutes. Convulsions, respiratory arrest, and death in less than 20 minutes.
    12,800 ppm (1.28%) Unconsciousness after 2-3 breaths. Death in less than three minutes.

    Just my $.02

    Tahoe guest

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    I found a new Dinan exhaust that was being resold by someone who didn't install it for less than 2/3 the original price. (The Dinan exhaust is a bit pricey. But then all their stuff is.) Installed on my 540 it is still quiet but a much nicer tone. It looks good and weighs only a bit more than 1/2 what the stock exhaust weighed. I like it.

    drummerfc guest

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    Sheesh...all I wanted was some information and opinion on exhausts. Not really interested in arguing about carbon OR politics. There are other sites for this, you know.

    But you leave me no choice...<SIGH>...

    Ummm...pardon me...isn't this why the police are called in an accident?? Isn't this why said police fill out a police report?? Wouldn't that driver, obviously at fault, be made to pay the consequences in the form of increased insurance rates/tickets/points/suspended driving/privileges/jail time/etc.???

    Give me a freakin' break, will you please?? Who here is trying to stifle anybody's "right" to enjoy their lives or cars? If you'll go back and look, much of my post was tongue-in-cheek!!

    That said (and since you lit this match), how many people do YOU know that needed a trip to the emergency room simply caused by walking past a running car? As I wrote in an earlier post - there are plenty of us walking around that were alive well before 1975 and the advent of pollution-control within our automobiles, and I don't know ANYONE who has had to incur a trip to the ER as a result of walking past a pre-1975 model year car!! I also don't know ANYONE who knows ANYONE who has had to as well.

    Many of us car freaks also attend classic car shows/auctions/cruises and the like...funny, I have yet to meet anyone at these events wearing a gas mask necessary to guard them from the horrors of their pre-'75 built exhausts!!

    Hay pal...that works both ways. I love how some people want to trample on someone's rights while decrying the perceived trampling of theirs!!

    In case you conveniently missed it, I AGREED with you on that point!! And in case you conveniently missed this as well, I'm not the one who skirted, short-cut, or disabled any pollution-control device. I'm the one who simply wanted some information on exhausts for my car...THAT'S IT!

    You know, you don't know me from Adam, and therefore, you aren't qualified to pass judgment on what I am (or am not) ignorant about. I happen to know this fact about trees and how they take in carbon dioxide expel oxygen while we take IN oxygen and expel said carbon dioxide. This happens to be one of the major arguments AGAINST the man-made global warming alarmists.

    "Tree-hugger" was simply an expression...

    And let's remember...

    I just wanted some G/D'ed information on E39 Exhausts...THAT'S IT!!! :eek:
    • Member

    az3579

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    Brian,
    Do you seriously have to trash this thread with a politics argument? Please, let's not get into this. This thread is not about pollution control devices, it's about a good sounding exhaust.


    Frank,
    I would explore options that E92Dreier mentioned. A lot of those are reputable companies, and will stand by their product as well as give your M54 that throatier sound it deserves.

    I have a stock exhaust and I absolutely love it. I heard a Dinan exhaust once and really liked the sound of that. Doesn't sound too aftermarket, just a little more aggressive than stock. The best piece of advice I can give you is to research what brands are available for your car and to then head on over to YouTube and do a search for that exhaust on your car. You'd be amazed how many people make simple videos of them revving up their engines just to hear the exhaust.

    drummerfc guest

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    Thanks!! I've already done some recon on the web on those sites, and I'm also going to speak to my tech guy/indie mechanic and see what he thinks.

    BCWeir - let's not split hairs...after all, we have a common bond in our Bimmers and that's why we're here!!
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    JDiazAmador

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    When I was first researching cars and engines as a teenager in the '80's, I remember reading that the lifespan of a catalytic converter catalyst was about 10 years or 100,000 miles. Has that been improved?

    It's definitely possible to get a well tuned engine down to below 1% CO (sometimes as low as .01%) without a working catalyst. When my dad sold his 1976 Ford Maverick in 1992, the car had to pass Florida's "smog" inspection.

    That car was carbureted, had the air pump removed (by some unknown mechanic), and I'm sure the catalyst was shot (but it was still there). I found the mixture screw on the carb, leaned it out to where it ran rough, richened it up a bit, and then drove it to the inspection.

    It passed with something like .05% CO... and the FL limit for that car's model year was 5% (it could have passed with 4.9% CO). I was amazed.

    My 2000 E39 528i with 145k miles passed CA's tough smog check with no trouble... almost zero emissions. And that was before I bought it, the previous owner not having spent any money beyond routine maintenance.

    For the record: I don't think there is any point to removing the catalyst on a modern car unless it is going to be driven on the race track.

    ***

    So, back to performance exhaust:

    Anybody here installed a Remus on their E39? What about a Scorpion? There is a Billy Boat available, but I hate the fact that the exhaust tip points down. If I'm going to pay $700 for a G-D muffler I want my dual tips (which BMW should have given my car in the first place).

    BTW, I don't get how reducing back pressure would lead to ZERO performance increase. I thought a back pressure reduction *always* increased power.

    And I definitely would like to hear a bit more growl from my engine.

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