Almost 40-year-old René Voorthuijsen has a mission: to own and drive a perfect E39. “It has gradually grown. I started improving and embellishing, but one thing leads to another and I don’t stop until it’s perfect,” says the owner of this 2002 BMW 525i Edition. He treats his car as he does his work as a plasterer and paint sprayer. approach: it must be super tight and completely neat. In short: perfect. “I never negotiate the price. I want and can only deliver perfect work the way I do it. That costs a certain amount. I don’t do it for less, but then you get something,” says René. He also expects that attitude from the party where he himself is a customer with his BMW, for things that he cannot do himself. More about that later. Volkswagen driver became BMW driver Let’s first take a look at René’s history with cars. It is quite German oriented. His first car was a Volkswagen Golf II with a 1.6 liter diesel engine. “I drove 60,000 kilometers a year with it. That was a wonderful car. If your first car is a Golf, you can be quite happy with it”, René looks back. When he started his own business, a Volkswagen Caddy came along. “As a plasterer you always have a lot of stuff with you and you also make a lot of mess on location. That should all be neatly cleaned up. Hence the Caddy.” ‘E39 last BMW 5 series built by engineers’ Then the North Hollander awarded himself a promotion. The Caddy was replaced by a Transporter with a five-cylinder engine. For private use, René went on the hunt for, as he says himself, “the last BMW 5 series built by engineers and not accountants”. According to good North Holland custom, René immediately says what it is, so it is clear. “The E39 is made to make the driver happy. When I went looking for a 5-series I ended up with an experienced car salesman. Yes, from that brand from Munich. I asked him: ‘E39 or E60, which one should I buy?’ He didn’t hesitate for a second. An E39, therefore, because more driving pleasure, well screwed together, no misery. I could put it in my pocket.” 525i from 2002 René treated himself to a 525i from 2002, with a five-speed automatic transmission and 155,000 kilometers on the clock. He went to ride and enjoy. He did as much maintenance and repairs as possible himself, although he is not a car mechanic. “But I’m not stupid,” he says. “I look at how something works, I think and then I dare to tackle it. Then you can do a lot of things yourself. You have to gather the courage for it and you shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes.” The clock ticked on and René arrived at a crossroads. “A car like this becomes an old thing at some point. It wears out and then you start to lag behind the facts and you end up in such a patch-up process. That’s what I wanted to be. Because I couldn’t work for quite some time due to physical complaints, I decided to start a project: Project E39.” Automatic and VANOS not tackled yourself You guessed it, that is the thorough renovation of that 5-series, but in the way of René: very good. This produces a list of the work you have done. “I replaced a lot of things in advance, just because I want it tight and good, from bumper to bumper. I only had the automatic transmission and the VANOS (variable valve control; ed.) done by professionals. Both of these things were necessary,” says René. At some point he put the gear knob in reverse and… nothing. The car simply did not work anymore, after which a revised automatic transmission was installed. According to the owner, that is the only time the BMW threw in the towel. BMW 525i has been repainted René also had the car completely repainted. But yes, then you just have to have René: a professional and perfectionist in making surfaces even and smooth. “I asked the painter whether he could deliver what I had in mind and whether the amount I paid (€ 6,000; ed.) was sufficient. The amount was agreed, but he did get a painter from somewhere else who dared to do this. However, I will visit him again, because what we saw today is not what we agreed on.” The 525i looks beautiful in our eyes, but not according to the owner. Some irregularities can be seen on the side bumper on the right, behind the right rear wheel. And at the front left, where the body merges into the bottom at the level of the driver’s door, there is a minuscule spot, as judge Joep Schuurman discovered. It has some rust. In any case, it has not been sprayed. As reported, René replaced a large number of parts of the BMW in advance, such as the engine mounts. “No original BMW mounts, because they were simply not available,” explains René. When Joep starts talking about this, René resolutely takes out his phone and starts ordering. “They are coming,” it says. Joep is already fully inspecting and can appreciate the home industry of the owner. “You can immediately see that attention, energy and money have been spent on this car of more than twenty years,” he says. It is generally well done. Yes, this makes us happy.” Although Joep naturally encounters some things with a car of this age, he still gives René a big compliment for his dedication to keep this German beauty so beautiful and sleek. Not yet finished with project E39 Still, René is not finished yet. As if the list isn’t long enough, he has some nefarious plans for the 525i. “Steel brake lines are still on the agenda, perhaps a new fuel line and a new gasket for the intake manifold. The calipers also need to be blasted. And next week I’m having a glass coating applied. The car is then polished twice and a repellent coating is applied. Wonderful, but that is also allowed for that money (€ 1,200; ed.).” The owner is also disappointed by that (modest) leak under the hood, but Joep reassures him that this 5-series is really a great car. “They are no longer made like this,” says the Noord-Hollander. So I don’t want a new one. This is an old car, with character and experience, that’s what I want, but in new condition,” says René. So this BMW is not going away? “No, this one stays. The only thing I can still imagine is that there will be a 3-liter block at some point, if this engine were to break down, for example. That is the only thing I would do differently next time: a slightly more powerful engine.” What’s wrong with it? A lot of engine vibrations can be felt when the car is in gear and stationary The car’s steering wheel is (too) heavy Depressing the brake pedal takes a bit more effort than normal, the car brakes well Car vibrates when driving and braking at high speed The horn/airbag is not fully seated in the steering wheel The driver’s seat belt retracts with difficulty and begins to fray at the edges The engine is leaking some oil at the front A power steering line is leaking The rear brake lines need to be replaced The front shock absorbers and springs are not completely properly assembled Carrec Technocenter’s opinion: “We would like to see this. Investing in a car that gives you a lot of driving pleasure. Hats off to this BMW driver.”
Source: AutoWeek by www.autoweek.nl.
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