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2010 2011 BMW 5 Series Forum F10 BMW 5-Series (F10) Forums General 5-Series Sedan and Wagon (F10 / F11) Forum 2011 550xi M-sport project car
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      08-29-2012, 12:39 AM   #1
DeeDub
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2011 550xi M-sport project car

2011 550xi M-Sport - Jet Black

Hey guys - this is my first post in this forum and I thought I would finally show my "project car" and all the steps involved in its' transformation and the many people who helped me get my ride to where I want it.

I had been looking for the last year for this car and finally found one on the other side of the US. I paid over $2k to have it transported in a covered trailer and when it arrived, I was in for a huge surprise - unfortunately, the stealership I was dealing with misrepresented their "pristine and flawless" car. This car had a badly damaged rim, curbed front bumper and I'm pretty certain someone washed the car with a Scotchbrite pad. I was told to "get over it" as I had bought a "used car" (9500 miles) - this after I had spoken to them several times clarifying the supposedly pristine nature of the car. Long story short, I'm going after them in court and will soon have my day . . . but here's where it is now after much work :-)

1st Phase - get the paint dialed in.





I've had 20+ years polishing my own vehicles and those of friends and I have never dealt with such a complicated pain-in-the-ass paint as that on a jet black BMW with the ceramic clear coat. I had tried my arsenal of Griots Garage products and nothing would come close to touching this finish - I was beginning to believe I would have to have it wet sanded to recover from all the deep scratches. In my search for a solution and someone skilled enough to wet sand this ride, I was told about a detailing shop called, "Polished Image" in Tacoma, Washington (253-273-3217). When I first stopped in and explained my problem, Jason Killmer and Brian Churchill stopped what they were doing and showed me very quickly that they could accomplish in a short time what had seemed impossible to me. Based on how bad the condition of the finish was, they estimated a minimum of 18-hours of polish time with a 2-step process - I think they were being kind and trying to keep my costs down. I explained my desire to fix it myself and they were so cool as to take time out of their schedule to teach me their techniques so that I could do it on my own time. Took me 33 hours to do a 3 stage polishing process and then finish with a sealant. Without going into too much detail, here's the steps taken:

Tools: Flex 3401, Porter Cable rotary, Griots Gararge RO (6" and 3") and a small 3" rotary
Polish & Pads: Step one was with Meguiars M105 using Surbuf pads and Lake Country course yellow. Step two was with Menzerna 1500SI and LC orange pads. Step three was Menzerna 4000 and LC white pads. Sealant was Chemical Guys Black Light with a soft yellow pad. I spent the better part of a week working panel by panel making sure each panel was flawless (except for a couple places where the scratches were too deep).















I quickly found out that with this clear coat, the simple act of careful washing (double bucket) and drying produced fine scratches even while using good microfibers. I then went to using a soap cannon, better towels, etc and began feeling OCD that the finish was too fragile and prone to quick accumulation of flaws. More on this later . . .

After this process, I decided to take Jason's 8 hour training on wet sanding and polishing perfection and I highly recommend it! It was during this training that I decided to de-badge the car of it's x-drive and 550i emblems to give it an even cleaner look.

2nd Phase - get the stance right

To lower the F10, I chose Racing Dynamics springs based on all the reviews I had read and I have to say I'm very impressed. There are times I wish they were more aggressive on the side of firmness, but now at least the adjustable suspension actually does something - this is how the car should have come from the factory - it was too soft and too high for my taste. I bought the springs from ModBargins.com and dealt with Gilbert (714-582-3330 ext. 8004) - he's my man for all the goods. Ultimately, I bought the springs, carbon fiber grill, carbon fiber fender light fixtures and the Avant Garde 20" M355 staggered wheels and couldn't be happier.





Spring installation was done by Pete Bristow of Bristow's Exclusive Auto Repair (253-471-1663) - this guy is on fire and is truly passionate about what he does. It took the better part of the day, but when it was done, it was perfect . . . can't say enough good things about this shop and the level of service.

3rd Phase - Bumper

Since the bumper had been curbed and was full of rock chips, I took it to Kirmac in Tacoma, WA (253-473-2888). Dick McLean took excellent care of me and showed me the shop and their new (from Italy), 1st in the USA, robotic infra-red baking system for flawless paint curing - very impressive shop to say the least. They coordinated with my clear bra installer and dropped the car off once they were done with their process.

4th Phase - Clear Bra

I then turned to the guru of clear bra installations in Tacoma - a guy by the name of Micaiah Mausten (253-474-8021) at Custom Clear Bra. This guy is a wizard - an artist with a razor blade and skills I've never seen before. He wrapped the entire hood, front bumper and front fenders with Expel Ultimate film that has self-healing characteristics . . . if it gets scratches, give it enough time in the sun or pour warm/hot water on it and they disappear - pretty damn cool. The nice thing about this film is that it's thin and you really can't tell it's covered when you compare raw to covered unless you spend a lot of time up close. Due to the fragile nature of the clear coat and it's desire to be scratched easily, I decided to challenge Micaiah and have him wrap the entire vehicle so that it can be a daily driver without concern of frequent scratches and rock chips. Yes, I know this is blasphemy, but don't forget that I live in the most rock chip prone state with tons of rain - I wash this car 2x/week and I love the ability to wash it quickly without having to foam cannon it, double bucket it, etc. It makes having a black car easy as I can now wipe it down with CG spray without fear of scratching and need of polishing on a monthly basis.

5th Phase - Rims

Gilbert at **********s came through again and hooked me up with one of the first sets of Avant Garde M355 20" staggered rims. Soon to be added is the Dinan Stage 2 upgrade for 501HP/580Tq - I think I'll finally be happy at that point!

Here's the finished product :-) Sorry for such a long post, but this has been a long process and I thought it would be good to share the experience to hopefully make someone else's life a bit easier if they run into the same issues I've had.





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      08-29-2012, 01:04 AM   #2
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Very nice job on the paint & modifications!!! Hope you get your day in court with those a**holes.
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      08-29-2012, 01:52 AM   #3
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Looks great. Those wheels are the same as the M5 20 inch rims right ?
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      08-29-2012, 02:24 AM   #4
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I love the car you really put your heart and sole into it... My question is do u no if the 535xi and 550xi have the same offset for rims? Also what are the offset on the rims you installed? I've been wanting these rims so much but everyone says I can't put them on my 535xi because it's an xdrive and my offsets are weird... Please do shine some light on my problem! And once again gorgeous car!!!
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      08-29-2012, 08:36 AM   #5
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Thanks a lot guys:-) Yes, the wheels are M5 replica wheels. I have not heard the exact offset on them, but there's no problem putting them on the xi models as long as you match the rolling diameter of the tires and keep the difference less than 1%. There's an incorrect rumor that you can't run a staggered fitment on these cars - it's just not true. The only problem you run into with DSC is with running the wrong diameters. I believe these rims have already gone onto some 535xi's without issue - you can always check with Avant Garde or ModBargins to double check.
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      08-29-2012, 11:15 AM   #6
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Great work, car looks good!
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      08-29-2012, 12:18 PM   #7
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Offsets

Just got word - offsets on the wheels are 20x9 et30 and 20x10 et38. Also, it was reiterated that there's no problem running them on the xi cars.
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      08-29-2012, 12:57 PM   #8
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do you have DDC and/or ARS (Active Roll Stabilization) with the RD Springs and are they getting along?

Sounds like at least DDC.
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      08-29-2012, 01:43 PM   #9
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Wowwwwww that paint when you got it! Wtf!!! I have a JB car as well and sympathize with your pain. Ended up having mine coated with Opti Guard and couldn't be happier. You'd probably love it too. Have a post about it in the wash wax section on here you can check out.
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      08-29-2012, 02:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyser Soze View Post
do you have DDC and/or ARS (Active Roll Stabilization) with the RD Springs and are they getting along?

Sounds like at least DDC.
Yes, I have both and there are no issues - the ride is much better now actually since I ditched the RFTs.
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      08-29-2012, 09:23 PM   #11
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great looking car

what size tires are u running on? front and back
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      08-29-2012, 11:33 PM   #12
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what size tires are u running on? front and back
Running 245/35/20 in the front and 285/30/20 in the rear - just under 1% rev difference:-) Michellin PS AS Plus tires
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      08-30-2012, 05:38 AM   #13
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Great job on the detailing, looks great!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeDub View Post
Just got word - offsets on the wheels are 20x9 et30 and 20x10 et38. Also, it was reiterated that there's no problem running them on the xi cars.
Aren't the rear 20x10.5 ET38?
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      08-30-2012, 09:48 AM   #14
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Great job on the detailing, looks great!



Aren't the rear 20x10.5 ET38?
Yes, you are correct sir - typing too fast:-)
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      08-30-2012, 10:20 AM   #15
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Just curious, you mind sharing roughly how much you paid? I too am in the market for a lightly used CPO'd 550i MSport. Been seeing them in the mid 50's. Reading your write up gives me the motivation to fly one way to potential car and drive it home after personal inspection.

And nice work on the paint, you did an amazing job. Car looks awesome.
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      08-30-2012, 10:27 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by n55x3 View Post
Just curious, you mind sharing roughly how much you paid? I too am in the market for a lightly used CPO'd 550i MSport. Been seeing them in the mid 50's. Reading your write up gives me the motivation to fly one way to potential car and drive it home after personal inspection.

And nice work on the paint, you did an amazing job. Car looks awesome.
No problem. The car is heavily optioned, with HUD, 360 camera package, lane departure, etc and had 9500 miles on it. Was $66k, +tax, +shipping and have put about $5k into it. If I remember correctly, it was $83k new.
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      08-30-2012, 03:03 PM   #17
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Nice, that's the way to do it (lightly used). You got a great deal without taking the depreciation hit.

Again, beautiful car... after you worked your magic. ;-)
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      09-06-2012, 04:20 PM   #18
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Nice work. Car looks awesome!
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      09-06-2012, 06:58 PM   #19
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Great job man - lotsa sweat equity in that beast...
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      09-07-2012, 07:45 PM   #20
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Great Job on the paint...the clear coat on these cars is like butter. Car looks great all around...the front my need some spacers to match the aggressiveness of the rear offset maybe 22et front on a 9".
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      09-07-2012, 08:49 PM   #21
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very nice, great start
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      09-07-2012, 09:41 PM   #22
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Quote:
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Great Job on the paint...the clear coat on these cars is like butter. Car looks great all around...the front my need some spacers to match the aggressiveness of the rear offset maybe 22et front on a 9".
Thanks. You read my mind . . . been meaning to get some spacers for it - they do sit too far in for my liking.
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