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by Dave Zeckhausen
 

The Eurodash conversion consists of swapping the lower dash, glovebox, and assorted parts of the American BMW E39 5-Series with the sleeker parts used in Europe and the rest of the world.

 

Benefits:

  • Substantial increase in knee room for driver and front passenger

  • More rear passenger room, since front seats can be moved further forward

  • Trim matches perfectly at the transition between dash and door panels

  • Extra storage bin to the left of steering wheel

  • Smoother operation of lighter glovebox door

Drawbacks:

  • Installation is tough for the first timer and involves cutting of metal and disconnecting cleverly complex electrical connectors.   The lock core needs to be transplanted from old to new glovebox.  It is possible to break things or accidentally cut into wiring while doing this modification.  You'll be taking lots of things apart that may not be easy to put back together.

  • If you don't wear seatbelts, this modification should be avoided.  The bolstering under the dash on American BMWs is to guide unbelted passenger and driver into the airbags and prevent submarining during a crash.  If you wear seatbelts, the extra padding is unnecessary.  But if you don't, you risk serious injury in an accident.  The United States is the only country that gets these ugly, bloated dashes because we have significantly lower seatbelt usage statistics than Europe.  Buckle up!

  • The parts used to be inexpensive (about $350 for the vinyl dash version), but after E39 5-Series production ceased in 2003, part prices have more than tripled.  Check parts list below for the most recent pricing.  (We do not sell these parts!)

Photos:

A 2003 M5 with luxury leather interior is shown below - before, during, and after the dash conversion.  Click on any thumbnail to view the full-sized photograph:

 
 

Before

 

After

 

Before

 

After

 
 
 

Door trim lines up!

 

Dash apart 1

 

Dash Apart 2

 

Dash Apart 3

 
 

 

Installation Instructions:

The website E39garage.com, with step-by-step installation instructions, is long gone.  However, using the magic of the "Wayback Machine" Internet Archive, you can click below to visit an archived version of the site.  Use the links on the left side of the webpage to navigate from section to section.

http://web.archive.org/web/20030626154658/e39garage.com/eurodash.htm


 

Eurodash conversion parts

  

 

Cost of parts for the vinyl E39 5-Series and E39 M5 Eurodash conversion is about $1,250 to $1350 when ordered from getBMWparts.com.

Parts cost for the Eurodash conversion for an E39 M5 with a  Luxury Leather interior is about $2,250.

Prices below were accurate as of 9/29/2016.  Check the website getBMWparts.com for the latest pricing and to place a parts order.


 

Parts to order for

1999-2003 E39 5-Series

and 2000-2003 M5

 

Sand Interior (Vinyl Dash)

Description

Part Number

Est. Price

Glovebox

51-16-7-143-323

$406.99

Trim panel w/storage bin

51-45-7-143-557

$338.40

Large trim panel

51-45-7-141-455

$345.98

Driver's footwell trim panel

51-45-8-233-510

$67.69

Steering column lower trim

32-31-1-095-786

$67.54

Heater Duct

64-11-8-368-031

$11.21

Screw (2 required)

51-45-8-192-765

$1.58

Gasket (2 required)

51-13-1-906-872

$1.70

Total Estimated Cost:

$1,244.37

 

Gray Interior (Vinyl Dash)

Description

Part Number

Est. Price

Glovebox

51-16-7-143-321

$406.99

Trim panel w/storage bin

51-45-7-143-553

$338.40

Large trim panel

51-45-7-141-457

$345.98

Driver's footwell trim panel

51-45-8-233-510

$67.69

Steering column lower trim

32-31-1-095-786

$67.54

Heater Duct

64-11-8-368-031

$11.21

Screw (2 required)

51-45-8-192-765

$1.58

Gasket (2 required)

51-13-1-906-872

$1.70

Total Estimated Cost:

$1,244.37

 

Black Interior (Vinyl Dash)

Description

Part Number

Est. Price

Glovebox

51-16-7-143-320

$513.79

Trim panel w/storage bin

51-45-8-268-461

$338.40

Large trim panel

51-45-7-141-453

$345.98

Driver's footwell trim panel

51-45-8-233-510

$67.69

Steering column lower trim

32-31-1-095-786

$67.54

Heater Duct

64-11-8-368-031

$11.21

Screw (2 required)

51-45-8-192-765

$1.58

Gasket (2 required)

51-13-1-906-872

$1.70

Total Estimated Cost:

$1,351.17

 

Black Interior (Luxury Leather M5 Dash)

Description

Part Number

Est. Price

Glovebox

51-16-2-698-561

$835.34

Trim panel w/storage bin

51-45-2-698-701

$340.08

Large trim panel

51-45-2-698-725

$695.38

Driver's footwell trim panel

51-45-8-233-510

$67.69

Steering column lower leather trim

32-31-2-698-379

$309.66

Heater Duct

64-11-8-368-031

$11.21

Screw (2 required)

51-45-8-192-765

$1.58

Gasket (2 required)

51-13-1-906-872

$1.70

Total Estimated Cost:

$2,265.92

 

Caramel Interior (Luxury Leather M5 Dash)

Description

Part Number

Est. Price

Glovebox

51-16-2-698-563

$814.99

Trim panel w/storage bin

51-45-2-698-703

$331.79

Large trim panel

51-45-2-698-727

$678.43

Driver's footwell trim panel

51-45-8-233-510

$67.69

Steering column lower leather trim

32-31-2-698-379

$309.66

Heater Duct

64-11-8-368-031

$11.21

Screw (2 required)

51-45-8-192-765

$1.58

Gasket (2 required)

51-13-1-906-872

$1.70

Total Estimated Cost:

$2,220.33


 

Parts to order for the

1997-1998 E39 5-Series

All of the above color options replace the steering column lower trim and the driver's footwell trim panel.  Even with this swap, you will need to do some custom work to mount the OBD connector, since the 1997 and 1998 models use a different connector.  And the footwell trim panel may not fit perfectly.

Some cutting will also be required on the steering column lower trim in order to accommodate the power steering wheel tilt and telescope control.


Glovebox

The European glovebox has the same interior volume as the American part.  The American glovebox door is a whopping 53mm thick, while the European door is only 15mm.  This translates into noticably improved knee room for the front seat passenger.

The glovebox may be ordered in vinyl for the 525i, 528i, 530i, 540i, or M5.  It may also be ordered in leather for the M5 with Luxury interior.

American glovebox door (left) and European glovebox door (right).
 

Trim Panel w/Storage Bin

This trim panel replaces the part of the American lower dash to the left of the steering column.  It provides an additional storage bin and holds the OBD II connector.  A plastic trap door at the top of the storage bin swings down to allow access to the connector.

 


Large Trim Panel

This trim piece surrounds the glovebox door and radio/navigation display screen.

 


Driver's Footwell Trim Panel

This trim panel installs above the driver's pedal cluster and is the same for all models, including those equipped with automatics, or manual 5 or 6-speed transmissions.  There is no cutout for the clutch pedal, but score lines are molded into the part.  If you are installing on a 5 or 6-speed E39, you can use a Dremel tool to cut along the score lines, so the the trim panel can fit over the clutch pedal assembly.

Steering Column Lower Trim

This part is for BMWs with plastic trim around the steering column.  It snaps under the steering column and replaces the bulky American trim panel and leather boot that resembling the neck of an old tortoise.

If you have an M5 with the Luxury leather interior, you should order a leather trim panel.

If you wish to upgrade a plastic steering column cover to leather, you will also need to order the leather trimmed upper part of the column assembly.


Heater Duct

After the conversion, the American heater duct will be too long and will protrude through the trim panel.  This European version is shorter and fits perfectly.  It snaps in place of the old duct.


Screws & Gaskets

These screws with built-in washers and rubber gaskets hold the black trim panel under the steering column in place.  They are screwed into the underside of the lower steering column and protrude through a pair of slots in the underdash trim panel.

You will need two of each.


Before you start, realize this is what you will be doing to your car!  But when it looks like this, you're only about an hour away from finishing, since assembly is much easier than disassembly.  Enjoy!

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