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Identifying BMW E39 Vehicle Options
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Identifying BMW E39 Vehicle Options

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$0

Talent:

*

Tools:

Pen and Paper

Applicable Models:

BMW E39 5-Series (1997-03)

Hot Tip:

Take notes on options and store in owner's manual

Performance Gain:

Will help when servicing and purchasing parts for your vehicle

Complementary Modification:

Keep notes on your equipment for future service

When performing repairs on your BMW E39 it is important to be able to identify standard items and optional features. Option codes will help you determine what your vehicle is equipped with when ordering parts or diagnosing an issue. The trim level list below identifies possible options a BMW E39 could be equipped with. Not all options were available all years and some became standard options as the vehicle reached later years. There is a ton of confusing information on the web regarding option codes and what was what, my suggestion is to have your local shop or dealer decode your VIN next time you are in for service. Have them supply you an option code list and store it with your vehicle service records.

E39 Trim Levels

Premium package

Sport wheels and tires

Leather upholstery

Multifunction steering wheel

Wood grain interior trim

Rain-sensing windshield wipers (standard equipment from model year 2000)

Auto-dimming rear-view mirror

Power seats

Moonroof (moonroof also available separately)

Sport package

The sport package was available on all E39 models, unless you have the M5.

Three-spoke steering wheel (standard in 2000)

Sport seats with adjustable thigh support

17-inch sport wheels (not applicable with cold weather package)

Sport suspension (began with 528i, rear wheel drive models)

Sport Premium package

This was a mix of the Premium and Sport package and included options from both

Cold weather package (started in 1999)

Pass-through seat ski bag

Heated seats

Heated steering wheel

Headlight washers

Decoding your VIN

You VIN (vehicle identification number) can be used to help purchase parts and identify vehicle options. The last seven numbers are all you need when ordering parts. However, it is important to know how to decode the entire VIN.

The VIN is located in many places.
Figure 1

The VIN is located in many places. Two reliable spots to read it are on left lower corner of dashboard (green arrow), looking through windshield from outside vehicle.

The VIN is also located on the driver door jamb, vehicle identification sticker.
Figure 2

The VIN is also located on the driver door jamb, vehicle identification sticker. (green arrow)

Using the sticker on your driver door jamb, you can also determine production date.
Figure 3

Using the sticker on your driver door jamb, you can also determine production date. (green arrow)

Using the sticker on your driver door jamb, you can also find your BMW model (green arrow) and tire pressure specifications as well as compatible tire size options.
Figure 4

Using the sticker on your driver door jamb, you can also find your BMW model (green arrow) and tire pressure specifications as well as compatible tire size options. (yellow arrow) Important: VIN digit positions: The first 3 digits are the country of origin. Fourth and fifth positions are vehicle model. Position 6 is type of engine. The tenth digit of your VIN is vehicle model year. The last seven are the serial number.

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Comments and Suggestions:
makx Comments: Are you able to ship to Zambia. I have a BMW 525i 2001 model and in need of some parts. How long will it take to ship to Zambia
October 6, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I dont think we do. To be sure, Give our parts specialists a call at 1-310-626-8765
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Steve Comments: Can you please add, either here or in another tech article, the interior and exterior color options and where to find the color codes on the vehicle. I haven't been able to find them in any of the usual places. A cross-reference between the BMW color codes and the color titles would also be helpful.
August 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The exterior color code is usually on a sticker on the right side strut tower. The interior color is determined via VIN using the vehicle as built data within the BMW repair information.- Nick at Pelican Parts  

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