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View Full Version : e39 540 in snow - not so fun?


O.S.
01-08-2009, 05:40 PM
first of - I love (at least I used to at least before 540) driving in the snow. I have driven all kinds of cars RWD, AWD, FWD in many snowy winters. In my experience - my least favorite car for snow is my beloved 540. I tried different snow tires. Now I got Pirellis SnowSports 210 - and the car is just barely drivable. In the 4 years I had it - I loved it on dry pavement and hate it with my guts in the snow.

When I drive my wife's Mazda 3 in snow I feel like I drive a tank. No matter how deep or if there is ice under the snow - it just goes and stops etc. My 540 on the other hand - doesn't stop so well and when stopped - it takes precision pedaling to get it to move again.
I can not figure out why. I know that the heavy engine and wide (235) tires in the front make it into a snow plow but still. It should not be a constant struggle like that.

I wander what I can do - change shocks, tires, do wheel alignment - what can make it into a snow drivable car?

what are your experiences guys?

spoony_prelude
01-08-2009, 06:05 PM
buy a beater, My e30 and e36 werent that much better. Id get stuck going up the slightest incline hill with 20 cars behind me honking like animals! So this year I opted for a beater, and love the quattro!

Jay

theblue
01-08-2009, 06:30 PM
buy snow tires. I've driven a friends 540 6 speed in the snow numerous times with good snow tires and it's very capable with lots of traction and lateral control...

mudmojo
01-08-2009, 06:59 PM
I've never driven an E39 in the snow but maybe...

Disable driver aids. Will emergency stop faster if snow builds under tires if steering is not important.

Ditch the 210's. From what I've read, they are not very good snow tires.

Get an alignment. A misalignment could be amplified when going to snows... especially if it isn't symmetrical.


Is yours a stick or auto?

Your 235's should be fine. Are you running a staggered setup? What size tire (full specs) are you running in the back and front?

Quack
01-08-2009, 07:00 PM
the 6 years of owning my 540 I drove it every winter, & I never got stuck, majority of the time I have winter tires & atleast 40lbs of weight in the trunk, I tried 1 winter without snow tires just running on summer performance tires,, still didn't get stuck but a lot of revving was done to make it up hills:D

Dado 540
01-08-2009, 07:48 PM
Im not sure why this is happening to you man. I have a 540i with snows, the thing is a tank. No problems! I've plowed right throught all the storms we had with out any problems. However with summers on snow i was a sitting duck! Once i put the Snow tires on, my god what a difference. Currently im runnin 235 all around and no problems. I drove my moms Altima in snow and was shitting my pants after comming from a 540.
If the snows too high, DSC = OFF = TANK and your good to go. Otherwise DSC = ON = TANK and you are still good to go!!! LOL

MiroE36
01-08-2009, 08:36 PM
I had a similar problem with my e36 when I first drove in the snow... but I figured out what was needed... I have all season front tires and 2 winter tires in the rear and the car just wouldn't do well at all, i was spinning tires trying to go downhill.

But I basically learned to be softer on the pedals and 2 40kg salt sacs made a world of difference. They were $8 a piece from Canadian tire... My car sits a bit lower in the back now, but the grip is really good. But this will not save you from everything, drive cautiously as you would and you really should never have a problem. Give it a try, won't cost you much

Gamite
01-08-2009, 09:28 PM
Never drove a 540 in the snow, but I drove an E34 535 int he snow, similar weight. With snow tires, I had no problem at all.

Quack
01-08-2009, 09:30 PM
Never drove a 540 in the snow, but I drove an E34 535 int he snow, similar weight. With snow tires, I had no problem at all.

didn't you drive your M5 a bit last winter?

Bullet Ride
01-08-2009, 09:33 PM
Yeah the torque of the 540 means a lot of blinking going on in the gauge cluster lol. Use to have a 540 with snows it did alright but because of all the slippage going on the tires wore out quick.

xi is the way to go in the winter... whole-shotted the shit out of a 4x4 dakota pick-up from the lights when we got all the snow a few weeks back, the guy was pissed and eventually flew by my in the lane that more snow than the car had clearance just to prove a point, yeah I don't have ground clearance I get it

MLue1
01-08-2009, 09:54 PM
first of - I love (at least I used to at least before 540) driving in the snow. I have driven all kinds of cars RWD, AWD, FWD in many snowy winters. In my experience - my least favorite car for snow is my beloved 540. I tried different snow tires. Now I got Pirellis SnowSports 210 - and the car is just barely drivable. In the 4 years I had it - I loved it on dry pavement and hate it with my guts in the snow... My 540 on the other hand - doesn't stop so well and when stopped - it takes precision pedaling to get it to move again.
I can not figure out why. I know that the heavy engine and wide (235) tires in the front make it into a snow plow but still. It should not be a constant struggle like that.

I wander what I can do - change shocks, tires, do wheel alignment - what can make it into a snow drivable car?

what are your experiences guys? Here is my 2 cents, I ran 235-45-17 snow tires last year and they were decent but I felt the over all grip wasn't to my liking so this year a bought a set of 16 inch wheels and installed 225-55-16 snow tires. The ride is very floaty when compared to the 17 inch wheels but the snow/ice traction is alot better and I feel alot more secure. The price per tire is very palitable as well.

I do find that the BMW brake pads a little soft and have alot of initial grab which you don't want when the going gets slippery.... the ABS comes on too much and stopping is not as predictable. My pads are worn down so when I get a chance I will replace them with the Akebono Euro Ceramics that I have waiting in the wings, they should do better....by reputation they are supposed to offer more linear braking without the grabiness and the brake dust of the BMW pads.

5thseries
01-08-2009, 11:03 PM
Isnt your traction control working? your ABS?
do you have limited slip dif?

parm
01-08-2009, 11:56 PM
I'm driving my 39 m5 with cooper avalanche snows tires real nubby tires, i enjoy it alot more than my pathfinder, haven't got stuck yet.

Mystikal
01-09-2009, 03:24 PM
It's the tires. Snowsports are 1) Not very good in snow and 2) haven't been produced in years, so yours are aging (which reduces traction too).

Gamite
01-09-2009, 04:03 PM
didn't you drive your M5 a bit last winter?

Bruce drove it back, it was on summers, we couldn't get it up the slight incline at bimmersport.

DINAN 3
01-09-2009, 09:42 PM
Bridgestone Blizzak LM-25's in the stock size 235/40/18 (F) & 265/35/18 (R) w/out problems.
Sure, one has to be gentle applying the torque and turn off traction in extreme conditions (to avoid getting stuck while turning at an intersection w/ oncoming traffic).
Can't wait to put my 20's on again in the spring. *smoke*

Dado 540
01-10-2009, 04:48 PM
i don't believe thats the stock size for the 540i. 18''s on top of 265, I think the sticker says 235 on 17''s fronts and 255 on rear

MLue1
01-10-2009, 06:52 PM
i don't believe thats the stock size for the 540i. 18''s on top of 265, I think the sticker says 235 on 17''s fronts and 255 on rearYou are correct but everyone love big wheels. For snow BMW recommends a -1 setup (narrower tire with more side wall) thats why I went with the 225-55-16. Plus with the pot holes showing up, it's better for the wheels.

Trouble65
01-10-2009, 08:23 PM
My wife drives the 99 540i/6 in the snow with no problems at all. I have 225 /17 on front and back. If your alignment is out it will make the car a lot harder to drive.

O.S.
01-11-2009, 01:09 PM
thanks for all your responses guys.
I guess it's the tires then

DINAN 3
01-16-2009, 01:25 AM
i don't believe thats the stock size for the 540i. 18''s on top of 265, I think the sticker says 235 on 17''s fronts and 255 on rear

Better believe it.....stock on a 2003 540 M-Tech (Executive) Sport Package...which comes with staggered 18" M-Pars.
All I decided is to use my M-Pars as my winter setup, shot w/ winter tires in the same stock configuration.
In the summer I ride on Style 101M's w/ 245/30/20(F) & 285/25/20 (R).
No modifications and no rubbing, as the summer setup is less than 2% off my stock winter sizing.
The ride is pleasantly stiffer w/ little to no harshness what-so-ever.
Just have to watch those potholes.

europrince
01-16-2009, 04:40 PM
first of - I love (at least I used to at least before 540) driving in the snow. I have driven all kinds of cars RWD, AWD, FWD in many snowy winters. In my experience - my least favorite car for snow is my beloved 540. I tried different snow tires. Now I got Pirellis SnowSports 210 - and the car is just barely drivable. In the 4 years I had it - I loved it on dry pavement and hate it with my guts in the snow.

When I drive my wife's Mazda 3 in snow I feel like I drive a tank. No matter how deep or if there is ice under the snow - it just goes and stops etc. My 540 on the other hand - doesn't stop so well and when stopped - it takes precision pedaling to get it to move again.
I can not figure out why. I know that the heavy engine and wide (235) tires in the front make it into a snow plow but still. It should not be a constant struggle like that.

I wander what I can do - change shocks, tires, do wheel alignment - what can make it into a snow drivable car?

what are your experiences guys?

Snowsports are high performance winter tires. Get a true snow tire instead, like a Hakka or Gislaved. Driving Snowsports in the snow is like driving max performance summer tires in a rain downpour. They are made for high speed dry grip, not wet traction. Go to a taller 225 tire instead of your 235.

e39m_dream
01-19-2009, 04:04 PM
You need a LSD, which is I'm looking for, too. *wave*