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BMW 5-Series Sedans

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  • chrism124chrism124 Posts: 133
    I knew the rear swaybar would be thicker but I was wondering if it negatively impacted the handling or ride while keeping the stock sport springs, shocks & struts. I was looking at the Dinan unit, at $198, simply because I have already added the Dinan naturally aspirated system to my car already. Dinan is not the least expensive option but the warranty match to the existing factory version is important.

    I would like your opinion on the S.S. brake linings. My local guy is pushing them. I understand the stock rubber units will flex some when pressure is applied. But if I don't track my car will I feel a difference in brake feel and/or response for street driving?

    Do you like the Xenonmatch bulbs for your driving lights?

    Regards,
    Chris

    PS: BTW, thanks for your input on the Bluetooth system (roadfly website). Verizon will be introducing two models from Motorola in July. I plan on adding the system when the phone becomes available.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    The latest issue of Roundel (BMW CCA), June 2004, has an interesting Tech Talk question regarding upgrades to the E39 for less than $3,000. Mike Miller focuses on the suspension. He recommends H&R street springs, Bilstein HD shocks (if you keep the standard springs) or Bilstein Sport shocks (if you go with the H&R springs), and Dinan sway bars (27mm fr & 17mm rr), along with upgraded tires (e.g., Michelin Pilot Sports).
  • srfastsrfast Posts: 138
    BMW M5 bar was $104.00, so it was an easy choice for me. The adjustable bar is nice, but in most street driving situations, you set it once and don't change it again. The thicker rear bar does not adversely affect the ride of the car, i.e. make it harsher. The benefit of the thicker bar is evident in turns/curves when the weight of the car is shifted.

    I had the SS brake lines installed because I am accustomed to having these lines on my cars. Since I was changing the the brake pads and had access to the calipers, I did it then. These are optional for street cars.

    The Xenonmatch fog lamps are nice because they are "whiter" than the OEM bulbs which has a yellowish tint to them.

    Hope this helps....JL
  • chrism124chrism124 Posts: 133
    I checked with Dinan, the price for the rear swaybar is $198 and the front being $304. However they didn't recommend swapping the rear unless upgraded to their Stage I suspension system. I didn't get a good answer as to why. But I may still pursue using it on my car.

    Regards,
    Chris
  • chrism124chrism124 Posts: 133
    I received a small surprise this morning, when running late for an appointment, my car wouldn't start. Turn the key and click, click, click. Dead battery! Only 11k miles on the odometer and I drive it regularly. However it had been sitting for 3 days. No phones, radar detectors or other electronic devices were connected to the aux inputs.

    I must give BMW Roadside assistance credit; they had a team out to my house within 20 minutes. Battery charged and ready to go. The car goes in next week to determine the problem.

    Regards,
    Chris
  • srfastsrfast Posts: 138
    Dinan rep you spoke to can't read. Dinan's website list the prices you quoted in reverse. BTW, Dave Zeckhausen installed the Dinan rear bar with the stock front bar. He has no complaints.

    Hope this helps...JL
  • chrism124chrism124 Posts: 133
    Dinan's website does list the rear swaybar at $304. However if you download their catalog the price is listed as $198. According to the rep, the website is incorrect.

    Did Dave Z update his springs, shocks & struts? The rep indicated that I would need to do this before installing the rear swaybar (the front would remain stock).

    Regards,
    Chris
  • srfastsrfast Posts: 138
    He only swapped the rear bars - using the stock 540i SP suspension.

    Regards...JL
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    The July 2004 issue of Automobile has a comparison test of the 530i, A6 3.2Q and E320. Each has automatic transmission. 530i had the Sport Package.

    "the BMW 5-series actually needs Active Steering (AS) and Active Roll Stabilization (ARS) to evolve from a more generic sedan into something special. ... Without AS and ARS, the 530i is just a car. Even with these technologies, the 530i's looks and the iDrive system are an acquired taste, and it has the most compromised rear seat. But in terms of responsiveness and agility, a properly spec'd 5-series outshines the competition. The steering, ride and chassis balance are strong arguments for those who love to drive hard."

    Is interesting how the E60 just doesn't inspire reviewers like the E39. Has the E60 won a major comparison test yet?
  • cmnottcmnott Posts: 200
    True. It surely doesn't inspire as the previous E39, but I think that the competition has elevated its game immensely. The Benz is light years ahead of the previous, antiquated stodgy E class.

    Was it the 2005 A6? If it is then it also shows that BMW has finally forced its rivals to raise their level of performance and handling dynamics. I am sure that once MB and Audi saw the looks of the E60, they must have thought that BMW finally gave them an opening and take advantage of that. Now, granted most of these cars were in the pieplines for many years however there could have been improvements meant to take advanatage of the destabilization of the midsize luxury class.

    If it was a 2004 A6, that would be surprising. A big blow to BMW for sure.

    Apparently, the 2005 S-type is supposed to be a huge improvement as far as driving experience as well...
  • jbf5jbf5 Posts: 32
    Has anyone attended a BMWCCA driving school? Any concerns about wear and tear on the car?
  • srfastsrfast Posts: 138
    about wear and tear because you will not be driving hard enough, unless your tires and brake pads are "borderline". If they are, change them or don't go because these are the items that will experience the most wear.

    Focus on driving the correct line and listen to your instructor. Talk to the other drivers in the paddock regarding tire pressures and other car set up things. You're there to learn. You can't win a driver's school so don't drive over your head. BTW, what track are your driving?

    Good luck and have fun...JL
  • jbf5jbf5 Posts: 32
    Thanks JL. The car's pretty new (9k or so miles), so tires and pads should be ok. I think I have to have the brake fluid flushed and replaced to pass the pre-school inspection though.

    The track is the Main Circuit at Summit Point Raceway. Have you driven it?

    J
  • srfastsrfast Posts: 138
    longest in the northeast. If you nail turn 10 right, you could be 100+ MPH at the end of the main straight. Make sure your brakes are up to the task. If you flush the brake fluid before the school, you might need to do it again after the school if you push hard. You can easily boil the fluid because of the E39's weight. My race car is only 1600 lbs, so brake fluid doesn't boil. SP is a fairly technical track and you need to nail the apexes consistently to get a fast lap.

    BTW, a co-driver and I won a 3 hour enduro there a few years back. My favorite NE tracks are SP and the Watkins Glen "Long Course."

    A successful day at the track is when drive home in the same car you came in. You are not "racing", so drive with your head, not your "machismo."

    Good luck and have fun....JL
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    mtv65... From 9010/9014 above, what, if anything, have you ended up with?

    My wife just bought herself an '04 IS300 SportCross. Beautiful and practical. (I'm jealous.)
  • 540jml540jml Posts: 3
    I have a blk/blk '01 540 w/42 k on it. Can turn in via "pull ahead program" and get new 545.

    I've thought about buying the '01( $33,100 in 3 months according to lease contract), but the potential costs of keeping the '01 after warranty are making me think about the new offer. I like the 540 a lot.. also in mint shape. What to do ?
  • mtv65mtv65 Posts: 45
    We're actually pretty close to closing a deal this weekend on a beautiful Titanium Silver 01 530i with SP/PP for ~$28k. Went a little over our limit but we figured you only live once =). It's got low mileage, seem to have been well-maintained (not much can go wrong in <40k miles) plus it is still under factory warranty. We almost bought an 01 330i fully loaded a couple of nights ago but decided to look some more. It had ~50k miles for $25k - gorgeous Topaz Blue with tan interior.
  • 1violinist1violinist Posts: 338
    "...a beautiful Titanium Silver 01 530i with SP/PP for ~$28k."
    Sounds great! Is this price from a dealer or a private owner?
  • mtv65mtv65 Posts: 45
    Just got off the phone with the seller (trying not to sound too eager) for some final details - the car is 3 hours away. Everything seems to be on the up and up. All maintenance have been covered, I assume, my the manufacturer's maint program - was it 3yrs/36k for the 01 model? Anyways, I'm glad we waited a week...otherwise it would've been an out of warranty 01 330i Topaz Blue with SP/PP from a local dealer for more $$$ instead. That was an extremely clean car!! Wish we could afford both =).
  • sunilbsunilb Posts: 407
    yep, '01s are 3/36 on the maintenance, but 4/50 on the warranty.
    Sounds like a great price!
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    mtv65... Have you looked at CPO (Certified Pre-owned) cars? Might cost a bit more but an additional 2/50 of warranty coverage (though a bit less comprehensive than original b-to-b and with a $50 deductible).

    You should look at the in-service date on the '01. When will it go out of b-to-b warranty? '05 will be here before you know it. Having some coverage to '07 might bring peace of mind.
  • mtv65mtv65 Posts: 45
    Thanks Riez and to everyone else for all the good advice!! The 01 530i has ~12k miles left on it's factory warranty or June '05 whichever comes first. I was browsing thru the warranty boards and a few people were having some good luck with 3rd party extended warranty programs - 1sourceautowarranty.com and autowarranties.com. I've never been a big fan of extended warrantees but IS this something I should put more thought into!? My past/present bmw's have been very reliable thus far so the 530i should be no exception, right?

    Thanks again all!

    p.s. Riez, congrats on the SportCross! Beautiful, performance oriented plus utility. Best of both worlds!!
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    mtv65... I've found very few 3rd party extended warranties are a good value. Unfortunately, unlike marques like Infiniti and Lexus, BMW does NOT offer an extended warranty on any new car. Only "extention" is to buy a CPO unit. (For '04s, BMW is selling an extention on the maintenance/service agreement.)

    Beware of 3rd party warranties. Buyer beware!!!

    -Read ALL the fine print. (Can use BMW replacement parts? Can a BMW dealer do the work? Does the warranty company pay the dealer or do you get reimbursed after you pay the servicing dealer? Do you have to get pre-authorization from the warranty company before work can be done? Etc.)
    -What parts are specifically included and excluded?
    -What is the cost?
    -What is the deductible?
    -Can you get a pro-rated refund if you sell the car before the extended warranty expires?
    -How strong is the company selling the insurance? Check out insurance company strength ratings (e.g., AM Best). (Unfortunately, too many car warranty companies have either gone bankrupt or engaged in fraud.)
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 29,863
    Don't get a 3rd party warranty.

    I agree with CPO being better, but I'd bet you couldn't come within $5K of the price you are getting for a CPO at the dealer. That is a great price for that year and options. Most extended warranties will be $2K or more.. Stick that money in the bank and use it as a repair fund.

    regards,
    kyfdx

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • mtv65mtv65 Posts: 45
    It's pretty much a done deal. Just gotta find the time to see and drive the car (3hrs away). I'm buried to my neck at work and we're off to Vegas this Friday. Perhaps the following weekend!! The wife can't wait since it'll be her car primarily.

    What about aftermarket cupholders for the E39? Can't believe the discussions here at work concerning those cupholders. $40k plus car with no functional cupholders......sheeeesh!!! German engineers' sense of humor I guess.
  • 1violinist1violinist Posts: 338
    I guess if you get to drive a BMW on the autobahn in Germany doing 150 miles per hour, trust me, you wouldn't worry about cupholders! :-)
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 29,863
    Are the cupholders that bad? The ones in the 3-series are really nice, except that one is under the flip-up armrest, and they take the spot where some console storage would normally be. But, they work great, much better than Hondas that I've owned.

    regards,
    kyfdx

    If you haven't driven that car yet, bargain hard.. If he is asking $28K, a check for $26.5K or $27K might bring you home a new car.

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Both sets are worthless. The rears are a hideously complex (relatively speaking) mechanism prone to break. (Mine broke repeatedly.) The fronts are barely good for 12-oz aluminum cans and small styrofoam coffee cups. And they'll still be inclined to fall over. Can't comment on the E60 or E34 cars. (The E46's are much better, but still not world class.)
  • inukeu2inukeu2 Posts: 23
    I have a coffee stain on my passenger's side carpet from the first time I found out how bad the cup holders are. I was told by a German friend that cupholders are an afterthought for them. They do not multi-task when they drive. They drive with a purpose. The cupholders are only to satisfy pompous Americans. I don't drink my coffee in the car. I only make it at home and take it to work. No matter how bad the cupholders are in the e39 I can say that they put them where I can hold on to them (coffee cups) and the stick shift at the same time!
  • manybmwsmanybmws Posts: 347
    BMW in fact stopped putting them in the rear (at the back end of the console) on the E39. My '99 had them and the '03 doesn't. I guess the BMW engineers figured out they didn't work :-)

    But after having a coffee cup fly into the passenger seat at a stop light, I have resorted to holding on to the cup!
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