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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • killianykilliany Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 530i manual transmission and I love it. I only had to take it to the dealer once for a recall (related to smog control, I think). I bought it new in May 2004, and now it has about 18000 miles. The only electrical thing that bothered me a couple of times was this static noise in the CD/radio while I was driving. I noticed if I turned the car off and started it back up again, the static would be gone immediately. It happened three times in two years. It was annoying but not YET a real problem. I consider that one of German cars' idiosyncrasies. Other than that, I can't think of anything else. :D
  • I'm looking to buy a nice BMW 5 series, but there's one problem- it's an automatic. For a while, I've told myself I'd never go to another automatic again and use only stick shift as they are more reliable, faster get up and go, allows more engine power, better gas mileage, and have less maintenance problems. I know that BMW automatics feature Sport Automatic and clutchless Manual shifting, but to me, those features are still slow and I'd probably end up destroying the transmission even faster.

    Can anyone tell me exactly what is involved in dropping an automatic out of a BMW and swapping it for a complete manual transmission? Do I need cables or what? How difficult is a job like this and about how much would it cost? Thank you for your feedback.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    It will be more economical to just find and buy a manual. There are plenty around, if you spend a bit of time. I heard Koala Motorsport did 6-spd conversion on a E39 (96-03 model) 540 wagon and it cost > $10,000.
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    Check out for all BMW parts for any BMW. (Awesome site, btw!)

    Transmission <--- As an example, this is the manual trans for a 2006 (E6) 530i. And that's only for the transmission itself -- no mounts or other assorted parts and no labor. Figure 7-8 hours of labor or so, and you're looking at a job that'll cost you $4000-$5000 minimum.

    Like jb_shin said, it's probably more economical (and probably more mechanically-sound) to just buy one with it already in there.
  • the BMW 5 series I'm looking to change into a manual is a 1990 525i. I did some research and I found most of the parts I may need and they total around $1,000.00. Since it is a 1990, how much do you figure it would cost since the car is simpler and the new cars may cost upwards of $10,000; pre-owned models might be $4 or 5,000; would a 1990 cost about $2,000 to install it?
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950 1990 525i manual transmission

    That is a transmission right from BMW that'll have a warranty and everything.... I'm sure you can find a used one from a junkyard or online or something for much cheaper. That choice is up to you.

    Regardless, I believe a transmission replacement is something like a 8-9 hour job and most BMW Centers charge around $100/hour. Of course, I might be a little off there, but you get the general idea.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,637
    I did this job on a 1990 Saab and it cost over $3,000, and that car would be easy compared to yours.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I'd check with Koala Motorsport. Brett Anderson almost certainly knows more about this subject than anyone else.
  • zodiazodia Posts: 2
    I have a 1993 bmw 525i looling to sell . only having one problem , I redone the headliner and ever sence it will not start . So, if your are interested or have some idea on what to do to get it started please e-mail me at
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,383
    did this job on a 1990 Saab and it cost over $3,000, and that car would be easy compared to yours.

    Aw cmon, it's gotta be cheaper to repair/replace the tranny on a RWD car than on one that transmits power thru a transaxle to the front wheels.
  • drenthedrenthe Posts: 5
    I just purchased a 2001 525iT with manual transmission and 57k miles. I like the 24h format but the clock in the radio (w/o Bord Computer) shows the 12h am/pm format. How can I change the setting? The booklet that comes with the radio only describes the version *with* BC, and there it is easy to change the format.
    Strangely enough, the radio itself uses the European 9 kHz jumps for AM-stations, instead of the 10 kHz jumps used in the US, which means that I can not receive many of the AM-stations in the USA. Also this setting should be possible to change. Any idea?
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,637
    oh yeah? Try it. :P A rebuilt driveshaft alone is $600...and you'll need a transmission, (figure $750) trans. mounts, $150, clutch assembly (500?) flywheel (ouch!), clutch and brake pedal assembly (wrecker) (and what do you bolt THAT to if there are no mounting holes under the dash?), slave master and clutch slave,(couple hundred easy) new used console,($150?) probably some floor modifications.

    I'd venture that the Saab was easier, since it's a 100% bolt in job, no modifications whatsoever except changing the gearing in the tranmission, which is really easy since it's driven by chain and sprockets.
  • I purchasd a brand new 2006 525i in Sept 2005. Since then I have had to tip off the engine oil about 5 times. The last couple times, it was about 1,700 miles in between. For my driving needs, 1,700 miles is about 4 to 5 weeks. Each time I put in 1 quart of synthetic oil. I think the car consumes too much oil compared to other cars (Lexus, Toyota, Honda) that I owned before. Does any one have a similar problem? What can we do to correct this situation? What could BMW dealers or factory do to help?
  • vanaldervanalder Posts: 29
    We bought the same wagon via ED in 2001. I also was
    unsuccessful in getting the display into 24-hour mode.
    Hope someone answers you in a positive manner.

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I agree, that amount of oil usage is somewhat high. I'd certainly bring that to your dealer's attention. At 130K my 1997 528i used less than one quart every 8000 miles. I'd want some answers if the oil consumption hasn't settled down by 10000 miles or so.
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    I purchasd a brand new 2006 525i in Sept 2005. Since then I have had to tip off the engine oil about 5 times. The last couple times, it was about 1,700 miles in between. For my driving needs, 1,700 miles is about 4 to 5 weeks. Each time I put in 1 quart of synthetic oil.

    BMWs will tend to use quite a bit of oil over the first 10k miles or so (as div2 pointed out). If things haven't settled down by then, then I would raise the issue with your service department for them to check out.
  • japjap Posts: 3
    Have an 89 535I, manual transmission, 285000 miles. Engine is OK and uses about 1 qt. oil per 1500 miles. Engine starts immediately when cold. During driving for the first few miles, the engine will stall if the accelator is quickly depressed. The car will not restart until it has sat for about 30 min. Any thoughts as to the problem? Thanks in advance for those who respond.
  • japjap Posts: 3
    Have an 89 535i, manual transmission--muffler needs to be replaced. The lowest price for a muffler was about $700. Does anyone know of a source for an inexpensive muffler? Also, would it be possible/practical to simply run an exhaust pipe directly from the front resonator and thereby eliminate the rear muffler?

    Thanks to all who respond.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Try the folks at Bavarian Auto, they have a "Cat Back" replacement exhaust system which includes the resonator, the muffler and the tail pipe for $454.95.

    Best Regards,
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