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Buying a used 5 Series

bmvmanbmvman Posts: 2
I have an opportunity to buy a 1993 535i Saloon, and it is in terrific condition inside and out. Seems like a great price at $4,500 with 120,000 miles. The owner is an associate of mine and I'm certain the mileage is orignal - no new engines along the way etc.

The car has a rough idle problem - suddenly, says the current owner after installing a used cold air or mass air flow sensor. He thinks it might simply be a vacuum leak in the system, but I'm wondering if this is a typical problem for this 2.5L V6? Also, with good care, how many miles can you get out of this engine? Thanks in advance.

Dave
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Comments

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    First off, let's get one thing straight- a 535i has a 3.5 liter inline six. There are a number of faults that can cause a bad idle inthese cars, and most of the fixes are fairly simple and inexpensive. That said, the only way to know for sure is to have an experienced BMW tech examine the car. I'd suggest a pre-purchase inspection prior to buying the car. As for engine longevity, BMW's M30 family is extremely durable. With regular maintenance you should get at least 300,000 miles out of that engine.
  • bmvmanbmvman Posts: 2
    Thanks for the correction. The car is a 525i. I had the right engine, but the wrong model number.
    This car rides and drives great, but a lumpy idle. The original owner says he was trying to fix a vacuum leak. Replaced a hose, and then the idle problem. Thanks again for your help.

    bmvman
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    The 2.5 is a sweet engine as well, and it requires less maintenance than the 3.5. I'd still want the idle problem sorted before Ipurchased it.
  • fos41fos41 Posts: 1
    i have an older 535 i and was wondering if anyone has ever used a reman. drive shaft/ i know new shaft will workout fine. the price difference of or a reman. shaft is more attractive ,but have had problems with some products that are reman. anyone have any feed back on this thanks donnie
  • 525lover525lover Posts: 1
    I recently bought a 95 525i and for the first 2 months it drove well.within the last month and a half though,whenever i turn to the right at speeds of 20-25mph there is really bad vibration.could this be ball joint failure or something else?
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I'd look at the ball joints, control arm bushings, and tie rod ends.
  • djjaydjjay Posts: 1
    I am looking at 3 different older 5 Series cars to purchase and would like some wisdom to narrow it down (& negotiating info). Mileage is approx. & price is asking.

    1988 535iT, $3,500, 80k on new eng/trans
    1990 535i, $2,500, 207k
    1991 525i, $4,500, 120k plus

    The 88 & 91 both come from an auto shop specializing in BMW repairs/restoration and so will be thoroughly tuned in and out with a 6 month warranty.

    On the other hand, the 90 is a cash as is sale. The only problems I've noticed in a brief inspection are power lock issues (looks like the trunk lock was broken into at some point causing a lock/unlock action or just staying locked, the rear pass lock isn't activated by power it seems) and the cabin heat/cool fan doesn't engage. One more thing, when I opened the coolant resvoir it looked like there was some "glitter" in the fluid, is this anything to be concerned over?

    Any wisdom is greatly appreciated. Having owned old 5 Series' (86, 87, & 88 525e) I know they are dependable joys to drive so just want to get a car to last 3 to 5 years with little maintenance at a good price.

    Thanks.
  • bigbiz1bigbiz1 Posts: 2
    I am thinking of purchasing 1996-1999 528. I have no previous experience with these cars so I am wondering if anyone who owns one can give me some info.....reliability, problems, etc. Thanks
    Frank G
    NJ
  • I owned a '99 for 4 years and 72K miles. Only out-of-pocket expenses were front brakes at 60K miles for $750.
  • Thanks........just looking at finances as I heard these cars can be quite expensive
    Frank
  • Get a car that has reasonable or is under mileage for its age - but more importantly has been nurtured by a "car guy" :)
  • pearlpearl Posts: 336
    I have one of the first E39s (528)delivered in the U.S. (June 96 as a 1997 model). The car has premium pkg and manual transmission and has just crossed 150K miles. I get about 24mpg in town and nearly 30 in highway cruising and the car has never burned a drop of oil. Other than "normal" replacement items (belts, hoses, brake pads, coolant, oil, filters, tune-up items, etc), the only trouble I have had with the car is a leaking power steering hose/fittings, a broken fan-belt tensioner, a leaking transmission seal, and a bad front strut (replaced both front struts). The clutch is a little weak at this stage and my remote key fob won't lock the doors any more (but will open them). I have taken good care of this car and would say this is the best car I have ever owned. In early 06 I had the new car bug and drove many LPS models (GS, RL, M, new E60, STS, etc) but did not find any of them that made me want to trade my E39 - for example, none were as quiet as mine and only the E60 handled as well. No doubt others have had similar experiences with this model BMW as me, and no doubt others have had worse. I think you need to see if you can get the history on the cars you are looking at, but overall, I have loved my car and wish you success if you buy one.
  • If anyone would care to share their thoughts with me, I'd be grateful. I have an opportunity to buy a 1998 528i with 2200 miles on it. It's showroom new, been sitting for years in a heated, secure garage. Recently, all the fluids were replaced, I'm not sure about the hoses and belts, and the battery needs a charge, but it's new also.
    Blue Book trade-in value is $13,000, private party trade value is $15K, and dealership retail is $17,000.
    It's out of warranty, of course, but it's literally a new car, and I've known the owner long before she bought it new in 1998.
    Does anyone have any thoughts as to what might be a fair offer for such a car? Even though it's out of warranty, it seems like a great opportunity, however, I've never owned a BMW and have heard countless horror stories about the cost of maintenance and repairs.
    If anyone wanted to go to the trouble of sharing helpful comments, I'd welcome them. Sincere thanks.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Recently, all the fluids were replaced

    I'm assuming that includes brake fluid, coolant, transmission fluid, and final drive oil- using BMW approved fluids/lubricants?

    Blue Book trade-in value is $13,000, private party trade value is $15K, and dealership retail is $17,000.

    I wouldn't pay over $15K; why pay silly money for very low miles on a car you are going to drive? It's not like an E39 528i is collectable.

    I've never owned a BMW and have heard countless horror stories about the cost of maintenance and repairs.

    Mostly false and passed on second or third hand by the misinformed, the jealous, or just plain fools. I ran a 1997 5er to over 130K and the maintenance/repair costs averaged @$80/month. The upkeep costs on my 1995 3er track rat average @$40/month. Join BMW CCA, find a good independent BMW tech(or better yet, buy the Bentley E39 Manual and learn to do the simple maintenance yourself), and you'll be fine.
  • I have an 87 528e. All the instrumentation on the gauge cluster doesn't work, nor does the power seats. No tach, speedometer, fuel gauge, heat temp, or SI level, but the cluster gear selector for the automatic trans. lights up. It doesn't look like these items were touched or disassembled, but the car is so original that it still has the original factory crappy plastic mini-fuses in the car's fuse box. Would all of these items work if the fuses were changed out with new metal ones? Can anyone tell me the most common problems with this model BMW?

    Also, I am looking for several body parts, exterior parts, and interior parts for this car.

    If anyone has an e28 parts car available and can give me a good deal on these parts, can they email me with prices for these parts:

    * Both fog lights and front yellow turn signals
    * Lower front metal valence for 528e and/or front spoiler for 533i or 535i or M5.
    * Driver's side front seat, black leather in excellent condition and rear magazine holding net.
    * fully functioning overhead BMW lights diagnostic computer with "check" button that doesn't fall out.
    * black leather automatic gear shifter
    * excellent condition black body trim and brackets mounted on body by rear driver side passenger door
    * black dashboard trim grill holding cigarette lighter and other accesssories in excellent condition.
    * headlight/ foglight switch mounting trim
    * original 528e BMW car phone with mounting brackets and connecting phone cable running to trunk, in excellent condition.
    * black trim surrounding radio on dashboard in excellent condition.
    * black trim holding e-brake and seat switches, in excellent condition.
    * floor mats with "BMW" etched on them in black, excellent condition.

    Also, i have an 86 325es. When the fan belt slips, does that affect the timing for the valves, essentially damaging the engine and making it burn oil?
  • Hi, I'm currently in research mode, however I plan to buy one soon. A few questions:

    Sports package: I'm a mellow driver and looking more for comfort than race car performance. I heard the seats, and even the suspension is fairly ridgid with the sports package? Accurate?

    Premium package; still not sure what you get with this. Can anyone shed some light on this for me.

    Blue exterior; I have been cruising web sites and do not recall seeing this color. Does it exist in the 525 or 30?

    Are 16 in wheels standard?

    Roof rack; I will be carrying around surfboards periodically. Has anyone used the 725 tower from Thule with these? Secure fit?

    Regards, Bill in So-Cal
  • I recently fell in love with the 530i during a test drive. I am looking to purchase a 2004 model with about 41,000 miles. It is pre-certified from a BMW dealership, so the limited extended warranty will last on this car for 3 more years from its original date of service. Price out the door will be about $36,500. I am currently a Buick Regal owner. I'm very worried that the cost of maintenance will be quite expensive. I drive about 12,000 miles per year. The dealership has a policy for purchase ($1,400) to pay for all scheduled maintenance costs for 2 years after the original warrant ends. Is it worth it? Can someone calm me down or am I right to be nervous? :confuse:
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Can someone calm me down or am I right to be nervous?

    As I've repeated umpteen times on these boards:

    Relax! Most of the "horribly expensive" BMW maintenance/repair stories are spread by people who heard that his best friend's sister's college roommate knew a guy who had a dentist whose broker told him that it cost his second cousin $3000 to change the oil on his 318i. Yes there ARE some dealers and independents who grossly overcharge their customers. Having said all that, there are good dealers and independents out there who charge fair prices and offer a BMW Car Club discount.
    Finally, I ran a 1997 528iA to over 130K miles and my service and repair costs averaged $90 per month. I only sold it was because my wife wanted an X3. I needed to keep my US built Wrangler for political reasons- otherwise I would have claimed the 5er for my commuter sled. The current owner now has 145K on the car and she still loves it. Right now I'm thinking about buying a 2001 M5, and its CPO warranty runs out in April. No way am I going to buy any "added protection".
  • Thank you for the BMW "therapy" session response. I would greatly appreciate if you will indulge me for one more session. I've noticed that on BMWs and Volvos, there appears to be an accumulation of black brake dust on the wheels. I've never experienced that on my Buick or on any other American car I've owned. Why does it happen, how quickly does it accumulate, and is it easy to remove?

    Thank you so much again for your advice.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I would greatly appreciate if you will indulge me for one more session.

    No problem! I'm glad to help.

    I've noticed that on BMWs and Volvos, there appears to be an accumulation of black brake dust on the wheels. I've never experienced that on my Buick or on any other American car I've owned

    If you continue to use the original equipment pads you will find that brake dust accumulations will be pretty much unavoidable. There are dust shields available that fit between the wheels and the brakes, but they can interfere with brake cooling. As a result, I don't reccommend them- and neither does BMW. The best solution to the problem is to fit Axxis Deluxe Plus pads. More information can be found here.

    Thank you so much again for your advice.

    You're welcome. Let me know if you have any other questions. BMWs have been my hobby for over 25 years, and I always enjoy talking about them.
  • I'm glad you enjoy talking about BMWs. I tend to research any purchase in great detail. This will be the most expensive car I've ever considered and I appreciate your willingness to share your expertise.

    As you can surmise, I am a little hesitant, not so much because the 5 series isn't a wonderful car, but partly because it seems so spartan in comparison with other cars in the same price range. Even the radio in my Buick sounds better. (Well, it does.)(My frame of reference is about $36,000 out the door price for a used 530i with 42,000 miles).

    On another note, what do you think of the "dreaded" I Drive control?

    Please let me know when I'm getting on your nerves with all these questions. I especially do not want to spoil the holiday season for you!

    Signed,
    Still a bit nervous (now that I know I have to clean my rims of black break dust.)
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I tend to research any purchase in great detail.

    So do I ;)

    As you can surmise, I am a little hesitant, not so much because the 5 series isn't a wonderful car, but partly because it seems so spartan in comparison with other cars in the same price range.

    I think you will find that BMW places a great deal of emphasis on the overall driving experience; a BMW embodies a lot of impressive engineering- but most of it is under the skin.

    Even the radio in my Buick sounds better.

    I've never been too impressed with the sound systems in the newer BMWs. As a matter of fact, very few of them sound as good as the OEM system in my 1995 318ti track rat. Go figure. Does the 5er you are considering have the Logic7 upgrade? It supposedly sounds pretty decent.

    On another note, what do you think of the "dreaded" I Drive control?

    I drove a 645Ci with iDrive for a couple of weeks last summer, and after a few days I became pretty adept at using it. Some people love it, others hate it. I think it is a flawed interface, but it wouldn't keep me from buying a BMW I really liked.

    Going back to your original post, there is some things that I think you should know about how BMW are serviced. In most cases, the best way to keep maintenance costs reasonable is to find a GOOD independent BMW tech; you will save 25%-50% on service compared to the dealer. That said, there are some excellent dealers that offer excellent service at reasonable prices. All modern BMWs use a Service Interval Indicator to inform the driver when routine maintenance is required. On a 2004 5er an Oil Service will be called for at @15,000 miles. To be honest, I don't like to run oil that long, so I perform an oil change at 7,500 miles. I also use Mobil 1 0W-40 synthetic, which I prefer to the BMW-branded Castrol synthetic. It's a VERY easy DIY procedure and it costs me less than $45. The minor service(Inspection I) will come up at 30,000 miles and the major service(Inspection II) at 60,000 miles. An Oil Service will cost $60-$150, an Inspection I $150-$300, and an Inspection II $450-$800. Coolant must be changed every three years(using BMW Coolant ONLY), while the DOT4 brake fluid gets flushed every two years. BMW also calls for changing the ATF at 100,000 miles, although I would have the procedure performed every 50,000 miles- and I'd have the differential oil changed at the same time.
    Finally, join the BMW Car Club of America. Many dealers and independent shops offer CCA members 10%-25% discounts on parts and/or labor.

    Please let me know when I'm getting on your nerves with all these questions. I especially do not want to spoil the holiday season for you!

    Ask away! It is not a problem!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Ok Bimerfiles, looking at purchasing a 540i 2001-2003 with the sport package and 6MT. Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions also anything to look for on these cars?

    Debating between an 05/06 GTO and an 01/03 540i

    -mike
  • Hi, I'm also perusing this site to find out about the reality/myths of how well BMWs hold up - particularly post-2000 3 & 5-series'. Your comment, "Finally, I ran a 1997 528iA to over 130K miles and my service and repair costs averaged $90 per month" doesn't sound too encouraging to me. $90/month = $1,080/year.

    Please comment :confuse:
  • Is it bad form to reply to my own post? :blush: I reread your post to make usre I understood it correctly, and I guess $90/mo is fine considering it's an older car with (presumably) no finance payments being made. Still, $1,000/yr on repairs is pretty significant.
  • dbcafydbcafy Posts: 8
    Comparing a 540 against GTO (Pontiac?) is like comparing Apples and Oranges.

    BMW - The ultimate driving machine, will put a smile on your face everytime you sit behind the steering wheel.

    The GTO - a kid's car.

    Assuming you get a Bimmer in good condition, this car will have a higher resale value and will last longer than the GTO.

    Then again, I might be biased. I do own a 2003 540 with the Sports Package.

    Dave
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Actually the GTO demographic is 28-45.

    Heck the BMW 540i 2001-2003 is more expensive used than a new GTO. Biggest thing I'm worried about is out-warranty repairs, I hear on BMWs they can be quite costly.

    -mike
  • tdb99tdb99 Posts: 5
    Wanted to know if anyone can share their ownership experiences with this vehicle, am considering to purchase. Thks. :D
  • I just bought a 2003 540I M sport with steptronic. It's the most amazing car I have ever driven, Black on Black with everthing from PDC to NAV and DSP stereo. I researched it intensley and I found BMW keeps great records.

    First I suggest CAFFAXing it, its $25 for a month long membership to run VINs, then contact BMW USA customer service, # is on the website. They will give you the selling dealership and you can confirm options on the vehicle to make sure nothing was altered. Then call the service dept of the original dealer, explain you are going to buy a used vehicle and BMW gave you the info, anytime the vehicle was serviced at any dealership a code is entered. The service tech ran through every code with me to make sure the vehicle was clean. I even found out it had the CPO & maintaince till 100K.
  • Just to add...... the most expensive service on the 01-03 5 series will be the SL2 60K mile service about $400 for the V6, $700 V8 you can shop around for BMW dealer specials and before 100K, you'll need a brake job, between $600 and $1200, depending your sport package options, size, etc. But if you get the maintaince done as scheduled, the driving experience outweighs the cost.
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