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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Here's how the EWS system works: Each ECU is programmed to accept a fixed number of keys-6 to 10, if I recall correctly. All of the keys have chips which have been programmed with their own individual code. The first time one of the keys is used, the EWS system recognizes the initial code and then re programs that specific key. Thus, even if you've never used the plastic wallet key the EWS will accept it. By the way, my shop was doing a PPI on a E34 Touring I was considering and when we put it on the lift we found the wallet key stuck under the front valence with a strip of velcro. When I brought the car back to the dealer I gave them the key; they hadn't noticed it was there. Anyone could have driven the 5er off the lot with no problem whatsoever...
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    It sounds like the control arms or thrust rods or possibly the bushings for either. It is common for the control arms/bushings or thrust rods/bushings to wear out over time. If that happens, you get a shake while braking and sometimes at speed. My best guess is the control arm bushings.
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    I just dropped my car off at the dealer after work (4pm) and so far I haven't heard a word. I am assuming they won't look at it until tomorrow. The service rep. could not recall hearing of a problem of this nature before. I'll let you know what they find. Thank you for responding.

    dabimmer The trip to SF is still on. We will go the last week of August. My 9th grade son is taking a summer school class so my choice of months is limited. I look forward to the trip on a daily basis however! Thanks for asking.
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    I forgot to ask you something. You said it is common for the control arms/bushings or thrust rods/bushings to wear out over time. What span of time are you talking about? Would 2 years (2001 model) be sufficient?
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    Two years is not common. But, it really depends on the mileage and road conditions.
  • cretecrete Posts: 105
    I'm looking to buy the 540iA before end of production. A couple of questions..
    -- When will dealers stop taking orders for 540?
    -- In the brochure they have Steel Blue for a color but on the website it was taken off, did they discontinue the steel blue color production or can you still order one?
    -- And since I want the M Sport package it seems that only comes in limited colors as well.
    I'm looking at trading in my 2002 Infiniti QX4 (gas guzzler, but rides nice) and have driven the 530 awhile ago but want the bigger engine of the 540. Was hoping to still place an order end of May for the 540.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    If you can find a dealer with an allocation that has not been sold, and not built, that would be your best bet. Officially, new orders for E39 models are no longer taken as of 4/7, at least in Germany. The production is to cease in June, so you better hurry.
  • snowman6snowman6 Posts: 13
    I'm looking at a 2001 540i and have 2 brief techical questions I hope someone an help me with. The car comes with the integrated phone but the Star Tac phone itself is missing. Will this system hook up with my existing celluar phone or am I required to purchase a new star tac phone?? The power cord is still there but teh connection does not match my current cellular phone

    Second question - the car comes with navagation but no CD (though it is wired for a CD changer). Does anybody know whether I can get a CD changer aftermarket or do I need to work through a BMW dealer??

    Thanks very much
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    You would have to replace the phone with a BMW phone. The phones are sold by region and carrier. Some else has stated the the phone you need is no longer available. Check with the dealer. As far as the CD player goes you need to search the web to get the best price. There are dealers that sell them well below retail. I don't know of an aftermarket player that will work. Check the specialty magazines dedicated to BMW to find the best price on the CD player.
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    Well, I got my 530 back today and the dealer could not find anything wrong with it. They said they ran every test they could, but could not replicate the shaking I had experienced. Everything looked fine. I mentioned about the bushings etc., but all checked out OK. I'll just continue to monitor the car and document any further vibrations. The second service interval will be coming up soon, so I will also mention my experiences then. Anyway, it sure is great the have my 5 back! A little absence makes the heart grow even more fonder! And that is hard to do as I love my 5! Hope all is well with your bimmers.
  • dabimmerdabimmer Posts: 165
    Whew ! That's a load off your mind I bet. I'm glad everything checked out, it sure seemed like it was "something" in the front end or maybe the brakes. You are wise to continue to monitor the braking and you do have the incident documented now. Continued "good"
    luck with the 5. Keep us posted.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    The June 2003 issue of Motor Trend has a small, half-page "First Test" of the MY2003 540ia Sport. Sub-titled "One last blast". I concur with them that "The Sport package--cheap at $4100--is the key to making the 540i a legitimate, less costly alternative to the M5." They "still marvel at the balance, poise, and performance this combination is capable of" and praise the "steering and braking inputs that communicate what the car's up to at all times." They end by saying "the last of these 5 Series 'oldies' is worthy of your consideration." End is nice compliment to the beginning of the article where they point out the then-new E39 was the 1997 MT Import Car of the Year.

    A truly great car for 7 consecutive model years!
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "A truly great car for 7 consecutive model years!"

    That and eight consecutive years in production. Not too shabby. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • cretecrete Posts: 105
    I went on a test drive today in a 540iA with the M Sport and premimum sound package, Navi, and a few other options. WOW! What a great ride I had. After debating for months about buying and realizing there won't be many left soon, I finalized a deal. Although I couldn't find the color combo I wanted, I figured it is more important for me to get the right car. I got the Titanium Silver with black leather. The dealer just got the car in as an additional allotment and it has just 16 miles on it still with the factory plastic covers on the seats. I'll be picking it up Monday and the dealer threw in the 6-CD changer at no charge.

    Which CD changer is better the trunk mounted or glove box mounted?
    I had to pay a $1000. gas guzzler tax, ithought that was phase out a few months ago?

    Then dealer was going to sell me an extended warranty for the tires and wheels ($300.00) as apparently they are not covered under the 48/50,000. Has anyone had a problem with the factory tires. I think they are Dunlop Sports.
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    Avoid the Nakamichi in-dash cd player at all costs. We had nothing but problems with them. There isn't a lot if any difference in sound quality between the two and you will have room in your dash for useful stuff.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    crete... Congrats. You'll love it.

    1. The Luxury Tax was phased out. But the Gas Guzzler Tax is still in effect. (This is one small thing in favor of CPO or used cars. I didn't have to pay the gas guzzler tax when I bought my CPO 540i6.)

    2. Personally, I wouldn't get any $300 tire/wheel "warranty". Tires are a normal wear item. Maintaining the wheels isn't too difficult. The Sport Pkg's tires won't last 50,000 miles. You'll be lucky to have 'em last 25,000. Use 'em hard and you might only get 20,000 or less. But that is the nature of the beast with high performance summer (3-season tires). Some specific thoughts on the warranty: First, can't say I've ever heard of such a thing. Second, seems expensive for what you might get. Third, you should read the fine print and make sure you know exactly what it covers (esp. the exclusions and limitations). Fourth, who is the company standing behind the warranty? Sounds like some 3rd party warranty outfit. (I don't really like or trust any 3rd party warranty outfits.) Fifth, if you get snow, you'll need a set of dedicated snow tires (and many people get a set of cheap wheels with their winter tires). You'll have to run those at least 2-3 months of the year. Doubt they'll be covered under this warranty.

    3. My '98 540i6 has the 6-disc trunk changer. I much prefer being able to change the discs quickly and easily. I'd take a single in-dash over any 6-disc trunk or glovebox unit. Not sure the glovebox units are any easier, since (unless you have a passenger with you) you have to change discs when stopped just like you do with the trunk-mounted units. At least the trunk-mounted unit doesn't eat up much space. And it lets you keep the glove box for storage. The E39 540i isn't the best on interior storage space, so having the glove box for storage can be nice.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    It looks like my quest to talk my wife into a 525iT 5-Speed for her next car has failed. :-( Instead, she is opting for a new Caravan, which she is ordering this afternoon. At least the "Rear seat DVD video system" should make long drives with the kids much easier. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315

    My wife tried a 530i, a 525iT, and then the X5. She just smiled when she drove the X5. She really liked the higher seating position, partly because she is 5'2". It was just a matter of picking the options at that point.

    I like to drive the X5. It's much more roomy and luxurious compared to my 530i. I'm actually happy about the X5 for my wife because hauling 2 children around in a 530i is a LOT harder than in the X5. Just where do you put 2 juice/milk cups in a 530i?

    Just a thought,

  • dzubadzuba Posts: 159
    Curious - I came across a great CPO 2002 530, but it does not have the Premium Package, which I think I really want.

    Anyone out there not have the PP, or have it and think they could live with w/o it.

    This car does have the moonroof - so I would be losing the Rain Sensing Wipers, Dimming Rearview mirror, wood trim, and the on board computer.

    Most of me thinks for that kind of $$$ - I should get what I want, but...........
  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315

    You didn't mention leather. That's the other component of PP. The RS Wipers are nice, but not a must have. The AD mirrors are nice, but again, not a must have. The wood trim doesn't do a lot for me. I prefer the "light poplar" wood found in some other BMWs. BTW, you do get the standard computer, missing a few functions from the PP computer. I could really do without the upgraded computer. So, if it has the right engine, trans, int. & ext. colors, sport vs. standard suspension of your choice, I'd go for it.

    Just MHO,

  • weberamgweberamg Posts: 43

    I'm in the market for a 1998-2001 540i 6spd or auto with sport. Is there a source that explains the differences in the model years between these cars? Such as: which colors were available with the sport package, which wheel style/size, other important options, thinks to look for our look out for, etc.


    John W.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    weberamg... Check out various web sources like Edmunds, BMW NA, etc. Also, stop by your local BMW dealer and ask to see their voluminous literature. They should have copies of the material they got back in those model years that detailed all the options, colors, etc. They might also have some old full-color sales brochures for most recent couple MYs.

    Check out BMW NA's CPO web site to see what specific CPO 540i are in your area available for sale now. Usually lists option package, options, colors, etc.

    Can be a bit hard to find used 540i6, though they are out there. I went 600 miles (one way) to find my CPO '98 540i6 in 11/01. I do seem to see a lot of CPO 540ia Sport. Believe my local BMW dealer, Markel BMW (Omaha, Nebraska), currently has 2 CPO 540ia Sport. (Markel, like other BMW dealers, lists these on the BMW NA CPO locator web site.)

    You won't go wrong with any E39 5 Series!
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    dzuba... What all specific options and/or option packages does it have? Sport Pkg? Cold Weather Pkg? There used to be a Convenience Pkg (which might also have required the Prem Pkg). Also, the original buyer might have ordered some stand alone options. Thinking both sunroof and leather could be ordered stand alone. Forget what all else could, too.

    Make sure the dealer tells you every specific option this particular car has. Then also check it out to ensure they are all there.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    If I remember correctly, back in 2002, you needed to opt for the Leather Seats (either individually or as part of the PP) before you could order the SP.

    Best Regards,
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    The bmw website is:
    Checking Californa, there seem to be several 540i manuals. Colors/options vary. Prices are ~40,000 and mileage is ~40,000.
  • dzubadzuba Posts: 159

    The car is an 02 - CPO w/9K miles on it!
    Sport Package
    Cold Weather Package
    Power Moonroof
    Auto Dimming Rearview Mirror
    CPO - with new rear tires
    Black/Black which looks awesome, especially with the black interior trim (versus the wood IMO)
    6 CD BWM Changer in the trunk
    Headlight washers!!
    They did not say leather - but it sure looked and felt like it - how good/bad is the leatherette?

    So w/o the PP - all I am losing is the Rain sensing wipers,and leather! And a few readings on the Upgraded Computer.

    The car has exactly what I am looking for except the PP - and I think it has most of that - except maybe the leather! I have a call into the dealer now to let me know leather vs. leatherette!

    Thoughts - I can get it for 40-41,500.
    We are still negotiating
  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315
    It sounds good. Sport Pack requires leather, so that's good news, althought it's possible to do "special" orders.

    A new 530i, 5 spd, SP, PP, Ze stickers at 46,895. You may be able to pick pick one up for 44,000 or so. Lease rates are great at the moment, so you should get to under $550 a month for 15k / year with no down. Add some extra security deposits and you're under $500 a month.

    There are still some new 530i, 5spd, PP, SP out there. But, they're getting scarce.

    Hope this helps,

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I checked my notes from last year when I ordered my car, and they also indicate that you MUST have leather ordered before you can order the Sport Package. As such, I am betting that the odds are > 90% that the car you are looking at is leather.

    Best Regards,
  • dzubadzuba Posts: 159
    As we are a bit off on price. I am near TMV and the dealer at 1K more - the dealer is telling me that Edmunds TMV does not include the BMW CPO program in it's price.

    Any thoughts - as I have come this far I figure I have way more than 1k of my time invested so I should just buy it, but...........
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