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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • srfastsrfast Posts: 138
    The cost of retrofitting the BMW in-dash "Business CD" will cost approx. $900 making it cost prohibitive. You can purchase a trunk mounted BMW (Alpine) factory CD changer and mounting bracket for less than $425 US. Check and for the best prices. The car is prewired and it will take 15-20 minutes to install. BTW, the radio head unit doesn't need to be replaced if you decide to get the in-dash unit.

    Hope this helps...JL
  • msealsmseals Posts: 257
    I was under the impression that the in-dash cd as well as the in-dash cassette also contained the radio tuner. That was the reason people were claiming better radio reception from the in-dash cd after making the swap. The display which shows the stations is just that, a display only. The actual tuner is part of the in-dash cd/cass. That being said, you are correct, the cd changes is a much better choice if price is your main object and you want a clean look. I am willing to sacrifice the clean look to have a wire hanging down from my cassette player in order to have an adapter for my mp3 player which rest where the useless cupholders pop out. I have my choice of 5000 songs and they are all at the touch of my fingers.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    mseals... I concur with srfast.

    I wouldn't mess with changing the OEM in-dash unit. I wouldn't do anything that might cause potential dash rattles, electrical problems, void warranties, detract from interior styling, or reduce resale value. But I'm a pretty conservative guy when it comes to making any mods.

    Not to mention the high cost. Some other sources for CD changers include Pacific BMW (, $392 (free shipping), and Passport BMW (, $379 (plus shipping). Both regularly advertise in Roundel (BMW CCA) and Bimmer magazines.
  • msealsmseals Posts: 257
    I was not recommending a DIY job for the in-dash unit. In fact, that is something I would definitely go to the $tealer for, but I have heard that it gets better reception with the cd than the cassette. I don't care much since I listen to FM 98% of the time.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    "seivwrig... Don't forget that European emission standards used to be a lot different than American ones. They were still using leaded gas long after we stopped. And it wasn't that long ago when they finally went over to catalytic converters. Don't think you wanted to breath Rome, Paris or London air in the 1980s."

    Too late. I breathed more than fair share as well as chimney soot. The air does seem any different than the mess that I breathe in Houston.
  • msealsmseals Posts: 257
    I have not been in a while, and even the time I did go to europe, it was just Paris so that is very limited. High school French class trip in 1989. But I highly doubt that Europe has the industrial pollution that we have in this country, plus I would guess that we have way more cars than they do. Just a guess though.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Some of our cities most afflicted by air pollution--LA, Houston, and Denver--suffer for a variety of reasons that are tied to factors like altitude (Denver), temperature (Houston), and surrounding elevation (LA). Plus each has sufficient density and industrial & other non-automotive emissions-related activity (e.g., everything from our love of bar-b-que grilles to ever-present at odd times lawn mowers) to make abatement a problem. But overall, if you compare air quality nationwide & continentally from around 1970 (the era of the EPA, Clean Air Act, etc.) to 1990 in USA to Western European nations and W. Europe, you can see where our early adoption of more aggressive automotive standards and technology paid off. (Too bad we can't seem to remove those old and improperly working few vehicles that pollute so much. One of them is worth 1K or more brand new cleaner vehicles.)
  • wabendswabends Posts: 102
    Hi guys,

      Thanks for your suggestions. I am leaning towards the CD changer. I will keep you informed about the outcome.

  • msealsmseals Posts: 257
    Good point about topography making up a big part of why some cities have air pollution problems. I totally agree. I live in Metro Detroit and that isn't the problem here. Our problem is that we have probably more cars per person than any where else. I guess that is the price you pay for being the motor city. I think it is up to 1.7 cars per person in the metro Detroit area. That is a lot of cars and people tend to collect a lot of cars in the area as well. Our pollution levels have been high and for a while they use to make us take smog tests in order to get tabs for our license plates, they ended that a while ago and now we use reformulated gas in the summer time when the ozone is most vulnerable. In contrast, our gas prices are higher in the summer, not at Californian standards, but high none the less.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,081

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  • diver110diver110 Posts: 67
    I very recentlyl bought a 2000 540i (the car was placed in service in 10/99). It appears to have the orginal battery, making it almost four years old. There appears to be a coding to it. If a green dot appears in a window it is fine. A black dot means charge. A yellow dot means replace. Assumnig I am looking at the right thing, the window has a black dot. I gather BMW puts the battery in the back to keep it away from engine heat and give it longer life. Should I replace the battery? What kind of life do people generally get from their batteries? Thanks.
  • srfastsrfast Posts: 138
    It is a good idea to replace the battery if you are unsure about its performance. If you wait too long, you will experience problems with the numerous systems that depend on the battery for power.

    BMW places the battery in the trunk to achieve (or to come as close as possible) a 50% front/50% rear weight distribution on its cars. The 50/50 rule is important because the car is "balanced" achieving consistent/predictable handling characteristics under different driving conditions.

    If you are looking for a new battery, reference the except below:

    "I needed a new (540i) battery and I looked on the side and a sticker read manufactured by DBMC in Winston-Salem, N.C. That just happens to be where I live. It cost me $100.21 and the new battery is the same save for no maintenance now."

    Hope this helps....JL
  • diver110diver110 Posts: 67
    Thanks for the feedback JL. Is there any reason to prefer a battery at a BMW dealership to any place else?
  • srfastsrfast Posts: 138
    battery so it is a direct replacement. You can purchase a battery from the dealer, but expect to pay top dollar.

    Good luck...JL
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    If I remember correctly, if you press the "Trip Reset" button on the dash, the Odometer will light up.

    Best Regards,
  • msealsmseals Posts: 257
    About lease mileage. I don't they really care what the mileage is until you turn the car in. At that point they will do a final inspection and bill you for anything they find above and beyond the inspection. From my understanding of the two cars that I leased, the inpsection is for cosmetic purposes, I got hit for a new windshield for $250 and they let me know that the whole car had been repainted when I had it taken to the dealership for hail damage. Other than that, it was no biggy, the interior of all my cars is top notch.
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    If you are concerned about the battery, have it checked out. Have all the cells tested because if just one is weak,you can have all kinds of problems. The most common would be an unsteady idle. You don't know how many people have replaced idle control units/valves, relays, etc. because of one bad cell in their battery.
  • diver110diver110 Posts: 67
    After getting some helpful feedback on batteries, I am leaning to playing it safe and replacing the battery in the 2000 540i I just bought. A Die Hard costs around $27. If I buy the battery at the dealership, it is over $200, including labor. Well I assume there is some qualitative difference, I could by a Die Hard a year for the next several years before equaling the amount I would pay the dealer. Any advice? Thanks.
  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315
    I went to Sears for a replacement on my 86 528e. It was about $200 IIRC. It was a "Europen Special" or some such nonsense. Are you sure you can get a die hard to fit yours for $27?

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmmm, $27 seems a little low. I just checked the Sears web site, and found their "DieHard International", which has a "Sears Item #" of "02831249000" and a "Mfr. Model #" of "31249". Apparently that is the battery for the 5-Series, and it carries a list cost of $99.00 (with exchange).

    Best Regards,
  • diver110diver110 Posts: 67
    I called back and it turns out there is no Die Hard for a 540i. I then called a local service station that carries the Interstate brand. It goes for about $130, a lot better than the dealer cost.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    There actually is a DieHard for the 540i (see my previous post), it's just that Sears hasn't updated their charts since model year 2000. You can simply go the the Sears web site and look up the DieHard for a 2000 540i, and you will be presented with the model number I listed above.

    Best Regards,
  • diver110diver110 Posts: 67
    Thanks shipo. I think our posts crossed in cyberspace. I did not see yours before posting my last one. I will check the Sears website.
  • diver110diver110 Posts: 67
    I went to the Sears site. It turns out there is a battery for the 540i sedan but not the wagon. It is hard for me to imagine there is a difference....
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Roundel (BMW CCA) and Bimmer magazines have had numerous articles on this subject for some time now. Their consensus appears to be that the original factory-equipped batteries are superior to the OEM replacement batteries. For whatever reason, the original batteries appear to last 4 or more years but the OEM replacements seem to have a high failure rate within 2 years. They tend to recommend Interstate batteries. They claim you'll save a bundle and get better, longer-lasting batteries.
  • hangunhangun Posts: 3
    Hi, does anyone have a recommendation for a good BMW body shop in San Diego, CA?

    Thanks in advance
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I still have the OEM batteries in my 318ti(build date 10/95) and my 528i(build date 6/1997. The secret is to keep the batteries topped up with distilled water; I check and top up both batteries on a semi-annual basis. The new BMW "Maintenance Free" batteries simply have the cell caps covered by a large vinyl sticker- see:
  • ryokenryoken Posts: 291
    Have you asked your dealer and your insurance company for recommendations? If your dealership doesn't have their own body shop, they're bound to recommend one or two shops. Also, SoCal AAA has a list of the top 50 shops in their Immediate Repair Program, worth a look -- a few of them are in the San Diego area (

    Amato's is supposed to be good, but also very expensive. I haven't used them. I have used All-American Paint and Body for rear bumper repairs on both a Jeep and an Infiniti, both with excellent results.

    If you're going through an insurance claim, it's also less of a hassle to pick a body shop that's on the insurance company's pre-approved list. Then you don't have to wait for an adjustor to verify the body shop's estimate before repairs can begin. You're not required to use a pre-approved body shop, though.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    You guys make some good points. I guess there really needs to be a lobby for low sulfur diesel fuel. I don't see Hydrogen or Electric cars been real viable in the near future (next 5 years). A diesel 5er would really be great especially with the M-B E320 CDI coming. European Car mag had a decent article on the E320 CDI. With my wife been a road warrior, I would love to have a diesel 5er. This would definitely lower the cost of trips considering the the fuel consumption. Been that background is Electrical Engineering, I really don't understand the effects that cars have on pollution. I know in the U.K. that NO2 gases are now a big issue. The taxes that a levied affect the high gas burners. It also appears that the diesel are making gains in performance.

    Back to the pollution, I was last in Paris about 3 years ago. I was in the Stade de France area (I think this is St. Denis) but I saw sulfur gas coming from a industrial plant. Paris in my humble opinion might not have the air quality of Houston because of temperature. But if they did, I think Paris would be worse.

    Europeans might not have as many cars but they do have the population density issue. Also, to own a car is a premium. Europe might be progressive with pollution control, because they need to be. England during the winter can be terrible especially with people burning coal fireplaces.
  • msealsmseals Posts: 257
    I agree with you, there might be things in Europe that I didn't see 14 years ago or that are there now. That being said, before I bought my 528i, I did some serious research on diesel Jetta's. I like the look of the Jetta and you can't deny the gas mileage advantage it has. That being said, I was a little worried about the HP figures even though the torque was definitely there. My real concern wasn't the possibility of finding diesel, they sell it right across the street. My main concern was that diesel fuel regulations will change the amount of sulfur parts per million allow in fuel soon, once that is done, then VW will be coming out with more powerful diesels as well as other companies (I hope BMW, and probably MB) will be coming out with cars as well. I even think the big three might jump into the fray more. They have a lot more diesel technology than people might think. There have been so many changes in even the current diesels that when the new fuel comes out, they will definitely give the gas powered cars a run for their money.
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