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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • mtjohnmtjohn Posts: 34
    The brake pad light just came on in my '01 530ia SP(33K mi but outside free maintainance). What's the approx. cost of a brake job? My understanding is that they will replace the pads and rotors at the same time. Also, back brakes normally wear more slowly--I assume that this will be a separate job down the road. When I made my appt. they said that I have 20% left on the pads when the light comes on. Should I try to squeeze out a few thousand miles or just get the job done? Shipo also mentioned some great pads that don't create so much dust--not sure if I can get aftermarket pads installed at the dealer or if I should go to a good independent (warrantee issues?). Any input appreciated.

    Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3 report:
    When I first mounted these 3K mi. ago, I was a little worried that I wouldn't like them as much as my Continental Contisport Contact 2s. They felt "grabby" with noticeably more sidewall flex. Now that I have broken them in a bit and gotten used to them--they are Fantastic! Once warmed up they are highly predictable and almost impossible to break traction. Yes, still slightly more sidewall flex but noticeably more comfortable ride. I really think they needed to get the outside edges softened just a bit. They feel like the perfect tire for the 530i SP setup. Great on wet roads too for a summer tire. No appreciable noise--I mean none(yet)compared to the howling that I was getting from the Contis before I retired them.
  • mtjohnmtjohn Posts: 34
    One other note:
    The Goodyear Eagle F1s are extremely sensitive to tire pressure (as are most high performance summer tires). In my opinion, they needed 2-3 psi front & back over factory recommendation (32 psi. fronts 35 psi. rear). I tried several variations and this seems to do the trick to minimize sidewall flex.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    The dealer wants to replace the rotors at every pad change because there is a possibility that the rotors will wear beyond the minimum thickness prior to the second set of pads wearing out. My wife's 1997 528iA eats a set of front pads every 20K or so. I change the rotors every other pad change and have had no problems as a result of following that regimen. The pads you want are the Axxis Deluxe Plus; excellent performance and minimum dust:
    More than a few E39 M5 owners use the Deluxe Plus for their street pads.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    Here is another suggestion for Brake Pads. I am not sure how they compare to the Axxis.

    This recommendation comes from my neighbor who is a BMW modification freak and has done alot of mods to his M3: The pads are Hawk HPS (High Performance Street) pads. They are low-dust, rotor friendly and quiet - as well as a huge stopping improvement. Supposidly, they where a little noisy while they broke in, but after a few days they where as quiet as the OEM pads. According to him, they are on the expensive side, but well worth it.

    I am thinking of changing my pads just because I HATE brake dust - let me know what other info you find out.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    div2 was right on the money with the Axxis Deluxe Plus. Best for dust and noise. Supposedly, you loose a little of the initial 'tactical feel' of the stock pads, but overall braking is not compromised.

    Question to div2 - did you notice this difference with the Axxis?

    Secondly, the Hawk HPS is a little higher performance. Dusting is a little bit more but still very tolerable. It is a more high performance pad that will be in between the Axxis and the OEM pads with regard to the initial braking feel, but you need to be more conscious about the bed-in to maintain a good dust level on the rotor to minimize any low speed noise.

    E60 owners - Axxis Deluxe Plus are not available at this time and probably won't be for awhile.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I ran a set of the original Deluxe pads on the E39 and really couldn't tell much difference in pedal feel. When those wore out I had to go back to OEM pads because I didn't have enough time to order the Deluxe Plus. As before, I noticed little-if any-difference in braking feel. I'm looking forward to trying the Ultimates on the Club Sport; that's the car that I usually drive in a "spirited" fashion...;)
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    Thanks for the feedback. It is nice to have some user feedback before purchasing something like this.

    I will give them a try as soon as they are available, which may be awhile. For now, I guess I will just have to stock up on a few more used towels.

    Let us know what you think of the Ultimates.
  • mtjohnmtjohn Posts: 34
    Thanks for the info re: Axxis. I am going to try them. I'll

    probably have them installed on the back brakes as well even though

    they prob. don't need servicing yet. Not sure what my BMW service

    dept. will say. I wonder if I am better off going to an independent

    shop to have the brakes done?
  • manybmwsmanybmws Posts: 347
    I have experienced the same problem on my 530i. Haven't been in for 15K service yet.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    As soon as my current set of pads wears out I'm installing the Ultimates and rotors on all four wheels. I'll report on the outcome after they get bedded in.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I can guarantee that your BMW service advisor will say something along the lines of: "Oh, those aftermarket pads are vastly inferior to the BMW pads so we can't install them because they are so dangerous, blah-blah-blah." Find a good independent BMW tech or do the job yourself-it's really not that difficult.
  • Hello people! Many Many thanks to all those who provide advice and wisdom. Problem: I put my 1998 528i in second gear, I ASSUMED it was in gear, then all of the sudden BOOM!!! The gear pops out and makes a tremendous noise, scared the crap out of me, it happend few times before, maybe 2-3 times,very infrequently. Did I not put the gear all the way in? Or another problem? Did that incident mess up my engine? transmission? It still rolls fine, but just worried that something may be screwing up. Thanks for your help. - john
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,653
    wasn't disengaged all the way. I've done it and suffered no permanent damage.

    You don't want to make a habit of it, tho. Make sure your clutch pedal is all the way down before you shift

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • mtjohnmtjohn Posts: 34
    Yep, regarding installation of Axxis pads: BMW service advisor said "we can't be responsible for any damage caused by aftermarket parts and therefore will not install them." It seems the only potential warrantee issue would be if I had an independent shop install aftermarket parts which then caused damage which would then not be covered by my CPO warrantee (i.e. front rotor disintegrates and penetrates my engine block : ) ). I'm cancelling my appt. and going to a good independent to get the Axxis pads and new rotors installed.
  • rcs525ircs525i Posts: 7
    Hello - I have a 94 525i. The car is in great shape inside and out. I am smelling gas fumes while driving or sitting idle. Look for your expert wisdom and advise.

    Much Thanks!
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Since your car is 10 years old I suspect it is a deteriorating fuel hose. Pull the rear seat bottom cushion and check to see if fuel is leaking from the hoses or gaskets associated with the fuel pump/sending units. Under the hood, check the fuel rail and all pressurized fuel lines. Inspect the evaporative emissions canister and the related hoses and connections. You really do need to isolate the problem and correct it as soon as possible. Fuel leaks do not improve with age and you run the risk of turning your nice E34 into a rolling barbecue.
  • Okay, we can buy a 97 528i 5-speed for $5500. Problem is, according to the dealer, cylinder #3 is out. Otherwise the car is in good condition with a few age-appropriate scratches. It has 90,000 miles. Is this car cheap enough to warrant buying it and fixing it. We have three other vehicles so this car would more or less be a nice back-up car if any of our primaries are out of service. It would replace a 94 LS400 that has only had 10,000 miles put on it in the last 3 1/2 years.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,653
    the E34 is a wicked nice car but I don't think I'd swap a perfectly good low miles LS400 for anything with a duff engine.

    Given roughly the same age and condition I'd get the Bimmer every time but that's not the case here.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Ummm, I suspect that the car here in question is an E39 not an E34. I would be interested to know why the cylinder is bad. Valves? Rings? Ignition? Hole in the piston? Those things have very different price tags associated with them. A leak down compression test and a bore scope should easily be able to identify if there are any actual mechanical problems with the mill. After all, 97K really isn't that many miles.

    Best Regards,
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I agree with Shipo; the first thing you need to do is find out EXACTLY what is wrong with the motor. The M52 inline six is a very robust design that can go over 200K miles when properly maintained(my wife's 1997 528i has over 106K on the clock and uses absolutely no oil between 8K mile changes). I'd want to know why the engine failed at such a low mileage-poor maintenance? abuse? If the engine wasn't serviced properly then then you can be sure that the rest of the car was neglected as well. The car in question would likely be an excellent project for an experienced DIY owner. That said, it won't be much of a bargain if you have to pay a professional to correct all the problems...
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,653
    and I agree with Div2.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • veldrukveldruk Posts: 1
    a coworker of mine has offered me a BMW-526-E(1986) for $400 (500 can)
    the only problem is it needs throwout berrings
    most of the car looks in good repair(needs a lil paint) good deal or am i getting screwed
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Are you sure that it's not a 525e or a 528e? They're the same car-528e is the US designation. I've seen decent 528es of that vintage go for under $1000US so $400 is within the realm of possibility. The thing is, while you have the tranny out to replace the T/O bearing you might as well put in a new clutch and pressure plate, all of which will cost around $250US in parts alone. And that's making the unlikely assumption that nothing else needs repair. Really, this would be a great car for the DIY BMW nut who needs/wants a Bimmer beater. If you don't fit that description then I would pass...
  • karmikankarmikan Posts: 116
    I agree with div2 that the key is DIY or not. If you can do fairly complex work yourself then it *might* be a fair deal. If you plan on taking the car to a mechanic or a stealer (Ugh!) then I'd pass.

    Aside from the parts that div2 suggests, you would want to check on the general condition of the engine. Do a compression test, look for oil leaks, check for blow-by etc. Also look for rust-through in the floor, sills and other structural areas (you don't want the car to crumple like a paper bag in an accident). Look carefully at high-ticket components such as suspension, steering linkages, transmission etc. The interior will be a bit beaten up but can you live with the general condition or do you need to replace seats, dash, carpets?

    If you can DIY and have a reliable beater for a few hundred $ in parts then it might be a reasonable buy. Bear in mind though that you could be looking at bills that are multiples of your purchase price if you need to have work done on a couple of major components.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 203
    I have two pebble dings in my windshield of the 2003 525. One of the is in the driver's view.
    Should I repair or replace. Deductible is neglibible so insurance is not an issue.

    I have heard that replacing the windshield is not good for the car since the seals can never be as good as before. How far is it true?

    However, I do not want a repair which will gradually detoriate in time.
  • karmikankarmikan Posts: 116
    I used one of those DIY repair kits on a previous car and it worked great. Still couldn't see the repair 2 yrs later when I sold the car. A pro would probably do an even better job. I think a lot depends on the extent and depth of the ding, mine was only 1/2" wide with almost no spider-webbing.

    In general, windshield replacement isn't a good thing to do because the windshield is a structural component. From personal experience (good & bad) a lot depends on the know-how of the guy doing the work, particularly with European cars.

    You might want to consider the easy route of repair first. If that doesn't work out you still have the option of replacing the windshield. Just my 0.02 though.
  • cruzercruzer Posts: 1
    I have the same problem. I have a new 545i auto, which was just recalled for 3 weeks because of a bad ECM, and it came back with the same problem they told me the ECM was causing in the tranny. The problem is in the first 3 gears as it has trouble determining which one to use. It holds on too long when upshifting and then downshifts when you slow a little causing engine braking and drag. Finally, when you are coming to a stop, it decides to upshift to 2nd causing a lurch forward which is pretty disconcerting. The engine also shakes a little at idle. Overall, it's really driving badly around town. Highway driving is fine. How did you resolve the problem? I'm moving toward having it declared a lemon. Let me know what your dealer said/did about this. Thanks.
  • david5david5 Posts: 1
    This is a great discussion board. I am new to this board and had a question on Voice command System and hope somebody can answer my question.

    I have a new 2004 530 with Nav system. A first time BMW owner and I love it. However, The Voice Command system on the car doesn't work and the salesman tells me I need to have the car phone for it to work. Is this true? If anyone has any info it would be great.
  • cassidymcassidym Posts: 108
    That's so much malarky. I sat in a new 530 with a salesman in Maryland two weeks ago and he demonstrated the Voice Command system. The car had no cell phone. Check the owners manual and ensure you're using it correctly.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    FYI: I had called the dealer to find out if they would install the Axxis pads on a new 545 when it is delivered so I did not have any rotor or bed-in issues. I specifically asked them about warranty issues and they said not a problem - the pads would not be covered but everything else would. I also asked if it mattered if they did it or an independent and they also said it would not matter. The problem I have is that Axxis pads are not available for the E60 until next year.

    However, if it came down to a rotor issue down the road, I could see them saying that it was the pad that caused the problem.
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