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Old 12-11-2012, 04:46 PM   #1
KLR04 OP
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older BMW cars

My 2000 540 broke (camchain tensioner failure, $$$ repair) I'm considering a replacement, found a very clean 2001 530, but also a 1999 740, any advice?
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:21 PM   #2
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My only experience with "older" BMWs was a '71 2002..

I thought that's what you meant by older!!!
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:37 PM   #3
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A 2001 530 is the ultimate expression of the E39, the best 5 series ever made (I know E28 fans will disagree), and arguably the best practical, daily use BMW ever made. If I could find a 2003 530 with a stick, Premium and Sport packages with low miles I would buy it; that's the car I thought about ordering in 2003 to replace my E34 when the ugly next-gen was announced, but never got around to doing.

A '99 740 (E38), on the other hand, will put your mechanic's kids through private school. I know two people who loved the cars, but the bills started coming fast and furious after about 90k miles. The price of admission is only the beginning on that one.

In both cars, beware of BMW automatics of that era that seem to grenade themselves at around 100k miles, and the usual cooling issues, i.e. if the water pump and thermostat haven't been replaced approaching or beyond 100k miles, I'd probably replace them on a proactive basis and negotiate to subtract it from the purchase price.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:50 PM   #4
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Just curious, how many miles did you get on the 540i before the tensioner failed? I've got a 1997 540i that I love driving, just hit 60,000 miles on it. Wondering how many more miles I can get out of it.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:30 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input Ursa, much appreciated, I guess it's time to stop dreaming...

Don't worry Howler, the chain tensioner failed at 235,000 km, or roughly 147,000 miles, apparently it's not a common issue.

I guess the 530 is a nice car 9dark blue and cream interior), but it's not as nice as the 540, mine was an M-Pack, so the 530 does not have the same steering wheel, OBC display in the dash, more basic console, the regular electric seats, higher supension, regular mags, etc. yep, the 540 will be missed :(
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ursa Major View Post
A 2001 530 is the ultimate expression of the E39, the best 5 series ever made (I know E28 fans will disagree), and arguably the best practical, daily use BMW ever made. If I could find a 2003 530 with a stick, Premium and Sport packages with low miles I would buy it; that's the car I thought about ordering in 2003 to replace my E34 when the ugly next-gen was announced, but never got around to doing.

A '99 740 (E38), on the other hand, will put your mechanic's kids through private school. I know two people who loved the cars, but the bills started coming fast and furious after about 90k miles. The price of admission is only the beginning on that one.

In both cars, beware of BMW automatics of that era that seem to grenade themselves at around 100k miles, and the usual cooling issues, i.e. if the water pump and thermostat haven't been replaced approaching or beyond 100k miles, I'd probably replace them on a proactive basis and negotiate to subtract it from the purchase price.
Very well said. The only thing better than the six cylinder E39 is the M5 E39.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:55 PM   #7
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Yes, maybe you need to look for an e39 M5!

Have you considered working on the car yourself to fix it? I'm no mechanic but have enjoyed fixing a few things on mine using the great online write ups available. If it's already toast what do you have to lose? Here's one on replacing the timing chain tensioner and they have some write ups on replacing the plastic guide rails that go out. Although since yours already failed it may have caused other issues.

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1233696
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:44 AM   #8
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Had a 1997 740il, was a great car. Quite easy to work on, and parts were no more expensive than any other car. E38.org has everything you need to know. If you're not handy with a wrench and bentley manual, steer clear of the e38 or it'll eat you alive. Mine ran great with 140k on the clock.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:36 PM   #9
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I can wrench on my cars, but at this time I don't have a garage, and as winter is at our door, tearing into the motor is not really an option unfortunately. I spoke with two of my mechanic friends, they both strongly suggested I stick with a 2001-2003 530, and stay way away from the 740. Oh, and I found a 2000 540 M-Pack just like my old one, dark green and tan, looks REALLY sharp (my was silver and black), decisions, decisions...
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:02 PM   #10
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Have you driven a six cylinder E39? One difference from your 540 (aside from the power and weight up front) is the steering - your 540 has recirculating ball steering, while six cylinder E39's (530, 528, 525) had rack and pinion. It makes the difference. The first time I drove an E39, a friend's '97 528i I borrowed, it took me a few minutes to get used to how quick and light the steering was, and that was coming from my E34 525i, which shouldn't have been that much different. To me, the steering feel is what makes a BMW a BMW, and more fun to drive than MB or Audi - take a test drive if you haven't, see if you like the difference.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:45 PM   #11
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I have an E46, a 330I with the sport package. not really an older car, but it is 10 years old,,,,,,,anyway, I have ran across a few M5 cars they were around a 2000 model year, they were in the low 20K range. Thank is an great deal considering that sold new in the 80K range. I am not a fan of the 7 series as I like the sporty BMW's.
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:39 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Anorak View Post
Very well said. The only thing better than the six cylinder E39 is the M5 E39.
Really???

I thought the 3.0L M54 engine in the E39/E46 was the pinnacle of function and durability for BMW...
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:28 PM   #13
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In my mind older BMW means older than 1989...

Ten year old BMW is not old, those are fancy preowned! :)

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Old 12-13-2012, 08:57 PM   #14
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In my mind older BMW means older than 1989...

Ten year old BMW is not old, those are fancy preowned!
Yup, my '85 318i is starting to become "older."

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Old 12-13-2012, 09:08 PM   #15
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Really???

I thought the 3.0L M54 engine in the E39/E46 was the pinnacle of function and durability for BMW...
I don't mean so far as reliability, I mean performance. But, the 530 is a really well balanced car. My favorite is silver with a black interior and tinted windows.
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