older BMW cars

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by KLR04, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. KLR04

    KLR04 Been here awhile

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    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?
    #1
  2. Ragin Rabbi

    Ragin Rabbi Semper Fidelis

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    My only experience with "older" BMWs was a '71 2002..

    I thought that's what you meant by older!!!:lol3
    #2
  3. Ursa Major

    Ursa Major Bemused

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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.
    #3
  4. Howler

    Howler Been here awhile

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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.
    #4
  5. KLR04

    KLR04 Been here awhile

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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 :(
    #5
  6. Anorak

    Anorak Woolf Barnato

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    Very well said. The only thing better than the six cylinder E39 is the M5 E39.
    #6
  7. Howler

    Howler Been here awhile

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    Yes, maybe you need to look for an e39 M5! :D

    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/showthread.php?t=1233696
    #7
  8. CA_Strom

    CA_Strom Cunning Linguist

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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.
    #8
  9. KLR04

    KLR04 Been here awhile

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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...
    #9
  10. Ursa Major

    Ursa Major Bemused

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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.
    #10
  11. Greg MacD

    Greg MacD Been here awhile

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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.
    #11
  12. A-Bone

    A-Bone Indubitably

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    Really??? :huh

    I thought the 3.0L M54 engine in the E39/E46 was the pinnacle of function and durability for BMW...
    #12
  13. RocketJohn

    RocketJohn Hook em' Horns!

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    In my mind older BMW means older than 1989... :rofl

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

    :rofl:rofl:rofl
    #13
  14. crazydrummerdude

    crazydrummerdude Wacky Bongo Boy

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    Yup, my '85 318i is starting to become "older."

    :lol3
    #14
  15. Anorak

    Anorak Woolf Barnato

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    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.
    #15
  16. kfsinc

    kfsinc Chaingolian Observer

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    I'm driving a 2003 540i M-Sport 6 speed -- pretty much an M5 with the smaller motor. I've had a 1998 740iL, a 2000 528 and my daughter has a 325iX. They're all very different cars.

    The 740 is a luxury boat that drives like a sports car. It has the same engine as your 540 so is subject to the same potential problems. That said, mine is near 200K miles and the guy I sold it to reports that it is going strong. My 540 is at 120 and going strong. If you need room for four, the 740 can't be beat. And it will still get well over 20mpg. I sold the 529 at 200K and it too was going strong.

    The 530 has a bullet proof 6, with plenty of power and the previously mentioned rack and pinion steering, like my 528, it will handle better than the 540 in around town driving. The M suspension, tires, etc, make the 540 ride like the high performance sports sedan it is, but it eats low profile staggered ($$$) tires. And I must say, I'm sick of the 6 speed.

    I'm pretty sure they all have the same BMW issues -- plastic radiator, front suspension that need replacing at about 100K, valve cover leaks, PCV issues, plastic water pump impeller. All are $500 plus if you have it done for you. The 540/740 have valley pan gasket issues and cam chain issues.

    However -- I'm still a big fan and will buy more of them.

    In your case -- the choice is really how big a car do you want?
    #16
  17. A-Bone

    A-Bone Indubitably

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    10-4...
    #17
  18. aceluck

    aceluck Been here awhile

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    Like this?

    [​IMG]

    Not a 530, but a 528i 5-speed (wearing its small 15-inch winter wheels). Love this car. I can't believe how well it drives at almost 15 years old with 123k miles. Just had to put in a new battery, as the old one gave up after 10 years. Other than that it's been pretty reliable over the 2 years I've owned it. Looking forward to keeping it for a long time

    I do sometimes wish for the 530's extra 35 horses though. I find myself thinking that my car's handling, with just a bit more power, would be perfect.
    #18
  19. mb90535im

    mb90535im '05 R1200 GS

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    My E34, a 1990 535i 5-speed. The M30 engine is in my opinion one of the best on the road provided you don't let it run hot because they are known for blowing head gaskets when run hot. I bought this car in 2001 the weekend before 9/11 from a guy in Raleigh via Ebay.

    It has been the best car I've ever owned only being in the shop twice since I've owned it. First for something I could probably have done DIY, but it was so frigging cold and I don't have an enclosed garage to replace a broken ignition switch lock and front wheel hub/bearings. The second time it was in the shop was a little pricier at around $700 for new struts and front end suspension bushings which I didn't feel like I was experienced enough, nor did I have the proper tools to do the job safely.

    In the time I've owned the car I've replaced the radiator, starter, and water pump all DIY. That's it other than normal maintenance.

    I can't tell you how nice it has been to not have had a car payment since, well since so far back I can' remember because I paid $7K cash for this.

    It's closing in on a quarter million miles now and as far as I'm concerned it might be the last car I'll ever own.

    There is an E34 for sale in the Flea Market right now, but it looks a little ragged out from what I can see in the photos, and proper maintenance is everything to the lifespan of these cars. I absolutely would not buy one without a complete verifiable maintenance history, but if you can find one that has been well cared for, then I'd jump on it in a heartbeat.

    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. mb90535im

    mb90535im '05 R1200 GS

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    Yes, the E28 is at the top of the heap and that is coming from an E34 owner.

    I wonder if this car's owner could use some eye teeth?

    [​IMG]
    #20