what to expect? [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: what to expect?

10-28-2008, 08:44 AM

i am considering purchasing my first BMW, a 1991 535i. ~100k miles, $4k.

cosmetically, it is good, though with a few age signs since 1991, though which one of us can't say the same.

and driving the car, it feels solid.

2nd owner, all (or most) records, with a quick scan revealing receipts of dealer maintenance in many of its years.

the question i have, is what to really expect from the car overall?

driving-wise, i'm anticipating a lot of smiles, and it will be my "daily" in good weather.

mechanically, though?

i've read the Sticky Top 10 list.

i wouldn't call myself a "car guy" by any stretch of the imagination, though do also own an Alfa Romeo Spider doing most of this work myself while being resourceful utilizing some online help in that respective forum.

granted, it's a very different car, arguably simpler in some ways, though how complicated are BMW's, if one possesses a little ambition, willingness, resourcefulness and know-how?

is one _still_ at the complete mercy of their mechanic?

doesn't appear to be the case as i've already found the thread(s) to fix the seat cables/reclining problem -- and thus retaining $500 for myself.


considering my first BMW, everyone.

what are your joys and headaches with these??


bimmer dot info
10-28-2008, 08:50 AM
There is a "what will break" section.

If it has been well maintained it will be a joy. A copy of the bentley manual and some basic tools and the maintence costs will be fairly low.
My only big problems have been issues with weak coils (no computer codes), a bad trans (r&r in my driveway), cracked trunk wiring and shocks and thrust arms.

10-28-2008, 09:27 AM
My only big problems have been...a bad trans (r&r in my driveway).

1) thanks, i'll seek out the "What Will Break" thread.

2) OK, that truly frightens me.

on the test drive, the shifting felt seamless, like no other auto-trans car i've driven. that said, is there anyway other than "feel" to er, "predict" the likelihood of failure going into this?

10-28-2008, 09:43 AM
If you are willing to do a little DIY and are prudent about parts purchases these can be reasonably inexpensive cars to keep.
If at the mercy of a shop at least find one who has lots of similar cars in his lot so you aren't paying for a generalist's education.
If you've read the forums you know a PPI is money well spent. Ask the seller to sponsor this, if if the car proves to be what he says it is you will reimburse the cost as it was for your comfort.
Keep your eyes open to the fact that you are buying a dozen or more year old complicated used car.
Lastly, a serviced by the book (with proof) car is a better deal at a high price than a neglected one on the cheap.

10-28-2008, 09:44 AM
over all they are a really good car. um Some times they need so lovin and care. but over all the are a blast to drive. you will soon be a car guy if you get one. o and the inline six thats in it, had the over all vote that it was the best motor that bmw had in it. They are bullet proof

bimmer dot info
10-28-2008, 12:23 PM
Not much that you can check in regards to the auto trans. If it has a dipstick pull it and check the color and smell of the fluid. Also look for records of trans fluid changes.

10-31-2008, 02:14 PM
100K that is very good deal, the car still has plenty of life left mine is 89 535i 5 speed 268,000 still running like a champ. The only thing you worry about 100K is the valve ajustment, water pump, termostat and while you do the water pump flush new coolant as well. Check all bushings
Keep the car with sinthetic oil and it will run forever