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View Full Version : Are 94 540's problematic?


BMR_LVR
12-30-2008, 07:31 PM
Hello 5'ers. I currently have an E36 and am in the market for another 5. I like the 92-95 525i's, but they are hard to come by in decent shape without a gazillion miles. I had a 92 that went 256K miles before the tranny lost reverse. Motor was still sweet. :):):) LOVED THAT CAR. :):):)

Anyway, I've come across a 94' 540 6 speed with 121K miles. It looks to be in decent shape and the price seems right.

My question .... Are the 540's good cars, i.e., are they problematic (more so than the 525). I seem to recall that somewhere I had been told to stay away from the 540's and would like your opinions.

Thanks in advance.

nmp411
12-30-2008, 08:58 PM
look into the "Nikasil/Alusil" problems, that is one of the biggest things to look into first with a 540. Also remember, it has two headgaskets, valve cover gaskets, etc... so it will be more money for those kinds of repairs.

That being said however, I have a 535/5, but if I could get my hands on a decent 540/6 for a good price I would be on it in a heartbeat.

yaofeng
12-31-2008, 01:55 AM
If you clear the nikasil hurdle with the e34 540 it is a great car to have. You will have a grin from ear to ear every time you are in the driver seat especially with the 6 speed. It is more congested in the engine compartment with the bulky V8.

BMR_LVR
12-31-2008, 06:26 AM
Thanks for the info guys. I had never heard specifically of the Nikasil/Alusil issue. Would not have known to look into it if it had not been for this forum. I'll let you know what I find out, if the guy still has the car that is.

bimmer dot info
12-31-2008, 06:37 AM
Nikasil/Alusil issue, potential for air leaks and it will be thirsty. Other than that you should be fine.
It is worth the money to have your mechanic look the car over. He might see something you dont.

BMR_LVR
12-31-2008, 07:10 AM
Nikasil/Alusil issue, potential for air leaks and it will be thirsty. Other than that you should be fine.
It is worth the money to have your mechanic look the car over. He might see something you dont.

Thanks. How thirsty is this car? I know that gas prices will go up again soon and I usually drive 400-700 miles per week. I usually drive very conservatively and average about 29 mpg highway with my 95 325is. Most of my miles are highway. I know the mileage would be worse with the V-8, just wondering how much worse.

Also, what air leaks are you referring to?

bimmer dot info
12-31-2008, 10:14 AM
Not sure exactly what you will get but I'd guess 25ish on the highway. You can do a search on the forum or hopefully someone with a 540i will chime in.

The V-8 can develop air leaks at the intake and PCV plate. They can cause rough idle and some other anoying problems. Not the hardest thing to fix.

Mobius1
12-31-2008, 10:33 AM
Well i'm still not sure if my beast (94 540i auto) is euro spec or U.S. still but my problems were misfire and a on going electrical problem. Misfire is gone (new plugs and coils along with oil change) motor runs great and the tranny from what I can tell is still great. Car has about 145k on it, runs like and champ. My electrical problem is I can lock my driver side door from the inside or else my hazards will come on. If I lock the passenger side front from the inside then I can lower any of my windows and some times the hazards will come on. I can however lock everything from the outside with no problems. All in all it runs and drives like a new car for just paying a thousand dollars. My fuel eco is 16 city and about 30 highway assuming that gauge in the car is correct. Oh and if you haven't seen any ther post from me i'm stationed in Italy so thats why i don't know if the car is Euro spec or U.S.

yaofeng
12-31-2008, 10:52 AM
I get 18 mpg average. If I do all highway I can get 23. But I am happy. Can't have the cake and eat it too.

Corgidog
12-31-2008, 11:05 AM
I had a 95 540i 6 spd that I kept til 05. You need to have a leak down test performed to see if there are problems with the nikasil cylinders. Mine was okay but when I reached 70 K everything started to break and it cost me an arm and leg to repair plus the inconvenience. As a result I swore off owning a BMW that is out of warranty. Just be careful as these cars can be a money pit. The E34 has classic lines and 6 spd E34s are hard to find-only 1280 built in 95 as the 94 540 was only an automatic.

BMR_LVR
12-31-2008, 12:13 PM
Thanks so much for all of the repies and information.

After some soul searching, forum searching (yes I searched prior to posting :) ), replies to this post and speaking with my TRUSTED indy mech., I have decided against pursuing the car. I am going to continue to look for a nice E34 525i though.

If anyone is interested, it is listed on Craig's list in Raleigh, NC at an asking price of $3700. Here is the link:

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/974828290.html

Thanks again.

BMR_LVR
12-31-2008, 09:53 PM
Well i'm still not sure if my beast (94 540i auto) is euro spec or U.S. still but my problems were misfire and a on going electrical problem. Misfire is gone (new plugs and coils along with oil change) motor runs great and the tranny from what I can tell is still great. Car has about 145k on it, runs like and champ. My electrical problem is I can lock my driver side door from the inside or else my hazards will come on. If I lock the passenger side front from the inside then I can lower any of my windows and some times the hazards will come on. I can however lock everything from the outside with no problems. All in all it runs and drives like a new car for just paying a thousand dollars. My fuel eco is 16 city and about 30 highway assuming that gauge in the car is correct. Oh and if you haven't seen any ther post from me i'm stationed in Italy so thats why i don't know if the car is Euro spec or U.S.

Thanks for serving Mobius1!!! I am former USAF.

CarDriver
01-01-2009, 06:04 AM
Have a Very Happy New Year from USN, USS John F Kennedy CV67... Retired.

3700 is not too bad a price. The car looks very clean. Try to offer 3200 and see if that will get it.

A friend of mine just picked up a 98 MAXIMA for his wife. Not to sure what the Very fast model was called but thats what he got her. Sure wish my 525 was a 540 so I could spank his MAXIMA. I can out drive it but not out speed it. :cry:

BMR_LVR
01-01-2009, 06:28 AM
Have a Very Happy New Year from USN, USS John F Kennedy CV67... Retired.

3700 is not too bad a price. The car looks very clean. Try to offer 3200 and see if that will get it.

A friend of mine just picked up a 98 MAXIMA for his wife. Not to sure what the Very fast model was called but thats what he got her. Sure wish my 525 was a 540 so I could spank his MAXIMA. I can out drive it but not out speed it. :cry:

Yeah, I don't think that the asking price is too bad, but I decided not to even look at the car. Maybe a 540 lover will though.

I'd like to have the speed and power as well, but not at the sacrifice of all the negative things I disccovered in my research.

ross1
01-01-2009, 08:35 AM
The V8s are a bit more expensive to maintain and there is less room to work on them, some jobs will make you suicidal. All 540/6s have a full load of options so there is a bit more "stuff" to worry about also.
No doubt someone else has already chimed in about Nikasil.
The Manual 540s are very fuel efficient if you watch your right foot.

BMR_LVR
01-01-2009, 06:16 PM
The V8s are a bit more expensive to maintain and there is less room to work on them, some jobs will make you suicidal. All 540/6s have a full load of options so there is a bit more "stuff" to worry about also.
No doubt someone else has already chimed in about Nikasil.
The Manual 540s are very fuel efficient if you watch your right foot.

Thanks Ross. Yeah, the right foot thing might be a problem after driving the M50 six cylinder for so long.

SpeedDemon
01-01-2009, 11:32 PM
I considered buying a 540i M-sport about 3 years ago, but once I found out that it still had a Nikasil block in it, I ran away. The cost of repairs will be more than what the car is worth and will require an engine swap... Good excuse for an S62 though :bigpimp:

AHalibut
01-06-2009, 12:16 PM
Overall, including the purchase price of my 95 E34, the total cost of investment is approaching $13,500 including all repairs, both regular maintenance (new brakes, tires, etc) and actual repairs to the engine, suspension, drivetrain, etc.

So, in hindsight, I can't say I would have done it all over again. But if the car you're looking at has been maintained really well, then go for it. Catching up on maintenance on a car that was $53,000 and neglected is not easy on your wallet.

*edit: I see you decided against that one. Well, this is still advice for anybody who happens to ever be in the market.

BMR_LVR
01-07-2009, 06:13 PM
Overall, including the purchase price of my 95 E34, the total cost of investment is approaching $13,500 including all repairs, both regular maintenance (new brakes, tires, etc) and actual repairs to the engine, suspension, drivetrain, etc.

So, in hindsight, I can't say I would have done it all over again. But if the car you're looking at has been maintained really well, then go for it. Catching up on maintenance on a car that was $53,000 and neglected is not easy on your wallet.

*edit: I see you decided against that one. Well, this is still advice for anybody who happens to ever be in the market.

Yep. Made the right decision for me.

mikes95540i
01-28-2009, 02:51 PM
Well guys I have to tell you that I love my 95 540i. It was just dumb luck, but I got an M 60A in mine, I bought it from a dealer friend that knew I was looking for a good project car. My friend had his detail guy remove all of the door dings and assorted small dents here and their for $75. This was a one owner car with 85K miles on it, it has an automatic transmission, ( that has been my only real problem). The fluid had never been changed and their was some noise in the trans. and a little shift lag until the car was up to temp. Once I had the fluid, filter, o rings, etc. changed I have had no more complaints. I just ordered all the stuff I need to do another filter change, I think after this one I can get on the every ten thousand mile maintenance program.
I have had the normal wear and tear fixes but other than buying new coolant hoses and a thermostat housing I've not had to put much money at all in my very fast toy.
The other night a friend with a new Z4 was ahead of me and as we pulled onto the interstate he nailed it, having no self control so did I. By the time he reached the end of the merge lane I passed him at a little over 115 MPH. I can't Waite to put a chip in this thing!

BMR_LVR
01-29-2009, 05:52 AM
Well guys I have to tell you that I love my 95 540i. It was just dumb luck, but I got an M 60A in mine, I bought it from a dealer friend that knew I was looking for a good project car. My friend had his detail guy remove all of the door dings and assorted small dents here and their for $75. This was a one owner car with 85K miles on it, it has an automatic transmission, ( that has been my only real problem). The fluid had never been changed and their was some noise in the trans. and a little shift lag until the car was up to temp. Once I had the fluid, filter, o rings, etc. changed I have had no more complaints. I just ordered all the stuff I need to do another filter change, I think after this one I can get on the every ten thousand mile maintenance program.
I have had the normal wear and tear fixes but other than buying new coolant hoses and a thermostat housing I've not had to put much money at all in my very fast toy.
The other night a friend with a new Z4 was ahead of me and as we pulled onto the interstate he nailed it, having no self control so did I. By the time he reached the end of the merge lane I passed him at a little over 115 MPH. I can't Waite to put a chip in this thing!

Glad you got a good one. I know the power must be fun :) When you refer to the "every 10K mile maintenance", are you referring to servicing the transmission that frequently ? If so, that sure sounds like a lot. I'd be changing mine about every 3 months in that case.