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79_528i 10-27-2008 11:20 AM

1979 BMW 528i
First of all i would like to say this is my first post on this site. I was not able to find the appropriate directory for my car so mods please move it to where it belongs. Thanks.

Okay this is my first bmw, i come from the world of subarus (Owned multiple and built another)

I am 17 years old and am the proud owner of a 1979 BMW 528i 4 speed.

The car is far from perfect, however i like it. It is rusty but still has class, it is in some major need of some TLC. The shifter linkage is held up by vice grips (Car shifts amazingly smooth)

It does have a very, very small oil leak somewhere. The idle when it is cold is a little high and thus causes reverse to grind. The car does begin to overheat slowly when at idle after driving the car for some time. However as soon as i begin to drive it, The temperature drops rapidly. I assumed this to be a bad rad or possibly just the age/ design of the car.

The glass is good, tires are oversized causing rubing on slow tight turns, The power steering pump also makes noises on slow tight turns.

The oil drain plug is currenty striped on and im going to fix that today.

Things ive done to it so far after owning it for 3 days. The air filter was dirty as hell, phoned around and found that this car is pretty stupid hard to find and that to get a new filter from the dealership i have to buy everything included (the intake silencer and stuff that holds it)

SO i had some nice silocone tubing laying around and i rigged up what the tuner world calls a CAI i know it is sucking up nothing but hot air from the headers but for me it was cost effective and still allows the engine to breath cleaner.

Ive replaced the plug wires as one of them snapped as i was inspecting them, i believe them to be the original wires as they were a very old and dated design, I was still impresed.

I love the design of the hood and how it opens up, very easy to work on i find.

Now Onto the Questions, Its getting cold where i live and i was told to still use 10w-30 in this old engine, is this true? Or should i use Typical 5w-30? What is the oil capacity of this car? Should i slightly over fill it or what are some good tips?

If the oil change does not fix the tick what can? Or the engine doomed?

Here are the pictures, it is the definition of a beater, but it is mine.

79_528i 10-27-2008 11:24 AM

How do i fix that valve tick? If thats possible? I know changing the oil is the first thing to do.

Lanc3r 10-27-2008 11:26 AM


Originally Posted by 79_528i (Post 3654501)
How do i fix that valve tick? If thats possible? I know changing the oil is the first thing to do.

Valve adjustment.

79_528i 10-27-2008 11:47 AM


Originally Posted by Lanc3r (Post 3654506)
Valve adjustment.

Thanks. How do i adjust these valves?

Am i damaging the moter by driving it like this?

Lanc3r 10-27-2008 11:49 AM


Originally Posted by 79_528i (Post 3654569)
Thanks. How do i adjust these valves?

Am i damaging the moter by driving it like this?

idk. tapping is normal. Change the oil, do a tune-up, and drive it till it dies. I wouldnt get too attached. :eek::p

79_528i 10-27-2008 12:01 PM

haha. Dont worry but im a virgin to BMW's so its like my first time...

79_528i 10-27-2008 12:10 PM


What is the oil capacity?

And what do you recommend for viscosity wise for winter?

79_528i 10-28-2008 04:36 PM

Changed the oil. tapping still there but is running alot better.

Not too in love with the BMW oil filter design.

Im actually impressed with the top end power this beater has.

jvaughn21 10-29-2008 08:36 PM

Try shifting into a forward gear before you try reverse. I had a truck that would grind reverse if i didn't do that.

79_528i 10-29-2008 10:25 PM


Originally Posted by jvaughn21 (Post 3662237)
Try shifting into a forward gear before you try reverse. I had a truck that would grind reverse if i didn't do that.


Ill try that.

79_528i 10-29-2008 10:55 PM

Question for the pros. What kind of diff does this use?

open? limited?

jimoreno 10-30-2008 05:39 AM

The only way to find out is getting under your car and looking for a metal tag under one of your diff rear cover screws. It will state the ratio and if it has an "S" its a limited slip unit.
it looks like you have Alpina rear wheels! If they are the real deal, they are probably worth more than the car!

79_528i 10-31-2008 11:19 AM

As i expected all i found on the rear diff was rust and some more rust. Is there not some sort of method involving jacking the rear end and spinning the wheels?

Also the wheels read Alpina on them in the centre, they actually seem to be in very good shape.

The guy i bought the car off of also has some more wheels so i might just go see if i can find the matching 2.

What are these wheels are they rare are they sought after?

Thanks for all the info!

79_528i 10-31-2008 11:27 AM

Also i believe the engine has a very nasty leak that dosent hinder performance. There seams to be a good bit of oil near the transmission where it meets the engine. Im assuming the rear main/ crank seal is very worn as i do occasionoly get blue smoke in the exhaust aswell as some blow-by. However it is totally dependant on how you drive it, drive it hard it eats more oil, Drive it easy it dosent. The guy had Engine fix leak in the rear and i know it was dailey driven for a good couple of years before it sat for four months. Also the gas tank has a leak at the very top so when you fill the tank or take a corner hard there will be some gas, it is visible from the passenger side is there a good way to go about fixing this?

Also how hard is it to pull these moters? To replace that leaky seal, is it worth it?

Another thing, The fuses seem to be ancient where do i find these types of fuses the weird Metal strip pill looking ones?


soberider199 10-31-2008 04:39 PM

hey as for the overheating thing get a new pump and thermostat thats all you need to do to fix that and a way to make sure it is that is to look at you fan and see if it seems to go in and out towards the block and radiator then listen for a little hissing grinding noise thatll let you no you need a new pump. they seriously do need to make a forum for our class of cars lol i have a 1975 530 number 399 of 600 made

79_528i 11-01-2008 03:50 PM

Well Sadly, i loved this car but i crashed it last night.

I was on a gravel road and it suddenly dipped and then came onto a street i was forced to make a turn.

As i attempted to not crash by turning hardly instead of braking i began to drift, the reat end hoped up a curb and i took out a small tree spun around and totalled the car, massive dents all over the car and the rear left of the car was completly torn out inluding the strut drive axle and control arm.

So if anyone needs parts from this car before it gets scraped its all going for next to nothing, car is currently located just east of Calgary Alberta Canada

drivinfaster 11-01-2008 04:10 PM

i guess we don't need to worry about the ticking anymore....

sorry to hear about your misfortune. hopefully you will be a little wiser driving next time, and no worse for the wear.

i was actually digging the car (minus the rust). i secretly desire a 320, but don't tell anyone, ok??

by the way, welcome to the 'fest...


79_528i 11-01-2008 05:17 PM

Its a 528i!

It started rapidly going through oil so i wasent too woried about it, next summer im going to look into getting another Rust-less BMW, for now ill stick with my Subaru. Thanks Guys!

drivinfaster 11-01-2008 06:43 PM

yeah, i know it's a 5 series. i dig the older body styles of the 3 and 5 series from this era. (not so much on the 6 & 7's, though. -maybe shoulda made that point a little clearer...)

worked with a guy who had a 'grey market' german spec 528. *stupid* fast. (his words, not mine) he sold it, then tried to buy it back a few years later becasue he missed it.

good luck with your next bmw purchase.


79_528i 11-02-2008 02:31 PM

Thanks. Wasent being rude.

I hope to find something a little faster and lighter for my next purchase.

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