Wow! Takes real guts to buy an old BMW w/o knowing what the future may hold.
Spend time browsing the Stickies. This site has a wealth of information on maintenance and repair. Common wear items are noted.
First, buy the Bentley E39 service manual. Second, buy a good scan tool. Third, change all the lubes and fluids (you may want to do the cooling system overhaul at the same time as changing the coolant).
Fourth, replace the VANOS seals.
The E39 chassis is quite sophisticated; that's why the car handles so well. Many of the suspension components do require replacement to keep the car handling well.
We are glad to help with specific questions. We do expect you to do some research yourself before asking questions, and report the mileage and symptoms, along with trouble codes. Vague questions are not entertained.
Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.
Last edited by edjack; 01-04-2013 at 10:05 AM.