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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 09-24-2010, 08:05 AM
augenblick augenblick is offline
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Holla from Toronto (former e24 owner) e39 buying questions

Greetings,
I am new to this forum and coming from e24 background. Just sold my 5spd 87 635csi sharknose and looking at a 2002 530i automatic for convenience as a daily (or mostly weekend) purposes. I have also owned used 3 e30s from 87 to 92 convertible in the past. All of these past ones were above 150,000kms and previous owners have taken care of the above 100K issues before me.

This is the first BMW that I own that is a 'modern' one so a bit vary as to what to expect.
The car has 110,000 kms on it. It was owned by 2 before (first a lease for 3 years) and for 6 years an old lady who put 16,000kms on average per year.
The MID and the cluster LEDs were fine (for now), the car accelerates well and no obvious issues while driving other than a hiss or howl coming from the radiator fan area even when idling. What can this be?

The dealership I am buying from 'had it checked" and although the guy noticed it with me next day in mechanic they couldn't reproduce.
The water pump and pulley was also changed by BMW dealership this July 2010. I couldn't learn whether if it was preventative or it really failed. I am taking the worst case scenario if it was failed what should I ask my mechanic to check for? Tomorrow bringing it there for pre-purchase inspection and if he gives me thumbs up I will get it. No rust vehicle clean inside (Black leather seats and no cracks on the wood trim, yet).

Also one annoyance was on the rear doors where you shouldn't, step on there are these plastic sill covers that say BMW (in M cars should say M with 3 stripes?) and from the corners the plastic was fine peeling out like those cheesticks. Would it be the sign of water getting in? But it was on both doors, no damage/wear in the front ones.

Also what else I should check at 110,000 kms? I will get the tranny and diff oils as well as valve cover gasket and perhaps spark plugs, taken care of if/once I buy it as preventative things to do.
Also I read the archives and cooling system overhaul is mentioned. If they replaced the water pump and pully would it be enough or I still have more work to be done?

Many thanks in advance.


Last edited by augenblick; 09-24-2010 at 11:27 AM.
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  #2  
Old 09-24-2010, 08:45 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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See http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=486253 post #9 for a complete list of known failure points on the e39.

Still want to buy one?
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  #3  
Old 09-24-2010, 08:54 AM
augenblick augenblick is offline
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I guess I do but not sure now if e39 or e46 is the way to go I really like e39 though. Let me ask you a question. Would you buy it again ; ?

Last edited by augenblick; 09-24-2010 at 09:12 AM.
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  #4  
Old 09-24-2010, 10:14 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Yes!
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  #5  
Old 09-24-2010, 10:27 AM
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Johnny Canada Johnny Canada is offline
2003 530 5 speed
Location: Hamilton Ontario
 
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Your best bet is to spend a day scrolling through this Forum. After a few hours, you're going to get a pretty good idea what E39 ownership is all about. At 110K kms you're close to the point where a number of major maintenance issues begin (suspension, cooling system, vanos seals, CCV replacement) . Nothing wrong with that, but just insure that you have the addition funds available to address these items, not to mention all the fussy little things that break on an 8 year old car. Oh, and that automatic transmi$$ion should be perfect or stay away. Good luck.
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:47 AM
augenblick augenblick is offline
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Thanks Johnny.

Last edited by augenblick; 09-24-2010 at 11:21 AM.
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  #7  
Old 09-24-2010, 11:13 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augenblick View Post
I guess I do but not sure now if e39 or e46 is the way to go I really like e39 though. Let me ask you a question. Would you buy it again ; ?
I got my first e39 in 2004. I totaled that car about two years ago. Insurance gave me $14K for it and I spent about 30 minutes considering other options. I was driving another e39 in about 2 weeks. Does that answer your question?

For me, the e39 is the definitive Ultimate Driving Machine. The best balance of luxury (ride, cabin comfort, etc.), performance (handling and acceleration), good looks and class. Sort of the Catherine Deneuve of cars, if you get my drift.
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  #8  
Old 09-24-2010, 11:17 AM
augenblick augenblick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
I got my first e39 in 2004. I totaled that car about two years ago. Insurance gave me $14K for it and I spent about 30 minutes considering other options. I was driving another e39 in about 2 weeks. Does that answer your question?

For me, the e39 is the definitive Ultimate Driving Machine. The best balance of luxury (ride, cabin comfort, etc.), performance (handling and acceleration), good looks and class. Sort of the Catherine Deneuve of cars, if you get my drift.
I hear what you're saying. Even when I had e30s, my heart was set for e39 but those days they were unreachable to my wallet.
As I and the e39 aged, I think we came closer to get 'involved' and just checking how much will I get burned at the end of this relationship
Yesterday I checked out 'the most reliable' Toyota Corolla as well as Matrix (due to cabin size) and still can't get used to boringness of them overall.
I also have never owned any other brand car than BMW so I hope I will not be disappointed tomorrow once I put my signature on the paper.
Cheers
John

Last edited by augenblick; 09-24-2010 at 11:19 AM.
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  #9  
Old 09-24-2010, 12:26 PM
rashid rashid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augenblick View Post
I hear what you're saying. Even when I had e30s, my heart was set for e39 but those days they were unreachable to my wallet.
As I and the e39 aged, I think we came closer to get 'involved' and just checking how much will I get burned at the end of this relationship
Yesterday I checked out 'the most reliable' Toyota Corolla as well as Matrix (due to cabin size) and still can't get used to boringness of them overall.
I also have never owned any other brand car than BMW so I hope I will not be disappointed tomorrow once I put my signature on the paper.
Cheers
John
What is the price of it?
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  #10  
Old 09-24-2010, 01:29 PM
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Johnny Canada Johnny Canada is offline
2003 530 5 speed
Location: Hamilton Ontario
 
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Car is in my town, so I'll comment further:

I don't know what your financial situation is, but please remember you're buying an old German car. German cars are expensive to fix due to the complexity of their designs. I'd only suggest buying an older BMW because you're passionate about the ownership. If that's the case, you won't bitch when you have to start fixing things.

If you're looking for reliable affordable transportation, then stay away. If you have to go to a mechanic to fix every little thing, then also, stay away. Remember, you will spend a considerable amount of time and money maintaining an old German car. So, you really got to love it.

There is a ton of useful information on the Forum as far as owner's experiences and costs. Oh, and BMW parts in Canada are expensive (BMW Dealership parts prices are crazy expensive). I get most of mine from the U.S. suppliers.

Based on the picture, that car DOES NOT have the very desirable Sport Package option. This is a very base E39 model. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you know and it's priced accordingly.

I don't care what the seller claims, if you really want this car, arrange for Budds BMW on Upper James to do a detailed inspection. It will cost about $150.

If the dealer is asking $13'000, I'd bet he has about $8'000 into it. You could easily knock $2000 off that. Perhaps more after a detailed specialist inspection.
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  #11  
Old 09-24-2010, 02:20 PM
augenblick augenblick is offline
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$11K cdn
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  #12  
Old 09-24-2010, 03:01 PM
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agent15 agent15 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
For me, the e39 is the definitive Ultimate Driving Machine. The best balance of luxury (ride, cabin comfort, etc.), performance (handling and acceleration), good looks and class. Sort of the Catherine Deneuve of cars, if you get my drift.
That's sig worthy.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
For me, the e39 is the ... best balance of luxury ... performance ... good looks and class. Sort of the Catherine Deneuve of cars, if you get my drift.
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  #13  
Old 09-25-2010, 09:50 PM
augenblick augenblick is offline
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Thank you everyone. After too much deliberation I ended up buying a 540iA with Full M sport package (in cosmosschwartz) with 2 piece staggered BBS like wheels.
It also has DSP as well as motorized shade screen in the back.
I paid the same price and it is 120K kms.
Will post pictures soon.
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  #14  
Old 09-26-2010, 01:55 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Very nice car. First one was overpriced and needed a continuation of the cooling system overhaul :P

Locke St Tire and Auto (82 Locke St) in Hamilton has a good parts service, and they will work on the car for a good rate as well. I've bought parts from EACTuning as well, though their Canadian shipping policy is variable due to all the paperwork involved. It's a lot cheaper there even after customs duty if you get dinged. You probably know this already from owning the E24, but find a good indy if you don't DIY.

Leave the motorized shade where it is if you want it to stay working :P apparently they break quite easily. I still want one though...
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  #15  
Old 09-26-2010, 07:11 PM
augenblick augenblick is offline
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Thank you all for the invaluable feedback and comments. They are greatly appreciated.
Here are my pictures as promised:









Next task is get it detailed and buffed, some touchup paint on chips as well as winter tires and wheels.
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