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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 03-10-2011, 07:08 PM
ProfKenn ProfKenn is offline
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Mein Auto: 97 740i
looking to buy 528i--recommendations?

Looking to buy 97 528i w/150k. Possible blown head gastket, but no mix of oil/water yet. Engine gets hot within short amount of time running. Car is in good physical shape. Wondering how much this will cost me in parts to repair myself? Seller says his best price is $2250--NADA says value is $5800. Do these cars sell even close to their NADA book values? Thanks!

Kenn DeShane
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  #2  
Old 03-10-2011, 07:19 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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I'd be extremely leery of any 6-cylinder BMW with head gasket issues because the heads are so vulnerable to damage with overheating. Head replacement=major dollars and could easily put you over the cost of another 528 with no problems. You might come out ahead (so to speak) on this one, but I think it's an unnecessary risk.

Last edited by bobdmac; 03-10-2011 at 07:20 PM.
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  #3  
Old 03-10-2011, 09:56 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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See if these links in this post help:

- My E39 overheated & I need a new head gasket (1)
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  #4  
Old 03-11-2011, 02:08 AM
reb78 reb78 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdmac View Post
I'd be extremely leery of any 6-cylinder BMW with head gasket issues because the heads are so vulnerable to damage with overheating. Head replacement=major dollars and could easily put you over the cost of another 528 with no problems. You might come out ahead (so to speak) on this one, but I think it's an unnecessary risk.
As above^^^. I'm investigating HG failure on my 528 currently and if it turns out that way, i'm considering whether to change the engine or scrap the car for parts. The head gasket replacement is not an option for me as the tools required cost a lot, the garage fees are more than half of what the car is worth, the head often needs replacing and if it has warped, it can destroy the threads for the head bolts in the block!!

IMHO, what he is asking for the car is way too high if he truly suspects the headgasket. Mine is worth 2000 ish in running condition, with the HG gone, its worth 400 maximum as scrap. Offer him ~$800 cos thats all i'd spend on it with the potential work ahead!
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Old 03-11-2011, 05:33 AM
ProfKenn ProfKenn is offline
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Thanks gentlemen for the info. I have been reading about BMW head gasket replacement, and quite frankly, this article, http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/tech...ead-Gasket.htm , scared me to death about the fragility of the cams. I had a 90 Merz 300TE I-6, which blew a headgasket, but guess they must be a bit more durable, as the head had not warped. Wondering what percentage (anyone's guess?) of heads are warped after they get hot? Thanks for all your input. I do think $2250 is a bit high now. I can offer him less and see what he says. He doesn't have time to part out the car; I do know that. He told me that he didn't even have time to work on the head. Now, after reading the above article, I realize why!

ProfKenn
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  #6  
Old 03-11-2011, 05:34 AM
ProfKenn ProfKenn is offline
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Just another quick question, I had also been looking at a 97 740iL; are the heads on the v8s just as prone to HG failure as these I-6s? Thanks. That 740, had 124k, on it, but wasn't quite as clean as this car is on the outside. BTW, how much is a good used head for th 528i?
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  #7  
Old 03-11-2011, 05:48 AM
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AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is offline
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740's are leakers and I'm not talking about a few drips here and there. They LEAK.

If you're in the market for an E39, try to find one as close to 2003 as possible. These cars are not getting any younger.
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Old 03-11-2011, 06:39 AM
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Josh P. Josh P. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProfKenn View Post
Just another quick question, I had also been looking at a 97 740iL; are the heads on the v8s just as prone to HG failure as these I-6s? Thanks. That 740, had 124k, on it, but wasn't quite as clean as this car is on the outside. BTW, how much is a good used head for th 528i?
Run away as fast as you can from a 740. If the E39 is a money pit, those cars are black holes.

And one correction: the heads on the E39 are not PRONE to fail. They fail because 1) the engines have high compression; 2) they run hot; 3) the cooling system is sh!t. In a well-maintained car (i.e. one with preventive cooling system maintenance) there is little to no danger of a cracked head under normal operating conditions/circumstances.

It's the poorly maintained cars--and ones that the idiot owner keeps driving after a cooling system failure--that are prone to have major damage.

There are lots of E39s on the mkt w/o cracked heads. Look for one of those.
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Last edited by Josh P.; 03-11-2011 at 06:40 AM.
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  #9  
Old 03-11-2011, 06:47 AM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh P. View Post
And one correction: the heads on the E39 are not PRONE to fail. They fail because 1) the engines have high compression; 2) they run hot; 3) the cooling system is sh!t. In a well-maintained car (i.e. one with preventive cooling system maintenance) there is little to no danger of a cracked head under normal operating conditions/circumstances.

It's the poorly maintained cars--and ones that the idiot owner keeps driving after a cooling system failure--that are prone to have major damage.

There are lots of E39s on the mkt w/o cracked heads. Look for one of those.
That's exactly right. The heads aren't inherently unsound, just the ones that have overheated. It's a long hunk of aluminum, which makes it vulnerable when it does overheat, but otherwise, it's sound.
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  #10  
Old 11-16-2011, 05:05 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdmac View Post
It's a long hunk of aluminum, which makes it vulnerable when it does overheat, but otherwise, it's sound.
For the record, after reading a few dozen of these blown-engine threads, here's the best I can do by way of one sentence of advice to the next person with this problem, long after we're gone ...

- Summary advice to provide users who suspect a major engine repair due to overheating (1) (2) (3) & how to test an engine for blown head gasket, cracked heads, a warped block, cam seizures, contaminated bearings, coolant hydrolock, or piston, ring, or valve damage (1) (2) & what are the major decisions to deciding whether to rebuild the engine, replace the engine, or sell the car (1) & a DIY for replacing the I6 M54 head gasket (1) (2) & replacing the V8 M62TU head gasket (1) & why these engines are so prone to heat-related damage in the first place (1) & welding the crack between cylinder #3 and the water jacket on the exhaust side (1) & what engine swaps are most recommended (1) (2) (3) & where to obtain a new or rebuilt head (1) replacement short block or long block (1) (2) & how to lift & remove the engine (1) & real-world results from people faced with similar blown engine problems from which this advice came from (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) (23) (24) (25) (26) (27) (28) (29) (30) (31) (32) (33) (34) (35) (36) (37) (38) (39).
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