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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 07-20-2011, 12:13 PM
bagodonuts68 bagodonuts68 is offline
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Mein Auto: e39 wagon (silver 528)
Part out or fix 2000 528it

Its looking more and more that i need to replace the tranny in my touring wagon (2000 528--see other post on e39 does not crank after revving high if curious about specifics). A reliable indy (360 miles away) quoted me at $3875 for parts and labor with the rebuilt tranny coming from a reputable supplier in CA.


The car is beautiful (silver with black interior). I just put money into suspension parts and the control module for traction control was just fixed. New radiator, front door seals, alternator, and rear ball joints... It needs front shocks. I figure (looking at ebay) that a car like this (with 165,000 miles on it) is worth about $6500.


Do i fix or give up?


Has anyone had luck parting out their car? it sounds like a pain in the arse. What could i get for parts do you think? ...and over what time frame??
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2011, 12:25 PM
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DennisCooper! DennisCooper! is offline
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Mein Auto: 03 Ex Cop 530d Touring
Hi

not much help im afraid, but for visibility I just wanted to add that when my auto gearbox gave up, I had it rebuilt, using BMW parts from a reputable gearbox specialist here in London. I paid £1450 which is around $2300 USD. I did have quotes to the equivalent of $3300 or so USD too. I suggest you shop around to see if indeed there is anyone USA based that does the re-condition service for a keener price. That said, the job is complex and involved, so you won't find anything like $1100 or something to do this job.

To me, the job was worth it at the time it happened. My car is ex police so for it to last till 172K miles was good considering the amount of punishment police vehicles go through. The car at the time it happened was just 3.5 years or so old so I got it so cheap that even with the cost of the gearbox rebuild, I still had an utter bargain of a car.

To you, only you can tell if the job is worth doing or if it means to part the car out. Parting out the easy bits isn't too bad as all you need to do is loosen and remove, but for the bigger oily bits it's down to your skill levels and of course time and space.

Cheers, Dennis!
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  #3  
Old 07-20-2011, 01:05 PM
Joe@Bavarian Joe@Bavarian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bagodonuts68 View Post
Its looking more and more that i need to replace the tranny in my touring wagon (2000 528--see other post on e39 does not crank after revving high if curious about specifics). A reliable indy (360 miles away) quoted me at $3875 for parts and labor with the rebuilt tranny coming from a reputable supplier in CA.


The car is beautiful (silver with black interior). I just put money into suspension parts and the control module for traction control was just fixed. New radiator, front door seals, alternator, and rear ball joints... It needs front shocks. I figure (looking at ebay) that a car like this (with 165,000 miles on it) is worth about $6500.


Do i fix or give up?


Has anyone had luck parting out their car? it sounds like a pain in the arse. What could i get for parts do you think? ...and over what time frame??
I have a used one for $975.00 delivered with a 1-year warranty. Something to consider...
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  #4  
Old 07-20-2011, 01:11 PM
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Josh P. Josh P. is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 530 SP/PP/CWP/Slush
Sorry to hear your bad news . . . can't say I am that surprised based on symptoms. Did you get a professional diagnosis, or is this your speculation?

As DC said, parting it out is not really fun, it's work. Dealing with the shipping alone is a PITA. If you are handy and have the tools and time, you can get some cash. Will you get more than what you'd pay to replace the tranny? Unknown. But the parts are used.

It is a tough call. If you've just sunk thousands of dollars into the car, then it may be worth it. You might, MIGHT be able to find another touring (this time get a manual!) for, say, $5-8k. But it's going to have the same or greater mileage than you have, and you won't really know its history. With your car, at least you know what's been done.

Once a car is old enough, you get to the point where it's not really about whether it's "worth it" (in terms of the cost of the parts versus the actual value of the car) but how much you enjoy the car...and how much you'd have to pay to buy another car you also enjoy. I do think you can do way better than $4k for a transmission. That is a lot. See Joe's post. But you need to be careful with used transmissions.
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Last edited by Josh P.; 07-20-2011 at 01:12 PM.
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  #5  
Old 07-20-2011, 01:20 PM
bagodonuts68 bagodonuts68 is offline
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Mein Auto: e39 wagon (silver 528)
I am still speculating. but signs are pointing more and more to tranny failure.

this car has been the primary mode of transport for me and, on longer trips, my family...so reliability is a concern. I love the bmw BUT there is nobody nearby who can service it. this indy has told me he can install a tranny for about $750 but i do worry about being stuck in the same position (minus $1700) if the used tranny fails. I didn't realize this was a weak spot for the e39.
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  #6  
Old 07-20-2011, 02:19 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
Actually for an Auto Trans, if you get 165K miles out of it, it is good! Nothing lasts forever.

I used to have a 2001 Honda Odyssey van, the A.T. failed at 50K miles!

PS: Get a used Tranny with low mileage. Do not forget to renew the following items while the work is being done:

1. The Giubo

2. Center Bearing (on the driveshaft)

3. Rear Engine Seal (use BMW seal only)

4. Trans Seals (use BMW seal only)
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  #7  
Old 07-20-2011, 02:37 PM
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MatWiz MatWiz is offline
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Replace your tranny.

You have put money in your car. Just fix it now.

Parting it out is a PITA. Another PITA to consider is that you will need to look for a new car, and you never know what you're going to get. Fix your car, it's a less of a headache, quick, and you have 1 year warranty from Joe B.

What if you can't even make the money on parting your car out? Forget it. Too mach troubles and too much unknown.

But if you part it, let me know. I want some parts.

mw
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  #8  
Old 04-10-2012, 08:28 PM
bagodonuts68 bagodonuts68 is offline
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what could a person recoup by parting out such a vehicle??
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  #9  
Old 04-11-2012, 04:03 AM
Jase007 Jase007 is offline
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If it were mine, I'd take Joe up on his offer and install a used auto tranny. Wouldn't mess with a conversion to manual.

Good luck.
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  #10  
Old 04-11-2012, 10:17 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Another expense is replacement of the rear subframe bushings, unless they've been replaced. Symptom is a very rough ride in the rear.

Do you have firet-hand knowledge of this indie?

Mike Miller, a BMW tech editor, recommends only BMW factory rebuilt transmissions. Might want to get a quote from the indie for one of those.
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  #11  
Old 04-11-2012, 11:00 AM
bagodonuts68 bagodonuts68 is offline
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Mein Auto: e39 wagon (silver 528)
i've done the rear subframe bushings for a tremendous improvement in ride. i did this at about 120k miles.

regarding a used tranny. i tried this and it lasted 4 months (3 mo warranty). i would rather not hear "told you so" from my wife again.

I still am interested in hearing a ball-park figure for what the car could net from parting out. thanks
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  #12  
Old 04-13-2012, 06:15 PM
528iTSportWagon 528iTSportWagon is offline
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Post some photos. You might find a buyer for the entire car if it's not been beat to death.

What transmission is in it, the reliable four speed, or the junk five speed steptronic????

Either way they are GM sourced units and should not be too costly to rebuild. Call Level 10 and get a rebuild kit, throw a new converter in it if you can swing it and get back on the road.

As a parts car or non runnner it's likely not worth a whole lot, sorry.
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  #13  
Old 04-13-2012, 09:50 PM
aspensilver540 aspensilver540 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bagodonuts68 View Post
I still am interested in hearing a ball-park figure for what the car could net from parting out. thanks

Realistically parting a car out sucks unless you have a lot of extra time. Realistically nobody wants a lot of worn interior items, so it can take 6 months - 2 years to get rid of everything. You live in North Dakota so likely with fewer people unless you'll have to ship big parts, which takes a lot of time too. I would either find someone who will buy it as is, or rebuild the tranny. It sounds like you have done a lot of preventative maintenance (subframe bushings --not many have gotten to this) so I would consider keeping the car. It's been sitting for months it sounds like, so I would perhaps put an ad up and see what people will offer + cost of replacement car vs. tranny rebuild.

Last edited by aspensilver540; 04-13-2012 at 09:54 PM.
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  #14  
Old 04-14-2012, 09:58 AM
528iTSportWagon 528iTSportWagon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bagodonuts68 View Post
i've done the rear subframe bushings for a tremendous improvement in ride. i did this at about 120k miles.

regarding a used tranny. i tried this and it lasted 4 months (3 mo warranty). i would rather not hear "told you so" from my wife again.

I still am interested in hearing a ball-park figure for what the car could net from parting out. thanks
Please tell me ND is in fact North Dakota and not something stupid like Notre Dame.

I'm between Madison and Vermillion, SD regularly. If you are seriously interested in parting this thing out post some photos or PM some to me.
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  #15  
Old 04-14-2012, 01:12 PM
4thBMW 4thBMW is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 540iT Sportwagon
Tranny

I had my 1988 E32 tranny rebuilt some years ago with good results for < $3000. Not the same auto box though. Just sold that car yesterday! 200K + mi. one owner DIY car. On the old E32 forum board at bimmerboard there was a go to guy at ZF here in the USA >>> Contact Kurt Kellar in Zeeland, Michigan. He's busy, but if you leave him a message with a phone number he will call you back. Great guy and an expert on these transmissions. His number is 616-748-5735. I would bounce all of this off of him,ie. rebuild yours, exchange, etc. BTW, I have (2) two new, unused (in the box) rear shocks for a coil sprung iT if you need them (or anyone else).
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  #16  
Old 04-23-2012, 07:56 AM
bagodonuts68 bagodonuts68 is offline
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Mein Auto: e39 wagon (silver 528)
ND is north dakota.

i am thinking now of having the 5 speed steptronic rebuild by a guy in missoula MT, though i will call Kurt for his input.

I have replaced the rear shocks a while back. thanks though.
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  #17  
Old 04-23-2012, 08:03 AM
bagodonuts68 bagodonuts68 is offline
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Mein Auto: e39 wagon (silver 528)
no answer at 616 748-5735. perhaps Kurt is under some car in the shop?
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  #18  
Old 04-23-2012, 07:03 PM
ericono ericono is offline
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Mein Auto: 1985 M635, 2000 528iT
528iTSportWagon,

Not trying to hijack this thread, but could you explain why the 5 speed is junk? Just curious. I've got ~160K mile son my 5 speed steptronic and would like to know what to expect. It is currently doing well and is the nicest shifting auto I've ever had.

Thanks,

Eric
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  #19  
Old 12-07-2012, 04:12 PM
bagodonuts68 bagodonuts68 is offline
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Mein Auto: e39 wagon (silver 528)
I have replaced my transmission with a rebuilt from a california rebuilder who specialized in bmw trannies. it cost $3500 (installed by a local tranny shop) and came with a 2.5 year warrantee [which i can't seem to spell right]. I've been very happy so far. I would strongly recommend going this route rather than going with a used unit.

To answer your question, eric (months now after you asked it) i came to understand that these auto trannies only go around 160k before crapping out. Good luck.
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  #20  
Old 12-07-2012, 04:19 PM
aspensilver540 aspensilver540 is offline
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Can you share the name of the rebuilder? That is a pretty long warranty (any mileage cap?) I usually only hear of 1 year warranties which is pretty crappy/scary.
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  #21  
Old 12-07-2012, 05:04 PM
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Albo Albo is offline
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Fix and keep. They don't build like this anymore. Doht!! Nevermind....I see you already did that.
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  #22  
Old 12-07-2012, 05:57 PM
aspensilver540 aspensilver540 is offline
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