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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 06-05-2012, 05:59 AM
JamespChristian JamespChristian is offline
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Question Newby - Which old BMW should I buy?

Help?
Which one would you purchase? Assuming both cars seemingly run fine, and are very clean for their age. Assume cannot have either car fully examined by mechanic.

A) - 1997 540i, 140,000 miles, Purchased at Auction from some guy I don't know, Very Clean

B) 1994 525i, 276,000 miles, ONE Owner, ALL service records, very very clean, Extra Rims and 100% new tires

Any assistance would be really appreciated.

James
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  #2  
Old 06-05-2012, 06:08 AM
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Monsignor Monsignor is offline
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B. having service records and a contact for information (original owner) is always helpful in maintaining. Extra rims and tires are nice but did it come with extra control arms, fuel pump, or HG? Don't be blinded by the "new tires" gimmick. It takes a lot more than fresh rubber to keep these cars running mint.
And, it's not as fast as the 540 but that's not what owning a 5 series is chiefly about, although it is quite a nice pleasure.
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  #3  
Old 06-05-2012, 09:17 AM
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auction Car may not have a clean title, could be salvage... You never know till you see it. Not to say that one from an original owner would definitely have a clean one either. But I would go with the 525. The M50 motor is more reliable and you have access to the original owner for info if needed down the line.
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  #4  
Old 06-05-2012, 09:48 AM
bamajoey34 bamajoey34 is offline
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definitely b. can't put a price on peace of mind.
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  #5  
Old 06-05-2012, 01:45 PM
haolibird haolibird is online now
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Mein Auto: E39 540i, E39 M5, E34 535
Stick or auto on the 540?
Sport model?
DSP stereo? (Non is a BIG plus)
No vanos on that V8, so it's a plus.
Signs of oil leaks?
You MUST replace the cooling system. ABSOLUTLY!

The 525 will not have anywhere near the maint issues, but it won't perform anywhere near the 540.

Knowing what I do about the 2 models, and if fuel consumption is no issue, I would look for a 98 or 97 540 sport, with good records.
They are GIVING these cars away.
You could count on spending $6500.00 for a nice one.
A very nice one.

Good luck!

Tom
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  #6  
Old 06-05-2012, 02:10 PM
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1995i540 1995i540 is offline
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..two completely different cars and completely different price ranges.

I smell window shopping; either way check for lemon laws. Buying a car without inspection is retarded even if the owner has a closet full of records.
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  #7  
Old 06-05-2012, 03:48 PM
Gravik Gravik is offline
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For the auction car, get a friend that is mechanically inclined and have them look it over. Or if you're mechanically inclined, you can give it a good look over.

Otherwise, get the one owner 525i.

Personally, I would wait to find a lower mileage car. There are quite a few E34 525i's for sale.

Or you could buy my 535i
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  #8  
Old 06-05-2012, 03:56 PM
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1995i540 1995i540 is offline
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I'm pretty sure you can returned auctioned car in states under lemon law.
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  #9  
Old 06-05-2012, 04:32 PM
haolibird haolibird is online now
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Mein Auto: E39 540i, E39 M5, E34 535
JimmyP,

BUY THE 535!!!

Gravik, I can't believe you'd want to sell it.

Damn, I love my 535.

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  #10  
Old 06-05-2012, 07:00 PM
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525i will be less to maintain and opperate. B.
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  #11  
Old 06-05-2012, 08:04 PM
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i wouldnt buy an E34 at all if its your first. E30s are much cheaper to maintain and easier to fix. also depends a lot on the driving you do, if its round town the 525i is a no brainer, but if you go on the open road a lot, the 540i starts to look more favourable.

cheap reliable BMW. Pick any two words and it wont be the other
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  #12  
Old 06-06-2012, 12:23 AM
sharay38 sharay38 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Ethrty-Andy_ View Post
i wouldnt buy an E34 at all if its your first. E30s are much cheaper to maintain and easier to fix. also depends a lot on the driving you do, if its round town the 525i is a no brainer, but if you go on the open road a lot, the 540i starts to look more favourable.

cheap reliable BMW. Pick any two words and it wont be the other
I'm not sure I'd totally agree. I've had an e30 (325e), an e32 (735i), and now an e34 (540i).

The e30 was my favorite, both in reliability and pure fun. It was relatively cheap to buy and maintenance during the 5 years I owned it was no more expensive than my Buick Century.
The e32 was cheap, but less reliable, and more expensive to maintain.
The e34 was cheap, and, in the 16 months I've owned it, total maintenance has been under $400 including oil changes.

Maybe I was lucky. In 2 of 3, I managed to get all 3 words.
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  #13  
Old 06-06-2012, 02:00 AM
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M540FELLA M540FELLA is offline
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I'd just keep looking man, these don't sound like good cars. The Atlanta area has a lot of used bmw's like this onehttp://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/3016935450.html.
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  #14  
Old 06-06-2012, 05:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Ethrty-Andy_ View Post
cheap reliable BMW. Pick any two words and it wont be the other
That's a good one!
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  #15  
Old 06-08-2012, 06:31 PM
JamespChristian JamespChristian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1995i540 View Post
..two completely different cars and completely different price ranges.

I smell window shopping; either way check for lemon laws. Buying a car without inspection is retarded even if the owner has a closet full of records.
Actually NOT window shopping - this was a serious request. Of course I would get the car checked out. But as someone who has never owned a BMW before, this was a valid question.

Thanks very much for you input though.

James
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  #16  
Old 06-08-2012, 06:35 PM
JamespChristian JamespChristian is offline
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I would actually buy your call if it was local and I had a little more $$$

I really need to keep it under $3200, which is why this is so frustrating.

There are dozens of old old 5s on craigslist in ATL - and Im pretty sure they are all piles

But Damnit I just can't go out and buy an old, gold ACURA that's going to make my balls drop off.

Thanks man,

James
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  #17  
Old 06-08-2012, 06:38 PM
JamespChristian JamespChristian is offline
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Thanks to EVERYONE for your replies.

I should have mentioned that the car will only be driven MAX 2000 miles a year. YUP - 4miles out, 4miles back 5 days a week.

James
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  #18  
Old 06-08-2012, 08:38 PM
Gravik Gravik is offline
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^
Fly somewhere then drive back. I mean, if you pick up one that is a solid car and well kept, you could have a fun road trip back
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1995 525iT. 178k miles. Magnaflow exhaust. SOLD
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  #19  
Old 06-08-2012, 11:58 PM
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M540FELLA M540FELLA is offline
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How do you know that all the 5 series in atl are piles? If you don't look how would you know? All I was saying is that there are a lot of cars out there. Don't settle for the first cars you find, shop around. By the way I found mine on CL in Atl and it's far from a pile.
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  #20  
Old 06-09-2012, 06:41 AM
snowsled7 snowsled7 is offline
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You ask the question like there are only two to choose from....

$3200 will buy you a nice car if you are patient and above all willing to road trip for a nice car.

Make the seller an offer. My PO started at $5200, I paid $3500 and certainly could have beat him down to 3k in retrospect. I shopped for six months and drove 350 miles one way to buy, I was willing to do 1000 miles.

If you do not do a version of the above things, you probably will just find junk but, it will be due to not trying very hard, not a lack of cars on the market.
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  #21  
Old 06-09-2012, 11:35 AM
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M540FELLA M540FELLA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowsled7 View Post
You ask the question like there are only two to choose from....

$3200 will buy you a nice car if you are patient and above all willing to road trip for a nice car.

Make the seller an offer. My PO started at $5200, I paid $3500 and certainly could have beat him down to 3k in retrospect. I shopped for six months and drove 350 miles one way to buy, I was willing to do 1000 miles.

If you do not do a version of the above things, you probably will just find junk but, it will be due to not trying very hard, not a lack of cars on the market.
+1
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  #22  
Old 06-09-2012, 06:17 PM
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_Ethrty-Andy_ _Ethrty-Andy_ is offline
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wow 1000miles! my whole country isnt much longer than that LOL

Rememeber also that the tidier the car you buy (and more expencive) the more reliable it is likely to be. Dont think you can just put petrol in and do an oil change once a year and thats sweet. older euros need maintenence.
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  #23  
Old 06-09-2012, 07:27 PM
93tillInfinity 93tillInfinity is offline
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I second that notion
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  #24  
Old 06-10-2012, 10:06 PM
93tillInfinity 93tillInfinity is offline
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maintenance is a major part in purchasing. I had a similar issue like this It was either a 95 525 with 139,xxx or a 93 525with 275,xxx. The 95"s driverside and rear windows didnt work. It ran but was loud due to some one stealing the cat of of it. It had a sport exhaust on it to which would have been nice but that cat probrobly would have been an arm and a leg. Whoever had it put some mod's on it to possibly make it a M5ish type ride. Paint was bad. Leather was cracked and dull. And the guy that was selling it was kinda suspect with the title and all. Now the gentleman that sold me the 93 with the 275,xxx had his stuff in order and was honest. immaculate interior for the year. Ran good etc. Had all the original manuals, keys and only had 2 owners.
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  #25  
Old 06-12-2012, 10:21 PM
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TemporarySanity TemporarySanity is offline
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The e39 will be a joy to drive but a pain to maintain. The e34 will easier to maintain but not quite as fun to drive. I have one of each. I wouldn't give over $2000 for the e34. That's all I paid for mine two years ago and I have put nearly 20,000 miles on it since. So far, I have only spent about $300 on parts to keep it going. It is in better condition than any other e34 I have seen locally too so it's not a pile. I would open your options a little more before deciding on a purchase. We are happy to give our opinions and ideas to help you.
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