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  #1  
Old 08-22-2002, 07:03 PM
Michael330 Michael330 is offline
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E34 or E36

So here is the deal. I don't think our original plans of buying a new 3 series for my wife our going to work in the near future (like this or next year). We just need to limit our spendings and save for the house especially in the light of my recent car purchase. Also the overall economic outlook does look a little grim on both the macro and my own micro level (read: no hope for fat bonuses this year.) This brings me to my main point. What should I replace my wife's almost 11 year old civic with?
Now, I know that the question of E34's classic beauty has been discussed here quite a bit but let me revive this theme. E34 is the model that made me fall in love with the BMW brand. I still think that this is the best looking sedan of all times. I lusted after one as a teenager and I could have never imagined that I would be able to own one. Hence it was really obvious that this was the first car idea that jumped into my mind. I would look for probably a 525i as the inline 6 seems to be less prone to the passage of time than higher displacement models. I would probably look at 1993-1995 years. Last 3 years of E34 with most of the issues worked out. Maybe I would consider even 1992 if the milage is relatively low. Now the price range would probably be $7500 - $13000. Now after I did some research on E34, I assumed that prices on similar year E36 should be much lower. Actually, there seems to be little difference. Maybe $1000 dollars on average, maybe $1500. Why? Is there a reason people would prefer E36 (looks are obviously subjective but E34 beats E36 hands down in my eyes) in terms of mechanics? Is it a more durable platform? Also the ame money would probably buy me a year younger E36. Is it worth it? E36 is nice but my heart just starts beating faster when I see E34. I love this design! Then again E36 is smaller and easier to park in the city. What is your opinion.
By the way, I have never bought a used car in my life so I am a little scared when buying something *that* old. Should I be? What should I look for? I know fuel pump, what else? I mean I will be buying an almost 100K miles car (if not more)! My father always said that for German cars miles are different than for French or Italian car. Does it hold true for E34, E36? Which one is more solid?

Now let's visualize the problem before we get on it:

Here's my "wife" in a sexy red beast
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  #2  
Old 08-22-2002, 07:05 PM
Michael330 Michael330 is offline
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Now that would be me I think

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  #3  
Old 08-22-2002, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Michael330
Now that would be me I think

You're planning on buying a RHD model?
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  #4  
Old 08-22-2002, 07:12 PM
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Anway, it sounds like you are pretty set on the E34.

Just has more room, but I do like the interior and exerior apperance much more than the E36. Though, the E36 will handle better.
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  #5  
Old 08-22-2002, 07:15 PM
Michael330 Michael330 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by nate328Ci


You're planning on buying a RHD model?
You know we Californians are pretty weird... I also think that this is actually an M5 which puts it out of my range for sure
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  #6  
Old 08-22-2002, 07:33 PM
Dan Dan is offline
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My neighbor, who is a true car freak (he took a street legal Porsche 944 and singlehandedly converted into a full race-prepared track car) had a 1992 525i that he purchased new and took meticulous care of. Around 90,000 miles, he had to spend close to $4,000 on some unexpected repairs. Then, at around 95,000 miles, it needed another $3,000 in repairs. At that point, he sold it and bought a new 2000 528i, which he likes much better, and has had no problems except for excess rear tire wear.
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  #7  
Old 08-22-2002, 07:36 PM
Michael330 Michael330 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dan
My neighbor, who is a true car freak (he took a street legal Porsche 944 and singlehandedly converted into a full race-prepared track car) had a 1992 525i that he purchased new and took meticulous care of. Around 90,000 miles, he had to spend close to $4,000 on some unexpected repairs. Then, at around 95,000 miles, it needed another $3,000 in repairs. At that point, he sold it and bought a new 2000 528i, which he likes much better, and has had no problems except for excess rear tire wear.
Thanks Dan! You just scared the s**t out of me...
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  #8  
Old 08-22-2002, 08:24 PM
PhilH PhilH is offline
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If the choice is really E34 or E36, I don't think you have to worry much about reliability either way. At least in 325 and 525 guise they're very similar in terms of their mechanical bits.

My 10 year old, 107k mile 525i has needed the following maintenance:
-muffler
-starter motor
-oxygen sensor
-water pump & thermostat
-hoses & belts
-heater valve

I've also just changed the control arms and idler arm just to avoid the dreaded shimmy with my new 17" wheel package.

Pretty normal preventive maintenance for any 10 year old car, and it's been dead reliable. I truly expect it to go another 100k miles easy. It's tight, rattle free, shiny (garaged day and night since new), and revs like no tomorrow.

Check http://www.bmwe34.net/ for a wealth of information on the car, and see http://www.bimmernut.com/wwwboard/e34/index.html for the best E34 board on the net.

I think the deciding factor between the two cars is how much space you need in the back seat. The E34 is much bigger than the E36.

A well cared for '95 525i with low miles should give you years of relatively fun, trouble free, classy miles.
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  #9  
Old 08-22-2002, 08:36 PM
TD
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Honestly, from everything I know and everything I've read, they are the two best platforms BMW has ever built. They are both very solid, tight and reliable and also pretty easy to work on yourself. It really comes down to the trade-off between some additional space with the E34 vs some additional nimbleness with the E36.

I am in the group that thinks the E34 is the best looking BMW ever built. And my E36 is a blast to drive. It puts a smile onym face every day. And my dad had an '89 525iA (E34) for ~180K miles with no major problems.

I do not think you can go wrong with either. IMO, it's more about YOUR needs.
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  #10  
Old 08-22-2002, 08:42 PM
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The HACK The HACK is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by TD
Honestly, from everything I know and everything I've read, they are the two best platforms BMW has ever built. They are both very solid, tight and reliable and also pretty easy to work on yourself. It really comes down to the trade-off between some additional space with the E34 vs some additional nimbleness with the E36.

I am in the group that thinks the E34 is the best looking BMW ever built. And my E36 is a blast to drive. It puts a smile onym face every day. And my dad had an '89 525iA (E34) for ~180K miles with no major problems.

I do not think you can go wrong with either. IMO, it's more about YOUR needs.
Aren't we a little full of the cars we drive there, TD...

I'd have to vote the E30 as the greatest platform BMW ever built, and put the great E24 in a close 2nd...But I digress.

My uncle still drives a '95 540iA with about 80,000 miles that he might be willing to part with Micheal. It's black on black, fully loaded. I think he's looking into getting a Merc SLK to replace his 540iA.
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  #11  
Old 08-22-2002, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by The HACK


Aren't we a little full of the cars we drive there, TD...

I'd have to vote the E30 as the greatest platform BMW ever built, and put the great E24 in a close 2nd...But I digress.
hmmm...I like the E28 a lot. E28 M5 may be the coolest BMW ever



Especially Rob Levinson's former 475hp Dinan E28 M5

Actually, pretty much every platform BMW has built is very good. Even the E65
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  #12  
Old 08-22-2002, 09:17 PM
Michael330 Michael330 is offline
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hey hey guys! let's keep it down! It is a car for my wife after all and I can't allow her to drive something more powerful than I do
475 hp

j/k


E28 and E30 look absolutely fantastic from the front but E34 looks great from the side and from the bangle view. It is amazing that this car simply does not look dated!
It ages like a freaken Harrison Ford...
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  #13  
Old 08-22-2002, 09:24 PM
Michael330 Michael330 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by The HACK


Aren't we a little full of the cars we drive there, TD...

I'd have to vote the E30 as the greatest platform BMW ever built, and put the great E24 in a close 2nd...But I digress.

My uncle still drives a '95 540iA with about 80,000 miles that he might be willing to part with Micheal. It's black on black, fully loaded. I think he's looking into getting a Merc SLK to replace his 540iA.
This sounds interesting and tempting, especially that we live relatively close and I visit LA from time to time. Thanks Hack. My only concerns are: reliability of a V8 engine (I've heard many people's horror stories, then remember Nat Brown's 540i problems - I know his was E39 but still), price difference between 525 and 540, hurt ego (my wife in 540i!!). I can get over the last one. You got me thinking about it now. How much are they selling for?
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  #14  
Old 08-22-2002, 09:34 PM
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Just took my 92 E34 525ia (M50 - engine) on a 1,010 mile trip in 3 days. Best trip car I've ever owned! Total mileage now, over 126,XXX. This car has not one rattle! Do most of the work on it myself.

Last edited by Sean; 08-22-2002 at 09:39 PM.
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  #15  
Old 08-22-2002, 09:39 PM
Michael330 Michael330 is offline
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Black on black E34 sounds awfully nice...
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  #16  
Old 08-22-2002, 09:40 PM
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Sorry, but that's a E32 7-Series.
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  #17  
Old 08-22-2002, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sean
Sorry, but that's a E32 7-Series.
yea, 7er
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  #18  
Old 08-22-2002, 09:45 PM
Michael330 Michael330 is offline
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Sorry, but that's a E32 7-Series.
I think you maybe right as I keep comparing it. How were you able to tell?
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  #19  
Old 08-22-2002, 09:48 PM
Michael330 Michael330 is offline
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you are right! It's a 7. The grill and the hood are actually very different. Fooled me...
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  #20  
Old 08-22-2002, 09:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Michael330


I think you maybe right as I keep comparing it. How were you able to tell?

Grill, bumper cover, turn signals and overall length.
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  #21  
Old 08-22-2002, 11:17 PM
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The HACK The HACK is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Michael330


This sounds interesting and tempting, especially that we live relatively close and I visit LA from time to time. Thanks Hack. My only concerns are: reliability of a V8 engine (I've heard many people's horror stories, then remember Nat Brown's 540i problems - I know his was E39 but still), price difference between 525 and 540, hurt ego (my wife in 540i!!). I can get over the last one. You got me thinking about it now. How much are they selling for?
I'll be honest and up front with you...It's got an Nikasil engine. One of the reason why he hasn't sold the car is because it's impossible to get a decent trade in value.

Do a little research on BMW Nikasil engine heads, and if you're still interested, I'll check with him.
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  #22  
Old 08-23-2002, 06:33 AM
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Pic of my E34
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  #23  
Old 08-23-2002, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by The HACK


I'll be honest and up front with you...It's got an Nikasil engine. One of the reason why he hasn't sold the car is because it's impossible to get a decent trade in value.

Do a little research on BMW Nikasil engine heads, and if you're still interested, I'll check with him.
Ah, the dreaded Nikasil engine. Not to ruin HACK's sale, but I would avoid them.

I saw a 740 getting a new engine at the dealer yesterday, I can probably assume that this was the problem (didn't look flooded)....
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  #24  
Old 08-23-2002, 07:27 AM
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Michael, would I be out of line to suggest a non-bmw car ? ?

There are so many more reliable cars out there and if it's a car your wife is going to be using, wouldn't you rather her be in something newer . . .

Just a thought . . . when I think of an older used BMW, I think $$$$$$ in repairs . . . .
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  #25  
Old 08-23-2002, 07:37 AM
TD
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Originally posted by Alan F
Michael, would I be out of line to suggest a non-bmw car ? ?

There are so many more reliable cars out there and if it's a car your wife is going to be using, wouldn't you rather her be in something newer . . .

Just a thought . . . when I think of an older used BMW, I think $$$$$$ in repairs . . . .

You may think that, but it's not true.
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