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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 10-23-2014, 01:55 AM
old-school old-school is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 BMW 545i
2001 540i Timing Chain Question

I have an opportunity to purchase a very nice looking fully loaded 2001 540i M-sport with 112k on the clock. The items that have been replaced are as follows:

new firestone tires..
new water pump..
replaced all serpentine belts,
all new valve covers gaskets..
plugs,
intake manifold gasket,
PCV valve,
throttle body,
rear oil seal,
front cover seal,
radio upgraded to kenwood dual dash,
front and rear bushings replaced
new radiator
new thermostat
new hoses

Here is the problem. When the guy put the car up for sale the engine light came on so he took it to his local mechanic. Said mechanic has always worked on the car when needed and has worked on Bimmers since 1992. Long story short. Engine light is because of a code relating to the timing.
Mechanic told me he replaced the cam sensors and it still threw the same codes.
He then replaces the vanos solenoid and still throws same codes.
Now he thinks that if he replaces the timing chain, guides, tensionor the issue will go away.

Comments would be appreciated as I would really like to buy this car. The owner is asking a decent price 5K considering it may need a 2K repair according to my LM. Should his LM be looking at something else. The car runs and drive like new. No sounds, no rattles, no nothing.
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  #2  
Old 10-23-2014, 02:12 AM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is offline
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BUY it

This is so fixable...what codes specifically?

Even if you strip down and put in new guides...it is worth it...
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  #3  
Old 10-23-2014, 07:40 AM
MKJS MKJS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSXRYDER View Post
This is so fixable...what codes specifically?

Even if you strip down and put in new guides...it is worth it...
Agree! The car has been well maintained judging by what has already been done. That is a wonderful model, great fun to drive, imo one of the finest automobiles to ever to grace our roads. If you have to replace the timing chain and you can't do it yourself, shop for the best price you can find and enjoy the next 100k

doc
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Last edited by MKJS; 10-23-2014 at 07:44 AM.
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  #4  
Old 10-23-2014, 08:59 AM
old-school old-school is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKJS View Post
Agree! The car has been well maintained judging by what has already been done. That is a wonderful model, great fun to drive, imo one of the finest automobiles to ever to grace our roads. If you have to replace the timing chain and you can't do it yourself, shop for the best price you can find and enjoy the next 100k

doc
Thanks guys, my LM has quoted me $1500.00 to do it. Thats to replace the chain, guides and tensioner plus all things associated with this repair. I think that is a fair price. I can't wait to get this car. I am also getting 2 tires with wheels, a new radiator ( even though this one is also new ), plus other misc items that are cosmetic in nature in case something were to break inside the car.....
The owner is like me, a BMW fanatic, and he keeps his cars meticulously maintained. Oil has been changed at 5K miles since he purchased it from his father in law. Only selling it because he just bought a new car and has 2 other vehicles. So 2 have to go.
I am super excited about buying this car that I already called my LM and told him she will be there in the next couple days. All I have to do is work out the logistics to get the car here. Its not too far away ( about 1 1/2 hours ) but I need a driver to take me there and right now I have none so anyone in the Raleigh area want to drive me to High Point LOL
Thanks again and keep the comments coming.

On a side note, does this have the GM transmission? If so do I need to do any maintenance on it when its in the shop?
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Last edited by old-school; 10-23-2014 at 09:02 AM. Reason: extra information
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  #5  
Old 10-23-2014, 09:13 AM
MKJS MKJS is offline
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$1500 sounds like a very reasonable price considering all the work involved, and the spare parts your getting make this a really appealing deal, of course depending on price.

Check the stickies at the top of the forum, BMW makes many model changes during a production year (which is quite often different than titled year) so inputting the last 7 of the vin is a great way to find what equipment your car was built with.

IMO, I'd grab it quick... I'm betting the guy selling this car is going to really regret this decisions in a bit. "Losers weepers..."
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Last edited by MKJS; 10-23-2014 at 09:16 AM.
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  #6  
Old 10-23-2014, 09:25 AM
old-school old-school is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSXRYDER View Post
This is so fixable...what codes specifically?

Even if you strip down and put in new guides...it is worth it...
Here is what the LM just told me. The code is as follows

"camshaft signal missing 345"
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  #7  
Old 10-23-2014, 09:29 AM
old-school old-school is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKJS View Post
$1500 sounds like a very reasonable price considering all the work involved, and the spare parts your getting make this a really appealing deal, of course depending on price.

PRICE IS $5000.00 as it sits right now.

Check the stickies at the top of the forum, BMW makes many model changes during a production year (which is quite often different than titled year) so inputting the last 7 of the vin is a great way to find what equipment your car was built with.

IMO, I'd grab it quick... I'm betting the guy selling this car is going to really regret this decisions in a bit. "Losers weepers..."
I just got off the phone with him and also the mechanic. The LM told me I am getting a great car well maintained and only needs the timing chain to make it very reliable up to around 200K miles. I am trying to get it ASAP too. Here is the build sheets I just pulled. Comments?
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Last edited by old-school; 10-23-2014 at 09:30 AM.
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  #8  
Old 10-23-2014, 09:48 AM
MKJS MKJS is offline
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There is a saying on boards like this for situations exactly like this one... "OOpps, it's junk!! Better send me the sellers name and phone number right away so I can chew him out for you."
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Last edited by MKJS; 10-23-2014 at 09:50 AM.
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  #9  
Old 10-23-2014, 09:48 AM
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golferjohnm golferjohnm is offline
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Great car! You will not regret buying this for one second. I've put almost 100,000 on mine since I purchased almost 7 years ago, (has 158,000 currently) and for a car nut like me, I have not had any urge to look for a replacement.
The only thing you're missing on the build-sheet is a third pedal
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  #10  
Old 10-23-2014, 10:04 AM
old-school old-school is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKJS View Post
There is a saying on boards like this for situations exactly like this one... "OOpps, it's junk!! Better send me the sellers name and phone number right away so I can chew him out for you."
Now the best part. I just talked to the owner and since I can't get someone to take me up there today to pick it up, he and his girlfriend are bringing the car to my house and we are all going to dinner this evening! It just doesn't get better than this. I am EXCITED!
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Old 10-23-2014, 10:41 AM
MKJS MKJS is offline
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If you think you're excited now, just wait until you drive it!! I have the tame version of the same car, a straight 540i and it is one of the nicest cars I have ever owned. Handles, cruses, accelerates, just fab! Can't imagine how much more fun it could be with anther 100 ponies.
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  #12  
Old 10-23-2014, 10:48 AM
old-school old-school is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKJS View Post
If you think you're excited now, just wait until you drive it!! I have the tame version of the same car, a straight 540i and it is one of the nicest cars I have ever owned. Handles, cruses, accelerates, just fab! Can't imagine how much more fun it could be with anther 100 ponies.
So how much HP does this have? I thought it was 280 or so. The owner told me I better be prepared to drive this car, especially if you turn on the DSC. He said it was very fast...
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Last edited by old-school; 10-23-2014 at 10:50 AM.
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  #13  
Old 10-23-2014, 10:51 AM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Originally Posted by MKJS View Post
$1500 sounds like a very reasonable price considering all the work involved...
No, it's not reasonable. It's a steal, considering everything involved. If I could get it done for that price, I'd pay for the work, rather than doing it myself. (Stay tuned. More on this in a couple of days).

As for the car itself, you'll love it. I prefer the manual, but even the automatic version should be leagues ahead of whatever other make automatic you could find at that price.
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Old 10-23-2014, 10:54 AM
old-school old-school is offline
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Originally Posted by bobdmac View Post
No, it's not reasonable. It's a steal, considering everything involved. If I could get it done for that price, I'd pay for the work, rather than doing it myself. (Stay tuned. More on this in a couple of days).

As for the car itself, you'll love it. I prefer the manual, but even the automatic version should be leagues ahead of whatever other make automatic you could find at that price.

Well that quote has been revised. Its now $2300.00 due to my mechanics problem with not having another lift. So having said that I don't care. I am still getting a great deal on this car and cant wait for it to get here. I will post pictures as soon as it is sitting in my driveway!
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Old 10-23-2014, 10:58 AM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Originally Posted by old-school View Post
So how much HP does this have? I thought it was 280 or so. The owner told me I better be prepared to drive this car, especially if you turn on the DSC. He said it was very fast...
I think it's 290 or so, but road tests have listed 0-60 times in the sub-6-second range, 1/4 mile in 14.1 sec or so, and a top speed (governed) of 155. And it just sounds and feels effortless, with a broad torque band from 1500 or so rpm's up to the limit.

It's great fun and satisfying to drive. I was originally looking for a 6 cylinder and only test drove my car because it was a stick, and I was having trouble finding any manual transmission e39's. Once I put my foot down on the gas pedal, I stopped looking.
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Old 10-23-2014, 10:58 AM
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golferjohnm golferjohnm is offline
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at $2300 it's still a great price...my indy mentioned something over $3k during one of our hypothetical chats
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:43 AM
old-school old-school is offline
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at $2300 it's still a great price...my indy mentioned something over $3k during one of our hypothetical chats

WOW! What is your mechanics hourly rate? Mine is $90.00
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:48 AM
old-school old-school is offline
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Does the one I am buying have the GM tranny?
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:46 PM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is offline
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345

doesn't sound like guides to me...has anyone been inside the motor? impulse wheel?

Doubtful this is guides at all esp w that mileage...

GL

Not a fan of auto trannies...but you'll like it!
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:46 PM
plmadding01e39 plmadding01e39 is offline
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Looks like a great car for a good price! Good luck this evening!
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  #21  
Old 10-23-2014, 01:45 PM
old-school old-school is offline
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Originally Posted by GSXRYDER View Post
doesn't sound like guides to me...has anyone been inside the motor? impulse wheel?

Doubtful this is guides at all esp w that mileage...

GL

Not a fan of auto trannies...but you'll like it!
Here is the strange part. I talked to a service tech I know at local BMW Dealership and he told me that they hardly ever see problems with the timing chains on these cars. When they do its catastrophic in nature. He thinks its something else but both cam sensors have been changed and the Vanos solenoid has also been changed out leaving not much else to troubleshoot except the timing chain, OR possibly a bad timing chain tensioner?

I am now perplexed as I have to get this engine light off before I can get it inspected in a couple months....
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Old 10-23-2014, 02:43 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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A couple of points--

First, a dealership will see a lot fewer timing change issues than an indy shop. After the car's warrantee expires and the owner has paid out thousands of dollars in maintenance, they generally start to look for cheaper alternatives.

Second, I think it's correct to question the diagnosis, as GSXRYDER did, given the low mileage and lack of noise on startup. A little digging on the forum, either in the best links or search box, might bring some helpful info on the 62TU camshaft time code.
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Old 10-23-2014, 02:52 PM
old-school old-school is offline
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Originally Posted by old-school View Post
Here is the strange part. I talked to a service tech I know at local BMW Dealership and he told me that they hardly ever see problems with the timing chains on these cars. When they do its catastrophic in nature. He thinks its something else but both cam sensors have been changed and the Vanos solenoid has also been changed out leaving not much else to troubleshoot except the timing chain, OR possibly a bad timing chain tensioner?

I am now perplexed as I have to get this engine light off before I can get it inspected in a couple months....
I have been looking today and haven't seen an issue like mine yet. The car is on the way to me. Its a 2 hour drive so once he gets here anything I need to look for especially when its very hot? I know I should start it up once he cuts it off and watch and listen. Other than that? Check the oil etc etc etc.

The codes are indeed like navigating in the fog to me, but I hope the last code I see with this car isn't
BMW = Bring Money Wes
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Old 10-23-2014, 02:58 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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I hope you have a local shop available to do a thorough pre-purchase inspection. This is probably the most important element in buying a used BMW. The forum is filled with tales of problems that were present at the time of purchase and could have been identified, with a repair estimate, in a pre-purchase inspection.

PS: You should talk to the mechanic who gave you the "345" code, because it doesn't appear to correspond with any of the normal BMW error codes.
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Last edited by bobdmac; 10-23-2014 at 03:15 PM. Reason: Added PS
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Old 10-23-2014, 03:46 PM
old-school old-school is offline
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Originally Posted by bobdmac View Post
I hope you have a local shop available to do a thorough pre-purchase inspection. This is probably the most important element in buying a used BMW. The forum is filled with tales of problems that were present at the time of purchase and could have been identified, with a repair estimate, in a pre-purchase inspection.

PS: You should talk to the mechanic who gave you the "345" code, because it doesn't appear to correspond with any of the normal BMW error codes.
The actual code is P0-345 according to the mech. And it reading from the "right bank" only. If that makes sense?
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Last edited by old-school; 10-23-2014 at 07:09 PM.
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