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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 05-07-2015, 05:24 PM
TannerT TannerT is online now
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Looking to buy a 540i

Hey all, I have been on this forum a while as a 3er owner but the time has come for me to get something that doesn't shake my sanity loose every time I drive somewhere. I am looking for an e39 540i to DD. I have done a bit a research and will do more before just asking questions, but my biggest one cannot really be answered in a google search.

The car in question is a 1998 540i/6 sports package. 130,000 miles on the clock. I do not mean to offend anyone here and this is just my personal hoony opionon, the pre facelift car leaves a lot to be desired in style for me. I think with the M tech bumpers and M sport steering wheel I could dress the 98 up nicely. It also comes with those 98 sport wheels that are uhh... interesting taste on BMWs part. Blue Book and NADA are both telling me to pay about $4,500 for the car at most. Seller is asking $7,000 and claims high mileage crappy 540s are going all over the place for $6K. On top of that he claims to have $4,800 in receipts from the last year or so in maintenance. He is also saying that it is a dinan car, but not a D5 or anything like that. He said it was a factory sport option, then he said it could also be aftermarket and is unaware of if it is just software or intake, exhaust, so on. How do you not know!? He is claiming the car has 330hp for some reason? I looked all over and can find no such package, perhaps he means dinan stage 1. I do not think he realizes I am well versed in the Bible of BMW and probably know more about his car than he does. When I mentioned that his car booked at $4,800 he got defensive and said KBB and NADA were worthless and he will take no less than $6k.

So I guess this is my real question, what should I actually pay for the car? IF he actually can produce said receipts I will be willing to pay $5,000 which is over book. My thing is, I would be willing to pay $8,000 if that is what it is worth, but in the world outside of his mind the car is not worth that, they do not just pull numbers from nowhere. I really think he is in old Bimmer non M shock and cant handle the reality all of us who own 10+ year old BMWs must face.

I think I can get him lower where I see the car in person and give him a lesson in the college of BMW and inform him that the M62 in his car was updated two more times in the models history and that his 98 is missing A LOT of the features that the previous face lifts were entitled to. Now none of that actually matters to me, but it does effect the cars actual value. In his CL add he mentions chevys and fords a lot and I dont think he really has much BMW background or realize how drastic bmw can be with face lifts and updates, often the last year of a model is nothing at all like the first and looks much different.

Also If you guys have any good hit on 540/6s in the Midwest let me know!


Tanner
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  #2  
Old 05-07-2015, 06:13 PM
540 Hammer 540 Hammer is offline
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If he actually has all the receipts, hopefully not just oil changes, offer him the $5K cash. If he won't take it, tell him no thanks and walk away. Don't bother "schooling" him on anything. Not worth your time and won't get you anywhere, except make him more resistant to your offer. There's a lot of other cars out there. Just be prepared to look a little. G.L.
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  #3  
Old 05-07-2015, 06:46 PM
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Zerodynamic Zerodynamic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540 Hammer View Post
If he actually has all the receipts, hopefully not just oil changes, offer him the $5K cash. If he won't take it, tell him no thanks and walk away. Don't bother "schooling" him on anything. Not worth your time and won't get you anywhere, except make him more resistant to your offer. There's a lot of other cars out there. Just be prepared to look a little. G.L.
+1, there are plenty of fish in the sea. IMHO, look for the 01+ you get the facelift with celis and angel eyes. '03's came with the M body kit.

As long as you can find a somewhat recent cooling overhaul and timing chain guide overhaul, most of the expensive problems are taken care of.
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  #4  
Old 05-07-2015, 06:47 PM
denvervig denvervig is offline
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Patience...

I spent over a year finding a one owner 2003 540 with the sports package without paying a premium while I decide on an M5. It's a buyer's market - you're talking about cars that are 12-18 years old. Be picky and only pay a premium if the car is gem. Better yet, wait a little longer and get an M5 - that's my plan.
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  #5  
Old 05-07-2015, 06:58 PM
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The_moth The_moth is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 540i sport
Took me over a year as well to find my one owner 03 540i mint
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  #6  
Old 05-08-2015, 06:11 AM
KSUTJH KSUTJH is offline
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Go to this website, put the vin number in and voila, you have everything the car came from the line with. This will tell you if it has the sport pkg or not. I may be wrong, but sport package has nothing to do with the engine or tranny, it was susupension and some body trim color changes, as well as the steering wheel. Im guessing he is full of s**t when he is saying over 300 hp, even with Dinan I dont believe the increase is that much. Im in the midwest, finally found mine several months ago, more miles than that one, paid $3k. Its a sport, but auto transmission. I went into it knowing it was going to be a project (which I wanted), and I have been replacing parts since I got it.
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  #7  
Old 05-08-2015, 07:58 PM
TannerT TannerT is online now
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Thanks guys, I have found another hit in Cedar Rapids. I will be close by to visit some family over memorial day weekend and hope it is still around. Also a lowish mile car. I am mainly looking for stuff that is under 130K and has most of the crappy jobs done.
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  #8  
Old 05-08-2015, 08:01 PM
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The_moth The_moth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSUTJH View Post
Go to this website, put the vin number in and voila, you have everything the car came from the line with. This will tell you if it has the sport pkg or not. I may be wrong, but sport package has nothing to do with the engine or tranny, it was susupension and some body trim color changes, as well as the steering wheel. Im guessing he is full of s**t when he is saying over 300 hp, even with Dinan I dont believe the increase is that much. Im in the midwest, finally found mine several months ago, more miles than that one, paid $3k. Its a sport, but auto transmission. I went into it knowing it was going to be a project (which I wanted), and I have been replacing parts since I got it.

Dinan stage 5 brings you too 321hp and 361 torque.
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  #9  
Old 05-09-2015, 02:15 PM
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A clean one with good maintenance will definitely go for more than Blue Book, if seller knows what he's doing. Do your homework and get a PPI done. Was also going to suggest running the VIN.

Good luck with your search.
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  #10  
Old 05-10-2015, 07:47 PM
TannerT TannerT is online now
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Now I can't decide between an e39 540 or and e28 535. As a DD I feel like it cones down to maintenance history.
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  #11  
Old 05-10-2015, 08:57 PM
Nfs021 Nfs021 is offline
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Go for a 540i. Like I've told people before. You don't want to wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweat and realize...

"I COULD'VE HAD A V8"!!!

Don't get me wrong though, the E28 is a lovely car. Either way get a PPI and make sure you have some spare cash for catching up on any maintenance that needs to be preformed.
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  #12  
Old 05-10-2015, 08:58 PM
haolibird haolibird is offline
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Mein Auto: E39 540i, E39 M5, E34 535
Maybe the market is wising up about the value of these cars.
Prices in SoCal have gone up.

I have a fairly trouble free 98 Sport.
8K is WAYY too much, but if maintained, good body, etc., 6K wouldn't be out of the question for me.

I agree with the rest, as in, take you time.
Many a diamond in the ruff out there...

Tom
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  #13  
Old 05-10-2015, 09:20 PM
TannerT TannerT is online now
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Mein Auto: 03 330ci 3pdl 89 325i
My initial budget is around 9K for whatever 5 series I end up with. I need a decent amount of that to mod the car to taste of course. I am looking at an M535i 85' it needs a bit of TLC but is "low" mileage at 150K miles. My main thought is that with an e28 I would be more apt to just cruise around and take it easy. I was already looking at supercharger kits for the 540 because it has the potential to be extremely fast. I feel like the 540 would temp me to mod it to make it really fast. A 535 would make me want to keep it in good shape and "drive a classic." Then again my only stipulation is a smoother ride so a supercharged German muscle car still fits
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  #14  
Old 05-11-2015, 05:32 AM
lesguy lesguy is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 540/6 Sport
Here in the USA, If you find a 2003 540 Sport/6 with under 110k miles, solid maintenance history, at least an 8.5 out of 10 inside and out, stock or not heavily modified, and not leaking oil and power steering fluid, not in need of valve cover/timing gaskets, and suspension bushings/ball joints/tie rods/control arms/shocks/struts in great condition? And it's $11k or less?
Jump on it.
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  #15  
Old 05-11-2015, 07:22 AM
TannerT TannerT is online now
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I actually considered just spending a bit more and getting an M5, but that's cutting into my M couope budget . A man can never have too many BMWs.

I found a good looking car in Cedar Rapids, I'll post the link after work. My little bit of adult has told me to go with the e39 for sure though so I think I'll pass up the M535i.
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  #16  
Old 05-11-2015, 07:37 PM
TannerT TannerT is online now
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This is one that currently is topping the list.

http://cedarrapids.craigslist.org/cto/5014795025.html

Let me know what you guys think. Also if anyone is close by and wouldn't mind taking a look I will reimburse and would be in your debt. Don't really want to make a 10 hour round trip and it have mush(thrust) arms lol.
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:33 PM
haolibird haolibird is offline
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Mein Auto: E39 540i, E39 M5, E34 535
That would be a keeper, if the ad is truthful.

I would snag it, if it was San Diego.
But then, it would be going for 7k here.


Good luck!
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  #18  
Old 05-12-2015, 04:15 AM
TannerT TannerT is online now
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I would gladly pay more for that car, when I initially contacted him, he had it listed at $4500, so I'll offer that. If things work out I'll have it Sunday or Monday. I am worried about the suspension though, any ideas on how firm that setup is?
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  #19  
Old 05-12-2015, 04:41 AM
TannerT TannerT is online now
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Also he has a big folder of records which is good.
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  #20  
Old 05-12-2015, 06:50 AM
KSUTJH KSUTJH is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 540
I just noticed that my hyperlink didnt post for looking up the vin number. Its bmwvin.com
I am always curious why (if its true) people put a ton of parts on and then turn around and sell it right away.
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  #21  
Old 05-12-2015, 07:02 AM
Wgosma Wgosma is offline
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Mein Auto: 98 528i 5-spd sport pkg
Quote:
Originally Posted by TannerT View Post
I would gladly pay more for that car, when I initially contacted him, he had it listed at $4500, so I'll offer that. If things work out I'll have it Sunday or Monday. I am worried about the suspension though, any ideas on how firm that setup is?
Attached is some info tho you may already be aware of the weak points, take a browse of this list of 'maladies'. Pricing info is obviously out of date.

Good luck / Bill
Attached Files
File Type: pdf BMW E39 Apr 08 Buyers Guide001.pdf (2.74 MB, 22 views)
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98 528i - 5 spd, Premium Pkg. & Sport Suspension
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  #22  
Old 05-12-2015, 08:43 AM
billdo billdo is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 540i & 2003 X5 3.0i
I am debating selling mine. Love drving it, just don't need it and it justs sits in the garage.

What would you pay for 2001 6 speed M package with 145k? I have done or confirmed all maintenance has been done. I installed new Vanos units, all cooling hoses (PO did radiator and pump), new seals and gaskets all around. No leaks. New aux water pump OEM $400. New chain guides and chains. New valley pan. Car has new Koni adjustabke shocks too.

Mechanically the car is great. The interior is only a 6. Minor seat twist, i dont notice it when drving. Cup holdrer are broken, and pixels arw weak. It is accident free and clean title.
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  #23  
Old 05-12-2015, 08:50 AM
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computiNATEor computiNATEor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesguy View Post
Here in the USA, If you find a 2003 540 Sport/6 with under 110k miles, solid maintenance history, at least an 8.5 out of 10 inside and out, stock or not heavily modified, and not leaking oil and power steering fluid, not in need of valve cover/timing gaskets, and suspension bushings/ball joints/tie rods/control arms/shocks/struts in great condition? And it's $11k or less?
Jump on it.
Seriously, grab it if it's in as good a condition as described above. I would add clear headlights w/ working adjusters to that list, though.
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  #24  
Old 05-12-2015, 03:46 PM
bomo bomo is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 540i 6-speed
This is a tough one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TannerT View Post
This is one that currently is topping the list.

http://cedarrapids.craigslist.org/cto/5014795025.html

Let me know what you guys think. Also if anyone is close by and wouldn't mind taking a look I will reimburse and would be in your debt. Don't really want to make a 10 hour round trip and it have mush(thrust) arms lol.
indicating it is a DD (which I doubt) it is probably filthy beyond belief. To me, the seller's punctuation, grammar and photography, are an indication this could be an attempt to unload a problem 540i by giving it a "tuner" pedigree. I would be wary.
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  #25  
Old 05-12-2015, 06:05 PM
thumper600 thumper600 is offline
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Mein Auto: '95 540i M-Sport, 99 540i
Tanner, are you mechanically inclined? If yes then there are 540I M-sport's out there for cheap. just replace everything prior to a road trip like all the tensioners, timing chain rails, the chain if you're suspect of it, Valley pan gasket, intake gaskets, valve cover gaskets, hoses, suspension including shocks and alignment, the Guibo if cracked. Anything and everything you can think of that makes that car handle and steer. That way you'll know what you have and will be able to enjoy that vehicle for 100K miles without anything other than regular maintenance. plan on spending about $1,400 in parts. Maybe that's a negotiating tool, who knows.
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