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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 07-23-2012, 05:22 PM
Mahons21 Mahons21 is offline
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2003 540i M Sport Package - Should I buy?

Hello all, I'm sure you've seen more than your fare share of these threads, however I could think of no better place to pose this question.

I'm currently looking at a 2003 540i with the m-sport package. The car has roughly 65k on it, the pixel problem is present, and the cooling system has not yet been repaired.

However the car is in great condition otherwise.

I was thinking of offering 15k, is this too much?

As far the pixel problem is concerned, I was thinking of just replacing the head unit with a dynavin unit, and not really worrying about the instrument cluster.

Any advice, is greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2012, 05:37 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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A great car but $15K is WAY HIGH! Even with that mileage. The pixel issues can be fixed at half cost by BMW but you will need a cooling system soon. That means $16K. I've seen many available at 2/3 of that price. See what others think.
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  #3  
Old 07-23-2012, 05:45 PM
mbell666 mbell666 is offline
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The real question is can you or are you prepared to pay the running costs for the car?

Your looking at 17 to 25mpgs depending on driving and probably 1 to 2k$ of parts a year to keep it on the roads. That presumes your handy with the spanners, it will be fair bit more if your taking it to a Indie. For example at 65k your getting ready for coolant system overhaul, the whole lot for a 540i that $500+ in parts. It also probably getting ready for new shocks all around, there's another 1k$. Oh and the thrust ARM bushes probably aren't too good, unless they have been done already. If that scares you it's not the car for you, if it excites you then it could well be.

I'd say 15K is top end money for a 540i, if it is extremely tidy lots/full of history and everything I said has already been done then 15k might be ok. Should be able to find a few points from above to get them down a bit. The real question is would you be happy pay 15k for the car?

BTW Auto or 6 speed?
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  #4  
Old 07-23-2012, 05:49 PM
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IF it had ALL proper/preventative maintainance done in California, the price wouldn't be too bad (But again a 15K 540i better run/look dam near perfect) It seems to me like prices outside CA are generally lower.

MY 2c, Negotiate the fact that the entire cooling system needs to be done ASAP, pixels, and other stuff. Definately get a PPI!
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  #5  
Old 07-23-2012, 06:30 PM
Mahons21 Mahons21 is offline
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I'll update tomorrow with service records that were emailed to me.

Unfortunately car started at 17, I suggested 15 because of pixels/cooling system, so I can't really use them again. But I'm not going to overpay for a car.

I'm checking out an 07 g35, which I know is blasphemous to mention on here, but the lower cost of maintenance might make it the better decision for me.
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  #6  
Old 07-23-2012, 07:06 PM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
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I just purchased an 03 540 sport (auto, yes an auto lol) and I can only say this .... 15 would be out of the question in my opinion, even for a perfect condition car. I won't put my personal biz as far as how much I payed for a near perfect conditioned car (as far as I know now) but I will say I payed a significant amount less, as in thousands, for my car, same setup, all black, 73500 miles. Previous owner took great care of it and was initially asking more than I ended up paying for it. It is an absolute JOY to drive and after owning for only 1 week I LOVE it. Power, comfort .. everything except gas mileage. I bought mine because I needed more room (kids .. I also have a civic hatch) and for other reasons. I just would caution buying one for that price with the addition of the cost of future maintenance and (possible) repair. If you have cash you can get it down to less or at least try. I'm on the east coast and I have to say I paid less ... a lot less. It's a great car and I have to say mine is in GREAT condition but 15 is a big number, even with a good loan or even cash for that matter, and them asking 17 is crazy. If it's just you or you and a girl/guy I'd say get the G35 or look for a e46 M3. If i didnt need the backseats and boot I may have picked one up myself.

Last edited by Ktaylor757; 07-24-2012 at 09:17 AM.
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  #7  
Old 07-23-2012, 07:13 PM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
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Try waiting them out too. That's what I did, I figured not too many people in my area were keen of the fact that this was a $60k sticker price car 10 years ago. Originally the previous owner was asking 1500 more than I gave him and he started out well below 15k. Is this a dealership or a person?
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  #8  
Old 07-23-2012, 07:19 PM
Mahons21 Mahons21 is offline
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  #9  
Old 07-23-2012, 07:22 PM
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Of course you should buy it...the question is how much is it worth.

A perfect example would be in the $12k-$15k range IMO so you're paying top dollar...but the car so soooo worth it, again JMO
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  #10  
Old 07-23-2012, 08:35 PM
Solo12 Solo12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahons21 View Post
I'll update tomorrow with service records that were emailed to me.

Unfortunately car started at 17, I suggested 15 because of pixels/cooling system, so I can't really use them again. But I'm not going to overpay for a car.

I'm checking out an 07 g35, which I know is blasphemous to mention on here, but the lower cost of maintenance might make it the better decision for me.
Is this an auto or manual? Manuals usually command a little more money.

Definitely do not buy the car with a PPI. Not only will the PPI let you know what may need attention, but you can also use that information for negotiating price.

I think a cooling system overhaul and MID and instrument cluster repair are going to set you back more than 2k if you are not going the DIY route. Pixel repair through VDO (a reputable place) will set you back around $500 in parts. Fudman can you confirm whether the BMW route would be at least $1000 for both of those? I know BMW was offering the fixes at half cost of their normal prices. I thought the cost ended up being $500 for just one part (MID or instrument cluster) because you had to have the work done at the dealer and their labor rates were so high plus the part was pretty expensive . So if you have to have both done it would be $1,000
http://www.vdorepair.com/ServiceOrder/Default.aspx

A total cooling system overhaul calls for a water pump, thermostat, thermostat housing, radiator, expansion tank, fan and fan clutch. I thought people had said that is around $1,500 in parts or am I way off. I am sure someone here can correct that figure up or down.
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  #11  
Old 07-23-2012, 09:00 PM
StevieV22 StevieV22 is offline
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Mein Auto: 03 540I 6spd M - 06 ML500
I bought mine a year ago. Black on black 6spd with 73k at the time in great condition and cooling system replaced. I paid 12.5 but I admit it was a very good deal.
Autos are generally cheaper then 6spd not necessarily because they are worse, just not as high in demand as 6spd.
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  #12  
Old 07-24-2012, 04:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo12 View Post
Pixel repair through VDO (a reputable place) will set you back around $500 in parts. Fudman can you confirm whether the BMW route would be at least $1000 for both of those? I know BMW was offering the fixes at half cost of their normal prices. I thought the cost ended up being $500 for just one part (MID or instrument cluster) because you had to have the work done at the dealer and their labor rates were so high plus the part was pretty expensive .

A total cooling system overhaul calls for a water pump, thermostat, thermostat housing, radiator, expansion tank, fan and fan clutch. I thought people had said that is around $1,500 in parts or am I way off. I am sure someone here can correct that figure up or down.

BMW will only fix the instrument cluster pixels as those are "safety related". They give you a new cluster for 1/2 price and send you to a dealer for the installation (1 hr labor). Total cost is in the $300-$400 range. Not sure if anyone has done this lately. Contact BMWNA for assistance.

The MID needs to be replaced or repaired. You can find used MIDs for around $200 or less on eBay.

The parts price for an I6 cooling overhaul is about $650-$750, depending on parts choice and sourcing. That includes hoses, belts, tensioners, exp tank, thermo, WP, etc. Figure $1K-$1.5K, if you send it out for service.
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  #13  
Old 07-24-2012, 05:23 AM
Hitdog540 Hitdog540 is offline
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This car is worth anywhere between 11k and 15k. You definately will spend $2k a year when it hits 100k on the odometer. The cooling system will go but the suspension is good for over 100k miles. If it's perfect, body, interior and engine other than cooling, 15k is definately top end but I bought mine with 30k miles and it now has 132k miles and I wouldn't sell mine for $20k. I could never replace it with anything close for that money. Oh ya, how are the brakes?
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  #14  
Old 07-24-2012, 06:28 AM
YinD YinD is offline
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I paid $10,500 for my 03 540i a msport when it had 125k on it this last spring. It came with a 3-ring binder of all of the receipts from the last 2 years of his own wrenching plus the previous PPI and dealer service history. At 100k, the PO pumped over $3k of funds into the car for suspension and cooling system maintenance. AT 132k I have pumped in another $1k... and still counting...

I felt like I paid $1k too much, but the new suspension had less than 1,000 miles on it. So I figured it was worth it.
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  #15  
Old 07-24-2012, 09:47 AM
edjack edjack is online now
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Mahons21,

What do KBB, Edmunds, NADA say? Don't ask us, we are not car market experts, and we're just pulling opinions out of a warm orifice.

Unless the E39 has become a cult car, I would expect that the auto would be preferable to the stick; most people either can't, or won't, drive a car with a manual trans. Remember, those who gravitate to these E39 forums are from the Lunatic Fringe, and have a highly biased opinion.

OTOH, you can let your emotions take over, and buy the car at whatever price you can.
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  #16  
Old 07-24-2012, 10:04 AM
mcdonaldb mcdonaldb is offline
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As someone who Owns a 03 6sp 92k miles, and with allot of the required maintenance already done. If i were to sell, I would probably start mine at 14k, 15k seems too high to me.
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  #17  
Old 07-24-2012, 10:27 AM
ebarona61 ebarona61 is offline
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If i were you id pass on that 540. Ive owned mines for 3 years now and i only paid 11,900 back then with 41k & yes it has the sport package. At 15k you add on another 3-4k & you could be in the market for a decent e39 m5.
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  #18  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:25 PM
PAULIN540I PAULIN540I is offline
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15k is sooooooo overpriced !

10 to 10.5 with the bad pixels..for a really clean car

BTW--I sent you an email
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  #19  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:16 PM
Mahons21 Mahons21 is offline
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Didn't get your email. Will update w records this evening.
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  #20  
Old 07-24-2012, 05:51 PM
Mahons21 Mahons21 is offline
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Unfortunately the guy didn't send me the maintenance records, only a car condition report. From what it appears most (basically all) checks appear in the green bordering on yellow.

I'm taking a look at another one in the area, but it's starting at 16, and it has roughly 80k miles on it.
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  #21  
Old 07-24-2012, 07:16 PM
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Edgy36-39 Edgy36-39 is offline
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OP -- If cooling and pixels were the only things that needed addressing on the car -- a HUGE if -- then honestly that price sounds in the ballpark. Depends on how badly you want a 540 with the M5 aero package. Did a quick search on Craigslist, here in NoVA there are two offered for more money than that, $15.8 and $17 for a 67K with a lot of recent maintenance performed.

Oh wait, maybe that's the one? :-) Le Mans blue is a sweet color - I know it well!

The right buyer of these cars is someone who wants to learn every detail, do as much DIY as he can, and basically turn the car into a new hobby. If that describes you, then go for it. If not, then the g35 is the way to go.


Quote:
What do KBB, Edmunds, NADA say? Don't ask us, we are not car market experts, and we're just pulling opinions out of a warm orifice.
Jeez, that's a bit harsh isn't it @edjack? Some of us know what we're talking about when it comes to these cars -- like you! And everyone knows Edmunds used prices on BMWs are ludicrously low.
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  #22  
Old 07-24-2012, 07:30 PM
Mahons21 Mahons21 is offline
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That does happen to be the one. Edmunds is ridiculously low, as to why I'd previously just thrown it out, but KBB is around 13.5, and from what other members have claimed to have purchased there's for, it does seem that 15 would still be high. There's a 2002 in the area, that is loaded and only going for 13.5.

http://baltimore.craigslist.org/cto/3141186218.html

And this beauty on ebay
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...84.m1423.l2649
Only 12.9

Anyone have any advice on replacing stereo unit with dynavin nav unit?

Last edited by Mahons21; 07-24-2012 at 07:49 PM.
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  #23  
Old 07-24-2012, 09:51 PM
Solo12 Solo12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebarona61 View Post
If i were you id pass on that 540. Ive owned mines for 3 years now and i only paid 11,900 back then with 41k & yes it has the sport package. At 15k you add on another 3-4k & you could be in the market for a decent e39 m5.
You got a really good deal 3 years ago e39 prices had not yet started to tank 3 years ago. I paid more in 2010 for my 2003 530 than you paid for your 540 in 2009, I definitely paid on the high end for the car. But I was looking for a very specific combo of packages and options and the car was mint with 65k on it. Also I am not sure what year yours is, but to some people the 2003 540 sports are worth a bit more due to the special bits BMW put on that car. For other people those bits are not a big deal and any 540 will do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edgy36-39 View Post
OP -- If cooling and pixels were the only things that needed addressing on the car -- a HUGE if -- then honestly that price sounds in the ballpark. Depends on how badly you want a 540 with the M5 aero package. Did a quick search on Craigslist, here in NoVA there are two offered for more money than that, $15.8 and $17 for a 67K with a lot of recent maintenance performed.
I agree if the car is mint except for the pixels then 15k is on the high end, but it is in the ballpark. I would not classify it as outrageous. If the car checks out with the PPI and it really is mint the question is, is it worth 15k to you? I wanted a 2002 or 2003 530 with a 5 speed, sport package, cold weather package, premium package, split folding rear seats, manual rear side sunshades and power rear glass sunshade. I finally found a car that had all that after looking for 6 months and it was in mint condition so I was willing to overpay a little for the car. Only you can decide what this 540 is worth to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahons21 View Post
That does happen to be the one. Edmunds is ridiculously low, as to why I'd previously just thrown it out, but KBB is around 13.5, and from what other members have claimed to have purchased there's for, it does seem that 15 would still be high. There's a 2002 in the area, that is loaded and only going for 13.5.

http://baltimore.craigslist.org/cto/3141186218.html

And this beauty on ebay
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...84.m1423.l2649
Only 12.9

Anyone have any advice on replacing stereo unit with dynavin nav unit?
The first one you linked may not be such a good deal unless you never plan on updating the bumpers. The other two cars already have M bumpers and they are OEM. If you were to do a full OEM F&R bumpers conversion with all the accessories it is going to cost you more than $1,500. You can probably get F&R aftermarket bumpers for around $500. But you could spend over $1000 on a quality paint job and install depending on where you live. I got three estimates when I did my bumper and I think $900 was the cheapest I found for a quality paint job not including install (this was in Raleigh, NC). And the $500 is just for the aftermarket bumpers if you want perfect OEM fitment you will need the belly pan pork shops and fender liners which will add another couple hundred. Also I'm not sure about the 15k one you started this thread about, but the ebay one has OEM M parallel wheels which many people really like and still pay pretty good money to get.

The ebay car looks pretty nice its 2k cheaper, but has 26k more on the clock plus its an auto. I'm not sure if the original car is an auto or manual. Also you gotta figure in airfare to TX & gas to drive it back or shipping costs to get it from TX to you. I'm not saying its a bad deal, but that it is not necessarily that far off the 15k for the other car.

As far as Dynavin goes the thread below may be helpful. I don't have any personal experiences with it, but I would keep in mind the Dynavin is supposedly a better quality Chinese aftermarket head unit solutions that gives you a very OEM look, but with up to date features. I am not trying to put it down, just saying don't expect it to be the end all be all. From what I understand it has some OBC functionality, but it is no the same as the OEM OBC and does not have all the same OBC features if that is important to you. Also if the car has DSP (a premium sound option, there should be a DSP button on the MID or NAV unit) then I don't think the Dynavin will work. Read through that thread and see if there have been any updates.
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...hlight=dynavin
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  #24  
Old 07-24-2012, 10:42 PM
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seemyad seemyad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahons21 View Post
Hello all, I'm sure you've seen more than your fare share of these threads, however I could think of no better place to pose this question.

I'm currently looking at a 2003 540i with the m-sport package. The car has roughly 65k on it, the pixel problem is present, and the cooling system has not yet been repaired.

However the car is in great condition otherwise.

I was thinking of offering 15k, is this too much?

As far the pixel problem is concerned, I was thinking of just replacing the head unit with a dynavin unit, and not really worrying about the instrument cluster.

Any advice, is greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.
$15k seems 3-5k over priced (depends on condition). If the car was perfect and is the model of your dreams $15k is still too high.

Over the course of the first year you will be putting an additional $1500 - $2500 into her at a minimum. After that you'll have few worries for a few years. Around the 90k to 100k miles mark you will have to invest another $3000 or so into her (+ or - $1000).

These figures are experience based speculation. Not absolute.
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  #25  
Old 07-25-2012, 05:56 AM
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Edgy36-39 Edgy36-39 is offline
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Quote:
That does happen to be the one.
Interesting! Some would say that a 2003 540 Sport with MPars is the absolute epitome of the E39, besides the M5 of course. And an interesting color to boot. I'd hold out for a manual, but that's me.

All this pricing back and forth is secondary IMHO to the question I asked about what kind of owner are you. That will decide if this is the right car for you.

If you decide to move forward, I know a local shop that can do a quality PPI for you. The maintenance he lists is nice, but it's also time at 67K miles for a full Insp. II, which he may be looking to avoid by selling.

My biggest concern would be the auto tranny. BMW autos rarely get much beyond 100K, and the 540 is very expensive. This is because BMW refuses to change the fluid, saying it's lifetime fill.

Do a search for "Buyer's Guide" for the E39. These are Bimmer magazine sections focusing on the used market for specific models. The most recent I think is the April 2010 issue for the E39.

One other thought. Almost everyone online likes to talk about the great deal they got. Very few people like Solo admit they paid a bit more for the perfect car in the best shape.

Note this is NOT directed to anyone in this thread. I'm just saying we all develop some amnesia about how much we paid for our cars. I think I got a very fair deal for my M5, but I paid a lot more than $15K.

Also for comparison purposes, I got the price i wanted last year for my 2001 530 Sport/5. It did have lots of maintenance records, the OEM M-Tech bumper kit and I threw in set of winter tires:

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1633231
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