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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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 10-03-2012, 03:50 PM
nwilson44 nwilson44 is offline
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Location: spring, texas
 
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Mein Auto: 1995 BMW 540i
Need help with 540i

This car is really cheap and I was planning on fixing it. I wanted to see what you guys think needs to be done. It's not at a BMW dealer so they just say water pump and battery. Any other opinions or anything I should know about these cars?
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  #2  
Old 10-03-2012, 04:20 PM
Monkeyking Monkeyking is offline
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Mein Auto: TiAg e39 540iA, e30 325i
w/o knowing the year, mileage & service history it would be difficult to say. looking at the pictures, the car looks like an older e39 sport w/o vanos. general issues to start would be the complete cooling system replacement, if you are already planning on replacing the waterpump, replacing both valve cover gaskets, replacing coil boots & plugs, o2 sensors if old, fluid change. good luck.
cheers,
larry
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  #3  
Old 10-03-2012, 04:45 PM
nwilson44 nwilson44 is offline
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Location: spring, texas
 
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Mein Auto: 1995 BMW 540i
The carfax says its a 1998 with 205,460. The dealer says it has 150,000 miles. I'm not sure who to believe. Can the dealer get in trouble for false advertising with that?

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  #4  
Old 10-03-2012, 05:46 PM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is offline
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Location: Sylvainia
 
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Mein Auto: Z4M Coupe, 540i,Silverado
lets see

Car fax who has a reputation for reporting factual data or, a used car dealer who reports that it is 50,000 miles less than what the odometer shows...I'd say go with the used car dealer...LOL

How old are you?

It is one thing to be gullible and quite another to be....

Good Luck with the car...fix what is wrong get it going then do complete maintenance on the car...it may have been cheap but it is about ready to get way more expensive...

This is a BMW not a Toyota...Apologize if it rubs you the wrong way but cmon man...

If you're gonna do a water pump, you should go in with eyes wide open, Change all cooling components (our cooling systems aren't that robust). Then change all the idler pulleys and put a new belt and hoses on, along with a new rad and res tank ...that way you're starting from a good point. Cabin filters, oil 'of course', Tranny fluid, diff and brake fluid...
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Last edited by GSXRYDER; 10-03-2012 at 05:50 PM.
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  #5  
Old 10-03-2012, 06:39 PM
nwilson44 nwilson44 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1995 BMW 540i
I'm 18. This would be my second BMW. I love them and I take care of them as my finances permit. I had two e34s. 525i and 540i automatic. I wanted to ask if that was the stick shift nob.

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  #6  
Old 10-03-2012, 06:47 PM
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dms540i dms540i is offline
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Mein Auto: 1999 BMW 540iA
The stick shift does not look original to me. But the leaking valve covers certainly do.
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  #7  
Old 10-03-2012, 08:39 PM
seanlinnn seanlinnn is offline
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Mein Auto: BMW 540i
If you do purchase this car
1. Make sure ALL internals and electronic parts are up and good to go. Check all wiring, make sure they didn't steal the CD player in the trunk etc.
2. After checking all internals and electronics, check externals and the interior. It's an older E39 so it'll have wear and tear, but just double check everything.
3. If everything is good, then come back to this forum and ask for further tips
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  #8  
Old 10-03-2012, 10:03 PM
nwilson44 nwilson44 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1995 BMW 540i
So I noticed the leaky covers too. Are those hard to do yourself? I'm bringing my BMW mechanic with me if I buy it so hopefully he will point out any major things. How can you check clutch wear if it doesn't run?

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  #9  
Old 10-03-2012, 10:16 PM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is offline
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Location: Sylvainia
 
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Mein Auto: Z4M Coupe, 540i,Silverado
wow

Quote:
Originally Posted by nwilson44 View Post
So I noticed the leaky covers too. Are those hard to do yourself? I'm bringing my BMW mechanic with me if I buy it so hopefully he will point out any major things. How can you check clutch wear if it doesn't run?

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YOU CAN"T...

Now if you're getting a great deal..not running hopefully it is an OUTSTANDING DEAL. But, by using the forum and the knowledge here you will learn a lot and will be able to do almost everything yourself. If you're gonna be taking your car to a mechanic, I hope you have a great JOB. It will get expensive very expensive.

Read through the forum, not just pop in one thread and ask a question, look back and 'read' pages and pages of forum threads, you will learn an immense amount of information...

Pay particular attention to guys like Bluebee and Chivas...CN90 those guys frequently come to mind as the go to guys...Although there are many real nice folks.

Invest in a Bentleys manual and get to Harbor Freight and start buying tools ...

There are other forums to frequent too...but this one is the best I've found.

Good Luck and be prepared to LEARN a LOT! At 18 your mind is about ready to be opened with y our wallet...but once you get it right, the car will put a smile on your face everytime you drive it...
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  #10  
Old 10-03-2012, 11:43 PM
Y2K528i Y2K528i is offline
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Mein Auto: 528i
Looks like a decent project car. As long as it hasn't been wrecked and the body is straight you shouldn't have any serious issues with it. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
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  #11  
Old 10-04-2012, 10:02 AM
nwilson44 nwilson44 is offline
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Location: spring, texas
 
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Mein Auto: 1995 BMW 540i
Carfax says no accidents. I learned a lot about my E34 on here and am glad to hear the same with the E39. I need it to run for a little while then I can start changing everything. Worst case scenario if the clutch is bad, how invlolved is the process?

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  #12  
Old 10-04-2012, 05:16 PM
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dms540i dms540i is offline
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It doesn't run? There are plenty of these cars around that do run. Unless you are smitten for some reason with this particular car, I don't see why you'd take such a chance. They are all pretty cheap in the vintage you are talking about. Shop around, read the best links (or whatever it's called) in the stickies at the top of this forum. Everything Bluebee has listed will go wrong with your car if it hasn't already. Unless you love these things, well, buyer beware.
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  #13  
Old 10-05-2012, 09:10 AM
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collardgreens collardgreens is offline
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Mein Auto: 01 540/6
If your paying more than $1000, your paying too much. Keep looking.
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  #14  
Old 10-05-2012, 11:06 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by nwilson44 View Post
I'm 18.
Good. There's still hope yet:

Bearing in mind that you are what you write, please read this:
- Suggestions for how to write an intelligent subject title (1)

As for what issues you should look for, I'd suggest starting here:
- Glovebox printout: BMW E39 fluid summary printout for your glovebox (1)
Behr cooling system leaking
Plastic DISA valve breaking & destroying the engine
Cluster pixel tape lifting
MID pixel tape lifting
Hella PBT headlight adjusters breaking
Power steering cap & hose leaking
Trunk wiring loom fraying
CCV clogging
Bosch ABS control module frying
Cupholders breaking
I6 VANOS seals deteriorating
V8 valley pan gaskets leaking
GKR/BMW/Valeo FSU/FSR dying
Thrust arm bushings leaking
Ambient temperature sensor breaking
Window regulators breaking
Vapor barrier adhesive leaking
Jack pads falling off
Windshield cover molding crumbling
Driver's seat control switch breaking
Rear center brakelight socket melting
Seat cables fall out causing seat twist
Windshield washer tanks & pumps leaking
BMW roundel paint chipping
Vent trim corner cracking & wood trim varnish cracking
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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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