Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E34 (1989 - 1995)

E34 (1989 - 1995)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-16-2012, 07:20 AM
N5673U N5673U is offline
Registered User
Location: Pennsboro, WV
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 67
Mein Auto: 95' BMW 540i
Smile 95 540i us version good?

Hello All,

I'm new here and I wanted to ask about a 95 540i that my friend has. He is going to sell it sometime in the next two months and he asked me if I was interested, naturally I jumped on it and said of course. I'll get some pictures soon but for now I'll have to describe it the best I can. Ok, so it's green for that year, it has some issues though. For one, when it is cold started it puffs out smoke for a couple seconds smells like oil, grayish/blueish in color I think; it runs rough until it is warmed up. He said the mass airflow sensor is bad, it also leaks a little bit of oil. He said he had to replace the oil pump and never put a new gasket seal back on the pan. It has I believe around 175,000 miles on it, I need to ask him again. Mechanically, that seems to be about it. The interior looks really good, just in need of being cleaned up.


Ok, onto the body, it is in bad shape, paint is losing clear coat on the rear bumper very badly. One of the door trim strips on the right side fell off and has been glued back on. There are a few rust spots starting at the very bottom of the doors. There is a big rust spot on the left side of the car under the rear brake light. Other than those issues the paint is in good condition on the rest of it. I am a detail man myself and I can probably fix most of these cosmetic issues. He is going to be asking $1,500 for it and he'll also be putting new tires on it, which by the time he's ready to sell will have 1,500 miles on them or more. So, what do you guys think so far?


Thanks,
Isaiah.
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
  #2  
Old 11-16-2012, 08:09 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
Banned
Location: earth
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,403
Mein Auto: car
He clearly has not taken care of the car, which means you'll need to spend $300-$500 in parts and labour on it right off the bat, for a new fuel pump, fuel pump relay and a crankshaft position sensor, unless these were changed in the last 4 years. This will kill 95% of the E34's common no start issues. Then another $100-$300 for parts and labour if the thermostat, water pump and fan clutch has not been changed in the past 3 years. This will kill 95% of the E34's common overheating issues. All these are OEM or lifetime warrantied parts only.

Then you'll need to do other stuff which depends on your inspection and personal diy capabilities to estimate the cost. A thorough tune up might cost anything from $50-$250 for parts alone, depending on what you'll need to do and change.

The first thing I'd do though before confirming the sale is to check that I do not have HG (headgasket) issues. Blue smoke out the tailpipe is potentially bad news. Autozone sells a cheap solution which will turn colour when you add some of the car's coolant to it, if there are combustion gases present in it, which is frequently (but not always) the case if you have a HG issue. If it does turn yellow, then.....well there are a few things you can do to check the extent of the damage and cost of repair...it is not an immediate show-stopper. Also ask your friend if it is losing oil, and if so, how much he needs to top up and at which intervals.

The next thing you MUST do is to take the car for an undercarriage inspection to check on the status of its suspension and its bushings, to eliminate more leaks (engine, transmission, brake hoses), check on the condition of the tranny fluid if its an automatic, and of course, to inspect the rust problem. You seem to have an overdose of that, from your description. This undercarriage inspection is well worth paying for. You can also get the workshop to give you an opinion on what needs to be done to tune up the car. This will help you finalise your cost-benefit analysis.

Please do the stomp test to read the car's existing error codes, youtube has great videos on how to do this, and please google for the interpretation of those codes. They could be important clues as to what's going on with the car.

Another very good place for you to go to for your research would be the maintenance sticky thread at the top of these forums.

This may sound caustic but please do not buy this car if you are not inclined to invest time and money into bringing it up to tip top shape. Many members on these forums will disagree with me on doing anticipatory repairs for what seems like perfectly good parts, but hey, you gotta pay if you wanna play. The E34 is a car you buy because it is a statement of your personal style, and not because that's all you happened to be able to afford at the time.

That being said....$1500 for a 540i is a good deal, especially with 95% new tyres. Even if you throw $1000 into it over the next 3 months in terms of parts and labour for repairs alone ($1500 if you include LONG term wear and tear stuff), you're still paying somewhat less than what its worth. Please quietly check if you're being sold a lemon. It happens my friend, it happens. And if you're not and all the extra work apart from what I've mentioned much earlier comes to within $700.......do not press the price down further, and give him a deposit right away to book the car.

Good luck.



rgds,
Roberto

Last edited by robertobaggio20; 11-16-2012 at 09:05 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-16-2012, 01:13 PM
N5673U N5673U is offline
Registered User
Location: Pennsboro, WV
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 67
Mein Auto: 95' BMW 540i
Wow, I'm impressed, great post. I certainly have a lot to learn. I am 19 and this will be my first set of four wheels that I have owned. Before I had a 93 Honda Nighthawk 750 as my ride, after two wrecks attributed to deer and it being totaled I was going to buy a Goldwing in the spring but this car came into play and I couldn't resist. I have a friend that is HIGHLY mechanically gifted and going to college to be a mechanical engineer, he can help me out with any repairs. I am a private pilot myself, long time coming. I certainly have no problem tossing a grand into this car for any repairs, just as long as I'll be able to get 3-5 more years out of it. Also, I'm 6'1" do you think this car will work for me? I'll be test driving it once I get my cast off from the last bike/deer crash lol.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-16-2012, 03:50 PM
haolibird haolibird is online now
Habitual User
Location: san diego
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 490
Mein Auto: E39 540i, E39 M5, E34 535
Isaiah,

Do yourself a favor, pass on this rig.
If you want to stay friends, that is.

If you have the Jones for a BMW, Take Your Time, and find a good one.
They are out there.

If not, you'll drop a ton of $$$ before you know it, and still not have a satisfatory ride.
Buying these cars is a LONG process, unless one drops in your lap.
This one sounds like it will be dropped on your head.
$3000.00 should be the TOPS you should pay.

Also, if you're really handy, look into the E39's, as they sell for very little.
More maintenance, but WAY more car.

Just my $0.02.

Good luck,
Hb
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-16-2012, 04:23 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
Banned
Location: earth
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,403
Mein Auto: car
Quote:
Originally Posted by N5673U View Post
I'll be test driving it once I get my cast off from the last bike/deer crash lol.
You're looking at a 540i while you're laid up with a cast ? You certainly have ambition, which means you should drive an E34

I just read HB's comment and reread your op (original post/poster). You say that the clearcoat is peeling ? Bad paintwork on an E34 is tragic and that is costly to do, and cannot be diyed. You wont want to leave that undone after putting in $1k-$1.5k into the car and bringing it up to shape.

Having read HB's comment, and considering that you've got a pal who is handy with car repairs who you can learn things from as you work, I would still recommend that you pick up this car perhaps for a lower price, provided

1. the HG issue is cleared,
2. your undercarriage inspection is satisfactory,
3. the mechanic there does not advise you against buying the car, yes put the question to him.

Perhaps $1200 would be the right price. There's really alot of work that you need to do or else this car will turn into an albatross around your neck and an ugly one to boot....why else is your buddy letting it go for cheap? However, be fair to your friend. If you've spent less than $3000 total for the car in terms of buying price, repairs and overdue long term servicing (an example of this would be changing the tranny oil and filter), and the work you had to do really wasn't a huge nerve wracking pain in the ass (pita) that you needed to do to chase down a gremlin, then top up the difference to your buddy in cash after 6 months of ownership.

Sight unseen, my instincts are saying you should swoop down and invest up to $100 on the HG solution and undercarriage inspection cum advice, even if you're going to walk away from her after that. That being said, a woman's ability to make you give up on life is only followed close on her heels by a problem car, so think carefully.

I tell you what. Debate with Haolibird (HB). If you can convince him that you know what you need to do with this car and he gives you the green light at least grudgingly, you should pull the trigger. There, I've built in a failsafe for the nuclear football.



rgds,
Roberto

p.s. Most people here would not bother much with an automatic 540i, and would advise you to keep looking for a manual.
p.p.s. That being said, you can expect any car that you purchase from a non-enthusiast to require at least $500 worth of work/investment within the first 3 months of your ownership, however well maintained it appears to be. Enthusiasts frequently have higher standards even in terms of maintenance, and we've not come to things like rims etc yet. .
p.p.s. Get well soon.

Last edited by robertobaggio20; 11-16-2012 at 05:32 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-16-2012, 05:08 PM
BMR_LVR's Avatar
BMR_LVR BMR_LVR is offline
Humble E34 lover
Location: Asheboro, NC
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,264
Mein Auto: 1992 525i
To OP, make sure and check to see if the car has the Nikasil block. You can Google it and find tons of information on what the issue is about and how to identify if the car has the Nikasil block.

If it does, that could explain the smoking and rough idle. A compression test should also confirm if it is a Nikasil block issue.
__________________
Most problems are usually something simple !

Quote:
Originally Posted by noego View Post
It's Deja Poo - as in, I've heard this **** before.
Steve

Calypso Red 1992 525i with 200K miles

1991 735i - Sold
1992 525i - Sold
1995 325is - Sold
2000 528i - Sold

Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-21-2012, 11:21 PM
1995i540's Avatar
1995i540 1995i540 is offline
Founder @ Maintenr
Location: New York
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 711
Mein Auto: 1995 540I/6
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertobaggio20 View Post
He clearly has not taken care of the car, which means you'll need to spend $300-$500 in parts and labour on it right off the bat, for a new fuel pump, fuel pump relay and a crankshaft position sensor


No, he will have to look and see if fuel pump is weak with 15 minute check if he wants to do it him self and the rest lasts for decades there is no need to replace fuel pump relay or cps for absolutely no reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robertobaggio20 View Post
HThis will kill 95% of the E34's common no start issues. Then another $100-$300 for parts and labour if the thermostat, water pump and fan clutch has not been changed in the past 3 years. This will kill 95% of the E34's common overheating issues. All these are OEM or lifetime warrantied parts only.
I'm sure in your world replacing fuel pump and relay with CPS of all things kills 95% of issues, in a real world that's what we call throwing parts at a car.

I also did not know water pump/thermostat and fan clutch have expiration date of 3 years, stop playing mechanic on the internet.

Op, I suggest you do not ask here and go to a mechanic who will give you estimate on things that actually need to be fixed and you can use that estimate to either pass on the car or negotiate a better price for your self like a normal person.
__________________


///////////////////////////////////////////// E34 Addicts


Founder @ Maintenr. Take control of your vehicle maintenance.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-22-2012, 06:40 AM
snowsled7 snowsled7 is offline
The Ornery Old Man
Location: SW Mountains
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 980
Mein Auto: GTI
Quote:
Originally Posted by N5673U View Post
Wow, I'm impressed, great post. I certainly have a lot to learn. I am 19 and this will be my first set of four wheels that I have owned.
Bobby is on his first car as well and is about your age. Read the post above^^^. More useful information there than all the bandwidth bobby wasted on his theories

I think the right thing to do is closest to what HB posted. Take some time, learn about the models. Drive a couple, read the forums (carefully), they will give you a good idea of what to look for.

With ANY old BMW, if you can not afford to do the work at your house, with your tools, it will get very expensive fast. You can learn from those with actual experience, here and on other forums. It can definately be very rewarding to roll an old Bimmer. Just be honest with yourself about how committed you are to the relationship

If you can do an engine swap, and all the body work, the car might be worth buying. Sounds like it is on its last legs though, maybe better as a parts car?
__________________
Current ride... '13 GTI Wolfsburg
BMW's from my past...
'92 535i/5 '89 325ix/5
'98 750iL '86 325(e)/5
'95 740iL '84 318i/5
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-22-2012, 08:14 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
Banned
Location: earth
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,403
Mein Auto: car
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1995i540 View Post


No, he will have to look and see if fuel pump is weak with 15 minute check if he wants to do it him self and the rest lasts for decades there is no need to replace fuel pump relay or cps for absolutely no reason.



I'm sure in your world replacing fuel pump and relay with CPS of all things kills 95% of issues, in a real world that's what we call throwing parts at a car.

I also did not know water pump/thermostat and fan clutch have expiration date of 3 years, stop playing mechanic on the internet.

Op, I suggest you do not ask here and go to a mechanic who will give you estimate on things that actually need to be fixed and you can use that estimate to either pass on the car or negotiate a better price for your self like a normal person.

Not everyone buys an E34 because that's all they can barely afford at this time and then hide under the bed hoping that the statistics won't catch up with them. Some undoubtedly come to these forums because they cannot afford mechanics and are hoping for a way out of a problem, others come here because they want focused advice, can't find that with the professionals around the area reliably and at a reasonable rate, and/or gain pleasure from working on their own cars.

The law of averages works the same whether you're a gainfully employed E34 owner or a cash strapped starving student without a good paper route. I prefer to assume that the OP either has the means or knows how to acquire them, to do what his baby needs done, rather than assuming that he has none and spare him the truth to help him sleep better at night. Have confidence in your fellow man !

OP, you can wait till things go bust or you can rely on foresight and replace them ahead of time (this is assuming you have no reliable evidence that they were done recently). Just take 30 minutes to look through the first 5 pages of our archives and you'll see the number of overheating and no-start threads that are here as compared to other mechanical issues. After that, if you wish to take their advice and run the gauntlet, by all means go ahead.

Even good mechanics will advise you to stay ahead of the curve. The parts and labour involved....geez its just $500-$600 total, considering that prices for OEM stuff have plummeted in recent days.

Last edited by robertobaggio20; 11-22-2012 at 08:29 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-29-2013, 03:57 AM
Mamij Mamij is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Denmark
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 592
Mein Auto: BMW 320i M52 1996
Well well, look at this thread. Looks like the car had been offered to Isaiah last November, 2 months before the great saga...
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09-29-2013, 08:12 AM
imae34driver imae34driver is offline
FCK HONDA
Location: Orange County , CA
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 2,070
Mein Auto: 1995 540i SPORT /6 spd
Maybe its just me,

My 95 540i has only had a few minor issues.. The ones it came with from its PO mainly.

P/s pump, motor mounts..ect.. But the power train itself has been intrinsically reliable!!!

I beat on it daily and i just did not wanna break.. 2nd motoe mount once..

So finally at 210k i slapped a lot of nitrous on it..!!! Lol

Still took what i could throw at it all day till i tryd to spray it for 4 hours straight at the track..

Developed a tiny EXTERNAL head gasket leak..oraybe just vally pan seal since it.. Still runs perfect!


So, as an all inclusive statement. I believe a 1995 540 is a tough car..

As an individualistic statement.. I cant possibly know that car..

But IMO, if the motor/trans work right.. And you got basic tools/skills i would not be afraid of it.
__________________
1995 540i /6 speed.Black on black. C.A.I/JBR LWFW/ Dinan tune/hi flow exhuast /545 SSK /3.15 with LSD / rev-shift racing motor mounts/stage 4, 6 puck clutch/ K Sport coil overs / 19" BBS LM's / suede sparco 368 steering wheel, Recaro bucket seats, sparco 4 point harnesses, NX wet kit, M/T drag slicks
"Skill can only get you so far, then comes money!"
R . I . P Paul Walker - 1973 - 2013

Last edited by imae34driver; 09-29-2013 at 08:15 AM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E34 (1989 - 1995)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:55 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2011 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms