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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 11-22-2012, 01:07 AM
pockomoth pockomoth is offline
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Buy an e39 with a Salvage title?

I hate to keep asking for help when I bring nothing to the table here on the forum, but I just don't know much about cars and you guys just know everything about Bimmers. So another question. I'm torn between buying a 2004 ZHP 330i or a 2003 540i M Package. I'm leaning toward the e39 for the more plush ride, found the test ride on the Zhp a little harsh for my fibromyalgia. I found a 540i for $10,500 on eBay, low miles, but owner admits a salvage title for being sideswiped on passenger side. Car was repaired and in the pics looks fine. I've been avoiding altogether salvage titles. I can't find anything on the site about whether this is a good rule of thumb. What say you'all? Should I avoid cars with salvage titles?
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  #2  
Old 11-22-2012, 04:41 AM
jygesq jygesq is offline
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run away, selling it will be impossible,
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  #3  
Old 11-22-2012, 04:48 AM
vavet5308 vavet5308 is offline
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Here's my issue with having a blanket rule against salvage titles...a salvage title is based on the value of the car at the time of the incident (wreck, flood, fire, etc).
That's really vague, so let's talk real world. In 2002, MSRP on my car was about $43k. Let's say the person paid $41k for and could've traded it a year later for $35k. Suppose the owner of that year old car was on their way to the dealer to trade it in for their $35k and was rear-ended and pushed into another car and then t-boned at the same time. The car sustained $20k worth of damage. Insurance companies have repair cost thresholds. I think it varies by company and situation, but let's say 80%. If the cost to repair exceeds 80% of the car's value, the insurance company totals it. 80% of $35k is $28k, so our terrible 3-sided wreck is well below the threshold and the car gets and extensive repair.

Now..let's fast forward 10 years. Our once $43k car is now worth $8000. Suppose the driver gets distracted and rear ends someone or slides on the ice and goes into the ditch. All it takes at this point is 80% of that $8000 to total the car, so $6400.

Assuming proper repair techniques and parts, which you rather have a non-salvage car that required extensive repair to 3 sides of the car or a salvage-titled car that had a straight-forward front end collision repair?

I'm taking the second car every day of the week and twice on Sunday! Now, with that said, $10.5k seems a little high, depending on miles and equipment without the salvage title. I don't know what the rule of thumb for decreased value because of the salvage title is, but it's certainly worth less because of it. I'd want to know more about the history of when and how the car came to get a salvage title and have a decent body shop take a look at it to see how well it's been repaired.

Oh, FWIW, flood cars with salvage titles are a different story completely - I wouldn't go near a BMW that's been flooded.
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  #4  
Old 11-22-2012, 07:29 AM
bschmidt25 bschmidt25 is offline
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With the prices E39s are going for these days, why bother with a salvage titled vehicle? Just my 0.02...
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  #5  
Old 11-22-2012, 08:17 AM
toofpik toofpik is offline
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Thats WAAAAY TOO MUCH $$$ for a salvage title... At least here in FL.... Salvage is not rebuilt, you still need to pass inspection (cheapest inspection Ive seen cost $400) to get a rebuilt title... I personally hate cars with damage to the door beams, the doors never shut right and its a mission to get it straight, definitely not worth the time to rebuild... the most I would pay for a car like that is 3k (considering the low miles on the engine) and i wouldnt rebuild, id just part it out and make a couple of bucks...
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  #6  
Old 11-22-2012, 10:36 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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In The Olden Days, when cars had separate frames, it was easier to put a shunt right. Nowadays, the forces of a crash are distributed all over the chassis, which distorts it a little. Much more difficult to straighten out.

Even auction cars with clean titles can be iffy - how was the car treated in its earlier life, and how did it end up at auction?
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  #7  
Old 11-22-2012, 03:52 PM
WDRAcing WDRAcing is offline
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I'm not against buying a salvage titled vehicle, I've had several. However, I bought them for a really good deal. I'd be open to buying a 540i with a salvage title if it were closer to $4000. It would have to be in excellent shape for that 4k as well. Deals can be had, it just takes patience. Look for auctions if you have cash, that's what I did. Just make sure you run a carfax.

10k for a salvage titled vehicle is too much unless it's some sort of exotic.

WD

Last edited by WDRAcing; 11-22-2012 at 03:54 PM.
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  #8  
Old 11-22-2012, 04:16 PM
rdl rdl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vavet5308 View Post
Here's my issue with having a blanket rule against salvage titles
...
Oh, FWIW, flood cars with salvage titles are a different story completely - I wouldn't go near a BMW that's been flooded.
I like your analysis making the point that a salvage brand can cover a wide range of events. For a car-smart, DIY buyer it might be worthwhile searching the car's history to determine the reason for the car being branded and arrange a VERY thorough PPI. Then use those findings to negociate a bargain price while taking the risk of a surprise or two that he/she could resolve at reasonable cost.

For the OP who concedes he/she does not know much about cars I'd strongly recommend staying away from salvage cars. The risks are too high.

Regards resale value with a branded title, one needs to decide where you think you are in the spectum of drive a couple of years and trade versus drive it 'til it dies. The importance of the branding varies from significant to nil.

And agree ++ on flood damage: too too many latent, intermittent, hard to find and co$tly to repair issues are highly probable. Even in cars that seem to be OK a few years after the branding.
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  #9  
Old 11-24-2012, 03:03 AM
pockomoth pockomoth is offline
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http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/540I-...orcev4exp=true
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  #10  
Old 11-24-2012, 03:04 AM
pockomoth pockomoth is offline
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Would anyone buy this car?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/540I-...orcev4exp=true

He says it's a "rebuilt" title, different from a salvage title. Anyone know what that means? I'm inclined to offer $8000 but then I have to ship it to Cali. Any thoughts?
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  #11  
Old 11-24-2012, 03:12 AM
kmorgan_260 kmorgan_260 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bschmidt25 View Post
With the prices E39s are going for these days, why bother with a salvage titled vehicle? Just my 0.02...
Agree, and you will have trouble selling it. It is hard enough to get your asking price for a used car with a clear title. My rule of thumb is only buy a salvage titled car if you plan to use it for parts and the price is reasonable for that purpose. Same for reconstructed title.
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  #12  
Old 11-24-2012, 03:15 AM
pockomoth pockomoth is offline
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thanks for the quick reply. I'm going to pass. love those cars though.
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  #13  
Old 11-24-2012, 05:09 AM
vavet5308 vavet5308 is offline
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That is definitely a sharp looking car. If I was local and could look at it in person and talk to the person face-to-face about how it came to have a salvage/rebuilt title, then it would have my interest. I might have to sleep in it, but it's a nice car.
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  #14  
Old 11-24-2012, 09:19 AM
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ztom ztom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pockomoth View Post
Pixels out. Car looks like it's been "improved" which would concern me. Fixing an e39 is more fun as an extra car, not a daily driver.
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  #15  
Old 11-24-2012, 03:19 PM
haolibird haolibird is online now
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Mein Auto: E39 540i, E39 M5, E34 535
Shop the Bay area.
A bunch of cars, reasonalby priced, maintained by people who could afford them.
No need to go any further...

Where in Cali you from?
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  #16  
Old 11-24-2012, 04:34 PM
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diggyd357 diggyd357 is offline
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My 2cents.....the price does seem kinda high, but on a personal note, I recently bought a 97 528I on a rebuilt tittle. The car was wrecked in the front passenger area. The repairs were "so so" , the rest of the car was immaculate. I,paid $2600 and put in about $800 and a couple weeks labor. Thanks to the GRRREAT people here on this site I was able to do all my own repairs and now have a fantastic car. In the end, it all comes down to "what's it worth to you ?" If you're like me and have no intentions of ever selling the car then who cares if they're difficult to sell... I've been offered $8000 cash for mine and didn't even consider it. You are in the right place for good advice though....the people here do know their stuff, but use your better judgement in conjunction with witheveryones 2cents then base your decision on what makes you happy.....Im definitely happy with my rebuilt tittle e39. Good luck !
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  #17  
Old 11-24-2012, 04:40 PM
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Dking078 Dking078 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pockomoth View Post
I love the statistics people pull out when selling m sports...
My beef:
Car was most likely in a front end collision, headlights are reps, the signature T bar is missing, and the grills are aftermarket, and the bumper is likely the be a rep.

One thing that concerns me is the idle rpm, that idle of 500 would be okay if the ac was off, but in this case it is on, so there may be a problem. It should be idling with the ac on at 750 rpm (a bit above the thin white line)
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2003 BMW 540i [Sterling Gray / Gray]
[Msport] [Mods from A-Z] [Two-Tone Interior]


E39 Trim Sets For Sale! PM or see Interior Classifieds for pics!
2 Sets of E39 OEM Technical Graphite / Cubic Interior Trim set- $275/$255 Shipped
E39 OEM Maple Wood "Muschelahorn" trim $300 Shipped & steering wheel $150
E39 OEM High Polished Black Trim set $250 Shipped


Last edited by Dking078; 11-24-2012 at 04:46 PM.
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  #18  
Old 12-03-2012, 11:06 AM
Phaser Phaser is offline
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I've bought e39 at online salvage auto auction and it was damaged so I also had to spend some money to repair it. If yours is repaired and only has a salvage title, I guess it's not a problem at all, and you'll only need to pass the inspection to get a rebuilt title. _sl_

Last edited by Phaser; 12-03-2012 at 11:08 AM.
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