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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 01-27-2013, 04:40 AM
Beaniam Beaniam is offline
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Mein Auto: Toyota
Thinking of buying an older e30 or 34.

I had posted this in the general section but maybe I'll get more feedback here...

I recently went to look at a 1990 325ix which turned out to be a complete pile and way more work than I wanted to put into a car but ever since I've really been trying to find an older late 80s-early 90s 325 or 525. I like the idea of the awd 325ix but I know nothing of their drivetrain reliability. I came across a 91 525i that seems to be in good shape with 110,000 miles however I'm told the trans light comes on when it's cold then goes out after it warms up. Says it drives fine otherwise. I was leaning more torwards an automatic simply because I have only owned manuals and I'm just tired of shifting all the time. Should I shy away from the autos? Especially one that shows a light when cold? I do like the fact the 91 has a timing chain rather than a belt however...

Is this a sign to stay away from that 525? He says in the email, I quote:

"the only lite that comes on is trans circuit lite....and only when the car is cold...after 2 mins the lite goes off...he has had it check out, and was told its just the circuit that does that...theres nothing to fix...the car is fine.."

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  #2  
Old 01-27-2013, 05:20 AM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
 
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Mein Auto: E23;E30;E38;E32;E34 +
If a car has a good body and interior that is where most of the value is. You can't throw away rust like you can a gearbox. Only you know if you want the car and are prepared to spend time and $ on it. Cars with nothing to spend only exist in buyer's dreams.
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  #3  
Old 01-27-2013, 07:15 AM
snowsled7 snowsled7 is offline
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I owned a 325ix for a while. GREAT little cars. The awd system does wear out. Transfer boxes start to leak. Typical of e30 and e34 BMW's though, they really are quite durable.

I would not buy one of these old cars with an automatic, ever. Service history is essential if you want to trust one. Regular service will keep it alive for a long time along with proper driving habits, which are almost impossible to confirm. Shifting while still at a slight roll eventually kills the trans. Some people just do this If they do, the trans will have half the life of one properly stopped every time. It is just a gamble on an expensive part. Rebuilds cost more than the cars in most cases. Lots of these are starting to fail, look around the forum, LOTS of them have problems.

The M50 525 is an excellent choice. Reasonably powerful, efficient, durable but like any old BMW it probably needs front suspension and something in the cooling system soon. Either one (e30 or e34) is a bit of a project but most of us enjoy that part. The e34 is definately a better value right now, and if all my cars could have manuals, I would be in heaven
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  #4  
Old 01-27-2013, 10:08 AM
haolibird haolibird is online now
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Mein Auto: E39 540i, E39 M5, E34 535
Concur with Sled and Dad.
They are 2 of the Best.

To the OP, I have had 2 '94 525 autos, that eventually needed rebuild.
Not to mention VANOS challenges.

I lucked into a 535 manual, and will never look back.
EASY car to maintain, fun to drive, and very peppy.
Also, (snobbishly) I feel I am a member in an exclusive club, as a limited number of these cars were imported.

Sled, would you care to elaborate on the "rolling shifting" comment?
Maybe a PM?
The in-laws are getting back their rebuilt auto (Ford), and I want to give them any advice I can to prolong their car.

Aloha!
Tom
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  #5  
Old 01-27-2013, 01:52 PM
MySatinDoll MySatinDoll is offline
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Mein Auto: 1995 e34 S52b32/5
I've had one e30 and 2 535is.

Your in the right ballpark. 325ix in NJ. How bad a pile and where? was it an auto or a 5 spd.

Sorry got lost in that. Anyway. If the 525i is well kept. Has all the records to it and drives fine. Go with it.
If it's a manual... hate to tell you. There's nothing like a 5 or 6 speed manual e34.
I mean there are tons of cars out there that are comparable.
But to date I've yet come across a mid size 4dr sedan than has me looking at it for at least 30mins as I take the trash out at 4am like a e34.
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Every once in a while the Lion has to show the Jackals who he is...
- Christopher Walken "The Lion Speech"
95 e34 525 5 spd S52 Swap... The new Garden State Grocery Getter projekt.
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  #6  
Old 01-27-2013, 02:06 PM
Beaniam Beaniam is offline
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The 325ix was an auto in brick (near the shore). The front fenders were rotted out at the bottom. The roll pan under the back bumper was rotted. CEL was on, brake light on, idle surged, needed a balljoint, front air damn was mangled, fog light smashed, headlight cracked, 2 tires were flat, muffler rotted out. No idea when the timing belt was changed, light valve tap. I went to turn the steering wheel and the power steering wasn't working, went to pop the hood to see if the belt was off the pump but I couldn't because the hood release cable was broken. His asking price went from 1800 to 400 in a week and I believe he scrapped it because for some reason he needed the cash that bad. I wasn't even going to take it for 350.

I'll keep my eye out for a 5spd 325i, ix, 525i or ix. I prefer the smaller 325 but I really am not a fan of timing belt motors.
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  #7  
Old 01-27-2013, 06:21 PM
MySatinDoll MySatinDoll is offline
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Mein Auto: 1995 e34 S52b32/5
well again you're in the right ballpark. Just stay away from a m20 e34 (underpowered) and you'll find a e34 that suits your needs.
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Every once in a while the Lion has to show the Jackals who he is...
- Christopher Walken "The Lion Speech"
95 e34 525 5 spd S52 Swap... The new Garden State Grocery Getter projekt.
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  #8  
Old 01-27-2013, 06:40 PM
Beaniam Beaniam is offline
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And that would be the pre 90 525 with the m20? Also good idea to stay away from the post 93 525 with VANOS? So that has me looking for a 91-92 525i.
I still wouldn't mind the smaller 325 but I better be ready to do a timing belt when I get it.
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  #9  
Old 01-27-2013, 07:10 PM
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BMR_LVR BMR_LVR is offline
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Location: Asheboro, NC
 
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Mein Auto: 1992 525i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beaniam View Post
And that would be the pre 90 525 with the m20? Also good idea to stay away from the post 93 525 with VANOS? So that has me looking for a 91-92 525i.
I still wouldn't mind the smaller 325 but I better be ready to do a timing belt when I get it.
I would not shy away from 93-95 just because of Vanos. I had it on my E36. It made the engine much peppier in low rpm. Mine had 246K on it and didn't rattle at all.

Having said that, I personally like the fact that I currently don't have one because it is one less thing I have to worry about, but I would not shy away solely because of the Vanos.
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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

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  #10  
Old 01-27-2013, 08:43 PM
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_Ethrty-Andy_ _Ethrty-Andy_ is offline
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Mein Auto: E34 Touring AC Schnitzer
I have been pationate about both the E30 and the E34 chassis, but overall (dear i say it in an E34 forum) id rather have a worked E30 than E34. they are much more fun car to drive and city driving them is a breeze, and you dont need a lot of power to have fun and make them boogie. the E34 or indeed any 5er is actually a LOT bigger than an E30 and a lot heavier too, if you do a lot of highway driving and or want the luxobarge car go for the E34.

I currently own the pair of BMWs, one E30 and one E34 in my signature. But have personally owned 6 E30s and 5 E34s as well as other stuff mercs volvos etc.
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