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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 02-26-2013, 03:28 PM
UmpaHimself UmpaHimself is offline
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Location: Ft. Lauderdale
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: Civic Coupe '08
Looking for a 540

Hello enthusiasts,

I have a sort of general question to ask. I hope you guys don't flame me too hard.

I am in the market for a 2001-2002 540. I am coming from an '08 Honda Civic which I bought after a terrible experience with a '99 Passat wagon. Although things went south with my Passat, I have never lost my love for German cars. Now it's time to go back.

My question to you all is, what am I looking at with the purchase of this BMW? I know it isn't a cheap car but I also know it is one of the best 5 series they ever made. What will I be getting into cost wise? What will break down on me and what will most likely be the first thing to go?

Also, would you recommend the 540 or 530? I am leaning towards the 8 cyl just because I've never owned one.

Any help would be highly appreciated and I look forward to further involvement here.
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  #2  
Old 02-26-2013, 03:45 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Location: San Jose, CA
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,785
Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
The E39 you are considering is not a Japanese car, and, as a senior, will require mechanical attention. Some here say that you can expect to spend $2k the first year of ownership, and perhaps $1-2k every year hence. Your mileage may vary. Be sure to have a pre-purchase inspection on any car you're serious about, before you make an offer.

Watch the BMW CCA classifieds for cars; they tend to be better maintained.

Search this site for more info on upkeep and maintenance.

As these cars age, they need more care; all the better if you are a DIYer.

I have a market report on the E39. PM me for a PDF.

I DO like the V8! But, consider driving a six, too. Those who have them really like them.
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Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.

Last edited by edjack; 02-26-2013 at 03:48 PM.
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  #3  
Old 02-26-2013, 05:07 PM
senser senser is offline
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Location: SL,UT
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 145
Mein Auto: 540i/6 E39
If it's going to be your main car, I suggest the 530i.

I have a 540 and it <3 torque, and the sound the car makes, and how it handles, and and and and and hahaha
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  #4  
Old 02-26-2013, 05:26 PM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
Under the lift arms
Location: Under the lift arms
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 4,099
Mein Auto: E39 540, E36 328is, E83x3
certified X Honda mechanic here... couple of pointers

first off.. its not a honda.. It will not run like a honda.. and you will have to wrench on it more then a honda..
2nd its not as nearly expensive as these guys make it seem dont get discouraged or fooled in to the normal trend of these forums
3rd and most importantly If you going to own the car for a while or at least plan on it, buy your self the Bentley service manual set, If you want to keep it your gonna need the bible for it

I would deff stay away from the 525 and 530's IMO and in my exsperince wrenching on em... They are ****... they are a pain in the ass and its a retarded engine to put in e39 chassis

I have a 01 (m62tu) 97 m52
stay away from automatics... they are head case's in almost every car... including bmw, you will be able to avoid a bunch of trouble by going with a manual trans

as far as mileage goes i would shoot for somewhere about 120-35k... i got mine at 127 im at 180 now... shes tight..
Its a good car... and its eazy to work on... but thats just bimmer... all bimmers are made to be repaired

Good luck
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Specializing In BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz ,Volkswagen, Volvo

Last edited by Burning2nd; 02-27-2013 at 01:53 AM.
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  #5  
Old 02-26-2013, 07:01 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Location: San Jose, CA
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,785
Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
Good observations. Thanks.
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Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.
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  #6  
Old 02-27-2013, 12:44 AM
esilvas esilvas is offline
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Location: Converse, TX
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 72
Mein Auto: 2001 540i
+1 for Burning2nd. I have an '01 540 and love the manual 6 speed. Yes, there is upkeep, but if you are here asking questions, you probably don't mind doing some work on it yourself. Besides, it helps you get to know your car better.

The best thing is all the little kids who want to race you on the highway.
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Just looking to have some fun while enjoying the ride.

'01 540i 6-Speed
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  #7  
Old 02-27-2013, 09:06 AM
UmpaHimself UmpaHimself is offline
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Location: Ft. Lauderdale
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: Civic Coupe '08
Thank you Guys so much for all the great info. Not at home right now but will definitely be PMing some of you.
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