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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 08-30-2013, 10:34 AM
PRG PRG is offline
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Question Should I get this '97 528i back on the road?

Long back story short: after wrecking a rare Vespa in the rain then surgery, it's time to get a car again. My buddy has a 1997 BMW 528i, 127k miles, black on black with DSP stereo. It's in rough shape but the drivetrain is mostly sound and the body issues are bolt on and respray. I'm trying to figure whether it's worth $250 for the car plus the work and money to get it in tip top shape again. I have at least 3/4's of the tools and know how for most of this. The KBB for fair condition is $3300 in my area. Here's the laundry list of problems and solutions I've come up with. I'd like some feedback.

Repair problems

Car over heats at idle, no obvious leaks, no oil in coolant or vice versa. Though I need to test, I think it's the fan clutch. Going to ignore that and replace cooling system: rad, water pump, hose, fan clutch and thermostat.

Vanos was recently replaced and may be leaking. It was replaced by my buddy, not the most mechanically inclined. Get gasket and reinstall Vanos.

Right rear wheel bearing is kaput. replace.

Windshield is cracked, badly. Replace, preferably with OEM climate control glass.

Passenger door doesn't like to unlock sometimes without using the key. Likely solenoid replacement.

Sunroof has issues opening. Guides have been replaced recently, and not aligned well.

AC compressor forgot how to compress. Replace or rebuild compressor.

Body issues

Right front fender has been hit, also causing door opening issues. Replace front fender, (use aftermarket, ) and trim. Get door front leading edge bent back into shape. Respray.

Hood may need respray.

Several small hail dings in trunk lid. Get specialist to pop them out from behind.

Rear bumper cover and trim is noticeably gouged, cracked and pitted from inner city bumper car parallel parking. Replace with aftermarket replacement unit and respray.

Interior issues

Leather, especially front seats and steering wheel has seen better days. It is however still supple and smooth. Redye front seats or whole interior depending on color match. Hopefully, I can redye steering wheel, if not replace with used.

Some of the wood trim may be in too bad of shape to save, do a cheesy carbon fiber wrap of wood bits.

Glovebox is stuck shut. Solution unknown, from getting it unstuck because it's too full of junk to ordering a used Euro lower dash from eBay in Europe.

CD changer is broke. Remove and play shotput with old unit to test shock resistance.

Cupholders are broke. Replace.

Upgrades

Right headlight was replaced with a garbage Chinese aftermarket part and partially melted. Call Umitza(sp?) or similar, get angel eye headlights.

Remove CDV and replace clutch system fluid.

Still has cellphone with attendant armrest. I am not an '80s yuppie. Order Euro armrest assembly off sketchy Lithuanian eBay seller who probably deals with chop shops.

Stereo lacks modern conveniences. Get a DICE media bridge or a Parrot bluetooth kit.

Cassette deck is spurious. Ignore or replace with Business CD.

OEM or junkyard fender and bumper add too much cost to the build to keep me under the $3000 mark on the build before upgrades. The climate control windshield may be too pricey to keep the build under $3000 as well. Well, that's what I'll need to do. If I do it, I'll do it in stages. First stage is wheel bearing, cooling, fender, (without respray,) leather redye, headlights and windshield. I'll progress from there once she's on the road. Should I get going on getting her back in shape or have her sent her to the junkyard instead? Anybody have an cheap fixes I ignored or don't know about?

Caveat: This may be posted to the forums on multiple sites and I am lazy, hence you might see this copy and pasted in other places.
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  #2  
Old 08-30-2013, 10:43 AM
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matt540 matt540 is offline
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Should I get this '97 528i back on the road?

You cant really go wrong for $250 if you. You can always part it out and make money out of it, if you have the time and space to do so.


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Old 08-30-2013, 11:23 AM
deyrag deyrag is offline
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You probably want to verify that the head is not warped or cracked from the overheating before throwing too much money at it. It if is you can get a rebuilt head for $700.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:26 AM
PRG PRG is offline
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Location: Bodymore, Murdaland
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deyrag View Post
You probably want to verify that the head is not warped or cracked from the overheating before throwing too much money at it. It if is you can get a rebuilt head for $700.
Noted. It's only had the overheating problem once, the last time it was started. It needed a jump after not being started for a few months, then overheated at idle. There's a BMW specialist place in the 6 blocks between his house and my garage. Or, would a simple compression check work for that?

Last edited by PRG; 08-30-2013 at 11:30 AM.
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