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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 04-02-2005, 08:24 AM
Okie540i Okie540i is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 540ia
E39/M62 engine life, high mile record?

What is the "forum record" for miles on an original BMW engine block, cams and heads?

I have a new-to-me 2000 540i with 96,000 miles on the odo. I'm looking at extended warranties (have one now, till Nov this year), and I'm checking in to engine life expectancy.

In a recent Autoweek, I found Vines Auto, a BMW salvage in Alabama. I called and talked with a guy there for about 30 minutes and learned quite a bit. He said his wife has a 540i with the first generation of Alusil block (4.0 liter), and she has 190,000 miles on the original block, heads, cams, etc., with no signs of impending problems.

He says if no fuel injector or spark problems occur that might cause unburned fuel to wash down the cylinder walls that the Alusil can far outlive steel cylinders. Most all problems he sees with blocks are due to fuel wash problems, and second to that, overheating. He sees very few, if any, camshaft wear problems as long as oil changes have been maintained correctly. He also has reman engines, short blocks and long blocks, as well as reman cyl heads in pairs or singles.
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  #2  
Old 04-03-2005, 01:31 AM
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gerchy gerchy is offline
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Mein Auto: E39 525i
That`s nothing ...
I have seen an E39 540 with 450.000 miles on it. Many cars have like 100.000 or 200.000 miles on the odometer ... but ... (the truth is outthere ...)



That`s a common view with 10+ year old cars. (E32 730i V8 - still running smooth)
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  #3  
Old 04-04-2005, 06:36 PM
sehiser sehiser is offline
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Mein Auto: 528i
BMW, Mercedes, & Toyota are easy 300k engines when properly taken care of. Of course, there are bad apples once in a while.

I'd take a 2.8 German engine over a 2.8 Domestic engine any day. 2.8 domestic engines are practically engineered to blow a gasket between 50-60,000 miles.

Now a 4.0 engine doesn't work nearly as hard, so you should see a great life span out of it. I'd worry more about taking care of the paint and interior than the engine, we're talking German precision engineering here. The sun will do more damage than holding the pedel to the floor every day.
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  #4  
Old 11-15-2009, 09:26 AM
p murray-clarke p murray-clarke is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 BMW540i E39 M62 Auto
Hi
I have a 1998 bmw 540i 4.4 Auto E39 m62 with 142,000 UK miles on the clock ! So far so good! Any suggestions or tips as to how I can keep her going as well as she is running now?...Oil/petrol addertives etc

Peter UK
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  #5  
Old 11-15-2009, 09:31 AM
armysweitzer armysweitzer is offline
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Mein Auto: RB20 S13/ 1997 540i/6
i have 193k miles on her so far, just did all new suspension so she better last a few 100k more!
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  #6  
Old 11-15-2009, 09:50 AM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Extended warranties are a waste of money….you have to wait until something breaks and leaves you stranded, and the repair cost is usually no more than the cost of the warranty.
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'99 528i ('98/12 build). 174,000km BY29428/Royalrot
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  #7  
Old 11-15-2009, 10:50 AM
chifly318ti chifly318ti is offline
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Mein Auto: 97 318ti 98 528i 02 530i
314000 on my 5'er
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  #8  
Old 11-15-2009, 11:58 AM
e39BMW e39BMW is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW 540i
191950 miles on my 540i 6speed and still running almost perfectly. Have to change radiator (going racing rad with mechanical fan delete) and then do the lower and upper timing chain gaskets, upper rad gasket, front main seal, and probably soon main rear seal.
The 4.4l turned out to be more reliable then i expected. My oil pan pickup line was clocked with some plastic crap and my engine was starving for oil. I didnt know about that so i was pushing my car to redline almost every day and no problems. No i unclogged it and engine is running much better
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  #9  
Old 11-15-2009, 06:29 PM
stx133 stx133 is offline
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Mein Auto: E34 540
have got 380k on the clock on my e34 540a - going strong. :-)

Last edited by stx133; 11-17-2009 at 09:11 PM. Reason: typo on the e34 / e39 model..
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  #10  
Old 11-16-2009, 08:47 PM
acefreely02 acefreely02 is offline
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Mein Auto: e39 540i, e30 325is, e30
my 540 only has 184 xxx kms, but my old e30s. dam 312xxx on the 86 eta and 367xxx on the 87 325is. both engines have never been rebuilt. and i bag the piss out of them both
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  #11  
Old 11-16-2009, 09:04 PM
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davenotize davenotize is offline
03 530 S/P for sale!!
Location: Miami FL
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 178
Mein Auto: 03 bmw 530s/p 02 bmw 525
hey there at 57k i had to replace the engine,...very well taken care of even oil change at every 3k....quick tip!!! any overheating issue for whatever reason, tow it...its better of paying for towing than a new or rebiuld block!!! love my car but its a surprise box even treating it better than i treat my wife lol!!
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  #12  
Old 11-17-2009, 11:35 AM
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528ibimmer 528ibimmer is offline
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Location: KC Missouri
 
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Posts: 267
Mein Auto: 528i E39!
it seems that e39s run forever. When i didnt know better i wanted a trans am or a mustang for my first car but in the price range i couldnt get one with less than 90000 miles(v8 loaded and newer body styles). Before i got my first car(my current e39) my dad said those trans ams and mustangs will not out last the bmw and surely enough thats true.i still would love to get a mustang but it would have to be brand new since i know it hasnt had the crap drove out of it. im at 116000 on the 2.8 and have just fixed a few oil leaks and just regular maintance. i should get another easy 90000 to 100000 miles out of it
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  #13  
Old 11-17-2009, 12:06 PM
99328ic 99328ic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw_n00b13 View Post
Extended warranties are a waste of money…...you have to wait until something breaks and leaves you stranded, and the repair cost is usually no more than the cost of the warranty.
Take the money that you are going to use on the extend warranty and put it aside in the bank. Its a waste of money and most cases they never cover anything that is wrong with the car. For example I have heard this story, a person had a leaking oil gasket the warranty company would not replace the gasket under warranty. Then he let some one drive his car the borrower did not check the oil and it ran out and the motor failed. The owner took the car in for repair and the warranty company would not pay for the repair because it was from neglect. I bought a warranty for my 328 for 3yrs 30K miles and in that time they only paid for maybe 300 dollars in the last 3 years. Waste of money in my eyes. Non the less I bought my 540 a year ago with 93K miles and it has 113K miles on it now over 20K in a year. I have to replace the water pump now since it is leaking and the brakes, but it will wait till my finances clear up.
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  #14  
Old 11-17-2009, 07:53 PM
apiereder apiereder is offline
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Location: Lehi, UT
 
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Mein Auto: BMW 530i 2002
I bought my 2002 BMW 530ia new and it just ticked over 180000 miles. I usually keep my cars ten years of more and do the maintenance myself once its out of warranty. My Honda Accord was by far the most robust car I ever had, requiring only routine maintenance with the exception of a radiator replacement (which was easy), but the BMW comes in a close second. The car is seven years old at this point and so within the last couple of years I've started replacing things as I've noticed little problems. The biggest and most expensive repair was the cooling system--a total replacement, but it really wasn't all that much money--less than 500.00 and a lost weekend. I expect its probably normal to have to replace it every 4-6 years (which for me is about 96-144,000 miles). The crankcase ventilation system also needed a complete replacement shortly there after--every pipe and hose was brittle with age. I've replaced just about every engine sensor at this point, and replaced one fuel injection (can the others be far behind?). The power steering system leaked at the hose connections to the reservoir, which I understand is pretty common, but an easy fix. All told, the repairs were pretty standard when compared with other vehicles I've had, with the exception of the cooling system components and the CCV, which were somewhat more extensive, but not beyond the pale.

I haven't had to do anything to the suspension at all, although I could probably replace the thrust bearings and restore the original ride. I do recommend a decarbonization of the engine, which produces remarkable results. I maintain with a bottle of seafoam in the gas tank every 4-6 months. The result is an car that is still a pleasure to drive, and judging from the experiences of several of my friends, 350,000 is a completely realistic number for BMWs. I figure, setting aside tires and brakes, that I've spent about $1,500.00 in parts over the past three years to keep the girl running well.

Now I find myself in an interesting position--I could get a new car, but I don't really want to. The E39 is such an appealing body-style, even five years after its been discontinued (I'm not a fan of the successor design...), and I'm starting to think I may have my hands on a future classic. That's making me think it might be worthwhile spending a few thousand dollars to restore her to like-new condition, including new leathers and foam for the front seats, various trim items and possibly and engine-rebuild when it gets to that point
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  #15  
Old 11-22-2009, 01:50 AM
jbmw523i jbmw523i is offline
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Mein Auto: 523i
after reading apiereder's comments on e39 i am starting to feel really good with the one i just got last week, my first bimmer ever.
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  #16  
Old 11-22-2009, 07:53 AM
SpeedsterBek SpeedsterBek is offline
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Mein Auto: 97 540iA
Mine has 193k miles and it still runs good. As long as you keep up with the maintenance, they should last forever. M62 probably outlast the car, you'll see wheels falling off long before M62 dies.
besides, we're talking about 50k+ cars, so generally expensive mid size/ large size luxury cars lasts much longer than average econobox.
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  #17  
Old 11-22-2009, 08:33 AM
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TemporarySanity TemporarySanity is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000, 1995 540iA, 07 525
I just turned over 194,000 mi on my 2000 540. I hope to keep it long enough to double those miles. I agree with apiereder about the e39 styling. I prefer my car to a new one although I do like all the intergrated electronics of newer cars.
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  #18  
Old 11-22-2009, 10:35 AM
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Dr._Zoidberg Dr._Zoidberg is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 540iA Sport
A good question to ask would be what's the record for miles on the original transmission, especially the 5HP24 EH.
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  #19  
Old 11-23-2009, 03:12 AM
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M///Chook M///Chook is offline
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Location: Australia
 
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Mein Auto: 1996 E39 535i V8 sedan
My 3.5L M62 has done 250,000 kilometres so far. Never given me any trouble at all, never throws any codes (well the camshaft sensor died and an oxygen sensor died 12 months ago, but they're maintenance items anyway) the engine itself is a gem- look after it and it looks after you.

My ZF 5HP24 auto tranny covered 220,000 kilometres with the ORIGINAL fluid in it, and then it grenaded a clutchpack. Rather than go for the expense of a new or second hand tranny (which was what the dealer was trying to push onto me), I took it away from the dealers and opened it up myself on my workbench, and found it blew clutchpack 'A'. That part cost me $400 from ZF, and hey presto, a fluid flush, new filter and we're in business again The tranny has now done 30,000 kilometres since I rebuilt it myself, and its still going strong.
Took awhile for the pressure adaption codes to work out what was going on with the new clutchpack in the tranny, but now its all good

I think my suspension, front wheel bearings and timing chain tensioner cartridge are all the next things to do on my list.
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1996 Carbon black/black BMW E39 3.5L M62 V8 535i -Australia Delivery-only model.
And this months "mods" are:
  • leaky power steering reservoir
  • Cracked windscreen
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  #20  
Old 09-30-2010, 07:58 PM
jstenq jstenq is offline
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Mein Auto: 99 540i
540i 1999

Three years ago I bought a well-maintained 540i @ 136K mi. It now has 162K. I replaced the fan, radiator and cooling system as a result of a failed water pump. I also replaced the alternator... it was liquid cooled! $$.

I put on new disks in the front and have changed a dozen or so brake light bulbs. $3,000 in repairs at the dealer, no lesss, in three years, much less than a regular payment. Just recently I found a great independent BMW repair shop who charges about 1/2 the dealer. That is the key.

In spite of these problems, the car is as tight as new and runs very well. The interior leather and electronics all work well and the sound system is still top notch (although behind in tech). I live in a very cold-weather climate and the rwd is getting to be annoying, but the car seems like it will do another 160K. It is the best "cheap luxury" car you can find - and there are some good deals out there.

BUT.... I'm taking delivery of a 2008 335xi tomorrow, and am selling my kid brother the 540. Enjoy Bro!

Last edited by jstenq; 09-30-2010 at 08:02 PM.
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  #21  
Old 09-30-2010, 09:14 PM
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MatWiz MatWiz is offline
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Location: NYC
 
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Mein Auto: 528
Interesting so many people are in the 19x,xxx range. I am at around 195,000 - 198,000 or something like that. ( Who cares! LOL).

mw
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  #22  
Old 10-01-2010, 01:42 AM
JackNCokeGus JackNCokeGus is offline
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Location: Chicago, IL
 
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Posts: 50
Mein Auto: BMW 540i
I just hit 200,000 miles yesterday
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  #23  
Old 10-01-2010, 07:36 AM
wyowolf wyowolf is online now
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Location: Atlanta
 
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Posts: 155
Mein Auto: 2004 545i Six Speed
2000 540i6

142800 miles

New timing chain and guides WP and many gaskets about 4 months ago.

new Alt 2 yrs ago

replaced front suspension about 3 months ago...

Due for a clutch but still ok if i dont push it real hard...

DSC module died about 3 months ago... non fixable still broke.

various things, Intake gaskets, zero pressure cooling system, plugs, a couple coils...

i will stop writing now...
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  #24  
Old 10-01-2010, 08:47 PM
ProRail ProRail is offline
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Location: Columbia MD
 
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Posts: 4,598
Mein Auto: 1999 BMW 528A--165K
Quote:
Originally Posted by apiereder View Post
I bought my 2002 BMW 530ia new and it just ticked over 180000 miles. I usually keep my cars ten years of more and do the maintenance myself once its out of warranty. My Honda Accord was by far the most robust car I ever had, requiring only routine maintenance with the exception of a radiator replacement (which was easy), but the BMW comes in a close second. The car is seven years old at this point and so within the last couple of years I've started replacing things as I've noticed little problems. The biggest and most expensive repair was the cooling system--a total replacement, but it really wasn't all that much money--less than 500.00 and a lost weekend. I expect its probably normal to have to replace it every 4-6 years (which for me is about 96-144,000 miles). The crankcase ventilation system also needed a complete replacement shortly there after--every pipe and hose was brittle with age. I've replaced just about every engine sensor at this point, and replaced one fuel injection (can the others be far behind?). The power steering system leaked at the hose connections to the reservoir, which I understand is pretty common, but an easy fix. All told, the repairs were pretty standard when compared with other vehicles I've had, with the exception of the cooling system components and the CCV, which were somewhat more extensive, but not beyond the pale.

I haven't had to do anything to the suspension at all, although I could probably replace the thrust bearings and restore the original ride. I do recommend a decarbonization of the engine, which produces remarkable results. I maintain with a bottle of seafoam in the gas tank every 4-6 months. The result is an car that is still a pleasure to drive, and judging from the experiences of several of my friends, 350,000 is a completely realistic number for BMWs. I figure, setting aside tires and brakes, that I've spent about $1,500.00 in parts over the past three years to keep the girl running well.

Now I find myself in an interesting position--I could get a new car, but I don't really want to. The E39 is such an appealing body-style, even five years after its been discontinued (I'm not a fan of the successor design...), and I'm starting to think I may have my hands on a future classic. That's making me think it might be worthwhile spending a few thousand dollars to restore her to like-new condition, including new leathers and foam for the front seats, various trim items and possibly and engine-rebuild when it gets to that point
Whenever I think about trading my E-39 (145,000 miles) I think about all those systems at work every time I fire it up or turn it off. (Do you ever drive into the garage and sit and listen to all those systems shutting down?) Getting rid of it would be like throwing away my home audio system, my refrigerator, my furnace, and my computer, plus several other electronic gadgets. I just can't bear the thought of it. Maybe it's just me.

Last edited by ProRail; 10-01-2010 at 08:53 PM. Reason: more info
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  #25  
Old 10-01-2010, 08:53 PM
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TemporarySanity TemporarySanity is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000, 1995 540iA, 07 525
Ahh, the good old days when my car had less than 200k. I'm up to 223,000+ now.
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