Looking to Buy an E39- should I? - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums



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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 04-27-2016, 09:33 PM
Mobasak Mobasak is offline
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Looking to Buy an E39- should I?

Hi everyone,

I have an eye on a 2002 540i. Here is what I know about it:
One owner (60+ year old doctor)
Clean title/carfax
74,000 miles
Always garaged
All service done at BMW dealership and records available
Detailed twice a year
Grey on Black
No M Package

The car is valued at $6,799 on KBB. I offered him $7,500

He is thinking about it and I am thinking about it too. Would you buy it for that much?
It is absolutely one of a kind. I could tell how well taken care of it was just by looking at it. I had a couple E46's before and I know that between 80K-100K they need a lot of major services such as water pump, power steering pump, cooling system, belts, hoses....etc. Do you think I am getting myself into a headache buying this e39 with this milage? What should I watch for?

I am seeing the guy by the end of this week to make a decision and not feeling 100% about it

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 04-27-2016, 09:44 PM
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musa musa is offline
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Is it auto? I probably would pending a clean bill of health from a pre-purchase inspection by a good BMW indy. I would suggest Strictly BMW since you're located in Bellevue- there's a very experienced BMW master tech there. By the way, pics?
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Last edited by musa; 04-27-2016 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 04-27-2016, 09:46 PM
Mobasak Mobasak is offline
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No it is 6 speed manual. Yes I was thinking to take it somewhere to inspect it before purchasing. Even though everything looks perfect and knowing how well its been taken care of, it won't hurt to inspect
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Old 04-27-2016, 09:51 PM
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musa musa is offline
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Originally Posted by Mobasak View Post
No it is 6 speed manual. Yes I was thinking to take it somewhere to inspect it before purchasing. Even though everything looks perfect and knowing how well its been taken care of, it won't hurt to inspect
Oh boy, a manual! Take it to Strictly BMW along 140th for a pre-purchase inspection. Could you post some pics of it?
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Last edited by musa; 04-27-2016 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 04-27-2016, 09:53 PM
Mobasak Mobasak is offline
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"oh boy, manual!" was that an excitement "oh boy" or manuals have a lot of issues "oh boy"?

I know Strictly.. I will take it there for inspection
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Old 04-27-2016, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Mobasak View Post
"oh boy, manual!" was that an excitement "oh boy" or manuals have a lot of issues "oh boy"?

I know Strictly.. I will take it there for inspection
Excitement I learned to drive on a manual and I miss manuals.
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Old 04-27-2016, 11:48 PM
mdrew mdrew is offline
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I would buy it, if it has all service records and passed service indpection. That's the situation you dream for.
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  #8  
Old 04-28-2016, 12:39 AM
AH673000 AH673000 is offline
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Buy it.... Quickly

Quick inspection ... If all good , drive it home.... Hard to find a clean one owner manual with full documentation .

In 2011, I bought a one owner fully documented garage kept low mileage 528i manual for $6000 . It has been great . Now has 130k . Only issue I have had was the AC compressor failed . $500 ( DIY) later good as new .
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Old 04-28-2016, 03:19 AM
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TheAngryBear TheAngryBear is offline
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I agree with the others, after a check buy it.
If you haven't already seen this, look through the buyers guide. Pricing is all off buy it gives the likely issues coming up. As for the cooling system, general recommendation is every 80-90k to do a refresh. Right now that is about $650 if you buy a pre assembled kit from one of the site sponsors. You can probably assemble yourself piecemeal for less, depends on your time and effort.
2008 Buyers Guide
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  #10  
Old 04-28-2016, 06:11 AM
rbelton rbelton is offline
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Sounds like a good buy!
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  #11  
Old 04-28-2016, 06:41 AM
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Sounds nice to me. Keep in mind the V8 costs more to maintain/drive, but it you have the cash for it, it's really the way to go. (I speak from experience!)
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  #12  
Old 04-28-2016, 07:47 AM
Kbog Kbog is offline
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This seems like the dreamy situation we all look for. This was certainly NOT the situation I had when I bought my e39 a couple of months ago.

My only hesitation would be centered around the work done on the car already. So for example, has the cooling system been replaced yet? If not, I would not say it's a deal breaker, but something to plan on monetary wise in the near future. Maybe timing components too down the road.

The slight advantage, and maybe only very slight in this case, of a higher mileage car is that those systems may have been replaced already. So at 100k in my car, all that stuff was done and it gave me peace of mind. I'm not foolish enough to think that I won't need to drop more into it soon, but at least those things are done.

Still, I'd buy it in your shoes. I also think the price you offered is fair. I'm new at all this, so take my opinion as just that.
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Old 04-28-2016, 07:59 AM
The Chucker The Chucker is offline
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I agree with others in that a manual with that kind of mileage for $7,500 is a good buy. The manual transmission brings along a sport package if I remember correctly, so you're getting much more than just a base 540 which just happens to have a manual transmission. From what you've written, it sounds like you're going in with your eyes wide open and have reasonable expectations of what to expect from BMW ownership. I agree with others that a PPI is a good idea, but don't let an estimate of repairs from a dealership scare you as many of the more common issues can be addressed on your own if you're reasonably handy with a wrench.

Good luck...let us know how it goes!

Last edited by The Chucker; 04-28-2016 at 08:03 AM. Reason: Typo
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  #14  
Old 04-28-2016, 09:10 AM
Mobasak Mobasak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amancuso View Post
Sounds nice to me. Keep in mind the V8 costs more to maintain/drive, but it you have the cash for it, it's really the way to go. (I speak from experience!)
Dude this is the part I am most excited about! 4.4 V8 manual ***128525;

I personally don't drive a lot and have a daily driver (2013 Nissan Altima) - I'll probably be putting around 3,000 miles/year on the BMW if I buy it. I wasn't looking to buy a car but when I saw it, I had to follow the guy and ask him to sell it to me
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Old 04-28-2016, 09:27 AM
Mobasak Mobasak is offline
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Originally Posted by The Chucker View Post
I agree with others in that a manual with that kind of mileage for $7,500 is a good buy. The manual transmission brings along a sport package if I remember correctly, so you're getting much more than just a base 540 which just happens to have a manual transmission. From what you've written, it sounds like you're going in with your eyes wide open and have reasonable expectations of what to expect from BMW ownership. I agree with others that a PPI is a good idea, but don't let an estimate of repairs from a dealership scare you as many of the more common issues can be addressed on your own if you're reasonably handy with a wrench.

Good luck...let us know how it goes!
I have ownerd multiple bmws and multiple Benzes before so I know that these cars cost to own. But you get what you pay for.. I never owned an e39 so I wasn't 100% sure about it. Also what made me really want it is that I know for a fact the I'd be putting on it no more than 3,000miles/year cause I have a daily driver and I don't even drive much to start with

The owner didn't want to sell it because "it's worth to him so much more than what kbb values it at". He said no less than 10k when we first started talking. I told him that I totally get it and I appreciate the car that's why I offered him 7,500 (above kbb) also made it clear to him that it is going to need some major maintenance in the next 20k miles and doing the maintenance won't increase its value. So after he spends 3k-4K on major maintenance, it will still be valued at 6k on KBB. He understood and started talking about how amazing it is (he loves talking about it) he said he'll think about it and let me know by the end of this week.

A part of me was afraid that I got too excited to quickly.. But after reading everyone's response, I am very excited and hope it works.
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Old 04-28-2016, 09:33 AM
Mobasak Mobasak is offline
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The owner is an incredible man. It wasn't for sale. I saw it and followed the guy and offered to buy it. He said he wasn't planning on selling it cause it's worth to him so much more than what kbb values it at. I told him I'd love to workout a deal that is fair for both of us. If it had the major maintenance done I wouldn't mind paying him more for it. But the fact that it has the miles where it will need lots of work soon, I am not paying him 10k for it. (He said if he was to sell it, he won't let go for less than 10k)
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Old 04-28-2016, 09:38 AM
Predatory Predatory is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540i
easylender

I own a 2002 540 manual at 165,000. I have access to any car in a dealership in which I'm an investor. I wouldn't trade my 540 for anything.

The maintenance is considerable but it continues to drive like the day it went off the lot. I'm 69 years old. You name it I probably drove it [other than Italians] if not owned it.

You'll never regret the purchase due to the satisfaction it brings on every drive.
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Old 04-28-2016, 09:42 AM
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mikewerks mikewerks is offline
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Sounds like a nice car. Curious what Major service the car would need in 20K that would run 3-4K?
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Old 04-28-2016, 09:53 AM
Mobasak Mobasak is offline
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These are just numbers I came up with from the top of my head. I had an e46 with around 82k miles that started falling a part just a few months after I bought it. Before it reached 100k I had to change:
Water pump
Power steering pump
Cooling system
Clutch fan
Belts and hoses
Brakes
Fuel pump
Tires

And many more things here and there. please don't this as ignorance, my numbers are probably off but I just assume the worst. I wasn't as experienced when I had that e46 (about 5 years ago) and probably got ripped off by so many mechanics. That's why I created this account to speak with my people who got their hands dirty working on these cars so I can educate myself and be smarter with the e39
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Old 04-28-2016, 06:30 PM
Mobasak Mobasak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Chucker View Post
I agree with others in that a manual with that kind of mileage for $7,500 is a good buy. The manual transmission brings along a sport package if I remember correctly, so you're getting much more than just a base 540 which just happens to have a manual transmission. From what you've written, it sounds like you're going in with your eyes wide open and have reasonable expectations of what to expect from BMW ownership. I agree with others that a PPI is a good idea, but don't let an estimate of repairs from a dealership scare you as many of the more common issues can be addressed on your own if you're reasonably handy with a wrench.

Good luck...let us know how it goes!
It does not have the M bumpers, wheels nor exhaust but I figured I could convert it later on if i want to.. As long as i have a solid car to start with all that stuff becomes easy
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Old 04-28-2016, 07:54 PM
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thumper600 thumper600 is offline
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by all means yes, buy the car. Please be prepared because the timing rails are 14 years old that probably they need replacing very soon. (Cost is probably around $600 for the parts and another $200 for the "special" tools), there are great how to suggestions on the site and if you're at all mechanically inclined you'll have a blast for the next 10 years. If you don't buy the car please pass along the information as I'd like to purchase something like that.
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  #22  
Old 04-28-2016, 09:43 PM
javarithms javarithms is offline
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Buy it and sell the altima and daily drive the 540i. I would understand not wanting to daily drive an M5 but not a 540i. Hell there is a guy where I work and he daily drives his e39 M5 and he doesn't keep it clean either.

Good luck either way.
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  #23  
Old 09-08-2016, 09:41 PM
Mobasak Mobasak is offline
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Totally forgot about this. I ended up buying a black E60 550i. One owner, 51K miles M package 19" staggered wheels. Love the car! Turns heads anywhere i go. I would post a pic but don't know how!

The guy I bought it from never took to a carwash. He hands washes it with THREE buckets and drys it with an air blower so the towels don't leave swirl marks!

Last edited by Mobasak; 09-08-2016 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 09-09-2016, 02:37 AM
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Id go for it.. but be ready to put money in to it.. you got about 20 k miles b4 shes starts wanting money
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Old 09-09-2016, 03:56 AM
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TheHockeytowner TheHockeytowner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mobasak View Post
The guy I bought it from never took to a carwash. He hands washes it with THREE buckets and drys it with an air blower so the towels don't leave swirl marks!
So what you're saying is, he washed his car correctly

Three buckets may be overkill (two seems fine), but the leaf blower drying method is far superior to towels or chamois if you want to avoid RIDS.
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