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E28 (1982 - 1988)

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Old 06-14-2018, 06:29 AM
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colnago1331 colnago1331 is offline
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Mein Auto: E46 325xi
What Do I Need to Look Out For? Possible E28 Purchase

Hello, E28ers. I am looking at possibly buying an E28, but I don't know too much about them. My familiarity is more in the 3-series realm. I'm looking at a manual transmission 528 with around 150K miles. Visually it appears to be in good shape, and ultimately I will have a mechanic look at it before I buy it. But I'm trying to get a feel for potential issues to be on the lookout for.

Thanks in advance!
Past BMWs
2013 328i xDrive
2004 325xi

Upcoming BMW
2001 Z3 Coupe or 2007 Z4 Coupe
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:37 PM
ken2116 ken2116 is offline
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Mein Auto: E30
Things to look for:
-Hidden body damage.
-Rust, take it to someone who's familiar with the model as there can be hidden places.
- Be sure fuel tank fasteners are sound.
-Underbody and cross frame or subframe and fuel tank damage including from improper lifting - some BMW models are particularly tender.
- Front suspension damage from improper towing - some BMW models are tender.
-Proof of routine service - too many owners of low usage cars change oil and coolant and brake fluid by miles rather than time - additives wear out and aluminum engines are corrosion prone.
- Evidence that the car wasn't used for a long period - internal engine, brake, cooling and fuel system corrosion can result. If it's been stored, check bottom of fuel tank for crud.
- Check transmission fluid, ATF especially should be in good shape.
- That locking differential is working properly.
- If wheels aren't OEM check for proper offset.
- I usually pass on cars whose service records are too incomplete, or that suggest recurring problems.
- That timing belt is up to date and last changed by a trustworthy shop.
- The finish - if clear coat is starting to pit or blemish it soon will be failing. Run your hand over the finish, it should feel smooth - if it feels a bit like sand paper, by the time you remove stuck on contamination with a clay bar you may find the clear coat pitted. Finish quality also can be an indicator of how the car was cared for overall.
- Look for signs of water damage, both interior leaks and flooding - lift floor and trunk mats, use your nose, pull seat belts out all the way and look for mildew or mold. Look for rust on unpainted body panels, such as under the dash. Debris caught in underbody or low in front by radiator.
- Bent body - a good body shop can spot this. On the road check for symmetrical alignment and steering. With hands off the wheel it should accelerate and decelerate straight ahead. Lane changes while accelerating or light braking should feel the same in each direction - if it feels like torque steer with a FWD car there's a problem. The steering wheel should be centered (this may be an easy fix).
- Have mechanic use a sniffer for head gasket leaks, make sure crankcase ventilation is working.
- look for oil leaks, especially those that could affect timing belt, other belts, motor mounts, other rubber.
- If any rubber is 10 or so years old, change it - coolant and pressurized fuel hose. May as well replace all pressurized plastic in the cooling system at 10 or so years if you don't want it to fail on the road.
- Old suspension bushings are likely to be shot, and new ones really improve handling.
- Look for anything with engine or emission system that has been altered or disconnected or is missing.
- Check that the spark plugs aren't stuck.

Last edited by ken2116; 12-04-2018 at 11:42 PM. Reason: typos, added items
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:24 PM
zod zod is offline
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Mein Auto: 1987 BMW 535is 2008 E64
I have 347K on my 87 535is. Doing the majors and minors on time is key. Religious oil changes every 3K. I would add subframes bushings to the list. These are the go to guys: http://www.mye28.com/

E28's are fun to drive. Neutral handling and good feedback thru the wheel. Good in snow and easy to put into a four wheel drift.
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