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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Instructions: Please add your combined real-life cost experiences!

In a recent post, someone asked for a repair budget which I blithely figured was about $200 a month overall for the E39.

Then I got to seriously wondering about the repairs I had (from 35K miles to 85K miles) and what all that DIY effort cost and how much it might have cost at an Indy or Stealer, and so, I pondered some more.

Basically, I couldn't arrive at the budget because I didn't really have the right cost equations (I haven't done my Vanos, nor my radiator, for example). Plus I stay away from the Stealer and avoid the Indy.

But that didn't stop me from trying to come up with some numbers (and then asking for you to improve the algorithm)!

Here's what I roughly come up with for each of the major jobs you're likely to run into on an E39.


What to fix in the first month (DIY/Indy/Stealer):
- cracked plastic radiator (replace entire system) ($700/$1400/$2800)
- CCV and ICV ??? (cn90?)
- replace brittle OEM buna Vanos seals with viton ($200/$400/$600)
- crumbling windshield & back window molding ($50/$100/$200)
- missing jack pads ($50/$100/$200)
- recode annoying automatic door-lock ($250carsoft/$75/$150)
- blown cluster pixels ($500/$800/$0secretwarranty)
- blown MID pixels ($250/$500/$1000)
- cracked wood trim ($400/$800/$1200)
- ???
PLEASE add YOUR EXPERIENCE & PRICING!

What to fix when it breaks (DIY/Indy/Stealer):
- broken ABS control module steel power wire ($150/$600/$1200)
- erratic fan-control (FSU/FSR) module ($100/$200/$300)
- loose rear vapor barrier seals ($50/$100/$200)
- clogged cabin-filter housing drain hose ($0/$25/$50)
- washed-out roundels ($25/$50/$100)
- crumbled headlight adjusters ($200aluminum/$500/$1000)
- frayed trunk loom wiring harness ($25/$200/$1200)
- bump brake shudder front shocks worn ($500/$1000/$2000)
- stuck window regulators ($150/$300/$600)
- curb-crushed ambient temperature sensor ($100/$200/$400)
- fragile front & rear cupholders often break ($100/$250/$500)
- wobbly thrust arm bushings, pair ($75/$150/$300)
- ???
PLEASE add YOUR EXPERIENCE & PRICING!

Maintenance items (DIY/Indy/Stealer):
- synthetic oil & Mann filter change ($75/$125/$175)
- front & rear brake pads ($100/$300/$800)
- front & rear rotors ($300/$600/$1200)
- ???
PLEASE add YOUR EXPERIENCE & PRICING!

Overall Used BMW E39 DIY Repair Budget (assume 50K miles or so):
$1k for the first month
$100 a month thereafter (ad infinitum)

Overall BMW E39 Indy Repair Budget (assume 50K miles or so):
$2k for the first month
$200 a month thereafter (ad infinitum)

Overall BMW E39 Stealer Repair Budget (assume 50K miles or so):
$3k for the first month
$300 a month thereafter (ad infinitum)
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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25,378 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
idk how, but how the hell did u get 125 from if ur DIY.... 100 tops for both front and back... just wanted to chime in :dunno:
You're right!
Here is a $50 price quote today (plus tax & shipping) from Ihkabuttons.com.
And here is my price comparisons when I repaired mine a while ago:
Fremont BMW 866-561-1968 51168190205 $56.68 + 8.25% tax
Bavauto BMW 800-535-2002 51168190205 $39.95 + $11.95 shipping
Pelican BMW 888-280-7799 51168190205 $45.75 + 8.25% tax
Circle BMW 732-440-1238 51168190205 $41.21 + $9.00 shipping
AllEuro BMW 866-286-2051 51168190205 $44.00 (no shipping, no tax)


So I updated the prices, thanks to you.

PLEASE CORRECT MORE!

 

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Freude am Fahren
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6,455 Posts
It's CAD150 here, if you want them to lube the doors (hinges etc) like any normal place should and would, it's $200. Best prices I've seen for the oil recommended (mobil 1, amsoil) around here comes to about $80 for a change. I think it's Canadian law that drives it up.
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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25,378 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Mine charges $100 - it costs me $58 to do it myself using BMW synthetic oil and Mann filter.
You're in Kansas! :) Out here in San Jose, there's absolutely no way it's THAT cheap (even a $5 wiper rubber refill is $25 or more out here) ... :(

Still, I appreciate the input. I'm keeping most things to $25 increments, so, I updated our combined advice from:
- oil & filter change ($25/$75/$250)
To:
- synthetic oil & Mann filter change ($75/$125/$175)

If others have a dealership pricing on oil changes, I'm all ears!
 

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Hey Bluebee, I see you don't take any PM's but is there anyway I could ask you for some input/advice on what to look out for when considering a used E39? Looks to be that you're pretty knowledgable and are local too. Thanks.
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey Bluebee, I see you don't take any PM's but is there anyway I could ask you for some input/advice on what to look out for when considering a used E39?
You can ask in the forums (that's what they're for). Besides, there are vastly better people than I to answer that question - and even if I did answer it, some of those much more experienced people will add value.

As for my answer, I'd look for all the things mentioned in the first post of this thread, in addition to compression, oil pressure, mileage, and general condition of the car. Others will likely provide more input.

Good luck!
 

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Here some input for you on my e39 lifecycle costs:

I went to the dealer once, after my warranty expired, for a diagnosis on a TRANS PROG FAILSAFE light. It cost me $120 and two days, only to have them say they couldn't fix it and recommended they replace the tranny. I had them reset the light and drove away. The problem never recurred and I never went back.

Never been to an indy either, except to get my tires mounted.

I am a cheapskate and usually get my mailorder parts from Pelican, Autohaus AZ, Bill Dodge BMW and BavAuto in that order. Here are my DIY numbers, for reference:

My CCV (winter version) cost about $165 for parts. About 6 hours DIY (I work slow).

Brake pads ran about $70-90 for the fronts (Axxis Deluxe & Akebono Euros) and $60-$75 for the rears. Rotors (Zimmerman) were around $90 for the fronts (but that was 5 years ago). Less than an hour a side DIY.

Vanos seals ran $60 for the seals and another $45 for the VC gasket and misc parts. About 6 hours DIY.

My front suspension rebuild ran about $1150 for Sachs sport struts, Lemforder arms w/HD bushings, OEM tie rods, sway links and LF control arms. About 8 hours DIY.

FSU was $90 (bought at the dealer on a hot day, ouch!). 30 min DIY.

Oil changes run about $50 for oil and filter (7 qts Castrol Euro plus $5 for the Mann filter). I use a Mityvac.

Secondary air pump ran about $250 (now they're $350+) plus $70 for the check valve. 1 hr DIY.

Tires were bought at Tire Rack (Pirelli P Zero Nero) and Town Fair (General UHP). Costs were $650 and $400, mounted and balanced, respectively. Wheels are aligned at Town Fair Tire for $70.

I glued my broken cupholders closed and bought the Tec cupholder ($70).

Replacement speakers cost about $90 for Infinity components and about $160 for a Blaupunkt powered subwoofer that resides in my rear armrest. A DICE Silverline cost about $150.

DOT 4 brake fluid runs about $7 and I use an old Mityvac Silverline to pump it out. Crude but effective.

ATF parts ran around $30 for the filter and gasket but no ATF bought yet.

M5 rear sway bar cost about $130 and a 45 min DIY.

I replaced my cracked CD cover with a piece off a wreck for $20.

I replaced my dying MID for about $120 foir a used one and sold my old MID for $50!

My A/C is currently dead and I will take it to a pro for replacing the refrigerant.

I have probably spent way more than this on tools at Harbor Freight. That place is worse than REI.

This data is for two e39s owned since May 2004 over almost 70K miles. The first one was bought with 30K and totaled in Nov 08 at around 85K. My current one was bought with 63K and now has 76K. All things considered, not too bad for overall reliability and cost of ownership.
 

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Thanks anyway. I was hoping to contact other local Bay Area BMW enthuisast so if it ever became necessary to share repair experience or guidance it could be easier to do so in person rather than via emails...but like I said thanks, I'll look around for others that aren't so 'stick to the boards'. On most of the other car forums I belong to that's how many of us local guys are, we like to get to know other enthuisast to help them out or vice versa when needed, or just get together and meet up once in a while.
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I just ran into this link below which might be useful, depending on how "accurate" the results are.

http://www.repairpal.com

I plugged in my car (2002 525i) and zip code (95134) and chose 'alternator' to see what it would come up with.

Labor: $227 to $289 + 10% tax
Parts: $331 to $411 + 10% tax

 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

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Here are my costs. I've had the car for 1 year now, and i keep a list of all the work done.

All work is done at an independent shop

All prices are without tax in CDN (paid cash) and include parts and labour both, unless stated otherwise.

Oil Change 115 or 125 with additives

Winter setup - 17inch M6 style rims on Michelin Pilot Alpine PA3 225/45r17
$1540

New Starter
485 (with tax)

Fan Clutch
360

Thermostat 140, Coolant 30, Some random harness 40, Labour 120
Total Job 330

1 Seized brake caliper
135 (with tax)

1 Swaybar Link
90

Front thrust arms
500

Radiator, Radiator upper and lower hoses, Expansion tank, Radiator cap, and coolant
900

Alternator
813

Full car repaint
6300

Replaced leaky door seals
30 in material, did it myself

Disabled Daytime running lights
50

Zimmerman cross drilled rotors all around, PBR brake pads
830

And thats year 1.
 

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I get specails all the time, the lowest I paid for an oil change with filter at dealer was $52 + tax.

in the last 2 yrs I have done 4 oil & filter changes at the dealer and have only driven the car about 5,600 mls.

next oil change will be end of summer no matter the mls.

Oil & Filter Change Special*
$63.95

Oil & Filter Change!
("M" Vehicles Additional)
• Up to 7 quarts of
synthetic oil
• Top Off All Fluids


Offer Expires July 17, 2010. *Plus tax. Offer not valid on previous services. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Valid only at BMW of Bloomfield, NJ. See dealer for complete details.
 

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Ok so I have had my 540i for 4 months now. Its in like new condition and seems to be very well taken care of. 1st month-front window regulator=$400 parts & labor,4th month"now" alternator=$900 parts,labor,and flat bed ride to my INDY shop 60 miles away. Seems I now miss my old BMW which was an E30.
 

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I was quoted for Oil change as --/$90/$350. Did not find out price for oil change DIY as I don't have place and time to do that anyway... It's in Honolulu
 

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Here is what i've done to my 330i

Oil housing filter - $5
CCV - $150
Valve cover gaskets - $30
Power steering pump + Napa power steering hose (I didn't want to spend 50 dollars just because it has easy snap on) - $130 NEW PS PUMP and 5 dollars for Power steering hoses from NAPA.
Final resistor blower - $40
Front brake pads - $60
Control arms + Bushing - $200
Idler Pulley - $40
Fuel Filter - $20
Tires - $570, with everything.
Alignment from Sears - $70

Parts purchased off AutohausAZ (Good site), EBAY, O'reilly Kragen and Autozone

My next project will be replacing expansion tank, AT Thermostat, Vent screw and I am also planning to do vanos seals.
 
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