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Hopefully soon to be e39 owner

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Hi All,

Great Site. I was recently rear-ended and my beloved Mercedes 500SEC is gone. I have come across a 2002 5251 with 117k....the nice BMW dark blue color that I love. Original owner lady driven.... Dealer maintained and all the records. I took a look at her yesterday and everything works and engine and transmission sound and shift good. Temp stable right in the middle. I test drove the car and pushed it and she responded very well. Big difference coming from a 1984 500SEC. AC blows hot air, but heater does not work.


1. Heater does not work.
2. One of the buttons on the AC unit is missing
3. Pixalation
4. Power steering reservoir looks wet and leaking

Items that have recently been replaced:

1. Alternator and belt
2. Oxygen sensor
3. New control arm bushings etc..
4. Valve cover gasgets replaced
5. Thermostat and housing
5. Transmission oil and radiator flush and change

Asking Price $6500

I would like to know what are the common problems for this year model so that I can look at the records and see what has been replaced.
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I'll go ahead and state the most obvious/ expensive maintenance cost that you will be needing sooner or later: a complete cooling system overhaul. I recently bought a 97 540i with 137.5k on it for $3900. One of the bonuses is that the previous owner had recently had the cooling system overhauled, so that is a major headache that I avoided.

Also, are you looking at a manual or automatic?
Sorry guys typo...the AC works and blows cold air, but the heater does not work.
Thanks Issac and it is a automatic (don't tell me the transmission sucks on these?)

What do you mean cooling system overhaul? Radiator...expansion tank.. (Thermostat and housing replaced) and clutch and water pump? I think these are things I can do myself......I am going to offer $5k...I live in San Francisco and you need the heater. But might go without it and see if I can last
I have an automatic transmission, and it is just fine, I don't think you should have many troubles with the transmission. And yes, you pretty much got it on the cooling system. I haven't done much research into the heater problem, so I can't tell you much as far as that is concerned. Good luck with that man, I think 5k would be a fairly decent offer as long as the seller is reasonable.

Edit: I don't think that the power steering reservoir being wet is a major issue. The cap on the reservoir is designed to allow overflow if too much fluid is added (at least that is what I have been told). Mine had fluid on the outside of it when I got the car and it hasn't given me any issues in the 2500 miles I have driven it. Fingers crossed on that one, but I think it is okay.
Also, be glad that those control arm bushings were replaced. Mine are done for and the creaking is driving me crazy, haha. I need to get on fixing that as soon as I have the disposable income.
These are the most common faults on the e39 and when they occur:

1. Vanos seals - Must be replaced after 40-50K. A huge performance gain.
2. Cooling system - Do it all at 100K. A huge reliability issue.
3. CCV - Replace anywhere between 75K-100K in a cold weather e39 that drives short distances.
4. Suspension refresh - Front needed at 75K-125K, depending on driving style. Rear at 125K-175K.
5. FSU - Standard failure in all e39s
6. O2 sensors - Replace at 100K, routine, big improvement to gas mileage

Do a search on this forum for additional details on each and DIYs
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