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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As stated in the title, I'm currently looking at a BMW e12 530i for sale. It has been converted from a 4 speed manual to a 5 speed manual. Has brand new spark plugs, brand new cooling system including all tubes and hoses, and brand new belts. Only issue the owner has pointed out is that the diff seal has a small leak. Is that something to be concerned about? The drive back from picking it up would be about 400 miles. I know the seal is a cheap replacement. Overall is there anything else I should be asking the owner about? Should also mention the odometer only reads 107,000 miles. Thanks again.
 

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Specifically "dry-rot" on the Guibo, all coolant hoses, and tires. If these break on a 400 mile trip, you'll not have fun.

Some simple checks that would help reduce your risks, would be to:
  1. Verify battery voltage with everything shut off, and battery voltage when the engine is charging the battery with a cheap $14 Harbor Freight Digital Multimeter (picking it up before you go pick up your car)
  2. Check the engine coolant temperature at idle on the instrument cluster, and then again at cuising speed via the instrument cluster to ensure that the coolant fan clutch works (you can actually overheat at idle in these cars)
  3. Run through electrical functions, throughout the vehicle, with exteriror lights being a primary focus, although a partically working or broken cabin heater and/or A/C could make a 400 mile trip very uncomfortable, but then on top of that finding out the windows don't roll down - although not sure you can do anything if any one of these are not working.....I guess this justs helps adjust your expectations before you start your journey home
Others will offer more to check, and for sure there is more stuff to check, but let's be real, you are dealing with a car at least 40 years old and maybe up to 49 years old, and driving any old car 400 miles is a huge risk in itself. Not sure there are enough checks to reduce your risks to zero.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Specifically "dry-rot" on the Guibo, all coolant hoses, and tires. If these break on a 400 mile trip, you'll not have fun.

Some simple checks that would help reduce your risks, would be to:
  1. Verify battery voltage with everything shut off, and battery voltage when the engine is charging the battery with a cheap $14 Harbor Freight Digital Multimeter (picking it up before you go pick up your car)
  2. Check the engine coolant temperature at idle on the instrument cluster, and then again at cuising speet via the instrument cluster to ensure that the coolant fan clutch works (you can actually overheat at idle in these cars)
  3. Run through electrical functions, throughout the vehicle, with exteriror lights being a primary focus, although a partically working or broken cabin heater and/or A/C could make a 400 mile trip very uncomfortable, but then on top of that finding out the windows don't roll down - although not sure you can do anything if any one of these are not working.....I guess this justs helps adjust your expectations before you start your journey home
Others will offer more to check, and for sure there is more stuff to check, but let's be real, you are dealing with a car at least 40 years old and maybe up to 49 years old, and driving any old car 400 miles is a huge risk in itself. Not sure there are enough checks to reduce your risks to zero.
I appreciate the reply, thanks for the couple things to look out for. Owner seems like a stand up guy. Says he's been using it as a sudo daily for the past 13 years. Guy also owns 4 other BMWs and works on them frequently. I'm pretty optimistic but will keep this all in mind. Thank you.
 

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what year is is? pre-79 yeah? I just remember the 530 models having horrible emissions control systems that were really complicate.
 
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