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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been loooking on my local craigslist for a new (to me) car and I have seen a few E39s that have interested me. Is there anything in particular I should pay more attention to when looking at a car? I have seen a 2000 528i that I'm planning on looking at this week, i am just looking for any advice from the people that know these cars the best. I've already done a little reading about the cooling system problems and plan on addressing this first thing. Any oher known issues with the E39s? I have bought plenty of cars off private parties but never a BMW and don't want to go in uninformed. Thanks!

Squirrel of Death
 

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If you get serious about a car, get it mechanically inspected by a BMW indie.

The E39 has its set of faults. Be sure to browse the Stickies at the top of the page.

The car you're considering is 13 years old. Depending on how it was maintained, it could be a basket case, or a great runner. Always try to get service/maintenance records and receipts.

The car originally came with 4 keys. At very least, try to get two master keys as part of the deal. A key can cost upwards of $200 or more, depending on the dealer where you buy it.
 

· WYKDBMR
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I had a 528i e39 before...and sometimes I wished I had that extra power of the 540i but then I would think about my pocket decreasing in cash for gas haha. E39 has a great body and I will purchase another one down the road if I ever decide to sell my e36 :)


Getting back to original question though, get a good mechanic to run down the issues it has prior to making a serious offer. Make sure there are no electrical issues, ask about any issues they've had with the car such as overheating, accidents, maintenance things like that.
 

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Service records! Without them, you won't know what has been done when. This could save you from spending lots of money on things that have already been rpelaced.

And Vanos seals. Replace them ASAP. Do a search for why.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Service records! Without them, you won't know what has been done when. This could save you from spending lots of money on things that have already been rpelaced.

And Vanos seals. Replace them ASAP. Do a search for why.
I did end up finding a few threads on the VANOS seals, will be replaced asap if i end up getting an E39.

I would love to get a 540, but the V8 sounds a little too thir$ty to be practical. I would be using the car to replace two of my other vehicles, my Honda Prelude SH I use for commuting, and my F150 i drive whenever i need to drive with the kids. The backseat of my honda is sooooo small, it's almost cruel and unusual punnishment to stuff them back there and my truck is horrible to drive anywhere. My wife wants to trade in her Acura TL for an SUV so no point in getting another truck.

Squirrel of death
 

· 99 528i; 89 e30 M3
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You are going to encounter a myriad of issues. These are some failures/issues I have had to deal with:

Cracked air intake boot
Cam Position Sensor
Speed Sensors
O2 sensor
ABS module fail
Cooling system
Belt tensioner
Three window regulators
Trunk lock
Front door lock actuator
Sunroof sticks
Oil Filter Housing leak
Radiator expansion tank crack
Window Seal replacement
Cup Holders break
Trunk lid shocks

expect to spend about $1500 per year for maintenance & fixes. I prob wouldn't have bought one if I knew in advance...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
expect to spend about $1500 per year for maintenance & fixes. I prob wouldn't have bought one if I knew in advance...
I was always under the impression that most BMWs were fairly reliable, but cost an arm and a leg in the event that they needed work. I might have to look elsewhere for a new car if that's the case.

Squirrel of death
 

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I was always under the impression that most BMWs were fairly reliable, but cost an arm and a leg in the event that they needed work. I might have to look elsewhere for a new car if that's the case.

Squirrel of death
Maintenance doesn't matter if you have no car payment. 1500$ a yr comes out to $125 a month, that's quite less than most peoples car payments. E39 is the best 5series ever built!
 

· 99 528i; 89 e30 M3
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It's a love/hate relationship with the e39. The e60 was a design fail. F10 is nice.
Yes, I do agree that the e39 has the most character and best design of all 5 series.
That's why I put up with it.

Maintenance doesn't matter if you have no car payment. 1500$ a yr comes out to $125 a month, that's quite less than most peoples car payments. E39 is the best 5series ever built!
 

· 99 528i; 89 e30 M3
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I found a BMW mechanic on Craigslist who works side jobs out of his home garage. He just put in a new suspension (shocks/springs) for me and only charged $200 for labor. If you have the time and skills, you can probably take care of some fixes yourself. Best of luck.
 

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Not that hard to work on, but will be a far different driving and maintaining experance than your wife's TL, your Prelude, or your F150.

Bently manuals are a must if you plan to work on it, look for a 5-speed if you can, the market's flooded with older 528i's so don't pay too much! And service records....+100!

Also - search on this forum, this question has been asked 100's of times. Welcome & good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the reply Turbo525. I was actually reading through the E39 wiki right now. Lots of info in there.

What is so different about working on a Bimmer? I have rebuilt a salvaged Saab, my F150 motor after a failed head gasket, a few VW bugs, chevy S10, bobcat skid steer, countless motorcycles and currently restoring and swapping an LS motor into an old chevy truck. It can't be all that different.
 

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Thanks for the reply Turbo525. I was actually reading through the E39 wiki right now. Lots of info in there.

What is so different about working on a Bimmer? I have rebuilt a salvaged Saab, my F150 motor after a failed head gasket, a few VW bugs, chevy S10, bobcat skid steer, countless motorcycles and currently restoring and swapping an LS motor into an old chevy truck. It can't be all that different.
I'd say the biggest issue is more stuff is stuffed into small spaces other than that not much is different IMO
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Anyways... I seem to have gotten off topic a little. I think I have gotten more info from this site than I thought was out there.

From the sounds of it, these things require constant maintenance or will fall to pieces and leave you hitchhiking. Have any of you seriously been stranded?
 
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