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There are only two types of people who should buy german cars, especially used german cars;

1. People who can afford to pay for the maintenance
2. Car people who can do 50-75% of the maintenance

If you dont fall into either of the categories, you are going to be broke all the time, or left stranded somewhere.
 

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"Clunker" *****
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Blue, you try to make something complex out of a very simple thing:
"What to tell people who say they don't have time, money, or tools to DIY E39 repairs!"
The answer is : "Go to the stealer" or "Go to your indy"
Absolutely. I am very satisfied with my indy, and I sure don't want to do that stuff myself. (I am very happy to provide employment and small business opportunity for those who are good at doing this.)
 

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There are only two types of people who should buy german cars, especially used german cars;

1. People who can afford to pay for the maintenance
2. Car people who can do 50-75% of the maintenance

If you dont fall into either of the categories, you are going to be broke all the time, or left stranded somewhere.
I totally agree with this. This has been my experience with German cars (BMWs, VWs and Porsches, although even I won't touch an Audi). As for tools paying for themselves, I sprung a couple of years ago for a hydraulic lift and wouldn't trade it now for anything. It makes a tough job easy and an easy job fun. And it makes ownership of an old car feasible. I can't imagine living without it.
 

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Thebizzy.com
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Did anyone yet discuss the fact that they might enjoy time sitting at home with the family, or time out with the girlfriend or time cooking out and spending quality time with friends over the weekend instead of being stuck in the garage getting greasy from constantly DIY'ng on their car? I mean I love my BMW and I do quite a few DIY's on it myself (spark plugs, o2 sensors, brass bleeder screw replacements etc..etc.) But MY PERSONAL time is very valuable to me and I don't plan to spend every spare moment working on this Bavarian work of art. If there is any one quote that comes to mind here it's simply that TIME = MONEY and MY time is worth a lot of money.

I don't think anyone should berate those of us who choose to have their car worked on by a reputable and qualified mechanic instead of doing it themselves. That's just my $.02 anyways. Carry on ;)
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
I don't think anyone should berate those of us who choose to have their car worked on
True.

I think part of the problem is that 'some' people simultaneously complain that the stealer or indy is charging too much while, at the same time, complain that they don't have the tools, knowledge, or time to DIY.

What's the best answer for 'those' particular people?
 

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Under the lift arms
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I prefer people that have little to no experience to start the hell out from underneath there cars...

Loose'n a wheel on the high way. Tie rods that brake.. struts that are installed wrong.. broken suspension

Brake pads that fall out... drive shafts that drop off.. starters that fall out.. seen it all

Then you have to deal with billy boy in his pick up truck that has his garage in the bed... Hes throwing nuts and bolts all over the place...


HA! and to make it worse.. the worse driving state of New Jersey decided that its a good idea to remove the safety inspection and only mandate a emissions inspection


So not only do i have to deal with non drivers.. tards on cells phones (who can drive as it is) and Home Diy'er wanna be's but now there's no one over there to even check that its safe...

Im fine with people changing oil... doing simple maintenance.. But if you have to consult someone else to put it back together you shouldn't have taken it apart

Sorry to rant :p
 

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Constantly Learning
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Balance people. One size doesn't fit all.

Personally, I get a lot of enjoyment out of doing some things myself, and saving lots of $$ in the process. Perfect example this weekend -- finally fixed the broken angel eye ring in my M3 headlight. That was actually easier than I anticipated, and will make for a great blog post.

The big stuff goes to my indie. MurrayP, only you know the right decision but I'd encourage you to research more before deciding you can't afford to own your new BMW. Bama John, you make a great point too and that's another way to go about it. Just being an educated consumer is half the battle, knowing you have other options besides the stealership.

Not to go too deep on the topic, but beyond saving money I also think doing a few things yourself deepens your connection with the car, and harkens back to a time when possessions weren't so disposable as today. The post I did on this back in 2008 is one of my most popular:

http://cparente.wordpress.com/2008/08/02/the-zen-of-diy-bmw-maintenance/
 

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I agreed with Mack that Time is Money.
And my time is worth a lot of money as well.

But on the other hand, there are Saturdays/Sundays that are quiet, when I have some "free time" from the work (my day job is between Mon and Fri, I don't work on weekends), and from family/kids etc. This is the time that I work on my BMW because:
- I don't make money on weekend
- I have "free time".

Admittedly, if a friend comes along and asks me to go sailing or golfing, I would rather go sailing and golfing.

The key thing is to work on your car (I mean the preventive maintenance, not the emergency stuff) during your "dead time".

PS: I just re-read the first Title of this thread: "What to tell people who say they don't have time, money, or tools".
If you have no time, money or tools? Push the car off the cliff, problem solved hehe.
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Edjack gave me an epiphany just now ... based on this ASAP oil-change thread today:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > Answer needed asap! Oil Change opinion

The decision to do oil changes is best answered by the following: have you bonded with the car, and are you a DIYer around the house? If not, have it done at a shop, but NOT at a Jiffy Lube-type place!

SolidWolf34 sounds like someone who has not bonded with the car.
That 'bonding' sentiment just might explain the DIY proclivities found on these forums!

Borrowing Edjack's term, I suspect there are roughly a handful of 'types' of people when it comes to repairs & modifications:

How do these sound for starters?

TYPE I:
- Those who have fully bonded with their E39?

TYPE II:
- Those who have partially bonded with their E39?

TYPE III:
- Those who haven't bonded yet with their E39?

The first group performs all repairs feasible, which, in practice, is almost everything other than mounting their own tires. This includes major overhauls such as the cooling, belt drive, suspension system, in addition to common maintenance tasks.

The second group leaves the major overhauls for the pros, but performs typical maintenance and 'easy' repairs, such as brake pads and rotors, fluid changes, bleeding procedures, etc.

The third group delegates almost all decision making for maintenance & repairs to the dashboard and to the pros, whether it be the dealer or indy.

Q: We need better names, and we need to flesh out which jobs are 'easy' versus 'harder'; but how does this sound as a starting point for DIY attitudes?
 

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Best to get as pro at whatever you are doing. BMW's are no different.

Oversee, bond, but don't screw it up trying to be something you are not.

Plumbers shouldn't tell the drywaller, electricians, cabinet makers, steel hangers, glaziers etc. or other sub experts how to do their job and neither should any of them tell him how to do the plumbing.

In other words, don't let your mouth overload your butt!
 

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Constantly Learning
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TYPE I:
- Those who have fully bonded with their E39?

TYPE II:
- Those who have partially bonded with their E39?

TYPE III:
- Those who haven't bonded yet with their E39?
Those are good, though generalizations are hard. Personal situations will rule. More than once I've told people about my DIY jobs and they stop me and ask, "you don't have kids, do you?"

The only thing I think inexcusable is ignorance. Even if you never plan (or don't have time) to pick up a tool, at least educate yourself about the proper maintenance your car needs.
 

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I enjoy DIY on things I am capable to do, otherwise it's dealer or my tuner. I'm not experienced enough to tackle some of the trivial jobs and I want a professional handling these areas for my peace of mind.


There is another angle to this which I call 'virtual DIY'. I typically take the car in to the dealer, they inspect it, tell me what parts need replacing - I go into a 2 week investigation and research phase and purchase from one of our vendors, take the part back to BMW, pay them labor. Works out great.
 

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Another point that came to me but I don't know if this applies to the majority here and now in 2011.

When you bought your E39 new at BMW for about $80,000 DIY is not typically high up on your list. You take it into the dealer for anything - and I mean anything - and they take care of you with polished service - even ten years later. Maybe this is just Japan I don't know.
 

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Constantly Learning
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There is another angle to this which I call 'virtual DIY'. I typically take the car in to the dealer, they inspect it, tell me what parts need replacing - I go into a 2 week investigation and research phase and purchase from one of our vendors, take the part back to BMW, pay them labor. Works out great.
But when you do that, even with a BMW OE part, they void the warranty. Happened to me with my E36 M3 spoiler.

When you bought your E39 new at BMW for about $80,000 DIY is not typically high up on your list. You take it into the dealer for anything - and I mean anything - and they take care of you with polished service - even ten years later. Maybe this is just Japan I don't know.
Only four years here, six if you have CPO.
 

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As you can tell from my moniker I am the owner of 5 BMW's and I will share a short story. My last car was a 1988 528e I purchased for $3000 in 2001 I have spent $3000 on it including tires all of this was DIY so for 10+ years And over 200,000 miles my total cost is $6000! If that is not reason enough incentive for learning, buying, and sharing buy a Toyota and be happy in your ignorance. BMW's are designed to run FOREVER! But it takes an moderate amount of skill and knowledge to achieve true happiness.
PS Bluebee keep posting you are helping us all!
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
There is another angle to this which I call 'virtual DIY'. I typically take the car in to the dealer, they inspect it, tell me what parts need replacing - I go into a 2 week investigation and research phase and purchase from one of our vendors, take the part back to BMW, pay them labor. Works out great.
This I can't fathom being at all cost effective. At least at San Jose $200/hour dealer shop rates.

You're going twice to the dealer, to replace a part that you're 'only' getting the Internet discount on. Sure, you can get the part for less than half what the dealer would charge ... but ... that's not their biggest markup.

Their biggest markup is their labor rate. Twice that of an Indy, and literally infinitely higher than your Sunday salary.

While you save big on parts costs, your labor rates are double what they would have been otherwise (i.e., two trips to the dealer instead of just one).

Unless you factor in a whole hellova lot of free sodas, you're guaranteed to lose big over DIY with this algorithm ... at least ... at least at Silicon Valley dealer hourly rates.
 

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Under the lift arms
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type one positive.. no question... that car has the life... *&$64$*#

yea im all for Diy but you need to be safe about it .. If your not really sure... you should find someone to bE completely sure about what your doing... The e39 is super eazy to work on tho.
 

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This I can't fathom being at all cost effective. At least at San Jose $200/hour dealer shop rates.
... at least ... at least at Silicon Valley dealer hourly rates.
For us overseas with different constraints,it can be an effective method. But it can depend on what is being repaired.

Suspension,steering,engine work I choose to leave to competent hands. No desire to save a buck to tackle myself and I don't aspire to improve my mechanical skills
although I applaud some folks here who have learned to accomplish some amazing things.

Some parts are easily 3x cheaper in the US including shipping so that greatly offsets the aggregate cost to repair or maintain

It cost me $200 to do the work to install my M5 steering box. This took 4 hours on a Saturday and was done by BMW. Good compromise when I don't have the expertise or tools and a lift to tackle this myself.

Don't get me wrong, if there are repairs that I feel comfortable doing such as the recent replacement of my ignition coils, I will do it and enjoy my time working on it.

At any rate, good thread and interesting to see all the different views.
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #60 · (Edited)
For us overseas with different constraints,it can be an effective method.
That's interesting. You mentioned a few things that are different overseas, with respect to DIY, but I think I'll open a fresh thread to better understand what exactly is different about working on the E39 overseas versus in the USA:
-> E39 (1997 - 2003) > For those of you overseas, what is it that is DIFFERENT about DIY'ing your E39 bimmer

BTW, Cam wrote this today in this thread below ... but it applies realistically to ALL bimmer DIYs:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Philosphically, why do you choose NOT to perform a home DIY alignment on your E39?

Once you get the tools made and the routine down, it is very easy.

There are many different factors in this topic:

  • Money
  • Free time
  • Your hourly wage
  • Skills
  • Desire
  • Self Satisfaction

  1. Have no skills but have money:
    • go to alignment shop
  2. Have no skills and no money:
    • cry
  3. Have skills but no money:
    • DIY
  4. Have skills but no desire:
    • go to alignment shop
  5. Have skills and desire:
    • DIY
  6. Have skills, desire but your salary is $200/h:
    • go to alignment shop.
On the other hand, even if your salary is $200/h, on a Saturday not going to work, you are not making money anyway, may as well align the car yourself.

The problem with alignment at home: unless you fulfill all requirements I mentioned in the previous thread (nice level garage, decent suspension, good tools/knowledge of geometry etc. etc.), don't even try it.

But if you fulfill all the requirement, it is very easy.

PS: People think the expensive Hunter alignment is accurate....well, the machine needs to be calibrated daily and before every car, the platform needs to be level, the "readers" (the panels where the lasers point to) are 6-10 feet away from the wheels. It is only that accurate.

The point I try to make it: let's say you go to Shop A and align to "spec", write it down the numbers and bring the car to shop B. Shop B will find that their numbers are somewhat different, maybe by 1-2mm.

Even the expensive equipment has its inherent margins of error.

I work with $2-3M equipment every day, so I know.
About the only two things I'd clarify are 'time' and 'tools'.
1. If you have no skills but you have time --> you can (almost always) read the DIYs & ask in the discussions to gain the skills
2. If you have no tools and no money --> it's still cheaper to buy the tools (in most cases) than it is to pay for the service
 
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