1994 BMW 540i e34 vs. 1992 Mercedes 400E - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
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#1 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 09:08 PM
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1994 BMW 540i e34 vs. 1992 Mercedes 400E

I am thinking about buying one of these two.
the 540i has 130k miles, the 400E 150k miles; they're both in excellent shape, both $3.5k

I never had a BMW, so I was hoping to get some feedback about what to look for when it comes to this model and what are the good vs. bad things, etc.
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#2 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 09:23 PM
OMFG another one!?
 
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Can you get the service records for either/both cars?

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#3 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 10:04 PM
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unfortunately not, I can have a close look, etc; maybe the last few receipts as they claim to have fixed stuff on both cars and I don't know enough about the overal reliability, and what usually goes wrong, etc.
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#4 (permalink) Old 01-22-2009, 10:01 AM
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Manual/automatic? Ownership history?



1999 E39 540i/6-VF Stage 1 S/C, Dinan exhaust, Dinan strut+shock braces, Dinan ltwt flywheel + clutch, Dinan Brembo BBK, Dinan monoball, H&R Springs, Koni Yellows, M5 sways, Dinan forged 18" wheels, &c.

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#5 (permalink) Old 01-22-2009, 10:56 AM
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It's an automatic; second owner. I found it through an ad, so I do not know the seller personally and I'm not sure how much I can trust.
The guy said the oil pump got changed recently; my experience is mostly around American V8 cars, so I feel a bit lost when it comes to the usual problems.
I've two concerns really:
- I don't know what triggered the oil pump to be changed; but if it failed or didn't work properly for a while, I've concern it might have caused harm to the engine.
- I've read tons of things online about these engines and especially the Nikasil vs. Alusil thing and I don't know how much of this is a myth/hype vs. a real problem.
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#6 (permalink) Old 01-22-2009, 11:29 AM
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1. With the VIN number you should be able to have the alusil/nikasil looked up at the dealership. Yes, it is a real issue.

2. If the transmission fluid has not been changed regularly, the tranny will probably need to be replaced in not very long.

3. The oil pump could have been replaced because on some M60/M62 engines it tended to come loose. There is the danger you cite, however.

All in all I think I would look for another 540. I'm not telling you to get the Merc; I have no idea what their issues are.



1999 E39 540i/6-VF Stage 1 S/C, Dinan exhaust, Dinan strut+shock braces, Dinan ltwt flywheel + clutch, Dinan Brembo BBK, Dinan monoball, H&R Springs, Koni Yellows, M5 sways, Dinan forged 18" wheels, &c.

1995 E38 740i. Highly modded. Faster than you.

Sold 2-28-07: 1997 E36 M3/4, 8-30-05 RIP 1997 528i


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#7 (permalink) Old 02-01-2010, 10:12 AM
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540i or 400e

I know it's a little late but here's some info for other members

Go for the 94 540i more bang for the buck

If you prefer a Merc, find a 93 it's better

1993 11:1 compression 275 hp vs 1992 10:1 268 HP
the BMW would have 282 HP not sure on the compression

one trick to get 290 HP @ WOT on a 93 400e is to swap out the LH module (ECU) from the 92

also if you want an easier car to swap differentials in don't get a 400e with ASR or traction control

Last edited by MercBimerman; 02-01-2010 at 10:21 AM.
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#8 (permalink) Old 04-22-2010, 03:08 AM
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a few things from an owner of a '94 540...

overheating problems are the biggest issue you have to face...

take it to a GOOD bmw shop. or dealership... some places may say they work on BMW's but it doesn't mean they know them well.. hell, i'm in school to be a mechanic and the prof's don't know much about them, so i have to learn most of it myself...

other than that, just look at reviews from other people about the e34 540's... its well worth the time and money if you like to be thrown back in your seat and still get better mpg than most other V8's..

if you buy the 540, i can send you the link for a repair manual if you want to work on it yourself.. all you gotta do is DL it

hope this helps
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#9 (permalink) Old 04-22-2010, 08:05 AM
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the Merc is a tank though, and both interior and exterior are of a very good quality

the W124 is considered the best Benz ever


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#10 (permalink) Old 09-19-2010, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcjimmy View Post
a few things from an owner of a '94 540...

overheating problems are the biggest issue you have to face...

take it to a GOOD bmw shop. or dealership... some places may say they work on BMW's but it doesn't mean they know them well.. hell, i'm in school to be a mechanic and the prof's don't know much about them, so i have to learn most of it myself...

other than that, just look at reviews from other people about the e34 540's... its well worth the time and money if you like to be thrown back in your seat and still get better mpg than most other V8's..

if you buy the 540, i can send you the link for a repair manual if you want to work on it yourself.. all you gotta do is DL it

hope this helps
My 93 740iL has the same engine(M60B40) and it never over heats
even on a very hot day, AC on, up a hill, and driving it hard

Make sure you have the proper ratio of coolant, thermostat/water pump is functioning properly, and of course your aux fans/sensors.

keep in mind if the you have a plastic thermostat housing sometimes they can develop a hair line fracture you can't see
so if you smell coolant that could be the cause

When I first got mine, the housing had the hair line crack
and thermostat broke, but it ran cold and never got hot.

It also has a self bleeding system so you don't have to worry about air in the system if you're refilling the radiator after a part change.

Past Euros:
80 320i / 85 528e / 86 325 / 88 325 SuperEta / 88 325i 'vert / 89 325ix / 95 525i 5 Spd / 94 740iL
90 MBZ 300ce / 93 MBZ 190e 2.6 / 96 MBZ C280 Sport / 93 MBZ 400e V8 ASR / 91 300TE 4MATIC
94 Alfa Romeo 164LS
98 Land Rover D1 LSE
90 VW Corrado G60 5 Spd
78 Fiat Spyder 124 5 Spd
71 MGB-GT 4 Spd


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#11 (permalink) Old 10-19-2010, 04:23 PM
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DCjimmy I would be interested in that link you mentioned.
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#12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2010, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denyo77 View Post
the Merc is a tank though, and both interior and exterior are of a very good quality

the W124 is considered the best Benz ever
I haven't owned an E34 540i
But after owning a 93 400e and now a 93 740iL
the BMW is a much better car


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