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Old 11-24-2006, 09:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Buying a 1997 540i, Any help is appreciated.

Hello fellow BMW fans, I'm new here and in the process of buying a 97 540i...

The car has 176K on it, The body is in great shape, the engine still runs smoove. The seller is letting it go for $5K. The only thing that bother me was that the tach. wasn't working and the "brake fluid" light was on... She said she had just had the oil changed and she showed me the receipt for that. SHe said that the light and the tach problem is due to a bad cat. converter which she did mention. I still don't understand what the cat has to do with the tach, this will be my first Bimmer so maybe there's somethign I don't know. Also when I drove it, it seems like it wasn't shifting I meant maybe it was just that smoove. it's an Automatic. If it is the cat how much would that be to change?

Thanks for any comments, it'll be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-24-2006, 09:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First off: I hope you have a good amount of money on hand to spend to get this car mechanically sound in order to be driven on a regular basis. These cars are awesome to drive but not if they haven't been maintained correctly. 5k is a cheap price but be prepared to spend that or more to get the car right. I would ask to see any possible service records on the car and see what all has been replaced and repaired in the cars life. Do a carfax on it. There are a few major problem areas on these cars that need to be checked. The main part is the cooling system. Do a search on here and there is alot of helpful people who have asked the exact same questions you have several times over. A little research will answer all of your questions. If you can't afford to spend alot of money on this car it isn't the right car for you. You might be better off in something like a Honda Accord or something in that area. Not bashing the 540i but it isn't the cheapest car to keep up, but once it's right, you will be in HEAVEN!!!!!! The catalyctic converter is very expensive to replace from the dealer, I would do a Magnaflow high flow setup like I plan to do. I don't see how the cat could have anything to do with the tachometer. I would check into a fuse? Not sure on that one.But if your check engine light is on it is likely the cats are bad. The Magnaflow setup for both cats would run somewhere in the neighborhood of $400-700 for both with labor depending where you are. The shifting problem might be a make it or break it situation for the whole deal. If it is a traumatic problem for the car, it is likely that I wouldn't even mess with the car, would be better finding one in nice condition for around $10-15K like I did. I don't know as much as some others on here but I know a little, I hope I helped and hope you can end up in a "smoove" BMW soon!

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Old 11-25-2006, 07:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks DSKEET for the helpful hints. To me the car is in great shape and still pulls strong for a car with 170K+ the only thing that's making me think is the tachometer, can it be cause by another problem that's much bigger? maybe the tranny?

BTW nice ride Dskeet...

Thanks again
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Old 12-03-2006, 08:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I would agree with dskeet. You are nearing the end of the practical life of this vehicle. Yeah they will go 300,000 but at what cost? My 735 was bought cheap, but what a money pit!! Parts are not cheap and you can buy.. say my 99 540i with 86K and needs nothing for 14K is this self seving or what? Did you buy the car yet?
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Old 12-03-2006, 11:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree... I wouldnt buy a car with that many miles on it... that is too many miles to not know what kind of service was done to the vehicle.

Good Luck,


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