Buying advice on e34 - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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#1 (permalink) Old 03-03-2006, 11:56 AM
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Buying advice on e34

Hi,

my trusty eurospec e30 316i is not going to make it through the next technical inspection this summer. So, now I'm on the lookout for a worthy replacement.
My reasoning goes as follows: I want to buy a fairly cheap second-hand 5-series because:
a) 5 series cars were solid and comfortable
b) 5 series 1st owners were usually older and wiser and generally take better care of their cars.
c) My first love was an E34 (my grandparents had one for sixteen years)

Taxes on cars with higher than 2.0 liters engines are unreasonably high here (Belgium) but I want a six cilinder engine. Hence, the obvious choice would be a 520.

What I'd like to know is, when looking for these, what should I check for in maintenance records and on the vehicle besides the obvious?
How many miles/km can the M50b20 take before giving me financial trouble?

Thanks for helping,

Mark
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#2 (permalink) Old 03-03-2006, 01:06 PM
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http://bmw4life.com/buyingE34.htm < Read that; should give you all the info on what to look for.

The engine itself should last longer than you need it. If you change the oil regularly and dont let it overheat, it will run forever.

Also, try not to get a automatic; the automatic transmissions on m50 e34s cars are terrible.

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#3 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 06:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torque
http://bmw4life.com/buyingE34.htm < Read that; should give you all the info on what to look for.

The engine itself should last longer than you need it. If you change the oil regularly and dont let it overheat, it will run forever.

Also, try not to get a automatic; the automatic transmissions on m50 e34s cars are terrible.

Thanks for the site. It is helpful.
Automatic transmissions are the devil and I wouldn't be able to handle the car like I want to. I like to be in control.
How many of you E34 owners have ever had to go through an engine rebuild?
Does anyone have any horrorstories about their ride?
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#4 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgenster
Thanks for the site. It is helpful.
Automatic transmissions are the devil and I wouldn't be able to handle the car like I want to. I like to be in control.
How many of you E34 owners have ever had to go through an engine rebuild?
Does anyone have any horrorstories about their ride?
Pretty much the only time they need a rebuild is if the timing belt snaps (pre-90 e34s with a m20) ... Rarely do they just start smoking/using oil etc. It's pretty much safe to say that only overheating kills them.

Mine is at 181,000 miles (289,000km) and it still runs like it just came out of the factory. I've seen them with as much as 300,000 miles in perfect working order.

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#5 (permalink) Old 03-05-2006, 07:17 AM
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Yup, I did the "overheating" thing, and it cost me an aluminum head. 2300 later (did water pump, Service 1, timing belt, etc too) its fine, runs like a champ. Got 135K on it now, when it gets to around 300K I may get rid of it. If the temp needle EVER, EVER, EVER gets off of the center mark even the slightest bit, shut 'er down and figure out why. The one time I didnt cost me. Aside from that, which wasnt the cars fault, its been a good car.



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#6 (permalink) Old 03-05-2006, 11:07 AM
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What motor you pimping da_bull?

Probably wasnt the m30. That motor is insane. I had my 533i a couple years ago and I ran it the whole summer in arizona with no radiator fan, the temp almost constantly in the red. Was happy as could be and never even sputtered. Eventually had to junk her when I had an accident and couldnt afford some of the necessary repairs for her. Even at 50mph she drove away from the wreck and the other car was towed.

-sigh- i miss having a 5.

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#7 (permalink) Old 03-05-2006, 03:34 PM
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I share the same lightning bolt as Torque: 1990 M20a



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-If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under...Ronald Reagan
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#8 (permalink) Old 03-05-2006, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by da_bull
Yup, I did the "overheating" thing, and it cost me an aluminum head. 2300 later (did water pump, Service 1, timing belt, etc too) its fine, runs like a champ. Got 135K on it now, when it gets to around 300K I may get rid of it. If the temp needle EVER, EVER, EVER gets off of the center mark even the slightest bit, shut 'er down and figure out why. The one time I didnt cost me. Aside from that, which wasnt the cars fault, its been a good car.
I had one serious overheat like that last summer ... heat soak + hot day + air in coolin system = overheat within 2 minutes. Thank God it did nothing.

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#9 (permalink) Old 03-05-2006, 08:41 PM
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Your lucky, for sure. I was on the highway returning with an hour trip ahead of me, I'm guessing thats what did it, it flucuated between 5/8 and 7/8 on the temp mark.



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#10 (permalink) Old 03-05-2006, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by da_bull
Your lucky, for sure. I was on the highway returning with an hour trip ahead of me, I'm guessing thats what did it, it flucuated between 5/8 and 7/8 on the temp mark.
Yeah I was lucky ... but I felt bad putting the flashers on in the middle of the road and raising the hood to let it cool off ... on a BMW.

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#11 (permalink) Old 03-06-2006, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torque
Yeah I was lucky ... but I felt bad putting the flashers on in the middle of the road and raising the hood to let it cool off ... on a BMW.
Yeah, had that happen to my E30 in the middle of the city when it just stopped and wouldn't come back to life. That was just the fuelpump relay...

I'm thinking my safest bet is an M50B20 engine. There's 5ers like that for sale at prices from 1800 to 3000 euros. They usually have about 200k km on 'em or less. I'm a little strapped for cash so I need to look at everything very carefully. If I can find one for a good price I'll most likely do most maintenance myself.
Are they hard to service?
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#12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2006, 10:11 PM
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the M50 is a much better motor for sure, the biggest improvement is no timing belt, they have a timing chain and will last three times longer.

"Originally Posted by Torque
Yeah I was lucky ... but I felt bad putting the flashers on in the middle of the road and raising the hood to let it cool off ... on a BMW."

You could put a sign in the rear window, saying:

BMW TEST VEHICLE, 685 RWHP M20



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-If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under...Ronald Reagan
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#13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2006, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by da_bull
the M50 is a much better motor for sure, the biggest improvement is no timing belt, they have a timing chain and will last three times longer.

"Originally Posted by Torque
Yeah I was lucky ... but I felt bad putting the flashers on in the middle of the road and raising the hood to let it cool off ... on a BMW."

You could put a sign in the rear window, saying:

BMW TEST VEHICLE, 685 RWHP M20
Good idea.

You know what's sad tho? You need 4 m20s to make 685 at the crank ... close to 5 to get that at the wheels.

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#14 (permalink) Old 03-13-2006, 09:34 AM
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OK.

So now that I've been hunting I found a '91 520i with 155000km on the odo and an LPG gas installation advertised for 2500 euros.
The car looks pretty well maintenanced from the pictures in the ad.
I'm planning on taking a looksee thursday afternoon, checklist in hand.
What I wonder is how do you do this 'carfaxing' to check if there's been tampering with the odometer? Can I do it myself or does it have to be done by a BMW shop?
The link is in dutch, but you can check it out anyway:
http://www.autoscout24.be/nl-be/deta...31&id=60470337
Thanks
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#15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2006, 06:48 AM
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Ooh!

I'm pulling out of that deal. the 'owner' isn't registered as the owner of the vehicle, so no dice.
Found a similar model with 300K km on the odo, but the engine was replaced at 150K km. Is there anything I should watch out for when engines have been replaced?
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