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Old 02-06-2006, 04:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello all, possible new owner, '91 525i, what to look out for?

Hello all, my uncle is the second owner of a '91 525i. He got into a little drinking and driving trouble and he will not need this car for 10 years or so. I am thinking about purchasing it for a drive around town toy. If you are know a bit on what to look out for on these cars it will help me with my purchasing decision.

A few months before the pull over we will call it the car had a oil/water mix and the hard gasket(s) were replaced and both systems cleaned out. The car has been driven 4 or 5 times since then and the pull over happened. The car has not moved in a year and a half.

I have driven the car a couple of times since he purchased it four years ago. It has around 97K miles but the body looks like it was just driven off the show room floor. It is white with tan leather interior that is perfect except for the drivers seat which has two 3 inch long tears in it. I would want to get that replaced if I did purchase the car.

The Bad--

Once while driving it the lights went off at night, a few seconds later they came back on and everything was find. I am sure on occasion my wife will be driving it so I will want to have that taken care right away, whatever the problem may be.

There is a heat shield under the car that rattles from time to time but I have never been under the car to take a look at it although I know it is right under the front part of the cabin.

If you guys know of anything I should look into before spending 1800 dollars on it please let me know. If I purchase the car I am sure I will be on these boards quite a bit doing little things like converting the audio system over to a PC (since I work in the PC industry) and may even go as far as doing some engine mods. My last "toy" car ended up with a Formula Atlantic engine in it and hit 155 on a highway ('86 MR2).

Your help is appreciated,

Chris
Hardware Editor, Avault.com
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Old 02-06-2006, 05:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ChrisRam
He got into a little drinking and driving trouble and he will not need this car for 10 years or so.
oops...

to the forums...

They are pretty solid cars overall. You have the better motor (M50 compared to 89-90's M20) so you dont have to worry about the timing belt (M50's chain driven) every 50K or so. The oil/water mix may be a head gasket failure due to a warped head as they are aluminum and if the motor has ever been hot for a period of time it'll warp and be costly (ask me and my loan officer how we both know this). Check for the 55-60 shimmy in the front end which is typical on a car that hasnt been maintained. Depending on what surface the car has been sitting on (concrete/grass/etc.) check the tires for cracking, dry rot, etc. Get rid of the gas thats in there, its bad. If taken care of, you can make this car go about 400K before having to switch motors
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Old 02-06-2006, 11:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hmmmm...
well the engine should be good to go as long as the are good and the head was checked for warps and cracks. Is it an auto or a manual? The GM auto tranny tends to go out under 150,000 miles.

The rattling under the car could be a loose exhaust hanger rattling against the heatsheild above it. The headlights switching off could either be a wierd idle problem, an LKM (easy swap for a rebuilt one @ $100), or could be a gremlin which will never show it's face again. It's hard to diagnose that one.

Down the road, you will find that the upper control arms will cause the car to shimmy at around 55 - 65 mph. It will feel like an unbalanced tire / the steering wheel will sort of "shimmy" too.

If you care about the interior, sunlight will completely destroy the rear door panels. (The tight wrapped vynil will pull and shrink off of it's backing).
Overall, not many HUGE things go wrong with these. I'll always be on these boards so if you have any other questions you can PM me or reply to this.

Good luck.
BTW: 1800 is a STEAL if it really only does have 97k on her!!
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