Might pick up a Silver e39 540i tonight :) - 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 04-23-2006, 10:59 AM
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Might pick up a Silver e39 540i tonight :)

I have been quietly reading this forum for the last two months now... but finally I have saved up enough money (and convinced my wife) to start looking seriously.

The prospect car's specs are:
1997 540i 6-speed manual
ext color: silver
int color: grey
mileage: 98k

I canít wait! I hope everything goes smooth, the guy said it has all maintenance done to it (including a new clutch)... It comes with 18" 2006 M5 rims which I donít car for, I'l probably swap for the older M5 rims, they suite the car better (in my opinion)

k, sorry for the long post! I'l let you know if I got the car tonight
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#2 (permalink) Old 04-23-2006, 12:02 PM
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sounds sweet at that low mileage!



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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#3 (permalink) Old 04-23-2006, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thejobman
I have been quietly reading this forum for the last two months now... but finally I have saved up enough money (and convinced my wife) to start looking seriously.

The prospect car's specs are:
1997 540i 6-speed manual
ext color: silver
int color: grey
mileage: 98k

I canít wait! I hope everything goes smooth, the guy said it has all maintenance done to it (including a new clutch)... It comes with 18" 2006 M5 rims which I donít car for, I'l probably swap for the older M5 rims, they suite the car better (in my opinion)

k, sorry for the long post! I'l let you know if I got the car tonight
How much?
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#4 (permalink) Old 04-23-2006, 07:17 PM
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06 m5 had 18 in rims?
i thought they're like 20-21 inch?
but yeha - good buy! perfect milage - a lot of stuff had to be replaced!


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#5 (permalink) Old 04-23-2006, 09:43 PM
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I went to see the 540i just an hour ago...

I went to see the 540i just an hour ago...

When the seller pulled into the lot the car seems to have a clean paint job... but as he parked, I noticed line scratches across the front and back right side doors, also the M5 rims were scratched up as well on the right side of the car. The damage on the rims is something that can be sanded and buffed out.

Ok, now the interior:

The car has grey leather, it looked a bit dirty, but the leather it self looked pretty good, no tears or wears. I sat down and noticed that the audio unit was replaced with some cheesy plastic insert with a slim head unit fitted. There was a cigarette burn on the plastic panel. Also, the power seat adjuster panel had a huge crack in it. The wood had some scratches, but nothing serious. The dash was in good condition. Over all, I thought the interior was in relatively good condition, even though the stereo and power seat panel needs some attention. No biggie, thatís what eBay is for.

OK, then we hit the road:

The car felt smooth (at first), but I thought the accelerator pedal was a bit firm. The brakes seem to have great pedal feel and response. Then I got onto a highway ramp to merge onto 440 South going 35mph.

I dropped it into 2nd gear and floor it..... and NOTHING HAPPENED. I was in shock... It was pulling like a v6 or slower! Something is wrong. Very wrong. I know what a 5.5-6.0 second 0-60 feels like, and this was not it! Also, at slow speeds the engine had some hesitations that shook the inside cabin.

The guy is trying to sell the car to me for $11,500. I made an offer for $8,000, and the seller said he'll get back to me.

I have a friend of mine that works as a head mechanic at the BMW dealer. He feels he can whip the car's engine into shape for $1,400-2,000. I am thinking, at worst, even $3-4k is worth the investment.

Sorry for this super long post, but I am confused... should I buy this car (for the right price), or should I pass? used:

Thanks!
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#6 (permalink) Old 04-23-2006, 10:14 PM
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pass?

i mean $2k is a guess, it may be far more than that!


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#7 (permalink) Old 04-23-2006, 10:32 PM
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Well, my friend would do the work in his home garage and try to get parts from cheaper places than a BMW dealer (if possible).

But even then, I see your point... its all guess work until you buy the car B)
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#8 (permalink) Old 04-24-2006, 12:28 AM
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winters97E39 is a jewel in the rough winters97E39 is a jewel in the rough winters97E39 is a jewel in the rough
the seat switch panel being cracked... almost every 97-98 that i looked at (about 5 of them) had that panel cracked... it seems it was just a bad design and if you get someone who repeatedly just drops into the seat, it will wear that part out and crack it. mine was cracked when I purchased it too, so I just got a new one for like $75 from the dealer. Thing that sucks is, you have to buy both panels, driver and passenger. They dont just sell the driver's side. That is why you can only find passenger side ones on ebay... people buy it from the dealer and don't need the passenger side one, so they stick it up on ebay.

As far as the engine stuttering, and slow response, sounds like could be fouled plugs, clogged injectors, could be alot of things. only way to be certain would be to have it diagnosed. I would see if he would let you take it to a shop before purchasing it. I mean, if you got the car for 9 grand and the problems weren't too crazy, you got a deal. a 540 with that low milage in decent shape should command $10K easy. You proabably would only be out $100 for a complete diagnostic from a reputable shop.

I would have expected that if that 540 was well taken care of, though... it wouldnt have behaved as it did.

did you ask if he had the stock radio? I haven't seen a DIN size radio install in an e39 that I liked yet. I added an amp and speakers to my stock and it sounds frickin awesome.

do some more research on it. IMHO, without getting more info, I'd pass. I looked for months for mine. There are lots more out there..

Jason / 1997 528i
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#9 (permalink) Old 04-24-2006, 11:08 AM
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winters97E39, about the radio, it was the cheesiest black plastic radio insert. Double DIN I believe, took up the space for the tape player as well. I have been driving mustangs and camaro's for the last 5 or so years, and even I have higher standards for plastic inserts.

Thatís how bad it looked!

I think even 9k is a lot for this car, I donít think I would pay more than $8,500. For now, I guess I'm back to the drawing board (autotrader lol)

Thanks for all your input, this forum is really helpful!
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#10 (permalink) Old 04-24-2006, 12:32 PM
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I would pass.
I mean... these cars are fairly complex and do need a fair amount of attention. You may not have noticed some things on a test drive, but if the engine wasn't well cared for, I doubt the rest of the car has been. You may spend 8500 on the car, 2k on the engine, 2k on the suspension and still need some $ somewhere else down the road. I would pass and find one for maybe 12k but needs NOTHING. Everybody says all maintenance has been done. Have you actually seen the records? This isn't the car you want if it's been neglected in any way.

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#11 (permalink) Old 04-24-2006, 03:34 PM
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You guys really have a point, I am no longer considering that car.

I found a different 00' 540i6 that has a clean record for $12k. One problem, it has 130, 000 miles! that is about 20k miles a year, so I might not even take the drive to look at it. One thing, its has full BMW dealership maintance records. Also, the sales person from this used car dealership claims its is "perfect inside out". It has ZERO aftermarket upgrades (a good thing, right?)

Should I take the 1.5 hour drive out to see it? It's a dark green color with tan leather.
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#12 (permalink) Old 04-24-2006, 04:00 PM
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Correction, the above car is a 1999, not a 2000 model. LMK what you guys think
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#13 (permalink) Old 04-24-2006, 05:35 PM
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Correction, the above car is a 1999, not a 2000 model. LMK what you guys think
Jobman - I think you ought to try to test drive that 130K car. You should also go to your local dealer and test drive a few smiilar models from there. You probably wouldn't seriously consider buying one of those (dealer cars are usually overpriced), but the point is to get some seat-of-the-pants time driving these cars with your butt dyno.

When I bought my car, it had 103K, and I nearly "passed" on looking at it. But I am glad I looked at it because within a very short test drive, I knew it was The One. No funny noises or vibrations, plenty of power, most things were as they should be (as far as I knew). As important as the above, I had looked at enough interior and exterior colors to know THIS was the combo I would prefer.

My car now has nearly 127K and I would stack it up against any 540 out there with over 50K miles. I have put a lot of money into repairs and catch-up maintenance it was missing from before, and so now it needs nothing. I think my car as it sits now is a better car than when I bought it.

Ultimately, I advise against buying a 1997-2003 540 unless you are independently wealthy or can turn your own wrenches: parts aren't too bad, but the labor is. Your 1st purchase after the car should be a code reader (Peake or equal) and a Bentley service manual.

My 2 cents.

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#14 (permalink) Old 04-24-2006, 11:22 PM
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Eric S - How much did you pay for your 540i? I saw the pics in your profile, it looks real sweet.

The dealer idea is great... but I tried that last week and unfortunately no dealer on a 40 mile radius has a 540i in manual trans... maybe I'll just drive an auto, it’s better than nothing.

Thanks!
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#15 (permalink) Old 04-24-2006, 11:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thejobman
Eric S - How much did you pay for your 540i? I saw the pics in your profile, it looks real sweet.

The dealer idea is great... but I tried that last week and unfortunately no dealer on a 40 mile radius has a 540i in manual trans... maybe I'll just drive an auto, itís better than nothing.

Thanks!
Definitely drive whatever E39 you can. Get some experience with the car in general. Drive a 528 or two as well.

I paid $17,900 for my '99 540/6, but keep in mind that was in October 2004, over a year and a half ago. So at the time, my deal represented just over NADA trade-in value, which I though was fair. If I were to list my car for sale now, I imagine I'd have to list it at $15K or less.

So despite Barrett-Jackson's best efforts, these things still depreciate! : But considering my car's original window sticker (which i have) is well over $56K with options and gas guzzler tax, I feel I got on the depreciation train after most of the value reduction has occurred. Now my monetary hit is mostly in maintenance and "toys" (like the Koni/H&R setup I am installing now).

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2006 Honda Accord V6 EX-L Sedan
1999 BMW 540i 6-Speed (Sold to M3UOND on 9/21/06)
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