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#1 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 10:33 PM
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Thinking of buying E34...

Hey, I was hoping someone would be able to give their opinion on this. My family's looking for a fourth car, something very inexpensive (around $3000) primarily for my sister to drive (she's 16). Our primary concern is that it has to have an airbag and ABS, and it has to have an automatic transmission (I told her she'd regret that later, but, her loss). It's basically between an E34 BMW or a W124 Mercedes. We've found a 1991 535i that we like in just about every way, however it does have some issues.

The good:
- the colour, arctic blue, with blue leather interior
- interior and body in exc. condition
- new brakes, battery, belts, fan clutch and head gasket
- the ride is great, and handling is good
- new Pioneer stereo system with bass cabinet in the trunk
- it's fully loaded with just about all options

The 'it's 15 years old but needs fixing anyway':
- A/C needs recharging? it's cold, but not too cold.
- driver's power seat only goes 'up' on one side, this is a problem for my mom driving the car
- crack in the windscreen
- 1 foglight cover cracked
- instrument panel lights are half out
- sensor for coolant level needs replacement

The things that actually concern me:
- while driving straight, the steering wheel is tilted slightly to the left, could this be wheel alignment, a tie rod issue, or is this going to need a whole new steering gear...
- when the car's started and running, there's a bit of greyish-whitish smoke from the tailpipe. The avg fuel economy shows only 14mpg, so I'm guessing this is running rich. Why, is the question...

We're going to have our mechanic take a look at it this week. It has 180k miles on it so we're fully expecting to have to put some work into it to get it running decently on the road. The guy who owns it said he's had it since it had 49k miles on it, and the previous owner was his mechanic. Is there anything specific that I should ask my mechanic to check for? Anyone's insight would be helpful.

Thanks in advance,
-Adam
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#2 (permalink) Old 07-01-2006, 09:24 AM
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The m30 motor is pretty much bullet proof. I had a 533i which from 208k-233k miles I ran in 100-120 degree weather with no radiator fans. It ran constantly in the red and nothing bad ever happend to it.

The suspension is pretty complicated and a bit more expensive to work on then 3 series, as in about 3 hours I'm off to go rebuild the front end of my current e34's suspension. But a 535i is a wonderful car. But the m30 was known as being a somewhat thirsty motor since its just a bit older technology.

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