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M-Series (M1, M3, M5, M6) General M-Series Discussion - If it does not fit into a more specific M Category above, please place it in here. In addition, previously archived M-Series discussion is located in this section.

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Old 11-03-2004, 09:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Well, if you couldn't tell, I'm brand new here. In fact, I'm brand new to a lot of things about real cars, but I'll keep things brief.

I am fed up with driving crap. I have been doing it for years and I want out! The time has come to look for a real car and as far as I can tell, an M5 is it. I'm 24, so I think I should be driving a car that will make me say in 20 years, "Remember that M5 I had? Man, I wish I never got rid of it."

What I'd like to know is this (general info, for the most part):

1) Is this car as nice as it sounds, even nicer, or more of a hassle than I should take on? I know a good BMW guy who will be taking care of any maintainence and wouldn't BS me, but he hasn't told me much about the cars in general.

2) Were there overwhelming problems with the E34 M5 that I should know about?

3) What should I look for (good or bad) when I look at a prospective buy? Most of these cars that I have found are a bit of a distance away and my mechanic won't come with.

4) How many miles are too many on the engine and when do they require rebuilding or replacement? Along with that, what could I expect to pay to have an engine rebuilt or replaced?

Any help and advice is much appreciated.

--Adam
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Old 11-05-2004, 02:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by rojo412@Nov 3 2004, 07:04 PM
Well, if you couldn't tell, I'm brand new here. In fact, I'm brand new to a lot of things about real cars, but I'll keep things brief.

I am fed up with driving crap. I have been doing it for years and I want out! The time has come to look for a real car and as far as I can tell, an M5 is it. I'm 24, so I think I should be driving a car that will make me say in 20 years, "Remember that M5 I had? Man, I wish I never got rid of it."

What I'd like to know is this (general info, for the most part):

1) Is this car as nice as it sounds, even nicer, or more of a hassle than I should take on? I know a good BMW guy who will be taking care of any maintainence and wouldn't BS me, but he hasn't told me much about the cars in general.

2) Were there overwhelming problems with the E34 M5 that I should know about?

3) What should I look for (good or bad) when I look at a prospective buy? Most of these cars that I have found are a bit of a distance away and my mechanic won't come with.

4) How many miles are too many on the engine and when do they require rebuilding or replacement? Along with that, what could I expect to pay to have an engine rebuilt or replaced?

Any help and advice is much appreciated.

--Adam
[snapback]223987[/snapback]
I own the e28 m5. The original, more likely to be "man I wish I held on to that" if I do sell it (will try to avoid at all costs). The e28 m5s at 3 years older are starting to run for more than the 91 m5s now. If you can find an e28, it will be worth more in the long run as they are rare.

1) The car is as nice as it sounds if you're read up on them, if you're informed to the point that you are thinking "I want a fast sedan" then it's even nicer. Based on the fact that you said you don't like driving crap, this car will brighten up the worst of days whenever you push the limits (don't exceed them). However, like you said, if you don't get one well taken care of, or you get one and don't keep up on maintenence, it's a hassle to someone who doesn't want to shell out the cash, or work on them yourself to save on costs. One or two trips to the repair shop with an m5, unless you're very rich you'll be trying to do everything yourself if possible.

2) I remember reading someone put it pretty well. M cars are driven very hard in the first place, add this to the fact that their engines are set to "kill" and you can see why they break down. The biggest problem is if the engine was driven hard, w/o regular maintence. If you lose the engine, you lost most of the value of your car. 2nd, there is a self leveling suspension that's known to go bad (mine still works luckily). Not too bad to get rid of, but a hassle. Other than that as far as I know, the rest of the problems are the same as the e34, which aren't too many.

Here are details on what you could fix if yourself if you run into these problems http://www.bmwe34m5.com/faqs/

3) Good records. Without good records, it's nearly impossible to see what kind of condition the engine is in. In general, the s38 is fine with regular valve adjustments and a timing chain/tensioner replacement at about 100 to 125 k miles. If you don't know when the last valve adjustment was, do it as soon as you buy it (you can do it yourself for about $150 or less, it's $300+ if you have a shop do it). Also, replace the rubber parts on the engine to get rid of any vaccum leaks. Those are the m5 specific ones, other stuff can be visually inspected, from belts to bushings to coolant hoses to motor mounts to the other rubber stuff. Also check to make sure the clutch engages smoothly without any kinks and such. That's all I think of as an e28 owner. I'm sure there are e34 owners with some recomendations.

4) Heh, here's the kicker. The engine with good maintence will run well over 200k (have seen 300k). If you aren't sure, the two things again are timing chain/tensionor and valve adjustments. The other big thing is to make sure the engine isn't running lean. The way I can think to check that is to see if it idles without jumping around too much, making sure the temp stays down, and again have all the rubber stuff replaced when you buy. The price to fully rebuild an s38 is, wait for it, 12-16k, so don't break it. I'd say rebuilds are getting to be a better and better idea around 200k, but that's just speculation. Again, there's an example of one running for 300k. There's also an example of an m6 recently blowing up on a track at about 220k miles (valve spring was old, exhaust valve hit the piston).

I hope this helps, I'd say you shouldn't be paying less than 12k (and that might be pushing it) unless you want problems. There's also some truth to saying that only the rich can afford m cars. I am not, and @ 19 it has drained my pocket to keep it running well. The price I bought my car for, is equal to the money put into it in the last 4 years before I bought it. I've learned the hard way that I started a little too high on the bimmer spectrum, but then again, I won't be selling my car until I absolutely have to.
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Old 11-05-2004, 10:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Holy crap! That is a lot of money to rebuild one. Is there any explaination why?

There are 2 that I have my eyes on. One has very little detail on Autotrader and is $12k. It's been on for a long time. I'd have to call the guy for details, which I plan to do when I get the go-ahead from the bank (waiting for a home equity loan and a car is part of the loan). I think I'd actually be able to get it a bit cheaper, that's why it seems tempting.

The other is $12,500 and it's a bit of a haul to get there, but it's for sale from a motorsports dealer. It was "enthusiast owned" and has 140k on it, but looks very well taken care of.

The reason I have always loved the M5 is the fact that they are rare and a sleeper. I'd like nothing more than to have a "family sedan" that can beat just about any car on the highway. Plus, it's not like a 540i (which is another consideration) which everyone has... it's an M5. No one has an M5 (as far as I can see) here in Cleveland.

So now more questions:
1) Can this car be a daily driver without encountering too many problems or expenses?
2) If all is well with the engine (records look good and such), even at 140k, is the only real maintainence going to be scheduled fluid changing, standard stuff (tires, brake pads and rotors, bushings), and keeping an eye on things or is it going to be a lot of part replacing?

And if the M5 seems a bit lofty, what about this:
Getting a newer 540i for less, tweaking the performance parts (chip, exhaust, other parts), and settling for a tweaked car that may kick some ass. Granted, I am not wanting to do this because everyone has this car, they are all automatic and not sporty and I'd just be modifying it, but they are readily available, less miles and less expense, and get fairly close numbers according to Edmunds.
Anyone have thoughts on that?
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Old 11-06-2004, 04:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Ahh a bmw newbie. If your a good driver and your willing to actually use all of the E34's potential then go for it. If you want to drive it to tell people u have a nice car then dont waste your time. The E34 has no major problems and there is nothing you need to worry about. The engine is built to last 190k miles, and its one of bmw's longest lasting engines. Look on autotrader M5's are selling with 190-200 k on them.
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Old 11-07-2004, 10:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally posted by rojo412@Nov 5 2004, 08:24 AM


Holy crap! That is a lot of money to rebuild one. Is there any explaination why?

There are 2 that I have my eyes on. One has very little detail on Autotrader and is $12k. It's been on for a long time. I'd have to call the guy for details, which I plan to do when I get the go-ahead from the bank (waiting for a home equity loan and a car is part of the loan). I think I'd actually be able to get it a bit cheaper, that's why it seems tempting.

The other is $12,500 and it's a bit of a haul to get there, but it's for sale from a motorsports dealer. It was "enthusiast owned" and has 140k on it, but looks very well taken care of.

The reason I have always loved the M5 is the fact that they are rare and a sleeper. I'd like nothing more than to have a "family sedan" that can beat just about any car on the highway. Plus, it's not like a 540i (which is another consideration) which everyone has... it's an M5. No one has an M5 (as far as I can see) here in Cleveland.

So now more questions:
1) Can this car be a daily driver without encountering too many problems or expenses?
2) If all is well with the engine (records look good and such), even at 140k, is the only real maintainence going to be scheduled fluid changing, standard stuff (tires, brake pads and rotors, bushings), and keeping an eye on things or is it going to be a lot of part replacing?

And if the M5 seems a bit lofty, what about this:
Getting a newer 540i for less, tweaking the performance parts (chip, exhaust, other parts), and settling for a tweaked car that may kick some ass. Granted, I am not wanting to do this because everyone has this car, they are all automatic and not sporty and I'd just be modifying it, but they are readily available, less miles and less expense, and get fairly close numbers according to Edmunds.
Anyone have thoughts on that?
[snapback]225083[/snapback]
Why does it cost so much? As you said m5's are rare, and parts are expensive when they are for m cars. To answer your questions from someone driving a less reliable one, it can be your daily driver, but based on my experience, there's a level I hit with my car (again a different model) at around 150k where all the little stuff starts to need replacement. I've had a motor mount, fuse box, water pump, clutch pedal bracket, starter (did myself), fog light and headlight bulb, rear defroster (not yet fixed), door locks (not yet fixed), belts, and brake fluid go bad in the 4 months I've owned it. There are a few other things not working that I'm too lazy to mention as they are minor, but maybe that'll give you an idea. I've put 2k into the car since I bought it. I will get to that point however where everything will last another 150k miles, I'm getting close. But, those were regular maintenence items, that hadn't been done when they were supposed to. So to answer your question, if the engine is fine, regular maintence is all it needs (if the engine isn't fine, it's because it hasn't had regular maintence, that's all bmws need to run well).

You said you liked the fact that it's a sleeper, so I'm guessing you're not getting it for bragging rights like mentioned above. If you were to get it for bragging rights, you'd be greatly disappointed, especially in Ohio I'm guessing. My experience with them; don't get one unless you're an enthusiast, or have an intention on becoming one once you buy it. (Enthusiast as an expert on your car, a good amount of knowledge on bmws in general, and last but not least, a good driver).
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