42, The meaning of life
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Welcome to the Werkz.
The 97 engine should be the M62 4.4l V8, there is a later version of the M62 called the M62TU which features the Double Vanos enhancement. Similar power but better fuel efficiency. It came out around 98 - 99 so it may be worth doing your research on exactly when it hit the 5 series.
Look through the engine oil fill cap to see if there is any sign of the black sludge that builds up from a poor oil changing routine.
Start the engine and let the idle settle, (check echaust on startup for blue smoke), once the idle is stable, pull the dipstick and observe the idle, if it drops then recovers and you can hear a slurping noise from the dipstick tube, you'll know the OSV if faulty and will need replacing. (Not a huge job, but it is a bit of a mongrel)
If it lacks low down power when cold but seems ok up higher, it could indicate a faulty or failed Air Mass Sensor.
Check if the transmission oil has ever been changed (if its an auto), if it hasn't it is well due for a oil and filter change even though its not on the BMW maintenance schedule.
Look for oil leaks on the sump cover and around the power steering reservior/hoses.
Check for steering wheel shimmy when you accelerate hard to around 45 mph.
Check for coolant leaks on radiator end tanks, expansion tanks and around the rear hoses that run to the heater core.
Check when the spark plugs and coil packs where last changed as well as what work has been done on the front and rear suspension components.
There is an issue with oil leaks where the spark plug body ends up being flooded in oil, (rear plugs most common). but this requires a bout 10 - 15 minute to remove the top engine cover and side engine covers to check. Small flat blade screw driver (to remove small square plastic covers) & mid sized philips head screw drivers required to do this check. (Do whilst the engine is cold).
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Riding in style