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Old 10-04-2009, 10:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi Everybody! E34 530i M/T

I am glad to see this site, very knowledgeable members with love for BMW's! My first car was a 75 2002, Auto, Blue on Blue cloth. The head gasket went @ 300K! So I looked and found a sweet 73 Bavaria, 4 speed, Maroon on Maroon leather. She died a cold February morning from black ice... (sigh) Anyway 13 years later my girlfriend stumbles upon a 95 530i M/T for sale. Here is my dilemma, & I'm not sure if I should post this here.

It's a 95 530i M/T, White on Beige, 163k, loaded, all electronics work, body in GREAT shape, interior worn but not torn up (besides the glove box falling down) & being super dirty. A lot of parts have been replaced; clutch, brakes, tires, belts, hoses, etc. The power steering reservoir is leaking & will not keep fluid. The battery is dead & will not take a jump, so I haven't heard it run. And the owner said the tranny is 'scary' to drive it. His words. So it might need to be replaced. He is asking $1500. I looked it up and in 'average' condition (all running & fine) it's worth $1552. But it doesn't run & may not even drive. So in 'rough' condition it's worth $1053. This car would end up replacing my girlfriends 03 Camry with 265k (still runs like a champ!) I don't want to buy a headache, or buy the car & spend more to fix it than I could have spent on a running car. Also, I am VERY handy @ car repair. I was thinking of around $1200. Does that seem 'fair' & worth it?

Thanks & I will post my question about the tranny in another place on the forum.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow. That is a difficult question. The '91 525i I bought as my first car I got for $2500, 147,xxx miles. It was spotless inside and out, nothing wrong at all other than ware on the leather, but no where near as much as expected for the year, and it had no mechanical problems what so ever. It depends on the seller, how much he really wants at the least and how hard he will fight to get more then that lowest price. My guy was wanting to buy a $120,000 7-Series so he didn't really care to cut the price he was asking in half to sell it to me. I would try a little less than $1200 and see how that goes, and then work your way up to that, because I think with the problems it has you can get it for less. That being said, it might be a money trap from the condition it is in, if it is perfect cosmetically and has so many mechanical problems, I would be concerned that the car was really well taken care of, yet the mechanical issues still plagued it. Good luck with your decision, make sure to share some pictures if you get it.
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What exactly is so "scary" about the gearbox that makes it scary to drive? I'd love to hear his explanation.

Either way: if you're even considering buying this, make sure it either had a Alusil block from the factory or that it was replaced with one under recall -- on top of all the issues the car has, you really don't want to be stuck with a Nikasil block car that's either already dead or is gonna go soon.

Not having seen the car in person, it's really hard to comment, but honestly, it just sounds like a good way to spend a whole lot of money and still only have an average condition, high mileage e34.

3500 will buy you a nice 525i and you wont have any of the headaches.
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Old 10-04-2009, 01:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you very much for the thoughts & advice.

The owner said he bought it from a guy that had let it sit for some time. He took it in to a Euro dealer & service center (good place, I know they are reputable). They inspected it, replaced a array of parts AND the engine block to have it pass MD insp a little over a year ago. He didn't know why they replaced the block, he said maybe because it was all rusty!!! LOL, I almost busted out laughing when he said that. My g/f turned to me and was like what the hell??? She knows cars better than he does! (Current owner is not well versed in car lingo) About 2 months ago he was driving it and said he went to shift, pushed the clutch in and the tranny seemed to shake until he released the clutch. Then he said he went to shift again, pushed the clutch in and the shifter shook badly & 'scary' it seemed the whole console area was shaking until he released the clutch. It shook VERY little, but only violently when he engaged the clutch. Apparently it holds gears just fine. But around the same time it acted up, he lost his job, dropped insurance, so it's been sitting for 2 months. But before then it was 'perfect'.

I'll see if I can get the records from him. But we were planning on buying a battery, installing it and hearing it run & try to drive it myself.

I was thinking it could be a driveshaft issue. Like a bearing or bushing. Or a syncro is out of wack in the trans.

I know it's hard to e-diagnose anything, but thanks.
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Old 10-04-2009, 01:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah that definitely sounds like a bad guibo and/or center bearing.

My 535 had a bad center bearing (more like torn completely), and the driveshaft was flopping around like ... well hot dog in a hallway is the best description I can give.
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Okay, cool! Thanks! Well how much work does that entail? Something I could do myself? And about how much for parts? Is it drivable for short distances (<15mi) or should I just tow it?
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Old 10-04-2009, 03:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Old 10-04-2009, 05:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Okay, cool! Thanks! Well how much work does that entail? Something I could do myself? And about how much for parts? Is it drivable for short distances (<15mi) or should I just tow it?
If it was me, I'd drive it slowly and carefully. I drove my car for like 3000 miles after the center bearing started shredding (didn't really know wth the problem was as it only happened occasionally) -- you have no idea how many hard launches and abusive shift it went through with it flopping around like that. When we took it all apart, I was actually quite amazed that I didn't snap the driveshaft or gouge a hole in the floor with it.

It's a couple hours worth of work and the parts are like 50 bucks ... doesn't really require any special tools. It's fairly straight forward, it's just that a lot of stuff has to be taken apart (exhaust, heat shields, guibo, driveshaft, center bearing etc).

edit: found a pic
http://img118.imageshack.us/img118/4...ftlargerm2.jpg

In case you're not familiar with what you're looking at, there's supposed to be like a rubber donut between the part of the driveshaft where there is the tiny bit of rubber left and the casing that's just sitting on the driveshaft. lol
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Old 10-05-2009, 02:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I would pass on it. The 3.0 liter eight is not as reliable as the straight six. More maintenance. Why buy something that doesn't run? Unless you are looking for a lawn ornament. A while back, I was looking to buy a z car(300zx) etc and a guy tried to sell me the car without being able to start it up. I passed. I told him that if it doesn't run what good is it?
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