Last post on Mar 25, 2013 at 4:00 PM
You are in the BMW 5-Series
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BMW 5 Series, Electrical, Engine, Sedan, Wagon
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#843 of 2734 Gotta Do Your Homework
Oct 16, 2004 (6:24 am)
erice... Ya gotta crack open the books. Surf the web. Do some research.
"A"= automatic. Just an informal designator used by many to separate out manuals from automatics.
Equipment on Sport Pkg changed from year to year. Seemed like it was a bit more comprehensive in the last couple years of the E39 (say MYs 2002 and 2003) than before. Included things like upgraded tires and alloy wheels, suspension mods, Sport Seat, revised trim, etc.
A 528i or 530i manual with Sport Pkg is a magnificent car. Even a 525i manual with Sport Pkg is a very nice car. But the key is to get a manual transmission and the Sport Pkg.
From your posts, I wonder if an older used 5 Series is really right for you and your needs. Don't get one if all you are looking for is prestige. If you don't know what you are doing, you'll pay a lot for a used car that could be a maintenance nightmare! Buying older used BMWs is not for amateurs or the faint of heart.
Do you know a good independent mechanic who specializes in BMWs? If not, I wouldn't recommend a 1990s BMW.
#844 of 2734 erice
Oct 16, 2004 (8:42 am)
Here's an excerpt from a post I made in the 5er forum a few weeks ago:
>My wife uses a 109000 mile 1997 528iA as her commuter sled. Aside from a failed windshield washer motor($35), the fuel door hinge($12), and a power steering hose($80), it has only required scheduled maintenance over the past two years and 32000 miles. City/suburban fuel mileage averages 21 mpg while an 80 mph interstate cruise will net 28 mpg. In most cases, the best way to keep maintenance costs reasonable is to find a GOOD independent BMW tech; you will save 25%-50% on service compared to the dealer. All modern BMWs use a Service Interval Indicator to inform the driver when routine maintenance is required. On a 1998 5er an oil change will be called for at 9000 mile intervals. A minor service(Inspection I) will come up at 18000 miles and a major (Inspection II) service at 36000 miles. An oil change using synthetic oil will cost $60-$100, an Inspection I $150-$300, and an Inspection II $450-$800. Coolant must be changed every three years-using BMW Coolant ONLY, while the DOT4 brake fluid gets flushed every two years. In the newer cars I change the so-called "Lifetime" ATF fluid and final drive oil every 100000 miles. Brakes on the 528i tend to wear quickly. Count on changing the front pads about every 20000 miles and the rear every 50000. Though most dealers don't agree, you only need to change the rotors every other pad change. Note that my cost numbers are approximate. For example, if you change the oil yourself using a BMW filter and Mobil 1 or BMW synthetic the cost will be under $40. On the other hand, my local BMW dealer charges very reasonable rates for some of the services that I don't have the time and/or desire to perform. The dealer only charged me $110 to change the ATF AND the synthetic final drive oil. Last month they changed the coolant and the brake fluid for just $143. The 1997-2001 Fives are wonderful durable cars. It was/is widely regarded to be the finest sedan in the world.<
In your case I would also want any potential purchase inspected by a good BMW tech. In your price range the 528i is probably the only six cylinder choice available since the 525i and 530i were added to the range after 2000. My wife's car is an automatic and lacks the Sport Package, but it is still an engaging car to drive. The 528i automatics are GM units which have proven to be quite robust. I know of several 528iAs which have hit 200K miles with 60K-90K mile ATF changes. The only down side of the Sport Package is that it requires you to buy a set of winter tires if you plan to drive in icy or snowy conditions. Many owners mount the winter tires to a another new/used/aftermarket set of wheels which allows them to perform the swap themselves. That said, if a 5er was my only car I would want the Sport Package and the MT. In my case, I fortunately have a 1995 3er track rat to drive when I want to carve up a twisting two lane, so our "vanilla" 528iA serves it's intended purpose quite well.
#845 of 2734 Re: Gotta Do Your Homework [riez]
Oct 16, 2004 (8:54 am)
I appreciate your expert input. It is true that I haven't kept up with the bimmer world and have forgotten much that I learned when I was younger.
I actually own a 1970 2002 and an E28 (533i trying to sell). I was raised reading my dads issues of Roundel. I have owned the 2002 for 15 years(been in storage) and the E28 has been in our family since new. (20 years) We have performed all of our own maintenance on all of our cars. (he is engineer and I used to be full time wrench - pilot now - different kind of propellerhead).
I have much more time these days (and quite a bit more cash) and a strong desire to re-match the knowledge of BMWs with the love I have for them.
I am sorry to appear a newbie - but I will catch up with all of your professional help. I promise.
I hope you all don't mind me asking silly questions, though, because the 15 years I was away from the hobby has really put me behind the power curve.
#846 of 2734 Re: erice [div2]
Oct 16, 2004 (9:13 am)
Fantastic info!! Can't thank you enough for your time.
I live in So. California. My commute consists of an 8 mile drive on 1 street to the airport. I want the E39 to drive to the beach (with my 2 young boys - trying to get them hooked) through the canyons. Or to the golf course (once again through the canyons). And of course the occasional trip to Vegas with my wife.
From all the info I have so far, I am going to start looking for a 528i, 5 speed, sport package, only driven by an old lady to church on Sundays and the grocery store on Wednesdays. LOL
I wonder if I should look for non-sports pack and budget in the upgraded suspension, wheels and tires - doing the work myself after purchase?
Love this forum!!
#847 of 2734 545 computer updates?
Oct 16, 2004 (5:08 pm)
I received a car fax report on a 2004 545i I was going to purchase at a BMW dealership which noted two entries relating to "electrical system serviced." The first was in November 2003 and the second in March 2004. The dealer claimed these were just update to the computer performed by the dealership. Can anyone let me know if there actually were requests by BMW to bring 545's to the dealer for these computer updates? The car otherwise seemed in good shape, and everything worked. Dealer was asking 52K. The car has 6000 miles. Thanks.
#848 of 2734 erice
Oct 16, 2004 (6:27 pm)
One of the first things you need to do-if you haven't already-is join the BMW Car Club: www.bmwcca.org . You'll save a bundle on parts discounts alone. Buy the Bentley manual and the Peake FCX code reader and(like me) you'll be able to handle most of the maintenance yourself. As for aftermarket suspensions, you have to remember that each setup has different ride, handling, and NVH characteristics- all based on the priorities of the engineer who designed the kit. In my opinion, it's hard to improve the BMW Sport Packages; they strike an excellent balance between ride and handling. That said, if you eventually plan to track the car and/or you are wiling to sacrifice some ride comfort for 10/10ths handling you may be better served by an aftermarket kit. Whatever you do, try to drive another 528i fitted with the suspension package you are considering-it's much better to find out that a certain kit isn't you cup of tea BEFORE it's installed on your car.
#849 of 2734 Re: 545 computer updates? [jack13]
Oct 18, 2004 (11:02 am)
I have 3000 miles on a 545i I took delivery on in August - so far no problems. Since your potential car will be under warranty for another 44K miles, I would not be too worried about it.
I would look at the service records - it should tell you exactly what the problem was and if the owner had brought it in complaining about a problem.
Since the car was in service in November of 2003, it is an early production and with all of the computer systems and functions, I would not be surprised if there has been a couple of software upgrades, ecspecailly with some of the issues I had seen with automatic trans shift points and navigation.
FYI: I would make sure it had the sports package - active roll and steering are truly amazing. I was not sure about the active steering - but after about 3 miles I was sold on it. The active roll gives a better ride than the 540 series.
The V-8 is outstanding! Enjoy!
#850 of 2734 E60 MPG CALCULATION
Oct 18, 2004 (11:11 am)
I have a 545i. I was wondering if anyone has checked the computer calculated mpg with actual.
I am seeing about a 5-6 mpg discrepancy in the calculated versus actual. I am resetting the calculated mpg and miles after a fill and my units are set for english (miles/mpg).
I am seeing actual (based on miles and fuel pumped) of 21-23 and the calculated is 27-30. This is consistent over the last 6 tanks. I have been varying the speeds and gears alot during the initial break-in and driving alot of highway miles, which should not affect this.
I would expect it to have an error of 1 mpg, but not 5-6.
#851 of 2734 I've seen it in my E39.
Oct 18, 2004 (3:38 pm)
I did a 252 mile trip in 4:05 which works out to about 62.5 mph, not the 66.3 the computer gave me.
#852 of 2734 sport pack on 528i
Oct 19, 2004 (8:59 am)
I have been looking for E39 2.8L with man. trans and sport package. I am limiting my search to silver with black a close second.
I have found many without the sport pack with clean carfax and lots of maint records.
Has anyone tried to upgrade to factory sports pack by using dealer supplied parts...shocks, springs, sway bars?
I understand that the BMW sports pack is such a wonderful compromise between ride and performance that it is hard to improve upon.
I'm not that worried about the black-out trim and the 3 spoke steering wheel. Looks are secondary to performance.
Thanks for all/any replies.