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Old 4th June 2009, 01:56   #1
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Default Buying A 1997 Bmw 525 Tds (e39)

Hello Bhp-ians,

I have almost made up my mind to get my dream machine, an E39 525 tds. My request to all E39 owners to please help me out with my decision. Here are a few points about the car:

1) The car is with a dealer at Delhi. It is a single owner, well maintained car done about 55,000 kms with all documents in order. It is the range-topping model with power everything including sunroof.

2) Apart from a few niggling problems like a door not shutting, horn not working, some minor suspension and brake adjustments, the car seems to be a good runner with a smooth engine and perfect shifts from the tip-tronic autobox.

3) Who is the best E39 specialist in Delhi who can inspect the car before the purchase? I need a trust-worthy, reasonable guy who understands everything about Beemers. Any contact information would be highly appreciated. I would not be going to any authorised BMW dealers / workshops for sure as I cannot afford to get anything done there.

4) Which is the best shop in Delhi for E39 spares? Are spares reasonably priced and readily available? I've heard some scary prices of parts like the front windscreen, headlights, tail lamps etc.

5) Is it too difficult maintaining an E39?

6) What should be the correct price of the car?

Would genuinely appreciate all information about the car from members who own a similar model and are using it as an everyday car.

Vikas
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Old 4th June 2009, 20:19   #2
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I would not be going to any authorised BMW dealers / workshops for sure as I cannot afford to get anything do
You can surely go to them for inspection and I suggest you go to them only. Getting work done from them is not a compulsion.
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What should be the correct price of the car?
If a 520d costs about 40 laks today, deprediate it by about 50% every 4 years and he should have your approx value. Add another 50k -1 lak to the calculated value if the car is in good shape.
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Old 4th June 2009, 20:39   #3
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i dont think you need to get this car since you say you cannot take it to BMW officials to inspect it. if you cant afford that forget the car, since you will meet many people who will keep on changing parts here and there. some thing or the other will break down in the end you shall find out that it was a costly affair. take it to BMW itself ask them what all is needed to be done on the car itself ? they are the best judge. you might think they are niggling problems but in the end they might be huge and you shall be tortured. how much are you getting the car for anyways ? ?
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Old 4th June 2009, 21:11   #4
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Try speaking to Phil @ // Speed Sport . Automotive Engineering Solutions . New Delhi . India // he is the resident BMW expert - if I may take the liberty of saying so..




Cheers
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Old 5th June 2009, 00:40   #5
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12 year old BMW is not an old car.

It must have few healthy years left.

Invest some money for through check up with BMW workshop & enjoy the car thereafter.

Best of luck.
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Old 5th June 2009, 09:36   #6
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Some specifics on the e39

Uneven rear tyre wear and clonks from the rear can be caused by worn rear suspension bushes.

Reports of repeated thermostat problems blowing radiators on older E39s.

Flat spots of and lack of power or M47 and M57 diesels due to a known problem with the wire mesh air mass sensor. When replaced, must reprogramme ECU to match new meter. Lack of power also caused by cracked inlet manifolds.

Misfires of M47/M57 caused by failed injectors.


check Turbo inlet manifold and pipework because a blockage can cause the engine to run on its sump oil and self-destruct.

17" wheels easily damaged on inner rim. Brake pipe corrosion in area over fuel tank becoming common. Older cars plagued by electrical problems: failing lcds, etc.
Check took kit is all there.

Service light indicator can easily be re-set, so a paid invoice is the only guarantee of a recent service.

Odometer LCD readout prone to fading. Costs around 60k to replace.

General Warning about Automatic Transmissions: Many BMWs have "sealed for life" automatic transmissions. Regardless of whether you have a full BMW service history, the dealer will never change the auto fluid. Many of these boxes are failing around the 120-150k mark - often well outside of warranty and to a cost of nearly Rs 3 lakh. A good independent or automatic transmission specialist can and will change the fluid for you If done, the 'box should last the life of the car rather than being the cause of it being written off. General advice is ensure the fluid is flushed out every 60k or more preferably at each Inspection II. .
On 525 and 530 diesels, inlet manifold swirl actuators prone to breaking off and being ingested by the engine, causing terminal damage.

If airbag warning light comes on the fault is usually with the passenger sensing mat in the front passenger seat, usually the connection, but, once fixed the ECU needs to be re-programmed to clear the fault code
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Old 5th June 2009, 16:02   #7
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Thanks Ajmat for your valuable tips. Thanks others for your support and encouragement. Some more information about the car:

1) It is an Aug 1997 range-topping model with power everything, including sunroof. The final price being settled is approx 6L.

2) Single owner car, done genuine 57K kms. Bought from Navnit motors at Mumbai and sold to Infinity cars about three months back in exchange for a new 5-series. This is when this dealer picked it up. On checking up with Infinity, I found that the car was very well maintained and had no major problems when sold.

3) I drove the car for about 25 kms and found the engine and the tip-tronic auto working very well. The engine has sufficient grunt and the shifts were effortless, the revs climbing and dropping steadily with each shift. There was absolutely no sign of gears being problematic... infact it was such a joy, i found myself using the lever more than required! The brakes were great as well.

4) The following jobs are being carried out on a/c of the dealer at a reputed garage at Mumbai:
  • Aircon cooling coil has been replaced (had developed a leak)
  • Niggling problems like a door not shutting, a window switch not working, horn not working, tape not working have been resolved.
  • The vaccuum assisted rear suspension had a funny problem. As the alternator was not working properly, there was no power to feed the vaccuum pump, as a result of which the suspension was sitting on the rear wheels! Also the right side suspension sits lower than the left... they say it needs a "lock" replacement which holds the suspension at desired level. Not too clear... but work on shockers is being carried out.
  • Found out about the prices of a few spares at Opera House Mumbai... pretty expensive... am sure Delhi would be better!
5) To clear further doubts, I took the car to a referred workshop for an independent assessment. The guy drove it and rated the car as a good runner in no need for any engine / gearbox work.

Last edited by LOVE HER(ALD)! : 5th June 2009 at 16:03.
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Old 10th June 2009, 15:43   #8
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Unable to make a conclusive decision guys. Need more inputs from you all. For now its a pure case of heart over head for me! Attaching some pictures of the car. Now you know why I am so keen on it... From deep within my heart, its already mine!
Attached Images
    
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Old 10th June 2009, 16:11   #9
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That looks like a pretty well maintained car, the rims don’t have the brake dust accumulation, body looks good in the photos, and the engine bay is extremely neat. The only thing is the creases that are prominent on the leather seats. But then again you shouldn’t go for a car just for its looks!

My dad had a BMW 735iL couple of years back and I can say that the suspension issue is a biggie, one of the reasons he sold it off.

I would suggest that the suspension issue be fixed before you pick it and ensure that its in good working condition with the authorized dealership.
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Old 11th June 2009, 13:26   #10
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Is that a recent picture? If so, MAN it's well maintained. Amazing how German cars age so well. I have to admit : If I were in your place, I'd be very tempted to pick her up. Just the fact that the owner chose to import it officially, and not the grey market, says somethings about the way this car would have been kept. I only hope you are prepared for the complications + expensive repairs.

Quote:
Some specifics on the e39
Wasn't the 525D also the fastest diesel sedan of its time?

Last edited by GTO : 11th June 2009 at 13:28.
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Old 11th June 2009, 13:54   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOVE HER(ALD)! View Post
Unable to make a conclusive decision guys. Need more inputs from you all. For now its a pure case of heart over head for me! Attaching some pictures of the car. Now you know why I am so keen on it... From deep within my heart, its already mine!
I dont blame you. If I had money enough to buy such a beauty, I'd probably have ordered a hit on you to get you out of the way
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Old 11th June 2009, 16:02   #12
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Is that a recent picture? If so, MAN it's well maintained. Amazing how German cars age so well. Just the fact that the owner chose to import it officially, and not the grey market, says somethings about the way this car would have been kept. I only hope you are prepared for the complications + expensive repairs
The pics are recent, about two months old. Have seen the car myself and its better in reality than the pics! Only thing as dr_know pointed out, is that the leather upholstery shows signs of ageing. Please elaborate on the complications of owning this car.
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Old 11th June 2009, 17:20   #13
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I believe 96+ is era where German cars became more electronic, hence more troublesome. Please don't fall for the drive, look and initial cost these cars will sure be very expensive to maintain. If you can learn about your car and source your own parts then there is possibility of reducing the maintenance cost.

You need to ask yourself why are you buying this car ? How long do you plan to own it? Is it daily drive or weekend one? Whats your budget for car for the duration you want to own.
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Old 11th June 2009, 17:32   #14
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Originally Posted by LOVE HER(ALD)! View Post
The pics are recent, about two months old. Have seen the car myself and its better in reality than the pics! Only thing as dr_know pointed out, is that the leather upholstery shows signs of ageing. Please elaborate on the complications of owning this car.
Refer to ajmat's post # 6. Of course, on a day to day p.o.v., GTO would be able to give you a clearer picture of what to expect in terms of costs and availability of parts / service.

Last edited by FlyingSpur : 11th June 2009 at 17:35.
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Old 11th June 2009, 17:45   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOVE HER(ALD)! View Post
  • Niggling problems like a door not shutting, a window switch not working, horn not working, tape not working have been resolved.
  • The vaccuum assisted rear suspension had a funny problem. As the alternator was not working properly, there was no power to feed the vaccuum pump, as a result of which the suspension was sitting on the rear wheels! Also the right side suspension sits lower than the left... they say it needs a "lock" replacement which holds the suspension at desired level. Not too clear... but work on shockers is being carried out.
Door not shutting sounds to me like severe accident damage that was not repaired properly. Look for more signs.

AFAIK, the E39 did not have vacuum assisted air suspension. Only the 540it (touring estate) has rear air suspension similar to the X5.
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