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Re: might buy E34 525i what problem areas (if any? (archive)

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Posted by Michael Holland on November 04, 1999 at 18:38:02:

In Reply to: might buy E34 525i what problem areas (if any?) posted by sean on November 04, 1999 at 15:34:45:

: well folks my 1983 533i has 286,000+ miles and she has been spending more and more time at the shop. my wife loves her, but I don't want her to possibly get stranded again so I looked at a 1992 525i with 79,000 + and drove it, seems solid enough not qiute as much go as the old girl, I was wondering does this car have any inherent problems? (ala' the e28's heater valve) the car is a manual, leather is black and a little worn, paint is decent black also. so can anyone please give me the lowdown on what to check?

: thanks as always
: Sean

I purchased an e34 252ia 6 months ago with 137,000 well maintained miles. It nw has 156,000 miles and she is sweeet!

Make sure there are maint. records. No records, do not buy. Why are the seats a little warn with only 70,000 + miles, my seats looked very nice at 137,000.

When was the timing belt changed VERY IMPORTANT. If it breaks, you get to spend lots of money. If you buy and cannot verify timming belt change. Tow it to a BMW mechanic and have it changed as well as adjust the valves.

Tie rod ends were my immediate problem. The front steering and suspension components seem to be beefier and longer lived. My tie rod ends lived to be 145,000 miles old. Put that car on a rack (wheels un suppirted and really shake those wheels.
Check the rear differential at the speed sensor to see if the safety / security wire is still attached, if it's not ask what was worked on and why, if that smells pass it up.
E34's seem to have odd electrical issues, check this board.

I had to replace the Lamp Control Module, it had a melt down. DIM lights blinked off at the most inappropriate times.

Check the Vinyl around the doors, it tightens and pulls away from the door.

Especially check the air conditioning system. Very problematic system. Check for odors, leaks, and general opperation. Problems here ARE very expensive.

Have the BMW dealer check to see if it has been chipped (hot rodded).

Check the condition of all fluids. Check all interior lighting, check door locks and windows.

Read the tire wear closely. If the tires are new ask why, aske if you can see the old tires, check the spare to check for wear and to nsee if it's there. While your in the trunk check for hidden damage and leaks, make sure the AMP is still there. If you can crawl under the car check the drive shaft for play. If you find any it will be expensive to repair. Check for slop in the shifter, possibly more money.

By the way how much do you want for the old 535?

The 2.5 ltr engine is a very willing revver and with a few fairly inexpensive mods will perform pretty well. It does have that timong belt that has to be changed at 50-60,000 mile intervals.
Cost about 450.00 at dealer local BMW mechanics will do it for 150.00 to 250.00.

In general you can expect to find that everything is much more expensive to repair/replace than the e28.

The e34 is smoother, quieter, stiffer, and a bit more modern than the e28 and generally performs as well or better under most conditions than the e28.

My e28 had 250,000 mile on it when it died bravely protecting me on hgwy 41 in Atlanta and I have no doubt that it would go another 250,000 with minor repairs.

The heater control valve (new BMW part is available) for less than 40.00 at Global Imports in Atlanta and is very easy to change yourself. The e34 heater valve makes the e28 valve look like a simple water connection (2 different sections, driver and passenger, more hoses)and costs......well do you have a good credit card?

Over all I have been very satisfied with my 525i and have not really yearned for the additional horse power and torque of the 535i. My next BMW will be an e28 535is or M5 if I am really patient.

If it's a well maintained 525i you should be happy with it.

Good luck
Michael Holland
[email protected]


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