In Reply to: might buy E34 525i what problem areas (if any?) posted by sean on November 04, 1999 at 15:34:45:
The '92 has the M50 engine and does not need a timing belt. It has a chain. Only the '89 and '90 had the M20 engine with the timing belt.
The original plastic impeller water pump should be replaced with the metal one. I believe all replacement pumps are metal ones. So, if it has already been replaced, you are OK.
The A/C should not be that expensive, if you can do some maintenance yourself. For the '92, it is the R12 refrigerant. If low, you can probably get a R134a kit, which consists of adaptors to the original high and low pressure shrader valves (similar to the bicycle tire valves). Most shops will upgrade the system for less than $200. You may want to do it yourself for less than $50 (of course, assuming that no freon is left in the system. Don't want to contribute CFC to the atmosphere).
The leather should not really show its wear. The stain(in bimmers and MBenz) is through. Unlike American and most Japanese cars, where the stain is superficial.
Check the suspension. Tie rods and bushings may be tested with some driving. Feel the steering and car to ensure there is no vibration. Accelerate and brake and no vibration should be present.
As for the VIN numbers, make sure that the VIN on the dashboard matches with hood, trunk, fenders, and doors. They all have a bmw sticker (0.5" by 2" long) with identical numbers.