In Reply to: Buying a E34 540i, need help posted by Dan on August 29, 2001 at 13:05:09:
That's pretty much what I did when I looked at a '94 530i a while back (which I didn't buy, because of the Nikasil issue and lack of service records).
The casting number is the most definitive way to check - it can be a pain to find though. I was able to drive the 530i (gently) up onto a kerb, and get underneath and have a look. If you get a pre-purchase inspection done, get them to do it for you - it'll save you getting dusty and greasy, it took me about 40 minutes under there to finally find it.
Secondly, BMW have a warranty on the blocks. This was an extended warranty they issued when they discovered the problem, and is valid for 6 years from date of purchase/100k miles. It may still be valid. If so, get the leakdown test done and maybe you can get it replaced then, or at least have peace of mind that the block is in good condition.
Tricky situation - better hope that your seller is patient and negotiable.
Best of luck with the 540i,
I am looking to buy an E34 '95 540i. It seems like it should be a reliable car (as long as it was taken care of), the only thing stopping me is the M60 problem with the Nikasil/sulfur. That one problem was the one thing stopping me from buying one right away. However, I have done a lot of research
on the topic and I think that I have worked out all the loopholes. This is from memory, corrrect any mistakes; the
mid-'90s M60 V8s had a problem with the Nikasil engine blocks. The sulfur in U.S. gasoline was eating away the Nikel
in the walls of the block. Luckly for me, I live in California and the amount of sulfur here is the lowest in the U.S.
However, it is still a problem. What I have done to "solve" the problem is to research, research, research. I have
found that BMW (in order to fix the problem) replaced the short block with Alusil. So, when I go looking for 540i s, I
intended to check the casting number on the short block, under the car to see if it was replaced. Also, having the
records to see if it was replaced. Asking the seller if it was replaced. Checking the idle and ride quality while taking a
test drive. That's all I can do, and then pray to the BMW gods that it has been replaced and that I haven't overlooked
anything. Anyone have any other ideas? Is it safe to buy one after all that? How does everyone like their 540i's? Anyone have one that has had a previous owner. Any other common problems with them?