In Reply to: Any 2nd/3rd/4th 540i owners? Please Read posted by Dan on August 30, 2001 at 18:54:28:
I replied to your post a day or 2 ago, and I can elaborate a little on the advice I gave -
I also am looking (for about 2 months now) for an E34. I've learnt a few lessons along the way, and here's my 2 cents on the Nikasil issue.
Definitely, find out the casting numbers for any 540 you consider. Wise choice. It's just not worth the risk to get stuck with a Nikasil engine when you have the option to pick a nice Alusil one instead, from an aware owner. Typically, I would expect that a car with an Alusil block would tend to have a more aware owner than one without, overall.
The sulfur issue is still important in CA, even though we have "good" fuel. Again, it's not worth the risk.
Thirdly, *DO NOT* purchase a car off anyone who is unhappy about you taking it for a mechanical inspection/leakdown/etc. Firstly, it indicates that they may be uncomfortable about it because they know that it doesn't have a perfect history or service record, or that they simply don't respect their car and don't consider it important. The most recent E34 I have been looking at was almost immaculate inside and out, and behaved beautifully during the test drives (I took two of them, and I recommend this - BMW's are so fun to drive, that the first drive is often too emotional to accurately gauge what the car is telling you about its condition). However, the owner was squeamish and difficult to pin down about an inspection - I ended up telling him to get the inspection done, or find another buyer. He finally took it in to Dinan, and the inspection uncovered a few big, expensive problems that I never suspected. More importantly, it told me that the previous owners had little respect for the car and skimped on regular servicings. Get the inspection done. Get a leakdown done too. Explain all the issues, and your reasons for demanding them. If they don't understand and accept, then walk away.
Lesson learned: judging the buyer is just as important as judging the car. Look at the owner carefully. It might save you the inspection money, and the unnecessary risk of winding up with an abused car.
Good luck - and if you find any nice 535's on your searches, let me know!!
-dreams of an alpine white 535i 5spd, every night!
Have any of you had problem with your car, regarding the M60/sluphur issue? I am looking to buy a 540i and I am skeptical of buying it because of this. I have done the research and when looking for one I plan to check the records and the casting numbers on the short block. The extended warranty is almost over, if not already (it's been 6 years!!). If I were to purchase one, I don't know how I would get a leakdown test for it because I doubt the owner selling it to me would lend me his car to do it, even though I would pay for it. The only way I could get a leakdown test done on the car I wanted is if I were to buy it through a dealer, which I wont do because of the mark up prices they sell the cars for. What have you all done?