carmudgeons.com  

Go Back   carmudgeons.com > Automotive Forums > Car Talk

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-12-2005, 12:55 PM   #1
ZBB
Relic
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: A very fast golf cart
Location: The Valley of the Sun
Posts: 11,774
E39 Longevity

My '03 530i now has a little over 35k miles, and things have started needing replacement. I had to take it in last week for a couple things (I had some odd stalling issues, after which the Service Engine Soon light came on), and the stearing was groaning during right turns on cold mornings (below 50 degrees -- and yes that's cold to me).

Fortuneately its all warranty work, and the car's OEM warranty has 15k miles and 15 months left, then the CPO warranty will kick in for another 2 years or total 100k miles.

Here's what's been done so far in my 9.5 months of ownership:
1) The stearing groan was due to a steering rack leak -- so they replaced the steering rack.
2) The stall and SES light issue was due to the intake camshaft sensor failing. Probably also explains the lousy gas mileage I got over the last tank or so of gas (4 MPG below normal)
3) A/C system was completly replaced in August -- the original system had corroded over the first 30k miles.

But its got me thinking that there's no way I'll keep it more than another 2 years or so. And if these relatively large replacement items continue, it may go before then...
__________________
ZBB
ZBB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2005, 01:15 PM   #2
rumatt
Mugwump
 
rumatt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: E46 330i, Chevy Colorado, Tesla Model 3
Location: NY
Posts: 17,475
Ouch. I was wondering if I may own a used E39 some day.

Maybe not.
rumatt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2005, 11:03 PM   #3
lemming
Eastern Promises
 
lemming's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: Blue Pig
Posts: 14,195
yeah.

no kidding.

if you ever need sobering up about car ownership, just sit in a BMW service waiting room and listen carefully to the SA's speaking to people who have vehicles out of warranty. the prices hurt, man.
__________________


lemming is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2005, 01:02 AM   #4
rumatt
Mugwump
 
rumatt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: E46 330i, Chevy Colorado, Tesla Model 3
Location: NY
Posts: 17,475
Well, that's also what drives the purchase price of the car down. Nobody wants them because they know they're expensive to maintain.

If you can do most of the work yourself, it seems like you you should (in theory) be able to drive a pretty nice car at a good price. But somehow it doesn't seem to work out that way.
rumatt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2005, 02:05 AM   #5
lip277
The old cranky SOB....
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: several cars... way too many....
Location: Near Seattle
Posts: 4,223
BMW's aren't alone. "Way back when" my wife had a 1984 Nissan Sentra - They dealership wanted ~$700 for a new Hitachi carb. That was in 1993 or so.
So we sold the car and she drove our Mercedes 300SD.

On our more current activities-

My E38 is just near 100,000 miles. No issues to speak of.

My W126 has near 200,000 miles. Other than the 'minor' issue dealing with a chunked timing chain (and subsequent top end rebuild... he he) no real issues there either.

My 2001 Yukon - 110,000 miles. I have bad luck with the window motors for some reason. Two been replaced, one needs to be replaced and the other is still working (knock on wood). That and an electronics module that dealt with the transmission - That's all I've dealt with. Heck - I even have 3/8" of brake pads left on every corner. 5 years and those miles later.

You can and will find people who have had great luck with just about any car as well as those that have had terrible luck. I actually think the 'near old' BMW's are actually a pretty decent car to own and keep going. I'd maybe put the E39 in that category. The E38 is also pushing it. The E32, E36, E34 have simpler electronic systems that (I think) lend themselves to being dealt with on an easier basis. That and also have had more time to have hacks like us come up with 'home grown' fixes for things that othewise (if taken to the dealer) would be simply swapping one electronics box for another.

Just a thought. I've even had a friend that had a neighbor whose Toyota bought back as a Lemon....



Personally - I'd not hesitate to own a 7 series (or 5 series).
Hey - I do!!!!



Seriously - A good PPI and your own instincts will do more good for you than any advice here.

Good luck-
__________________
Kevin


1970 2800CS - - 2001 740iL - - 2006 997.1 - - 2012 Escalade
1968 Mustang GT Convertible - - 2003 Ford F250 PSD - - 1985 728i
lip277 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2005, 06:07 AM   #6
TD
Just dropping by...
 
TD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: Tesla
Location: Maryland
Posts: 20,857
My dad's '00 528i had ~80K on it now and has never been in for anything other than maintenance. Period.

Granted he followed the factory 15K oil service interval, so I'm afraid of what it'll be like when it hits 120K or 150K. But right now it's still 100% incident-free.
TD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2005, 10:51 AM   #7
ZBB
Relic
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: A very fast golf cart
Location: The Valley of the Sun
Posts: 11,774
Don't get me wrong -- I really enjoy the car.

But, my E46 was near-bulletproof. Over the nearly 4 years I owned it, it never had a mechanical issue other than the notorious multiple cooling fan recall (the first replacement was also recalled -- for the same issue). It had some minor issues with door seals, but that was most likely a design flaw on the coupes). But that was it.

I was expecting about the same for this E39.

But that's why I bought a car with a warranty (and essentially 4 years from my purchase date / 6 years from new). We'll see how it goes over the next 1-2 years...
__________________
ZBB
ZBB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2005, 11:02 AM   #8
John V
No more BMWs
 
John V's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Carmudgeonly Ride: 987S, Ram, MS3, CX-5, RX-8
Location: Glenwood, MD
Posts: 12,965
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZBB
Don't get me wrong -- I really enjoy the car.

But, my E46 was near-bulletproof.
I consided my E36 to be extremely reliable and well-built too. Only "major" problem was a $150 radiator I had to throw at it. But the perception of them in the BMW community is that they're junk at least compared to the E30.
John V is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2005, 12:53 PM   #9
robg
Carmudgeon
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,596
Quote:
Originally Posted by lip277
The E32, E36, E34 have simpler electronic systems that (I think) lend themselves to being dealt with on an easier basis. That and also have had more time to have hacks like us come up with 'home grown' fixes for things that othewise (if taken to the dealer) would be simply swapping one electronics box for another.

Acutally, some feel that the e32 and 34 are less easy to wrok on because they have nearly as many features as the later cars, but don't have a bus type system. That measn that there's lots wiring, and less computerized diagnostic help when things go wrong.

anyway, I know we talk a lot about BMW's flaky electronics; but in the scheme of things (atleast for anything pre e65), I think its way more likely that you'll spend money on stupid mechanical problems than trying to diagnose an electronics issue.
robg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2005, 01:04 PM   #10
lip277
The old cranky SOB....
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: several cars... way too many....
Location: Near Seattle
Posts: 4,223
Quote:
Originally Posted by robg
Acutally, some feel that the e32 and 34 are less easy to wrok on because they have nearly as many features as the later cars, but don't have a bus type system. That measn that there's lots wiring, and less computerized diagnostic help when things go wrong.
But for the home DIY'er, I'd think that is acutally an easier situation for us as we don't have the high zoot diagnostic equipement the shops do that would read those codes.

Still a PITA but at least more of one you can deal with at home (at least as a starting point)

Knock on wood that it's not going to be broken in the first place.
__________________
Kevin


1970 2800CS - - 2001 740iL - - 2006 997.1 - - 2012 Escalade
1968 Mustang GT Convertible - - 2003 Ford F250 PSD - - 1985 728i
lip277 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:02 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Forums 2003-2008, 'Mudgeon Enterprises - Site hosting by AYN & Associates, LLC