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cornershop

E34 beginner - pre-purchase advice

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Good evening gents, a potential e34 owner here, having had a number of autos over the past 5-6 years, i'm looking for a manual 525i and i think one of the later M50 engined cars.

 

I've been exchanging messages with the owner of a '95 Oxford Green example (my preferred colour), and wanted some advice on body work.

 

The MOT history site states for the past 2 years "possible/suspected rust under sill covers" - research suggests this will be quite normal on an E34, but assuming its limited to the sills and jacking points, and not spread to the arches, what should i budget for repairs?


Related to the above, i would have thought the MOT tester would have commented on corroded inner sills, - do they not rot before the outer sills?

 

Also, i've been provided a pic of the bootlid - can anyone advise if this could be repaired cost effectively, or am i looking at a replacement boot lid and maybe respray costs.  What is the cause of this type of rust?  Clogged drain holes?


Thanks in advance

Shirish

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The price of repairs depends really on the repair panels used and the amount of metal needing replacing ... 

 The BMW rear sill repair section comes with the jacking points which cuts the welding work down ... But were around £100 per side.

 You really need to check the axle carrier mounts (including the rear) all jacking points plus bulkhead drains ....

 If the interior stinks of damp be very careful .... Which can be simple floor plugs rotted away/door seals or the bulkhead drains rotted out allowing 

 water into the cabin from water running down the front window screen 

Oxford Green is a common colour in late e34's  I would look for a clean bootlid rather than fighting a deep rusted item ... Which could return.      

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Thanks Carl

This morning I have mainly googled e34 bulkhead repairs - quite an eye opener! 

I don’t have the skills to this this type of work myself so I’d have to consider a prospective purchase very carefully.

 

Id quite happily use genuine parts for these types of repairs - they usually save time and money for the repair man

 

Would you/anyone recommend a PPI from RAC for example?  I have ‘previous’ of missing bodywork issues, so would spend 150-200 getting an inspection done.

 

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6 hours ago, cornershop said:

Thanks Carl

This morning I have mainly googled e34 bulkhead repairs - quite an eye opener! 

I don’t have the skills to this this type of work myself so I’d have to consider a prospective purchase very carefully.

 

Id quite happily use genuine parts for these types of repairs - they usually save time and money for the repair man

 

Would you/anyone recommend a PPI from RAC for example?  I have ‘previous’ of missing bodywork issues, so would spend 150-200 getting an inspection done.

 

 

 You really need someone with E34 related knowledge like a good old school BMW indie or someone dealing with E34's  on a daily basis.

  The  average RAC type of inspection might have no idea of the common issues or hidden rot spots effecting the old E34's  

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Boot lid is not really a big deal, because it can be repaired fairly cost-efficiently, compared to replacing or welding sill panels/jacking points. Try to get the seller to take photos of the sill panels (even if covered by side skirts, you might get an idea of what they are like by looking underneath the car), the rear wheel arches and around the fuel flap area. Also the fact that there's an advisory for possible rust under the side skirts, then chances are that the MOT tester noticed signs of rust around the area underneath the car, i.e. what I mentioned earlier.

 

Depending on the overall condition of the car, MOT history, service history, etc - I would still probably walk away. Finding an E34 with minimal rust nowadays can be very difficult, especially if you are looking for an exact spec, like 525i manual, etc.

 

Also don't be fooled into thinking that if you buy a BMW from 90's, then it will be bullet-proof, since they were built to last back then. It is true to an extent, most cars were generally better built, but you have to remember that they are 20+ years old now, so whatever you buy, it won't be a case of changing the oil and just driving it. Budget for doing suspension work, brakes all around, a proper service overhauling the cooling system, gaskets, belts, etc.

Edited by Blackman

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18 hours ago, Carl-e34 said:

 

 You really need someone with E34 related knowledge like a good old school BMW indie or someone dealing with E34's  on a daily basis.

  The  average RAC type of inspection might have no idea of the common issues or hidden rot spots effecting the old E34's  

Agreed this would be best case, just wondering how realistic this is - not every owerwants to traipse over to a garage, and not all specialists provide a mobile service. 

 

1 hour ago, Blackman said:

Boot lid is not really a big deal, because it can be repaired fairly cost-efficiently, compared to replacing or welding sill panels/jacking points. Try to get the seller to take photos of the sill panels (even if covered by side skirts, you might get an idea of what they are like by looking underneath the car), the rear wheel arches and around the fuel flap area. Also the fact that there's an advisory for possible rust under the side skirts, then chances are that the MOT tester noticed signs of rust around the area underneath the car, i.e. what I mentioned earlier.

 

Depending on the overall condition of the car, MOT history, service history, etc - I would still probably walk away. Finding an E34 with minimal rust nowadays can be very difficult, especially if you are looking for an exact spec, like 525i manual, etc.

 

Also don't be fooled into thinking that if you buy a BMW from 90's, then it will be bullet-proof, since they were built to last back then. It is true to an extent, most cars were generally better built, but you have to remember that they are 20+ years old now, so whatever you buy, it won't be a case of changing the oil and just driving it. Budget for doing suspension work, brakes all around, a proper service overhauling the cooling system, gaskets, belts, etc.

Thanks - my last 5 cars have all been 80-90s (e30 325, 190e 2.6, 635csi, Audi S8 and the current Lexus LS400

 

Aside from the Lexus, they've all had a few grand thrown at them so i can them as close to factory spec/reliability as is reasonably possible, so i'm anticipating the same with the E34.  Bodywork, for me, is more difficult to spot so want to avoid buying one that looks good on the surface but which i then find needs £££ sorting.

 

How easy are the sills to remove and refit? 

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6 hours ago, cornershop said:

Agreed this would be best case, just wondering how realistic this is - not every owerwants to traipse over to a garage, and not all specialists provide a mobile service. 

 

Thanks - my last 5 cars have all been 80-90s (e30 325, 190e 2.6, 635csi, Audi S8 and the current Lexus LS400

 

Aside from the Lexus, they've all had a few grand thrown at them so i can them as close to factory spec/reliability as is reasonably possible, so i'm anticipating the same with the E34.  Bodywork, for me, is more difficult to spot so want to avoid buying one that looks good on the surface but which i then find needs £££ sorting.

 

How easy are the sills to remove and refit? 

 

 The sill covers are held in place by two plastic rivets on the rear sill ends and  five or six clips running along the bottom of the sill covers  ...

  You might find the plastic rivets long gone ... so just use a flat screwdriver to lever the clips off and then pull the sill cover off ... I always start from the rear.

 I nearly forgot and a 10 mm nut screw at the bottom of the front wing .. If you hear metal breaking sounds as you unbolt ... That's trouble ..

 

  It's a ten minute job to remove per side ... 

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