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The cheap E60 winter car.

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The time of year is amongst us again - where gritters are a daily sight. This is bad news for the e39 and makes me want to cry whenever I see the salt being flung everywhere.


Last year I decided not to put the car (and myself) through it again and keep the e39 away from the roads during the winter, last year I bought a cheap Civic Type-R - a fantastic little car - but its strongest point wasn't fuel consumption. The fuel bill would have bought me a good e39 shell :)


A couple of weeks ago, I began scouring ebay & the vehicle auctions for something to get me through the winter - originally my budget was <£600 and I had my sights on a few old Volvo S60/S80 D5's.

I decided to hold off as a few of the cars sold over my budget, the one that fell within my budget needed a tad too much work.


A couple of days later I was browsing one of the e60 groups on Facebook, when I saw an add that had just been posted for an MOT failed 2004 525d at £1700 fairly locally. Of-course it was over my original budget, but for what it was - I thought it couldn't be missed, I knew I had to act quickly.

I called and asked a few questions to gauge if it was genuine - all sounded good, so I made an offer at £1600 which was accepted and went to collect the car.


As expected, the car was rough - I keep forgetting the E60 model was released a year after my '52 e39, with this example being 14 years old.


I will add some better photos in a few days, but have added a few quick phone photos below.


So my aim for this car is to get it through an MOT (which it is going in for today), and tidy the rest of it up on a budget, I will tot up the costs as I go along as it should make for interesting reading.


MOT Fails;

  • Rear suspension arm bushes (both sides) - now I actually contest this, the bushes were all solid with a little rubber peeling - cosmetic I think. I have not touched this and will be sending it for the MOT as they are.
  • OSF anti-roll bar linkage worn.
  • Exhaust - major leak of exhaust gasses.
  • OSR & NSR brake pipes excessively corroded.


MOT Advisories;

  • OS mirror glass damaged
  • Front suspension arm worn but not excessive
  • Few tyre issues...tread, sidewall.etc


I started with the MOT work;


  1. Anti-Roll bar linkage; £10.99 - 20 minutes.
  2. Exhaust;  remove, repair bad welds - manifold studs were also loose where it has had a cast manifold fitted in the past! - 4 hours (and about £3 in welding supplies).
  3. Brake lines; £13 (Kunifer pipe & fittings) - 3 hours.
  4. Mirror glass; £12 - 2 minutes.


Then moved on-to a few other issues that needed addressing;


  1. Starting issue - no starting when hot. Turned out the starter motor was giving a firework display when it was hot. A used genuine replacement was sourced for £30 which solved this issue.
  2. Restraint system fault on CCC - but yet no light showing on the dash - at all :( - INPA showed a seat occupancy sensor fault (standard). Bypass fitted - £5 - tissue paper removed from instrument cluster :)
  3. Clutch - horrible noises when depressing the clutch, typical of a release bearing - I cheaped out and skipped the DMF when fitting the replacement clutch -  £120. Typically - it was the DMF making the noise, the clutch however was still worn, so I dont feel too bad! Will source a used DMF and fit in a few weeks.
  4. No audio from CCC - the previous owner stated he had issues with the professional nav screen not starting, so bought a used unit, but had no sound - turns out the replacement unit was coded for Logic7, this was changed and we now have audio.
  5. Resprayed kidney grilles and removed M-sport \\\ stripes.
  6. Changed gearbox oil whilst the box was out - £20


That's the work up-to now, still plenty more to be done;

  • Boot open warning constantly on.
  • Bodywork - its rough!
  • Sort out a hideous oil leak - think this will be the rocker cover gasket.
  • Replace a few injectors, the thing fogs out my shared unit after a few minutes - it doesnt help that the DPF & cat have been removed, however its not burning right / overfueling - INPA shows cylinders 5 & 1 as being slightly out of whack - there are used units on ebay for circa £30 so will grab a few and see what happens.


Few quick photos,




Never seen this interior before - I quite like it, only downside is that its not heated - but I may change this.




Injector values;




Previous exhaust repair :(




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So, £1600 plus another couple of hundred on your fixes to date. Maybe a bit more sorting the oil leak (probably an MOT failure if it's that bad), injectors etc. Not bad for an E60, though for (say) £1k could you not have found something closer to your budget and saved yourself some work? ;) Hope it proves as reliable as the Honda - and I say that as a (so far reliable) E60 525d owner! :)

Nice unit to work in BTW.

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