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Pete Soulby

E61 buyers guide??

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I'm looking to move my A3 on and get back into a BMW. I'm thinking of a diesel estate but this is where I get into trouble.

 

What causes most trouble, auto or manual? 2.0,2.5,3.0d?

 

how do they handle the miles? Is there any mileage range where parts start to fail?

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Hmmm...plenty of scope for answers there!

Lots of people must like the 2.0d or they wouldn't buy them. Don't know if the timing chain issues are a thing of the past but worth researching.

To me BMW means 6 cylinders or even 8 if you can manage it, but each to their own.

Being something of a worrier, one turbo is enough for me to worry about so 3.0 is big enough for me.

Auto or manual? The auto is such an easy drive, and gearboxes can last a very long time. Or not. Having a manual box means a simpler box and it's what I'd prefer from the worry point of view, but manuals are harder to find.

I have a 2007 525d which is quite a lowly beast, but the 3.0 engine is fine for my needs. It's lazy, eats the miles, good on fuel. At 197bhp it lags behind the 530d and the sportier options, but for daily motoring the difference (to me) is insignificant. Enjoy your search!

 

Sent from my Vodafone Smart ultra 6 using Tapatalk

 

 

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Don’t buy a diesel unless you do the mileage to warrant a Diesel.  DPF can give problems if not allowed to regen due to short trips.  Owners are removing the DPF from the car, removing its insides, refitting it to the exhaust system and re-mapping the car to get round the failures as a new DPF is four figures.    It is illegal to drive a car without a DPF but not illegal to remove it.  An MOT test is only a visual check to see if the DPF is present, not that it actually works.  

 

The 20d engine is very agricultural in sound compared to the 30d and 35d (6pot) engines.  The 4 pot 20d N47 engines suffer from timing chain wear which coupled to the fact that the timing chains are at the rear of the engine, yes that’s right, behind or rather between the flywheel and the block! It’s an engine out job to replace.  The symptom is a rattle which is coming from the rear of the engine.  Also this engine has the dreaded swirl flaps which can break off and get ingested by the engine, writing it off.

 

Avoid any base model 520d as the pre LCi models had really low interior spec, lesser aircon/climate controls than all other models.  The 2.0d were bough in their masses by fleets for management.  Makes them look flash but up close not so much.  The single pea shooter exhaust and plain black grill give away the aga under the bonnet on the de-badged ones.

 

30d single turbo engine, smoother 6 pot but DPF will give problems if not allowed to regen.

 

35d twin turbo engine, again same DPF issues and only available in auto (with flappy paddles) but has twice the liability of turbos and actuators etc, but needs careful and regular maintenance.  Frighteningly quick performance from an engine powered by the fuel of the devil.

 

If the 6 pot Diesel engines have not been serviced regularly i.e. lack of oil changes, the main crank bearings can suffer failure, identified by a rattle and grumble, it’s cheaper to replace the engine rather than strip it to put a new bearing in.

 

The 6pot petrol engines are BMWs trade mark and are well known for their smoothness and refinement.

 

The V8 petrol’s can leak oil from quite a lot of their engine gasket joints once they get older.  Rocker covers, vanos units, timing chain covers and the dreaded alternator support bracket can all leak oil.  But they look just like a 520d to the uneducated and because they have a nuclear bomb under the bonnet you can scare Porsche drivers.  The 540i had over 300bhp, 545i 333bhp and the 4.8i 550i has 367bhp, they will crack 60 in under 6 seconds, if you can live with the thirst and having to put two full 4 litre bottles of Castrol Edge into the sump every oil change then they are great fun.

 

Autos are now known to fail regardless if serviced or not.  Anywhere from 70,000 to 120,000 miles failures of both the ZF boxes 6HP19 and 6HP26 are affected.  The rubber seals between the mechatronic unit and the ‘box proper, get hard and fail leading to loss of fluid pressure and thus loss of drive as there is insufficient hydraulic pressure being maintained on the clutches and they slip.  If it goes unnoticed it then cooks the clutches resulting in clutch pack fault codes and it’s a reconditioned box as the cure at up to £3k….which is the trade value of some of the oldest E60s now.  BMW say the ‘boxes are sealed for life and life is 120,000 miles

 

Front suspension arms can wear at their ball joints but that’s the trade off for having a decent handling car with a heavy engine if you go for a 535d upwards.  Brakes are two piece, an alloy hub and an iron disc to keep the unsprung weight down, again it’s the decent engine models that have the two piece discs.  The two piece discs are more expensive but worth it.  My suspension and brakes all needed changing once I hit 70k, but I did it all myself and had great fun doing it.

 

I had two 545i’s.  I replaced all four discs, front suspension arms on both sides, a front wheel bearing and a rear spring.  I serviced it myself.  I had quite a few oil leaks on my block before I got rid of it but I traded mine as I got the dreaded clutch pack failure code rendering my autobox quite broken needing refurbished at a cost of more than the car is worth. 

 

Fix them anywhere and fit OEM parts to keep the costs down.

 

Make sure the rear air suspension airs up o.k.

 

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1 hour ago, jake13 said:

Very thorough, indeed :D. However, you need to mention the dreaded tailgate gate loom which every E61 owner suffers, like chicken pox :lol:

 

I have to admit that was a review I wrote for a colleague who was wanting to buy an E60....not an E61 so the unique to E61 problems will be lost on me, other than the air suspension....

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Great info :) +1 agree.

 

On 07/05/2017 at 10:10 AM, Pete Soulby said:

I'm looking to move my A3 on and get back into a BMW. I'm thinking of a diesel estate but this is where I get into trouble.

 

What causes most trouble, auto or manual? 2.0,2.5,3.0d?

 

how do they handle the miles? Is there any mileage range where parts start to fail?

 

I've just gone through the same exersice recently. As for the "6pot petrol engines are BMWs trade mark and are well known for their smoothness and refinement." (Edit: agreed when under load in action), if you haven't already seen it, check out my recent thread:

I had to wait over 6 months, regularly checking searches every few days to get something close enough for my lower end 2007 LCI budget. Of course, with more cash you are likely to find something quicker and may be able to compromise less.

 

The longer you wait may pay dividends depending on the future taxation of Diesel vs. Petrol that could also influence your choice, you would expect prices to fall steadily over time but the gov't could distort second hand values with scrappage schemes etc. The last scrappage scheme (~2009) dumped thousands of perfectly good cars in fields waiting to be crushed, that  cost me +30% when it caused a noticable shortage in the 7 to 10 year old second hand car market. This time coupled with all those PCP finance deals that should be ending soon and would expect the opposite to happen as deals are rolled into newer PCP schemes which could start to flood the second hand car market, though it hasn't happened yet (2018 maybe?). So who knows... the E60/E61 LCI with a good higher powerd engine + manual touring combo + more toys might well hold it's price.

 

Edited by DarkHorse
typo's

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On 5/8/2017 at 9:31 AM, jake13 said:

Very thorough, indeed :D. However, you need to mention the dreaded tailgate gate loom which every E61 owner suffers, like chicken pox :lol:

Just to add to the loom problem, for me it wasn't a big issue. I got it sorted for £65. If it went every year I could live with that. 

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If you are thinking 2.0d then have a look at my post, A brief guide to 2.0d ownership. It gives you an idea of the worst that can happen, bearing in mind I bought it on the strength of the timing chain having been done by BMW only 20k earlier.

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk

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5 hours ago, Piper said:

Don't buy an N47 unless the timing chain has been replaced. Speaking from experience. 

Never had a chain problem with m47, had 4 cars with this engine.

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Purchased a 520d e61 4-5 weeks ago the m47 engine, after some thorough maintenance I can say I’m more than happy with it, changed from a civic 2.2. Loving the room in my “dad mobile” not had to put my back seats down once lol

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