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Cribert

Which e60/e61

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Hi guys. Thinking of moving into an e60 or 61. I prefer the 61 and with a potentially growing family it would be perfect.

 

i don’t know much about them to be honest so as I research just looking for some feedback on which engine and box to go for. I like manuals however the auto would be perfect for the other half. She drives a Mr2 at the moment so changing to a bigger car would help being auto so it’s one less thing to worry about.

 

i would prefer a sport version just purely from a looks perspective I reckon. Diesel again I’m not sure. I only do between 10 and 13k a year so don’t think it would be worth it. I’m hankering towards a 530i auto e61 but would the 525i be more frugal? Anything to look out for or any other suggestions welcome!

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From a previous post on buying an E60/1 I gave a while back.

 

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 bought 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.  But this is really rare.

 

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.

 

Tailgate wiring can suffer from breakages due to repeated opening and closing of the lid.

 

I would buy a manual 525i or 530i.  Good luck finding one of them.

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Great information there. It sounds like what I expected to be honest. Similarities to the e39 variant. I might have a hard time convincing her to a manual as I’ve had a couple of auto e39s and she loves them!

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There are a few posts on buying info. A search may throw some up.

 

Facelift (LCi) I think was Sep 2007 onwards but could be wrong.  Mine were both early models so not familiar with the later ones. 

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Think Andrew has covered most stuff, but there's also a pile of documentation available by following Horsey's link here.

And then there's the 'frying electrics' thread too. 

For practicality I like the E61 but couldn't persuade t'others half so we run an E60 525d. Certainly no rocket ship but still the 3.0 straight six and does all I want. Ours is a March 2007 build so an early LCI which I guess is the facelifty bit. 

We're nearly 4 years in now and regular maintenance apart from oil and filter changes has included new battery, EGR and main stats, power steering fluid cooler, air con condenser, gearbox service, maybe couple of other oddments. Also bought the Carly app - handy for monitoring just about everything and ensuring stats are doing their job and regens are happening. 

Edited: New pads and discs all round too. 

Edited by pidgeonpost

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1 hour ago, pidgeonpost said:

 

And then there's the 'frying electrics' thread too. 

 

 

Good shout.  Apparently I had a rare E60 where the electrics worked, well 99% of the time.  Possibly 3 or 4 times it fired of a random error in 8 years.  Switch off and back on again and all was well and fault code clear.  It was always within a minute of after a start up it would do that, never part way into a journey.....  Never bothered me.

 

After owning a Vauxhall, I learned that to avoid a world of pain in auto electrics, switch everything off before switching off the engine.  That way you avoid surges on shut down and then start up as everything is still off.  But I dare say the E60 is far more sophisticated than a Vauxhall from the 1980s era and can control its electrics better.

Edited by 535i Andrew

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Thanks for all the help so far guys! 

 

Electrics is one thing I don’t know anything about and if a certain model has issues I tend to avoid it completely. That’s a bit disheartening that they suffer electrical issues.

 

its pushing me towards an e39 after reading a wee bit about the issues 

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25 minutes ago, 535i Andrew said:

Apparently I had a rare E60 where the electrics worked, well 99% of the time.

Ours has only thrown one wobbly and that occurred after I'd had the front end up on a jack and moved the steering from lock to lock. This must have temporarily upset its innards but switching off and back on again cleared the fault. A bit like a Windows OS I guess. ;)

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28 minutes ago, Cribert said:

Electrics is one thing I don’t know anything about and if a certain model has issues I tend to avoid it completely. That’s a bit disheartening that they suffer electrical issues.

 

its pushing me towards an e39 after reading a wee bit about the issues 

 

Seriously it really wasn't that bad, mine was way better than my E39, it was far worse electrically.

 

10 minutes ago, pidgeonpost said:

Ours has only thrown one wobbly and that occurred after I'd had the front end up on a jack and moved the steering from lock to lock. This must have temporarily upset its innards but switching off and back on again cleared the fault. 

 

Mine having its nose in the air was a regular thing wit both wheels off to do the suspension arms and front brakes and did exactly as you did going lock to lock without issue. Must have been because..

48 minutes ago, 535i Andrew said:

I had a rare E60 where the electrics worked, well 99% of the time. 

 

 ;)

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I wouldn't fret too much about the decision and the issues they can have. As is the way with life, we don't complain when things work because that's the expectation. We only complain when they don't work. So consider that there are more happy people with working cars than not. 

 

Every car has issues, its always about how a car has been looked after and things being repaired right when they do go wrong. 

 

You'll find most issues, if not all the E6X series gets has been discussed and solved on here, and most are pretty easy to do for a reasonably competent DIY'er . 

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The thing to remember is that there’s always a reason why someone is selling a car and it’s usually because things are starting to go wrong. You’ve just got to factor that in when buying.

I thought I’d researched most of the common problems before looking at the car I bought and it seemed ok, turns out it had a few not so common problems. In saying that I feel the car’s worth it especially when the rev counter goes past 4.5k :)

oh and e61 530i manual for the win :) if you can find one.

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5 hours ago, Cribert said:

...would the 525i be more frugal?

 

The 525i LCI from March 2007 is a detuned N53 3.0L (with some differences), which isn't worth the sacrifice for what are small savings really. Problem is availability, there are a lot more 525i setups out there.

 

More background reading and links to more info here.

 

Just take your time, see a few and get the right one for you.

The second hand market for 10 year old german motors still remains quite expensive (thanks to the financialisation of new cars). What is your budget range?

 

 

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With the mention of all the diesel issues, don't forget about the hugely problematic N53 petrol either. I'm not sure which is worse actually.

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Petrol post March 2007 build date is normally an N53 (engine type on door pillar sticker? Build date under bonnet).

 

Lol, yep does also have the potential to cost.:shock:

Sure is quite a tricky car to buy wisely with age.

 

6k seems sensible for 2008/9 100k with history.
A little Brexit squeeze might help move the price, hard to say.
After might see prices initialy inflate... if ever...:wacko:

Edited by DarkHorse

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In terms of entertainment, this is definitely worth doing some research on. There are three OEM types:

 

MASK - early basic Business Navigation (small screen)(2003)

CCC - early widescreen Pro Navigation (2003)

CIC - later widescreen (2009)

 

It's worth reading up on this as many people assume LCI cars all have CIC, but that isn't the case as you can still find LCi cars with CCC right up to 2009 or even 2010. More info here:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IDrive

 

It is possible to retrofit NBT (2012) or there are Android replacements as you've probably seen for the E39.

 

It can be hard to retrofit things like Bluetooth, HUD, USB, DAB etc so ideally try and find a car that has all the entertainment options you want already.

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So sounds like I should be looking for a manual e61 530i 2006?

 

what engine would be in that? 

 

Theres a nice 525i on eBay at the moment although it’s 2004

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50 minutes ago, Cribert said:

So sounds like I should be looking for a manual e61 530i 2006?

 

what engine would be in that? 

 

Theres a nice 525i on eBay at the moment although it’s 2004

 

The 2006 one I think that would be an N52 of 2.5 litres it has valvetronic and dual vanos.. It replaced the M54 which only had vanos. ~215bhp so adequate.

 

The 2004 525i would have the M54 version, again 2.5 litres displacement. ~190bhp.

Edited by 535i Andrew
FFS second time today I've got my BMW engine codes wrong....

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