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AmxelShah

Purchasing a BMW 525i SEA

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Hi there, I recently spotted a BMW 525i Auto SE for sale, it has near enough full BMW Service History and 2 owners from new, beyond that I want to know what to look out for, from rust spots to common issues to parts and how to check the engine for faults, it's a 1991 model with 46K on the clock. Let me know if you would like any pictures or details. It would be brilliant if I could get in touch with the previous owner. 6d0a7a80-8735-4c2e-b3f0-34d01ef8ddca.jpg.46c82b360b6accfc125e87580ccd393e.jpgdf4cfee1-f012-4053-ab7e-43a788fa6490.jpg.de5025762612b71ffbc7862c6fe3dcef.jpg

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The engine: just listen to it. Should run smooth, no pops from the exhuast en no real ticking or knocking noises. And ofcourse start straight away.

 

Rust: check the sills, front wings bottoms, door bottoms (check around the strips front and feel the back, jacking points, fuel fillter door, license plate lights crossmember under front radiator and the wheel arches.

 

Common issues are mostly related to suspension issues, it should ride reasonably firm (soggier when compared to modern cars). N vibrations should be felt when driving taking off,...etc.

Wobbles would be noticeable around 40km/h from the driveshaft on hard acceleration

And from 80 to 100 km/h from the steering (lower control arms) also when braking

When the rear tries to wobble when steering at about 100km/h something could be wrong with the rear bushings.

 

Looks like a very clean car on the pictures!

 

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Looks like a good example but this from the MOT history does not bode well:

Nearside Front Vehicle structure has excessive corrosion which adversely affects braking or steering sill (6.1.A.1)

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On 7/9/2020 at 1:54 PM, whiskychaser said:

Looks like a good example but this from the MOT history does not bode well:

Nearside Front Vehicle structure has excessive corrosion which adversely affects braking or steering sill (6.1.A.1)

Hi, how would one properly check for corrosion?

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On 7/9/2020 at 9:15 AM, Johan said:

The engine: just listen to it. Should run smooth, no pops from the exhuast en no real ticking or knocking noises. And ofcourse start straight away.

 

Rust: check the sills, front wings bottoms, door bottoms (check around the strips front and feel the back, jacking points, fuel fillter door, license plate lights crossmember under front radiator and the wheel arches.

 

Common issues are mostly related to suspension issues, it should ride reasonably firm (soggier when compared to modern cars). N vibrations should be felt when driving taking off,...etc.

Wobbles would be noticeable around 40km/h from the driveshaft on hard acceleration

And from 80 to 100 km/h from the steering (lower control arms) also when braking

When the rear tries to wobble when steering at about 100km/h something could be wrong with the rear bushings.

 

Looks like a very clean car on the pictures!

 

Hi, thank you for the response, if I notice the wobbles is this a good thing or a bad thing? E.g. it'll be something to look into in the very near future or something that can wait? 

 

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Corrosion that effects braking or steering is a bit of a puzzler, seeing as the steering and suspension are all bolted to a couple of very substantial crossmembers. It seems to indicate that either the crossmembers, or the area of the bodyshell they mount to are a bit suspect, but those aren't really common failure points on these cars. The only other thing would be if the bulkhead that the column and pedals mount to is rotten but again, it's an odd place for that much corrosion to have occurred.  

 

As for wobbles, they're good in that they're usually easy to fix. These cars are very sensitive to wear in ball joints and bushes. They're not deal breakers, but they're good points of negotiation. Good quality genuine BMW or OEM parts from Lemforder are the ones to use, so it may pay to look up prices on these and go in with some information on what it might cost to fix.

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I wouldn't be surprised if the corrosion failure in 2016 for NSF was probably for a rusty jacking point, but it was incorrectly selected as a reason for failure.

 

One thing I noticed going through the MOT history is that the mileage goes up to 45k in April 2015, but then goes down to 44k in June 2016? Clocks changed? Or possibly miles/kilometres issue?

 

Overall, looks like it has barely been used throughout the years. The rear 525i badge is placed incorrectly (too high), so possibly had a whack at the back or maybe just a minor re-spray?

 

Does look clean from the 2 photos above, but I personally wouldn't fancy an Auto...

Edited by Blackman

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On 7/20/2020 at 7:40 PM, Blackman said:

I wouldn't be surprised if the corrosion failure in 2016 for NSF was probably for a rusty jacking point, but it was incorrectly selected as a reason for failure.

 

One thing I noticed going through the MOT history is that the mileage goes up to 45k in April 2015, but then goes down to 44k in June 2016? Clocks changed? Or possibly miles/kilometres issue?

 

Overall, looks like it has barely been used throughout the years. The rear 525i badge is placed incorrectly (too high), so possibly had a whack at the back or maybe just a minor re-spray?

 

Does look clean from the 2 photos above, but I personally wouldn't fancy an Auto...

Hi, so I went and viewed this car and it has Ample history, sharp eye noticing the badge on the back as in the history it has had a hit in the back but also was repaired by BMW and still has the "Certificate of Repair" given by BMW. The history book is full BMW and the mileage is still puzzling me as the history from the quick look I had does line up, so maybe just Miles/Km issue. I couldn't take it on a full test drive but upon turning Right hard (or to put some context in sharp right/long right/long right corner) there is a scraping noise from the front right, not sure what it is but the breaks feel fine, bar some corrosion on the rear disks. It needs coolant, but this is just normal for this car, beyond that the electrics work and it rides fine. The Engine Starts Strong and runs smooth, I do want to jack it up before I make my final decision and have a thorough look at the underside but I have been told it was garaged for the majority of its life. 
 

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On 7/11/2020 at 2:18 PM, Flandy said:

Corrosion that effects braking or steering is a bit of a puzzler, seeing as the steering and suspension are all bolted to a couple of very substantial crossmembers. It seems to indicate that either the crossmembers, or the area of the bodyshell they mount to are a bit suspect, but those aren't really common failure points on these cars. The only other thing would be if the bulkhead that the column and pedals mount to is rotten but again, it's an odd place for that much corrosion to have occurred.  

 

As for wobbles, they're good in that they're usually easy to fix. These cars are very sensitive to wear in ball joints and bushes. They're not deal breakers, but they're good points of negotiation. Good quality genuine BMW or OEM parts from Lemforder are the ones to use, so it may pay to look up prices on these and go in with some information on what it might cost to fix.

Hi, thank you for your input it is appreciated, I drove it and had a thorough look around, I couldn't see anything to the naked eye but it started and drove fine, I do plan on taking it back to BMW for a full Once over, however I did want to ask you, say if the Ball joins or parts of the suspension are corroded, I have a three hour drive back, after driving it I don't see it struggling with such a journey, but as I said in the last comment, when turning right there is a scraping noise coming from the front right side, would you have any idea what this is, it is coming from around where the wheel is. 

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Tried looking up this E34 on Repossessed UK cars website, but for some reason it's not there?

 

Unless they are asking crazy money for it, it looks to be a decent buy. You don't necessarily have to take it to BMW for an inspection - whatever it needs mechanically, it won't cost a fortune to sort out...At the end of the day, the car is 25+ years old.

 

As for corrosion, just get on your knees and check the state of the sills/jacking points - if they are fine, then the rest is not a big deal.

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1 hour ago, Blackman said:

Tried looking up this E34 on Repossessed UK cars website, but for some reason it's not there?

 

Unless they are asking crazy money for it, it looks to be a decent buy. You don't necessarily have to take it to BMW for an inspection - whatever it needs mechanically, it won't cost a fortune to sort out...At the end of the day, the car is 25+ years old.

 

As for corrosion, just get on your knees and check the state of the sills/jacking points - if they are fine, then the rest is not a big deal.

Hi mate, yeah put a deposit down on it, could you send me where the jacking points are and let me know how to properly check the sills. I've given then a look over but being honest it's my first time inspecting such an old car. I'll update you on how it is once I've given it a thorough look, How much would you expect it to be, 2 owners from new, full BMW Service history, even has the original receipt for the car

 

 

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So far as the jacking points, and how the sills rust, and what's involved to repair them properly, this thread is pretty comprehensive: 

 

That's kind of a worst case this side of being parked in a field for a decade, and I'd suspect on a car with out the sports sill covers, it's unlikely to get that bad and pass MOT's, as it'd be picked up and repaired sooner. The sill covers do an excellent job of hiding the damage and allowing it to fester  and as the MOT tester can only poke what's visible, it can still pass even when quite bad. 

 

Suspension joints just tend to wear gradually, with more and more play, and the rubber bushes go soft and crack, but they're very much fail safe items that give the driver plenty of notice in the form of steering play, shimmies on the steering and under braking, and just a general feeling of inaccuracy. If it didn't scare you when you test drove it, odds are it's fine for a while, although they're always benefit from a freshen up. These cars have a steering box instead of a rack (4 wheel drive 525ix excluded) and they're never laser sharp, but it should stay on target. There is scope fr adjustment to tighten it up, but only a little. Mine is too worn, and when I eliminate the slop in the straight ahead, where it gets most wear, it's too tight on lock. so I really need a replacement, or rebuild.

 

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5 hours ago, Flandy said:

So far as the jacking points, and how the sills rust, and what's involved to repair them properly, this thread is pretty comprehensive: 

 

That's kind of a worst case this side of being parked in a field for a decade, and I'd suspect on a car with out the sports sill covers, it's unlikely to get that bad and pass MOT's, as it'd be picked up and repaired sooner. The sill covers do an excellent job of hiding the damage and allowing it to fester  and as the MOT tester can only poke what's visible, it can still pass even when quite bad. 

 

Suspension joints just tend to wear gradually, with more and more play, and the rubber bushes go soft and crack, but they're very much fail safe items that give the driver plenty of notice in the form of steering play, shimmies on the steering and under braking, and just a general feeling of inaccuracy. If it didn't scare you when you test drove it, odds are it's fine for a while, although they're always benefit from a freshen up. These cars have a steering box instead of a rack (4 wheel drive 525ix excluded) and they're never laser sharp, but it should stay on target. There is scope fr adjustment to tighten it up, but only a little. Mine is too worn, and when I eliminate the slop in the straight ahead, where it gets most wear, it's too tight on lock. so I really need a replacement, or rebuild.

 

I am loving this read, thank you so much for referring me to this, as honestly, I wouldn't have been able to spot half these issues when I go for the collection I will inspect all of this. So due to COVID, I could only drive it within the parking area, which was large but no chance of getting it up to anything above 30/40+, the steering felt fine if a little floaty, accurate but as you described it stayed on target. 

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On 24/07/2020 at 01:09, AmxelShah said:

Hi mate, yeah put a deposit down on it, could you send me where the jacking points are and let me know how to properly check the sills. I've given then a look over but being honest it's my first time inspecting such an old car. I'll update you on how it is once I've given it a thorough look, How much would you expect it to be, 2 owners from new, full BMW Service history, even has the original receipt for the car

 

 

 

I would say maybe £2-3k, but the prices of E34s vary quite a lot, so I wouldn't be surprised if it was advertised for more than that.

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