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Advice please

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I am hoping for some practical advice regarding BMW E61.  I will be buying one within the next four months or so, earlier of the right car presents itself.  Its to replace a car my wife and I have on contract hire as we have decided to buy an older car outright and reduce our monthly outgoings.  We've two dogs so need a car with a large boot.  Having had an E60 530d previously that I loved (colour aside, it was Olivin Green) I fancy the estate version.  I don't do sufficient miles to warrant a diesel so have been looking at petrol variants. 


I work in a motor dealership so servicing won't be an issue or acquiring parts and there is an excellent specialist just down the road so I'n not worried about servicing a car up to the correct level.  I am primarily interested in what common issues exist for the straight six engines (I'd love a V8 but can't see me being able to sneak one home without the better half knowing), and whether there are any variants to completely avoid.  I don't mind spending a bit on a car that will be well looked after.


Ideally I'd prefer a 530, but beggars can't be choosers - I have a budget of approximately £5000.


Any advice or suggestions would be most welcome, as well as places I can look to find good examples.  There are a few on Autotrader at the moment and they seem to be pretty much constantly available so I'm not under enormous pressure to get it sorted immediately.


Thank you!

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Hi n welcome to the forum B).


I never met anyone who bought an E61 to save money but it could happen I guess...:huh:

I don't think there are that many good E61 touring examples with petrol engines to choose from.

Note that the ATrader suggests that the tax on pre 2007 E61 530i 258hp is ~£500, where as the later E61 LCI facelift with N53 530i 272hp is ~£300.

With the dogs suggesting regular access to the boot, the E61 is prone to tailgate wiring fatigue failure, so you might want to budget for a potential tailgate wiring loom replacement.


I did a quick search on this forum and found a few E61 or petrol 6 cylinder related threads (with more links to info):


Looking to buy e60 LCI


Round 2... This time with a 530i


E61 535d online viewing - what to ask/look for




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Re the pre lci 530i (n52) tax, its round the £320 mark. I’ll 2nd what @DarkHorse hinted at, you’ll be very luck to save money  getting an e61 or e60 for that matter.

I’ve come very close to drawing a line under mine and giving up. I’ve been looking at e46 m3s as an alternative (frying pan/fire). After driving one I was glad to get back into the e61. I think it’s an age thing.


If going petrol, the 530i is the one to go for. If it’s approaching 100k or over it (most will be over it) I’d suggest looking for proof of the following having been done:

DISA valves (the 530i has two at round £250 each and they only like genuine ones)

vanos solenoids (2x at £100 each and again wouldn’t trust cheap ones)

Electric water pump and thermostat (round £300)

If it’s the lci with the n53 engine, the latest injector revision (can be round £2k to replace)


The rest are general e60/61 problems but as you’ve had one before you’ll be aware of them.

Don’t get me wrong, they are great cars but I didn’t get the best example as I wanted a manual m-sport 530i and there are only about 19 of them left on the road in the uk, so had a limited pool to choose from. 


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Thanks for your advice.  


The budget has changed - £8000 is now suggested.    As far as saving money goes, I can't imagine, unless I am phenomenally unlucky it will cost more than £250 a month to keep on the road.   I wasn't very clear about that.  This will be savings so no loan required.   


It's a funny amount of money to spend because there doesn't seem to be much choice about large estates unless you have a diesel which were really don't want.  And I refuse to have a Mondeo or a Volvo, or anything French.  


I have thought about the V8 variants but apparently they're a catastrophe waiting to happen.

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Funny you mentioned the mondeo, I had on for a couple of years as a company car about 5 years ago. Really good car to drive but shows the miles in the bodywork.

£250 per month repair budget might not be too far away. I’ve had my e61 530i for just over 2 years now and recently tallied up the receipts I have for it and it’s >£5k in that time. As mentioned, mine was not the best example to start with but aside from the clutch everything else was a ”common problem”. Worth saying that I am extremely fussy and do my own work so that is the cost of just the parts.

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