Some of you may have followed along, but I picked up an E34 M5 last April with a cracked block. It's now completely rebuilt and back on the road.
I've since taken a new job, and now commute extensively (temporarily) so the M5 is parked safely inside my brother's garage. That way he can exercise it occasionally, I'd rather someone get some enjoyment and keep up on the maintenance for me than it just sit in my garage while we try to sell our house.
Either way - I saw an ad for a 1995 540i/6 speed locally, I had to atleast go check it out. High miles (252k), and it's been neglected for quite some time, but it is optioned nicely and all the pieces are there.
It has a clean title, and according to the vin is a true factory original 6-speed car. I have yet to check the serial number on the engine block to see if it is an Alusil replacement block or not.
The car pulls strongly, and trans shifts nicely. Car walks to the left under moderate and hard braking, safely assume it needs rear subframe mounts.
I'm pleased with my purchase!
Schwarz II black
Power Steering wheel adjustment
Power and Heated Sport Seats
M Sports Suspension
The front end has its fair share of rock chips, and the interior is in desperate need of a thorough scrubbing. The body is clean, with the exception of the driver's door - which had the limiting detent pulled clean through the sheetmetal frame on the door...??? It will need a new driver's door, but I think I've source one in the same color and year already.
This should be a suitable E34 M5 substitute for commuting in. Gas MPG isn't very good, but with the 6-speed, and a careful foot in mostly highway driving, it shouldn't be awful.
Nice. I think the 540 is a great car, nice torquey motor and usually have plenty of extras fitted. Not quite as precious as an M5 so you can play around with suspension etc without having to worry too much about losing originality.
'86 E28 M5 Dolphin Grey - dead
'90 E34 M5 3.6 Sterling Silver
'01 E39 M5 Le Mans Blue
'03 E39 540i Sport Touring Mora Mettalic
'94 E36 325 coupe
'11 1M coupe Sapphire Black
'05 KTM 990 superduke
'95 3.8 6speed ///M5
You wash your car like it was your firstborn child, you tend to its needs like it was your own body, you rotect it like it's your family, then you drive it like you stole it.
I took some time this weekend to clean up my 540/6.
I got a new driver's door installed from a donor E34 of the same color and year. The '95s have a slightly different bottom sweep to their door. Donor car wasn't taken care of quite like mine was - so the door needed a clay bar and coat of wax, but after that the color matches nicely. One issue I ran into was adjusting the door height, fore/aft, and inboard/outboard positions. The mounting style makes it difficult to adjust, it just has 4 studs that come from the door frame thru the hinges held on with nuts. The studs can shift up/down and fore/aft, but there isn't an adjustment beyond simply loosening the nuts, which allows the door to move freely. Take a look at your doors to see what I'm talking about. Either way - if anyone has successfully adjusted a door on an E34, I'd appreciate some pointers. Right now I'm thinking some way of supporting the door in its desired height without relying on the hinge would be of huge help.
I pulled the casting number off the block, turns out this is a Nikisil block. Which yields concerns, especially considering it has 256k miles on it. I went ahead and pulled the plugs (dirty and a little corroded), and checked compression with pleasing results. 190-215psi across all 8. This engine is still holding very good compression, despite its high mileage and Nikisil block. I was very pleased with this, I think that's quite a good representation of what well designed and properly maintained engines are capable of.
I also removed the DME to look for any performance chip. This car still has its factory chip. I might be looking for a Dinan or suitable performance chip for it.
I installed the grille. The clips that retain the passenger side kidney grille are broken off, so I'll need to purchase replacements before getting to install the kidney on that side.
The overall 'dingeyness' of the interior is coming clean. Steam cleaning and a good leather cleaner and conditioner go a long ways on these cars. Especially ones with the tan interior.
Still on the list is to replace those spark plugs, they were still usable, and I cleaned them up - but I'd like to replace them. Clean the MAF, general tune-up items.
Another concern that began to become apparent, this car seems to wander at on-center steering. I know this is a common issue with these cars, they tend to grab grooves in the road, especially in highway/freeway driving. But this one seems to do it more than expected. I'll check for play in the steering box, I've needed to adjust mine in the previous cars. I'm not entirely convinced it is all the steering box though. It gives a vague feeling in transitioning from corner to corner. Feels really nice in the corner, but as soon as the wheel crosses over 12 o'clock, it gets vague and wanders a little. This makes me a little nervous, for obvious reasons. I'll spend a little more time taking a closer look at front suspension and steering, but thought I'd ask for any experience with this from you all as well.
I read this on pspassos profile and gave me a chuckle "You wash your car like it was your firstborn child, you tend to its needs like it was your own body, you rotect it like it's your family, then you drive it like you stole it." .... so true !
I had the same steering vagueness and would recommend in this order: front control arm rubber bushings replaced with poly, rear dog bone links (the rear wandering makes the whole car wander), steering pump, steering box. This is assuming all the other front end parts are good.
I got a new LUK pump for $350 and a new ZF box for less than $1000, the BMW parts run scary prices for those.
The last thing on my list is rear subframe bushings in poly, that will not hurt.
A steering rack is always better than a box...
I would think carefully before poly bushing the rear subframe as most feel it makes the ride too harsh. OEM bushes do a good job and last ages.
Also check the tie-rods, centre link and pitman arm along with the upper and lower control arm bushes and ball joints before buying a new steering box. Even a small amount of play in any of these parts will make the car feel horrible.
As for poly - I won't put poly mounts/bushings in any car I plan to drive on the road. Poly squeeks, destroys ride quality, and wear out quickly. They have their place, but it's not on a daily driver road car.
The previous owner put poly engine mounts and trans mounts. They amplify a harmonic that absolutely destroys the smoothness of the car.
If this car was being built for the track, I'd go Poly :-)
I need to not be lazy and just get this thing up in the air and take a really close look.
some of the steering difference is probably servotronic in the 540 vs non servo in the m5. I notice similar differences in my M5 vs my 530iT or 750. The servotronic boxes are much more vague, imho. (all 3 of my cars have fairly new steering boxes, and all are tight as far as front end parts go).