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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
At the end of January I bought a 2002 M5 sight unseen from a car dealership in Miami (Inmotive Inc.) by winning it on eBay. I didn't have a pre-purchase inspection done, though I wouldn't skip that step in the future (I got caught up in car buying fever a bit). Now that I've owned my M5 for three months and a few thousand miles I thought I'd do a rundown of what my experience has been, good and bad. I've tried to include prices for everything, for this is really a financial analysis at the end of the day.

I bought the car for $27000 plus $295 "dealer fee" by issuing an offer on ebay. The car was advertised as a 2002 M5 with 40,000 miles on the clock. It is Carbon Black with the black sport interior. It has a Dinan Stage 2 Software upgrade and Dinan exhaust. Also, it has all options. (Which apparently is an option code on the dealer paperwork I have) It was advertised as recently serviced and all ready to go for the next owner, save for a broken front cup holder.

I paid $1390 to have it shipped enclosed from Miami to Seattle (brokered through World Wide Auto Transport) which took about 10 days total. I also paid $2716 in sales tax and registration for Washington State.

When the car arrived, it was definitely not in the great shape that had been advertised. Granted I might be pickier than the average guy (but not the average guy on this board). The list of issues was numerous, and almost all cosmetic. There were/are lots of little scratches on the car, including the drivers door glass. I'm going to have the car buffed out come summer time. The headlights have that aged look to them. The rear emblem was faded, and the trim strip around the front windshield was decayed/missing. The shift boot was messed up, the cup holder was indeed broken. One of the window blinds in the back would not retract. There were all sorts of tools missing from the kit. The bumper was missing the inner grill, and the list goes on in that vein. The SES light was on, the heater wouldn't blow, and one of the tires didn't match the others. The main issue though, was the slipping clutch. It was slipping badly. It was at this point I realized I should have exercised a little more due diligence when looking for my car.

First I bought new floor mats/trunk mat, a Peake reader, the front grill, windshield trim strip, cup holder and an oil filter. I also bought a new rear M emblem, and some rubbing compound/sandpaper for headlight repair. This first salvo of parts set me back $658. I took the bumper off and found that the clips and studs that held the front grill in were mostly missing, but I could use what was left with another $9 worth of clips. I also only had one key for the car. I ordered two new remote keys for $443 from Seattle BMW.

I emailed the dealer my laundry list of mis-represented items. He mailed me a check for $2128 to cover a clutch and fixing the heater. I figured that was probably as much I was going to be able to get, so I took what was being offered and started buying parts.

$2446 bought me a new clutch kit, flywheel, special tools for changing the clutch, rear mail seal and assoc stuff, a couple liters of Royal Purple Synchromax, flex disk, slave cylinder, exhaust gaskets, transmission mounts, and all the extra nuts and bolts for the job I would encounter. It also got me a new CD magazine, roller blind for the window, intensive washer motor, little console rolling storage compartment, a new shift boot, the missing tools from the tool kit, a new M-Mobility kit, a new shift boot, a final stage unit, some new wiper blades, and heat shield attachment hardware.

Before I started in on all this, I read the Peake codes. Almost everything was mis-fire related. No other

I worked out a deal with the mechanic where I work - he'd help me change the clutch and rear main seal, and I'd set up his home computer network and buy the parts he needed. I brought the car to his house on Saturday morning and up on the lift it went. He'd never worked on a BMW before (he's a fire truck mechanic for his day job). But there really wasn't anything special about the clutch job, parts came flying off and by lunch time the new clutch, flywheel, and rear main seal were installed. There were a couple missing bellhousing Torx bolts, old blind plugs, and a broken O2 sensor connector box. In addition, the pinion seal of the diff was leaking. So I ventured out and came back $83 lighter with the seal, diff oil, bolts, sensor box, brake fluid for the slave cylinder, and a few other things. We had the car buttoned up and finished by dinner time.

I was just blown away by how well it ran with the new clutch. I'm still taking it easy on her since the clutch is new, but its a whole new car.

I was reading about MAF's and their slow decay. I figured that I would go for it and replace the MAF's and spark plugs (at $242) to see if that cleared up the mis-fire condition. I took a couple hours and installed new VW MAF's, NGK OEM Spark Plugs, and some upgraded angel eyes while I was at it. The car seemed to run smoother, but it didn't make a gigantic difference like it has with other users. I wasn't having any running problems, just what codes I had when I bought it. Preventative maintenance seemed to be in order however.

I also needed to solve the heater blower not working issue. I replaced the final stage and that didn't fix it. So I got under the glovebox and checked the fuses. Both were OK, but when I reseated them, the heater started working. So that ended up being a nice break for me.

The tint on all the windows, especially the rear, was in bad shape, so I had it all removed and replaced for $390. Midnight Window Tinting in Everett... did a first class job.

Lastly, I tossed some new meats on her. $981 got me Potenza RE960AS's all around and another $165 for a 4-wheel alignment at Tru-Line in Seattle.

I had a well-off friend who bought me a bluetooth kit from bimmernav if I'd install the same kit in their 04 Range Rover. Didn't have to think very long on that now zero cost item. They also upgraded the CD's for their nav system so I got the cast-off's which saved me some $$$ too.

So all in all, I have $34,688 into this car for everything. I had about $4k in costs I would have had to spend on any car (transpo and taxes), and so about $6k got me a ton of replacement stuff, not to mention some good time learning all the ins and outs of the car. There are a few more little things I want to fix. A couple interior trim pieces that I'd just like to have freshened up (new parking brake boot to match the new shifter boot, new passenger door metal trim), and a couple little projects I'd like to do (install the new drivers door interior handle I bought, actually do the headlights, install the interior Xenon bulbs). Another $1000 should get me every little part I want replaced and a nice buffing job.

Overall, I'm *very* satisfied. She drives just wonderfully. It really goes when you want to, and I hardly use the Sport button which is like having a whole other car. I get a thumbs up almost every other day when I'm driving her from some other enthusiast on the road. Its hard to imagine a more perfect car to combine luxury cruising and performance. Besides the fact that keeping it clean is truly an impossible task, its an amazing car. Its also the easiest car I think I've ever worked on. Everything pops in and out very nicely, parts seem generally accessible and available. I was going to try to do some write ups as I went on this stuff, but I haven't done anything I didn't already find some sort of instructions for.I couldn't have done any of this without support from this board, so I want to toss out a general thanks for everyones help, whether you realized you helped or not.

-Sebastian
 

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Amazing right up. I thoroughly enjoyed it and glad your car is doing great. Congrats.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to document your experience with the M5. Your story is a good reminder to check things out thoroughly, and yet has a happy ending.

Enjoy your car!:cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks both. I gotta save I'm just smitten with this car. I know its new and all that, but I really have a feeling its gonna be a long termer with me.
 

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excellent write up, and good to have a ebay purchase documented.
Bet you take a great deal of pride in her now, knowing every little detail about her, and that you did it all yourself.
Time to put some miles on her now.
 

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That's great that you got a check for $2128 from the dealer after the sale.

Enjoy the car! Congrats!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I thought so too. I wanted to paint the dealer in the truest possible light. Both the initial poor showing, and the make-up. Then the next guy can decide how they'd feel about buying from this guy in the future.
 

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Great write up!! I am so happy to hear the follow up on your car. I remember your write up from when you received the car and saw that it was misrepresented. It is great that the dealership payed you some money. I think that shows that they were aware of some of these imperfections. Seems like this is the beginning of another pleased M5 owner!!:thumbsup:
 

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Thanks for the follow up!
We bought our cars at about the same time. I was eyeballing your car's auction on ebay, as I was in also in the market at that time. As I was already in California, I passed on it as I wanted to stick with my original plan of finding a car I could go look at.

Sounds like you made out just fine. Glad to hear the story has a happy ending. Lots of new parts, and lots of knowledge on the car. I read with dismay your report when your new beast made it home, that was a real bummer. Good job getting the two grand out of the dealer. :cheers:

p.s. you ain't kidding, keeping it clean IS an impossible task!!! :3:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
With the speed he folded and gave me the check, I knew that he knew there was **** wrong. But at that point I was potentially screwed anyways, so I took the money and ran.

I'd probably buy from a distance again, but I'd take more time, and have a shop look at it, plus maybe someone I knew in the area. I'm certainly ecstatic with the happy (so far anyhow) ending too. I just smile every time I get in her.
 

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This is very good!!

Ya know, when I read your 1st report after you took delivery, 'just shook my head. Another lesson learned, the hard way.

But your update today is a great message for all owners of these "best performance sedan ever made" cars: It doesn't take a huge amount of $$$ to get E39 M5's into good shape, and keep them that way. In fact, "all in", your cost is probably less than a "pristine" example would have cost; and you have the added benefit of knowing a lot of details about her. It's all good stuff.

BTW, I sincerely admire your willingness and ability to tackle all those "fixes" on your own. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, you recognized what she could be, and rolled up your shirt sleeves to get her right. Congratulations.

FWIW, I agree you can enjoy her for many years to come. Treated right and proactively maintained, these cars are rock solid; the last of BMW's "Ultimate Driving Machines", IMO. After 6 years of ownership, mine still makes me smile just to look at her, let alone every time I fire her up and let her rip.

Have fun!!:thumbsup:
 
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Great write-up I really enjoy these threads.
I recently purchased an M5 on ebay with the following things undisclosed

Broken Rear sway bar brackets
Bad Center driveshaft mount
Rotted Guibo
Bad Battery (What a nightmare)
and a few other cosmetics not nearly as bad as yours
Good luck!
 

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I also bought my car sight unseen and was fortunate, the car was exactly as described by Schaeffer BMW and had a brand new clutch to boot. I might have paid a premium, but I got it from a good dealer who told me everything about the car. They provided service records, CPO documentation and made my trip to their dealership in NC very pleasant. It is a huge leap of faith, but sometimes it just works out. Besides, this is one of those cars that is worth it to travel a distance to get what you want. In my case, I couldn't find jet black/caramel ANYWHERE. Saw a good deal of CB's, but wanted that pure black color. Stopped at OBX on the way back and made a little vacation out of it.
 

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Absolutely agree that this is a great write up and I appreciate your candor about your missteps. It is also very nice to hear that this all has a happy ending. But as I was reading your post, I couldn't help thinking "thank goodness he had the financial wherewithall to handle the additional issues that came up." Can you imagine what the ending would have been if you had had to really stretch to buy the car in the first place? I'm guessing that lots of folks who buy M5s off eBay haven't prepared for the little surprises that await them when buying an M5 sight unseen. I guess my point is that its great that things worked out so well for you, but my guess is that these happy endings are slightly rare.

By the way, do your friends have any interest in a speaker/subwoofer upgrade? I'd be happy to do it for them in exchange for some new speakers and a subwoofer for my M5 as payment!
 

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This write-up put a smile on my face this morning - thanks!

Sounds like you are a very mature person who realized you should/could have done some more checking in advance, but didn't just start bitching but rather took the bull by the horns and got yoruself a nice car in the end! Kudos to you.
 

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Nice write up.

I still think you got lucky- the work that needed to be done was all relatively minor at the end of the day. You ability to DIY (or by a friend) was critical in controlling cost.

And the dealers $2128 was manna from heaven!

Enjoy

A
 

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Great write up man, the beast I had previous to my current one was a similar stor but I gave up on her to early as far as fixing the issues(also spent about 6k though). my current beast I bought sight unseen but did get a PPi done as well board members being cool enough to check it out for me.. So so far smooth sailing. Its great to hear you stuck with the beast and its now rewarding you !!- Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #20
She is really a fantastic machine, and no question she rewards me every time I sit in her. My wife even likes to drive her, which is saying a lot. She has never driven any of the higher performance cars I've owned.

No doubt this story could have had a much worse ending (or a much better one too for that matter). I feel just like DRM said - it doesn't take a ton of money to fix seemingly major issues. Just willingness to read info on this board, then tear into your car without too much fear.
 
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