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There is a loud banging noise coming from underneath the chassis on my 2000 BMW 528i, 137,000 miles.

I took it in to my local dealer and asked that they give me a full inspection, and try to find the cause of the noise. They said it might have been a loose exhaust strap or something, and removed it, but that hasn't fixed it, so I suspect it is the suspension.

Meanwhile, the inspection report is attached on a PDF file. Total estimated cost to repair is about $6000. The dealer said that if I had everything done, I would probably get another 5 years on the vehicle.

I have a mechanic who is qualified to work on BMWs, and who uses BMW parts. He could probably do the repairs for about $4000, but I wouldn't have the BMW warranty on the repairs.

I love this Bimmer, but don't want to throw good money after bad.

Any advice or comments on what to do would be appreciated.

Thanks.
 

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Thanks for the input.

I'm certainly no DIYer, but that's very good to know for when I go to my local mechanic tomorrow.

A couple of weeks ago he said that he could do the suspension work for about $2200, but did not recommend putting that kind of money into an 18 year old vehicle that required all sorts of other work. In fact, he offered to buy it from me (after I get a quote from Carmax) and fix it up himself with aftermarket parts, because he would like to keep it for his personal use.

I would like to keep this Bimmer--it's been a great car for me. If putting $4000-6000 into it now would keep it going for another 5 years, it would make sense economically. That's the dilemma that prompted me to post this question.
 

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Thanks for the input.



I'm certainly no DIYer, but that's very good to know for when I go to my local mechanic tomorrow.



A couple of weeks ago he said that he could do the suspension work for about $2200, but did not recommend putting that kind of money into an 18 year old vehicle that required all sorts of other work. In fact, he offered to buy it from me (after I get a quote from Carmax) and fix it up himself with aftermarket parts, because he would like to keep it for his personal use.



I would like to keep this Bimmer--it's been a great car for me. If putting $4000-6000 into it now would keep it going for another 5 years, it would make sense economically. That's the dilemma that prompted me to post this question.


Hmm sounds shady ‘it’s a pile of crap but I’ll buy it’
As a DIY i am amazed at the non DIY BMW owners.
You can do it , if you have a spot like a garage or parking pad and a few friends and a few $$ for parts and tools , otherwise pay pay pay.. no way to judge if the car is on its last leg but e39s are tough e34/ are tough and the 2.8 6 motor is tough . Hard to kill these cars without intentionally abusing them .


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I'm not an expert, but I had 2000 528 which I sold with 225k and my M5 has about this much at the moment...


This estimate is junk. I don't think it addresses the problem you actually have with your car which to me sounds like you have an issue with driveshaft's central bearing or otherwise somehow driveshaft related.

What they essentially found is that you have a worn front end which is normal for a car given its age and mileage. If you could DIY, this whole thing is less that $1K in high quality non-genuine BMW parts. I would also replace front shocks while you at it, personally and replace rear AND front brake lines with stainless steel ones. Since you can't DIY, I suggest taking the car to BMW specialist (not dealer) to have the source of that noise actually definitively established before you start throwing money at it.



Alternatively, the noise may be due to your front shocks and their mounts being shot. In that case, this estimate should address this issue.
If you decide to have things done on this estimate, I suggest NOT replacing oil pan gasket. They leak, but it a rare occasion. Often the oil leaking from oil filter housing makes it seem that you have oil pan gasket leak, so I wouldn't bother with that until you have that leak fixed.



If you were local, I would have offered to do this whole estimate for $1k plus cost of parts, but you are not, so it is not an option lol.
 

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Posting up in here as I have a good friend who has a 2000 528i also, and he is right around 410,000 miles today. Still on original auto transmission (had to top off fluid and change filter due to sluggish shifts, but that was IT). I will toss some advice in here and you can use it as you may...

The oil filter housing gasket it literally a $6-10 part. That job is right near the top right of the engine, and you must remove some items that are in the way like power steering reservoir leaned to the side, vanos oil line, etc, but it is not a bad job. While you are doing that you can easily replace the vanos oil line and crush washers as it's right there and you'll be disconnecting it anyways. That should save you **GASP* $917 minus the cost of the gasket and vanos oil line which will come in around $40ish I think.

Front shocks, mounts and hardware can get expensive as there are a lot of parts to replace, but from my friend's experience doing this, the entire coil over can be removed from the car without compressing the spring I believe. If you were to purchase everything you need and pre-assemble it off the car so it's ready to go, that entire job should not be too bad at all and is simply removing the old strut assembly and installing the new. Should be able to get the entire front shock assembly both sides for around $400-500ish I think. Front sway bar links while you are at it are pretty simple to do and right in your face while doing the shocks, so knock that one out at the same time. They are cheap as well, lemforders probably $20-30 each maybe?

Brake lines - don't even try that on your own, that is definitely something to pay for. However, it says "Rubber brake lines" which means it's not the hard metal lines that are bad, it's just the rubber ones that connect from the hard line to the caliper. That too is a pretty easy job, and if you have a friend that can help bleed the brakes, you can save yourself gobs there. I think those lines are around $30-40 each maybe.

Now the oil pan gasket is a beast of a job, at least on the E46 I did it on which has a very similar set up to the E39 528. In order to even get at that pan gasket, and to remove the pan, the entire engine has to be supported from above with an engine brace ($99 at harbor freight) and then the steering rack and lower control arms removed and dropped down to give you clearance to get the pan out. This job took me an entire day, was a TON and TON of work, but the parts were not bad, I think I spent around $99 for a bunch of replacement bolts and the oil pan gasket. Get OE BMW if you are going to attempt this simply because you never want to touch that again. Now, that being said, how much oil is it leaking? I made the mistake once of power washing my wife's so i could see how much it was leaking and I think the pressure from the power washer pushed a small chunk of gasket out and then it started to dump one quart every 3 days!!!! now that is a BAD leak. So get under there, hand wipe it clean and then inspect over a week or so, also constantly check your oil level. The gasket on my E46 330i was leaking for at least 10 years, but it was a very minor slow leak and adding oil here and there is certainly a hell of a lot easier than dealing with that job. So assess and inspect, and also ENSURE the leak is coming from the oil pan, as any other oil leak INCLUDING THE OIL FILTER HOUSING GASKET can manifest itself on the oil pan bottom since that is the lowest part of the engine. This is why cleaning it all good can help trace the actual source of the leak.

AC no leaks evident, but $325? MY GOD WHAT RAPAGE.

All in all, these are all jobs you can do yourself, you just need time, and the right tools and sometimes an extra set of hands. THAT CAR WILL LAST 400K MILES EASY. So 5 years if you did all this is an underestimate. But I'm not sure what other service history your car has, so there may be other jobs to do as well. You need to look at it as a whole and determine if it's worth it for you to put in the work, time, money and effort, or dump it and get something newer. But I will say this - they don't make them like that car anymore. That car was BUILT to last. And that M52 engine is far more bullet proof as well as leak proof compared to the M54.

Good luck!
 

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Oops forgot thrust arm bushings. Those arms are probably the most commonly replaced part on any E39's suspension, and again, doable via DIY.

AND FCP EURO for all the parts and they are lifetime as long as you own the car.
 

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First, many thanks to everyone for your valuable input and responses to my initial post.

My BMW specialist agreed with just about everything that was said here. His mechanic did a complete inspection, which they call a "wellness check," at no cost. He found everything the dealer had noted, and more. He said the metal brake lines were rusted, but that I should not do anything about that now, that it would be a huge job, and to wait until they started leaking. The shocks were leaking, but the springs were good.

All he did was to replace the front end suspension parts listed, and recharge the A/C ($181 vs the dealer charge of $325). There was no A/C leak detected under the hood, which he said means it may be the evaporator coil in the dash, which would be another huge labor and parts charge. He said as long as it is a slow leak, it would be cheaper just to recharge it every year.

Also, the "banging sound," mainly when I go over bumps, is still there. Maybe it is in the driveshaft, as NJRaver1 suggested, but the mechanic didn't think so. Which isn't to say that the mechanic is correct. I'm going to ask them to look at it again, now that the front end extension is fixed.

Overall, the BMW specialist doesn't think it is worthwhile to keep putting money into this vehicle in an attempt to keep it running for 5 years or more. (It was his mechanic, not the shop owner, who said he might buy it and do all the work himself with aftermarket non-BMW parts.)

By the way, I do recommend this repair shop (see attached PDF file) for anyone in the Northern suburbs of Chicago. The owner is fair, honest, and much less expensive than the local dealer.
 

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