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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the market for an E39 M5. Been looking for a month or so now. My experience is limited, my wife drives an '06 325Cic which a blast to spin around in in the summertime. A good friend owns an '03 540i with the M sport package - it's his machine that lead me to fall in love with the E39 and lead me to my M5 search. I have found a dealer in Cincinnati with a new listing, I started some dialogue over email, he sent me a ton of pics and a history report. Very straightforard with me (so I think.) All the photos look great, but something jumped out on the history - 2 previous owners, only 17k miles, yet part of the service the dealer is performing before resale is a clutch replacement. Obvious question - clutch replacement after 17k??? Is this a clear red flag that the car has been abused, or am I overly nervous about buying a car out of state, paying too much, etc? The car is exactly what i've been looking for, and I'm finding it hard to stay emotionally removed! Seems all 5's require a clutch replacement at some point, but the fact that this one is coming with so few miles leads me to think that it was driven hard and other componants may have suffered as well. Thoughts? I've been all over the forums here the past several weeks and the amount of knowledge here incredible - I've learned tons, what an amazing resource.
 

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Take everything that the dealer tells you with a grain of salt. Get a PPI (pre-purchase inspection) done by someone who knows M5s.
 

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If it's the car and dealership I'm thinking of, does the car have +/-17,501 miles on it per their website? If this is the car, it is my understanding that this place has a very good reputation and is even represented here on this board as a member.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If it's the car and dealership I'm thinking of, does the car have +/-17,501 miles on it per their website? If this is the car, it is my understanding that this place has a very good reputation and is even represented here on this board as a member.
Yes, I'm not familiar with the dealer but from what I can tell, it is completely reputable and does a great amount of business. Just a little nervous about that clutch replacement. Is the car going to perform to my expectations for a vehicle with only 17k, or is this service one of those things where "it's never the same after that." I will obviously do a PPI and drive it myself, just looking for someone to set me straight so I can join you lucky ones here as a fellow owner. Thanks
 

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If you put the name of the dealership that you are working with out on the board, you'll probably get a lot more feedback from people who have actually dealt with them personally

With regards to the clutch, without having an M5 myself, I cannot say as an absolute, but in my opinion, I wouldn't worry about it too much. With a used vehicle, your purchasing someone else past habits. It sounds like the dealership has corrected a known issue and I would believe any other issues related to the burnt clutch (obviously the PPI will provide additional peace of mind). Assuming the clutch was replaced with OEM or better, I would think it would be fine.
 

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Welcome to the Board. When considering a low mileage car, you'll want to discern why it's so (performance center car from SC, garage queen, in storage, etc). Were fluids (oil, brake, coolant) changed on time? A clutch going early could be a burnout gone wrong (acute) or an owner who didn't know how to shift properly (chronic). It may have been driven perfectly, yet required replacement from a leak or other failure. Finding an impartial, thorough, reliable PPI vendor is key. Having a member go scout it out would be an added bonus.
 

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Its just a clutch. Some people have no idea how to drive a manual and destory the clutch. The worst thing that such behavour would cause is destroyed rear tyres, clutch and flywheel.

The only damage you can really do to an M5 whilst driving it would be down to

Lack of servicing
Crashing it
Driving it hard when cold
Cooking the clutch

They are far stronger and more robust than most people realise.
 

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... and the blessing / curse of the M5 is that the clutch is by far the weakest link in the drivetrain.

The upside is that the clutch will typically roast long before damage is done to the transmission / rear end.

The downside is that the clutch will likely need replacement at much more frequent intervals.

I've seen most M5 clutches roasted by people can't grasp the concept of clutch pedal out _then_ gas pedal in.
 
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The worst thing that such behavour would cause is destroyed rear tyres, clutch and flywheel.
... and the blessing / curse of the M5 is that the clutch is by far the weakest link in the drivetrain.

The upside is that the clutch will typically roast long before damage is done to the transmission / rear end..
I would go so far as to say that dumping the clutch also wreaks havoc on the diff (i.e. it would seem that diff lash become monumental).


And as others have said, it's just a clutch and as long as it's been replaced with at least an OEM replacement, I'd say you're good. You'd really have to thrash on a car in 17K miles to ruin it much more than that. I mean I total disregard of all things mechanical, or cosmetic for that matter.
 

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To the OP: Does the car and dealer have to be in Cincinnati?
 

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I just bought an 02 with 27k miles on it, had a new clutch put in at 25k miles. PPI found no major issues. Now I have a low mileage car in excellent shape.......with a new clutch..........I will use the extra 2 grand to do some mods :) Sounds like you found your car. Get a PPI, lay down your money, and get her home.
 

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I know you're daydreaming about some kid going all 'Fast-n-Furious' on your car for 17k, but that probably isn't what happened. More likely a noobish clutch driver with bad habits. If that's all your PPI finds wrong then book the airline ticket!
 

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As usual, great advice here...

Sounds like it might be a great car...I hope the unbiased PPI you will be having done bears this out. As others have said, the M5 clutch can be toast with one bad bad burn out, or worn early from chronic poor driving habits. Either way, this likely has little bearing on the rest of the car.

GL!
 
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