BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums banner

1 - 20 of 58 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys, the ones of you that hang around here a lot will probably get fed up of this question, however its one for me that needs to be asked.

I have for the past few years owned a nissan 300zx. After spendingmuch time and money on it I feel its time for a change, no idea why its just the Z is becoming the norm and I fancy something a little more subtle with the performance to boot.

Me and my wife are also considering another child which looks to be going ahead, and fitting 2 children and 2 adults in a 2+2 which is really only a 2 seater in reality is going to be very difficult!!! so its another good excuse to look at another car.

I have been thinking of an M5 to replace my car. I've recently been contracting for a while away from where I live and I looked out of the window today from where I was sat and what was there but a E34 M5 :blabla:

I popped over to see the chap at lunch time, he seemed nice enough but then people always do when they are trying to sell you a car!! funny that!!

The car is a 1992 (L plate) M5 3.8 (RHD). Its white, with alcantara half trimmed seats. The Milage is 152k :eek:h: and it has had 7 owners (him being the seventh).

The car is up for 6k, however he has informed me that the self adjusting suspension is packing up, and this is a 2k job. So the 6k includes having this fixed, he said if I wanted it as it is, then it would be 4k. First thoughts were that he is being honest but then for 4k surely something else must be up? it started fine, purred ok, and went like stink, so all good there. No smoke, no hesitation no nothing really, just smooth power. The suspension in all honesty didnt seem bad to me at all but then having never been in another one it would obviously be hard for me to tell.

I have a few concerns.

The first is the milage, I havn't seen the paper work on the car, and upon asking questions that I know about all my cars I own like when was the timing belt last changed etc he didnt have a clue. He claims to have owned it for about the past three years. Is this millage exceptable for an M5 providing its been regularly serviced? or is it likely to be the time where all the original equipment is stretched to its limit and im going to be looking at heavy repair billd from day 1?

The second concern is the suspension, I have heard that the set up can be replaced with a non factory set up, is the M set up suspension really much better than a good set of shocks and springs? If so is the 2k a reasonable figure to expect to pay or should it be more?

The other thing is servicing and parts. I have always serviced and maintained my own cars, I was thinking that in comparison to some of my cars, the straight six seems to look pretty simple and relativley easy to work on. The sort of parts im looking at are gear boxes? clutches? head gaskets? pistons all sorts really, id anyone has any idea on how much the parts cost that can majorly need replacing due to one failure or another can you please let me know?

One other problem is the insurance, my current vehicle is a group 19 and my insurance company have kindly told me that the M5 on their books is a group 33 :confused: very puzzled there as it only goes up to 20? anyway, it looks like for the same performance as my existing car it is going to cost me an extra 800 a year! just to have an extra two doors and a boot!! well essentially anyway.

However, I love the subtle look of the M5, I like the raw power without the use of forced turbo induction, I like the fact that for its age, it is a real gem. I cant even say its nicer looking than my car at the moment, nor is it any more powerful, but, there is still something drawing me to it like a magnet and I can;t quite put my finger on it!!!!!

I really do want to buy it, and I want to make sure I am doing the right thing, Things are going to be a little more costly soon due to baby number two and us looking at moving house, so I really cant afford to purchase a guaranteed money pit!!! Its true that the car I am running now is also a bit of a money pit, 8mpg round town, 17 at cruise, so it likes petrol stations, the transmission could go at any time at this milage costing 2k or the turbos are at the age they could now let out costing around 2k+ so in comparison is the BMW any worse?

Oh also any ideas on how to get good insurance on these beasts?

Thanks all sorry if I borred you too much!!!

Cheers

Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
121 Posts
If anything the M5 should be cheaper to insure than the M5. Aren't turbo cars more expensive to insure than n/a? It also has 4 doors as opposed to 2 and because of the original, and resale costs probably draws a little more conservative driver than the z. This seems to add up to reasonable rates for insurance.

Why not just spend a 100 or 200 on a PPI, or atleast get a compression and leakdown test and quick once over by a competent mechanic.

What is drawing you to this car? This is the toughest to answer, there are so many reasons. Maybe it is the sleeper angle, possibly it is the level of fit and finish that went into these vehicles, exclusivity of the last of the hand built M cars, or maybe its just that engine, the sound, the pull, amazing! Quite visceral really.:noSMG:

Well good luck on your decision and the car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
757 Posts
Steve-O said:
it looks like for the same performance as my existing car it is going to cost me an extra 800 a year!
You must have one very quick 300zx hiha hiha hiha

On a serious note, they are expensive cars to run, I've lost count on how much I've spent in the past year, which BTW included replacement of the EDCIII shockers, which thankfully (for you) the one you are looking at doesn't have.

Insurance wise, I pay around £800 - £900 F/C with protected NCB, of which I have full. I'm 30 with no clamins/convictions etc. Best company to try is Liverpool Victoria, they were the best I could find, though in the end my usual broker managed to beat them :happybirt

Price wise for parts etc, you are loking at £2500 for a full exhaust, including cat, £500 or so for a clutch, £800 disks/pads front and rear. Don't know how much shockers are for non EDCIII cars, but for mine and others alike, they are around £600 each. A gearbox will probably set you back £2500

Timing belt, there aint one, just a duplex chain and an all important tensioner, £1400 will about cover that, I think.

92 on an L plate, you sure???

I think in time you would miss the torque and feel from your Turbo, I know I do, but the beast is different, certainly at speeds above 100mph or so.

I'm sure there will be a few more replies to try and put you on the right track, but if I were to offer once piece of advise, well 2 pieces actually, check the history and by that I mean full, documented history, and have the car inspected/checked over by someone that knows M5's

Good luck cherrsagai
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
Just for a bit of balance, these cars can be as cheap to run as any other.., if you are lucky.

I paid £1800 for my 3.6 just over a year ago. During this time I've put 14K on the clock bringing the total to 233,957 miles (as of this morning). Its cost me £400 in servicing and minor repairs. Major repair work has been £400 to sort out the A/C system, and £600 for a gearbox rebuild. As a percentage of the purchase price, this is scarey, but overall its not bad - gearbox unlucky, and A/C was a bit of a luxury and not really necessary.

Its just serviced when the lights come on (cost £75-100), but hasn't seen the inside of a BMW garage in almost 10 years. Runs like a dream.

If you want to run one on the cheap, buy a 3.6, not a 3.8 - more complicated, and bits more expensive / rarer. (JMHO but awaiting flames...)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
237 Posts
Sound words, £1800 is a good price.

My 3.6 was £2300. It came with FSH, new gearbox, all suspension replaced recently chain and tensioner done in the near past (Not that I think it needs doing but that's another story)...

With a complete respray and wheel refurb it will have cost me £3k.

If you buy wisely and budget to service it properly before it needs things doing there's no reason you shouldn't run one for sensible money. Cheap motoring can come in many forms.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for all the advice guys, im a little confused.

My Z's completely stock on the outside (because lets face it no one likes a ricer!), but has had uprated turbos, IC etc, so its running a little over 16psi as apposed to 9, last I had it on the rollers it was 356 RWHP and over 300lb torque @ 3.23k, pretty much similar spec to the M5, apart from the M5 is a complete stealth machine :D and family friendly :D

Back to the M5 as thats what im interested in......

The chap who is selling it said the rear suspension is going as it doesnt level out, or it boggs down a little too much at the back of the car on hard acceleration? I asumed he meant it had EDC as he told me it was well over 2k for the setup, however from your comments you say it hasnt? was it only on later cars then how can I tell? also anyone know how much normal shocks / springs are?

The guy seems pretty genuine, he has given me the hpi cert, and also all the service history he has to take home and read. I must say I am a little disapointed with it. He gave me about 20 receipts / invoices I guess. It only goes back as far as 1999 and 100k :(. Not really good enough, that means 100k of un documented service history thats a big gamble. I cant tell when it last or if it ever did have the timing chain replaced? the only big service in there was at around 114k when it has an inspection 2 and service. Didnt cost much more than about 700.00 tho.

There is no mention enywhere of new disks, or clutch, or timing chain etc, all the things I would like to have seen. At a 156k on the clock, its looking a little risky, but the car otherwise looks mint, then again the guy is the owner of a spray garage / accident repair place! I was hoping its not an accident repair job, the HPI came up clean.

If only it had more documented history it may be worth a serious look, now im concerned that it may not have been kept up to scratch for the other 100k :(

Im confused really, really do want the car, but there is nothing worse than forking out on a car, then after you get it home, something goes wrong that makes your stomach sink.

Im putting all my available cash into buying the car insurance etc. So if anything goes wrong it will either be credit card, or the car will sit around whilst I save up a little. Its not all bad tho, I recently pais off all of my debts loans c/cards the lot, so I guess I could always afford to rack up a little for the bimmer, but id rather not for now!!!!

If I can get the shocks done, and drive it around for more than 6 months with no problems then I will be a happy chappy, after that I dont mind forking out!!!!

Any of the guys on here near me in the UK>? would be good to get an enthusiast to look it over! ill buy the beers ;) (not whilst driving of course!!!!!!)

Cheers

Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
oh sorry to keep on, but no one told me if 150k is acceptable for the engine and other bits, gear box, etc? oh and my mistake it is a K plate.

Maybe someone on here knows of it? K202 STT
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
Hi Steve-O,

The shocks in the M5 you want to buy are not EDC but they are self-levelling, hence the steep price.

Most importantly, is there any mention of a valve adjustment job?? If there isn´t and if there´s 100K miles undocumented, there is potential for a lot of problems. As mentioned before, either take it to an M5 expert (or pay one to come along with you and inspect the car) or get a hold of one of the M5 owners from this board and compare the car to their car.

Another thing, have you had BMWs before? Are you able to recognize re-assembled cars? (from collisions, crashes, etc..), can you tell what worn parts look like?

It would be great for you to buy the car but considering the cost of major parts for the M5, you could see your $3000 car costing another $2-3000 to put it in good condition.

Just because the car has been waxed, leather reconditioned and wheels renewed doesn´t mean that the car is mint, catch my drift?

But for the price that he´s asking, you could be lucky and everything´s alright.

M5s are all about maintenance, if it´s properly taken care of, the car will not give you much trouble.

Bottomline, GET AN EXPERT TO LOOK AT IT, it´ll make you sleep good at night.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
757 Posts
e34m5uk said:
I thought all 3.8's had EDC ?
Obviously not all had the switchable suspension either.

I thought the EDC shockers were more expensive that the self leveling units...
??????

Steve-O: "had it on the rollers it was 356 RWHP"

That is E39 territory mate...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
Right, all getting a bit confusing for this poor guy...

To clarify a couple of points

1) Suspension :

All 3.6 cars are equipped with conventional front suspension struts, and mechanically self levelling rear struts.

All 3.8 cars are equipped with ECDIII 'Electronic Damping Control' struts (the _realy_ expensive ones), some of which have the optional 'Nurburgring Package' which includes a A EDC computer override switch with three settings (sport, comfort and automatic).

To summarise, 3.6 suspension cheap (relatively), 3.8 suspension f**k expensive (especially since BMW just renewed its licence agreement with the manufacturer)

2) Timing chain :

Not even worth looking at until 200K+, and even then only if its noisy..., just listen to it. If it sounds OK, it is.

3) Valve Adjustment :

Does the car run/idle smoothly ('idle smoothly' being a relative term when referring to the M5, especially the 3.8), any valve noise? If runs/sounds OK, it is. Last time my car had the valves 'checked' was over 150K ago in 1994. (BTW. Anyone who thinks their valves actually get checked and adjusted by your 'run of the mill' BMW dealer on an Inspection II is, IMHO, 'Living the Dream'...)

4) Buy for the right price :

Plain and simple, screw the guy down on price until he wants to jump of the nearest bridge. This is one of the best ways to protect your pocket against future problems. Also, look at more than one car. If you can, arrange to meet up with a board member for a chat, and a look around their car. Best way to learn what to look for.

5) Sweeping generalisations :

Everybody makes them, an please feel free to completely ignore mine and everyone else's advice. The only person who can make the decision about the car you want to buy is you.

Finally, have a look here : BMW E34 M5 FAQ

Rant Over.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
707 Posts
For what it's worth, I've just "come over" from a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 1 which I owned for 7 years. This is a similar comparison as for yourself, coming from a Jap turbo car.

In the end, this car had mega suspension and 305bhp/300lb torque and only weighed 1270kg.

My M5 (3.8 6 speeder) is definitely slower - to 100mph anyway - and is completely gutless in terms of low and mid range torque compared to the Lancer.

However, the lack of a turbo, throttle response and RWD more than make up for this.

I'm resigned to the fact that it's not as quick in a straight line, but it grips incredibly well and is probably more enjoyable to drive. The difference in quality and engineering is staggering though, and I'd find it very difficult to go back to a "ricer."

The Lancer was great, but it was a bit frantic, whereas the M5 just wuffles you along in comfort, but turns into a sports car when you boot it.

Personally, I'd steer clear of anything with much more than 100,000 miles, but that's just my personal view.

However, if you really want this particular car, why not give him £4k as is and then go and bung Schnitzer suspension on it?

Finally, IMHO, white is a bad colour for these cars, and I think that fact should be/is reflected in the price............
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
237 Posts
Personally, I'd steer clear of anything with much more than 100,000 miles, but that's just my personal view.
Out of interest - why?

As an aside, I spoke to a friend yesterday and he's just picked up a relatively tidy 3.6 with full history for £900. Makes you think doesn't it.

Regarding the performance of the M5 - mine is only a 3.6, so that will obviously have a bearing. However, don't expect it to blow you away compared to a Jap turbo car or similar. The M5s strengths are its discrete exterior, ability to carry 4 adults and their luggage in relative comfort and then when you need it good enough performance for overtaking etc. Compared to a big turbo car where you feel the torque push you into your seat, you gain speed in the M5 in a very smooth linear manner and hence sometimes find you're going quicker than you realised. After the 300 you'll also appreciate the build quality and refinement.

Best of luck with your search. :M5launch:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
707 Posts
ste said:
Out of interest - why?
Just a personal preference. I've had enough old, high mileage cars in me time.

Now I've got an old, LOW mileage car, so I've sorted one of the two!!

My thinking on 3.8 M5s is that the mileage doesn't really seem to affect the price (although in my opinion, it should). So, that being the case, why go for a high (or should that be average!?) miler when you can get low miles for similar money?

I'm ready for the flames.............. :thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
494 Posts
To be honest, I don't think there's that many cars left with under 100k miles, but I don't think mileage really affects these cars that much as long as they've been looked after.

On the dyno day I organised, there were quite a few cars well over 100k miles still producing the factory bhp outputs.

Cheers,
Bryn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
707 Posts
Bryn said:
To be honest, I don't think there's that many cars left with under 100k miles, but I don't think mileage really affects these cars that much as long as they've been looked after.

On the dyno day I organised, there were quite a few cars well over 100k miles still producing the factory bhp outputs.

Cheers,
Bryn.
Valid point, but I think the telling words are "as long as they've been looked after." And that's the difficult bit to ascertain.

Engine/'box don't really concern me mileage-wise - it's all the other stuff like suspension bushes etc etc.

Guess I was lucky then cos mine's done just over 50,000 miles. In fact, that's the main thing which attracted me to the car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
237 Posts
I understand about a lower mileage car being desirable. I just worry that too much emphasis is placed on that little string of digits on the speedo.

Bushes etc obviously do wear, they are however, replacable. As par for the course I expect to swap bushes over in most older cars I buy. It's one of those things that really transforms an older car, especially something as heavy as an e34 which will already be eating its bushes by 50k.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
494 Posts
I guess the main problem with high mileage 3.8 cars is always going to be the dampers, so that's going to be a big deciding point.

I've had mine for 3 and half years now and nothing's needed replacing bar a rear damper when I first got it. In fact, in its whole life its only had that and a front suspension drop link. Its a bit of a lottery really, and just to illustrate that my car was reshelled in 1995 and had no service history, but its been absolutely bulletproof. That said, the guy I bought it from had had it since it was 18 months old and is a mechanic so I know its been looked after mechanically, plus it had only done 30k miles when I bought it.

If the car is a 3.8 with EDC then £6k with the suspension is done is probably fair, as it will cost the owner a lot more than £2k to do it.

Cheers,
Bryn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Hi Guys,

Heres an update,

The guy isnt using it at all at the moment, I asked why and he said because he has another four cars. Fair point I guess.

However, upon having a closer look around, although he said to me the suspension is just starting to go, on the driver side the Camber on the rear wheel is huge its towing right in and goes under the arch, upon looking at the other side its got a good few inches between tyre and arch and is straight?

My guess is he's not driving it because its not really driveable like it. He also told me he hit a deer in it a few months back, and hence hes had a new wing and he fully resprayed it. It's sounding dodgy at the moment TBH.

Its a lovely car, and one of the only 3.8's i've seen within 200miles and within my price range and I want it, but I've got a niggling feeling it could be not what it seems?

Any thoughts ?

Cheers
 
1 - 20 of 58 Posts
Top