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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As the title says, a noob is here..........

Just looking for some tips, and discussion here. I've been juggling the Idea of getting an E39, actually I've had my eye on a fairly low mile (40k) really clean M5, but I've been lurking.............. And I really don't like some of what I've read :( (maybe I just read the bad stuff ?)

Here's the deal, my kids are teenagers so (I'm not into a grocery mobile never been that way anyway, read on..) but i'm looking for a nice comfortable no BS car to enjoy driving 2-300 "leisure" miles when I want that will comfortably fit everyone (Myself, wife and 2 teenagers) and still cut some butt if the situation arises. I'm a gearhead, I have fast "vehicles" already, as a matter of fact I have a low 11 second pump gas piece of "farm equipment" that I drive to work everyday and my wife has a mid 12 second Mustang. (I'd post up some pics and info but a BMW board is probably not the place). I do not like slow vehicles (just wanna get that out the way) I'm a street racer/drag racer, I pretty much race every weekend with one of my "other vehicles" (if you don't like street racing keep it to yourself, I've been doing it for 18 years, its what I love)

Gas mileage, Uh yeah as previously mentioned, my truck gets 8mpg so I could care less.

Mechanical ability, well I build race motors for "farm equipment" in my spare time, I likely have enough tools to tear down and rebuild anything....... And maybe add a turbo or SC and a roll cage at the same time.

Electronics, well I've installed big stuff 3 / mega squirt standalones in a thing or two and tuned a vehicle or two with them as well as SCT Advantage III and Diablosport CMR.

Here's the problem, I can't leave anything alone, so although I'd try my hardest the keep it stock it would likely end up getting a mod or two I really would like to keep it reliable (for Sunday drives that may involve a turn or two) but honestly I don't know jack about kraut cars and have never turned a wrench on them. I have cars that always cost me money because I race them and break stuff and I don't need another money pit (I hopefully don't plan on ever putting the BMW on the drag strip, but it will smack a fart can or two around and maybe a couple mullet camaros on the street) I understand normal maintenance, and i don't put cheap junk on my current cars and wouldn't on this.

I've read threads where some say they have 10-20 k in maintenance and have less than 100,000 miles on their stuff........ WTH? Is this normal? I know I have american recycled soda can's but if I had 10-20 K in my "farm equipment" it would travel through time. Is this the cost of putting on your suit and tie and taking it to a rip off stealership or is this the DIY real man cost?

How's the interior plastics and electronics? Prone to cracking and tears or electrical failure?

What should I listen for as one is running at idle or driving around that would be some dead giveaways that I may buy a problem child?

How bout some overall feel of the drive train, what are some bad signs.

How does the body hold up as far as paint/plastics and such (keep in mind I'll be buying from a south eastern "no snow" state) what are some common areas for flaws or problems. I'm real anal about looks and cleanliness, I keep all my junk looking good as new and constantly clean,clay and polish even little problems bother me in a big way.

Bottom line I have always been a fan of the E39, I'm not too fond of the E60, I've just always had a soft spot for a E39. Its looking as though my only choices for a quick comfortable 4 door are a E39 or a 05-06 CTS-V and I really hate government motors cars because their built with cheaper junkier parts than my current American junk.

I had a loaded v6 Honda Accord before now and I always hated that car but it was nice an reliable for travel and comfort, but I've given it to my daughter to drive to school and have as her first car, so I'm looking for a "good" car to replace it with.

1,067 Posts
Any of the forums will likely "scare" you when you start reading about the issues. Things to be aware of:

1. Most of the repairs are doable by a competent, experienced DIYer - sounds like you are good there.
2. Parts prices for BMWs are pretty well up there and an M5 specific part can be significantly more than a "regular" E39 part. Check out places like BAVAUTO, Pelican Parts, (this is a dealer that sells at wholesale or thereabouts) to see if you can stomach them.
3. Stuff that breaks on Hondas and Toyotas at 160K miles breaks on these cars at 60-80K miles in many cases (100K miles in others) - at which point, see item 2 for what it is going to cost you.
4. Mod prices, are frankly, ridiculous for these cars and big coin gets you minor gains compared to anything in the Chevy/Ford or turbo world.
5. Tires are expensive.
6. There's no Summit catalog for BMWs and (overpriced) factory parts really are better

Having said all that, we bought my wife a used 530i a few years ago (60K miles then and 118K miles now) and despite several repairs (all done by me) I STILL bought a used M5 last year. I spent $1900 on parts over the last year - biggest was a new windshield ( $400 or so) - and some was optional. Had an '05 GTO the year before...spent over $3K on it trying to turn it into a BMW...didn't work.

Good Luck
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