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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys this is my first post on this board. I have been reading m5board for a year or so now and it has come down to the time for me to purchase my first M. I have been looking at buying an E39 for years now and I am financially secure enough to make the purchase. My concern is the extreme maintanance issues I have been reading about. I am ok with making a thousand dollar repair here and there but the big hurdle I am trying to get over is the dual vanos system. I know it is expensive to own and maintain a virtual racecar but I am worried about the problems I have read about the dual vanos system. Buying an '03 is going to mean buying one with roughly 40k+ miles on it and from what I have read that is when the vanos issues start coming into effect. I guess my question is, am I in danger of buying a $30k+ car that is going to have a great chance of being garraged for some time and costing me another $8k-$10k in repairs in less than a year from purchase? Any feedback/input would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks guys,
Spencer
 

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The likelihood of "great chance of...[time & money on vanos]...in less than a year..." is negligible.

The likelihood of $1500+ in clutch/brake by 60K miles is moderate.

The likelihood of other minor irritations within the first year is likely.

A stout PPI should reduce the surprise of all the above, but if you can't stand the fire, stay out of the kitchen.

If you read a bit deeper, you'll see that "vanos problems" tend to be mis-diagnosed.

Welcome, and happy hunting.
 

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I don't know what to say... there are MANY, MANY E39M5s without VANOS issues - at 40k or at 80k- but there are a few with very expensive repairs. Rings, VANOS, trannys...

If you do your homework, buy one with a solid history of maintenance and service, you will minimize the odds of an expensive repair.. of course even if it is very rare, a major failure is 100% when it happens, and the rarity is of no comfort.

Lots of discussions on vanos, repair costs, fixes (solenoid versus whole thing) etc, etc... good luck on your research and quest.

A

+1 on chowdah's comments on vanos diagnosis
 

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Have you considered the e34? By far the superior M5 without any Vanos problems at all!

Best of luck in your search! The journey is half the fun.

K
 

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Welcome to the board Spencer.

It sounds as if you are embarking on M5 ownership with your eyes well and truly open; well done for this is a good thing. If you are prepared for the odd $1000 here and there and the fact that you are maintaining an almost-supercar wearing a 5 series body then you should be fine owning an M5. As long as you can afford it, owning one of these things can be a genuinely life-enhancing experience if you are a car guy; it's why we still have some active members here who bought an early model brand new.

The thing with these cars is that there is a chance that it could cost you a fortune, but it shouldn't. I am not a really wealthy man - my mortgage sees to that. If I had to spend £5000 tomorrow on the M5 it would be a pain and I hope it doesn't happen, but if it did, it would not wreck my financial life and that is the crucial thing. So I'd say there is a slim chance you'd face the $8k-$10k repair bill over the next year and if there is no way you could ever afford that, I'd avoid the M5. If it would be a undesirable, but reasonably affordable price to pay, go for it.

I am pleased to say that my M5 is one of them that just never breaks and other than full and proper maintainance it hasn't really needed anything at 140,000 miles. I really am thoroughly impressed with its longevity and if it did need £5k tomorrow it's sure earned it anyway. There are a few other people around here with big mileages who haven't had any major problems.

Good luck with your decision.:cheers:
 

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As stated above the vanos is not that big of an issue if the car that your buying has 40k on it just start changeing the oil more freq i personally think the vanos issue stems from the 15k oil service intervalls if you change your oil every 4500 you should not have an issue. i bought my car with 43 on the clock and now 2yrs later she has 96k no issues except i had to do a clutch cause the rear main seal started leaking oil. just do a solid ppi and go over the car. was it babied or driven or beaten these things all play into roll if it was babied you got to drive her the m5 love to be driven. If its a car that has been beat than walk away
 

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The previous posters have it correct..You are quite obviously diligent on your search, so just continue that path. There is no "tried and true" way to predict a Vanos issue that I am personally aware of..things like MAFS, plugs, thrust bushings and wheel bearings are all part of the maintenace of the cars and IMHO, a part of the ownership responsibility of these cars..Get it inspected, find the history using the VIN at a dealer...Oh yeah, if you have been looking for a year, you already understand the difference between an e-34 and an e-39..good luck!!
 
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