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Discussion Starter #21
Thanks. I did ask him about doing a PPI and he was perfectly fine with it. What’s the software or tool needed to scan? Is it something I can go ahead and invest in? Anyone got a shop recommendation in Chicago?
 

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ISTA is the best SW to use for diagnostics but there is a steep learning curve and if you have not used it previously your better off letting a reputable shop check her out. Personally i think the biggest risk is still the bearings and that will be hard to diagnose effectively, even with SW. A reputable shop could pull the oil filter and check for any hints of copper which would be an indication of the internal conditional of the engine. A drive test by someone familiar with the quirks of the SMG will also give you some confidence in its condition and if its operating correctly. I'm in Texas but i have no doubt there are independent BMW shops (and members of this board) in Chicago capable of giving you the peace of mine you need.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
I’m not too worried about the bearings because I’m literally going to trailer the car home and it won’t move until bearings are replaced. It’s pretty cut and dry for diagnosing bearings though right? There’s no grey area. They’re either shot in which case there will be rod knock or at least noise, or the currently still ok if the car is running well with no codes or strange noises?
 

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You really need a complete and thorough PPI at a shop that YOU choose before sending any money. It will be the best $200 you will ever spend. If there's any minor problems, use that as a bargaining chip. If they find major issues with the car, find another one.
When I bought my car I had a PPI done and they found a rear diff lea, all the rear control arms were shot and it needed a SMG oil change. $2000 worth of work needed to be done so I asked the dealership to meet me half way and I had the shop fixed those problems before i flew down to pick the car up.

It is a process and a hassle but very necessary with these cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
So basically ask the seller to take it for me and I pay for it myself? He doesn’t seem like the most cooperative seller in the world so I’d be surprised if he does it. And I certainly don’t want to drive/fly to Chicago, pay for a PPI, and then walk away if it isn’t a good report.
 

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NoVA is but correct, a good PPI will uncover things even the seller is not aware of and can pay for itself. Its a hassle for the seller but considering the risks associated with these cars a very reasonable request. Ive only done bearing twice, once on an e39 M5 and earlier this year on my 08. The E39 had knock and had spun a bearing and damaged the crank so i wound up replacing the engine. My 08 was at 82K miles and i did these are PM. A couple bearing were pretty bad but fortunately the crank was fine. There was only a Vanos code previously and that was fixed with an aftermarket Vanos and the bleed procedure. Others on this forum have far more experience with bearing replacement and will chime in but I don't think its as black and white as either good (no noise) or knocking to indicate bad bearings. If it started knockings tomorrow, the bearings had probably done the crank in some time ago. I think your smart to trailer the car and immediately attack the bearing and as long as there are no surprises when your in there you will have piece of mind for years to come
 

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So basically ask the seller to take it for me and I pay for it myself? He doesn’t seem like the most cooperative seller in the world so I’d be surprised if he does it. And I certainly don’t want to drive/fly to Chicago, pay for a PPI, and then walk away if it isn’t a good report.
No,no, no don't even tell the seller who is doing the PPI. Most places that are relatively close to the seller will pick the car up, take it to their shop, call you when the inspection is done, let you know whats wrong and their general opinion on the car. You call the seller and let him know the inspection is done and the shop will drop the car off where they picked it up with the paperwork to show the seller. Have the shop email you the inspection results, you call the seller and negotiate the next move. Where is the car located? I'm sure there's a few reputable euro shops near by. Do some research and make some phone calls to the shops and go with the one you feel most comfortable with. I know its a lot but has to be done if you're buy a car out of state.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
So I’m still communicating with the seller on this one. Let’s talk hypothetically for a second. Flatly speaking is 88k miles too high to be buying into for these cars? Lets assume maintenance has been flawless and bearings were done. For me there’s just always been a stigma to a car once it passes 100k miles. It just starts to feel old to me. I don’t want to buy into a car that within a year or two of ownership already feels old. Would you guys buy an 88k mile car with good service history? Is $14k fair for that?
 

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So I’m still communicating with the seller on this one. Let’s talk hypothetically for a second. Flatly speaking is 88k miles too high to be buying into for these cars? Lets assume maintenance has been flawless and bearings were done. For me there’s just always been a stigma to a car once it passes 100k miles. It just starts to feel old to me. I don’t want to buy into a car that within a year or two of ownership already feels old. Would you guys buy an 88k mile car with good service history? Is $14k fair for that?
88k miles is not too late for maintenance. We can't answer whatever personal convictions you have about a car being "too old over 100k miles". That's on you to decide for yourself. Miles are just a number on the cluster, to me it's not indicative about how well taken care of a car is. My 180k mile 6MT feels better than my 120k mile SMG did.
 

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So I’m still communicating with the seller on this one. Let’s talk hypothetically for a second. Flatly speaking is 88k miles too high to be buying into for these cars? Lets assume maintenance has been flawless and bearings were done. For me there’s just always been a stigma to a car once it passes 100k miles. It just starts to feel old to me. I don’t want to buy into a car that within a year or two of ownership already feels old. Would you guys buy an 88k mile car with good service history? Is $14k fair for that?

Depends on what you are looking for, and what you can afford. If the bearing have been done and there are good records, 88K miles is not bad, especially for a 10-14 year old car and $14 sounds about right. But, you have to really love this car and what it represents. It is the most no holds bared car BMW has built and there will never be another like it. It gets a terrible rap from the internet crowd that sees every flaw as catastrophic because they "heard" that the dealer charged $10k to fix this or that. Nonsense, spend some time on this forum and you will see that the vast majority of issues can be addressed by someone willing to turn a wrench and do their own maintenance. My target was 80K but i was also prepared to do the bearing and anything else myself. I think i got a great example and only spent $13K for the beast and another $5k on parts but i now have an amazing and so far very reliable super car. As N_Rod said, if your hung up on a number on the odometer then maybe this car is not for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Thanks guys I appreciate the feedback. One last thing, it seems I’ve seen some people reference the Vanos high pressure line when they do bearings and then others don’t. Is that a necessity for only pre-08 or recommended for all?
 

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Thanks guys I appreciate the feedback. One last thing, it seems I’ve seen some people reference the Vanos high pressure line when they do bearings and then others don’t. Is that a necessity for only pre-08 or recommended for all?
Recommended for all years. I'd do it while you're in there along with the little VANOS filter in the block
 

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88k miles is not too late for maintenance. We can't answer whatever personal convictions you have about a car being "too old over 100k miles". That's on you to decide for yourself. Miles are just a number on the cluster, to me it's not indicative about how well taken care of a car is. My 180k mile 6MT feels better than my 120k mile SMG did.
Yup. Miles are just a number. I'd be willing to put my 171,000 mile car up against a 25,000 mile garage queen.

http://instagr.am/p/CC7D6Q9AgeZ/
Low mile cars are aging out and deteriorating -- or have owners too chicken to drive them.

At the end of the day, buy the "owner" and not the car. If you trust the owner, then go for it!
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Awesome thanks guys. So after some research, am I correct in concluding that the Vanos system will have to be bled after replacing the hose? If so that’s a concern because I need the software right? No idea how to get that or even understand it. It all looks like a foreign language to me.
 

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ISTA or INPA on a dedicated laptop is a must if you are doing your own maintenance/repairs. You will need them to complete activations, bleed procedures and test functions. Tons of information available online but it can definitely be confusing and there is a steep learning curve. That said, the SW is applicable to all models of BMW and is not specific to any one chassis.
 

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Buy the ecs tuning ‘schwaben bmw scan tool’ or find a foxwell nt510 (with bmw software pre loaded). They are the same thing just different name.

It’s bssically the bmw software installed on a stand alone tool. It’s not as powerful/in-depth as a laptop and ista/inpa but it’s 10 times better than generic scan tool or stuff like Carly. You can learn to use it effectively in about 30min and it can scan for codes, give detailed codes, reset adaptations, log data from basically any sensor/module and trigger components manually etc.

I’d also recommend a PPI.

Only owning for 6mths is a worry. When you said he put the tune on 10 years ago I assumed he’d had it for 10 years.

Get a decent PPI and scan the car yourself. Assuming that doesn’t turn up anything nasty in body, interior, suspension etc I would then negotiate around $2k off his asking price as it will likely need a clutch (clutch, pressure plate and flywheel) very soon if not now. Add to that rod bearings and it’s basically due for some fairly significant maintanence. But once they are done that takes care of some big items.

It could be a good car but get it inspected.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Thanks for the feedback. I’ve already got a PPI scheduled. The schwaben tool probably won’t allow me to do bleed or adaptations though right?
 

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Thanks for the feedback. I’ve already got a PPI scheduled. The schwaben tool probably won’t allow me to do bleed or adaptations though right?
I think you can, though someone who uses it will have to confirm. If you are willing to put up with a learning curve and get through the installation pains that can arise, I would recommend trying to go the ISTA/INPA route. You'll get TIS with ISTA which is awesome now that newTIS has been taken down, and it's cheaper.
 

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The 6 month thing is extremely concerning, especially with the comment that the current owner wants a 6MT.
Personally, I would look for another specimen.
 

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Thanks for the feedback. I’ve already got a PPI scheduled. The schwaben tool probably won’t allow me to do bleed or adaptations though right?
The nt510/schwaben can do pretty much all the adaptations and manually operate components etc. it can do stuff like register a battery. I can’t remember for sure if it can do a vanos bleed (my guess is it can) but I wouldn’t recommend doing that on a car you haven’t bought yet and I wouldn’t recommend doing it unless you need to. If you’re talking about brake bleeding you don’t really need any electronics for that, it can be done the old fashioned way.
 
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