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BMW gurus: How reliable is the E34?! ('90 535i)

sonick

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Saw a posting for a 1990 535i, M30 engine with 190,000 km's (120k miles) for a decent price and good condition, but how reliable are they? Expensive to maintain?

Thanks
 

JayJay

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^^^I traded my '89 535i at 236,000 miles. It was in great condition and mechanically sound. The main problem when I traded it was that nearly all the pixels in the dash were out, a common BMW problem.

Maintenance was always expensive. Over the years of ownership I replaced the clutch, radiator, and electronics in one of the power windows. I did not buy the car new, but I did put most of the miles on it during my ten years of ownership.
 

A Y

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If you work on the car yourself, it's not expensive.

--Andre
 

Aaron

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If they are maintained well BMW's of that vintage are fantastic and will run for a long time. I have an '89 325i with 247k and it runs like a swiss watch.

That being said, parts and repairs can be pricey. More complex models, like the 5 and 7 series, have some replacement computer parts and sensors that are ludcriously expensive. The early to mid 90's 5 series also have some issues with the gas in Western Canada (it apparently has a high sulfur content that eats away at piston rings). BMW covers the problem even if the car doesn't have a warranty. I know someone with a mid 90's 540i that had their entire engine replaced free of charge because of it. Just have the vehicle inspected before you buy and the mechanic should be able to tell you if there is anything amiss. Try and make sure there are maintenance records for the car as well.

I would highly recommend Peter Bundic at Fairview Automotive on Heather St. in Vancouver. He's a great guy and knows BMW's inside and out. Plus his summer ride is a beautiful track prepped M3.
 

JPYPSU07

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I just traded in my 95 525i. I kept having random problems with it that ended up being very annoying and very expensive. The transmission kept giving me problems as well as the cooling system. If you're looking for a car that you don't need to be dependable that you just want to drive around on the weekends or something go for it. I was quite constantly in fear of it breaking down while I was driving. I'd say buyer beware, your problem will cost you more than what you pay for the car.
 

ms244

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Originally Posted by A Y
If you work on the car yourself, it's not expensive.

--Andre



+1000000000000

A couple of trips to the dealer will buy a lot of tools, probably way more then you will need.

bimmerforums are your friends

Originally Posted by Aaron
If they are maintained well BMW's of that vintage are fantastic and will run for a long time. I have an '89 325i with 247k and it runs like a swiss watch.

That being said, parts and repairs can be pricey. More complex models, like the 5 and 7 series, have some replacement computer parts and sensors that are ludcriously expensive. The early to mid 90's 5 series also have some issues with the gas in Western Canada (it apparently has a high sulfur content that eats away at piston rings). BMW covers the problem even if the car doesn't have a warranty. I know someone with a mid 90's 540i that had their entire engine replaced free of charge because of it. Just have the vehicle inspected before you buy and the mechanic should be able to tell you if there is anything amiss. Try and make sure there are maintenance records for the car as well.

I would highly recommend Peter Bundic at Fairview Automotive on Heather St. in Vancouver. He's a great guy and knows BMW's inside and out. Plus his summer ride is a beautiful track prepped M3.


This was a V8 problem only due to the alloy used in the blocks, the straight sixes were never part of this issue actually.

try to see if the car itself was taken care of, a lot of them are abused and need serious repairs.

Look up what the bimmer shimmy is, if you have it you will need to replace some parts in the front. A 10lb sledge comes in handy (not the stupid ball joint removal tool, a waste of $20).
 

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