525tds concerns

Hi all, its been a long time since I have been here, hope its as good as ever!
I have been looking at trading in the 328i se for a 5 series touring due to
an addition to the family and a new golf hobby demanding a more practical car, looked around and has to be a another beemer!!
I have looked at a nice 525 tds 1998 model, lovely condition nice leather and full kit, but I have a few concerns about this car. firstly the current owner (only the second) has only had the car since December. He has just put new wheels on so he claims and it seems odd to sell it so soon. He is Russian and claims to want to sell due to returning home, but why spend the cash on new wheels etc? Secondly at 50-65 mph I was getting bad steering wheel wobble. This may be only wheel balancing but could it be something more expensive? I asked about this and he claims it has only started since adding new 17" alloys which he got from the net. I have asked him to get the balance checked before I will be interested. Lastly there is are 2 lights on the dash that I don't like, one is an air bag light that does not go out,he claims it just needs reset! and the other I have never seen before. It is next to the ASC tell tell light which comes on when ASC is off and is a yellow picture of a car with and up and down arrow in the middle.In the manual it mentions auto ride height adjustment and a fault light but does not show it.. Does this light refer to this? Does this mean there is a fault with the ride height system? The car also does not seem too powerful but this may be coming from a 328i, how much difference in power is there? It has a full bmw service history last service in march this year, full MOT etc and looks all ok but these faults are preventing me from going for the car. Any advice on these issues would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks all
Jo
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Maybe the old ones had worn out tyres, so not much more to upgrade.

Could be a buckled wheel. 17s will show vibration more than 16s as there's less sidewall to absorb shocks. Also aftermarket alloys are often of softer / inferior construction and can buckle more easily.

The airbag light must be reset by the dealer, or with a special tool. You need to have the fault diagnosed.

Sounds like self levelling rear suspension.

The 525tds has less bhp but more torque, of course the car is a good bit heavier. You can have diesel BMWs chipped very effectively.

See my site's garages review page. Have a pre-purchse inspection performed.
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John G.Burns B.Eng, Bonny Scotland

thanks for the reply John. I do believe it does have self levelling rear suspension do you know what the dashboard light being illuminated would indicate?
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A malfunction due to an oil leak or low fluid level perhaps? My techie bought a 93 525iX touring with this system, he had to replace some of the rear pipework due to rust.
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John G.Burns B.Eng, Bonny Scotland

Sorry what I was trying to ask is does this light indicate a fault with this system or the fact that it is operating ?
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In the US, when a Russian (Bulgarian, etc.) repairs a crashed car, it is quite common for them *NOT* to replace the blown airbag, because they're expensive. Be careful, look for front-end repair tell-tales.
Floyd
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Do you realise how ignorant this sweeping generalisation makes you look?
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In shopping for Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys with my brother a couple of years ago, we saw about 15 cars. 4 of them had been repaired after front-end crashes. All were being sold by Eastern European persons. 2 had no airbags. Sorry, but that's the way it is.
Up yours.
Floyd
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You do yourself proud, by your own figures: - 'Eastern European persons' are as likely to replace the airbags as not. - You've no data on the habits of people of other ethnic origins.
And you still don't think you look ignorant?
Oh, and by the way I'd wager your data was invented to support your sweeping generalisation.
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Wrong. Now don't you look stupid.
Floyd
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Look, snipped-for-privacy@burnt.org.uk, here's the REAL intent of my message, which we have gone off-topic onto stupid postings (and the intent of my posting was definitely *NOT* stupid). BTW, it's protocol on Usenet to sign with real names, not some bogus screen/email name. I can't address you properly because you've been too lazy to sign your posts.
If the car was in an accident that fired the airbag, and subsequently repaired or rebuilt - *often* the hallmark of low-end shops or someone trying to eek out a living by buying "totaled" cars and making the look new - the airbag *should* be replaced. However, because they're expensive (~ $500 or more), fly-by-night outfits with less than sterling morals often omit their replacement. This is a possible/likely indication of a car that a buyer should be wary of.
Satisfied?
Now, as far as the E.Europe comments go, it is true that I made a generalization from small sample. A *better* comment would be something like: "Many recent immigrants seem to be involved in rebuilding totaled autos, and some percentage of this industry is without normal morals, or reflect the (different) morals of their heritage, which are different than the morals that have evolved in the US. It is likely that there is a higher percentage of recent immigrants involved in the shadier parts of the rebuilding of salvaged automobiles than the general US population. IME of looking at Honda and Toyota cars with my brother, many of the cars that we saw that had been re-built were owned by recent immigrants, and both that were missing airbags were owned by E.Europeans (apparently Russian or other former USSR/ Soviet-bloc)."
Satisfied?
Floyd
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Yes. The most likely cause is worn radius arm bushes. Happens at around 70,000 miles with most.

Most would have had 'new' wheels balanced before fitting them?

The only way he could be sure is if he'd had it checked by a dealer. And that check would include a reset, which is a dealer job. So I'd be cautious.

That's what warning lights usually mean. ;-)
Buying a car with faults such as these is a gamble. Prudence would say they haven't been fixed because of the cost, and that's why it's being sold.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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. It is next to the ASC tell tell

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I don't have self levelling suspension, but every other warning light is there to indicate other than the norm. Even main beam and fog lights, etc.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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