Advice sought - on a 540

Hi all,
Looks like I'm nigh on buying an old, old 540 of '94 vintage.
The navy blue car has clocked 60,000 miles, which is quite low for a 94 E34 shape. It has a 250 bhp powerplant. The interiors are clean and
has a Kenwood mp3/cd player with a great sound system. Everything works very well and the drive is excellent. The present owner, who wants to give away the car in favor of a 4WD for practicality, says he's done a top speed of 160 mph. There are some minor scratches and a few tiny dents on the outside, but nothing immediately visible. No major accidents. The seats are a bit bent and when I asked, the owner said that that's from g-forces! Said he'd have that fixed before the sale. It has full electric package so everything is electric on it. The aircon is super cold and all the LCD displays are very clear and bright. The glove box clips need replacing, and that too will be fitted before the sale.
My simple Q - is USD 3,800, which is what I've finalized (nearly) the deal for, par for the course or will I live to regret forking out that kind of money for a 13-yr old car?
Thanks in advance,
Ramapriya (from Dubai, UAE)
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Take it to a mechanic who has a bunch of German cars in the parking lot and ask "what does it need". You'll be dong this eventually so you may as well do it before you buy it.
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ditto OP - Where are you???
Are you certain the mileage is correct and not played with? This is a common problem these days...
Check the wear on the steering wheel and seats, they should look new at 60k.
I had a 94 540, and I suggest that if it does NOT come with maintenance records that display a well maintained engine and tranny ("lifetime" my ass), be careful.
Look for a replaced rad and water pump, suspension part replacements (control arms and bushings...) It has low miles, but by now these troubles should have appeared. Also check if the short block is original or an "Alusil" replacement... the original part was a problem on many cars but not all were swapped...
Get all issues diagnosed before you decide a price, there could be some shockers... It cost me $1000 for a tranny rebuild..... parts are $$ and knowlegable labour is a must and expensive if you don't do it yourself.
This is a car that can be a blast if it is a good one... or a nightmare if you don't know a good bimmer mechanic that also knows the V8.
wrote:

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On Feb 10, 1:57 am, "SharkmanBMW" <sharkmanbmw at gmail dot com> wrote:

My mechanic is the same who takes care of my C240, a German who formerly worked for donkey's ages at Merc-Benz. He's quite the guy with German cars, and was also the one to with all his brutally honest opinions kill my enthusiasm of wanting to own a used 928.
He checked the car out *completely* for about an hour, including hooking up to his diagnostic computer, before certifying it "absolutely ok" for purchase :)
Cheers, Ramapriya
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wrote:

    In my opinion, it's pretty much pointless to ask any mechanic his opinion of a water-cooled Porsche model (924/944/968 or 928). The bias towards 911s in the mechanic community is pathological; I've never heard of a mechanic recommending someone buy another Porsche model, even those that owned those models.     Some of this is based on inexperience. They are comparably rare, and few independent mechanics have actually worked on 928s; in Chicago, the 3rd largest US city, I encountered *one.* I think only 4000 or so 968s were sold in the US as well, so there isn't much experience with them either.     epbrown
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I don't get this? Are you only talking about the 924/44/968/928 series? If not, then what mechanics are you talking about? Aren't all the NEW Porsche, say since 2000, now water-cooled? Its my understand the 996, or was it 993, was the last 911 that was air-cooled. Further, all Boxers, Cayenne (sp?), and now Caymans are water cooled too. Thus, any "mechanic" who has worked on a 2000 or newer Porsche should be familar with Porsche "water cooled" models.
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    I am. Though a lot of techs aren't too big on the 911 water-pumpers, either, especially in light of the RMS problems.     epbrown
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A good friend of mine had one. When it got to be 8 years old it needed a $5000 repair once a month. He dumped it. Fun car but OMG.
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ditto OP - Where are you???
Are you certain the mileage is correct and not played with? This is a common problem these days...
Check the wear on the steering wheel and seats, they should look new at 60k.
I had a 94 540, and I suggest that if it does NOT come with maintenance records that display a well maintained engine and tranny ("lifetime" my ass), be careful.
Look for a replaced rad and water pump, suspension part replacements (control arms and bushings...) It has low miles, but by now these troubles should have appeared. Also check if the short block is original or an "Alusil" replacement... the original part was a problem on many cars but not all were swapped...
Get all issues diagnosed before you decide a price, there could be some shockers... It cost me $1000 for a tranny rebuild..... parts are $$ and knowlegable labour is a must and expensive if you don't do it yourself.
This is a car that can be a blast if it is a good one... or a nightmare if you don't know a good bimmer mechanic that also knows the V8.
wrote:

--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


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Richard Sexton wrote:

Well I've already done that and he said, "You can buy the car with your eyes closed". Not knowing much about cars, I hadn't the foggiest idea about this Nikasil thing. I'm somewhat uneasy over that now, especially because I don't have any figures to even know whether the petrol that's available here in Dubai contains high or low sulfur content :(
Ramapriya
PS: Is sulfur content in fuel the only factor that hurts Nikasil or are there other associated problems too?
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Find a mechanic, preferably one familar with BMWs, and have them do a leakdown test. That will tell you the condition of the engine and whether its affected by sulfur.
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You'd need to find out local regs on petrol. For example, only low sulphur fuel may be sold in the UK these days - so any Nikasil engine still ok should remain ok. The damage when it happens happens quickly. The initial symptoms are an uneven idle caused by compression problems and the standard check is a leakdown test.
I have a feeling that Middle East crude is inherently low sulphur, and it was crude from some other part of the world that caused the problem - although of course now can be refined to remove it. Google should provide an answer to that.
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While I don't know if that model has the nikasil engine, you might check out the information at:
http://www.koalamotorsport.com/article-m60v8.asp
Tom K.
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Might do, but US model so unaffected?
Not sure about US resale prices, but at 2k it would be [very] dear in the UK.

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The Nikasil problem wasn't really understood when this car was built - BMW continued to use it for another 4 years or so - although the US got an earlier cure in the form of iron block on some engines, etc.

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Tom K. wrote:

Yes, it most certainly does. Or at least it did if it has been swapped out under warranty. The other weak point in those cars is the transmission if it is the automatic. It will need to have some plastic check balls replaced to prevent the valves from selecting reverse and drive at the same time. Once it does that you'd be buying a new (rebuilt) trans.
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