e39 2002, should I keep it?

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Oh, BTW, here are some *REAL* facts; the total cost of maintenance for our E34 '91 525i (recently retired after minor traffic accident :-( ): Date Mileage Problem Cost My labor
Sep-96 52,447 Brake Light Switch recall $ -
Sep-96 52,447 Airbag ring recall $ -
Oct-00 99,699 Radiator cap recall $ -
Oct-00 99,699 Blowing Fuse $ 100.15
Jan-92 1,200 1200 Mile service $ 37.92
May-92 18,000 Inspection I $ 285.81
Sep-92 22,800 Oil change $ 24.96
Sep-92 22,800 Minor warranty stuff $ -
Dec-92 24,717 Minor warranty stuff $ -
Nov-93 36,854 Inspection II $ 482.27
Nov-93 36,854 Fuel system recall $ -
Nov-93 36,854 Electrical/Ignition recall $ -
Apr-95 38,906 Engine miss/Check engine $ 134.71
Jul-95 42,112 DME Recall $ -
Jun-97 59,868 Inspection II $ 499.44
Jun-97 60,086 O2 Sensor, Coolant hoses $ 305.26
May-98 70,126 Cruise/throttle cable recall $ -
May-98 70,126 Oil change $ 62.93
May-98 70,666 Replace 2 coils $ 297.40
Jul-99 86,164 Replace 4 coils $ 489.94
Nov-99 91,032 Inspection II $ 631.90
Nov-99 91,032 Brake Flush, Belts, Muffler $ 895.78
Jun-00 96,452 CEL, O2 sensor $ 395.05
Aug-01 110,016 Inspection I, fuse, Fan clutch, Brake Flush $ 804.87
Sep-01 111,320 Thermostat $ 53.88
Dec-01 113,190 Heater core, center muffler $ 1,553.48
Feb-99 75,000 Coolant Level Sensor $ 37.03 Yes
Jun-02 119,638 Inspection II, brake flush, valve cover gasket $ 1,354.30
Mar-03 127,408 Water pump, thermostat, belts $ 765.22
Oct-03 134,497 Front shocks, ball joints (labor) $ 443.91
Oct-03 134,497 Front shocks, ball joints (parts) $ 500.00
Oct-03 134,497 Rear shocks, ball joints (parts) $ 250.00 Yes
Aug-04 140,904 Inspection I, Tests, speedo sensor, Fuel Sending Unit $ 598.29
Jun-05 147,693 CEL, O2 sensor $ 248.86
Dec-05 150,882 Radiator replacement $ 656.19
Apr-06 160,830 Inspection II $ 657.49
Aug-07 186,161 Inspection II $ 762.75
$ 13,329.79
(This doesn't include oil changes every 3-5K miles that I did myself.) As you can see, your conjecture based upon your "facts", that you will have to spend $5,000-$6,000 per year has no basis in real facts.
FloydR
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Let's try that paste again

Date Mileage Problem Cost My labor Sep-96 52,447 Brake Light Switch recall $- Sep-96 52,447 Airbag ring recall $- Oct-00 99,699 Radiator cap recall $- Oct-00 99,699 Blowing Fuse $100.15 Jan-92 1,200 1200 Mile service $37.92 May-92 18,000 Inspection I $285.81 Sep-92 22,800 Oil change $24.96 Sep-92 22,800 Minor warranty stuff $- Dec-92 24,717 Minor warranty stuff $- Nov-93 36,854 Inspection II $482.27 Nov-93 36,854 Fuel system recall $- Nov-93 36,854 Electrical/Ignition recall $- Apr-95 38,906 Engine miss/Check engine $134.71 Jul-95 42,112 DME Recall $- Jun-97 59,868 Inspection II $499.44 Jun-97 60,086 O2 Sensor, Coolant hoses $305.26 May-98 70,126 Cruise/throttle cable recall $- May-98 70,126 Oil change $62.93 May-98 70,666 Replace 2 coils $297.40 Jul-99 86,164 Replace 4 coils $489.94 Nov-99 91,032 Inspection II $631.90 Nov-99 91,032 Brake Flush, Belts, Muffler $895.78 Jun-00 96,452 CEL, O2 sensor $395.05 Aug-01 110,016 Inspection I, fuse, Fan clutch, Brake Flush $804.87 Sep-01 111,320 Thermostat $53.88 Dec-01 113,190 Heater core, center muffler $1,553.48 Feb-99 75,000 Coolant Level Sensor $37.03 Yes Jun-02 119,638 Inspection II, brake flush, valve cover gasket $1,354.30 Mar-03 127,408 Water pump, thermostat, belts $765.22 Oct-03 134,497 Front shocks, ball joints (labor) $443.91 Oct-03 134,497 Front shocks, ball joints (parts) $500.00 Oct-03 134,497 Rear shocks, ball joints (parts) $250.00 Yes Aug-04 140,904 Inspection I, Tests, speedo sensor, Fuel Sending Unit $598.29 Jun-05 147,693 CEL, O2 sensor $248.86 Dec-05 150,882 Radiator replacement $656.19 Apr-06 160,830 Inspection II $657.49 Aug-07 186,161 Inspection II $762.75 $13,329.79

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Hi Floyd, I appreciate you posting this info. However it seems to show only parts costs and no labor costs. However your parts costs come to about the same cost per mile as my total cost. I see a patttern of about $1k per 10k miles. This cost is rather high. If you add your labor costs this makes your cost per mile even higher which only proves my point!
I posted an E39 2002 525i sport with about 65k miles. So far a bit less than $6k in parts AND labor. This happened in a time between 45k and 65k ($6k of repairs).
I've owned 2 hondas (accord and crv), a mazda rx7 and ford mustang. All of these had MUCH less repair/labor costs at 65k than the bmw. This is what is upsetting me!! I feel like I've been exposed to fraud. BMW, german engineering, etc, etc - the best in the world. Oh great !
Then you see the repair bills by 65k miles (which isn't that much) and the picture starts to come into focus. It's not a pretty site!! I have friends who are professionals (lawyers, doctors, small business owners) who also had bmw and mercedes autos and their experience was similar to mine - unexpectly high repair bills due to parts wearing out very soon - compared to other cars. Most will never buy a bmw or mercedes again. Some are die-hard fans and even though they realize the very high repair bills they stick with it. After a while it seems like it's more of a head trip (I drive a Mercedes!! or that's MY BMW!) JD Powers and Consumer reports only give support to our experiences.
http://nhtsa.gov /
You can also look here for more unbiased information/statistics. This place collects data from all autos sold in the USA. When the problems get bad enough, they are the ones who prompt the auto makers for recalls. A technical publication is one step before a recall. An auto with lots of technical pubs is usually a bad sign. This information is collected from dealers across the USA and from independant auto shops. Please verify what I'm saying by reading their website.
Oskar

otmail.com> wrote

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Try reading again while brain is engaged.
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Nice try, but most people don't fix their own cars! For proper cost analysis parts AND labor should be included, not just parts. So the 'I do my own labor' story is fine but the final cost is misleading - it includes no labor.
Oskar
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Nice try, but most people don't fix their own cars! For proper cost analysis parts AND labor should be included, not just parts. So the 'I do my own labor' story is fine but the final cost is misleading - it includes no labor. ---------------------- He was attempting to point out to you that, except for a few cases where *my* labor was *specifically* called out (notice the "Yes" in the last column), the costs listed are for parts *and* labor.
FloydR
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wrote:

Nice try, but most people don't fix their own cars! For proper cost analysis parts AND labor should be included, not just parts. So the 'I do my own labor' story is fine but the final cost is misleading - it includes no labor.
Actually, a fair number of BMW owners do fix their own cars. I suspect several times more so than, say, Cadillac owners.
R / John
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Thanks Floyd for a great post,
I'm just about to buy a 2001 540 and was curious about some of the costs that d come up. I might keep records of work done rather than fuel used!
Colin soon to loose my BMW cherry to e39 540 :-) Melbourne Aus.

<big snip>

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No problem! I would like to point out that, because the OP believed that brakes and tires are similar (to other cars), that I didn't include those costs. Tires generally lasted me 35-45K miles. I always did my own brake replacements; pads and rotors at around $100-$10 per corner plus around 1/2 hour of my labor per corner.
I could post my figures for my '01, they show similar numbers.
FloydR
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On Wed, 9 Jul 2008 05:44:42 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

ahahahahahahaha! Great imagery, that - and probably true ;-)
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Thanks Floyd for a great post,
I'm just about to buy a 2001 540 and was curious about some of the costs that d come up. I might keep records of work done rather than fuel used!
Colin soon to loose my BMW cherry to e39 540 :-) Melbourne Aus.
Before you pop it, you might consider the 530i. Granted, it lacks the grunt of the V-8 (about 1 second slower to 60 and similarly 1 second slower through a quarter mile), but it's less expensive to maintain and feed. So, do you need the extra performance? While I looked long and hard at a 2003 540i Sport Pckg, I weighed the (only occasional) gain versus the (continuing) expense and came out on the side of the smaller engine.
The bonus is the lighter 530i has slightly better balance, crisper steering (rack versus recirc ball) and is as much fun (or more so) to drive than the 540i except when you have the opportunity to put the hammer down.
R / John
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Hi Floyd, Please correct me if I'm wrong but your logic is as follows: car has poor reliability for 1st 3 years of ownership, this DOESN'T mean that car will continue to be unreliable. Is this correct? That makes absolutely no sense!! --------------- Actually, if you understood statistics, particularly the terms causality and correlation, you would see that it makes sense. Now, I'm not saying there is *no* correlation, but that jdpower study is of little or no value for long-term reliability. ---------------- Who in their right mind buys anything that gets all sorts of problems in the 1st 3 years of ownership and then tells themself, it's only the 1st 3 years of ownership - the future will be better!
Older bmw's were built better, newer ones are the problem. ---------------- I've owned BMWs for 30 years. The old ones had many more engine problems than current ones. All current cars have more electrical problems than older cars, because there are more electronics. ---------------- Also, FYI the consumer reports reliability reports go back 10 years!! Is 10 years of data enough to draw a conclusion on whether or not the model car you're looking at is reliable? ------------------ No, because BMW changes cars every 7 years, and engines typically every 3-4 years, which totally blows any long term trend. ------------------ This is where bmw's and most german cars show their ugly side - lots of problems.
Also, JD Powers reports go back about 12 years. Lexus is #1 for 12 years in a row if I recall correctly.
Oskar
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In article

Err, when you post a one sided view expect to get replied to like for like.
If you'd done the most basic research before buying you'd have found BMW in general aren't the most reliable brand. They are bought by those who have different priorities. So your post gives the impression of being somewhat of a troll.
--
*If you think this van is dirty, you should try having sex with the driver*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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"John Carrier" wrote

The radiator is also a weakness as it is plastic. You can buy an aftermarket radiator that is not plastic though that should last you a bit longer.
Pete
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I thought I made that clear in my post. Much of the cooling system is plastic: Radiator upper and lower sections, some water pump impellers (now fixed IIRC), thermostat housing, etc. Zionsville makes a slick all-aluminum radiator and overflow tank ... it ain't cheap ... and you can also get it with an electric fan and shroud to replace the OEM ... quite expensive. There are some reports of the fan disintergrating as well. The plastic parts tend to get brittle over time and heat cycles and then cracks.
That said, the E39 is a very satisfying car on the road. But I do wish the folks in Munich would learn from the folks in Japan about designing longevity into the secondary systems in their vehicles.
R / John
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"John Carrier" wrote

You just wrote that radiator failure in 60-90k range is not uncommon on the V8. What I was trying to get across is that it is also not uncommon on the I6 as that radiator is plastic.
Cheers, Pete
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Fair enough, but the I-6 evidently doesn't put as much stress on the cooling system. Failures (cracks in the upper neck on the drivers side typically) are much more common on the V-8's.
R / John
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The rad isn't plastic - just some parts of it, like the header tank. And for some reason the ones on the six cylinder cars don't fail anything like as often. I'd guess the under bonnet heat is lower on average. Or perhaps the vibration where the hoses meet the rad is lower. Who knows.
--
*You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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