E39 530i - issues/weaknesses?

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Considering buying 2001 E39 530i Touring SE with auto box and sat nav (in the UK)
1) Technology changes so rapidly - is the sat nav any good - how might
it compare to the vurrent range of devices which have had 4 or 5 years more development - is it still worthwhile having?
2) The 530i engine - any known weaknesses or gotchas?
The car has circa 65k miles on it.
cheers
--

jeremy


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Hi Jeremy,
wrote:

Nice car - I drive a 2002 E39 530dA Touring. http://www.bilgalleri.dk/html/gal_visbil.asp?ID )266 (In Danish I am afraid)

Definately YES - it would say. I got the original BMW nav with 16:9 screen and CD based maps in my car - it works very well I think, and a lot better than TomTom on a PDA that I used before. It is still possible to purchase updated maps for it, it does route calculation in a matter of seconds. If the one you are looking on has the 4:3 screen you would have to live with looking at that very not-high-tech cassette deck that has been hidden behind the screen in the 16:9 model.

I do not think so. It is important that it has been serviced, apart from the the E39 is very often considered as one of the best cars in it's class ever made.
** Lars
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says...

I don't know if it's 4:3 or 16:9 but I do know that the advert states only that a cassette player is fitted (i.e. no CD). Here is a picture of the interior of the car in question:
http://www.compucars.co.uk/carpics/Lg58487-03.jpg
--

jeremy

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The one in the picture is 16:9.
Kyle. 98 740iL 01 525i
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Worthwhile? Only you can decide. BMW's nav is not the equal of that in the Acura or Lexus, but it works well enough. IMO, NO automotive sat nav system has quite got it right in terms of ergonomics, flexibility and features.
With nav you have the high OBC and Check Control. The instrument cluster is prone to burned out pixels in the info area.

None to speak of. Insure all the fluids are changed. Brakes at least every two years, coolant every two (BMW only says 4 now), differential @ 30K miles (BMW never), trans @ 30-50K (BMW says 100K, used to be lifetime), PS every 30K (forgot that one, eh?). I synch mine with service intervals, but that tends to be 32K and 2 years for me, so ...
There's a service bulletin on the ignition coils, but the 2001 isn't listed.
There's a service bulletin on the aux fan relay. Insure the bad part is not in the car (underhood fires a remote possibility).
The cooling system is the weakest link. somewhere around 75K (plus or minus) a preventative maintenance of the thermostat, its housing, and water pump would be a good thing. The plastic radiator is a known weakness (it cracks around the upper hose fitting), but more so on the V8's.
Mechanically, the engine should be good for 200K+ (valvotronic the possible exception ... but there are no indications of excessive failures on any of the special interest boards).
The E39 was considered the leader of its class for most of its production term. You won't be disappointed.
R / John (2003 530i SP)
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Hej,
wrote:

What does it give to change fluids more frequently than the BMW recommendation?
** Lars
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BMW's recommendations are the "new" intervals that were introduced with "free" maintenance in the US. As the fluids haven't changed and the needs to change them haven't changed, the schedule I presented is the "old" interval that BMW recommended prior to free maintenance. Following the new vice the old probably doesn't matter if the car is to be turned over in 100K miles, but if you're in it for the long haul ...
R / John
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1) BMW NAV is sad compared to the Japanese. BMW should have done what Jaguar did and specified the Nippon Denso unit used by Lexus in its cars.
2) The "weakness" of the car you're looking at is NOT the engine, but the Auto transmission. Those things with their *lifetime* fluid are expected to only last to 100,000 to maybe, and that's maybe 125,000 miles. Period. That is what BMW considers to be *lifetime*. If I had to getan automatic trans, would try to find a car that has the tranny fluid changed every 30-40,000 miles.
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Jeremy wrote:
    [...]

It's much less powerful than the 540i engine...
M62 V8 is fairly bomb proof and the autobox is a good 'un.
A
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Except for the oil pump bolts, much higher failure rate of radiator, etc. Care and feeding of the V8 is more expensive over the long haul. Of course its extra grunt is addictive, but the 225HP I6 has ample power. If you REALLY want power in an E39, a tuner M5 is the way to go.
R / John
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Some think the E39 530i with 5 speed manual trans and sport suspension was "better" than the 540i because BMW used rack and pinion steering instead of the worm and gear drive found on the 540i. They felt tha tthe 530i could outcorner the 540.
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With comparable tires, likely. Not so much the steering, but the simple matter of weight. The 530 is lighter on its feet. Most of the 540's weight is on the front tires, which tends to emphasize understeer.
Too bad BMW never gave the 530 a 6sp. With the overdrive 6th, a more aggressive diff ratio would have been possible without compromising mileage.
R / John
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John Carrier wrote:

I have often heard repeated this statement (about the eights being front heavy) but cannot find any supporting evidence that it is true. Certainly the added weight of the larger engine is a handicap in handling. About 250 lbs of difference in curb weight between the E39 3 liter six and 4.4 liter eight. But the engineers moved things around in their designs to try to retain the 50/50 weight bias that BMWs are famed for regardless of the total.
I can't find and weight distribution specs on the E39, but from the BMW NA site info is available for the "current-day" 5 series. A 530i weighs 3,472 lbs with a 50.8% / 49.2% (F/R) weight distribution. A 550i that weighs 3803 lbs total (331 lbs heavier) has a 51.3% / 48.7% F/R weight.
So while the modern 530i is 55 lbs heavier on the rear axle than the front, the 550i is 91 lbs heavier on the rear than the front. The total difference between the two of 36 lbs is hardly significant. Throw a small gym bag in the trunk and you are all square.
--
-Fred W

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I think the issue isn't that the 540i is too front heavy but that the overall car is heavier and thus, not as nimble. Some say the rack and pinion found only on the six cyl. cars helps alot in making the 530i *feel* faster in a tight course too.
Of course, if you want torque, forget it! Get the 540i and enjoy!
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bfd wrote:

I'm with you there. A lot of torque will make up for a little extra weight in the acceleration department anyday. But not in the handling...
--
-Fred W

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For the E39 auto (2003 brochure) 530i 3549 50.9/49.1 540i 3803 52.5/47.5
I should have commented that most of the 540's EXTRA weight was on the front wheels. It's not dramatic, but its there. (Don't you find the 3803 weight interesting compared to the 550i?) The 540 SP's also go with staggered wheelsets and larger rubber on the rear. This improves straight line traction but further unbalances the car. The 540 has somewhat less rear roll stiffness, also contributing to understeer. Of course, with the torque of the V8, you can always steer with the throttle.
The 540's power and torque are wonderful selling points versus the 530. But while you can only occasionally enjoy that extra performance, you have its costs (great and small) always. They're both great cars, and both have their fans.
R / John
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John Carrier wrote:

OK good. So they were:
530i Total: 3549 Rear: 1742 Front: 1806 Heavier in the rear by 64 lbs 540i Total: 3803 Rear: 1806 Front: 1996 Heavier in the rear by 190 lbs
So the V8 is 254 lbs heavier in total and picks up 126 lbs in the front bias. Yep, that seems to prove it out. But it is still pretty evenly biased as compared to the vast majority of cars on the road.

Yes, I do. I'm sure that the BMW engineers had to work very hard to maintain that weight with a bigger engine.
--
-Fred W

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Doesn't the 540 have mainly steel front suspension - the 530 aluminium? Probably because it's a carry on from the E34 while the 530 has the newer rack and pinion set up.
--
*If a thing is worth doing, wouldn't it have been done already?

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:
    [...]

It's all aluminium on my 540i based B10 V8.
A
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

Even my E34 540i has the aluminum control arms. Not much else is though... On the other hand I thing the RB box and tie-rods is probably lighter than a R&P box and its style of tie-rods.
--
-Fred W

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